COUNTY OF ALBEMARLE

EXECUTIVE SUMMARY

 

 

AGENDA TITLE:

 

ZMA 2005-008 Pantops Park / Va. National Bank

SP 2005 – 015 Drive-Up Window for Bank

 

SUBJECT/PROPOSAL/REQUEST:

 

The applicant is requesting a rezoning of the former Moores Lumber site on Route 250 East in Pantops from HC (Highway Commercial) to NMD (Neighborhood Model District) to construct a central banking facility, offices, and retail. The request is accompanied by a special use permit request for a drive-up facility for the bank.

 

 

STAFF: Dougherty

 

PLANNING COMMISSION DATE:

November 22, 2005

 

BOARD OF SUPERVISORS DATE:

December 14, 2005

      

 

 


 

 

OWNER / CONTRACT PURCHASER:

 

Virginia National Bank

 

PROPOSAL:

 

The applicant has fulfilled the requirements of the Neighborhood Model District zoning classifications, to provide a dense, compact, and walkable mixed-use center. The proposal represents one of the most intense redevelopments in Neighborhood Three. The proposal contains three buildings. Each building will function as mixed use. Building 1-A, which lines Route 250, will contain a banking center and central banking office, in addition to offices no associated with the bank. Buildings 1-B and 1-C will contain no more than 11,000 sq. ft of retail (first floor of each building) and offices. The limit on retail uses is guided by the applicant’s ability to provide parking for these uses within the constraints of the parcel.

 

BACKGROUND: 

 

The plan was preliminarily reviewed by staff in June. The applicant has worked with staff to fulfill the requirement s and guidance that the Neighborhood Model District zoning classification provides. The submittal contains a proposal to connect Spotnap Road to Route 250 along an existing private access easement.

 

DISCUSSION/FINDINGS:

 

The proposal is an excellent response to the Neighborhood Model. The connection between Spotnap and Route 250 is problematic for the Albemarle County Service Authority, who has expressed reservations about the connection. The proposed connection will require a new connection to the lower parking lot of the service authority. No remedy for reconstructing Service Authority’s existing access is contained in the submittals. Additionally, the applicant has proffered a traffic signal on Route 250 in front of the property in a location that is unsafe and unacceptable to VDOT. Also, staff is concerned that the intensification of uses on this parcel and its walkable nature will generate impacts on pedestrian facilities in the area, which are substandard.

 

RECOMMENDATION:

 

Staff recommends approval with changes to the proffers to provide a commitment to reconstruct the Service Authoritiy’s entrance and redirect contributions for an unacceptable traffic signal toward general pedestrian and vehicular improvements to Route 250, South Pantops Drive, and / or Riverbend Drive.

 

  

STAFF PERSON:                                                   Sean Dougherty

PLANNING COMMISSION:                                   NOVEMBER 22, 2005

BOARD OF SUPERVISORS:                               DECEMBER 14, 2005

 

ZMA 2005-008 pantops park / virginia national bank

 

sp 2005-015 FINANCIAL INSTITUTION Drive-up

(With waiver granted to eliminate by-pass lane)

 

Applicant’s Proposal:

 

Pantops Park is a request to rezone and redevelop 4.87 acres from HC (Highway Commercial) to NMD (Neighborhood Model) to create a central banking facility, offices, and commercial / retail uses in a planned development. The parcel considered for rezoning is Tax Map 86, Parcel 16, the former Moores Lumber site on Route 250 east. See Attachment A for the Location Map.

