STAFF PERSON:                                                                  SEAN DOUGHERTY

PLANNING COMMISSION:                                              MARCH 29, 2005

BOARD OF SUPERVISORS                                               APRIL 20, 2005


ZMA 04-09:  Cottages at Jefferson Heights



Applicant's Proposal: 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. 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).


Petition:  The petition is a request to rezone .757 acres from R1 Residential to PRD to allow for a 4-unit condominium building with a density of 5.28 units per acres. 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 (Attachment A).


Character of the Area: 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.


RECOMMENDATION:  Staff has reviewed the proposal and associated proffers for conformity with the Comprehensive Plan and the Zoning Ordinance and recommends approval.


Planning and Zoning History:


Specifics on the Proposal: Layout of the development is shown in Attachment B.

This rezoning is for Pantops Place, Phase 3. When the Pantops Place rezoning was initially considered, the parcel now being considered was not owned by the applicant. The entire development including all three phases will have a density of 10.8 dwelling units per acre, which is in conformity with the Comprehensive Plan. The applicant has taken the proffers and cottage form illustrated in the approved Pantops Place cottages and projected it onto this remaining parcel. As a result, the remaining area will be developed in a congruous manner that reflects Phase 1 and Phase 2.


Applicant’s Justification for the Request:  The applicant has provided the following narrative in support of his rezoning:


The proposed zoning is consistent with the Comprehensive Plan and serves the public good by strengthening existing urban areas, discouraging suburban sprawl, and promoting walkable neighborhood design.


By-right Use of the Property: If developed under the current R-1 zoning, the property could provide one dwelling.


Comprehensive Plan and The Neighborhood Model:  Requests for rezonings in the Development Areas are assessed for conformity with the Neighborhood Model and the Land Use Plan. 


The Land Use Plan shows this area as Urban Density.


Urban Density Residential areas are intended to have a gross density of between

6.01 to 20 dwellings per acre, with possible densities of up to 34 dwellings per

acre under a planned development approach.


Urban Density Residential areas may be located within the Urban Area and

Communities. This designation may be appropriate within Villages.


Urban Density Residential areas are intended to accommodate all dwelling types

as well as institutional uses such as places of worship, public and private schools,

and early childhood education centers including day care centers and preschools.


Urban Density Residential designations are not intended for development at

densities below 6 dwellings per acre.


Developments within Urban Density Residential areas are expected to occur

within the designated range of 6.01 to 34 dwelling units per acre and, to the

greatest extent practicable, to maximize the developed density with a form in

keeping with the Neighborhood Model.


Development densities within the Urban Density Residential area should

ultimately be based on environmental criteria, road function and condition,

available utilities, adjacent land uses, and site requirements.


It is anticipated that Urban Density Residential areas will accommodate areas of nonresidential land uses on the scale of Neighborhood Service and Office Service.


Maintain statements in the Zoning Ordinance that site development within Urban Density

residential areas be based on standards in both the Comprehensive Plan and Zoning



Be used primarily between residential areas and commercial or industrial areas, or in areas where flexibility of land uses may be necessary or appropriate to blend changing circumstances or areas where redevelopment/reuse is encouraged.


Provide an opportunity to develop mixed-use areas with Urban Density Residential uses and non-residential land uses on a scale of Neighborhood Service and Office Service.


Include neighborhood-scale commercial areas, office buildings, townhouses, and apartment buildings.


Be developed under an overall plan for the designated area to ensure coordination of uses, access and circulation, landscaping, and maintenance of natural/environmentally sensitive areas.


The density of the proposed project is consistent with the Urban Density classification. The addition of residential use in this area supports the Development Areas and efficient use of infrastructure and land. 


The applicant is proffering that the proposed condominiums will share amenities with those already developed for Phase 1 and Phase 2 of Jefferson Heights. The common open space includes 7.69 acres and represents 62% of the overall site.


The Neighborhood Model


The ways in which the proposed project meets the twelve principles for development in accordance with the Neighborhood Model are provided below.


