Albemarle County Planning Commission

February 22, 2005

 

The Albemarle County Planning Commission held a meeting and a public hearing on Tuesday, February 22, 2005 at 6:00 p.m., at the County Office Building, Room 241, Second Floor, 401 McIntire Road, Charlottesville, Virginia. Members attending were William Rieley, Rodney Thomas, Marcia Joseph, Vice-Chair, Jo Higgins, Pete Craddock, Calvin Morris and Bill Edgerton, Chairman.  Absent was David J. Neuman, FAIA, Architect for University of Virginia. 

 

Other officials present were Wayne Cilimberg, Director of Planning & Community Development; Stephen Waller, Senior Planner; Bill Fritz, Chief of Current Development; Claudette Grant, Senior Planner and Greg Kamptner, Assistant County Attorney.

 

Call to Order and Establish Quorum:

 

Mr. Edgerton called the regular meeting to order at 6:00 p.m. and established a quorum.

 

                  Public Hearing Items:

 

ZMA 2004-016 Glenwood Station:  Request to rezone 9.31 acres from Planned Residential Development with Special Use Permit - PRD w/SUP for Office Use zoning district, to Neighborhood Model District - NMD to allow a combination of residential and commercial uses. This development includes 50 residential condominium units, 28 townhouses and a total of 78,000 square feet of commercial/office space, which consists of 3 buildings. The property, described as Tax Map 61, Parcel(s) 129F is located in the Rio Magisterial District on the south side of East Rio Road, directly across from Rio East Court and between Fashion Square Mall and Squire Hill Apartments, Route 631, approximately 1,600 feet from the intersection of Route 29 and Rio Road East. The Comprehensive Plan designates this property as Urban Density, recommended for 6.01-34 dwelling units per acre in Neighborhood Two. (Claudette Grant)

AND

SP 2004-061 Glenwood Station Drive-through:  Request for special use permit to allow development of a drive-thru window as part of a financial institution to include a total of three lanes, with one being dedicated to an ATM in accordance with Section 20A.6 b.1 of the Zoning Ordinance which allows for drive-through windows serving or associated with permitted uses in a NMD, Neighborhood Model District. (Claudette Grant)

 

Ms. Grant summarized the staff report.  Glenwood Station is a mixed use development that is currently under construction.  The office portion of the development was approved by a previous special use permit and rezoning to allow a Planned Residential Development on April 7, 2004.  The applicant would now like to have a drive in bank, which cannot be accommodated with the PRD zoning. A Neighborhood Model District is now being requested with a special use permit for the drive through.  The property contains 9.31 acres and is located on the south side of East Rio Road. The Comprehensive Plan designates this property as Urban Density recommended for 6.01 to 34 dwelling units per acre in Neighborhood 2.  The applicant has incorporated many of the Neighborhood Model concepts into the design of Glenwood Station including a mix of use types. Some of the differences between the proposed plan and the previous plan are that the approved plan for Glenwood Station is made up of three commercial buildings with a total of 64,000 gross square feet of office space, two buildings of three stories and a third building of two stories in height. The proposed plan maintains the three commercial buildings with an increase of 14,000 square feet, which would total 78,000 gross square feet of commercial.  The proposed plan would make all three buildings three stories. The current approved plan also includes five condominium buildings including 38 units and 28 townhouses.  The proposed plan would increase the number of condominium units at 12 units to 50 units, which is accomplished by introducing 2 units in a lower level of one building and combining two 9 unit buildings into one larger building with 28 units. There would be structured parking below building G.  The number of townhouses would remain the same as originally planned.  The density of the proposed project is consistent with the Urban Density classification.  The addition of commercial use in this area provides for a mixed use area of the County.  Many services for residents are within walking distance of the proposed development. This generally meets the Neighborhood Model principles.

 

In summary, regarding the rezoning staff has identified the following favorable factors: 

1.       The rezoning is in keeping with the Comprehensive Plan. 

2.       The proposed use provides for a “mixed-use” community in this part of Neighborhood Two.

3.       Residential uses are supported by a pedestrian network, public services (schools, fire, and rescue services, transit) in close proximity to shopping and employment.

 

Staff has identified no factors which are unfavorable to this request.

 

Staff recommends approval of the rezoning.  It conforms to the Comprehensive Plan and the Zoning Ordinance.  The particular parameters of this development are included in the Code of Development.  Proffers were not needed.

 

In reference to the special use permit for a financial institution drive-through, the one issue that did come up is that the engineer stated that it should be approved with one condition that the outside lane be dedicated to by-pass traffic only.  The proposed financial institution is located at the north eastern end of the subject parcel between building C-2 and C-3.  Staff does not anticipate or fore see any conflicts with the proposed location of the drive-through. 