 

The General Development Plan is Attachment B. The Special Use Permit is for a drive-up window for a bank in accordance with Section 20A.6. b.1 of the Zoning Ordinance which allows for drive-up windows serving or associated with permitted uses in a NMD district. The drive-up facility is concealed from the Entrance Corridor behind building 1-A, which contains a 16,014 sq. banking operations center in the basement and on the first floor. The second, third, and fourth floors contain 24,399 sq. ft. of offices which are not associated with the bank.  The buildings to the rear (1-B and 1-C) of the site are equal in size and contain a total of 45,100 sq. ft. The Code of Development (Attachment C) limits the amount of commercial / retail space to 11,000 sq. ft in Pantops Park (one level of building 1-B and 1-C). The remainder of the buildings 1-B and 1-C, 34,000 sq. ft., is proposed to be office. The parking requirements for the rezoning were based on these assumptions. In addition, the Code of Development includes a plan for utilizing the Ordinance’s Traffic Demand Management tools. During the site planning process, this will guide a parking reduction granted by the Chief of Zoning, if necessary.

 

The applicant has submitted proffers (Attachment D). The proffers include constructing and dedicating an extension of Spotnap Road across the site to meet with Route 250; an inter-parcel connection to the west, as shown on the plan; and a contribution to defray the hard cost of purchase and installation of traffic signalization equipment where Spotnap Road and Route 250 meet. The proffers related to inter-parcel connections are appropriate. The connection between Route 250 and Spotnap Road is proposed along an existing private access easement. A portion of the access road to the Albemarle County Service Authority (ACSA) lower parking lot lies within this easement and would be affected by the construction of the road. The applicant is constructing a street section on the property that would allow VDOT to accept this connection as a public road. The remaining connection, contained within a 50’ foot wide private access easement on the ACSA’s property, would be constructed as a private road.  A more detailed discussion of this connection appears under the discussion of the Comprehensive Plan and Principles of the Neighborhood Model and Staff Comment section below.

Petition:

 

Request to rezone 4.87 acres (Tax Map 78, Parcel 16) from HC (Highway Commercial) to NMD (Neighborhood Model District) to allow a 42,000 square foot bank and office building and two 22,500 square foot mixed office and retail buildings with proffers. Highway Commercial zoning allows for commercial and service uses; and residential use by special use permit (15 units/ acre). Neighborhood Model District zoning is intended to provide for compact, mixed-use developments with an urban scale, massing, density, and an infrastructure configuration that integrates diversified uses within close proximity to each other. The Comprehensive Plan designates this property as Regional Service and Community Service in Neighborhood Three. Regional Service designates areas for regional-scale retail, wholesale, business and/or employment centers, and residential (6.01-34 units/acre). Community Service designates areas for community-scale retail wholesale, business and medical offices, mixed use core communities and/or employment services,  and residential (6.01-34 units/acre). The property, described as Tax Map 78, Parcel 16 is located in the EC Entrance Corridor Overlay District and the Rivanna Magisterial District on the south side of Route 250. This property is the former Moore's Lumber site.

 

Character of the Area:

 

The property is located between the Clean Machine Carwash (located at the intersection of Route 250 and Riverbend Drive) and the Crown Auto dealership along the southern side of Route 250 east. The Pantops area is dominated by commercial development along the Route 250 artery, with a system of secondary roads. The form of development in the area over the years has responded to the automobile and the large amount of land along Route 250 that is zoned Highway Commercial. The uses along Route 250 in the area include auto dealerships, motels, restaurants, and the Rivanna Ridge shopping center.

 

RECOMMENDATION

 

Staff has reviewed the proposal for conformity with the Comprehensive Plan and the Zoning Ordinance and recommends approval of the Zoning Map Amendment if the proffer for a traffic signal is amended to address general vehicular and pedestrian improvements for Route 250, Spotnap Road, South Pantops Drive, and/or Riverbend Drive.

 

Planning and Zoning History:

 

The property was zoned Commercial from Agricultural District in 1969. In 1980 it was rezoned from Commercial to Highway Commercial.

 

Applicant’s Justification for the Request:

 

The applicant has made the following key points: Their plan makes efficient and effective redevelopment of this parcel by providing a large amount of mixed-use development. It will be the first large project in Neighborhood Three to be rezoned as Neighborhood Model and will work to generate other similar proposals with a desirable development form, particularly given the existing development pattern. A proffer to build and dedicate a connection to Spotnap Road along an existing private access easement supports the Neighborhood Model’s goal of interconnections. 

