Albemarle County Planning Commission

December 6, 2005

 

The Albemarle County Planning Commission held a meeting and a public hearing on Tuesday, December 6, 2005, at 6:00 p.m., at the County Office Building, Room 241, Second Floor, 401 McIntire Road, Charlottesville, Virginia. Members attending were William Rieley, Rodney Thomas, Pete Craddock, Jo Higgins, Bill Edgerton, Chairman; Calvin Morris and Marcia Joseph, Vice-Chair.  Absent was David J. Neuman, FAIA, Architect for University of Virginia. 

 

Other officials present were Wayne Cilimberg, Planning Director; Tamara Ambler, Natural Resources Manager; Claudette Grant, Senior Planner; Bill Fritz, Chief of Current Development; David Pennock, Senior Planner; Mark Graham, Community Development Director and Greg Kamptner, Deputy County Attorney.

 

Call to Order and Establish Quorum:

 

Mr. Edgerton called the regular meeting to order at 6:00 p.m. and established a quorum.

 

            Public Hearing Items:

 

SP 2005-010 Bart Neumann - Boat Dock 315 Rivanwood Place (Sign #42)

PROPOSED: Private boat dock on the South Fork Rivanna Reservoir

ZONING CATEGORY/GENERAL USAGE: RA -- Rural Areas: agricultural, forestal, and fishery uses; residential density (0.5 unit/acre); FH--Flood Hazard: overlay to provide safety and protection from flooding

SECTION: 30.3.05.2.1(2) Water Related Uses within the Floodway

COMPREHENSIVE PLAN LAND USE/DENSITY:  Rural Areas - preserve and protect agricultural, forestal, open space, and natural, historic and scenic resources/density (.5 unit/acre)

LOCATION: Dock to be placed at west side of the Reservoir (TMP 45-67A), approximately 0.60 mile upstream of the Earlysville Road (Route 743) bridge crossing.  Dock to serve Neumann property (TMP 45-185)

MAGISTERIAL DISTRICT: Rio

LEAD REVIEWER:  Tamara Ambler

 

SP 2005-030 Michael Caplin Boat Dock (Sign #47)

PROPOSED: Private boat dock on the South Fork Rivanna Reservoir

ZONING CATEGORY/GENERAL USAGE: RA -- Rural Areas: agricultural, forestal, and fishery uses; residential density (0.5 unit/acre); FH--Flood Hazard: overlay to provide safety and protection from flooding

SECTION: 30.3.05.2.1(2) Water Related Uses within the Floodway

COMPREHENSIVE PLAN LAND USE/DENSITY:  Rural Areas - preserve and protect agricultural, forestal, open space, and natural, historic and scenic resources/density (.5 unit/acre)

LOCATION: Dock to be placed at west side of the Reservoir (TMP 45-67A), approximately 0.70 mile upstream of the Earlysville Road (Route 743) bridge crossing.  Dock to serve Caplin property (TMP 45-187)

MAGISTERIAL DISTRICT: Rio

LEAD REVIEWER:  Tamara Ambler

 

Ms. Ambler summarized the staff reports for SP-2005-010, Bart Neumann and SP-2005-34, Caplin.

 

·         Since the two requests were very similar she would discuss them at the same time. The two proposals are for the installation of a private boat dock for loading, fishing and bird watching on South Fork of the Rivanna River.  One boat dock is intended to serve the adjacent Bart Neumann property, which was tax map 45, parcel 185. Directly adjacent to that is a proposal, which is the next special use permit application, to install a boat dock to serve the Michael Caplin property, which is tax map 45, parcel 187.

 

·         These have been the first boat dock requests in several years and an updated coordinated process needed to be developed specifically the boat docks themselves will rest on city property, since the City of Charlottesville owns the reservoir.  What needed to happen was a new coordinated process between the city and the county and Rivanna needed to be developed.  That took several months to establish.  Mr. Newmann and Mr. Caplin were very patient as they worked through that new coordination process.  At this point in time Rivanna Water and Sewer Authority have issued their individual boat dock permits for both permits.  The City of Charlottesville has signed off on the special use permit applications for both due to the boat docks within the floodway. 

 

 

 

Mr. Edgerton asked if there were any questions for staff.

 

Ms. Joseph acknowledged that there is the normal pool elevation and the floodplain elevations and they have gone out and put some stakes in the ground.  She asked how they were going to handle this if the property was sold or another inspector goes out that it will be documented where that precise area is that has been designated.  She asked if there was some other tape that they could pull somewhere from another reference point just so that everybody knows so they can stay out of trouble.

