Albemarle County Planning Commission
June 14, 2005
The Albemarle County Planning Commission held a meeting and a public hearing on Tuesday, June 14, 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 and Bill Edgerton, Chairman. Absent were David J. Neuman, FAIA, Architect for University of Virginia and Pete Craddock.
Other officials present were Wayne Cilimberg, Planning Director; David Benish, Chief of Planning; Rebecca Ragsdale, Senior Planner; Scott Clark, Senior Planner; and Greg Kamptner, Assistant County Attorney.
Call to Order and Establish Quorum:
Mr. Edgerton called the regular meeting to order at 6:05 p.m. and established a quorum. Due to the malfunction of the recording system, the meeting was recorded on the Dictaphone recorder.
Other Matters Not Listed on the Agenda from the Public:
Mr. Edgerton invited comment from the public on other matters not listed on the agenda. There being none, the meeting moved on to the review of the Board of Supervisors Meeting.
Review of Board of Supervisors Meeting – June 8, 2005
Mr. Cilimberg summarized the actions taken by the Board of Supervisors on June 8, 2005.
Approval of Planning Commission Minutes – February 15, 2005; February 22, 2005; May 10, 2005.
Mr. Edgerton asked if any Commissioner would like to pull an item off of the consent agenda for discussion or further review.
Mr. Morris moved to accept the minutes on the consent agenda as stated.
Mr. Rieley seconded the motion.
The motion carried with a vote of (6:0). (Craddock – Absent)
SP 2005-07 The Garden Barn (Signs #28,29) - Request for a special use permit to allow farm sales in accordance with Section 10.2.2(45) of the Zoning Ordinance which allows for farm sales. The property, described as Tax Map 21, Parcel 5B1, contains 30.754 acres (of which 3 acres are included in this request) and is zoned RA, Rural Areas. The proposal is located at 5625 Spring Hill Road (Route 606), approximately 1,500 feet west of its intersection with Seminole Trail (Route 29) in the White Hall Magisterial District. The Comprehensive Plan designates this property as Rural Area 1. (Scott Clark)
Mr. Clark summarized the staff report. The applicant is proposing to start a farm sales operation on a 30-acre parcel in the Rural Areas, selling agricultural and horticultural products grown on the property (trees, flowers, other plants, fruits, vegetables, poultry, etc.). The sales area would be located in an existing shed with a small attached greenhouse. This tends to be a seasonal operation during daylight hours only.
There are additional requirements in the supplementary regulations in Section 5.0 under Farm Sales.
5.1.35 FARM SALES
a. One (1) farm sales structure may be established per farm. In addition to displays and sales of agricultural or horticultural produce or merchandise which is produced on the farm, it may include companion items not produced on the premises, but intended to be used with the agricultural or horticultural produce which is produced on the farm. The farm sales structure shall not be established until the agricultural or horticultural produce growing area has been established and is in production. Such growing area shall be reestablished on an annual basis.
The applicant is aware of these requirements, and has not requested any waivers. The applicant plans to produce trees, plants, vegetables, fowl, and other agriculture products.
b. The total retail sales area in the farm sales structure shall not exceed fifteen hundred (1,500) square feet. Greenhouses shall not be counted as part of the total retail sales area, unless one is designated as the farm sales structure. At all times, at least fifty (50) percent of the retail sales area inside the farm sales structure shall be agricultural or horticultural produce or merchandise produced on the premises. The remaining fifty (50) percent area may be companion items. Displays outside the farm sales structure shall be limited to agricultural and horticultural produce only.
The retail sales are for this use would be 1,397 square feet. The applicant is aware of the restrictions regarding companion items and outdoor display.
c. A preliminary schematic plan in accordance with section 32.4.1 shall be submitted along with, and become a part of, the special use permit application. The plan shall include the area of the farm sales structure, parking and entrance. The plan shall address, in particular, provisions for safe and convenient access from and to the public road, adequacy of delineation of parking, and general information regarding the exterior appearance of the proposed site. Based on the submitted information, the board of supervisors may then waive the requirement for a site development plan in a particular case, upon a finding that the requirement of a site development plan would not forward the purposes of this ordinance or otherwise serve the public interest. No such use shall be established without Virginia Department of Transportation approval of commercial access to the site.