 

In summary, staff has identified the following factors, which are favorable to this special use permit request:

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

2.       The drive-through lane/bypass lane would offer the opportunity for customers that do not need to access the windows to bypass the stacked traffic awaiting service.

 

With the exception of the requested condition for a by-pass lane, staff has not identified any other factors which are unfavorable to this request.  Staff finds this request generally complies with the provisions of the Zoning Ordinance and the Comprehensive Plan, and recommends approval of SP-04-61 with the following conditions:

1.       The outside lane is dedicated to bypass traffic only.

2.       The drive-through window as part of a financial institution shall be limited to three (3) lanes that follow through to the teller windows and the ATM machine.

 

Mr. Edgerton asked if there were any questions for staff.

 

Ms. Higgins asked if there were previous conditions or proffers that went with the previous zoning.

 

Ms. Grant stated that there were conditions, but no proffers with the previous zoning.

 

Ms. Higgins asked if those conditions would go away now with this zoning change or should those be perpetuated with the Neighborhood Model zoning.  She pointed out that staff mentioned that there are no proffers, but that those things are addressed in the Code of Development.  She asked if the plan was a proffered plan and the Code of Development a proffered document, which means that it becomes part of this and a part of the plan that they are locked into. 

 

Mr. Kamptner stated that in the Neighborhood Model zoning the applicant has to submit the Code of Development, which is approved and provides the zoning regulations of the applicable Neighborhood Model District.  He pointed out that the Neighborhood Model District requires that the plan be a part of the rezoning.  He stated that it did not have to be proffered.

 

Mr. Cilimberg stated that in the Planned Development District that the application plans are a part of the zoning and do not have to be proffered.  That is one nice thing about the Neighborhood Model District.  Also it is one of the reasons that staff pushes it as a favorable district because it incorporates a lot of different considerations that many times you have to get proffers for.  It also does it in a comprehensive way.

 

Mr. Higgins asked what happens with the conditions that were associated with the previous zoning that had a special use permit.

 

Ms. Grant stated that the previous conditions have all been met. Those conditions included items such as the final elevations needed to be approved by the Director of Planning.  She pointed out that condition had already been completed.  Another condition was that the site shall be developed in general accord with the application plan entitled, “Glenwood Station/Place dated December 22, 2003” with minor changes allowed to accommodate the required parking when approved by the zoning administrator.  It also included a condition about the additional entrance to Fashion Square Mall, which is included in this plan.  It also included a condition about setbacks, which is included in the Code of Development. 

 

Mr. Rieley asked if that was in the previous conditions, and Ms. Grant stated that it was.

 

Mr. Rieley stated that he had some of the same concerns.  He noted that it seems to be sort of a blurry line between what was in the old application and what was in the current application.  He asked if requiring the garage doors to face the streets was a part of the previous approval that the Planning Commission made.

 

Ms. Grant stated that it was part of the previous approval for the applicant.

 

Ms. Joseph asked if the layout was the same.  She asked if all the buildings were the same as they were in the originally approved plan.

 

Ms. Grant pointed out that she had mentioned that the applicant had combined two of the condominium buildings into one.  Also, the applicant added some units in the basement of one of the buildings.

 

Mr. Rieley stated that it was very helpful to be able to review the previous conditions of approval on a property so that they could recognize what has changed in the new proposal.

 

Ms. Higgins stated that it sounds as if nothing has been lost if those items have been concluded and the Code of Development will become part of the rezoning.  She stated that was one benefit of the Neighborhood Model District.

 

Ms. Joseph stated that the Code of Development references blocks.  She asked if there was something that showed where these blocks are located.

 

Ms. Grant stated that the site plan that was submitted did reference the blocks, but that the layer was turned off for the copies that they received.  Therefore, she posted the site plan on the board for the Commission’s review, which showed those referenced blocks.

 

There being no further questions for staff, Mr. Edgerton opened the public hearing and invited the applicant to address the Commission.

 

