Albemarle County Planning Commission
March 28, 2006
The Albemarle County Planning Commission held a
meeting and a public hearing on Tuesday, March 28, 2006, at 6:00 p.m., at the
County Office Building Room 241, Second Floor, 401 McIntire Road,
Charlottesville, Virginia. Members attending were Eric Strucko, Calvin Morris,
Vice-Chairman, Pete Craddock, Jo Higgins, Jon Cannon and Marcia Joseph,
Chairman. Bill Edgerton was absent. Julia Monteith, Senior Land Use Planner for
the University of Virginia, representative for David J. Neuman, FAIA, Architect
for University of Virginia, was absent.
Other officials present were Wayne Cilimberg,
Planning Director; Claudette Grant, Senior Planner; Bill Fritz, Development
Review Manager; Sean Dougherty, Senior Planner; Jay Schlothauer, Director of
Inspections/Building Official; John Shepherd, Manager of Zoning Administration;
David Pennock, Principal Planner; Scott Clark, Senior Planner; Glenn Brooks,
Senior Engineer and Greg Kamptner, Deputy County Attorney.
ZMA-2002-004 Cascadia (Signs #30, 91)
PROPOSAL: Rezone 55.71 acres from RA (Rural
Areas: agricultural, forestal, and fishery uses; residential density (0.5
unit/acre) to NMD (Neighborhood Model District - residential (3 - 34 units/acre)
mixed with commercial, service and industrial uses); and rezone 5.06 acres from
R-6 (Residential: 6 units/acre) to NMD to allow for up to 330 dwelling units and
20,000 square feet of non residential in a planned district.
EXISTING COMPREHENSIVE PLAN LAND USE/DENSITY:
Neighborhood Density Residential - residential (3-6 units/acre) and supporting
uses such as religious institutions and schools and other small-scale
ENTRANCE CORRIDOR: Yes
LOCATION: Tax Map 62, Parcel 25, Tax Map 78,
Parcels 59 and 59A, and Tax Map 78E, Parcel H1 located along Route 20 North,
across from Darden Towe Park, north of Fontana Drive and south of Broadus
Memorial Baptist Church.
MAGISTERIAL DISTRICT: Rivanna
STAFF: Sean Dougherty
Mr. Dougherty summarized the staff report.
The Commission has a copy of the Mr.
Barnesí presentation and a memo summarizing the viewpoints from the last
public hearing. The sheet includes the waivers that are requested, staffís
position and any conditions for those requests. (See Attachment)
The request is for ZMA-2002-004, Cascadia,
which located along Route 20 North across from Darden Towe Park. It is a
request to rezone 55.71 acres from RA (Rural Areas: agricultural, forestal,
and fishery uses; residential density (0.5 unit/acre) to NMD (Neighborhood
Model District - residential (3 - 34 units/acre) mixed with commercial,
service and industrial uses); and rezone 5.06 acres from R-6 (Residential: 6
units/acre) to NMD to allow for up to 330 dwelling units and 20,000 square
feet of non residential in a planned district.
There were a number of things identified as
being outstanding or problematic for the proposal in the last staff report.
Those things pretty much remain. With respect to the last time the
Commission met, staff has compiled the key points and seven unanswered
questions from that discussion. The objective of this meeting was to let
the information have a little more flexibility in discussing their issues
and thoughts about the proposal.
Mr. Barnes has prepared a presentation to
address some of the Commissionís questions or least some of the larger
issues related to the rezoning. Then staff can go through that and get into
some of the more specific questions.
Michael Barnes and Don Franco were present to
represent the applicant.
Michael Barnes stated that last time they took
the comments and felt that the Planning Commission needed a little more guidance
on how some of the decisions were made to arrive at this point so they could
have some context to better understand the project. Then they could move
forward with some of the other more technical issues that they were trying to
address last time. Basically what they are trying to work on a here is context
for a policy at the neighborhood level and the discussions will focus on that.
Then they will get into a site design level to talk about the constraints that
sort of created the envelope within which they developed. Finally, they will
talk about some of the grading issues and how the twelve principles go. He felt
that they were pretty strong on all twelve principles, but there were some
concerns last time on working with the terrain. That will be the focus of this
discussion. He presented a power point presentation.