The applicant has submitted a preliminary schematic plan (the “Garden Barn Application Plan SP-2005-7,” prepared by Gabriele Kleinmichel, and dated 3/29/05; see Attachment B), which has been reviewed and found sufficient by staff. Community Development staff have found that a waiver of the site plan requirement is appropriate.
d. The farm sales structure and parking area shall not be located closer than fifty (50) feet to any adjoining property not under the same ownership. The farm sales structure shall meet front yard setbacks for a primary structure. The parking area shall not be located closer than ten (10) feet to any public or private street right-of-way.
The sales and parking areas meet these requirements.
e. Farm machinery and equipment (except hand tools), building materials, furniture or other like items, shall not be offered for sale.
The applicant is aware of these restrictions.
f. All farm sales structures shall meet all applicable requirements of the Virginia Uniform
Statewide Building Code. (Added 10-11-95)
The Building Official has stated that the structure meets building code requirements for this use,
and with the public health, safety and general welfare.
VDOT has stated that entrance improvements will be necessary. The entrance will need to be built as “a 24’ private road connection with 25’ radii,” and tree cutting or trimming along the road frontage of the applicant’s property will be necessary to provide adequate sight distance.
STAFF COMMENT (Site Plan Waiver)
The Zoning Ordinance addresses the need for a site plan in Section 32.2.1 which states:
32.2.1 A site plan shall be required for any construction, use, change in use or other development in all zoning districts; provided that no site plan shall be required for the following:
a. The construction or location of any single-family detached dwelling which is located upon a lot whereon are located or proposed to be located an aggregate of two (2) or fewer dwellings.
b. The construction or location of a two-family dwelling on any lot not occupied by any other dwellings.
c. Any accessory structure to a single-family detached or two-family dwelling.
d. Any agricultural activity except as otherwise provided in section 5.0.
e. Any change in or expansion of a use provided that: (1) such change or expansion does not occasion additional parking under the requirements of this chapter; (2) no additional ingress/egress or alteration of existing ingress/egress is recommended by the Virginia Department of Transportation based on intensification of use; (3) no additional ingress/egress or alteration of existing ingress/ egress is proposed. (32.2.1, 1980)
This project requires a site plan due to the proposed changes to the entrance only. Parking requirements have been addressed on the preliminary schematic plan to the satisfaction of the Zoning and Current Development division. If no changes to the entrance were proposed or required, this project would not require a site plan.
The Zoning Ordinance permits the waiving of the site plan requirement in Section 32.2.2 which states:
32.2.2 The foregoing notwithstanding, after notice in accordance with section 18.104.22.168, the commission may waive the drawing of a site plan in a particular case upon a finding that the requirement of such plan would not forward the purposes of this chapter or otherwise serve the public interest; provided that no such waiver shall be made until the commission has considered the recommendation of the agent. The agent may recommend approval, approval with conditions, or denial of such waiver. In the case of conditional approval, the agent in his recommendation shall state the relationship of the recommended condition to the provisions of this section. No condition shall be imposed which could not be imposed through the application of the regulations of section 32.0. (32.2.2, 1980; Amended 5-1-87)
Staff has analyzed this application and is recommending approval of a waiver of the drawing of a site plan, with conditions. The method staff used to reach this recommendation is included below.
The submittal of a site plan meeting all of the criteria of Sections 32.5.6 (Preliminary Site Plan Content) and 32.6.6 (Final Site Plan Content) would not in the opinion of staff forward the purposes of this chapter or otherwise serve the public interest. The submittal of a plan will provide substantially more information than currently provided. However, the proposed level of development is limited and the plan provided by the applicant for review with the special use permit has allowed staff to analyze the impact on this project on adjacent properties. The applicant will have to obtain a permit from the Virginia Department of Transportation for the improvement of the entrance. This permitting process by VDOT will insure that the entrance is properly designed and installed. The scale of this project is limited and the VDOT permitting process will allow adequate protection of the public interest.
