Albemarle County Planning Commission

April 5, 2005 Minutes

SP-2004-041 Cricket’s Baked Goods and Catering


The Albemarle County Planning Commission held a meeting and a public hearing on Tuesday, April 5, 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 Bill Edgerton, Chairman. David J. Neuman, FAIA, Architect for University of Virginia and Calvin Morris were absent.


Other officials present were David Benish, Chief of Planning & Community Development; Stephen Waller, Senior Planner; Juandiago Wade, Transportation Planner; Rebecca Ragsdale, Planner; and Greg Kamptner, Assistant County Attorney.


SP 2004-041 Cricket’s Baked Goods and Catering:  Request for a special use permit to allow a Home Occupation Class B for a Catering business in accordance with Section of the Zoning Ordinance, which allows for Home Occupations Class B. The property is described as Tax Map 105, Parcel 46, contains 13.68 acres, and is zoned RA, Rural Area and EC, Entrance Corridor Overlay. The proposal is located at 3047 Thomas Jefferson Parkway (Route 53), east of the intersection of Thomas Jefferson Parkway and Buck Island Road (Route 729), in the Scottsville Magisterial District. The Comprehensive Plan designates this property Rural Area.  (Rebecca Ragsdale)


Ms. Ragsdale summarized the staff report.  She passed out an update to the staff report to provide some corrections.  There was a misunderstanding between staff and the applicant as to what portion of the accessory structure, which was called the garage building that they wanted to use for the catering kitchen.  Staff has noted which pages have changed, which she will go over as she goes over the staff report.


The property is located on Route 53, Thomas Jefferson Parkway, past Monticello a good ways near Buck Island.  It is a 13 acre property that currently has a residence and garage building.  The applicant currently bakes in the kitchen of the residence and sales the items such places like City Market.  But, she would like to expand the food items that she sales and also would be offering catered items.  It is a 13 acre property and the structures sit up on a hill off of the road. It is a fairly wooded area off Route 53.  As far as the history of the property, the house was constructed in 1975.  There is a little area called Green Heights to the south of the property where there are a few houses, which are through the woods from this property.


The Comprehensive Plan does have language in it that now relates to home occupation that they are to be of a scale and intensity appropriate for the rural areas.  In this case there will only be one other employee.  There may be other members of the household that reside there.  They have conditioned the request that there shall be not employees or customers coming to the property.  One of the other reasons for the conditions regarding customers and employees relates to some of the review comments that staff initially received from VDOT regarding the need for a commercial entrance and that it did not meet the site distance requirements and the width was not adequate for a commercial entrance.  But in further conversations with VDOT they were comfortable with not requiring those upgrades to the entrance if it was conditioned so that there was no greater vehicle traffic. It is also a requirement of Section 5. The applicant does not plan on having any deliveries, any special trucks to bring the food items or supplies.  They would just use their personal vehicle and make their deliveries when they are out and about in general is the plan.  As far as the structure requested for the home occupation, staff provided a picture of it and also an overview aerial of the property where it is located.  It is not near any other residences.  But what the applicant would like to do is that one-half of the building is already finished and has a sink and the other one-half is not finished and has some farm equipment.  The applicant would like the possibility of using the whole building for the kitchen.  On the tax records that building is 384 square feet in size and the dwelling is about 1,170 square feet.  There is the regulation for home occupations that there will not be more than 25 percent.  That building, if they use the whole building, will be about 30 percent more. Therefore, the applicant would like that flexibility for this business.  Staff does not see any reason why that would have any detrimental effects from the exterior of the red brick building that you can’t really see from the other properties.  Staff recommends approval of this request.  Staff could not identify any significant impacts from the surrounding properties.  No comments have been received from the neighbors.  Staff did recommend conditions for the approval.  The vehicular traffic is limited with the conditions.  Condition 2 was revised to specify that the maximum square footage would be 385 square feet instead of the 290 that was recommended in the previous staff report.  After speaking with the Department of Agriculture she found that they require yearly permits for the items sold at City Market.  The applicant is familiar with the USDA permitting requirements.  It is envisioned that they will submit their proof of updated licenses when they apply for their clearance for this use.  Number 5 specifies that the

Applicant shall obtain a zoning clearance and provide documentation of all necessary Health Department approvals prior to using the garage kitchen or implementing this requested special use permit.  The Health Department has reviewed the request regarding the well and septic capacity to handle the additional water usage related to the kitchen, and they have approved that.  The final approval has not been issued, but the requirements will be for the commercial kitchen space located on the property.  That is what the Health Department will also permit.  Then they have the Department of Agriculture that also issues permits when you go to sell items at the City Market.  The City Market also has requirements.  She pointed out that she was not sure if the applicant sells items at other places. 


Mr. Edgerton stated that if the special use permit is granted, then #5 says that the applicant will apply for a zoning clearance or amendment.


Ms. Ragsdale stated that the applicant will go to the Zoning Department where they need to fill out a form for a zoning clearance for the use that is part of the final sign off to check these conditions.  The applicant will submit the documentation of all of the various agency approvals for the use with the zoning clearance.


