The applicant requests 23 waivers or modifications of the Zoning Ordinance. A discussion and staff evaluation and recommendation of each follows. In the review of the waivers, sections of the ordinance have been copied into the report for Commissioner’s reference. The language from the Zoning Ordinance will be found in italics and staff’s recommendation will be found in bold.
1. Section 4.2 Critical Slopes and 4.2.3 Location of Structures and Improvements
4.2 These provisions are created to implement the comprehensive plan by protecting and conserving steep hillsides together with public drinking water supplies and flood plain areas and in recognition of increased potential for soil erosion, sedimentation, water pollution and septic disposal problems associated with the development of those areas described in the comprehensive plan as critical slopes. It is hereby recognized that such development of critical slopes may result in: rapid and/or large-scale movement of soil and rock; excessive stormwater run-off; siltation of natural and man-made bodies of water; loss of aesthetic resource; and in the event of septic system failure, a greater travel distance of septic effluent, all of which constitute potential dangers to the public health, safety and/or welfare. These provisions are intended to direct building and septic system locations to terrain more suitable to development and to discourage development on critical slopes, and to supplement other regulations regarding protection of public water supplies and encroachment of development into flood plains. (Amended 11-15-89) Where modification of regulations is sought pursuant to section 4.2.5, such request shall address each concern specified in section 4.2. (Added 11-15-89)
2. Section 4.2.3 Location of Structures and Improvements
4.2.3 Except as otherwise permitted pursuant to section 4.2.2, the provisions of this section shall apply to the location of any structure for which a permit is required under the Uniform Statewide
Building Code and to any improvement shown on a site development plan pursuant to section 32.0
of this chapter. (Amended 11-15-89; 10-17-01)
184.108.40.206 No structure or improvement shall be located on any lot or parcel in any area other than a building site. (Amended 11-15-89)
220.127.116.11 No structure or improvement nor earth disturbing activity to establish such structure or
improvement shall be located on slopes of twenty-five (25) percent or greater except as otherwise
permitted under section 4.3.01.
This review is focused on the criteria in Section 4.2 and the potential loss of aesthetic resources. Critical slopes make up 8.9 acres of the site’s 60.8 acres, or 14.7% of the site area. Below, each of the concerns of Zoning Ordinance section 18-4.2 is addressed:
Review of the request by Engineering Staff.
The “critical slopes” areas predominantly lie along the perimeters of the parcel. The majority of the “critical slopes” lie near the northern and eastern perimeters, with a small area adjacent to the southern property line. It appears that approximately 65% of the “critical slope” areas will be disturbed, with the majority of the disturbance to allow for the construction of structures, dwellings and the public sanitary sewer extension.
The most sensitive “critical slope” area is that portion that lies above the 50 foot preservation area proposed along the unnamed tributary stream. The most significant impacts to these slopes will be the proposed public sanitary sewer extension that will serve the Cascadia development, as well as the Lake Ridge development on the opposite bank of the unnamed tributary (Tax Parcel 78-57). The alignment of this sewer extension across the “critical slopes” is dependent on whether the extension is placed under the existing stream or an aerial crossing is allowed by the Albemarle County Service Authority (see Attachment A). The aerial crossing (50’ span) option will allow the general sewer extension alignment shown on Exhibit 8 of the plan. A crossing under the stream will place the alignment within a significant portion of the proposed 50 foot Preservation Area. Currently the exact alignment of this sewer extension has not yet been determined.
Question: Is the Commission agreeable to this lack of determination for the sewer versus Preservation Space or do they want a Albemarle County Service Authority commitment at this time?
“movement of soil and rock”
Most of the impacted “critical slopes” will be covered with significant amounts of fill in order to create the pads for the various non-residential and residential structures. Contrary to the statement in the applicant’s request, this will require a significant movement of soil. The construction of the sanitary sewer extension along the east-side of the parcel will require the cutting of a bench across the “critical slopes” to allow equipment to excavate the trench for the sewerline. The bench, the cut and fill slopes necessary to tie back into the existing grade, and the extension of private sewer laterals from the dwellings to the public sewerline will require a significant amount of soil movement on these slopes.
“excessive stormwater runoff”
Stormwater runoff will be captured and conveyed by a stormwater pipe system to the proposed stormwater management ponds. Runoff from the lots along the east-side of the development will not be captured by a stormwater system. In these areas measures will be taken to adequately disperse runoff from driveways and roof drain to prevent erosion.
Although the best way to avoid siltation impacts is to minimize or avoid land disturbing activity on “critical slopes”, some of these impacts are unavoidable. An erosions & sediment control plan will need to be submitted and approved as part of the final plans for this development. The design of adequate control measures, as well as the inspection and bonding by the County will ensure to minimize siltation impacts during construction. Proper surface stabilization and maintenance of the disturbed areas will ensure long term stability.