This is small-scale use that is in accord with the County’s goals for the rural areas. Public safety concerns can be addressed sufficiently through the conditions of approval.
Staff recommends approval of SP 2005-00007 with the following conditions:
1. The site shall be developed, and the farms sales use conducted, in general accord with the preliminary schematic plan entitled “Garden Barn Application Plan SP-2005-7,” prepared by Gabriele Kleinmichel, and dated 3/29/05.
2. The applicant shall make the entrance improvements specified in a letter from VDOT Assistant Resident Engineer Charles C. Proctor III dated 3/29/05.
Staff recommends approval of the site plan waiver, SDP 2005-00042, with the following conditions:
1. The farms sales use shall not begin operation until the improvements described in a letter from VDOT Assistant Resident Engineer Charles C. Proctor III dated 3/29/05 are completed.
Mr. Edgerton stated that in the recommended conditions of approval staff referenced a letter dated 3/29/05 from VDOT that did not match with the copy of the letter that he had from VDOT. He asked if that date was an error.
Mr. Rieley pointed out that it was an error because the plan was dated 3/29/05.
Mr. Clark agreed that it was an error because the actual date of the VDOT letter was 3/24/05.
Mr. Edgerton asked if the letter that the Commissioners had was the one he had referenced.
Mr. Clark stated that was correct.
Mr. Edgerton stated that the last condition on that letter says that a site plan will be required and will need to show the proposed improvements.
Mr. Clark stated that he had talked with Chuck Proctor and explained that since the other elements of the site plan are met that staff recommends approval of the waiver of the site plan with that one condition.
Mr. Edgerton stated that on page 2, under Section 5.1.35 Farm Sales, it says in the second paragraph that the applicant is aware of these requirements, and has not requested any waivers. The applicant plans to produce trees, plants, vegetables, fowl, and other agriculture products. He asked if the applicant plans to raise chickens.
Mr. Clark stated that the applicant is here and can answer that question. He pointed out that fowl was included in the written portion of the application.
There being no further questions for staff, Mr. Edgerton opened the public hearing and asked the applicant to come forward and address the Commission.
Gabriel Kleinmichel, applicant, stated that in response to Mr. Edgerton’s question about the chicken breeding operation, that she has ornamental chickens, bantams and other fowls. She pointed out that they are very natural and very beautiful.
Mr. Edgerton asked if she was going to be selling the chickens.
Ms. Kleinmichel stated that she would like to be able to sell the chickens, but that she actually gets very attached to them. She pointed out that the emphasis will be on natural agricultural products.
Ms. Joseph asked if she had any problems with the recommended hours of operation.
Ms. Kleinmichel stated that she did not.
Mr. Edgerton invited comment from other members of the public regarding this application. He stated that there was one person signed up sheet to speak, which was Lee Estes, trustee for Spring Baptist Hill Church.
Lee Estes, trustee for Spring Hill Baptist Church, stated that the only concern that they have since Ms. Kleinmichel is a good neighbor is the hours of operation. Spring Hill Baptist Church has grown to a point now where they have three services on Sunday and Thursday night. They expect close to 400 children at Vacation Bible School in two weeks. On Sunday they have a service at 8:15, 9:30 and 11:00 a.m. Therefore, they have a lot of traffic in the area. Their parking lot can only hold so many cars. Three weeks ago they only had one vacate parking space. Since they cannot build any more on this site, they don’t know where they will go from here. Their concern is about the entrance and exit from the property, which is located right on top of a hill. From looking at the proposed plan, he understood that the applicant would use their present entrance. He felt that a turning lane would probably be required. The traffic in that area is very congested. The church is located in a triangular area. They hope that the sales will be of a small nature. They were in hopes that it would not be operated on Sundays, and at least only on Sunday afternoons. He reiterated that Ms. Kleinmichel was a good neighbor and that he did not have anything else to add at this time.
Mr. Edgerton asked if there was anyone else from the public 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 for consideration.
Ms. Joseph suggested that a condition be added limiting the hours of operation. The applicant indicated that she did not have any problems with the limitation. She assumed that as long as there were no real conditions for every single thing that is going to happen that so long as the applicant stays within the parameters of Section 5.1.35 that she is okay with this special use permit. She asked Mr. Kamptner if that was correct.
