Albemarle County Planning Commission

December 20, 2005

 

The Albemarle County Planning Commission held a meeting and a public hearing on Tuesday, December 20, 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.  Julia Monteith, University of Virginia Planner, attended the meeting in the absence of David J. Neuman, FAIA, Architect for University of Virginia. 

 

Other officials present were Wayne Cilimberg, Planning Director; David Benish, Chief of Planning; David Pennock, Principal Planner; Elaine Echols, Principal Planner; Sean Dougherty, Senior Planner; Rebecca Ragsdale, Senior Planner; Lee Catlin, Community Relations; Bill Fritz, Chief of Current Development and Greg Kamptner, Deputy County Attorney.

 

Call to Order and Establish Quorum:

 

Mr. Edgerton called the regular meeting to order at 6:06 p.m. and established a quorum.

 

ZMA 2005-002 County Fire Station at UVA Research Park (Signs #22,23,24,44,70)

PROPOSAL:  Rezone 1.16 acres from RA - Rural Areas: agricultural, forestal, and fishery uses; residential density (0.5 unit/acre) to PDIP (with proffers) - Planned Development Industrial Park - industrial and ancillary commercial and service uses (no residential use), and rezone 477.67 acres from PDIP to PDIP (with amended proffers).  The 1.16 acre piece of land would be added to the UVA Research Park.  The property is also located in the EC Entrance Corridor which is an overlay zone to protect properties of historic, architectural or cultural significance from visual impacts of development along routes of tourist access.

PROFFERS:  Yes

EXISTING COMPREHENSIVE PLAN LAND USE/DENSITY:  Industrial Service -- warehousing, light industry, heavy industry, research, office uses, regional scale research, limited production and marketing activities, supporting commercial, lodging and conference facilities, and residential (6.01-34 units/acre).

LOCATION: The lands proposed for rezoning are a portion of Tax Map and Parcel 32-18 and Tax Map and Parcel 32-6A located on the north side of Airport Road (Route 649) approx. one half mile west of the intersection of Airport Road and Route 29 North, and more particularly described as follows: (1) the lands to be rezoned from RA to PDIP are a portion of Tax Map 32 Parcel 18 comprised of a 1.16 acre triangular-shaped piece of land beginning at a point along Tax Map 32 Parcel 18's shared boundary with Tax Map 32 Parcel 6A at a point that is 888 feet north of Tax Map 32 Parcel 18's southern boundary line at Airport Road, thence 168 feet N 59º 48' 41" W, thence 600 feet N 30º 11' 19" E, thence 623.1 feet S 07º 52' 53" W, back to the starting point (hereinafter "Parcel A"); (2) the lands to be rezoned from PDIP to PDIP (with amended proffers) are Tax Map 32 Parcel 6A, a 477.67 acre piece of land, a portion of which abuts and is east of Parcel A. 

MAGISTERIAL DISTRICT: Rio

STAFF PERSON:  Elaine Echols

 

Ms. Echols summarized the staff report.  This is a request for an amendment to the existing PD-IP for what use to be called the North Fork Research Park, but now it is the University of Virginia Research Park.  It is now the University of Virginia Foundation and it use to be UREF. It is the same place and same park.  They are looking to add a little over an acre to the park so that the county can have a fire station on a parcel in the park with this extra acreage.  The existing zoning is RA. The proposal was for PD-IP.  The North Fork Research Park was approved as a PD-IP in 1996 for 525 acres.  A blown up version of the details of the fire station is on the board.  It shows the building layout and the circulation and how things relate to the proposed Lewis and Clark Drive.  There are also some green colors on there that were added to show where the location of the eastern and western buffers are and the area for the rezoning and what happens to the buffer.  All of the buffers are 50 feet on the plan.  Now there is going to be a change to that, which was discussed later in the staff report.  In general staff finds conformity with the Comprehensive Plan.  There are a few areas where staff could not find some conformity.  Staff will discuss those areas.  She assumed that everybody has read through the staff report thoroughly and will ask about any questions that they might have.  What staff would like to go into right now are the outstanding issues that exist for this particular project. 

 

Ms. Echols continued that the first one has to do with the buffers.  The original rezoning proposed a 50 foot buffer to the east and a 50 foot to the west.  The buffer to the east was very important to the residents of Airport Acres.  The buffer to the west was in many ways trying to establish some distance between an industrial district and what they considered at that time as a RA district or sort of a residential zone. Through buffering they were able to establish some compatibility.  What has happened to the eastern buffer here really is not the fault of the fire station, but it is more a result of final road plans for Lewis and Clark Drive.  Lewis and Clark Drive was approved with the original rezoning to extend from Route 29 all the way to Airport Road.  It is has been acknowledged in subsequent plans as part of our parallel system.  When it goes through this very narrow section of this existing parcel, which is part of tax map 32, parcel 6A; it comes fairly close to the buffer.  The illustration in the plan and the plan on the wall shows grading outside the buffer. But, that is a little misleading because there needs to be some disturbance of that buffer in order to put in the erosion and sediment control devices.  Jack Kelsey, County Engineer, is present who has done extensive work on that section of road and what needs to happen in there.  He can answer any questions about the buffer. The bottom line is that staff does not see any way for this road to be constructed as it was originally planned without some modification to that buffer and some disturbance.  The proffers that have been made by the applicant would be to do some replanting.

