STAFF PERSONS:                         Yadira amarante

                                                          Steven snell                  

PLANNING COMMISSION:                   july 26, 2005

BOARD OF SUPERVISORS:                  SEPTEMBER 7, 2005


sp 04-055 walgreens Drive-Through WINDOW

sdp 04-088 walgreens - critical slopes waiver request


Applicant’s Proposal:


The applicant has submitted a preliminary site plan for a development consisting of a 14,820 G.S.F. pharmacy with a drive-through window and redevelopment of an existing building and parking area which once operated as Mercer Carpet, a retail establishment, (Attachment A). The site review committee has reviewed the preliminary site plan and determined that it can be approved administratively with the approval of a special use permit to allow the drive-through window for the pharmacy and with a waiver of Section 4.2.3, which prohibits the disturbance of critical slopes. The property, described as Tax Map 32 - Parcel 37C contains approximately 2.3 acres and is located in the Rivanna Magisterial District on the southeast corner of the intersection of Seminole Trail [Route #29] and Proffit Road [Route # 649], (Attachment B). This site is zoned Highway Commercial (HC) and Entrance Corridor (EC), and has a Comprehensive Plan designation of Regional Service in the Hollymead Community.


The applicant is requesting approval of a special use permit in accordance with Section of the Zoning Ordinance which allows for drive-in windows serving or associated with the by-right uses allowed in the HC zoning district. This petition also includes a request for Planning Commission approval of a critical slopes waiver pertaining to the approval of the preliminary site plan. The Board of Supervisors does not need to act on the critical slope waiver.


Planning and Zoning History


SDP 97-026 Airport Motel Wayside Stand.  On March 18, 1997, the county administratively approved a site plan for a wayside stand for fruit sales.


Character of the Area:


The site includes the Airport Motel, a motor court complex built around 1930 and the Mercer Carpet building. The motel consists of two (2) main buildings, a dwelling unit, and what appear to be several storage sheds all of which appear abandoned. The Mercer Carpet building is not currently in use.


The adjacent parcels to the south contain a convenience store/gas station and the Forest Lakes Shopping Center. The property shares its eastern boundary with a vacant parcel. The immediate vicinity is characterized by other commercial uses including, banks, restaurants, offices, and retail stores. All properties surrounding this parcel are zoned HC, C1, or PDSC.



Comprehensive Plan:


Requests for special use permits within the Development Areas are assessed for conformity with the recommendations set forth in the Land Use Plan.  In addition to being a use that is allowed by right in the HC zoning district, retail establishments, like pharmacies, are also recommended as primary uses in areas designated for Regional Service land uses in the Comprehensive Plan.


Chapter 2 of the Comprehensive Plan, entitled “Natural Resources and Cultural Assets” sets goals for preserving the scenic resources that are recognized as being essential to the County’s character, economic vitality, and quality of life.  The Entrance Corridor Overlay Districts were implemented to further the County’s efforts toward attaining the Comprehensive Plan objective of maintaining the visual integrity of important roadways. The Architectural Review Board (ARB) addresses the aesthetic impacts of development on those roads by applying the County’s various design standards for development within the Entrance Corridor. The ARB has reviewed the site layout and building design of this proposal for conformity with the County’s adopted design guidelines, and has no objections to the drive-thru use and recommends approval with conditions, (Attachment C).




Staff will address each provision of Section of the Zoning Ordinance, as they relate to the proposed pharmacy drive-through:


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,


Uses that implement drive-through windows are often characterized by the high volumes of customers that are served during the peak hours of operation.  Therefore, the concerns for the impact upon adjacent properties and public roads are mainly focused on ensuring that the stacking and loading movements of vehicles entering the drive-through lanes do not obstruct the free passage of off-site vehicles. Most drive-through windows reviewed by the County are for fast food restaurants which do have significant peak hour demands. While it is anticipated that a pharmacy will also have a peak hour demand it is not anticipated to be as great as for a fast food restaurant.