 

By-right Use of the Property:

 

With a zoning classification of HC (Highway Commercial), the property could be developed with a full range of commercial uses along Route 250.  The applicant proposes a rezoning to NMD to achieve shallow setbacks and greater massing adjacent to Route 250 than would be allowed through HC. In addition, the applicant is committed to a quality redevelopment of the property.

 

Comprehensive Plan and The Neighborhood Model:

 

The Comprehensive Plan designates this property as Regional Service and Community Service in Neighborhood Three. Regional Service designates areas for regional-scale retail, wholesale, business and/or employment centers, and residential (6.01-34 units/acre). Community Service designates areas for community-scale retail wholesale, business and medical offices, mixed use core communities and/or employment services,  and residential (6.01-34 units/acre). The proposal is in keeping with the Comprehensive Plan designations.

 

Chapter 2 of the Comprehensive Plan, entitled “Natural Resources and Cultural Assets” sets goals for preserving the scenic resources that are recognized as being essential to the County’s character, economic vitality and quality of life.  The Entrance Corridor Overlay Districts were implemented to further the County’s efforts toward attaining the Comprehensive Plan objective of maintaining the visual integrity of important roadways.  The ARB has reviewed the site layout and building design of this proposal for conformity with the County’s adopted design guidelines and had no objections to the rezoning request and the special use permit request, with conditions. See Attachment E, the ARB advisory review memo, for more information regarding the ARB’s review and conditions. Not all of the conditions identified by the ARB are reflected on the General Development Plan. However, the applicant has resubmitted for ARB review on December 5, 2005. The nature of the conditions established by the ARB that are not reflected on the General Development Plan can be fulfilled at the site plan stage.

 

The Open Space Plan does not show any significant environmental features on this

property.

 

 

 

PRINCIPLES OF THE NEIGHBORHOOD MODEL

 

Pedestrian Orientation

The plan responds to Route 250 with a pedestrian entrance leading to an interior plaza that leads to the buildings located at the rear. The sidewalks along Route 250 provide pedestrian connections to the west and Pantops Shopping Center and to the east to the Rivanna Ridge Shopping Center. Pedestrian access is provided to the rear of the site via the proposed connection to Spotnap Road. The Spotnap Road Connection leads to South Pantops Drive. Pedestrians can access the side entrance to Pantops Shopping Center to the West at the intersection of South Pantops Dive and Riverbend Drive. The interior plaza is a fitting response to the Neighborhood Model. The Code of Development contains details regarding the quality of this space and a circulation for pedestrians. As an active, mixed-use center, close to the City of Charlottesville, Pantops Park has much potential. Its proximity to Pantops Shopping Center is an asset, however, existing pedestrian facilities to facilitate crossing Riverbend Drive are minimal or non-existent. This may create an unsafe condition with increased foot traffic. A plan for improvements to pedestrian safety in the area, such as crosswalk striping, would work to create a safer condition.

Neighborhood Friendly Streets and Paths

The proposed extension of Spotnap Road provides a traditional street section with on-street parking, sidewalks, and street trees. The applicant has proffered to construct this road and dedicate it for public use. The road would be constructed on an existing private access easement. The section for this road illustrated on the plan is wide enough (36’) for VDOT to accept into the public road system. The portion of the connection that does not lie on the applicant’s property and the existing Spotnap Road are not designed to a standard acceptable to VDOT. Therefore, the owners of this private road would have to agree to widen and dedicate the road. For the purposes of the rezoning and based on the applicant’s progress with coordinating off-site cooperation, the road is proposed as a private interconnection.