“loss of aesthetic resource”
Significant areas of “Important Woodlands” (approximately 10 acres), identified in the Open Space Plan will be lost in order to achieve the proposed density. The site will be graded and significant amounts of earth will be moved to facilitate the development plan.
The Land Use Plan suggests a range of 3-6 dwelling units per acre. Density on the development is proposed at a maximum of 5.5 units per acre. The density and form of development require that the woodlands be removed. Staff believes that if densities are expected to be at the higher edges of the range, woodland removal will occur.
The Code of Development commits to replanting of disturbed areas or terrain resulting from mass grading. This includes reestablishment of woodlands with hydroseeding of native slope mix and planting of hardwoods and pine trees.
This not a concern, as public sewer will service this site.
Summary of review of Modification of Section 4.2
Section 4.2.5 establishes the review process and criteria for granting a modification of Section 4.2.3. The preceding comments by staff address the provisions of Section 4.2.5a. Staff has included the provisions of Section 4.2.5b here, along with staff comment on the various provisions (Staff comments are in bold.)
The commission may modify or waive any requirement of section 4.2 in a particular case upon finding that: (Amended 11-15-89)
1. Strict application of the requirements of section 4.2 would not forward the purposes of this chapter or otherwise serve the public health, safety or welfare, or that alternatives proposed by the developer would satisfy the purposes of section 4.2 to at least an equivalent degree; or (Added 11-15-89)
Staff opinion is that approval would not meet this provision.
2. Due to its unusual size, topography, shape of the property, location of the property or other unusual conditions, excluding the proprietary interest of the developer, the requirements of section 4.2 would effectively prohibit or unreasonably restrict the use of the property or would result in significant degradation of the site or adjacent proper ties. Such modification or waiver shall not be detrimental to the public health, safety or welfare, to the orderly development of the area, or to adjacent properties, or be contrary to sound engineering practices; or (Added 11-15-89)
Denial of the request for the areas of “critical slopes” impacted by the sanitary sewer extension would restrict the ability to provide public sewer to this development as well as the future Lake Ridge development.
3. Granting such modification or waiver would serve a public purpose of greater import than would be served by strict application of section 4.2. (Added 11-15-89)
The intensity of the proposed development activity could be reduced to minimize or avoid impacts to “critical slope” from the grading needed for the structures and dwellings. However, this will negatively impact the ability to achieve the kind of density the County desires within our Development Areas.
This analysis results in the following findings. Factors favorable to approval of a modification to allow activity on critical slopes:
1. Approval of this request would not result in negative effects identified in Section 4.2.
2. The critical slopes on this property are not identified in the Open Space Plan.
Factors unfavorable to approval of a modification to allow activity on critical slopes:
1. The exact alignment of the portion of public sewer extension along the east-side of the parcel has not been determined. If the waiver request is approved, one of the possible alignments will have significant negative impacts to the area the applicant has designated a Preservation Area. This area would then need to be re-designated as a Conservation and area replanted as provided in the Code of Development.
Generally staff finds that this request is consistent with the criteria of Section 4.2.5a for granting a modification and therefore is able to recommend approval to the Commission of a modification of Section 4.2.3.
Staff has reviewed this request for compliance with the provisions of the Zoning Ordinance and if the Commission approves the disturbance of “critical slopes”, staff can support this waiver and recommends waiving it with the rezoning with the following conditions:
The Current Development Division shall not accept submittal of the final site plan for signature until tentative final approvals for the following conditions have been obtained.
1. Commitment to an Overlot Grading Plan
2. Current Development Planner approval to include:
Landscape plan to include a tree protection plan for land disturbing activity in the “Conservation Area”.
3. Current Development Engineer approval to include:
- Erosion and Sediment Control Plan.
- Stormwater Management Plan.
- Reconstructed slopes will be no greater than 3:1 unless landscaped.
- Landscaped slopes can be no greater than 2:1.