The proposed drive-through lanes are well enough away from the site’s two main entrances and contain enough stacking spaces to pose any problems for vehicles traveling off site, therefore, staff does not believe that the proposed drive-through window would impose any detriment upon adjacent properties. Traffic from the Mercer site, which will use the Walgreens site for its access, can effectively be routed away from the drive-through lanes in order to leave the site and enter the public road.  


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


Pharmacies are allowed as by-right uses in the HC zoning district and Section of the Zoning Ordinance allows for drive-in windows serving or associated with the by-right uses allowed in the district.  The drive-through window and its access lanes are proposed to be visible from the entrance corridor.  The Architectural Review Board has reviewed the preliminary site plan along with conceptual drawings of the structure for consistency with the County’s entrance corridor design guidelines and recommends approval with conditions.  The ARB has recommended one condition for the drive-through special permit to help mitigate the visual impact to the EC. Because the drive-through would support a by right use, and consideration has been given for its aesthetic impact, it is staff’s opinion that approval of this proposal would not result in changing the character of the district as there are similar uses within the immediate vicinity.


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


Staff has reviewed this request for compliance with the purpose and intent of the Zoning Ordinance, as set forth in Section 1.4, and identified no conflict that would arise as a result of its approval.


with the uses permitted by right in the district,


Section 24 of the Zoning Ordinance, entitled Highway Commercial allows the same by-right uses that are permitted in the C-1 (Commercial) zoning district; this includes banks, pharmacies, and fast food restaurants, (allowed by right in the HC district), which usually have drive-through windows as accessory uses.


This request to allow a drive-through window is consistent with most of the pharmacies that have been established in similarly zoned districts throughout the County. Therefore, it is staff’s opinion that the proposed drive-through is in harmony with the by-right uses located within HC and C-1 zoning districts.


with additional regulations provided in Section 5.0 of this ordinance,


There are no additional regulations in Section 5.0 that specifically address pharmacies or other uses that have drive-through windows as an accessory use to their standard services.

and with the public health, safety and general welfare.


Section 4.12.17.c(2)(a) of the Zoning Ordinance provides standards for internal circulation related to drive-through windows and one-way access aisles.  These regulations require adequate area for a minimum of five (5) stacking spaces for each drive-through lane. When deemed necessary, the county engineer may require single lane drive-through windows to have travelway widths of up to sixteen (16) feet in order to allow for bypass traffic.  In this case the applicant is providing a separate 25-foot wide by-pass lane which also serves as a main travelway within the site. Furthermore, the site plan proposes the installation of required one-way signage and pavement markings to direct traffic in a safe and orderly pattern.


The special use permit application plan was reviewed by Current Development engineering staff, in conjunction with a preliminary site plan, to analyze the stacking in all drive-through lanes and the proposed site circulation.  The Site Review Committee also has also performed the standard preliminary site plan application review.  The Current Development Division’s engineering review resulted in no additional or outstanding concern with the proposed drive-through window. Therefore, it is staff’s opinion that this site could be developed, as planned, in harmony with the regulations that are intended to promote the public’s health, safety and general welfare.


Staff will address the provisions of Section 4.2 of the Zoning Ordinance (Critical Slopes):


Section of the Zoning Ordinance restricts earth-disturbing activity on critical slopes, while Section 4.2.5.b.2 allows the Planning Commission to waive this restriction upon finding that the requirements would effectively prohibit or unreasonably restrict the use of the property due to the size, topography, shape or location of the property.


Existing critical slopes almost completely run along the perimeter of this property. Only the front of the Mercer building and the building pads for the motel, dwelling unit, and accessory structures are devoid of critical slopes. Although the county has no official records showing the construction of either the motel or the Mercer building, it is staff’s opinion that these slopes are man-made and were probably created during construction of Routes 29 and 649 and/or during construction of the motel itself.


The applicant has submitted a request and justification for the waiver addressing the five health, safety and welfare concerns that are set forth in the ordinance, (Attachment D).