 

Mr. Edgerton stated that his understanding was that this parcel, 32-18, has been acquired.

 

Ms. Echols stated yes, it has been acquired. 

 

Mr. Edgerton asked if it was acquired after the design of Lewis and Clark Drive, which was constricted in

this narrow piece.

 

Ms. Echols stated that she did not know, but that Lewis and Clark Drive was on the existing zoned parcel and not on the RA parcel.  So the design was based on the existing rezoning plan.  But, she could not tell him about the timing.

 

Mr. Edgerton asked if the engineering of Lewis and Clark Drive at a point where it could not be adjusted to pull it more over on to that.

 

Ms. Echols stated that there were some other things that relate to it including the wetlands and some road geometry that would prevent it from being moved over.  The biggest thing is that the entrance has been set with the Airport Road project.  So you have to make a curve to get onto parcel 18.  Of course, that would require an amendment to the plan.  But, you cannot curve past the wetlands and meet VDOT geometrics.  The horizontal curvature just does not work.  Staff has looked at a lot of different ways to try and prevent this disturbance, and they can’t seem to get there from here because of the other fixed things that have already been done.  But, she would invite him after she makes her presentation to ask Jack Kelsey about more of the details about what the options are.  One of the things that the reviewing staff believes will be important to put in the proffers, but they don’t believe that they are quite ready yet, is some language to the effect that the most minimal disturbance possible would take place and that would be at the discretion of the County Engineer.  So they would be able to look very carefully at the road plans and if the engineers that are preparing those road plans bring them to us with the total wiping out of the buffer that would not be the case.  It would be the most minimal disturbance possible.  There is also replanting that is proposed.  The buffer is interesting on the eastern side because it really varies.  There are some places where there is very little buffer.  There are places where there is a fairly thick buffer.  There are other places where there is a fairly thick buffer on the lots that are behind the houses of Airport Acres, but are not exactly on the UVA Foundation property.  So the buffer itself varies in through there.  There is also some shrub vegetation in there and there is some real nice vegetation. 

 

Mr. Rieley asked if staff was speaking exclusively of the eastern buffer.

 

Ms. Echols stated that she was speaking about the eastern buffer right now.  There are proffers that have been made by the Foundation that staff believes needs to be modified. But, staff does not believe that there is a good way to avoid the disturbance as much as they would like to see otherwise. The western buffer exists around the park, but the vegetation is different on the western side.  There is not much in this general area.  Further north there is a lot of trees. But, in this general area the disturbance really is going to be more about grading in that area.  Staff is not bothered by that in particular.  There is a proffer that would allow for a disturbance.  If it was viewed as being important in the site plan process for there to be landscaping that is put back in there, then at that time it would be put in.  It will be shown on a site plan.  But, right now what is happening is that property is abutting RA property that is shown as industrial service.  In the proffers the expectation is that when the adjoining property is rezoned to an industrial designation, of course, that is based on our existing Comprehensive Plan and they know that Places 29 is happening.  But, assuming that industrial service is to remain in this area, and then when that property gets rezoned the buffer would go away.  That makes sense because you would then have a full part of an industrial district there.  You would not want any buffering of industrial uses one from another. So that is why staff is not terribly concerned about the western buffer.  Staff believes that the plan that the Commission received was not really clear on showing how that western buffer works, especially in relation to the property to be rezoned.  Staff is hopeful that illustration on the board can show them what the issues are with the buffer.  The outstanding issue relative to the proffers in that area has to do with how wide that buffer is.  When this was originally rezoned 50 foot buffers were looked at as being appropriate.  She thought that they were looking at buffers in the development areas a little bit differently now because of the amount of area that they take up.  They are looking at them more in terms of are they really needed and why.  It is not essential that it be a 50 foot buffer from staff’s perspective on the western side.  The application plan shows 50 feet, but the proffers show 20 feet.  Staff wants them to be in line, but they are not bothered by a 20 foot buffer.  Staff feels that 20 feet allows enough for the screening of objectionable uses.  In the long run there might not be any need to screen there at all. But, what staff is trying to do right now if nothing else happens to the adjoining property that they would preserve that opportunity with a 20 foot buffer.  Staff can support a 20 foot buffer.  Staff can support the 50 foot buffer.  Staff can even support less in there.  But, staff feels that 20 is an appropriate number.  That needs to be rectified between the proffers and the application plan. 