3. Section 4.7.3 OPEN SPACE, DESIGN REQUIREMENTS
18.104.22.168 In addition to provision of section 4.7.1 and section 4.7.2, in reviewing development proposing incorporation of open space, the commission may require inclusion in such open space of:
-Areas deemed inappropriate for or prohibited to development such as but not limited to: land in the one hundred year flood plain and significant drainage swales; land in slopes of twenty-five
(25) percent or greater; major public utility easements; stormwater detention and flood control devices; and lands having permanent or seasonally high water tables; (Amended 11-15-89)
-Areas to satisfy provisions of section 4.16 Recreation Regulations; (Added 11-15-89)
-Areas to provide reasonable buffering between dissimilar uses within such development and between such development and adjoining properties. (Added 11-15-89)
22.214.171.124 The commission may require redesign of such proposed development to accommodate open space areas as may be required under this provision; provided that, in no case, shall such redesign result in reduction of the total number of proposed dwelling units otherwise realizable under this ordinance for conventional development. (Added 11-15-89)
126.96.36.199 In such case where open space is required by provisions of this ordinance, not more than eighty (80) percent of such minimum required open space shall consist of the following:
a. Land located within the one hundred year flood plain; and (Added 11-15-89)
b. Land subject to occasional, common or frequent flooding as defined in Table 16 Soil and Water Features of the United States Department of Agriculture Soil Conservation Service, Soil Survey of Albemarle County, Virginia, August, 1985; and (Added 11-15-89)
c. Land in slopes of twenty-five (25) percent or greater; and (Added 11-15-89)
d. Land devoted to stormwater or flood control devices except where such feature is
incorporated into a permanent pond, lake or other water feature deemed by the commission to constitute a desirable open space amenity. (Added 11-15-89)
The applicant requests this waver to eliminate any potential and unforeseen conflicts between the Ordinance’s open space regulations and the standards established in the Code of Development. The Code of Development illustrates where and how open space will be provided as well amenities to be included within that open space. Staff supports this waiver and recommends waiving it with the rezoning.
4. Section 4.11.1 COVERED PORCHES, BALCONIES, CHIMNEYS AND LIKE FEATURES
4.11.1 Covered porches, balconies, chimneys, eaves and like architectural features may project not more than four (4) feet into any required yard; provided that no such feature shall be located closer than six (6) feet to any lot line. (Amended 9-9-92)
The applicant is requesting that the following features extend toward the build-to line in the front of houses up to 10 feet: porches, porch stairs, decks, balconies, bay windows, entrance stoops, planters, chimneys, and other similar structures. The applicant has not offered an alternative for these features relative to side and rear yards. Staff cannot this waiver until a separate standard for these features is proposed for rear and side yards. With alternate standards contained in the Code of Development, staff supports this waiver and recommends waiving it with the rezoning.
5. Section 4.11.2 STRUCTURES IN REQUIRED YARDS
4.11.2 No portion of any accessory structure shall be permitted in any required yard; except as herein
expressly provided. (Amended 3-18-81)
To implement the Neighborhood Model, the applicant has provided an alternative that is acceptable to staff. With alternate standards contained in the Code of Development, staff supports this waiver and recommends waiving it with the rezoning.
6. Section 188.8.131.52 ACCESSORY STRUCTURES
184.108.40.206 No structure shall be permitted in an easement in a way that adversely affects the easement. Accessory structures shall be erected no closer than six (6) feet to adjacent lot lines or, in the case of an alley easement or right-of-way or shared driveway easement, no closer than three (3) feet to the edge of the alley easement or right-of-way or the shared driveway easement. The director of
planning and community development may authorize an accessory structure to be located closer to the edge of an alley easement or right-of-way if the director determines that, based upon the written recommendation of the county engineer, the proposed design incorporates features that assure public safety and welfare. The county engineer shall consider the provision of adequate access to required onsite parking and/or garages, unimpeded vehicular circulation along the alley, an adequate clear zone along the alley, and other safety issues deemed appropriate for the conditions. (Amended 1-1-83, 2-6-02)
The applicant would like to place Accessory Structures that include garages less than three feet from the edge of an alley easement.
Staff recommends waiving these sections and substituting the standards in the Ordinance with Table D, Lot Regulations on Page 16 of the Code of Development. However, staff would like the Commission to consider the implications of footnote 9 from Table D, which reads, “With Accessory structures used to park cars, the three (3) foot setback may be reduced by one (1) foot for every two (2) feet that the fourteen foot alley is widened. The geometrics of this standard work in terms of garage access, however, staff notes that a wider alley width may increase travel speeds. Staff can support this waiver and recommends waiving it with the rezoning.
Parking Regulations - Generally
The applicant has submitted a number of parking waiver requests (described below). Staff has indicated to the applicant that specific requests for parking reductions, waivers, and modifications cannot be sufficiently understood until a site plan is submitted. At that time, many of the waivers of parking regulations requested by the applicant through the rezoning may be recommended. However, until more detail is established about the roads, non-residential uses, and final mix of housing types, waiving certain portions of the ordinance would not give staff assurances at the site plan stage when the needed detailed information is available. For these requests, staff’s review of the request clarifies that it should not be waived until the site plan stage. Additionally, in order to give the applicant a foundation for understanding staff’s approach to waivers and parking reductions at the site plan stage, staff offered the applicant the methodology and other considerations to establish the basis for those future determinations.