Pedestrian Orientation

Sidewalks extend from Phase 3 to the rest of the phases and Pantops Mountain Road and further Route 250.

Neighborhood Friendly Streets and Paths

The proposed street serving this proposal is neighborhood friendly. The trails and connection to Westminster Canterbury represent neighborhood friendly streets and paths.

Interconnected Streets and Transportation Networks

As this is a rezoning of less than an acre in a larger approved rezoning, the locations of interconnections have already been considered. Connecting to the Glenorchy subdivision is not practical, and would disturb the hedgerow and fieldstone wall proffered to be preserved.

Parks and Open Space

The existing recreational amenity area is available, and adequate to serve this new section.

Neighborhood Centers

The property is located close to the Rivanna Ridge shopping center, the proposed Luxor mixed-use development, and the Martha Jefferson campus.

Buildings and Spaces of Human Scale

The ARB reviewed this request in March, 2005.  The ARB has no objection to the request for the zoning map amendment based on the proposed plan. The ARB staff report is attachment F.

Relegated Parking

The cottages provide garage parking. The proposal includes no parking lots.

Mixture of Uses

The parcel is less than an acre. This principle does not apply.

Mixture of Housing Types and Affordability

Phase 1 and Phase 2 offer attached independent living cottages for seniors and one large building that contains independent living apartments that are affordable. As this site is so small, this principle does not apply


Not applicable.

Site Planning that Respects Terrain

The applicant has work extensively with the ARB to create a solution for the treatment along Route 250 including a short wall. 

Clear Boundaries with the Rural Areas

Not applicable – the property doesn’t border Rural Areas



Relationship between the application and the purpose and intent of the requested zoning district


The PRD is intended to encourage sensitivity toward the natural characteristics of the site and

toward impact on the surrounding area in land development. More specifically, the PRD is intended to promote economical and efficient land use, an improved level of amenities,

appropriate and harmonious physical development and creative design consistent with the best interest of the county and the area in which it is located.


To these ends, the PRD provides for flexibility and variety of development for residential purposes and uses ancillary thereto. Open space may serve such varied uses as recreation, protection of areas sensitive to development, buffering between dissimilar uses and preservation of agricultural activity.


While a PRD approach is recommended for developments of any density, it is recommended but not required that the PRD be employed in areas where the comprehensive plan recommends densities in excess of fifteen (15) dwelling units per acre, in recognition that development at such densities generally requires careful planning with respect to impact. (Amended 8-14-85)


Once complete, the entire Pantops Place will have a density of 10.8 units per acre. This is less than the recommendation for PRD’s, which is 15 units per acre or higher. However, the applicant has used the flexibility in PRD zoning to protect natural features and provide a substantial amount of open space and amenity.




Public need and justification for the change


The County’s policy for encouraging development at higher densities within the Development Areas provides a public need and justification for the request. The aging demographic of the County is also driving the demand for developments such as Pantops Place.


 Anticipated impact on public facilities and services


Public water and sewer are provided to the site.  As the proposal is for four dwelling units intended for residents close to retirement or in retirement, no adverse impact on schools, utilities, or transportation is expected.



Anticipated impact on natural, cultural, and historic resources


Staff has identified no impacts on cultural or historic resources located on the property as a result of this rezoning. The applicant has previously proffered to preserve a mature hedgerow that lines the eastern side of the property and creates a buffer between Pantops Place and the Glenorchy subdivision.  The proposed development will not impact the buffer.


The site slopes gently toward Route 250 East. The Architectural Review Board has assisted the applicant in creating an appropriate solution for stormwater management along Route 250 East.  All other Entrance Corridor concerns have been addressed.




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.


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 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).




A—Location Map

B— Proposed Application Plan

C—Proposed Proffers

D— Approved Application Plan (October 18, 1999)

E— Approved Proffers

E— ARB Staff Report

Go to PC minutes

Return to memorandum