Mr. Kamptner stated that she was okay with it. Section 5.1.35 establishes the standard rules of operation. The Commission can impose additional conditions to address the impacts that are unique to this particular operation.
Mr. Rieley stated that in order to avoid putting the zoning administration in the position of having to figure out what the daylight hours are that his inclination would be to be pretty liberal with that. The reason for that goes back to the general principle that Mr. Kamptner articulated when they were talking about water, which is that both of these uses, being the church and this special use permit for the garden center, are allowable uses with a special use permit in this area. He did not think that one should take precedence over the other on the basis of who got there first. He felt that the uses should have equal footing. Certainly there is no restriction on the church having night time activities. Primarily because the applicant does not object to it he would support a restriction on the hours of operation from 5 a.m. to 9:00 p.m.
Mr. Morris agreed with Mr. Rieley.
Action on special use permit, SP-2005-07:
Mr. Rieley moved for approval of SP-2005-07, The Garden Barn, with the conditions as recommended in the staff report with the caveat to add an additional condition that the hours of operation will be between 5 a.m. and 9:00 p.m.
Mr. Morris seconded the motion.
Mr. Kamptner stated that there was also going to be a clarification to condition 2 to clarify and correct the date to March 24, and based on Mr. Edgerton’s comment perhaps adding a parenthetical at the end to further clarify so that it states excluding the requirement for a site plan showing the proposed improvements.
Mr. Rieley amended his motion to include the language that Mr. Kamptner articulated.
Mr. Morris seconded the amendment to the motion.
The motion carried with a vote of (6:0). (Craddock – Absent)
Mr. Edgerton stated that SP-2005-07would go the Board of Supervisors on July 6 with a recommendation for approval.
Action on site plan waiver SDP-2005-042:
Ms. Higgins moved for approval of the site plan waiver, SDP-2005-042, The Garden Barn, since the approval will be covered under the VDOT plan and the Commission agrees with staff’s recommendation.
Mr. Kamptner stated that condition 1 of the waiver should be corrected to correspond with the corrected condition 2 of the special use permit.
Ms. Higgins amended the motion to include the same corrections made to the previous motion.
1. The farm sales use shall not begin operation until the improvements described in a letter from VDOT Assistant Resident Engineer Charles C. Proctor dated 3/24/05 are completed (excluding the requirement for a site plan showing the proposed improvements).
Mr. Rieley seconded the motion.
The motion carried with a vote of (6:0). (Craddock – Absent)
Mr. Edgerton stated that the site plan was approved, which would not be heard by the Board.
Return to PC actions letter
Additions to the Moorman’s River Agricultural & Forestal District - Request to add three parcels to the Moorman’s River Agricultural and Forestal District, in accordance with Section 3-203 of the Albemarle County Code, which allows for additions of land to Agricultural and Forestal Districts. The first property, described as Tax Map 29, Parcel 15C, contains 60 acres and is located south on Millington Road (Route 665) near its intersection with Free Union Road (Route 601). The second property, described as Tax Map 29, Parcel 85 contains 22 acres and is located 3445 Free Union Road. The third property, described as Tax Map 41, Parcel 15A, contains 37 acres and is located at 4333 Cannon Brook Way, on the east side of Browns Gap Turnpike (Rt. 680), approximately 2 miles south of White Hall. All three properties lie within the White Hall Magisterial District and are zoned RA (Rural Areas). The Comprehensive Plan designates all three properties as Rural Area. (Rebecca Ragsdale)
Ms. Ragsdale summarized the staff report. This is a request for the Planning Commission to review three proposed additions to the Moorman’s River Agricultural and Forestal District. The Moorman’s River District is located in the northwestern portion of the County between the Brown’s Gap Turnpike and on the east almost to the reservoir and includes 10,500 acres in total. It was reviewed back in February, 2004 when there were some withdrawals from the district. There are three requests to add to the district.
