Albemarle County Planning Commission
July 26, 2005
The Albemarle County Planning Commission held a meeting and a public hearing on Tuesday, July 26, 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, Jo Higgins; Bill Edgerton, Chairman and Marcia Joseph, Vice-Chair. Absent was Pete Craddock and David J. Neuman, FAIA, Architect for University of Virginia. Mr. Rieley arrived at 6:15 p.m.
Other officials present were Wayne Cilimberg, Planning Director; Claudette Grant, Senior Planner; Yadira Amarante, Senior Planner; Stephen Waller, Senior Planner; Bill Fritz, Development Review Manager and Greg Kamptner, Assistant County Attorney.
Call to Order and Establish Quorum:
Mr. Edgerton called the regular meeting to order at 6:09 p.m. and established a quorum.
Public Hearing Items:
SP-2004-055 Walgreens (Signs #52,63,96) - Request for a special use permit, in accord with the provisions of Section 126.96.36.199 of the Zoning Ordinance, to operate a two-lane, drive-thru facility associated with a pharmacy on approximately 2.30 acres of land situated at the southeast corner of the intersection of Seminole Trail [Route #29] and Proffit Road [Route #649]. The property, described as Tax Map 32, Parcel 37C is located in the Rivanna Magisterial District. The property is zoned HC - Highway Commercial and EC - Entrance Corridor Overlay District, and is designated for Regional Service in the Hollymead Community. A Site Development Plan has also been submitted with this request. (Yadira Amarante)
Ms. Amarante summarized the staff report.
o Based on the proposed site layout, no conflict is expected to occur between vehicles stacked in any of the drive-through lanes and the off-site traffic passing the entrances to this site. There is only going to be a right in off of 29. Therefore anybody using the Mercer retail site will have to exit the site through Profit Road. Therefore, they will have to automatically go through the Walgreen’s site to get out.
Mr. Edgerton asked if there were any questions for staff.
Ms. Higgins felt that the whole access issue was a little confusing. She asked if engineering had commented on that issue.
Ms. Amarante stated that engineering and VDOT looked at the special use permit request and neither had any opposition to the drive through. She pointed out that the engineering staff did not specifically comment on the location of the by pass lane, but had reserved the right to review the safety aspects at the time of the final plan submission. She stated that the site plan has to be in general accord with the special use permit plan.
Ms. Higgins stated that there were a couple of notes on the actual plan that was being referenced that she had questions about. On page 12, there is a 25 foot opening in the curb that says access easement. If you are on Profit Road and turn in there is an access easement shown going that way.
Ms. Amarante stated that staff had requested an interconnection with that parcel. She stated that the grade there just drops off.
Ms. Higgins asked where the access easement goes.
Ms. Amarante stated that the access easement would end at that property line. If that property owner comes in to develop that property and wants to use that, then at that point they could have an interconnection. Staff has also asked for another one at the end of that access easement to connect into the Forest Lakes Shopping Center.
Ms. Higgins stated that access easements have to be to somebody.
Mr. Fritz stated that this access easement goes to the property line for further development that might occur on that adjacent parcel. Staff is always looking for opportunities to provide interconnections for future development or redevelopment. Staff realizes in this particular case that it is going to take a lot of site work on the other side. It might not be practical, but they at least wanted to provide the opportunity for it.
Ms. Amarante stated that they are mandated by the ordinance to look for interconnections. In the past staff use to make people build to the property lines, but then they figured that the people on the other property don’t have the legal right to trespass on the property. Therefore, they started asking for access easements in order to get rid of that problem.
Ms. Higgins pointed out that there was something mentioned in the staff report about VDOT reviewing this.
Ms. Amarante stated that VDOT had substantial comments just on the site plan itself in terms of that right in off of Route 29.
Ms. Higgins stated that is because it is being moved and the other one is being abandoned.
Ms. Amarante stated that was exactly true and that it had all been worked out.
Mr. Fritz pointed out that would have been included in the Site Review Committee’s comments.
Ms. Amarante stated that they were actually reserving quite a bit of land for the improvements for Profit Road. She pointed out that VDOT was able to come up with a width, which is why they were able to require that reservation.
There being no further questions for staff, Mr. Edgerton opened the public hearing and invited the applicant to address the Commission.
Ned Bickers, of Laird Development in Knoxville Tennessee, stated that he was the applicant in this case and that also present is Laurie DaRue who is the civil engineer working on this site. He stated that he did not have much to add. In working with the ARB to come up with a design, orientation and site layout with landscaping that fit within their preference the one thing that they added was the island. That allowed a landscape buffer of not only that island, but the next island over at the retail shop’s building so that the drive through was not extremely visible from the road. He felt that if they looked at the site plan they will see that they have accomplished at least that part of it. This is the ideal time for stubbing in the access easement. Once you add a layer of corporate entity like Walgreens on a lease as a permanent lender he felt that getting approval to do those cross accesses was almost impossible after the fact.
Mr. Edgerton asked if they had considered relegated parking. He pointed out that this site was going to be the first thing anybody sees when they come to Charlottesville.
