STAFF PERSONS:                                Stephen B. Waller, AICP

                                                                        Allan Schuck                      

PLANNING COMMISSION:                    FEBRUARY 8, 2005

BOARD OF SUPERVISORS:                  MARCH 2, 2005

 

sp 04-54 SUbway at forest lakes Drive-Through

sp 04-58 dairy queen At forest lakes Drive-Through

 

Applicant’s Proposal:

 

The applicant has submitted a preliminary site plan for a development consisting of two (2) fast food restaurants with drive-through windows (Attachment A).  The site review committee has reviewed the preliminary site plan and determined that it can be approved administratively with the approval of special use permits for the two drive-through windows serving these restaurants.  The property, described as Tax Map 32 Parcel 42H, contains 2 acres and is located in the Rivanna Magisterial District on Seminole Trail [U.S. Route 29 North], just south of the McDonald's at the Worth Crossing [Route 1722] intersection (Attachment B). This site is zoned Commercial (C-1) and Entrance Corridor (EC), and has a Comprehensive Plan designation of Community Service in the Hollymead Community.

 

Petition:

 

The applicant is requesting approval of two special use permits in accordance with Section 22.2.2(10) of the Zoning Ordinance, which allows for drive-in windows serving or associated with the by-right uses allowed in the C-1 zoning district.

 

Planning and Zoning History

 

ZMA 91-10 Holly Memorial Gardens, Inc. - On February 15, 1989, the Board of Supervisor’s unanimously approved a request to rezone the 6.75-acre parent parcel of the subject property from R-1, Residential to C-1, Commercial (Attachment C).  That zoning map amendment was approved with two (2) proffers that require the establishment of a fifty (50) foot landscaped buffer along the eastern boundary and restricts the site to 430 vehicular trips per day, per acre for any uses allowed on the property.

 

Character of the Area:

The subject parcel fronts on the eastern side of U.S. Route 29 North, with the McDonalds at Forest Lakes to the north and the Holly Memorial Gardens cemetery to the south.  The rear half of the property shares the remaining portion its northern property line with the Worth Park commercial offices, while the eastern border adjoins the Gateway Village townhouses in Forest Lakes.  Both of the proposed restaurants on this site would be accessed from a new road that will be dedicated to public use in the future.  That road will extend from Timberwood Road through the property in order to provide a connection to other sites to the south of the site. 

 

In addition to the McDonald’s there is one other existing fast food restaurant and three financial institutions, all of which have drive-through windows, located within close proximity of this site. These establishments include an Arby’s restaurant and two banks on to the north on outparcels of the Forest Lakes shopping center and a third bank on the western side of Route 29 North at the intersection with Airport Road [State Route 649].

 

Comprehensive Plan:

 

Requests for special use permits within the Development Areas are assessed for conformity with the recommendations set forth in the Land Use Plan.  In addition to being a use that is allowed by right in the C-1 zoning district, fast food and other restaurants are also recommended as primary uses in areas designated for Community Service land uses. 

 

Chapter 2 of the Comprehensive Plan, entitled “Natural Resources and Cultural Assets” sets goals for preserving the scenic resources that are recognized as being essential to the County’s character, economic vitality and quality of life.  The Entrance Corridor Overlay Districts were implemented to further the County’s efforts toward attaining the Comprehensive Plan objective of maintaining the visual integrity of important roadways.  The Architectural Review Board (ARB) addresses the aesthetic impacts of development on those roads by applying the County’s various design standards for development within the Entrance Corridor.  Because this site is adjacent to the U.S Route 29 Entrance Corridor, the ARB has reviewed the site layout and building design of this proposal for conformity with the County’s adopted design guidelines, and recommends approval of the special use permit with conditions (Attachment D).