 

Ms. Echols continued that the sewer was another issue that they want to call the Commission’s attention to.  She knew it was something that they were interested in based on the emails received.  She was telling Mr. Edgerton that the lettering on these plans came late in the day and it was her lettering.  Therefore, she apologized for the quality of the lettering.  If you look at the aerial photo the Commissioners will see a sewer illustration.  Staff outlined in black the three properties being 18A, 18 and 6A as well as a good chunk of the rest of the park.  Up at the top there is a note that says gravity aided sewer.  That is where the existing sewer is located for the research park.  There are three options for serving this property with sewer.  One is gravity sewer from the north.  The other two are with forced mains down to the south.  One is an 8 inch sewer that is near the Post Office distribution facility.  Another one is near Airport Acres.  Both of those have issues that relate to timing because there are easements that would need to be acquired and, of course, there are pump stations that would have to be put in.  The gravity sewer makes the most sense in terms of serving this.  But, they can see that it is a fairly long distance to get to the site.  For those reasons the applicant has asked that septic systems be available to be used in the short term. From an engineering perspective, it makes sense to hold off on this because of the amount of cost involved and because you don’t know exactly where you are going to want your sewer to go in the end.  But, from a policy perspective there is a different story. That is that in the development areas we are asking people to provide public sewer to all uses in the development areas.  The exception to the rule frequently comes with religious institutions who are asking for special use permits.  And almost always it is about an addition to an existing building and not a brand new use that could use a septic system.  There are compelling reasons on both sides as to why use of a septic system makes more sense than a sewer and also why a sewer extension in order to be consistent with County’s policy for serving developments in the development area with public sewer are appropriate.  Staff has laid those out some and feels that the Commission may have some more questions about that.  Mark Graham can help us answer questions related to engineering aspects.  That is the situation.  The extension of the sewer also has tremendous cost associated with it.  She believed that the lower cost related to the extensions from the south with the pump stations rather than from the north.  That is a much more expensive solution to come from the north down through the creek.  That is something the staff would like for the Commission to discuss. 

 

Ms. Echols continued that interconnections are another issue that staff wants to draw the Commission’s attention to.  If they look at the plan and see the parking lot to the north and to the west of the fire station there is a parking lot.  Somewhere in this area between the parking lot and probably the end of the green median strip that is illustrated on that plan there is likely to be an interconnection to the adjoining parcel. An interconnection needs to be made.  Lewis and Clark Drive has four lanes and there are going to be median strips in there. Some of which will be closed.  So what staff is trying to do is ensure that the fire trucks have adequate circulation from Lewis and Clark in through their site.  There are different options that have been discussed as late as yesterday as ways to deal with how the eventual circulation will take place and where interconnections will occur and where openings and crossovers would be.  Jack Kelsey will be able to answer any additional questions that relate to it.  She felt that it was fair to say that is an unresolved issue that the county is interested in seeing resolved and the applicant is interested in seeing resolved.  But, they have some hesitation about building public roads from Lewis and Clark all the way over to their adjoining parcel.  If the Commission will remember reading the staff report for the research park rezoning that was deferred.  They talked a little bit about those issues.  She asked that they reflect on that and be able to answer questions.  The rest of the concerns such as architectural control are not huge, but they are out there.  One of them is making sure that the proffers address architectural controls adequately.  The original proffers allowed for the University Foundation to provide input to the county on what the appearance would be on the building.  The current proffers say that they will have architectural control all based on their guidelines. The County is negotiated on what the proper level of control would be. Right now they think that the façade is appropriate. They have said that they think that other areas are appropriate.  It is fair to say that the county that is dealing with the fire station, and not the reviewing staff, but the aspect of the county dealing with the fire station and the Foundation is still trying to figure out what the best place is for that one.  Hazardous materials – training is another issue that still needs to be worked out with our Fire and Rescue People.  Commitment to the plan – staff believes that is there, but just is not written down.   That is not a huge issue.  A lease arrangement is something that you wrote about and possibly staff can make that clearer. The county’s perspective has been the end user.  If they would be able to give UREF back any land that they did not use that was not required for the fire station.  The proffers allow for five acres.  The county has said that they don’t need to have the full five acres for the fire station.  So in order to retain the ability to establish the lot that is needed for just the fire station the county has been amenable to a lease arrangement.  This lease arrangement is not written into the proffers, but staff has given some information in the staff report that describes it. What would happen is that the county would lease the area that is shown on the plan.  This is tied into sewer.  When a sewer line is extended down for any other use along Lewis and Clark, then the county would be connected to the public sewer and the county would then establish the area of the land that it wanted to have for the fire station, which would likely be less than what you see on the plan.  It is an arrangement that is adequate to the part of the county that is doing the fire station parcel. Reviewing staff does not see issues with it because they feel that the county is protected with it.  There are people here who can answer in detail many of their questions.  Staff will answer any questions, but will rely on them.  The reviewing staff is unable to recommend approval right now because of the number of outstanding issues.  It is not because they don’t want the fire station.  It is just because staff feels that they need to tidy these things up and have things in order before they can make a good strong recommendation for approval.

