Albemarle County Planning Commission

March 29, 2005 Minutes

ZMA-2004-9 Cottages at Jefferson Heights


The Albemarle County Planning Commission held a meeting and a public hearing on Tuesday, March 29, 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 and Calvin Morris. Mary Hughes was present for David J. Neuman, FAIA, Architect for University of Virginia. Absent was Bill Edgerton, Chairman.


Other officials present were Wayne Cilimberg, Director of Planning & Community Development; Claudette Grant, Senior Planner; Jan Sprinkle, Chief of Zoning Administrator; Amelia McCulley, Division Director of Zoning and Current Development; Glenn Brooks, Senior Engineer; Sean Dougherty, Senior Planner; and Greg Kamptner, Assistant County Attorney.


Call to Order and Establish Quorum:


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


ZMA 2004-009 Cottages at Jefferson Heights (Sign #88):  Request to rezone .759 acres from R-1 (Residential) to PRD (Planned Residential Development) to allow 4 dwelling units (4 single-family attached).  The property, described as Tax Map 78, Parcel 55A3 is located in the Rivanna Magisterial District on Pantops Mountain Road within the Jefferson Heights Development at the northeast corner of Pantops Mountain Road and Route 250 East. The Comprehensive Plan designates this property as Urban Density, recommended for 6-34 dwelling units per acre, in Neighborhood Three.  (Sean Dougherty)


Mr. Dougherty summarized the staff report. Weatherhill Homes has requested a rezoning of a property from R1 to PRD to add 0.757 acres to the previously approved Pantops Place (now called The Cottages at Jefferson Heights) PRD.  The parcel is undeveloped and located adjacent to Route 250 East, across from the Martha Jefferson campus. With this rezoning, the applicant is requesting approval of a 4-unit condominium building with a density of 5.28 units per acre.  That includes all of the other units at The Cottages at Jefferson Heights. The proposed application plan (Attachment B) would be added to the previously approved application plan dated October 18, 1999. The applicant’s proposed proffers are also provided for review (Attachment C).  The approved application plan (October 18, 1999) and proffers for the existing development are also attached for information (Attachments D and E, respectfully). Currently the rest of the development is already approved for development and being developed. 


The parcel is located to the southeast of Westminster Canterbury and is directly adjacent to Phase 1 and Phase 2 of the Cottages at Jefferson Heights. To the south is Route 250 east and to the West is the Glenorchy subdivision.


Regarding the zoning history, the parcel was zoned from RA to R1, Residential in 1980 with the County’s adoption of the new zoning ordinance and comprehensive map revisions.  Under this section of the staff report staff listed a couple of other items.  The first one should have said that the adjacent parcel, Pantops Place, is referring to the adjacent parcel and not this parcel. 


This proposal is essentially just an extension of what is there.  Each of the condominium units has a garage, which are essentially like what is existing.  He asked to make one correction to the staff report regarding his statement regarding the 5.28 acres for the overall density.  The correction is that when you factor in the other portions of the Cottages at Jefferson Heights that the overall acreage is 10.8 dwelling units per acre.  To get 10.8 dwelling units per acre on this parcel there would need to be a multi-family building.  Essentially they were looking at the relative density.  Under by right uses in the R-1 district the applicant could possibly construct one house.


He pointed out that he had met with Kat Imhoff, the Director of Monticello, and she realizes that this is an extension of what has already been approved. Therefore, she was happy with what they were doing here. Everything else as far as the Comprehensive Plan and the Neighborhood Model is pretty much in order.  If there are any specific questions, he would be happy to answer them.


The next item is the pedestrian orientation. This was a very simple project and one of the things that the applicant has done was shift the sidewalk to the other two buildings on the other side of the street.  Initially the sidewalk had come down Pantops Mountain Road on the other side of the street. Other than that the character of the development has already been established and sort of embedded. There is not a whole lot in this instance where a lot of these principles are defined like in a larger rezoning. 