 

STAFF COMMENT:

 

Staff will address each provision of Section 31.2.4.1 of the Zoning Ordinance, as they relate to the proposed bank drive-through:

The Board of Supervisors hereby reserves unto itself the right to issue all special use permits permitted hereunder.  Special use permits for uses as provided in this ordinance may be issued upon a finding by the Board of Supervisors that such use will not be of substantial detriment to adjacent property,

 

This site shares its borders with another fast food restaurant with a drive-through window, the Forest Lakes townhomes and a commercially zoned vacant residue parcel left over from a subdivision.  The parcel under review was rezoned with a proffer requiring a 50-foot landscaped buffer at the eastern property line that is shared with residentially zoned property.  This buffer exceeds the standard size required by the Zoning Ordinance (20 feet in width), and regardless of the type of use that is established upon the subject parcel it must incorporated into the landscape plan prior to final site plan approval.   Based on the increased buffer from residentially property and the character of adjacent commercially zoned property it is staff’s opinion that the proposed use would not be of substantial detriment to the adjacent properties.

 

that the character of the district will not be changed thereby,

 

The proposed fast food restaurant represents a by-right use in the C-1 zoning district, and there are various types of existing and proposed restaurants within the developments located near this site.  This includes at least two that have drive-thorough windows.  The Architectural Review Board has reviewed the preliminary site plan along with conceptual architectural drawings of the proposed structures for consistency with the County’s design guidelines for entrance corridors.  The ARB recommends approval with specific conditions that should be applied to the special use permits for each of the fast food restaurants.  Therefore, it is staff’s opinion that approval of drive-through windows related to uses that are allowed by right would not result in changing the character of the district.

 

When considering proposals for drive-through windows, the concern for possible impacts upon adjacent properties is largely focused upon ensuring that the stacking and loading movements of vehicles entering the drive-through lanes do not obstruct the free passage of vehicles traveling to adjacent parcels.  Because both of the fast food drive-through windows have adequate area for vehicle stacking, this has not been a significant concern for these requests.  However, staff notes that there is an existing proffer that limits the traffic to this property.  The proffer states that the maximum allowable vehicular traffic is 430 vehicle trips per day per acre (vtd/ac).  This proposed site plan encompasses 2.003 acres.  Thus, the maximum allowable daily vehicular traffic to this site plan is 861 average daily vehicle trips (ADT). 

 

The need arises to determine the amount of traffic generated by the proposed use.  There are two methods commonly accepted as sound engineering practice to determine the trip generations or the amount of traffic to a specific site.  The first method is the use of an independent traffic study for a specific area.  The other is the usage of the Institute of Transportation Engineers (ITE), Trip Generation manual. 

           

An independent traffic study has not been performed by the applicant.  Therefore, to analyze the traffic generation to the proposed Dairy Queen and Subway, the engineering review is using the (ITE), Trip Generation, 7th Edition, and Volume 3 of 3.  The particular section used in this analysis is Section 934, “Fast Food Restaurant with Drive-Through Window”.  This traffic analysis is based on the number of proposed seats in the restaurant on a weekday.

 

Staff Traffic Estimation:

The applicant has stated that the proposed Subway will have 40 seats and the Dairy Queen will have 80 seats.  Therefore, the two restaurants will have a combined 120 seats.  The (ITE), Trip Generation, Section 934, provides that the average weekday trip generation per seat is 19.52 vehicle trips. Therefore, multiplying the 120 seats by 19.52 shows that 2342 ADT will be generated each day for this proposed site plan. 

           

In accordance, with the previously accepted Traffic Generation Summary for Forest Lakes Commercial Area, the engineering review is allowing a 36% reduction in the proposed trip generations to the Subway/Dairy Queen site plan.  This 36% reduction accounts for 12% internal and 24% pass-by trip considerations.  Therefore, based on the (ITE), Trip Generation, Section 934 analysis, the trip generation to the proposed Subway/Dairy Queen site plan is (2342 * .64) = 1499 ADT.  This includes 500 ADT for Subway and 999 ADT for Dairy Queen.  Based on this analysis, the applicant will be over the proffered allowable vehicle trips by 638 ADT.

 

Applicant’s Traffic Estimate:

The applicant feels that the ITE numbers, which specifically list the more popular McDonald’s brand name, are inflated for Subway and Dairy Queen, and has provided an alternative estimation of trip generation for staff’s consideration (Attachment E).  The trip generation report is a hybrid report using information from the (ITE), Trip Generation, Section 932, (High-Turnover Sit Down Restaurant, No Drive Through) and information correlating the gross sales receipts for Dairy Queen stores within the State of Virginia to trips generated to the site. 

