COUNTY OF ALBEMARLE
SP-2005-03 Footnotes Dance Studio (Signs #71 & 72)
Request for a special use permit to allow a private ballet school in accordance with Section 188.8.131.52 of the Zoning Ordinance which allows for schools of special instruction in the CO Commercial Zoning District. This request would amend SP 96-48, which permitted a private dance school at this location. The property, described as Tax Map 61W Parcel 1 B-2, contains .525 acres, and is zoned CO Commercial Office. The proposal is located on the west side of Commonwealth Drive (Route 1315) at the intersection of Commonwealth Drive and Westfield Road (1452) in the Rio Magisterial District. The Comprehensive Plan designates this property as Community Service in Neighborhood One. (See Attachment A.)
Planning Commission Public Hearing -- May 3, 2005
Board of Supervisors Public Hearing – June 1, 2005
ACTION: X INFORMATION:
This request is to amend the conditions of Special Use Permit 96-48 which established the Terry Dean Dance Studio at 2363 Commonwealth Drive. The Special Use Permit was approved in December 1996. A copy of the staff report is included as Attachment B. The approved conditions are in Attachment C.
No significant issues were raised with the initial review for the dance studio at this location. The only conditions were limitations on the hours of operation. The hours of operation were limited to 10 a.m. to 10 p.m., Monday through Friday. The applicant is requesting a slight change in the hours of operation. Requested operating hours are 9:30 a.m. to 9:30 p.m. Monday – Friday and 9:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. on Saturdays.
The initial special use permit application was for ballroom and social dance lessons for adults. The clientele was expected to be people of middle age to retirement age. The expected hours of use were weekday afternoons and evenings. Over the last ten years, however, the use of the building has changed several times. In January of this year, Footnotes applied for a zoning clearance to use the building for Kindermusik, group dance classes, keyboard lessons, private dance lessons, birthday parties, and home school programs. When they received their zoning clearance, they became aware of the time limitations. Zoning determined that the proposed school use conforms to the special use permit; however, if Saturday hours were desired, the special use permit conditions would need to be amended.
Staff has analyzed the request primarily for impacts on adjacent properties and conformity with the Land Use Plan. No change has occurred in the zoning ordinance and no change in the Comprehensive Plan has occurred which would affect this request. Staff is not aware of any complaints or problems with the use, traffic, or the parking. Because the property is located in a CO Commercial Office district and because there are many by-right uses which could be operated more intensely than this school use, staff wondered if any conditions were necessary for the use. (See Attachment D for list of by-right uses.)
In its analysis, staff reviewed the definition of private school to see if there were any types of private schools that would not be appropriate at the proposed location. The definition of private school is provided below:
Private School: An institution of instruction not established and maintained at public expense, including colleges and universities, and those institutions providing art, culinary, cultural, drama, music, technical or vocational education or training. The uses identified in this chapter as “school of special instruction” and “technical and trade school” are private schools, except that in any zoning district where a private school is permitted by right, and a technical and trade school is permitted only by special use permit, those uses shall be separate. (Amended 10-3-01)
Staff believes that the only possible problems that could occur would be if a different type of private school, such as a school for auto mechanics or construction where activities might occur outside of the building. Staff believes that this situation could be dealt with by excluding technical or vocational education or training from the list of uses allowed at the site.
Regarding hours of operation, staff believes that the only time problems might occur would be with occasional late night dances. For this reason, staff does not believe restricting hours of operation is essential to the special use permit. The staff recognizes that the Commission and Board may believe that hours of operation are appropriate and as a result, staff has included hours of operation as a possible condition.
Staff recommends approval of the special use permit with the following condition(s):
1. There shall be no technical or vocational schools which involve outdoor activities, such as construction and automotive repair, without approval of a separate special use permit.
2. The school shall not operate after 10 p.m.
ATTACHMENT A: Location Map
ATTACHMENT B: Staff Report dated December 10 1996
ATTACHMENT C: Special Use Permit approval letter dated December 19, 1996
ATTACHMENT D: By-right uses in CO District as of 4/26/05
Return to PC actions letter