As far as parks and open space, there is an amenity area to the rear that is going to be incorporated into the proffers. That area will be accessible to the residents of this property. It is a sufficient amenity.  Regarding the mixture of housing, phases 1 and 2 contains apartments and cottage units. In general, for senior housing it is an appropriate mix and is just an extension of what is already there. 


Essentially, the County’s policy for encouraging development in higher density within the development area provides for the public need and justification for this request.  The aging demographic of the County is also driving the demand for development such as Pantops Place. 


There have been no impacts identified regarding the anticipated impact on natural, cultural and historic resources.  The applicant is proffering to preserve a hedgerow that basically separates this development from the Glenorchy development.  This came through as a proffer for phases 1 and 2 and will continue as a proffer with this development. The applicant has his preservation checklist in place and staff is confident that there will be no problem preserving the hedgerow with the plan that they have.


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


1.       The proposal is for a use which is supported by the Land Use Plan at this location.

2.       The proposal provides for a higher density than existing zoning.

3.       The overall residential density including Phase 3 is 10.8 units per acre. This is in keeping with the Comprehensive Plan’s Urban Density designation for this area which calls for 6-20.1 dwelling units per acre.

4.       Residential uses are supported by a pedestrian network and close proximity to shopping and employment.

5.       The applicant has proffered to protect a mature hedgerow and fieldstone wall along the east side of parcel, preserving the historic character of this feature and providing screening from the Entrance Corridor and Glenorchy.

6.       Elevations are proffered to depict the appearance of the structure.

7.       The ARB has granted preliminary approval.


The applicant has installed a bio-filter feature. This will help address some of the storm water on site.  The applicant has also been very careful with their plan for the storm water outfalls along Route 250.  In other words, the applicant has done a very good job.


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


It should be noted that, at the time this report was written, the County Attorney had not had the opportunity to review the proffers.  However, staff is comfortable with the substance of the proffers as proposed by the applicant.  The final language for the proffers can be worked out between the Planning Commission and Board of Supervisors meeting.


Staff believes that a residential use and the proposed density is appropriate for the property and recommends approval, with proffers as proposed by the applicant (subject to final approval of proffer language and form by the County prior to Board action).


Mr. Kamptner stated that the proffers had been discussed at a meeting on Thursday and Friday.  The primary change will be made to proffer 3, which would be replaced by actually incorporating the existing proffers into this set of proffers as they apply to this land.  He pointed out that all of the proffers would be incorporated with any amendment.  He noted that attachment E on page 2 was an amendment to proffer 4B.  All of that will be updated and pulled into the set of proffers that will be accepted as part of the rezoning instead of just cross referencing them.


Ms. Higgins stated that the Commission would take action on them as if they were incorporated.  


Mr. Cilimberg stated that they would be taking action with the understanding that would be done for the Board of Supervisors meeting.


Ms. Joseph opened the public hearing and asked the applicant to come forward and address the Commission.


Hunter McCardle, representative for Weatherhill Homes, stated that he did not have anything else to add, but would be happy to answer any questions.


Ms. Joseph asked if there was any other member of the public present to speak on this issue.  There being no one, she closed the public hearing to bring the matter back before the Commission for discussion and a possible action.


Mr. Craddock stated that on proffer 2 it says that the maximum number of independent living cottages is 30 and with the proposed and present it is 27. 


Mr. Kamptner stated that proffer 2 will be clarified because when staff looked at it last week it did not make sense.  Therefore, proffer 2 will be clarified and proffer 4 will be deleted.


Mr. Thomas made a motion to recommend approval of ZMA-04-09, Cottages at Jefferson Heights, subject to final approval of proffer language and form by the County prior to Board action.


Mr. Morris seconded the motion.


The motion carried by a vote of (6:0).  (Edgerton – Absent)


Ms. Joseph stated that ZMA-2004-009 would be heard by the Board of Supervisors on April 20.



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