 

Mr. Edgerton asked if there were any questions for Ms. Echols.

 

Mr. Thomas asked if there were residences to the west of that parcel.

 

Ms. Echols stated that the residences were more to the south.

 

Mr. Thomas asked if there were no residences between the southern most part of it and Airport Road.

 

Ms. Echols stated that there were some, but they were up near the fire station.  She did not believe that there were any in the property to the west because it also has an industrial service classification on it.  The majority of that land is also zoned industrially.  A small portion is zoned RA, which where the church is located.

 

Mr. Thomas stated that Mr. Edgerton had asked the question about moving the road to the west.  Who set the location for the road going into the research park coming off of Airport Road?

 

Mr. Cilimberg stated that the original location as set in the rezoning for the research park.  Airport Road improvements were designed to allow for the cross over as it was planned and approved in the research park rezoning.

 

Ms. Joseph asked if Hollymead Town Center have provisions for a fire and rescue station, too.

 

Ms. Echols stated no and that she had reviewed the proffers today.  They have been thinking about how you establish the different community facilities in this particular area.  They already had the proffer for the fire station. There is a library site that they are still trying to locate up there.  But, the fire station is fixed.

 

Ms. Joseph stated that she had a couple of questions for Mr. Kelsey about the road itself.  She noted that there was some grading down there near the eastern buffer.  She asked if they used a retaining wall would that eliminate getting into that eastern buffer.

 

Mr. Jack Kelsey stated that a retaining wall could be put in a right-of-way, but it was at the discretion of the Highway Department because essentially it would be a structure that they would have to maintain.  If they put a retaining wall in there to try to fit enough room in there for erosion control facilities they would probably end up with a retaining wall that was 14 to 16 feet high at its highest point and about 200 feet long.  Essentially they would be replacing a large section of a 2:1 embankment with a retaining wall. 

 

Ms. Joseph stated that they would then need more of a buffer.

 

Mr. Kelsey stated that more of a buffer would be needed.  But, they would end up having guard rail on top of it.

 

Ms. Joseph asked what the distance is from the gravity fed line to this site because it looks pretty far.

 

Mr. Kelsey stated that he had not scaled the distance for the sewer line itself. 

 

Ms. Joseph asked if they know if it is all gravity from this point back to 29.

 

Mr. Kelsey stated that Mr. Graham may know about that.  Unfortunately, he has not had much involvement in the sewer conversation.

 

Ms. Higgins noted that there have other similar situations in the county where a temporary septic has been used.

 

Mr. Rieley asked Mr. Graham to address the questions about the sewer.

 

Mr. Mark Graham, Director of Community Development, stated that it can be served by gravity and as he recalled it was a little over a half of a mile.  The one issue you have is that until the site is developed out there you could potentially have some fairly deep sewer to make it gravity fed.  That is always an issue because until you get into the design he could not tell them how deep it would be. 

 

Ms. Joseph stated that they were talking about the cost of this.  She assumed that the county assumed the costs for the building and the site work and the access to this.

 

Mr. Graham stated that as he recalled the previous proffer was for a five acre lot, which means that the service would be provided.  Now it is his understanding that by the proposed proffers that at the time that University Foundation would develop the site that they would be responsible for bringing the public sewer to this site. 

 

Ms. Joseph stated that the county is responsible for developing this site.

 

Mr. Graham stated yes, the county would be responsible for developing this parcel.

 

Ms. Joseph asked if that includes access to and the septic.  So there will be some kind of temporary entrance from Airport Road.

 

Mr. Graham stated that the entrance will be with the road that they see on the plan.

 

Ms. Higgins asked who would be building that.

 

Mr. Graham stated that the University would build the road.

 

Ms. Joseph asked if that was happening concurrently.

 

Mr. Graham stated yes, because the site plan cannot be approved without the road.

 

Ms. Higgins stated that they could build a two-lane road on one side up to the fire station.

 

Ms. Joseph asked if what she saw on the plan was what they would get.

 

Mr. Graham suggested that Mr. Kelsey speak to the final road.

 

Ms. Joseph stated that she was curious as to how this thing is going to phase itself.

 

Mr. Edgerton stated that the original University proffer was for a five acre site.  They have a little bit less area.  He asked if sewer was included in that proffer to that site. 

 

Mr. Graham suggested that Mr. Kamptner speak to this.  It called for a five acre lot and you can’t subdivide the lot without providing water and sewer to the lot. 

 

Ms. Higgins stated that it would have to specify public versus septic.