On the bar graph they were trying to show
that the 12 units per acres on the left hand side are the ranges that they
are in. The Code permits a density of 330 dwelling that put them up at the
5.4 dwelling units per acre, which is shy of the 6 dwelling units per acres
that is the cap of this designation. The illustrious plan on the table is
showing about 304 units, which is about 5 dwelling units per acre. The
difference in that they really think is primarily going to be extra capacity
for carriage units, efficiency units and other affordable housing units up
and above what they are already proffering. There were a lot of concerns
that surfaced last week. They are willing to racket back a little bit to
close to 300 units if that resolves some of the concerns of that the staff
and the Commission would have.
There are also issues of potentially
removing multi-family and live/work. If they do that it would move it down
to 3.9 units. There was also something talked about last time about the
single-family home option. They think that potentially they could end up
with 100 units on this site. From an economic standpoint it would still
work for us, but it might work from the policy aspect. The policy aspect
that they heard from the Planning Commission was to try to be on the higher
end of that.
On the right hand side they were trying to
compare it to the developments around the site. One interesting thing is
that some of the public transportation advocates in our community are
talking about 7 dwelling units that is the density that starts to support
public transportation. He pointed out that Avemore was off the chart there.
The next issue deals with mixed uses and
beyond the residential would it be advisable to have non-residential uses.
Pantops has around the 250/20 intersection down to the bottom of the site
they have the intersection there that is a regional center. Another one is
developing on the upper portion of Pantops on 250 around the new hospital on
State Farm Boulevard. What they were talking about with Cascadia is should
there be these type of services in the northern part of Pantops. The
decision was made that yes, there should be some mixed use components early
on in the process and they should be at a neighborhood scale serving the
northern part of the neighborhood. The Comprehensive Plan defines a
neighborhood center as 40,000 square feet of non-residential. Avemore,
which is on the bottom part of this site, is roughly 20,000 square feet of
office and retail type uses. They are matching that with up to 15,000
square feet in their portion of the northern part. Basically, using those
two elements of what they got from the previous Comp Plan and from the land
use decisions he felt that what they took early in this process was that
they were supposed to have relatively high density and have a mixture of
uses on the site. With those two goals in place, how do they fit those in?
He felt that one of the earlier comments from the Planning Commission in
their earlier work session was that density was okay as long as it looked
good. Working with the environmental envelope and making it look good is
what their goals are.
Logical factors fall into 6 major groups:
environmental concerns, the Planning Commissionís from earlier on, the ARB,
the Service Authority, the transportation concerns and the citizenís
The environmental constraints that they
have on their site include critical slopes, important woodlands and the 100
foot buffer on the stream. That is not a regulatory requirement because
technically it is not an intermittent stream. By ordinance it is not
required to have the buffer. As part of their plan they are working to
provide that buffer at least for the building setbacks. He noted that they
had labeled three areas of environmental constraints as ones that maybe can
be balanced against other goals of the Comprehensive Plan obviously to try
to get density and utilizing the site was a goal that was set earlier on.
There are two question marks on the left hand side are critical slopes that
are not immediately associated with the stream system. Based on an earlier
discussion they were talking about critical slopes he knew there was talk
about revising the critical slope ordinance, which was put in the process
several years ago when this project started four or five years ago. It was
to sort of highlight critical slopes that were adjacent to streams as
relatively more important in balancing especially in the development area
against other goals. They look at the critical slopes as something as a
design challenge to work with, but potentially they could be disturbed in
serving the other goals. So they have taken those sort of away.
Regarding the forests it is not clear where
these things were derived from originally in the Land Use Plan.
Neighborhood 3 is the only neighborhood that has important forests
identified in it, except those shown in Neighborhood 6 around Ragged
Mountain Reservoir. It seems to be something thought with the Monticello
view shed. This issue came up just last month in the staff report, but it
had not been an issue before. So they are trying to address that. Some of
the ways that their project does do that is that this part of the site where
they have single-family homes and the possibility to come back and plant
trees in this area and ameliorate the impacts to Monticello. It will not be
any worse than Fontana because this development is further away. Therefore,
they think that they can address those concerns. They plan to focus in on
the three areas noted to try to protect them.
