COUNTY OF ALBEMARLE
ZMA 04-02 Fontaine Avenue Townhomes
Request to rezone 12.606 acres from Highway Commercial (HC) to Planned Residential Development (PRD) to allow 61 dwelling units. The property, described as Tax Map 76 Parcels 12A and 12G are located in the Samuel Miller Magisterial District on the north side of Fontaine Avenue [Route #702] approximately .25 miles west of the intersection of Fontaine Avenue and Route 29. The Comprehensive Plan designates this property as Neighborhood Service, in Neighborhood 6.
September 14, 2005
ACTION: X INFORMATION:
BACKGROUND: The request is for a 61 unit townhouse development located on Fontaine Avenue near the Route 250 bypass. Attachment A shows the current application plan.
On June 29, 2004, the Planning Commission reviewed this rezoning request and recommended approval subject to the proffers and an additional condition. The condition was stated as follows:
The pedestrian connection must be approved by the Planning Commission prior to approval of the final site plan. If a pedestrian connection is not provided along Fontaine Avenue, the applicant must justify why the connection must be located where it is proposed.
The original Board of Supervisors’ public hearing date was set for July 14, 2004.
In early July 2004, the applicant requested deferral because the property had become part of a bankruptcy proceeding. The applicant kept in touch with staff monthly and requested a number of deferrals, pending the outcome of the bankruptcy. The bankruptcy proceedings were completed in May and the property was sold to the applicant in June 2005. The applicant has now asked that the public hearing be held by the Board of Supervisors.
DISCUSSION: The primary issue of concern to the Planning Commission was the location of a pedestrian path and bridge over a stream and a wetland. Another concern raised by Commissioners, but not included in the action, related to the need for a true pedestrian link from the development to the Fontaine Research Park. For the pedestrian path over the stream, Engineering staff had been concerned that a new standalone bridge closer to the street would result in environmental degradation of the stream. VDOT would not approve a new pedestrian bridge connected to the existing bridge Engineering staff recommended to the applicant that pedestrian access take place across a bridge over a dam near the pond. The plan shown to the Planning Commission reflected the staff recommendation. The Commission disagreed with the staff recommendation because the proposed bridge was fairly far removed from the street and the Commission was concerned that pedestrians would not use the path.
Staff began discussing with the applicant possible solutions to the problem of pedestrian access over the stream as well as the need for a true pedestrian connection to Fontaine Research Park in July of 2004. Over the last year, staff, the applicant, and VDOT met a number of times and found the solution to both issues, which is shown in Attachment B.
The applicant’s current proposal, which staff endorses, is to construct a span bridge across the creek and install an asphalt path and striping under the overpass in the r.o.w. This path would extend to the signal at the intersection of Fontaine and the Research Park. The span bridge addresses concerns for both location and stream preservation and is endorsed by staff. The pedestrian path will be a five-foot wide asphalt path, the design and location of which is recommended and approvable by VDOT. An additional recommendation for right-angle crossings at the ramps has been made by the Executive Director of the Planning District Commission. Staff agrees with this recommendation. Since final plans for the path will be developed in conjunction with the site plan, VDOT can consider a County staff recommendation for right-angle crossings at that time.
Proffers are included in Attachment C. These proffers are different than the proffers reviewed by the Planning Commission in two ways. The first difference relates to the offer of $1000 per unit for capital improvements. This proffer has now been replaced by the proffer to construct the pedestrian path from the development to the Fontaine Research Park shown in Attachment B. The path represents an off-site proffer which is more expensive than the $1000/unit originally proffered for a total of $58,000. The applicant estimates the cost of the off-site path to be $105,000 as a result of replacement of a culvert, installation of the asphalt, striping and construction of several short retaining walls.
The second difference relates to the offer of three for-sale units of affordable housing. With the addition of the span bridge and pedestrian path to the development costs, the applicant has made the case that the costs of development are such that he could not recover enough to be able to reasonably provide three for-sale units. Instead, he is providing $60,000 ($20,000 per unit) to the County for affordable housing. The applicant is still providing six “accessory-type” units in the townhouses (duplexes). The County’s Housing Director believes that the proffers for affordable housing are appropriate.
RECOMMENDATIONS: Staff recommends approval of the rezoning with proffers.
ATTACHMENT A: Fontaine Townhomes Application Plan dated September 6, 2005
ATTACHMENT B: Fontaine Park Pathway and Wall Exhibit dated September 6, 2005
ATTACHMENT C: Proffers
dated September 6, 2005
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