 

Mr. Graham stated that it was in the development area.  He asked if they would ever approve a subdivision without the public sewer. 

 

Ms. Higgins stated that the Service Authority has a standard that says that if sewer is reasonably available.

 

Mr. Graham stated that is the question.

 

Ms. Echols stated that there were actually two things.  There is a site plan section and then there is the subdivision section.  The Subdivision Ordinance recently changed so that whether or not it is reasonably available is actually at the discretion of the Planning Commission.  It just changed.  The site plan section is different.  It allows that determination to be made by the planner or the Current Development person and it is based on costs.  So if this was just a site plan and there was no rezoning involved, the costs would be determining factor.  But, because there is a legislative action involved it is discretionary and if it were just a subdivision it would still come before the Planning Commission. She offered to answer the question about the road that was asked.  It is proposed as a four lane road with only a one-half section to be built now.  Staff wondered whether or not there would be any way to avoid the disturbance with just the one-half section and there is not. 

 

Mr. Edgerton stated that one of his thoughts was that the time to pout in the sewer lines would probably be when that road is built. 

 

Ms. Joseph agreed.

 

Ms. Higgins stated that it would not if it comes from the other direction.

 

Mr. Edgerton stated that the one-half road is going to stop at the fire station.

 

Ms. Higgins agreed that it would make sense to put that sewer in from the north when that section of the road is built to minimize.  It gets so narrow after that there is not much land to develop.

 

There being no further questions for staff, Mr. Edgerton opened the public hearing and invited the applicant to address the Commission.

 

Valerie Long, attorney for the University of Virginia Foundation, stated that the Foundation is technically the applicant because they are the owner of the land.  Obviously, it was the applicant of the proffers for when the park as whole was approved in 1996.  The Foundation has been working very closely with Tom Foley and other members of the county staff who are really driving this project from the county’s perspective for the fire station.  They are here this evening to be as helpful as they can be and answer any questions.  They have been continuing to work well with everyone and are appreciative of that.  As Ms. Echols mentioned earlier this is related to a larger rezoning application that the Foundation has submitted to.  They are really the driver of the project.  The adjacent property to the west that the Foundation acquired a few years after the park was rezoned they are moving forward with a proposal to seek rezoning of that property from RA to PD-IP.  They may recall that they originally had a work session scheduled in late October, but that has been rescheduled to January 31.  They will be back in about a month to talk with the Commission again.  These projects are related because they are so close to one another and hopefully they will all be part of the research park.  Those are the main issues.  There are some clarifications that they would like to at some point make tonight.  She felt that Tom Foley and his group would probably address most of them.  But, if there is an opportunity at the end they would be happy to answer a few more questions if someone would invite them back up.  They would appreciate that opportunity.  Obviously, if there is anything that comes up that they can help with they would be happy to do so.  Fred Missel, with the UVA Foundation, is also present this evening.  He is the design person for the research park among other things.

 

Tom Foley, Assistant County Executive, stated that he was not official the applicant, but obviously the beneficiary of this project is the county to provide some essential public safety services.  He wanted to address the Commission in two ways.  One is to ask Chief Eggleston to do a very quick overview of the need for the station and the area that it is going to serve to really address the Comprehensive Plan response times for fire rescue service.  Secondarily, he would like to come up afterwards just to explain the approach and the partnership that they have worked with UREF to basically execute the previous proffer which was for a fire station site itself.

 

Chief Dan Eggleston presented a power point presentation to point out the importance of this fire rescue station and to really highlight the urgency of this station as well.  He presented information to explain why this site is so important to the county.  In early 2002 he started in this position and one of the main projects on his plate at the time was to assess the services in the northern planned development area and the Hollymead Planned Development area.  At that time in 2002 they felt that they were at a critical point and that this area was under served and was likely to get worse over time.  At that time they put together a pretty aggressive project that spelled out what needed to happen. They scheduled the station to open in August, 2005.  It is December, 2005 and now they have a new date of 2007.  There are a number of issues associated with this project.  Since 2002 they feel that this thing has moved past the critical stage and is even a higher priority at this point.  They are proposing this year during the budget project process to have a temporary site installed in that area.  It is extremely critical that they put something in place.  They believe that the point has come now that it is critical and it is likely to get worse if they continue the development in that area as well as the traffic generated at the Hollymead Town Center.  They have seen over the last two years about a 25 percent increase in calls for emergency service in that area.  There is a good portion of the homeowners in Forest Lakes North that are really under served and really are paying higher insurance premiums because they are outside of that five mile radius of a fire station. They are paying a penalty for that.  The most critical issue before us is that our EMS response times are more than three times what our target rate is. 

 

Ms. Joseph asked what the target rate is.