In 2002, the Planning Commission asked a
series of questions at a work session. To recap on that the principles
things were trying to protect this area associated with Route 20 and trying
to bring some of the rural corridor into the development area and not start
the development area until they got to at least their entrance or across
from Montessori School, which is a little closer in. That was one of the
things that the Commission supported early on.
The connection to Lake Ridge was assessed
and again the idea of a road connection to Lake Ridge that is to the west of
our site and put a joint storm water management pond down in that area.
That idea was rejected. The concepts of trying to get the connections to
Fontana were supported and the idea, of course, back to the mixed use in the
neighborhood was supported. There was talk about how it should be mixed and
a lot of design issues that the Commission can see before them in the plan
today. There was also support at that time for a relatively hard edge to
the pool area and density as long as it was well designed and it looked
good. So hopefully the plan today looks good. That plan involved into this
The ARB had concerns about the high
visibility of the larger buildings on the upper slopes creating a visibility
issue. It was a major problem from their standpoint on how it impacted the
Entrance Corridor and elsewhere having larger buildings higher than the
site. The ARB did support the idea of rural areas extending in along Route
20. The ARB raised a major concern about the commercial area. The plan has
always been trying to deal with this problem of trying to create a
commercial street internal to the site and front that, but at the same time
trying to have a good relationship to the Entrance Corridor. This plan has
also tried to tackle that concern.
The Service Authority has design
constraints with Lake Ridge, which is to the west and up hill. It is a
development that is in the review process now with the county. They
attempted to try to reflect the provision of sewer from Lake Ridge to the
rest of the system. The existing system is shown on the plan in red. To
serve Lake Ridge with gravity they basically have to serve it through our
site between crossing the stream corridor. They can serve their site and
not disturb the corridor. This is a discussion that the Planning Commission
needs to have. But, the Service Authority desires for gravity.
Regarding the opportunities for interparcel
connections they saw basically 8 connections. One connection was supposed
to connect to the potential stop light at the Lewis and Clark Center. As
you know, the Planning Commission and Board chose to take Lewis and Clark
and route it back around the site to the existing light at Fontana. That
has gone away. They continue to work with the church to determine the
viability of vehicular connections where our Code of Development does
provide pedestrian linkages to the church. That may be evolving as time
moves forward. The sixth connection to the rural areas, which is the
boundary between the rural area and the development area. For policy
reasons and topography reasons that was never really considered. Again, the
connections to Lake Ridge that was shown as 4 and 5 are direct connections
to Lake Ridge, but would impact the stream. From the discussion of last
time there is a question mark for the connection with Fontana. At least now
they were left with connections at the first and second locations and they
can work from that from the site plan standpoint.
To put all of those factors together, they
have areas of high visibility. They have areas of environmental impact or
sensitive areas that the need to be concerned about. Also, there are issues
along the Entrance Corridor that need to be addressed. But, they feel that
their plan has done that. In many respects he thinks that staff supports
that from their comments. That creates a design envelope and they put their
site plan underneath that, which is how it matches up. They have tried to be
sensitive to that design envelope.
With the principles of the Neighborhood
Model, again, one of the major ones that came up was how they were working
with the terrain. It was okay to try to put density on the site, but at the
end of the day have you created something that is workable. The site itself
sits on two plateaus. The reason that there are 10 to 15 iterations of this
plan is how you work your way up there so that it will ultimately work. One
of their major strategies when they were grading in the roads was to try to
create a series of terraces. So they have a lower and upper terrace and
have worked in a third terrace in the middle as a way to work up the site.
The main road starts in at an elevation at the bottom and the max height
they can get at the top is 380. When the road leaves to go to Fontana it is
at about 530. There is a 150 feet difference. This is a fair amount of
grading to try to make up as you work up the site. Their strategy to do
that is to create this long serpentine road to allow them to work up the
grades. Between each of those they are trying to push the road to the
highest grade that it can so that it can go work its way up the site. The
roads that run with the grade are relatively flat from 2 to 4 percent
slopes. The residential use is fronting on those streets. The main road
serves as a way to get from the bottom to the top. It creates a road
approvable by VDOT and it creates a level plane for these houses to sit on
each of these terraces. As opposed to using retaining walls, they are
trying to use the buildings to hold up the grade. He stated that they were
trying to minimize the visibility of the houses from Darden Towe Park and
Our concern is did we make the right
choices as they went through the plan. Did they balance all of these
different factors to the satisfaction of the Planning Commission? At the
last meeting they by passed this issue because they thought it was a settled
issue. Hopefully, this presentation will help the Commission understand
that they did work with staff. They will continue to work with the concerns
as they arise.