Interconnected Streets and Transportation Networks

The connection to Spotnap is a particularly fitting response to the principles of the Neighborhood Model. At the same time, it is problematic for the existing conditions and uses along Spotnap Road that would be impacted by the new interconnection. The existing Spotnap Road is a private road with a section that tapers from 40’ at South Pantops Drive to 30’ near the proposed alignment of the inter-connection, and includes on-street parking. For the connection to be a public road, the cross-section of the existing portion of Spotnap Road would need to be widened to at least 36 feet. The section could be reduced to 30 feet, if existing on-street parking is removed from one side. Practitioners in the medical offices on Spotnap and the ACSA have expressed reservations for the new street, particularly if approved as a private street. The connection is feasible as a private road, however future opportunities exist for it to become a public road.

 

 

 

Parks and Open Space

 

The plaza space shown connecting Building 1-A with 1-B and 1-C is an excellent response to the Neighborhood Model, considering the property’s constraints.

Neighborhood Centers

This project has much potential as an attractive neighborhood center. The design as shown will allow for commercial and office space to be augmented by the amenities and outdoor spaces incorporated into the plan.

Buildings and Spaces of Human Scale

The plan suggests buildings and spaces of human scale.  The applicant is requesting a building height limit of 65 feet for Building 1-A and 50’ for Buildings 1-B and 1-C.  The width of the U.S. Route 250 section including sidewalks is 65 feet. The distance between the build-to line of the property (20 feet from right-of-way, including the sidewalk) and the existing Goodwill store across Route 250 is 90 feet. Since the section is significantly wider than the height of the building, staff believes the proposed heights relate to a human scale.  Additional review required by the ARB may guide this dimension lower. Staff is comfortable with the unprecedented height and mass in this location. The existing Highway Commercial zoning classification would have limited the height to 65 feet for all buildings, but with at least a 30’ setback. The plan as proposed and the walkable distance between Building 1-A and Buildings 1-B and 1-C reinforces the proposal’s human scale. During initial review, the ARB generally supported the proposal with conditions (Attachment E).

Relegated Parking

The plan is a good response to the objective of relegated parking. However, the proposal could work to better relegate parking and respond to the Entrance Corridor. Staff urged the applicant to shift the orientation or manipulate the form of Building 1-A to better relegate and obscure a larger portion of the parking areas from the Entrance Corridor. The applicant was wary of changes and the ARB did not press the applicant to change the proposal. Plantings, as part of the ARB conditions identified above, and potential future phases will work to screen parking from the Entrance Corridor.

Mixture of Uses

 

The Code of Development allows for a mixed-use center accommodating retail, office, and banking uses.

Mixture of Housing Types and Affordability

The proposal contains no housing. However, the property is within walking distance of several concentrations of housing.

Redevelopment

This project represents one of the most intense redevelopments of an infill site in the County.

Site Planning that Respects Terrain

Critical slopes that exist on the property are manmade and therefore, do not require a waiver. The General Development Plan illustrates a site the steps down the terrain, with Buildings 1-B and 1-C serving as a retaining wall to mitigating the greatest terrain differences. This terrain change is accompanied by a stairway between the buildings. The connection to Spotnap Road and the applicant’s proposal for connecting the ACSA’s lower parking lot would likely require improvements in the form of fill and retaining walls on the Service Authority’s parking lot. No remedy for this necessary improvement exists in the applicant’s submittal.  Staff believes the applicant should commit to rebuilding the ACSA’s entrance in a suitable way.

Clear Boundaries with the Rural Areas

The site lies well within the Neighborhood Three development area.

The Code of Development guides a form of development that would not be visible from Monticello, as the base of Pantops Mountain lies in between.

 

 

 

STAFF COMMENT:

 

The applicant’s Code of Development responds to NMD rezoning requirements. Specific details for the pedestrian plaza, architectural character, and amount of mixed uses are committed to in the Code. This will insure the form of development the Neighborhood Model anticipates.