Mr. Bickers stated that actually there was a significant amount of give and take on the parking. Initially the building itself was shifted back towards the retail building on the site. There were two rows of parking on the Profit Road side. But, the ARB wanted to see at least one row of that parking go away. Therefore, they realigned the building and aligned the front of the building parallel with the front of the retail building. As far as the number of spaces for the square footage, he believed that was the County’s requirement for that amount.
Mr. Edgerton asked staff if there was any opportunity for reduction of the required spaces with the drive in.
Ms. Amarante stated that the applicant had already gotten that reduction in parking.
There being no further questions for the applicant, Mr. Edgerton invited comment from other members of the public. There being none, he closed the public hearing to bring the matter back before the Commission for discussion and possible action.
Mr. Edgerton stated that they had 16 extra spaces, which would be almost an entire row of spaces in front. The elimination of those extra spaces would allow for even more of a planting area.
Ms. Joseph stated that there was a note on page 15 of the landscape plan that says shrubs will be allowed to reach the mature height and the parking lot perimeter shrubs will be allowed to grow into a hedge. She asked if there was any reason that they could not add trees into that to avoid having the severe pruning that they have seen on Pantops.
Ms. Amarante stated that was an ARB item and she had not reviewed the landscape plan. She pointed out that they will have additional landscape requirements.
Ms. Higgins noted that they did not take a parking reduction for the drive through and it is the full required amount of spaces. She stated that they have exceeded it by the allowable amount of 20 percent.
Mr. Edgerton stated that they were being asked to approve a special use permit for a drive through window. He asked if they wanted to consider linking that approval to a reduction in the parking.
Mr. Rieley stated that the new parking standards say that 20 percent of this parking is adequate not even including the drive through window. Also, there is a bonus provision for bus parking. Therefore, he did not feel comfortable supporting this when it has not only as much parking as our zoning people think is necessary, but 20 percent more than that. And in addition to that it has a drive through window which should reduce the parking and so far is not reducing it.
Mr. Edgerton stated that they don’t have a drive through window until they approve the special use permit.
Mr. Rieley stated that it was a very valid point that they are dealing with the maximum amount of parking allowed, that is 20 percent above the target amount with a drive through on top of that. He felt that they acknowledge that a drive through window should reduce the parking.
Ms. Higgins suggested that they ask the applicant to come back up and give some feedback as to how the parking relates to the use.
Ms. Amarante stated that Jan Sprinkle of Zoning did look at the parking requirements extensively and gave them a reduction of 25 square feet for both drive through windows. She noted that was the number that was on the plan.
Mr. Fritz stated that the number on the plan of 71 required spaces for Walgreen is based upon the credit for drive through.
Mr. Edgerton stated that they had 16 additional spaces that would reduce almost an entire row of parking spaces in the front and allow for more of a planting area.
Ms. Higgins stated that it already said that the required amount was already a reduced number.
Mr. Edgerton stated that was correct and that he was suggesting that they hold them to what the reduced number is as opposed to allowing them to go above it.
Mr. Rieley stated that he was not comfortable with that because that is a minimum number and he did not recall a case in which they had required somebody to meet the minimum. If they figured in the reduction and used that as the basis and then the 20 percent allowable was added on top of that, then he felt that reasonable. He stated that he just did not understand that.
Ms. Higgins suggested so that they don’t get precedent issues in the future that maybe it be noted on the site plan what is different about this calculation as opposed to the actual amount required without the reduction for the drive through.
Mr. Fritz stated that staff could include that reference on the final plat.
Mr. Thomas pointed out that when he walked the property he was very surprised how much the property dropped off in the rear.
Action on SP-04-055:
Motion: Mr. Rieley moved, Mr. Thomas seconded, that SP-04-055 for Walgreens be recommended to the Board of Supervisors for approval subject to the conditions recommended by staff.
1. The site shall be constructed in general accordance with the preliminary site plan entitled “Walgreens”, issue date of 7/13/05 and initialed Y.Q.A dated 7/15/05.
2. Signage and pavement markings shall be provided at the entrance and exit points of the drive-through lane, subject to Current Development Division engineering approval to ensure appropriate and safe travel patterns.
3. Landscaping beyond that outlined in the ARB Design Guidelines is required to mitigate the impacts of the site layout. Landscaping shall be provided to the satisfaction of the ARB.
The motion passed by a vote of 5:1. (Commission Edgerton voted nay.) (Commissioner Craddock was absent.)
Action on Critical Slopes Waiver:
Motion: Mr. Thomas moved, Mr. Morris seconded to grant the critical slopes waiver to Section 4.2.5.b(2) as requested by Walgreens.
Ms. Joseph supported the critical slopes waiver because the slopes were man-made and it was not going into any watershed immediately. She felt that it and would not cause any erosion problems. Also, they were using the site in the urban area as they like them to.
The motion passed by a vote of 6:0. (Commissioner Craddock was absent.)
Mr. Edgerton stated that SP-04-055 for Walgreens would go to the Board of Supervisors on September 7 with a recommendation for approval.
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