 

Ms. Ambler stated that the only thing that she knew to do was in regard to the fact that the normal elevation of the reservoir was 382 and given that day she was able to figure out the elevation for where the floodplain is and then where staff wanted the buffer.  She noted that there is not currently any effort to put a permanent stake in the ground or other thing of that nature.

 

Ms. Joseph asked if she was getting too detailed and is it that important.

 

Ms. Ambler stated that from her prior working experience in the County she has not seen other properties where that has been specifically permanently marked in the field.

 

Ms. Joseph stated that it would probably not cause any problems, and Ms. Ambler agreed.

 

Mr. Edgerton asked if the sheet with the elevation of 390 is basically the buffer line or is it 200 feet horizontally.

 

Ms. Ambler stated that it was 200 horizontal feet from the edge of the floodplain, which is what is required under the ordinance.  She did make a clarification that both of these properties were existence and the improvements located on the properties prior to 1998 when the Water Protection Ordinance was adopted.  Therefore, it is impossible for them to have that 200 foot vegetative buffer.  In discussing this with the County Engineer, who is the Program Authority for the Water Protection Ordinance, they were trying to achieve some sort of compromise in maximizing the amount of woody vegetation in that buffer while not burdening the property owner by trying to make them adhere to something that was not in effect when they had their house.  So the agreement that the she discussed with the Chief Engineer was that basically between the edge of the water and that floodplain at 390, which gives you in the field about a 35 foot horizontal buffer.  In most of the non-point source literature a 35 foot buffer is usually a minimum for achieving nutrient sediment reductions.  So that is basically just a site specific compromise on these two locations.  Around the rest of the reservoir there are no current improvements.  That buffer extends 200 feet from the edge of that floodplain, which would be from 390. 

 

Mr. Edgerton asked if that would actually include both of the houses, and Ms. Ambler replied yes, that it would.

 

Ms. Higgins asked if in looking at the buffer from the aerial shot that right now the owner has cared for lawn in that area.

 

Ms. Ambler replied that these aerials are from 2002 and in Mr. Michael Caplin’s situation on tax map 45, parcel 187 that buffer has actually grown up more than is shown in the photographs.  During the last three years there is a lot more woody vegetation.  So that area in between where she found the elevation of the edge of the reservoir and that elevation 390, he has actually got wooden vegetation there already.  She showed the aerials to help show what it looks like, but it is deceiving because more vegetation has actually generated over the last several years.

 

Mr. Craddock asked if both of the boat docks were coming from the same company or if it just made it easier to review the two requests together.

 

Ms. Ambler stated no, that it was actually at the choice of the applicant.

 

Mr. Craddock asked if there was any verification required as to the current requirements of the wood used now as opposed to the old treated wood that they used which had arsenic in it.

 

Ms. Ambler asked Andrea Terry, who was the Watershed Manager at Rivanna Water and Sewer Authority, to help her with that question.

 

Andrea Terry, Rivanna Water and Sewer Authority Watershed Manager, stated that as part of that coordination process that Ms. Ambler talked about, Rivanna had some work to do to update our policies and our construction requirements and that was one of them. When the applicants came to us to obtain the permit they gave them the construction requirements and they coordinated with Rivanna regarding the structures which they have built.  They have been on site and seen the built structures and are satisfied that they are the right materials to protect the water quality of the reservoir, which are what their RWSA’s main concern is.

 

There being no further questions for staff, Mr. Edgerton opened the public hearing for both SP-2005-010 and SP-2005-030 and invited the applicant to come forward and address the Commission.

 

Bart Neumann, resident of 315 Rivanwood Place, stated that they have been working with Ms. Ambler and Ms. Terry in order to go through all of the steps that they needed to do.  The dock will be used for boating and fishing.  If there are any questions, he would be happy to answer them.

 

Michael Caplin asked to add that this was sort of an unknown territory and the two staff persons did an extraordinary job of figuring out the solution for an unsolvable question because there were no guidelines because it has been so long since anybody asked the question.  So he would just state for the record that they did a great job.

 

Mr. Edgerton asked if there were members of the public present who would like to address these applications.