Ms. Higgins stated that it says that no business signs shall be permitted.  The attached regulations for Class B Home Occupations say that the outside appearance does not change, but that a Class B may erect one Home Occupation Class B sign.  She asked if there was a reason in this case that they cannot have a sign.


Ms. Ragsdale stated that as a benefit to the applicant the business sign might provide additional advertising, but since they did not have any customers coming to the site staff added that to the condition so that it limits as far as preserving the Route 53 Entrance Corridor Overlay District and the rural character.  That way the additional signage would not affect the rural character of the area and not clutter up the highway.  She pointed out that was certainly at the Commission’s pleasure to allow that.


Ms. Higgins stated that because it allows a sign in the regulations for a Class B Home Occupation that she was assuming that there was a sign regulation that limits it to something very small.  She noted that she was not saying that it needs one, but if they are putting it in the ordinance and then taking it out by condition is that something that is typical.


Ms. Joseph stated that one of the good things not having a sign there is that you might encourage people in there if their entrance is not good.


Ms. Higgins stated that was a good point.  But, she was just trying to make the point that in this case drive by traffic would be lured into a residential driveway, which they don’t typically require a commercial for a Class B Home Occupation anyway, because of the lack of outside traffic.  She agreed that in this case it might make it different than another case. 


Ms. Joseph requested to ask a question for Mr. Kamptner.  When she is looking at Section on page 4 she asked if the Commission could make this size the size that they are allowing it because it says it cannot be more than 25 percent of the floor area, but in no event shall it exceed 1,500 square feet.  She pointed out that she was confused.


Mr. Kamptner stated that any regulation in Section 5.0 can be modified.


Ms. Ragsdale pointed out that square footage is with an approved modification.


Mr. Rieley stated that the maximum area was 1,500 square feet.  He stated that condition 6 appears to have nothing to do with the land use of this property, but relates to the sales off-site.


Ms. Ragsdale stated that condition 6 originated with the Zoning Department.  Zoning made the comment that led her to believe that Zoning looks for this when these types of zoning clearances come in.


Mr. Rieley stated that it seems that if the activity was consistent with the activity level then why was it any of their business where the items are sold.


Mr. Edgerton stated that he did not think it had anything to do with the special use permit because if that was required by law, then that is required by law.  He pointed out that if that was not true then he would prefer to leave that condition out.


Mr. Craddock pointed out that was his question in if they have to have USDA approval to sell something to City Market.


There being no further questions for staff, Mr. Edgerton opened the public hearing and asked the applicant if they would like to address the Commission on this application.


Rodez Anderson stated that he and his wife, Patricia Anderson, were present to speak for the application.  He pointed out that they just came to answer any questions.


Mr. Edgerton asked if he had any problems with the recommended conditions.


Mr. Anderson stated that they did not.  He asked if condition 5 meant that after everything was done that someone had to approve it before they moved in.  He asked if that was basically what that says.


Mr. Edgerton stated that was correct.


Mr. Rieley asked if he anticipates a situation in which he might need to expand the 385 square feet.


Mr. Anderson stated that he did not anticipate any expansion beyond what they could see right now.  He pointed out that the garage was not going to get any bigger.


Mr. Edgerton asked if there were other members of the public present that would like to address the Commission on this application.  There being none, he closed the public hearing to bring the matter back before the Commission.


Ms. Higgins asked if the home office had been included in the square footage.


Ms. Ragsdale stated that the applicant had indicated that there was no designated space.  Since the garage was 384 square feet that would only allow then 1 foot extra.  She pointed out that there was no defined area within their house where they have an office.


Ms. Higgins suggested that some additional square footage be added at least for a 5’ X 5’ room for an office.


Mr. Rieley agreed with Ms. Higgins.  He stated that they have routinely when the application is so much under the 1,500 square foot maximum approved these applications for more than just the minimum requested if for nothing else than to prevent someone having to come back in for a special use permit modification if they wanted to make a reasonable extension to this.  He suggested that the square footage be approved for around 500 square feet.


Ms. Higgins stated that if the applicant decided to convert a small 10’ X 10’ room in the house for a 100 square foot office, then that would be allowed.


Ms. Joseph agreed to the increase in square footage.


Ms. Higgins made a motion for approval of SP-2004-041, Cricket’s Baked Goods and Catering, subject to the conditions recommended in the staff report; with the exception that condition 2 be amended to say may not exceed 500 square feet and the deletion of condition 6.


1.       No business sign shall be permitted.

2.       The aggregate area of the use, including both the home office and the garage kitchen may not exceed 500 square feet.

3.       No employees shall be permitted other than members of family residing in the dwelling on premises.

4.       No customer visits to the site shall be permitted.

5.       The applicant shall obtain a zoning compliance clearance and any necessary Health Department approvals prior to use of the garage kitchen for this home occupation.


Mr. Rieley seconded the motion.


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


Mr. Edgerton stated that SP-2004-041, Cricket’s Baked Goods & Catering was approved and would be heard by the Board of Supervisors on June 8, 2005.


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