 

Chief Eggleston stated that the target rate is four minutes in the planned development area.  Our EMS response time in that area is 13 minutes.  So they are more than three times what our target is.  They feel that this is right now county wide the most under served area that they have. It is vital because they feel that the planned development areas deserve a higher level of service as spelled out in the Comp Plan.  This is really our only solution to put this fire and rescue station in place.  The reason they are really attached to this particular site is because it helps us to meet our response time goals.  If you look at the map on the screen you will see that that gray area is the planned development area.  Working through our GIS Department in the county they have helped us put together some time distance maps from existing fire stations in Earlysville, Stony Point and Seminole.  Those lines represent the travel time to get to that planned development area in a four minute rolling time.  None of the stations come close to that area.  It leaves this big hole in that area.  It is under served.  It is one of the fastest growing areas in the county right now as far as traffic and development. If they put the fire station at this site it will cover the majority of that area and the response standard to help plug that hole that they currently have.  It will help us solve that problem.  They feel that this is almost an ideal site for us.  They have gone through an extensive property search and really have come back to this site.  They feel that this site will really work for us from a response time standpoint.  To move to the summary section, they feel that at the end that this site is best to meet the service needs in this area.  It is vital that this project stay on schedule in order to meet the 2007 opening.  They definitely need to commit to this.  He urged the Planning Commission to consider the significance associated with this project.  He asked that the Commission let him know if there was anything that he or his staff could do to keep this project on track.  They really have a desperate need here in this area to provide some fire and EMS protection.  There is over a 25 percent call increase in services in this area.  That has raised their concern about this project.  As Hollymead Town Center builds out they expect an increase in the number of calls. 

 

Mr. Craddock stated that it was referenced in the report that the land area needed to be roughly the size of Monticello’s.   He asked how big that is.

 

Chief Eggleston stated that right now it was about 13,000 square feet. They have gone the program phase of this project right now and the difference between this station and Monticello is that this station has one more bay because of the added services in this area. 

 

Mr. Craddock asked how much acreage is involved.

 

Chief Eggleston stated that this project was 1.6 acres, but he was not sure about Monticello.

 

Mr. Craddock stated that he would think that probably with being in the back of Airport Acres and with what UVA wants to do and their expansion possibilities that they would probably would want that whole five acre or 4.8 acres.

 

Chief Eggleston stated that they have looked at that, but right now they feel that the size of this station as programmed will fulfill our needs for the long term future.  If they think there are additional services needed in that area, then it is likely that an additional station will be placed maybe in the northern part of that area.  It really depends on where the growth goes.  But, they feel that from looking at other localities that service a larger population than we do, they feel that this station as it is programmed now will fulfill those needs.

 

Mr. Craddock pointed out that he was thinking that it would avoid other people from building up close to the fire station by keeping the full five acres.  He felt that if they are offered 4.8 acres that they ought to take the 4.8 acres.  He suggested that the county not give back the acreage because they might need it in the future.  It would be easier to keep it than to try to get it back.

 

Chief Eggleston stated that they really don’t see a need in the immediate future for that space right now.  They really do think that this site built as programmed will fulfill their needs.  For the sake of the project schedule they feel confident enough that they would like to move forward with what they have.

 

Mr. Craddock asked about the circulation that is right there now.  If they take away that temporary access, then they would have all of the main traffic coming in right where the trucks would be coming out in an emergency.

 

Chief Eggleston stated that actually what would happen is that the traffic would come in through the parking lot on the north side so that when the units are coming back from a call when they go back into the fire station they will be coming through a road on the north side coming through the parking lot back into the station.  That is a similar flow.

 

Mr. Craddock pointed out that was not drawn on the plan.

 

Mr. Rieley stated that is a future connection for which there is no provision in the proffers for.

 

Chief Eggleston stated that there is room for expansion in the footprint itself. He felt that the day of having huge fire houses are over with.  They can service this area for a long time with three bays in that fire station. 

 

Ms. Higgins asked if they would have a ladder truck.

 

Chief Eggleston stated yes that a ladder truck, engine and ambulance are programmed for this station.

 

Mr. Craddock asked how about a police station.

 

Chief Eggleston stated that a substation was programmed in that building as well.

 

Mr. Rieley stated that staff has pointed out that one of the things that are missing is the architectural controls and the façade and it was scheduled to come on line about now.  He asked Ms. Echols if the plans have changed.

 

Chief Eggleston stated that original schedule that they put together was based on our staff’s analysis of the project.  They were not aware of some of the other issues and requirements associated with this project.  They put together a skeleton plan that showed major mile stones associated with getting this station on line as quickly as possible.

 

Ms. Echols stated that the architectural control would relate more to the façade and she was not sure if they have gotten to that point yet.  The original proffers talked about consulting those guidelines.

 

Mr. Rieley stated that he was getting heavy vibes that they have an emergency that has to be taken care of right away, and reality is that they have all these loose ends that have not been addressed yet.