 

Tom Strassburg stated that he received a notice because his property joins the South Fork Rivanna Reservoir.  It occurred to him that when he purchased the property it was his understanding that he could not have a boat dock or any sort of structure adjacent to the reservoir because it is owned by the City of Charlottesville and so on and so forth.  His concern is that now all of us who now own property that adjoin the reservoir apparently received notices of this and may feel that if this is possible then why they should not pursue building a boat dock.  Since he does some canoeing, he would really like to have a boat dock.  It is a question at some point they will have to face the decision of when will this be stopped.  If everyone wants to build a boat dock, then at some point perhaps that cumulative effect is a problem.  When his application comes before the Commission he hopes it receives a similar favorable recommendation.  The other concern he has is that 30 years from now he realizes that it might be necessary to raise the height of the dam.  When that occurs it would seem that the appropriate protections ought to be in place so that subsequent owners or these owners should they still own the property are not in the position to claim compensation for a taking of their dock based upon the flooding that is bound to occur.

 

Mr. Edgerton pointed out that he believed that both of these were floating docks.  He thought that it was mandated that the docks be floating docks so that they would move with the water level.

 

Mr. Strassburg stated that was his understanding.  But, it seems as though it was conceivable should that water rise by 6 or 8 feet in that particular area that something should be clearly non-compensable should that occur.  Those are his comments, but he does not take opposition to the proposal.

 

Mr. Rieley agreed that was a very good point.

 

There being no further public comment, Mr. Edgerton closed the public hearing to bring the matter back before the Commission for discussion and consideration.

 

Ms. Higgins stated that she had a similar concern because of that potential issue of more boat docks, but there are modifications to the basin.  But, it appears that the boat dock use permit agreement that the property owners are required to sign and Rivanna Water and Sewer Authority has particular language in number 7 that probably protects that.  It talks about not in any way interfering with the lawful operation of the reservoir including flooding and land management by the authority. Years ago she viewed the reservoir with Ms. Huckle who pointed out that there are boat docks and there are not boat docks on some of the properties.  Having no boat dock actually can cause by going through the mud to create a lot more land disturbance and damage dragging a boat in and out.  She was not saying this was a reason, but it does identify the area and it makes it a clean transition to the ground to the water.  The other part of this is that this buffer under this requirement will remain intact. There are many property owners on the reservoir that completely mow everything down.  It is a difficult ordinance to enforce and the people who have been there for many years it is in disagreement with their use of the property.  So that being said, she felt that having a standard in a policy might be very effective in saving that minor land disturbing activity that happens on almost all the properties and can be abused.

 

Mr. Craddock asked how lots were around the reservoir.

 

Ms. Joseph pointed out that Ms. Ambler had written the Commission a little note that there were 178 lots.

 

Ms. Ambler stated that was the number of parcels adjoining the reservoir.

 

Mr. Craddock asked if 19 percent had a boat dock.

 

Ms. Ambler stated that 19 percent had no evidence of a boat dock and 14 percent did have evidence.

 

Mr. Thomas asked if it was something the Commission should pursue regarding the number of potential docks that will be put on it and the repercussion to the reservoir at this point or is that the city’s responsibility.

 

Mr. Edgerton stated that personally he felt that even though this may encourage other folks to want to have a boat dock that he thought each case is addressed individually.  If there is an issue then that will be the time to deal with it.  The City owns the property.  The Rivanna Water Authority controls it.  He pointed out that he really was confused at first why the County was involved.

 

Mr. Kamptner stated that the County regulates the land use.

 

Mr. Morris felt that Mr. Strassburg’s comments were well worth taking into consideration when they take a look at trying to nail this down a little bit more.

 

Mr. Rieley pointed out that with the vast edge of shore line that he felt that the number of potential boat docks would be spread out.  He was particularly concerned with the second point that Mr. Strassburg raised that in the event that the water line is raised that this not be considered a taking or something that requires compensation.  He felt that was exactly right that it should be undertaken with the understanding that it is being constructed at the land owner’s expense and if the water level has to be raised in the future to serve the primary use of this facility, which is the water supply, that should not be compensable. He wondered if they could add a condition that would cover that.  He asked if there was anything in the existing conditions that would cover that.

 

Ms. Ambler stated that the conditions were Rivanna Water and Sewer Authority’s conditions in their boat dock use permit and agreement, which were in Attachment D.  As Ms. Higgins’ pointed out that number 7 indicated that the permit shall not constitute an interest in resolvable property and activity herein shall not in any way interfere with the Authority’s lawful operation of the reservoir including flooding the City of Charlottesville’s land managed by the Authority and maintaining, etc.  It is my understanding that should cover that.