7. Section 4.12.9 STREET AND ALLEY PARKING
4.12.9 Street and alley parking may be provided as follows:
a. Street parking consists of parking spaces located in a public or private right-of way. Each parking space that is in a public or private right-of-way abutting the lot shall count as a parking space for the purpose of meeting the minimum parking space requirements in sections 4.12.6 and 4.12.7. Each parking space shall be on a paved area abutting the travelway, and if the parking space is in a public right-of-way it shall not be prohibited by the Virginia Department of Transportation.
This section requires that required on-street parking must abut the property it serves. The applicant would like to use on-street parking and alley parking to support the more compact development form proposed. Waiving this section allows the applicant to provide parking that may not abut the lot toward which on-street parking counts. This is acceptable in a walkable community and allows for a more compact arrangement of buildings in any given area. Staff supports this waiver to allow on-street parking to be provided within 500 feet of the use. With alternate standards contained in the Code of Development, staff supports this waiver and recommends waiving it with the rezoning.
8. Section 4.12.13 LOADING AREAS (a, c, & e)
a. Loading spaces shall be provided on the same lot with the use to which it is appurtenant and
shall be adjacent to the structure it serves.
c. Loading spaces shall be provided in addition to and exclusive of any parking requirement on the basis of: (1) one (1) space for the first eight thousand (8,000) square feet of retail gross leasable area, plus one (1) space for each additional twenty-thousand (20,000) square feet of retail gross leasable area; (2) one (1) space for the first eight thousand (8,000) square feet of office space plus one (1) space for each additional twenty thousand (20,000) square feet of office space; or (3) one (1) space for the first ten thousand (10,000) square feet of industrial floor area plus one (1) space for each additional twenty thousand (20,000) square feet of
industrial floor area.
e. Each site plan that depicts a commercial or industrial building of four thousand (4,000) gross square feet or more shall provide a dumpster pad that does not impede any required parking or loading spaces, nor any pedestrian or vehicular circulation aisles.
The applicant is requesting these waivers to provide non-residential uses in a more traditional or new urbanist development form. These waivers cannot be recommended without a substitution for these sections contained in the Code of Development. If the applicant commits to providing atleast one loading space, in addition to standards that are found in the Code of Development, staff supports this waiver and recommends waiving it with the rezoning.
9. Section 4.15.5.a.1: Off-site signs
A.1 Off-site signs may be authorized by special use permit within any zoning district.
The applicant would like to provide signs off-site from the lot where the business is located. Staff does not recommend a blanket waiver of Section 4.15.5.a.1. Staff recommends approval of a modification that would allow directory signs to be located off-site, but within the Cascadia development, provided they contain at least two businesses. This is not to be construed as an approval of additional free standing signs. Staff recommends a modification that would allow for directory signs to be located off-site, but within Cascadia.
10. Section 4.15.5.a.3: Signs in public rights-of-way.
A.3 Signs in public rights-of-way; provided: (1) the subdivision or planned development to which the sign pertains abuts the public right-of-way; (2) the sign is either a subdivision sign or a sign identifying a planned development authorized by sections 19.0, 20.0, 25.0, 25A, and 29.0; (3) the freestanding sign regulations, other than setback regulations, applicable to the lot with the use to which the sign pertains shall apply; and (4) if the sign is located within an entrance corridor overlay district, a
certificate of appropriateness is issued by the architectural review board.
The applicant requests that signs be permitted in public right of ways. Staff does not object to this modification request regarding signs in public rights of way, provided the signs are approved by the County Engineer and VDOT. Staff can support this waiver and recommends waiving it with the following condition:
All signs located in the public right of way shall approved by the County Engineer and VDOT.
11. Section 4.15.11 – Signage setbacks
This section applies a five-foot setback from the right of way for signs. The applicant has requested that the setbacks established for signs from the right-of-way be reduced so long as the location is approved by VDOT and the County Engineer. Staff is in support of this waiver because the five-foot standard would not allow the applicant to achieve the traditional development, streetscape, and relationship with storefronts and streets that the applicant proposes. In addition, all right of ways in Cascadia will have a six -foot planting strip and five-foot sidewalk and will extend at least one foot beyond the sidewalk. Therefore signage will be at least 12 feet from any curb. With the Code of Development clarifying that the five-foot sign setback can be reduced so long as VDOT and the County Engineer approve, staff supports this waiver and recommends waiving it with the rezoning.
Recreation Regulations (Section 4.16.2 and 220.127.116.11)
The applicant has requested a waiver of Section 4.16.2, Minimum Facilities for recreation and 18.104.22.168, Phasing Requirements.
