Albemarle County Planning Commission

Minutes for May 3, 2005

SP-2005-005 PetsMart and SP-2005-003 Footnotes Dance Studio


The Albemarle County Planning Commission held a meeting and a public hearing on Tuesday, May 3, 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, Calvin Morris, Marcia Joseph, Vice-Chair, Jo Higgins, Pete Craddock and Bill Edgerton, Chairman. Absent was David J. Neuman, FAIA, Architect for University of Virginia. Mr. Craddock arrived at 6:10 p.m.  Ms. Joseph left the meeting at 7:15 p.m.


Other officials present were Wayne Cilimberg, Director of Planning & Community Development; David Benish, Chief of Planning; Claudette Grant, Senior Planner; Bill Fritz, Development Process Manager; Elaine Echols, Principal Planner; Stephen Waller, Senior Planner; Harrison B. Rue, Executive Director of Thomas Jefferson Planning District Commission and Charlottesville-Albemarle Metropolitan Planning Organization; Lee Catlin, Community Relations Manager;  and Greg Kamptner, Assistant County Attorney.


            Public Hearings:


SP 2005-003 Footnotes Dance Studio (Signs #71 & 72) - Request for a special use permit to allow a private ballet school in accordance with Section of the Zoning Ordinance which allows for private schools 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.  (Elaine Echols)


Ms. Echols summarized the staff report. This is a request to amend the conditions for an existing special use permit for an existing building and use. Staff provided the staff report for the previous special use permit so that the Commission can see what happened originally. Then they can just augment it as necessary.  Basically, there is an existing use in an existing building that has had a number of uses over the years.  It had a special use permit approved for a dance studio, the Terry Deane Dance Studio, back in 1996.  The use has changed over time and now they have a ballet studio that does other things that has been noted in the staff report.  The applicant would like to have different hours of operation than the ones that were restricted originally.  Therefore, they have requested an amendment to the hours of operation.  Staff went through this and wondered what the Commission would really want to restrict in this particular case.  Staff questioned what the schools of special instruction or private schools were that could be problematic to a neighborhood or even this particular neighborhood.  The property is zoned CO and backs up to some residentially zoned property that is in an area where there are other businesses.  What staff came up with was that if there was a private school there that had outdoor activities that they consider whether that use would be problematic to the neighborhood potentially. Therefore, staff is recommending that the conditions be amended to include a restriction on a particular school’s outdoor activity.  Staff phrased the condition that 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.  Staff looked at the hours of operation and just did not see any big issues.  Staff does not feel that it is necessary to restrict the hours of operation.  But, if the Commission feels it is necessary, staff’s recommendation is that you put an end time on it rather than a begin time and days of the week. Staff suggests that there just be a cut off period. 


Mr. Edgerton asked if there were any questions for Ms. Echols.  There being none, he opened the public hearing and invited the applicant to address the Commission.


Dave Waller, with Footnotes Dance Studio, stated that he would answer any questions that the Commission had about changing the hours of operation.  He stated that they did not want to be opened after 10 p.m.  Currently, they were going from 9:30 a.m. to 9:30 p.m. Monday through Friday and on Saturday from 9:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.  He felt that actually the only changes were opening one-half hour earlier during the week and opening on Saturday.


Mr. Edgerton asked if there was anybody from the public that would like to comment on this application.  There being none, he closed the public hearing to bring the matter back before the Commission for action.


Mr. Morris moved for approval of SP-2005-003, Footnotes Dance Studio, with the conditions recommended by staff as modified leaving out (if needed).


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.  


(if needed) 

2.  The school shall not operate after 10 p.m.


Mr. Rieley seconded the motion.


Mr. Kamptner pointed out that staff has been concerned in the past with conditions such as the school shall not operate after 10 p.m. with how long does that period extend of non-operation.  Therefore, they would probably want to have a starting time.  He suggested that condition 2 read that the school shall not operate between 10 p.m. and whatever time in the morning.


Ms. Higgins stated that 9:30 a.m. would cover that concern.


Ms. Echols stated that zoning did look at these conditions and did not have a problem with it. 


Mr. Kamptner pointed out that there has been an ambiguity in the past.


Ms. Echols suggested that condition 2 read that the school hours should be from 9 a.m. to 10 p.m.


Mr. Benish pointed out that they were only concerned about the late hours.


Mr. Morris amended the motion for approval of SP-2005-003, Footnotes Dance Studio, with the second condition as modified.


  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.  


  1. The school's hours of operation shall be between 9 a.m. and 10 p.m.


Mr. Rieley seconded the amendment to the motion.


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


Mr. Edgerton stated that SP-2005-003, Footnotes Dance Studio, would go to the Board of Supervisors on June 1 with a recommendation for approval.


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