           

In this report, the Subway was considered a sit down restaurant without a drive through window.   The (ITE), Trip Generation, Section 932, provides that the average weekday trip generation per seat is 4.83 vehicle trips (as opposed to 19.52), resulting in 193 ADT.  After the 36% reduction for pass-by and internal trips, the ADT is 124.

 

For the Dairy Queen, it was assumed that one sales receipt equals one vehicle trip.  The average number of receipts from the 18 largest Virginia stores was 33,239 in July, the busiest month.  Assuming this number of receipts and trips every month results in 1093 trips.  After the 36% reduction for pass-by and internal trips, the ADT is 699.  Based on the applicant engineer’s analysis, the applicant will be under the proffered allowable vehicle trips by 38 ADT.

 

Summary Comparison Table: 

           

Proposed ADT

Subway

Dairy Queen

Total Proposed

Allowable ADT

Difference

Staff ADT

500

999

1499

861

+638

Applicant ADT

124

699

823

861

-38

 

The Department of Community Development’s engineering review recommends the usage of sound engineering practice by using the (ITE), Trip Generation for the traffic estimation.  Should the Planning Commission choose to use the staff’s traffic estimate, then the engineering review recommends approval of the special use permit for the drive through windows with a condition that would require the applicant to obtain the right to use 638 ADT from properties that are subject to ZMA 91-010.  This option would require an agreement between the applicant and the owner(s) to spread the maximum number of trips per acre allowed throughout the original 6.75 acres based on each future use (to be proposed) on the undeveloped portions of the parent parcel. This would be consistent with a similar agreement that was implemented within the adjacent Forest Lakes development, which is subject to a similar proffer that limits the amount of traffic that can be generated.

 

Despite the existence of the proffer limiting traffic generation on this site, staff does not believe that the proposed drive-through for the fast food restaurant would impose any substantial detriment upon adjacent properties.  With consideration for the planned improvements to Route 29 North and the fact that this site has access to a parallel road, staff notes that the traffic limitation may be seen as outdated, as neither of these items had been planned at the time when this parcel was rezoned.   However, there must be some means of addressing the existence of that proffer.

 

and that such use will be in harmony with the purpose and intent of this ordinance,

 

Staff has reviewed this request for compliance with the purpose and intent of the Zoning Ordinance, as set forth in Section 1.4, and identified no conflict that would arise as a result of its approval.

 

with the uses permitted by right in the district,

 

Fast food restaurants are allowed by right in the Commercial (C-1) zoning district.  These are two (2) requests to allow drive-through windows that are consistent with the existing fast food restaurants within this district and other similarly zoned districts throughout the County.  Therefore, it is staff’s opinion that the proposed drive-through would also be in harmony with by-right uses located within the district.

 

with additional regulations provided in Section 5.0 of this ordinance,

 

There are no additional regulations in Section 5.0 that specifically address restaurants or other uses that have drive-through windows as an accessory use to their standard services.

 

and with the public health, safety and general welfare.

 

Section 4.12.17.c(2) of the Zoning Ordinance provides standards for internal circulation related to one-way access aisles.  These regulations require a minimum travelway width of up to sixteen (16) feet when deemed necessary by the county engineer in order to allow for bypass traffic.  In this case the applicant is providing the 16-foot width throughout the full extent of both drive-through lanes.  This would allow bypassing traffic to leave the lane from any point in line.  Furthermore, the site plan proposes the installation of required one-way signage and pavement markings to direct traffic in a safe and orderly pattern.

 

The special use permit application plan was reviewed by Current Development engineering staff, in conjunction with a preliminary site plan, to analyze the proposed stacking at both drive-through lanes and the proposed site circulation.  The standard review was also performed for the preliminary site plan application.  The engineering review resulted in no outstanding concerns for these items.  Additionally, considering the planned improvements to State Route 29 for Hollymead Town Center, the existing road infrastructure surrounding this site is more than adequate to accommodate the traffic demands of the proposed Subway and Dairy Queen containing the drive through windows. Therefore, it is staff’s opinion that this site could be developed, as planned, in harmony with the regulations that are intended to promote the public’s health, safety and general welfare.

