COUNTY OF ALBEMARLE
AGENDA TITLE: ZMA 2004-12; SP 2004-38; SP 2005-02
Luxor Commercial is a request to rezone 3.523 acres from R-6, and R-15 (Residential) to a Planned District Mixed Commercial (PDMC) and to rezone 1.377 acres from C-1 (Commercial) to PDMC to allow a 1,500 square foot bank and 80,000 square feet of mixed commercial. Two parcels are involved in the rezoning. Tax Map 78, Parcel 55D contains 1.377 acres and was rezoned to commercial in 1995 (ZMA 95-11) to allow for a stand-alone veterinary office. This parcel is surrounded by Tax Map 78, Parcel 55A4, a larger 23.168 acre parcel. Attachment A shows the Application Plan and Attachment B contains current proffers.
The request also includes two special use permit applications. These special use permit applications are for a drive-in window for a bank and for a veterinary office.
STAFF CONTACT(S): Cilimberg, Dougherty
LEGAL REVIEW: YES
AGENDA DATE: August 30, 2005
ACTION: X INFORMATION:
REVIEWED BY: Cilimberg
On June 30, the Planning Commission heard the request by North Pantops Townhouses to construct a mixed-use center along Route 250 East, between Aunt Sarah’s Pancake House and the newly opened Eckerd drugstore. The Planning Commission shared concerns about the project and gave the applicant and staff clear direction for the next hearing. Staff has worked with the applicant and resolved several issues and refined the proffers to address the Commission’s concerns.
Regarding ZMA 2004-12, the issues raised by the Planning Commission were:
- The appropriateness of staff’s recommendation for approval of the ZMA as it relates to the Comprehensive Plan’s recommendation for “no strip development” along this side of Route 250.
- Adequacy of pedestrian access from front of site to rear.
- Need for a clear prescription for preserving two mature pines along Route 250, given the proposed sidewalk location.
Consistency with Comprehensive Plan recommendations: The Commission requested additional information regarding the consistency of this proposal with the recommendations of the Comprehensive Plan. This area is recommended for Urban Density Residential use. A specific recommendation in the Plan related to this area that states:
This recommendation was included in the 1995 Comprehensive Plan. The intent was to avoid the creep of highway-oriented commercial style development eastward from the existing commercially developed area, just west of the Montessori school site, which is designated Regional Service in the Comprehensive Plan. However, since the adoption of the Plan in 1995, a number of approvals and developments have occurred to change the character of this area. These include:
In addition, the emerging development of the large remaining portion of the “Luxor” property to the north of this site will consist primarily of residential uses. The Luxor, Fontana, Westminster-Canterbury, and Ashcroft developments combine to create a large residential area that could be served by this commercial area.
The road system being constructed to serve the Luxor site essentially divides this site from the rest of the Luxor residential area. While the remaining underdeveloped area (5 acres--3.5 acres zoned residential, 1.5 acres zoned C-1) could be developed residentially, staff believes it would be more difficult to integrate into the existing non-residential development. The site could be better integrated into the existing non-residential development that has emerged in this immediate area to provide a commercial site that would support the residential developments north of Route 250. This would be consistent with some of the preliminary findings from the Pantops Master Plan public input process, which called for pedestrian/bicycle accessible commercial areas and concern raised with emerging residential development North of Route 250 while most commercial services are located south of Route 250. Furthermore, the applicant is proposing a mixture of uses, site design, and architectural style that is counter to typical strip development typologies. Strip development is characterized by zoning and land uses that stretch along highway frontages and include only one, conventional zoning and use. The mixture of uses in this development, architectural treatment along Route 250, and internalized parking and ample pedestrian facilities help to provide a framework for considering the project as appropriate for this area.
In summary staff believes that a well designed commercial area meeting the principles of the Neighborhood Model in this location would provide a good neighborhood level service area that can serve the residential areas north of Route 250. While not consistent with the original intent of the Comprehensive Plan regarding commercial areas along Route 250, it may be considered an appropriate development given the emerging pattern of development in this area and character / design of this project as proposed.
Pedestrian circulation: Concerning the pedestrian circulation from the front to the rear of the site, the applicant has shown this connection on the plan. The design provides safer and more convenient access from the front of the site to the rear. The connection is coordinated with the landscaping to provide a partially shaded connection.
Tree Preservation: Regarding the two mature pine trees and their continued preservation through site planning and construction, the applicant has made changes to proffer 5 including bonding the trees and hiring an arborist to implement the following plan for preservation:
“Tree protection shall be provided for the two large existing evergreen trees, in the northwestern corner of the Aunt Sarah’s entrance on Route 250. Tree protection shall include appropriate fertilizing, tree protection fences, and mulching by a certified arborist. With site plan approval, we will bond the two trees in the landscape plan for 2,000 dollars.”
Proffers: The proffers are in final form and appropriately respond to impacts related to this development. The proffers have been reviewed by legal staff and appropriate amendments have been made to the proffers to reflect that review.
New Information: Since the Planning Commission last reviewed this item, another substantive issue has arisen. In further identifying the exact location of the access easement serving the Aunt Sarah’s site, the applicant has found that buildings were proposed in that easement. Since the easement must be maintained free and clear of obstructions, the applicant has altered the design of the building layout at the rear of the project.
Clustering the buildings at the rear of the site to one side allows for slightly better circulation between the three buildings to the rear. Staff believes this change increases the functionality of the pedestrian connection across the parking lot, as the buildings served by the connection are now closer together. The implications for the Monticello viewshed are positive, particularly given the location of the two mature evergreens, the design of tree islands to be located behind them, and the clustering of the buildings to the rear allow them to be obscured by the buildings lining Route 250. Engineering and Zoning have reviewed and approve of these changes.
Staff recommends approval of ZMA 2004-12 with proffers (attached).
SP 2004-38 Drive-up window for the bank.
The Commission raised no issues with this request.
Staff recommends approval of SP 04-38 with the following conditions:
1. Drive-through windows will be limited to three (3); including one to be used for an ATM.
2. Architectural Review Board issuance of a Certificate of Appropriateness.
3. Applicant is responsible for installation and maintenance of control devices such as signage, and pavement markings as indicated on the application plan. The crosswalk just beyond the drive-up window bays for the bank shall be identified with crosswalk signage on either side of the drive aisle.
Regarding a previous request for SP 2005-01 (coffee shop drive-through), the applicant has withdrawn the Special Use Permit request due to the constraints tied to the access easement issues identified above.
SP 05-02 Veterinary Clinic
Regarding concerns raised by the Commission related to the original conditions set forth for the veterinary clinic, staff has not identified a conflict, but has added an additional condition prohibiting outside exercise areas.
Staff recommends approval of SP 05-02 with the following condition:
Attachment A – Application Plan
Attachment B – Proffers
Attachment C – Section 18 - 188.8.131.52 and Section 18 – 22 of the Zoning Ordninance
Attachment D – Rendering / Proffer Attachment
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