STAFF PERSON:                                                                           Rebecca Ragsdale

PLANNING COMMISSION:                                                           July 19, 2005

BOARD OF SUPERVISORS:                                                        September 7, 2005





Petition: Request for special use permit approval, as set forth in Section of the Zoning Ordinance, for a church use to be established on a 4.45 acre parcel. The property, described as Tax Map 70, Parcel 12A, is located in the White Hall Magisterial District on State Route 250 (7581 Rockfish Gap Turnpike), approximately .5 miles west of the intersection of State Route 691 (Greenwood Road) and Route 250. The property is zoned RA Rural Areas and EC Entrance Corridor. The Comprehensive Plan designates this property as Rural Area 3.


Character of the Area: The area around the site is rural in character but with residences located adjacent to the church, along with another church in the area.


Site History: The site consists 5,220 square foot one story building and a 2225 square foot storage building and was previously used for commercial purposes, know as Jordan Antiques or Greenwood Shops. The buildings are not in use at this time and the last zoning clearance was issued in 2001 for a retail use at the site.


Comprehensive Plan: The Comprehensive Plan identifies this site and surrounding area as being located in the Rural Areas. Churches provide a service to rural area residents and the use is considered to be consistent with the policies within the Comprehensive Plan. It is important to note the property is located near important rural area resources identified in the Comprehensive Plan, including the Yellow Mountain Agricultural and Forestal District located approximately one-quarter mile south of the site, historic resources such as Mirador and the Emmanual Episcopal Church, and scenic resources such as Route 250 which is designated a Virginia Byway. The relocation of the church into the existing building is not expected to have any adverse impacts to these resources. The ARB will review any improvements that may have impacts to scenic resources on the Entrance Corridor, such as landscaping and fencing proposed with this application.


Staff Comment:


Staff will address each provision of Section of the Zoning Ordinance below:


The Board of Supervisors hereby reserves unto itself the right to issue all special use permits permitted hereunder.  Special use permits for uses as provided in this ordinance may be issued upon a finding by the Board of Supervisors that such use will not be of substantial detriment to adjacent property,


The property has been used for as a retail shop in the past but is currently unoccupied. Adjacent properties are residential and include another church located to the west, Emmanuel Episcopal Church.  The residence to the east is located approximately 150 feet to the site and there is also a pool on the property whihc is approximately 50 feet from the site. The residence and pool are screened by existing evergreen trees from the site proposed for church use.  This is an existing building and the church use is anticipated to have less impacts than a retail use of the building.  The residence to the west is located closer to the church site and its owners, Emmauel Episcopal Church, have expressed concerns about impacts from the church use. Removal of the entrance to the site from in front of the residence is expected to minimize impacts to that residence.


 that the character of the district will not be changed thereby,


Churches are a permitted use in the Rural Areas district, and are a longstanding feature of the rural landscape.


and that such use will be in harmony with the purpose and intent of this ordinance,


The use is not expected to be in conflict with the intent of the Zoning Ordinance, or of the Rural Areas zoning district.


with the uses permitted by right in the district,


This is a small church and does not host meetings or other activities for other organizations at this time. The church serves members of the community and is not in conflict with agriculture, forestry, residential uses, or other by-right uses in the district.


with additional regulations provided in Section 5.0 of this ordinance,


There are no additional regulations in section 5.0 for this use.


and with the public health, safety and general welfare.


VDOT has indicated in their comments on this special use permit that the entrances to the property are substandard. VDOT is requiring that only one entrance to the site be permitted onto Route 250 and that they would prefer the primary entrance be an improved western entrance. However, the western entrance is on the adjacent property and the owners are not in favor of a combined entrance at that location.  The applicants have revised their concept plan to one entrance to the property on the eastern side and that is acceptable to VDOT. Staff recommends as a condition of approval that the entrance be upgraded to VDOT’s standards prior the church use of the site.


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.  If no changes to the entrance were proposed or required, this project would not require a site plan. 


The Zoning Ordinance does permit 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, 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. Prior to development the applicant will need to obtain approval of an Erosion and Sediment Control Plan.  This will allow the County to address all issues of drainage, both during and after development.  Further, 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 use of the Erosion and Sediment Control Plan and the VDOT permitting process will allow adequate protection of the public interest.



Recommended Action:


Staff approval of SP 04-032 with the following conditions:


  1. The site shall be developed in general accord with the plan entitled “Application Plan-SP 2004-0032”, prepared by Blackwell Engineering, PLC, revised July 2005.
  2. The area of assembly shall be limited to 100-seat sanctuary;
  3. There shall be no day care center or private school on site without approval of a separate special use permit; 
  4. The applicants shall secure VDOT approval of the entrance from Route 250, prior to the issuance of a zoning clearance for church use of the site.
  5. No building expansions are permitted approval of a new special use permit.


Staff recommends approval of the site plan waiver, with the following conditions:


  1. No construction activity shall occur until and an Erosion and Sediment Control Plan has been approved and any required bonds have been posted.
  2. No Zoning Clearance will be issued for the building until VDOT approval of the installation of required entrance improvements.



    1. Applicant’s description of request
    2. Location Map
    3. Plat of property
    4. Application Plan  
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