 

The proffer for a traffic signal on Route 250 in front of the bank at this location is problematic. VDOT has indicated the proffered location for the signal is dangerous and does not meet the standards for distances required between signals on major roads. The applicant was notified of this constraint and staff recommended that general improvements to Route 250, both vehicular and pedestrian would be a more appropriate contribution toward the impacts of the proposal. The applicant has not amended the proffers, which still contain the proposal to implement a traffic signal which could not be approved by VDOT. Therefore, staff is concerned that the intensity of the proposed redevelopment is not adequately addressed by the applicant’s proposal to mitigate these impacts. Remedies and acceptable contributions to mitigate the proposal’s impacts are discussed in greater detail below.

 

Relationship between the application and the purpose and intent of the requested zoning district

The plan illustrates a coordinated response to the intent of Neighborhood Model District zoning. The impacts of this site on its surroundings, particularly given the dense redevelopment proposed affect the road and sidewalk system in the area. Suggestions generated by staff for mitigating these impacts include contributions toward transit, general improvements to Route 250, and general pedestrian improvements. VDOT has identified a reconfiguration of the median near the intersection of Route 20, including a narrowing of travel ways, would allow for a right-hand-turn lane for eastbound traffic on Route 20, working to improve this failing intersection. A plan to implement these improvements would work to support the functionality of this development in its larger context. Assurances from the applicant that general improvements to mitigate the 4,113 trips per day this development is calculated to generate would be fitting, but are not contained in the submittal. Members of the public who participated in the Pantops Master planning process, identified traffic and congestion in Pantops as undesirable.

 

Public need and justification for the change:

Redevelopment of this site close to the City of Charlottesville and the Pantops Shopping Center makes effective reuse of a parcel in the urban core. Reuse of this parcel necessarily lessens impacts on the developable land in the development areas. The proposed connection to Spotnap Road increases the functionality of the vicinity. The new concentration of a bank center and office space in Pantops works to achieve many of the principles of the Neighborhood Model. However, impacts resulting from the new connection and intense redevelopment may not be completely accounted for through the applicant’s proposal.

 

Anticipated impact on public facilities and services:

No impact on schools and utilities are anticipated with this proposal. The new connection to Spotnap Road facilitates better access to the property and creates a new alternative for vehicular functionality in the vicinity. However, there is no guarantee that the ACSA entrance will be reconstructed in conjunction with the extension of Spotnap Road as proposed by the applicant. Increased traffic near the ACSA is of concern to ACSA staff (Attachment F is a letter from the Executive Director of the Service Authority identifying specific concerns). Spotnap Road and South Pantops Drive currently provide access for large vehicles associated with the ACSA. The ACSA anticipates conflicts between the existing uses and increased vehicle and pedestrian volume in the area. Staff believes that reconfiguring the access ways can help to reduce conflicts. Staff has assessed the quality of Spotnap to absorb additional traffic and believes that Spotnap can support the additional traffic.

 

Pantops Park will be an employment center. Pedestrian trips in the area will naturally increase, particularly for lunch and other convenience / retail destinations located in the Pantops Shopping Center. The proposal generates concerns for increased pedestrian activity in an area where existing conditions do not sufficiently accommodate pedestrian traffic. The safety of pedestrian crossings, which are not striped in the area, is of concern to staff. Staff believes that redirecting the money which would be proffered for a traffic signal to pedestrian improvements, such as crosswalks and signals, could help to resolve pedestrian safety issues.

 

Anticipated impact on natural, cultural, and historic resources:

No impact is anticipated on natural, cultural, or historical resources of the County.

 

SUMMARY

 

Staff supports the development proposal, but cannot support the proffers as written. Staff has identified the following factors, which are favorable to the rezoning request:

 

1.                  The rezoning offers a neighborhood center

2.                  The proposal provides a dense “mixed-use” development in Neighborhood Three.

3.                  A mixture of uses are supported by a pedestrian network and public outdoor space.

4.                  The development will provide a variety of retail establishments and services within walking distance of existing housing stock and Pantops Shopping Center.