 

Tom Foley, Assistant County Executive, asked to address that. They certainly don’t expect the Planning Commission to take any action tonight if that is not clear.  They plan to come back on the 10th with some resolved proffers and these issues addressed.  They have had meetings since the staff report went out that has actually moved towards resolving some of those.  Chief Eggleston is here to tell the Commission about the urgency of the need for response out there, but there are some other things that he wanted to tell them about that are other objectives for this project, which are important and have to do more with the Comprehensive Plan and the parallel road system.  They are certainly not here tonight to say that they need some quick action.  They recognize that the Commission should not be expected to act tonight.  They plan to come back with the resolution to issues and have some final discussion in a few weeks. 

 

Mr. Rieley suggested that this request should have been brought before the Commission as a work session and not a public hearing since they were not expected to take an action on it.  He questioned whether the applicant should have to comply with the time limit.

 

Mr. Edgerton stated that the county had to adhere to the same time limits and invited other public comment. 

 

Mr. Foley asked for two additional minutes to finish up his comments. 

 

Mr. Edgerton asked if there were any objections. 

 

Mr. Rieley stated that he had no objections.

 

Mr. Foley stated that obviously, as Chief Eggleston’s presentation outlines there is an essential need for the station to meet the county’s own response standards in consideration of completing this project. However, the county looked at more than meeting the response standards.  In addition they looked at the objective of trying to potentially advance the establishment of the county’s own parallel road system through the establishment of Lewis and Clark Boulevard.  Obviously getting this leg done does not make it a done deal and there is a lot more that has to happen.  But, they did think that if they could get it built as a fire station and also get that road established that those were two important objectives.  One from a public safety perspective and one from a long range planning Comp Plan perspective that they thought was important.  As a result they decided to work with the University Foundation to proceed with this project.  However, he wanted them to know that they looked at other sites that would have also advanced both of those objectives and the things just did not work out in terms of the analysis. Ultimately, they decided to move forward with this in a partnership with University Foundation.  They felt that was a positive way to move forward.  They are working with them positively to resolve these issues. Obviously, they are not just planning for a station, but were also designing an ultimate road for a parallel road system.  So that has been more complicated and has delayed the project.  But, they think that in the long run that it makes sense to work forward this way.  He wanted the Commission to understand the approach a little bit.

 

Ms. Joseph asked how much of this segment of road that they were planning on building.  She asked if it was up to where the little yellow box is on the plan or are they going further with a two lane road.

 

Mr. Foley stated that all that this does is begin the establishment of that parallel road system up to the fire station.  They are certainly no accomplishing everything under the sun with this.  But, they do think it is important to get that established as a beginning point for the system.  They looked at the other side of the road to see if they could do something over there to get the fire station done and establish it on the other side.  But, that just did not work out because of the number of development cost related issues.  But, those were the objectives that they had in mind.  They are continuing to work with the Foundation to finalize these proffers.  He felt that they have already made some progress. He felt that the interconnection in particular was something that they could come back with some positive news on.  Really tonight would have been more appropriately a work session and would have served better with your standard rules, but they did think this was an opportunity to get some input before they came back to them in January.

 

Ms. Higgins asked what the county would be responsible for in the proffers since the Foundation had previously proffered to give the county the land for the fire station.

 

Mr. Foley stated that the proffer that needs to be in here is related to the temporary drain field, which needs to be a commitment on their part if the county accepts that to commit to that at a later time.  They also have to put in the septic field that will be temporary, which they have committed to do.  He stated that the previous proffers were not very specific and has led to some of the challenges that they have had in executing this proffer. 

 

Mr. Kamptner stated that the need to amend the proffers is also necessitated by the particular location of this parcel.  It is within the rezoned area and it is encroaching over into land that is right now zoned RA and its impact to an established process.

 

Mr. Edgerton stated that they were rezoning the small triangle, and Mr. Kamptner stated that was correct.

 

Ms. Higgins asked if a fire station is considered a public use.

 

Mr. Kamptner stated that it was, but that the approved application plan showed this as area D with no roads or approved structures.  There were no improvements shown at all in area D.

 

Ms. Joseph pointed out that the original rezoning showed the fire station in area D.

 

Mr. Foley stated that they have moved it much closer because otherwise they would not have been able to execute this reasonably because it was so far back into the property that was undeveloped at this point.  That would not have served their response time goals either.  This location makes a whole lot more sense.

 

Mr. Thomas agreed with Mr. Craddock that five acres would be more in line with the acreage that would be needed for the fire station due to the large amount of growth anticipated for that area.  He asked if they found that it was more cost effective to have a larger number of smaller facilities all over the area.