12. Section 4.16.2 – This section applies standard regulations for recreational amenities for various development forms and density. Due to the length of this section, staff has not copied it into the body of this report. The applicant’s Code of Development is specific as to where, how large, and what fixtures will be included in the amenity and open space areas. This includes three parks, a green, a series of pocket parks, trails, and a clubhouse with a pool. Additionally the development is adjacent to Darden Towe Park, which has a wide range of recreational amenities. Waiving 4.16.2 eliminates any potential and unforeseen conflicts between the minimum recreational facilities established in this section and the standards established in the Code of Development. With alternate standards contained in the Code of Development, staff supports this waiver and recommends waiving it with the rezoning.
13. SECTION 22.214.171.124 Recreational facilities shall be completed when fifty (50) percent of the units have received certificates of occupancy.
This section of the ordinance requires that the recreation requirements be completed when half of the residential units receive a certificate of occupancy. The applicant has clarified in the Code of Development that all amenities shown on the General Development Plan and describe in the Code within a given block shall be built or bonded with the corresponding site plan or subdivision plan.
Staff can support this waiver and recommends waiving it in place of standards set for in the applicant’s Code of Development.
14. Section 4.17.4.b.1 (Lighting) Standards
1. The spillover of lighting from luminaires onto public roads and property in residential or rural areas zoning districts shall not exceed one-half (½) foot candle. A spillover shall be measured horizontally and vertically at the property line or edge of right-of-way or easement, whichever is closer to the light source. (Amended 10-17-01)
The applicant’s Code of Development contains a section on street lighting to the Code on page 24. The applicant has clarified in the Code of Development that VDOT standards will govern the use of all streetlights in Cascadia. Staff has no objection to allowing street lights in private street right of ways provided they are in accord with VDOT regulations. Staff has no objection to a modification of section 4.17.4.b.1. to allow spillover along Delphi Lane in Blocks 1 and 3 to be measured at the edge of the travelway. However, the Code must be revised to make it clear that only Section 4.17.4.b.1 is covered by the modification. The rest of Section 4.17 remains in force.
With alternate standards contained in the Code of Development, staff supports this waiver and recommends waiving it with the rezoning.
15. Section 5.1.16 SWIMMING, GOLF, TENNIS CLUBS
5.1.16 Each swimming, golf or tennis club shall be subject to the following:
a. The swimming pool, including the apron, filtering and pumping equipment, and any buildings, shall be at least seventy-five (75) feet from the nearest property line and at least one hundred twenty-five (125) feet from any existing dwelling on an adjoining property, except that, where the lot upon which it is located abuts land in a commercial or industrial district, the pool may be constructed no less than twenty-five (25) feet from the nearest property line of such land in a commercial or industrial district; b. When the lot on which any such pool is located abuts the rear or side line of, or is across the street from, any residential district, a substantial, sightly wall, fence, or shrubbery shall be erected or planted, so as to screen effectively said pool from view from the nearest property in such residential district;
c. (Repealed 6-14-00)
d. The board of supervisors may, for the protection of the health, safety, morals and general welfare of the community, require such additional conditions as it deems necessary, including but not limited to provisions for additional fencing and/or planting or other landscaping, additional setback from property lines, additional parking space, location and arrangement of lighting, and other reasonable requirements;
e. Provision for concessions for the serving of food, refreshments or entertainment for club members and guests may be permitted under special use permit procedures.
The applicant has made this request because this section does not support a more compact development form required by the Neighborhood Model. The club will located close to neighboring residential lots and integral neighborhood feature. Therefore, the required distance identified in this section for the location of neighboring lots (75 feet) would dictate a more suburban development for the club.
In order to support this request, staff requested several changes to the Code of Development and the applicant has made the requested changes. These changes include clarifying that the Cascadia clubhouse and pool will be for Cascadia residents only and identifying the uses contained in the club. With alternate standards contained in the Code of Development, staff supports this waiver and recommends waiving it with the rezoning.
16. Section 126.96.36.199 Preliminary Conference with Staff
32.4.1 An informal meeting and discussion between the developer and the county staff shall be held prior to the submission of a preliminary site plan.
The applicant has requested that the requirement for a pre-application meeting for site plans be waived. Given the discussion staff has had on the 42 waivers initially requested with the rezoning and the applicant’s postponement of some of the requests until the site plan stage (not identified in this report) and current request of 24 waivers or modifications, staff recommends waiving this section of the ordinance.