5.                  The applicant has proffered to build and dedicate a connection between Route 250 and Spotnap Road.

6.                  The applicant has offered a plan for development that closely embodies the objectives of the Neighborhood Model.

7.                  The proposal will not be visible from Monticello.

 

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

 

  1. The transportation impacts the proposal will generate for this area are not addressed through the applicant’s submittal.
  2. The direct impacts the proposal will generate for the ACSA are not addressed through the applicant’s submittal.

 

RECOMMENDED ACTION:

 

Staff recommends approval with changes to the proffers to provide a commitment to reconstruct the Service Authority’s entrance and redirect contributions for an unacceptable traffic signal toward general pedestrian and vehicular improvements to Route 250, South Pantops Drive, and / or Riverbend Drive.

 

 

sp 2005-15 FINANCIAL INSTITUTION Drive-up

 

The proposal is for a drive through window for the central banking facility. The drive-up window is located behind the bank, obscuring it from the Entrance Corridor. The drive-up facility includes three lanes. The County Engineer has waived the Ordinance’s requirement of a by-pass lane, as the entrance to the drive-up is located in a corner of the site and the drive-up facility is located below three levels of offices. The entrance to the facility is removed from the site’s access points and a turnaround area has been illustrated on the plan.

 

With connections proffered by the applicant to connect to the west and the south, the drive-up window will be served by three access points. The interior pedestrian plaza and associated pedestrian facilities sufficiently mitigates the potential conflict between motorist and pedestrian. The ARB has no objection to the drive up facility proposed in this location.

 

STAFF COMMENT

 

Staff will address each provision of Section 31.2.4.1 of the Zoning Ordinance below:

 

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,

By their nature, drive-up windows generate automobile traffic. The concerns for the impact upon adjacent properties are mainly focused on those that lie along the proposed connection between Route 250 and South Pantops Drive along Spotnap Road.

 

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

The character of the district will not be changed. The redevelopment of this former lumber yard to a mixed use center has positive implications for the district.

 

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

The drive-up window for the bank is in harmony and intent of Section 31.2.4.1.

 

with the uses permitted by right in the district,

The uses permitted by right through the Code of Development, and the existing uses in Pantops suggest the drive through window is an appropriate facility in this location.

 

with additional regulations provided in Section 5.0 of this ordinance,

There are no additional regulations in Section 5.0 that specifically address drive-up windows.

 

and with the public health, safety and general welfare.  

The drive-up window will generate more automobile traffic. This could be mitigated with additional pedestrian facilities and improvements. The proposed connection of Spotnap Road to Route 250 would work to better disperse traffic associated with the proposal. Safe and convenient access will be reviewed at the site plan stage.

 

sp 2005-015 BANK DRIVE IN WINDOW SUMMARY:

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

 

1.      The ARB supports the drive-up facility in this location.

2.      The design is in keeping with the Neighborhood Model.

3.      A safe system for vehicular and pedestrian circulation in the site’s interior has been established.

 

Staff has identified no factors which are unfavorable to the request.

 

RECOMMENDED ACTION

 

Staff finds that this request generally complies with the provisions of the Zoning Ordinance. 

 

Staff recommends approval with the following conditions:

 

1.      Drive-up windows will be limited to three (3); including one to be used for an ATM and

2.      Architectural Review Board issuance of a Certificate of Appropriateness.

3.      Applicant is responsible for installation and maintenance of control devices such as signage, and pavement markings as indicated on the site plan. The crosswalk just beyond the drive-up window bays for the bank shall be identified with crosswalk signage on either side of the drive aisle.

 

ATTACHMENTS:

Attachment A – Location Map

Attachment B – General Development Plan

Attachment C – Code of Development

Attachment D – Proffers

Attachment E – ARB Staff Report

Attachment F – ACSA Letter of Concern
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