The first property, described as Tax Map 29, Parcel 15C, contains 60 acres and is located south on Millington Road (Route 665) near its intersection with Free Union Road (Route 601). The second property, described as Tax Map 29, Parcel 85 contains 22 acres and is located at 3445 Free Union Road. The third property, described as Tax Map 41, Parcel 15A, contains 37 acres and is located at 4333 Cannon Brook Way, on the east side of Browns Gap Turnpike (Rt. 680), approximately 2 miles south of White Hall. All three properties lie within the White Hall Magisterial District and are zoned RA (Rural Areas). The Comprehensive Plan designates all three properties as Rural Area.
Agricultural/Forestal Significance of Requested Additions:
TMP 29-15C-Bronfman Property (Attachment B)
This parcel was originally 70 acres in size and was withdrawn from the Moorman’s River AF District during the last review in December 2005. Since that time, the parcel was reduced by 10 acres and the property owner wishes to add the remainder 60 acres back into the district. According to County records 52 acres of the property are used for agriculture and 7 acres are used for forestry. Residential uses on the property include 1 acre. This property adjoins other parcels in the Moorman’s River AF District.
TMP 29-85-Marshall Property (Attachment C)
This property is 21.586 acres in size and includes 18 acres of agricultural uses, including land used for horses and hay, and 2 acres of land in forestry, along the Mechums River which borders the rear of property near its convergence with the South Fork Rivanna River. Residential uses on the property include a single family home, pool and pool house.
TMP 41-15C-Toad Hollow Farm (Attachment D)
This property is 36.78 acres in size and includes 8.748 acres in agriculture, including horse training, lessons, and a horse show facility, and 27 acres in forestry. One acre is devoted to a single family residence. The Board of Supervisors approved Toad Hollow Farm’s request to host horse shows on the property and the AF Advisory Committee reviewed that request at their January 10, 2005 meeting.
This District helps to preserve important water resources. The Moorman’s River and the Mechums River flow through this district and converge at the South Fork Rivanna River. The Moorman’s River is part of the South Fork Rivanna River watershed. It has been designated both a County Scenic Stream and a State Scenic River from the Sugar Hollow Reservoir to Mechum’s River. The North and South Forks are also designated as natural trout streams by the Department of Environmental Quality. Continued protection of the Moorman’s River is an objective of the County.
Benefits of the Moorman’s River AF District: Conservation of this area maintains the environmental integrity of the County and aids in the protection of ground and surface water, wildlife habitat, critical slopes, scenic, and historic resources.
Staff Recommendation: Staff recommends adding TMP 29-15C, TMP 29-85, and TMP 41-15A to the Moorman’s River Agricultural and Forestal District, which would increase the district by 117 acres and help preserve the Rural Areas.
The Agricultural and Forestal District Advisory Committee reviewed this request last night and recommended approval. If the Commission has any questions, she would be happy to answer them.
Ms. Higgins asked what the expiration date was on this District overall.
Ms. Ragsdale stated that the expiration or renewal date of the entire District was December, 2014.
Ms. Higgins asked if individual farm owners could apply at anytime to be added and then their expiration go to that date. She asked if someone had talked with Mr. Bronfman when he made his application to withdraw from the district.
Ms. Ragsdale stated that when Mr. Bronfman made his request to withdraw that he was pretty up front about his intentions. She noted that Mr. Bronfman followed through on the reinstatement, which he had indicated that he was going to do.
Ms. Higgins asked if anybody could apply at any time.
Ms. Ragsdale stated that additions to the district could be made at any time.
Mr. Kamptner stated that the withdrawal during the review period is allowed by right. There are very limited circumstances when somebody can withdraw during the term of the particular district. But, anyone can ask to be added to a district at any time.
There being no further questions for Ms. Ragsdale, Mr. Edgerton opened the public hearing and invited public comment. There being none, he closed the public hearing to bring the matter back before the Commission.
Ms. Higgins made a motion to recommend that the three parcels identified in the staff report be added to the Moorman’s River Agricultural and Forestal District.
Mr. Morris seconded the motion.
The motion carried by a vote of (6:0). (Craddock – Absent)
Mr. Edgerton stated that this item would go to the Board of Supervisors on July 6 with a recommendation for approval.
