Phasing (Time-release of Development)

 

 

A.      Intent

 

Phasing, or the timed release of development potential, allows the management of growth while balancing the needs of landowners for occasional divisions. Phasing would also provide time for the implementation of Rural Area Comprehensive Plan policies.

 

B.      Rate of Development

 

Phasing of development rights works by releasing a fixed number of new lots from a parent parcel in a given time period (“x lots in y years”).

 

The number of development lots released per phasing period, and the length of that period, should be selected to have a significant impact on the rate of development. Permitting the use of a large portion of a parcel’s total development potential in each phasing period or setting the phasing period too short will not significantly slow the rate of residential development. Despite this limited effect, such regulations would still require additional staff time and resources for tracking and monitoring development rights.

 

In the County’s Rural Areas zoning district, parcels in existence on December 10, 1980 were assigned five development rights, in addition to the by-right creation of 21-acre or larger lots. In many cases, the development-right lots are a large portion of the total lots that can be divided from a parent parcel. This suggests that permitting the creation of four or five lots per phasing period will have little impact on the rate of rural development, as most of the development potential could be used immediately.

 

Short phasing periods are also ineffective. Given the essentially permanent alterations to the Rural Areas caused by the creation of residential lots, a short (e.g., five-year) phasing period is little different from no phasing at all. The rate of development would not be significantly affected (but the complexity of processing applications would be increased). Phasing periods of 10 years or more would have more of an impact on the rate of development.

 

See the attached graphic, “Examples of Subdivision Phasing,” (Attachment B) for illustrations of effects of different phasing rates.

 

Of course, unless other circumstances change, any phasing period will eventually lead to the same buildout. In addition, there are over 10,000 undeveloped lots in the Rural Areas that could be built on without needing any subdivision approval; phasing will do nothing to address this potential development.

 

Given these concerns and experiences, staff recommends phasing the creation of rural lots at the rate of 2 lots per 10 years. (Note that this includes both development-right lots and 21-acre lots.) Table B below shows the number of years it would take for parent parcels of various sizes to use their total development potential. (For those that would take 10 years or more, some lots would be created before that end point; see the illustrations in “Examples of Subdivision Phasing,” Attachment B.) Even at this phasing rate, parcels of 100 acres or less would use their total development potential in no more than 30 years.


 

Table B:  Phasing

Acres (per parcel of record)

Total Development Potential (new lots in addition to parent- includes both DR and 21-acre lots)

Years Needed to Use Development Potential

2

0

0

5

1

0

10

4

10

15

4

10

20

4

10

25

4

10

30

4

10

35

5

20

40

5

20

45

5

20

50

5

20

55

6

20

60

6

20

65

6

20

70

6

20

75

7

30

80

7

30

85

7

30

90

7

30

95

8

30

100

8

30

 

Focus point: Selecting an effective phasing rate is critical to the success of this proposal. Permitting too many lots per phasing period, or selecting a short phasing period, will have little or no effect on the rate of residential development and will not be worth the resource demands the program would create.

 

C.      Exemptions

 

The following types of divisions would be exempt from the phasing requirements:

 

·         Family divisions (may require modifications to avoid circumvention of phasing)

·         Divisions creating parcels of at least 50 acres that cannot be further divided

·         Lot-line adjustments that do not create a new lot

 

Focus point: Certain types of subdivision activity need not be subject to phasing requirements.

 


 

 

D.      Implications of Phasing

 

Unlike other localities with simple acreage-based zoning, Albemarle has a dual zoning approach (development rights and 21-acre zoning) that adds some complexity to phasing, especially when combined with clustering. Some issues are listed below.

 

·         Phasing and Allocation of Development Rights

 

When large rural parcels are divided into a few smaller parcels (for example, a 100-acre parcel being divided into two 50-acre parcels), some number of development rights are typically assigned to each new parcel. If the new parcels were treated as separate for the purposes of phasing, each could create the number of lots permitted in each phasing period, thus increasing the rate of development of the original parcel.

 

Phasing must be based on the development rights assigned to parcels as they exist at the time of adoption of the phasing ordinance.

 

Subdivision plats approved after adoption of a phasing ordinance would have to include a document specifying when development rights may be used on each resulting parcel. Both landowners and County staff would need to ensure that this document was followed properly. This document would need to be sufficiently detailed and flexible to cover future complications, such as an owner who did not use the development rights within their time period.

 

Focus point: Allocation of development rights among new large parcels creates complications for phasing. Measures to avoid conflicts about the timing of development-right use should be included in any phasing program.

 

 

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