 

Mr. Kamptner stated that this provision is much more detailed than any special use permit condition would be.  This is a condition between the applicant and Rivanna Water and Sewer Authority and the City and not the City.  He pointed out that the County is really only authorizing the use.

 

Mr. Rieley stated that he had one further footnote, which is that they might point out to Rivanna that number 10 under Attachment E says that the use of CCA treatment was discontinued as of December 30, 2003.  It was only discontinued for residential use.  It is perfectly appropriate for and lawful for other uses.  Therefore, that might be something that they want to say.  He felt that was a statement of fact that was incorrect.

 

Ms. Ambler thanked Mr. Rieley for pointing that out. Staff will take that comment back to Rivanna.

 

Ms. Higgins asked how they would keep track of the boat dock restrictions and regulations.

 

Ms. Terry stated that Rivanna assesses a yearly fee, which is a means to help them track that. 

 

Ms. Higgins asked if a contractor buys a property that during a title search that will not show up.

 

Ms. Terry agreed that it would not show up in a title search.

 

Ms. Joseph asked if any other special use permits show up in a title search.

 

Mr. Kamptner stated no, that the County does not record special use permits, proffers, variances or any of the land use approvals.  He noted that the special use permits run with the land by law and not by the fact that it is recorded.

 

Ms. Higgins voiced concern that the special use permits do not reference the separate agreements.

 

Ms. Joseph pointed out that normally they would say receive approval from Rivanna and they already have because both agreements have been signed and approved.

 

Ms. Higgins suggested that it was a timing thing because in the next request the agreement might not have been done.  They are not saying that these agreements are being relied upon in the special use permit conditions.

 

Ms. Terry stated that in the order of things Rivanna’s permit had to come first before the City would sign the special use permit before it could be heard by the County. 

 

Ms. Joseph noted that the City has to sign the application before it comes before the Planning Commission.  She felt that they had everything that they need.

Mr. Kamptner stated that he did not think they needed to go to those lengths in this situation.  The relationship here is different from the typical land use application because they really have Rivanna, although they are not the legal owner, they are the landlord and they ultimately control what happens on the reservoir.  The County is granting permission, but they really control what happens.

 

Mr. Edgerton asked if they wanted to add a condition about the takings.

 

Mr. Rieley stated that he did not think it was necessary, but he really appreciated Mr. Strassburg bringing up the issue.

 

Action on SP-2005-010:

 

Motion: Mr. Morris moved, Mr. Thomas seconded, that SP-2005-010, Bart Neumann – Boat Deck 315 Rivanwood Place, be approved with staff’s recommended conditions in the staff report.

 

1.       There shall be no lighting within 25 horizontal feet of the Reservoir, measured from the elevation of normal pool, which is Elevation 382.  See Attachment H. 

2.       There shall be no removal of vegetation or earth disturbance within the 200-foot stream buffer associated with the installation of the boat dock.  The stream buffer is measured from the edge of the floodplain, which is Elevation 390.  See Attachment H. 

3.       There shall be no other structures, such as decking or stairs, constructed in the 200-foot stream buffer.

4.       Vegetation shall be allowed to naturally regenerate in the buffer area between the normal pool elevation of the Reservoir (Elevation 382) and the elevation of the edge of the floodplain (Elevation 390), where mowing has historically taken place.  See Attachment H. 

 

The motion passed by a vote of 7:0.    

 

Mr. Edgerton stated that SP-2005-010, Bart Neumann Board Dock, would go to the Board of Supervisors on January 4, 2006 with a recommendation for approval.

 

Return to PC actions letter

 

Action on SP-2005-030:

 

Motion:  Ms. Higgins moved, Mr. Morris seconded that SP-2005-030, Michael Caplin Board Dock, be approved subject to staff’s recommended conditions in the staff report.

 

  1. There shall be no lighting within 25 horizontal feet of the Reservoir, measured from the elevation of the normal pool, which is Elevation 382.  See Attachment H.
  2. There shall be no removal of vegetation or earth disturbance within the 200-foot buffer associated with the installation of the boat dock.  The stream buffer is measured from the edge of the floodplain, which is Elevation 390.  See Attachment H.
  3. There shall be no other structures, such as decking or stairs, constructed in the 200-foot stream buffer.

 

The motion passed by a vote of 7:0.

 

Mr. Edgerton stated that SP-2005-030, Michael Caplin Board Dock, would go to the Board of Supervisors on January 4, 2006 with a recommendation for approval.

 

Return to PC actions letter