Ms. Joseph stated that Mr. Dougherty has
written down some questions in his memo that the Commission will review and
provide guidance on. (See Attachment Ė Memo dated March 28, 2006 to the
Planning Commission from Sean Dougherty.)
the Planning Commission held a discussion with staff and the applicant and
provided feedback on the rezoning proposal and preliminary discussion topics as
1. Does the design adequately
reflect the principles of the Neighborhood Model?
The Planning Commission
generally felt that the design adequately reflects the principles of the
Neighborhood Model, but the waivers need to be revised to support it. Discussion
was held on providing public streets versus private streets.
2. Is the density appropriate?
The consensus of the
Planning Commission was that the density was appropriate. Also, they felt that
the distribution of the density was appropriate.
3. What is the appropriate
solution for the proposed interconnection to Fontana?
The consensus of the
Planning Commission was that they would like to see the road stubbed out to
provide some sort of connection for emergency and pedestrian access to Fontana
at the back of the site. Currently, the Commission could not support the actual
road connection because of the road conditions in Fontana.
The Commission stated that the road
should be built to the extent possible. A complete stub out to the property line
will not be possible until the adjacent property is rezoned or necessary grading
easements are obtained. The applicant clarified that the adjacent owner is
opposed to the connection and is opposed to providing the necessary easements.
Therefore, the portion of the connection that is not possible to build without
off-site easements will be bonded for future completion.
The Commission discussed how the
connection through Cascadia may provide an alternative to Fontana Drive, which
may provide access to Lake Ridge, a proposed by-right subdivision to include
roughly 100 units. Though the Cascadia connection may serve as an alternate
route in the future, the Commission agreed that the current concerns on behalf
of Fontana residents relative to the rural cross section of existing roads in
the Fontana subdivision outweighed the notion that this connection should be
4. Are connections to Broadus
Memorial Church / reengagement of the church in the rezoning critical to the
overall quality of this rezoning decision?
The applicant indicated
that they are working towards an agreement to incorporate the church into the
plan. The Planning Commission generally agreed that this was not critical to
the overall rezoning decision, but that it was something that would have to be
worked out between the applicant and the church.
5. Do the proffers mitigate the
impacts of 330 dwelling units on Route 20 and the Route 20 / 250 intersections?
The Planning Commission
concurred that they donít know what to base their decision on because the County
does not have a policy on cash proffers. There was some discussion on what they
need to take into consideration in making this determination for this specific
site. Since there was no consensus, the Planning Commission asked staff to work
on this issue and bring it back for further discussion.
6. Is the applicantís program
(15 for sale / 28 for-rent accessory units attached to a primary structure) for
affordable housing adequate?
The Planning Commission
requested the applicant to increase the number of affordable units to meet the
15 percent threshold. The Planning Commission was concerned about the
applicantís proposal and asked the applicant to work with Ron White. Greg
Kamptner was asked to review and provide comments about rental affordable
housing as described on page 25.
7. What is an appropriate
treatment of the edge of the Rural Areas?
The consensus of the
Planning Commission was that the proposal showed an appropriate treatment of the
edge of Rural Areas.
The applicant will submit a revised plan
that will be more in depth, and will also further address the proffers and
revised waiver requests. Staff will then schedule the rezoning for a public
Ms. Joseph asked if there was any old
business. There being none, the meeting moved on to the next item.
Ms. Joseph asked if there was any new
The Planning Commission will not
meet on Tuesday, April 4, 2006. The next Planning Commission meeting will be
held on Tuesday, April 11, 2006.
There being no further new
business, the meeting proceeded.
With no further items, the meeting adjourned at
9:54 p.m. to the April 11, 2006 meeting.
Return to staff report