COUNTY OF ALBEMARLE

 

EXECUTIVE SUMMARY

 

 

AGENDA TITLE:

Resolution of Intent – Contractor’s Office and Equipment Storage Yard

 

SUBJECT/PROPOSAL/REQUEST:

Resolution of Intent to Amend Zoning Ordinance to Change Contractor’s Office and Equipment Storage Yard from a By-right Use to a Special Use Permit in the Light Industrial (LI) District

 

STAFF CONTACT(S):

Messrs. Tucker, Foley, Davis, Kamptner, Graham, Cilimberg,  Ms. McCulley

 

LEGAL REVIEW:   Yes

 

AGENDA DATE:

July 6, 2005

 

 

ACTION:                              INFORMATION:   

 

CONSENT AGENDA:

  ACTION:   X                       INFORMATION:   

 

 

ATTACHMENTS:   Yes

 

 

REVIEWED BY:

 

 

BACKGROUND:

Going back to the County’s first Zoning Ordinance, a Contractors Office and Equipment Storage Yard has been a by-right use in the manufacturing/industrial type zoning districts.  In recent years, concern has been expressed by some members of the public and some Board of Supervisors’ members regarding the potential impact of the Contractor’s Office and Equipment Storage Yard as a by-right use in the Light Industry (LI) District.  This has been of particular concern as some properties zoned Light Industry are located in close proximity to primarily residential areas or rural areas (see Attachment A), or are located on roads that may not be adequate to handle the type of traffic that can be associated with such uses.  One suggested initiative that could address these concerns on a case by case basis would be to amend the Zoning Ordinance to move this use from a use by-right to special use permit in the LI District.  This would require the passage of a Resolution of Intent.

 

STRATEGIC PLAN:

Strategic Direction 2.  Protect the County's Natural, Scenic and Historic Resources.

Goal:  2.1 Protect and/or preserve the County's rural character.

 

DISCUSSION:

The County’s experience is that Contractor’s Office and Equipment Storage Yards can range in intensity from mainly offices with limited on-site storage and relatively light equipment transport to much more intensive on-site storage and heavy equipment transport.  The public purpose served by amending the Zoning Ordinance to make this use by special use permit in the LI District would be to allow the scale and intensity of the use to be assessed for a finding of appropriate location for that use on a case by case basis and to allow appropriate conditions to be included when approved.  In considering this amendment, it is important to identify those distinctive aspects of the use that seem to warrant its consideration for the change.  In the case of the Contractor’s Office and Equipment Storage Yard there are several factors to consider relative to justification for the change:  1) This use can be generally distinguished from most other by-right uses particular to the LI District which tend to be more basic industrial, production oriented and employment generating in nature; 2) This use is allowed by special use permit in the Highway Commercial district, the highest intensity commercial district; 3)  Warehouse facilities by-right and warehouse facilities by special use permit are distinguished based on the potential for storage of hazardous materials, a potential activity in Contractor’s Office and Equipment Storage Yards; and, 4) Several uses by special use permit in the LI District have potential impacts similar to that of a Contractor’s Office and Equipment Storage Yard – truck terminal (type of traffic), body shops (equipment repair), assembly of modular buildings (type of traffic) and moving businesses (type of traffic). 

 

One impact resulting from this change would be that all existing Contractor’s Office and Equipment Storage Yards would become non-conforming and most modifications to them would subject them to a new special use permit.  Staff has estimated at least 30 such operations in the LI District.  Alternatives to moving this use to the special use permit category that would lessen this resulting effect would be to leave the use by-right and develop supplementary regulations for the use or to create two categories of Contractor’s Office and Equipment Storage Yards – Light Contractor as by-right and Heavy Contractor by special use permit.  The latter alternative would require clearly distinguishing definitions and regulations for

each type of Contractor’s Office and Equipment Storage Yard.  The Zoning Administrator recommends against this alternative as problematic to administer.

 

It should also be noted that the County’s standard public process for Zoning Text Amendments includes public/stakeholder meetings for review and input on proposals.  This process allows for this input during the development of ordinance provisions and in advance of Planning Commission and Board of Supervisors’ public hearings.  It does add to the processing time.  Staff would like the Board’s guidance as to its desire for such public input in this case.

 

BUDGET IMPACT:

Changing Contractors Office and Equipment Storage Yard from a by-right use to a use by special use permit in the LI District would require this use be reviewed at public hearings by the Planning Commission and Board of Supervisors.  This would require staff analysis, adjacent owner notification, and legal ads for both the Planning Commission and Board of Supervisors and posting of on-site notification signs.  Although there is a $1,020 fee for industrial use special use permit applications, many times this fee does not cover the costs noted above.

 

RECOMMENDATIONS:

Provided that the Board supports changing Contractor’s Office and Equipment Storage Yard from a by-right use to a special use permit in the LI District as the simplest and most straightforward approach to addressing the concerns regarding this as a by-right use, staff recommends the Board approve the corresponding resolution of intent (Attachment B).  Should the Board desire considering the option of leaving the use by-right and developing supplementary regulations for the use, staff recommends the Board approve an alternative resolution of intent (Attachment C).  Staff does not recommend the alternative of creating two categories of Contractor’s Office and Equipment Storage Yards – Light Contractor as by-right and Heavy Contractor by special use permit.   Staff requests the Board’s direction as to the public process it expects during the development of the zoning text amendment.

 

 

ATTACHMENTS

A –  Light Industry Zoning Locations

B – Resolution of Intent changing the “contractor’s office and equipment storage yard” use classification from one that is allowed by right to one that is allowed by special use permit

C – Resolution of Intent authorizing the “contractor’s office and equipment storage yard” use classification by right but subject to supplemental regulations, or changing the use classification from one that is allowed by right to one that is allowed by special use permit
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