 

Mr. Foley stated that this station does provide for actually dormitory types of residential in the fire station so that some students could actually live there and respond.  There will be showers and beds and all those things for a fully functioning station, including meeting all of the equipment needs that they would have in that area.  On the second part of his question generally what he said was correct.  They would not expand this to have a whole lot of equipment come out of one station.  They would instead look at the response areas and figure out if another station is appropriate.  Again, he thought that the reality of this was that this development area is not going to develop to the type of density that would be similar to New York City where you might have a station on every other corner.  They feel that it is positioned in the right place to serve it very adequately with its build out.  So they are comfortable with this being a three bay station.  Monticello has two bays.  They are going to have ladder truck service. The equipment will come out of both sides of the bays.  Chief Eggleston has assured him that based on his research that this is going to serve that development.  He pointed out that they operate as a system and when other calls are out then other stations are put on alert to respond if that is needed.  It is clearly a system response that they work with.  Earlysville is about five to eight minutes away from this station.  Therefore, he felt that they were adequately covered in terms of response here.  On the size of the site, ultimately the Board of Supervisors will have to decide whether 5 acres is what they need or whether the 2 ½ or so that they have here is adequate.  They are going to hear from staff that the proffer that said up to 5 acres for a fire station is what they are doing here, but it just does not take 5 acres to do that. 

 

Mr. Thomas stated that if they have bingo that they will need a large parking lot.

 

Mr. Foley stated that there is a community room here that could be used, but this is a combination station and not fully reliant on volunteer fund raising support.  This station is not designed in the same way as a volunteer only station.

 

Mr. Edgerton asked if there were other members present who would like to speak to this application.  There being none, he closed the public hearing to bring the matter back before the Commission.

 

Ms. Joseph asked Fred Missel to come forward to answer her question.  She asked if he had any idea or notice as to when this road will go all the way through and connect.

 

Mr. Fred Missel stated that they really don’t.  They have looked at models of development for this research park that have ranged anywhere from 20 years to 60 years.  So there is really no clear way to be able to decide or judge how long it would take to do that.  One point of clarity, too, is that it is actually 3,900 feet for the length of the sewer.  That is based on various schematic gravity feed alignment. 

 

Ms. Joseph asked if they could pull that sewer out and make it more valuable.

 

Mr. Missel stated yes that he thought that it would.  At the point in which they actually have the master plan in place to move forward with it, they will be able to do the schematic alignments that make sense.  At this point they are really bringing in an alignment for an area that potentially has development potential frankly, but by putting in the sewer and fixing it now they may have to build other pump stations that are not required and they would not want to be serviced by the Service Authority.  It would just not be the most efficient approach not just from the financial standpoint but a marketing standpoint.

 

Ms. Joseph stated that from the marketing standpoint if they had the sewer and the road going all the way through would be great.

 

Mr. Missel stated that fortunately that it was not his decision to make.

 

Mr. Cilimberg stated that to somewhat answer the question as to when that road will be finished, there is a requirement of the zoning that 980,000 square, which is build out of phase one, that the road connection will be made through. He thought that was an item that they were going to be revisiting as part of their rezoning of the larger area here, too.  So this is not really in play.

 

Mr. Edgerton asked how much they were up to now.

 

Mr. Cilimberg stated that he was not sure, but it was not close to 980,000 square feet.

 

Mr. Missel stated that it was at 350,000 square feet.

 

Mr. Edgerton stated that the public hearing had been closed and the matter was back before the Commission.  They had been told that they were not expected to take action by one of the applicant.  Their recommendation by staff was not to act.  So what is the pleasure of the Commission?

 

Mr. Rieley stated that since this would be his last opportunity to weigh in on this he thought that the stickiest issue is the sewer and the extension.  He felt that is was an irresistible object in this situation because there were two opposing values with both of them very reasonable.  One is that in the development areas they should be building sewers as they develop.  Any exceptions to that should be in a very extreme case.  This seems to be an extreme case because the connection is in an area that is so long and has not been planned yet and coming from a different direction than the road is going.  His inclination would be to show some flexibility on that issue even though it is a very important issue.  Generally they should not flex on it.  It does not look particularly good when they flex on it for a county project.  But, nevertheless, he felt that was the situation that they were in.  He felt that on the list of needed commitments in the staff report there are three very clearly articulated ones and he hoped that the Commission would insist that all three of those be met.  Then the next time they meet they should be here and they should have concrete things to look at.

 

Mr. Edgerton asked he was referring to the three items listed on page 13.

 

Mr. Rieley stated that was correct.

 

Ms. Higgins asked if the applicant had to request a deferral.

 

Mr. Cilimberg stated that he believed that he heard them say that they expected that it be deferred.

 

Motion:  Ms. Higgins moved, Mr. Morris seconded, to approve the applicant’s request for deferral of ZMA-2005-002, County Fire Station at UVA Research Park, to January 10, 2006 with the condition that in the meantime the three comments on page 13 be worked on and then brought back to the Planning Commission.                        

 

The motion passed by a vote of 7:0. 

 

Mr. Edgerton stated that ZMA-2005-002 was deferred to January 10, 2006.

 

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