Return to PC actions letter
Update on the Transportation Section of the Comprehensive Plan – Staff will be distributing at this meeting a revised draft of the Transportation Section of the Comprehensive Plan, which incorporates suggested revisions as well as updated Development Area Profiles with transportation related revisions. Staff will provide a brief overview of the revision and will be requesting clarification on several issues. (David Benish)
Mr. Benish distributed a handout, which included several comments from Ms. Joseph’s list, which staff would like to briefly discuss with the Commission. (See Attachment) In lieu of distributing the new version of the transportation packet tonight, revisions will be made based on tonight’s discussions and forwarded to the Planning Commission as soon as possible. There were a couple clarification questions that he wanted to discuss with the Commission to make sure that there was some understanding about what those issues were and how they were going to address them. It really boils down to the first two bulleted comments because the others were more for clarification.
To minimize the scope of this amendment, staff had hoped to maintain the existing format as opposed to doing wholesale rewrite of the section. The primary purpose of this amendment is to update references to the newly adopted UnJAM/CHART.
This was intended to indicate that transportation/road improvements in the Rural Areas were to be focused on safety related improvements, not on increasing the Level of Service/capacity of rural roads (paragraph attached).
This reference is deleted.
Mr. Benish asked for the Commissioner’s input.
Mr. Edgerton suggested on page 6 to take out the straightening of the curves as per what Mr. Rieley had discussed.
Mr. Rieley suggested using just a simple statement or principle that we support width for safety and we would like to have bicycles to be able to use and utilize these roads safely as well as the agricultural uses that they would expect and still have room for pedestrians to still be able to walk. If there was no where else to walk then the edge of the shoulder of the road was the place where they would walk.
Ms. Joseph stated that she was still not convinced that is what they should be doing. Once you see these roads get wider it opens it up to a greater extent to use VDOT money. She would rather spend the money for the roads in the growth area.
Ms. Higgins stated that in both areas they talk about paved shoulders. But in the rural areas there are no shoulders to pave. Actually the number one safety issue is the lack of having shoulders and medians in the cross section. She questioned why it calls out for paved shoulders in both cases. She felt that an adequate shoulder at the edge of pavement is better than a paved shoulder. A paved shoulder makes even a curvy road straighter if you follow the line.
Ms. Joseph suggested that it be a shoulder and not a paved shoulder.
Mr. Benish asked for the Commissioner’s comments to be back in two weeks.
In summary, staff provided a brief overview of the revision to the proposed update on the Transportation Section of the Comprehensive Plan. Staff asked for clarification on several issues. The Planning Commission discussed and provided comments and suggestions regarding possible language to be added to the draft as follows:
Clarification was requested by Ms. Joseph regarding the language describing the intent for rural area road improvements. The consensus was that the Planning Commission agreed to clarify the language in the rural areas transportation long range plan section; to delete the word “straightening curves”, to modify the language to reflect that improvements should address improving the unsafe curves.
The Planning Commission asked for design guidelines that better distinguished the desire to limit vertical and horizontal curvature improvements on rural areas road.
The recommendation is to not build the parkway based on the CHART recommendation, so there is no recommendation on using a parkway design. The old parkway recommendation is deleted.
The third conclusion was how to show the western by pass and eastern connector. The Commission agreed that these projects not be shown on the map as assignment lines, but that there will be a note referring to a location where the status of the projects can be found. There will be a reference to a location where the status of the projects can be found.
Staff will make the suggested revisions and provide the revised draft back to the Commission. The Commissioners should provide their comments to staff within the next two weeks so they can determine if another work session is needed.
There being no further old business, the meeting proceeded.
Mr. Edgerton asked if there was any new business.
Betsy Gohdes-Baten asked to address the Commission. She asked what the status was of her letter that she wrote to the Commission several weeks ago regarding The Rivanna Village.
Mr. Edgerton stated that a letter in response was just finalized today and would be going out tomorrow to Mr. Wagaman and Lynda Harrill.
Ms. Gohdes-Baten stated that she would get a copy from either Mr. Wagoner or Ms. Harrill.
There being no further new business, the meeting proceeded.
With no further items, the meeting adjourned at 7:00 p.m. to the June 21, 2005 meeting.
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