STAFF PERSON:                                                                  JUDITH C. WIEGAND, AICP

PLANNING COMMISSION:                                              NOVEMBER 15, 2005

BOARD OF SUPERVISORS:                                             DECEMBER 7, 2005



SP-2005-00021 American Spirit Institute Private School


Applicant's Proposal: The applicant, Celia G. Hines, is requesting approval of a special use permit to allow a private school for training in massages and facials. The applicant has been operating the school in violation of the Zoning Ordinance, which requires a special use permit for a private school in a CO (Commercial) district. This special use permit application is the means to rectify the violation.


The proposed school would be located within an existing building at 2776 Hydraulic Road. There are two other office buildings in the complex that share a parking lot. The applicant proposes that the school consist of 1 employee and no more than 3 students at any given time. Classes would be conducted during the day, 9am-3pm, and in the evenings, generally from 5pm-10m. These classes will be in addition to the massages and facials given to clients on the premises.


Petition: Request for special use permit to allow use of a private school in accordance with Section of the Zoning Ordinance which allows for private schools in CO commercial districts. The property, described as Tax Map 61, Parcel 27, contains approximately 0.835 acre, and is located in the Jack Jouett Magisterial District at 2776 Hydraulic Road, near the corner of Hydraulic Road and Whitewood across from Albemarle High School. The property is also zoned EC Entrance Corridor. The Comprehensive Plan designates this property as Neighborhood Service in Neighborhood 1 Development Area. General usage for neighborhood service is neighborhood-scale retail, wholesale, office, service, and residential (6 - 34 units/acre). General usage within the CO Commercial zoning district permits offices, supporting commercial and service use, and residential by special use permit (15 units/acre).


Zoning History: Prior to 1980, this parcel was zoned Commercial Business. In 1980, the zoning was changed to Commercial Office.


Background:  This site has three buildings with a variety of office uses and a few retail uses. The three buildings share a parking area. The applicant has been operating a business offering massages and facials to clients in the building at 2276 Hydraulic Road. For some time, she has also been offering classes in massage and facials. The operator has been cited for operating a private school without a special use permit, which is required in the CO (Commercial) district. 


The Zoning Ordinance requires that, for school uses, the number of required parking spaces shall be determined by the Zoning Administrator. To ensure adequate parking for this school, zoning would limit the class size during normal business hours to no more than 3 students. After 5pm, there is plenty of parking available and the class size would not need a limit—the physical classroom space will dictate the number of students.


Character of the Area:

Other uses at 2776 Hydraulic Road include two dentists, a dental lab, a music store, a chiropractor, a homeopathic medicine practitioner, an accountant, and another office. This site is located on Hydraulic Road, across from Albemarle High School and south of Whitewood Road.


There are several other professional office buildings both north and south of the subject building that front on Hydraulic Road. To the east of these buildings are the Olde Oak Court Condominiums and the Oak Forest neighborhood (single-family detached units).


Comprehensive Plan:

The Comprehensive Plan designates this property as Neighborhood Service, which allows for neighborhood-scale retail, wholesale, office, service, and residential (6 – 34 units/acre).  The proposed school is consistent with the Neighborhood Service designation. 


The Neighborhood Model provides additional support to the Land Use Plan by setting forth principles for how development should take place in Development Areas.  The use is proposed within an existing building and no exterior changes are proposed.  Staff has evaluated this proposal and does not believe that any modifications are needed to the site to conform to the Neighborhood Model or other parts of the Comprehensive Plan. Since the proposal is using an existing structure and no new development is taking place, a full review of the proposal’s consistency with the Neighborhood Model has not been provided.




Staff has reviewed this request for compliance with the provisions of Section of the Zoning Ordinance and recommends approval with conditions.




Staff will address each provision of Section of the Zoning Ordinance:


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. 


North, south, and directly east of the site are other office buildings. West across Hydraulic Road is Albemarle High School. Southwest of the site and separated by one small parcel, is the Oak Forest neighborhood of single-family detached homes. There are no modifications proposed to the exterior of the building. Staff does not anticipate any significant traffic impacts. Staff finds that there is no negative impact from this proposal on the adjacent properties.


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


This site is located within a Commercial Office district. The proposed use is a relatively small instructional facility to be located entirely within the existing building. The proposal is compatible with the site and surrounding areas. 


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


The proposed school for massage and facials is to be located entirely within an existing professional office building in an appropriate zoning district.  It is staff's opinion that this proposal is consistent with the purpose and intent of the Zoning Ordinance.


            with the uses permitted by right in the district,


Due to the limited scale of this school and its location within an existing building, approval of this request will not negatively affect any of the by-right uses that are allowed within the district or on this site. 


and with the public health, safety and general welfare. 


The proposed school will provide a unique service to the community. Staff has found no public health, safety, or general welfare concerns with this proposal.




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

1.      With the proposed condition, there is adequate parking available on site to address this use.

2.      The classroom training will provide a service to the community.

3.      As the use will be located entirely within an existing facility, no new land use impacts are anticipated.


Staff finds no factors unfavorable to this request.



Staff has reviewed this request for compliance with the provisions set forth in Section of the Zoning Ordinance and recommends approval with conditions.


Recommended condition of approval:


1.      The number of students in any class offered between 7am and 5pm shall not exceed 3 students.



 A.                 Property Tax Map

Return to PC actions letter