These critical slopes are located in the areas proposed for construction.  There are approximately 1.05 acres of critical slopes on the entire site, which is 35% of the total site area, (the total site area is approximately 3.00 acres which includes approximately 0.70 acres to be purchased from TMP 46B4-4). Of those, approximately 0.89 acres or 85% will be disturbed for building and parking lot grading.


Staff has reviewed this waiver request with consideration for the five (5) concerns that are set forth in Section 4.2 of the Zoning Ordinance, entitled “Critical Slopes.” These concerns have been addressed directly through both the analysis provided herein and with the standard administrative review that is applied to all site development proposals. The Department of Community Development’s analysis of this proposal is provided by the Current Development Division’s engineering and planning reviewers.  Engineering analysis addresses the concerns for excessive stormwater run-off, increased movement of soil and rock, siltation and septic effluent, (Attachment E).  Proper slope construction, control of drainage, and vegetative stabilization with approved erosion control measures within the standards of Virginia Erosion and Sedimentation Control Regulations will prevent any movement of soil.  Stormwater runoff will be controlled by the required drainage and stormwater management plan for this site. Inspection and bonding by the County will ensure siltation control during construction, while proper stabilization and maintenance will ensure long term stability.  Finally, septic effluent is not a concern because this site is serviced by public sanitary sewer.


The Planning analysis of this request addresses the concern for the possible loss of aesthetic resources.  Staff finds that none of the critical slopes in question are delineated on the Open Space Plan Concept Map, nor are they located within any Major or Locally Important Stream Valleys or Mountains, all of which are designated as important resources that are often associated with critical slopes. Furthermore, there is not a significant amount of vegetative coverage present in the area where the critical slopes disturbance will occur and much of the slopes will be planted in new vegetation. The following is an excerpt from the staff report presented to the ARB on March 7, 2005 by the county’s design planner:


“Proposal: The topography of the existing motel site includes the following features: A relatively level area (545’ to 548’) paralleling the EC, a few feet above the elevation of the EC (544’ to 545’); a central plinth raised approximately 10’ above the area just described, forming a base for the motel building; a similar raised area to the north, forming a base for the residence along Proffit Road, separated from the motel by a driveway; a level area behind (east of) the motel; and a steep slope along the eastern property line. The Mercer Carpet building site is generally flat. Proposed grading would level the motel site, eliminating the motel plinth and pushing the steep eastern slope back to the east, off-site.

Comments: The motel plinth is not considered a significant topographic feature worthy of retention. Despite the significant amount of grading proposed on the east side of the site, the proposed grading is not expected to have a significant visual impact on the EC.

Recommendations: None.”




Staff has identified the following factors, which are favorable to this special use permit request:


1.      The provision of drive-through services can be considered a standard function of pharmacies, which are by-right

         uses in the HC zoning district.

2.      The drive-through lanes would offer the opportunity for customers who will not need to access the drive-through

         to bypass stacked traffic.

3.      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.


Staff has not identified any factors which are unfavorable to this special use permit request.




sp 04-055 Walgreens Drive Through Window:


Staff has reviewed these proposals for compliance with Section of the Zoning Ordinance consistency with the Comprehensive Plan and recommends approval of the special use permit SP 04-055 with the following conditions:


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.


sdp 04-088 Walgreens -Critical Slopes Waiver:


RECOMMENDATION: With consideration for Section 4.2.5.b(2), it is staff’s opinion that a strict application of section 4.2 would not further the purposes of the Zoning Ordinance or otherwise serve the public, health, safety or welfare.  Therefore, staff recommends Planning Commission approval of the requested critical slopes waiver based on the findings provided herein.






A -       Special use permit application and preliminary site plan (revised 7/13/05)

B -       Tax Map/Vicinity Map

C -       Architectural Review Board Comments

D -       Critical Slopes Waiver Request

E -       Engineering Review Comments
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