 

SUMMARY:

 

Staff has identified the following factors, which are favorable to this request:

 

1.         There should be no expected conflict between vehicles stacked in either of the drive-through lanes and off-site traffic passing the entrances to this site;

2.                   Both of the drive-through lanes would offer the opportunity for customers that do not need to access the windows to bypass the stacked traffic awaiting service.

3.                   It is the Current Development Division engineering review staff’s opinion that the roads serving this site are adequate to support both of the uses that are being proposed.

 

  

The following factors are relevant to this consideration:

 

1.                   Based on the ITE Trip generation standards, this site would exceed the proffered limitations that have been paced upon traffic generation.

2.                   The applicant feels that the ITE numbers that staff relies upon are inflated, and has provided an alternative estimation of trip generation.

3.                   The proffer limiting the traffic for uses on the subject parcel was created prior to the planning of the road connecting this site with the Forest Lakes development and the widening of U.S. Route 29 in this area.

4.                   There are existing fast food restaurants and three (3) banks located within close proximity to this site.

5.                   The provision of drive-through services can be considered a standard function of fast food restaurants, which are by-right uses in the C-1 zoning district.

 

RECOMMENDED ACTION:

 

Staff has reviewed these proposals for compliance with Section 31.2.4.1 of the Zoning Ordinance consistency with the Comprehensive Plan and, and recommends approval of both the special use permits with conditions.  Staff notes that although the site plan and design of these uses have been reviewed as one site plan, the Board must take two (2) separate actions to approve or deny each special use permit request.

 

SP 04-054 Subway at Forest Lakes Drive-Through

 

Staff finds that this request generally complies with the provisions of the Zoning Ordinance and the Comprehensive Plan, and recommends approval of SP 04-54 with the following conditions:

 

1.                   The site shall be constructed in general accordance with the preliminary site plan entitled “Subway/Dairy Queen at Forest Lakes”, last revised October 22, 2004 and November 11, 2004.  

2.                   Prior to final site plan approval, the applicant shall obtain the right to use 638 average daily vehicle trips (ADT) from the other properties that are subject to ZMA 91-010.

3.                   The applicant shall make arrangements for dedication of the fifty (50) foot section of right-of-way providing interconnections from roads within the Forest Lake development to public use and acceptance into the state roads system, as shown on the plan.

4.                   The applicant shall provide hedge planting in the vicinity of the drive-through window, with the species to be determined subject to the Architectural Review Board approval of the final site plan.  All such plantings shall be allowed to grow up to minimum mature heights of at least 5 feet.

 

(Should the Board find the basis for the applicant’s alternative trip generation estimates to be acceptable, condition number 2 can be eliminated from this action).

 

 

SP 04-058 Dairy Queen at Forest Lakes Drive-Through

 

Staff finds that this request generally complies with the provisions of the Zoning Ordinance and the Comprehensive Plan, and recommends approval of SP 04-58 with the following conditions:

 

1.                   The site shall be constructed in general accordance with the preliminary site plan entitled “Subway/Dairy Queen at Forest Lakes”, last revised October 22, 2004 and November 11, 2004.

2.                   Prior to final site plan approval, the applicant shall obtain the right to use 638 average daily vehicle trips (ADT) from the other properties that are subject to ZMA 91-010.

3.                   The applicant shall make arrangements for dedication of the fifty (50) foot section of right-of-way providing interconnections from roads within the Forest Lake development to public use and acceptance into the state roads system, as shown on the plan.

4.                   The applicant shall provide hedge planting in the vicinity of the drive-through window, with the species to be determined subject to the Architectural Review Board approval of the final site plan.  All such plantings shall be allowed to grow up to minimum mature heights of at least 5 feet.

 

(Should the Board find the basis for the applicant’s alternative trip generation estimates to be acceptable, condition number 2 can be eliminated from this action).

 

 

ATTACHMENTS:

 

A -        Special use permit application and site plan (revised 10/22/04 and 11/11/04)

B -        Tax Map/Vicinity Map

C -        Approval letter for ZMA 91-010

D -        Architectural Review Board Comments, dated December 22, 2002

E -        Applicant’s alternative trip generation estimates

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