17. Section 188.8.131.52 Screening
184.108.40.206 The following requirements shall apply to screening:
a. When required, screening shall consist of a planting strip, existing vegetation, a slightly opaque wall or fence, or combination thereof, to the reasonable satisfaction of the agent. Where only vegetative screening is provided, such screening strip shall not be less than twenty (20) feet in depth. Vegetative screening shall consist of a double staggered row of evergreen trees planted fifteen (15) feet on center, or a double staggered row of evergreen shrubs planted ten (10) feet on center. Alternate methods of vegetative screening may be approved by the agent. Where a fence or wall is provided, it shall be a minimum of six (6) feet in height and plantings may be required at intervals along such fence or wall. (220.127.116.11, 7-10-85; Amended 5-1-87)
b. Screening of parking lots shall not be counted toward the interior landscaping requirement. When screening is required along the frontage of public streets, the agent shall determine if the street tree requirement has been met. (18.104.22.168, 7-10-85)
c. Screening shall be required in the following instances:
1. Commercial and industrial uses shall be screened from adjacent residential and rural areas districts. (22.214.171.124.a, 7-10-85)
2. Parking lots consisting of four (4) spaces or more shall be screened from adjacent residential and rural areas districts. (126.96.36.199.b, 7-10-85; Amended 5-1-87)
3. Objectionable features including, but not limited to, the following uses shall be
screened from adjacent residential and rural areas districts and public streets:
- loading areas, refuse areas, storage yards, detention ponds, recreational facilities determined to be of objectionable character by the agent other than children's play areas where visibility is necessary or passive recreation areas where visibility is desirable. (188.8.131.52.c.5, 7-10-85; Amended 5-1-87)
4. Double frontage residential lots shall be screened between the rear of the residences and the public right-of-way when deemed appropriate by the agent. (184.108.40.206.d, 7-10-85; Amended 5-1-87)
5. The agent may require screening of any use, or portion thereof, upon determination that the use would otherwise have a negative visual impact on a property listed on the Virginia Historic Landmarks Register. (220.127.116.11.f, 7-10- 85; Amended 5-1-87)
The applicant has asked that all screening requirements be waived. In discussing staff’s staffs’ concerns, the applicant has clarified in the Code of Development that 18.104.22.168 will apply to all service areas and objectionable features that are visible from adjacent properties. For all other objectionable features internal to the site, the applicant wishes that they be screened by standards established by the developer, but not included in the Code. With alternate standards contained in the Code of Development, staff supports this waiver and recommends waiving it with the rezoning.
18. SECTION 14-215 PRELIMINARY Application Conference
Each subdivider shall participate in a preliminary application conference with staff prior to submittal of a preliminary plat. The purpose of the conference shall be to allow the subdivider to inform staff of the nature of the subdivision so that staff and the subdivider can develop an informal program that will guide the review and approval of the preliminary plat, or parts thereof.
Staff recommends approval of this waiver.
Sidewalk and Planting Strip Requirements (SECTION 14-422 D and 14-442E)
(The relative portions of this section may be found in the analysis below)
The applicant has submitted waiver requests to Section 14-222 of the Subdivision Ordinance which requires an urban street section with five foot sidewalks and six foot planting strips with street trees on all new streets.
19. SECTION 14-442 D Planting Strips
The applicant would like to provide sidewalks and street trees in the planting strip inside tree boxes where non-residential uses are proposed in Cascadia (along Cascadia Drive, Delphi Lane, and Allee Drive) as illustrated in Exhibit #6 and on Page 22 of the Code). In these areas, the applicant, realizes the demand and use of on-street parking will be significant given the uses located here and the more urban nature of these areas. Therefore, paving from the edge of the curb (over the planting strip) to the required sidewalk will allow for these areas to be more usable and also prevent wear on the planting strip from frequent use of on-street parking. In order to achieve the desired condition the applicant only needs a waiver of 14-422 D, Planting Strip Design. In reviewing a request to waive any requirement for planting strips, as authorized by Section 14-222F(2), the Commission shall consider whether:
(i) a waiver to allow a rural cross-section has been granted;
The applicant is not requesting rural cross-sections.
(ii) a sidewalk waiver has been granted;
A sidewalk waiver is not requested.
(iii) reducing the size of or eliminating the planting strip promotes the goals of the comprehensive plan, the neighborhood model, and the applicable neighborhood master plan; and
The applicant is proposing the full planting strip width with street trees in tree boxes to support the streetscape and usability of on-street parking. This supports the Neighborhood Model.
(iv) waiving the requirement would enable a different principle of the neighborhood model to be more fully achieved. In approving a waiver, the commission shall find that requiring planting strips would not forward the purposes of this chapter or otherwise serve the public interest; and granting the waiver would not be detrimental to the public health, safety or welfare, to the orderly development of the area, and to the land adjacent thereto.