Mark Keller, with Terra Partners, stated that they have been working on Glenwood Stations for nearly two years.  He passed out an attachment that showed what the site plan looked like for the front area that was just approved yesterday.  The sketch showed what that front area would like with and without a drive-through window. (SEE ATTACHMENT)  He pointed out that the construction had already started at Glenwood Stations.  The construction is going along very well.  The sales and leasing are moving along at a very brisk pace.  Therefore, they feel that the project is being well accepted in the market place.  He stated that Ms. Grant has done a good job of describing what this Neighborhood Model rezoning and the special use permit are requesting.  He pointed out several areas that have changed from the first application plan for the PRD rezoning. He stated that the three buildings were the same, but some parking and retaining walls had been added.  The additional parking in one area was needed to support the additional third floor on one of the buildings.  The new plan showed the actual defined architecture of the buildings as opposed to the old plan only showing rectangles and blocks for the buildings.  With the exception of one building, the other buildings had been totally designed. He pointed out that there were several renderings for the Commission to review.  He pointed out that the pool complex was missing from one of the renderings.  He explained the changes that they had made to the plans.  Previously they had two rectangular buildings in separate areas each with nine units.  What they have done is taken that rectangle and added it to this rectangle, created some eccentric area and rotated the whole thing 90 degrees, which enabled them to move the pool facility and fitness area up more to the common area and the streetscape.  They feel that this is an improvement over the previous plan as well. The parking deck has 26 parking spaces. The parking was changed in one area to be in a curvilinear fashion, which enabled them to put in a pocket park where a parking lot used to be. He stated that they are adding 12 units.  The current request was for 8,000 square feet of commercial space.  The new proposal is asking for an increase of 9,534 square feet.  It is about 5,000 square feet less than what the Neighborhood Model Code of Development states.  He stated that they felt that any additional square footage would make it hard to find adequate parking for.  Buildings 2 and 3 are going to basically be book end buildings, with the exception of the drive-through.  In other words, they will design one building and build it twice with one over the other.  Regarding the land uses that they have listed in the rezoning, he pointed out that previously they had a rezoning to R-15 with a special use permit to allow office space.  Now with the Neighborhood Model and their discussions with potential tenants for the site and commercial buildings since one has started to go up they have been asked to add a few more flavors to the selection up there.  Those are preliminary very small scale complimentary convenience oriented uses that Ms. Grant basically touched on.  As they consider tenants for the space they will have to be careful in concerning the parking regulations for each use. Currently they are working with Jan Sprinkle in Zoning who has an extensive letter as well as a parking matrix dated January 28.  He pointed out that Ms. Sprinkle was still reviewing that information. But, they want to make sure that the parking that they are reflecting on the revised site plan is realistic.  They don’t want to come before the Commission to ask for uses that they really can not meet the parking regulations for in the end when it comes to site planning. But, they feel that Ms. Sprinkle has almost got her hands around that issue.  They hope to add a few more of these complimentary uses because they think it is going to add a lot to the cross section of the neighborhood. Therefore, they would have office and some sort of convenience commercial uses and residential uses in the same area.  On the handout, that site plan refers to phase 2 which includes the last two buildings.  He stated that they set aside some area that appears as green space right where the drive-through in this area is going to occur.  Therefore, the whole plan for this side of the site can occur without the drive-through, but they have had banks and others say that they might be interested in coming to Glenwood Station.  The bank, in particular, seems to be one that if they can’t get a drive-through that they are reluctant to come into any such area.  Therefore, they were trying to package a request for a drive-through and to let the Commission know that it works.  He pointed out that the circulation for this drive-through is somewhat unique in that it is not shared circulation for parking spaces where people are going in, but it was truly dedicated one way from here to here only for the drive-through window.  Therefore, they feel that it is not intrusive at all to the otherwise normal function of the site.

 

Mr. Thomas asked if the drive-through request was only for banks.

 

Mr. Keller stated that the current request was only for banks.

 

Mr. Edgerton asked if he agreed with staff’s suggestion that the outside lane be dedicated to by-pass traffic only.

 

Mr. Keller stated that initially they had some reluctance about that issue because they had solely dedicated an area there.  But, if someone changed their mind all they had to do was to wait a little while and then they could get out.  That person would not be holding everybody else up.  He stated that there would be a lane for the window teller, the second lane would be the ATM and then the other would be a drive-through lane.

 

Ms. Higgins stated that she thought that their parking could be calculated by the gross square footage. But, Mr. Keller had talked about using a parking matrix and doing parking calculations for each use.  She asked how that stood at this time.

 

Mr. Keller stated that it had not been suggested that they could apply a shopping center or a gross per square foot application for the parking on this project.  For clarity sake, they were working with Jan Sprinkle on the parking since they now know the finite shape of the building.  In regard to the first building, they have the up fit design for each interior suite and are now able to use the square footage of the whole building for parking calculations rather than using the 80 percent net to gross calculation. He pointed out that the parking requirement is less for a bank with a drive-through than it is for the same square footage of office. He stated that they would have to work with Jan Sprinkle on the parking calculations for any type of use that went in.

 

Ms. Joseph asked if they have discussed the basketball parking area with Ms. Sprinkle and what does she think about that mixed use in the parking area.