Not waiving the requested requirement would be detrimental to the orderly development of the development area. This is an instance where an applicant is providing on-street parking and the areas directly adjacent to the parking (the planting strip) will become trampled and worn. By paving this area with concrete, like the adjacent sidewalk, a more usable and orderly condition is established to support the on-street parking.
Staff recommends waiving Section 14-442 D, the plantings strip requirement, by providing trees in tree boxes and paving to the curb in accordance with Exhibit #6 and on Page 22 of the Code on Cascadia Drive, Delphi Lane, and Allee Drive.
20. SECTION 14-442 E Sidewalks
The applicant is requesting that sidewalk waivers be granted on a section of street along Delphi Lane (on the south side from the intersection of Delphi Drive to the first lot illustrated along Delphi Lane in Block 4). The applicant is requesting the waiver in a second location which is the section Summit Park Lane that forms the interconnection to Fontana (from the intersection of Summit Park Circle to the property line shared with Fontana.
In reviewing a request to waive the requirement for sidewalks, the Commission shall consider several criteria as noted in Section 14-222E (2). Not all criteria will be applicable nor do all criteria have to be met for a waiver to be granted. An evaluation of how Cascadia meets the criteria follows. In granting a waiver, the Commission must consider whether:
(i) a waiver to allow a rural cross-section has been granted;
The applicant is not requesting rural cross-sections on Delphi Lane or Summit Park Lance.
(ii) a surface other than concrete is more appropriate for the subdivision because of the character of the proposed subdivision and the surrounding neighborhood
All sidewalks provided will be concrete and 5 feet in width.
(iii) sidewalks on one side of the street are appropriate due to environmental constraints such as streams, stream buffers, critical slopes, floodplain, or wetlands, or because lots are provided on only one side of the street;
The first request is for a portion of Delphi Lane (the southern side of Delphi Lane between the intersection of Delphi Drive and the first lot along Delphi Lane east of Delphi Drive) is an area where lots are not proposed on this side of the street. However, the residents of the roughly 200 dwelling in Blocks 4,5,6,and 7 will generate use of the sidewalks on both sides, which connect to the non-residential uses and larger pedestrian systems. The average density of these four blocks is 5.45 dwelling units per acre.
Waiving the requirement in the second area where the applicant is requesting the waiver (along the interconnection / secondary access into the Fontana subdivision), would allow for the final section of this road and its relative impacts to be lesser. The alignment between these areas requires earthmoving and fill and a wider section will generate greater disturbance. Aesthetic impacts to existing Fontana lots and homes, stormwater impacts to a nearby intermittent stream, and the topographic constraints and impacts in this area will be diminished if this section is built narrower, with a sidewalk only on one side. Additionally, foot traffic between the neighborhoods, or beyond, can be facilitated with one sidewalk.
(iv) the sidewalks reasonably can connect into an existing or future pedestrian system in the area;
The location of the first request (Delphi Lane) is adjacent to open space for this project and Fontana that serves as a buffer. It is doubtful this open space will develop further and it is not likely than any future pedestrian system would provide sidewalks on this side of the street.
Regarding the second location of the waiver request (the interconnection), the sidewalk may connect into sidewalks that will be required if Fontana 4C is rezoned. However, given the constraints identified in this area (aesthetic, topography, and existing stream), the narrower the section, the lesser the impacts resulting from a full section.
(iv) the length of the street is so short and the density of the development is so low that it is unlikely that the sidewalk would be used to an extent that it would provide a public benefit;
The Delphi Lane request if for roughly 800 feet of roadway and serves half of the development. The Summit Park Lane request is for roughly 300 feet of roadway between two separate neighborhoods.
(vi) an alternate pedestrian system including an alternative pavement could provide more appropriate access throughout the subdivision and to adjoining lands, based on a proposed alternative profile submitted by the subdivider;
Alternate pedestrian access is not proposed. Access on one side of the street will be provided.
(v) the sidewalks would be publicly or privately maintained;
Both requests are for public streets and public sidewalks.
(vi) the waiver promotes the goals of the comprehensive plan, the neighborhood model, and the applicable neighborhood master plan; and
The Delphi Lane request is not supported by the Neighborhood Model because it restricts foot traffic along a street associated with at least 200 residents and is the intuitive side of the street to walk on if connecting into the Development Areas and the larger pedestrian system along and beyond Route 20 south of Cascadia.
The Summit Park Lane request promotes the goals of the Comprehensive Plan and the Open Space Plan. The connection will impact the “Important Woodlands” discussed in the critical slopes request. If the section is narrower, the ultimate impact on these woodlands will be less.
(ix) waiving the requirement would enable a different principle of the neighborhood model to be more fully achieved. In approving a waiver, the commission shall find that requiring sidewalks would not forward the purposes of this chapter or otherwise serve the public interest; and granting the waiver would not be detrimental to the public health, safety or welfare, to the orderly development of the area, to sound engineering practices, and to the land adjacent thereto.
The Delphi Lane request would not enable a different principle of the Neighborhood Model to be achieved.
If the waiver for the Summit Park Lane request were not waived, the resulting wider section would be detrimental to orderly development of the development area and land adjacent to the subject property.
Staff recommends waiving the sidewalk requirement on Summit Park Lane in the area requested. Staff does not recommend waiving the sidewalk requirement on Delphi Lane.
21. SECTION 14-233.A.1 AUTHORIZATION of Private Streets
Private Street Authorization:
The applicant’s written justification requesting authorization for the use of private streets under Section 14-233 of the Code appears in quotations below. Specifically, the applicant is requesting that all streets in Cascadia be authorized to be private, except the following: Cascadia Drive, Delphi Lane, Delphi Drive, and Summit Park Lane. As discussed under the “Places of Human Scale” discussion above, the applicant is concerned that the multiple utility providers (electricity, gas, telephone, cable television) will require that the front yards be used for the placement of these utilities. For streets that are private, utilities may be placed under the sidewalk, thereby subtracting atleast 5 feet off of the minimum underground easement (10 feet) allowed by Virginia Dominion Power. Staff is sympathetic to this request.
As provided in Section 14-234.A.1, the justification must also address each of the five findings in 14-234.C. The applicant’s justification related to Section 14-233.A.1.(i) through (v) are provided in italics below. Staff’s response is in bold.
(i.) The subdivision would have a streetscape more consistent with the neighborhood model.
“We have stated in numerous correspondences that making some of the streets public streets will adversely affect the spatial enclosure of the street because the electric, cable, phone, and other utilities will have to be located outside the VDOT right of way. This will force the building backwards and disrupt our efforts to create spaces build at a human scale.”
Dominion Power’s extreme reluctance to allow for electricity service to be provided through alleys or at the rear of the house and the County’s desire for shallow front setbacks were discussed by the applicant, Dominion Power, and staff. Currently there is no immediate resolution, but the use of a private street easement/right-of-way reduces the complications.
(ii) The subdivision design would allow it to better achieve the density goals of the comprehensive plan.
“We have proposed streets that are narrower than streets that VDOT has historically accepted. By allowing the streets to be narrower and potential allowing to meet less stringent horizontal and vertical curvatures, we will be able to increase the density.”
Horizontal and vertical curvature is dependent on the design speed of the street. This factor will be the same for both public and private streets due to the lower traffic volumes on the streets included in this request. As to street width, VDOT has demonstrated a willingness to use the discretion provided in the VDOT Subdivision Street Guide within “Neotraditional Neighborhood Developments” on a case-by-case basis.
(iii) Vehicular access to buildings would be provided so that the buildings may face a common amenity.
“We are proposing rear/ alley loaded product for a majority of the residential and commercial structures. These buildings will face either the streets or an amenity, such as the Village Green.”
Based on the rear and alley loaded products illustrated in the plan, the street classification (public or private) seems to have no influence on the access.
(iv) Significant environmental resource would be protected.
“The requested private streets are not adjacent to any significant environmental resources. Therefore, this criterion has not bearing on the Commission’s decision.”
As stated in the justification, protection of an environmental resource has no bearing on this request.
(v) Relegated parking would be provided to a greater extent than could otherwise be provided.
“The Cascadia General Development plan either relegates the parking or provides for the parking to be the on-street. This is consistent with the principles of the Neighborhood Model.”
The relegation of parking seems to have little bearing on the streets included in this request. In regards to on-street parking, VDOT has demonstrated a willingness to use the discretion provided in the VDOT Subdivision Street Guide within “Neotraditional Neighborhood Developments” on a case-by-case basis.
Staff is sympathetic to this request because of the constraints recently identified to staff by Dominion Power. Based on the findings above, staff requests that the Planning Commission authorize the use of private roads for the requested streets.
22. SECTION 22.214.171.124 Street Trees
c. Street trees shall be planted with even spacing in a row adjacent to the public street right-of-
way. One (1) large street tree shall be required for every fifty (50) feet of road
frontage, or portion thereof, if twenty-five (25) feet or more. Where permitted, one (1)
medium shade tree shall be required for every forty (40) feet of road front-age, or portion
thereof, if twenty (20) feet or more. The agent may approve minor variations in spacing.
(126.96.36.199, 7-10-85; Amended 5-1-87)
Staff can support this waiver request for the proposal’s internal streets. However along the Entrance Corridor staff believes that the ARB should make the decisions on whether the trees should be in the right of way or on the property adjacent to the right of way.
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