 

Mr. Keller stated that he had not discussed that with Ms. Sprinkle.  He pointed out that he had discussed that with Ms. Doherty at the beginning of the project.  The basketball court in the paved area of the parking lot has been there forever and was not a new thing.  In fact, they had that basketball area in another location on the site.  Actually, it was Ms. Doherty who had suggested that some of the people who worked in the office might want to spend lunch hours playing basketball and it seemed a little exclusive for the to be located so far away.  Ms. Doherty had suggested that they spread out their recreation throughout the site.  He pointed out that they were fine with it and it did not seem to be that big of an issue.

 

Ms. Joseph asked if they had met their recreational requirements on the site.  She pointed out that it just seemed to be very odd for the basketball court to be located in the parking lot due to the safety aspects and the liability.  She stated that it did not make a whole lot of sense to have people playing basketball in the parking lot with cars being driven through the area.

 

Mr. Keller stated that he would leave that up to the Commission.  He pointed out that they were already meeting their recreational requirement.  He pointed out that issue had not been revisited with the Neighborhood Model request.  He stated that they were only adding 12 units to the mix.  The applicant would probably be satisfied with or without the basketball court. 

 

Ms. Joseph stated that the development was not all residential and had commercial activities up front.

 

Mr. Rieley asked whose liability it would be.  He asked if the County would have any liability.

 

Mr. Kamptner stated that the County would have no liability.

 

Mr. Craddock asked if there was any discussion on the provision of affordable housing with the additional units.

 

Mr. Keller stated that they did not make any comment on that.

 

Ms. Higgins asked if there would be any condominiums or townhouses that would be in the affordable range.

 

George Ray stated that there would be a few, but that they are trying to meet their responsibility for affordable housing with the Airport project.  He stated that the ability to provide affordable housing is a function of the land cost and a function of the density.  With only 78 units with the land cost, they have found it to be very difficult to provide for affordable housing. There will be a few that meet the requirement of under $175,000.  Those would include the two units on the terrace level on that 8/10 unit building.  

 

Mr. Edgerton asked if there were any other questions for the applicant. There being none, he invited comment from other members of the public on these applications.

 

Jeff Werner, representative for Piedmont Environmental Council, stated that he wanted to offer enthusiastic support for this since they trust the Neighborhood Model and want to see it being used.  He stated that it was the growth area, which was exactly what the PEC has supported for a long time.  The idea of the drive-through is not troubling.  One of the ideas of infill development is to reduce the vehicle miles traveled and it was not just getting people out of their cars.  He felt that this project would contribute overall to what they were shooting for.  He stated that they want to support any developer who is coming in with a creative idea and they wanted to endorse this one.  He stated that this was a good step forward and he encouraged the Planning Commission to vote yes.

 

Mr. Edgerton asked if there was any other member of the public that would like to address the Commission.  There being none, he closed the public hearing to bring the matter back before the Commission.

 

Mr. Rieley moved for approval of ZMA-2004-016, Glenwood Station.

 

Mr. Thomas seconded the motion.

 

Ms. Joseph stated that she was concerned about the affordable housing aspect of this because they were not asking for it as they have in past rezonings.  It is nice that the applicant is pursuing some other affordable housing, but there is no guarantee that is going to happen.  She pointed out that it had not even been a formal request.  Therefore, she felt uncomfortable for them to ask for that.

 

Mr. Rieley felt that Mr. Joseph had a good point.  He stated that since this is a Neighborhood Model rezoning, it has a mix of housing types, and that affordable housing is one of the pillows of the Neighborhood Model that he felt that it was doubly important.  He acknowledged that it is a relatively small project.

 

Ms. Higgins stated that affordable housing was not mentioned or related to in the staff report. But, if you look at what surrounds this property that is in close proximity to the Mall, there is a significant pocket of affordable housing.  Therefore, she did not dwell on the issue because this property was a piece in a bigger section.  She felt that you cannot put everything into every item.  When the proposal was approved last time she felt that was sort of the perspective that they had.  She stated that every goal of the Neighborhood Model in a small tight area could not be met.  But, she felt that they could if they looked at it in context.

 

The motion carried by a vote of (7:0)

 

Mr. Rieley moved for approval of SP-2004-061, Glenwood Station Drive-through subject to the conditions recommended in the staff report.

 

1.       The outside lane is dedicated to bypass traffic only.

2.       The drive-through window as part of a financial institution shall be limited to three (3) lanes that follow through to the teller windows and the ATM machine.

 

Mr. Morris seconded the motion.

 

The motion carried by a vote of (7:0)

 

Mr. Edgerton stated that SP-2004-061 and ZMA-2004-016 for Glenwood Station were unanimously approved and would be heard by the Board of Supervisors on March 16, 2005.

 

With no further items, the meeting adjourned at 8:30 p.m. to 6:00 p.m. on February 25 at L’etoile Restaurant.

 

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