Albemarle County Planning Commission

January 17, 2006


The Albemarle County Planning Commission held a meeting and a public hearing on Tuesday, January 17, 2006, at 6:00 p.m., at the County Office Building, Room 241, Second Floor, 401 McIntire Road, Charlottesville, Virginia. Members attending were Bill Edgerton, Eric Strucko, Calvin Morris, Vice-Chairman; Pete Craddock and Marcia Joseph, Chairman.  Jo Higgins and Jon Cannon were absent.  Pete Craddock arrived at 6:37p.m.  Julia Monteith, Senior Land Use Planner for the University of Virginia, represented David J. Neuman, FAIA, Architect for University of Virginia. 


Other officials present were Wayne Cilimberg, Planning Director; Bill Fritz, Development Review Manager; Elaine Echols, Principal Planner; Rebecca Ragsdale, Senior Planner; Scott Clark, Senior Planner; Steve Tugwell, Planner; David Benish, Chief of Planning and Greg Kamptner, Deputy County Attorney.


Call to Order and Establish Quorum:


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


            Work Sessions:


ZMA 2005-005 Liberty Hall (Cross Property) (Sign #69)

PROPOSAL:  Rezone 8.01 acres from R1 (1 unit/acre) Residential to NMD Neighborhood Model District - residential (3 - 34 units/acre) mixed with commercial, service and industrial uses for up to 10,000 square feet of office use and up to 53 residential units (10 single family, 21 townhouses, 15 condominiums)


EXISTING COMPREHENSIVE PLAN LAND USE/DENSITY:  Crozet Master Plan designates the property CT3 Urban Edge: single family residential (3.5-6.5 units/acre) supporting uses such as religious institutions and schools and other small-scale non-residential uses, and CT4 Urban General: residential (4.5 units/acre single family, 12 units/acre townhouses/apartments, 18 units/acre mixed use) with supporting uses such as religious institutions and schools and mixed uses including retail/office


LOCATION: Tax Map 56, Parcels 97A, 97A1, and 97 (portion of) at the intersection of Radford Lane/Rockfish Gap Turnpike (Rt. 250 W)


STAFF PERSON: Rebecca Ragsdale


Ms. Joseph stated that the Commission would go through the 8 items in the staff report.  First they would ask staff for information on each of the items, and then ask the applicant if they would like to comment.  Therefore, they could go through each item by item.  The applicant may also do a presentation if they want to.


Ms. Ragsdale provided the background of the project.  This application has been under review since May as a rezoning to Neighborhood Model.  It has been revised several times.  Staff felt that this was an appropriate time to introduce the Commission to the proposal in advance of a public hearing that was scheduled in February.  Staff would like the Commission to go through the discussion items that they have provided.  Staff has provided some of the analysis that they typically do when they provide the Commission with the rezoning report such as conformity with the Neighborhood Model and the Crozet Master Plan. 


Vito Cetta, representative for Weatherhill Homes, stated that the proposed plan is consistent with the Comprehensive Plan.  He reviewed the plan and pointed out the area to be developed and the type of units proposed.


Frank Pollack, representative for Weatherhill Homes, addressed the questions about the proposed above ground retention pond, which will be dry and not always have water in it.  He stated that all of the road will be public with the exception of the alleys.


In summary, the Planning Commission held a work session on ZMA-2005-005, Liberty Hall (Cross Property). In order to familiarize the Commission with the project and to discuss several issues that would benefit from advance input prior to the February 14 public hearing, staff and the applicant presented the proposal and answered questions. The Planning Commission held a discussion with staff and the applicant and provided feedback on the rezoning proposal and preliminary discussion topics as follows:


1.       Design and layout:  Does the Planning Commission support the general layout proposed?


The Planning Commission was generally in support of the design and layout aspect of the proposal, with the exception of the visibility of the garage doors located in the front of the residential units interior to the project site, which was all units except those units in Block One. The submittal of elevations might be helpful.  The Commission likes the road connections and street grid, but not the fact that they are going to be looking at the garage doors.


2.       Residential density:  Does the Planning Commission find the proposal consistent with the Crozet Master Plan with regard to residential densities?


The Planning Commission was generally comfortable with the averaging and gross density for the overall site.  


3.       Amenities and green space:   Are the amenities and green space the applicant is providing sufficient for the residential units proposed?


The consensus of the Planning Commission was that they would like to see more functional amenity areas. The applicant was advised to work with staff to explore additional opportunities within the project for increasing amenities. The Planning Commission suggested the applicant pursue parking reductions and work with Engineering to see if storm water detention facilities could be placed underground.


4.       Mixture of uses:  Does the Planning Commission find the mix of uses proposed in Liberty Hall appropriate?


The Planning Commission generally agreed with staff’s judgment on the mixture of uses since the other uses suggested in the Master Plan are fairly close by.  It was suggested that the parking be reduced as much as possible.


5.       Mixture of housing types:  Is the mixture of housing types proposed by the applicant for Liberty Hall appropriate?


The Planning Commission concurred with staff’s finding that the three different housing types was appropriate. 


Concerns were also raised about the massing and size of the office building in Block 1 and the relationship to the adjacent residential units. Ways of alleviating this were suggested, including compressing the parking area and making more open space or breaking up the massing of the building(s).


6.       Interconnections:  Are the interconnections proposed by the applicant appropriate and do they meet the intent of the Crozet Master Plan?


The Planning Commission has no problem with the interconnections including pedestrian access. 


The proposed location of the traffic signal was discussed. It was the consensus of the Planning Commission that the proffers should be flexible to allow a contribution to a traffic signal on Route 250 at Radford Lane or the proposed Eastern Connector at Cory Farm.   


7.       Affordable housing:  Is the applicant making appropriate provisions for affordable housing within the Liberty Hall development?


Staff stated that the applicant is proposing that 7 of the 8 stacked units to be affordable.  There is a proffer that has language in it.  There was a question as far as    the 90 day provision.  That is something that staff has seen in other proffers.  It was in Old Trail.  It is something that Housing is okay with. 


The Planning Commission was concerned about the proffer that gives the County 90 days to find a buyer.  If they don’t find a buyer in 90 days it goes back on the open market.  The Commission agreed with the applicant’s proposal to work with Mr. White on extending the 90 days period to at least 4 to 5 months.


8.       Off-site impacts and Proffers:  Are the proffers submitted adequate to meet the impacts generated by this development?


The Planning Commission asked that the following issues be addressed:


·         Provide information on impacts to school and other fiscal impacts.


·         On page 12, second bullet point concerning the sidewalk/street tree issue noted that the sidewalk and street trees are not provided on all streets within the development.  In addition, cross-sections on the street plan do not match the General Development Plan and Landscape Plan. Staff needs to work that out with the applicant particularly along Radford Lane. 


·         Staff pointed out that this is the only area in Crozet where there is a neighborhood that crosses over 250.  The remainder of 250 in the Crozet Master Plan was shown for buffer preservation in the CT area along the road.   Staff asked that the Commission weigh in on that as well.


There were some traffic and safety concerns expressed by the Commission regarding crossing over 250.


·         Staff pointed out that they were still working with the applicant to make sure they address the ARB’s comments about the office building.  The following proffers are also being worked on:  The cash proffer possibly being increased with Wickham Pond; Affordable housing proffer and traffic signal proffer was discussed; and the fiscal impact analysis was not in the packet, but staff hopes to have that for next time.  Any requests for waivers will be brought to the Commission at a later date.  


Ms. Joseph complimented Ms. Ragsdale for an excellent staff report.  She pointed out that the Commission would be holding a public hearing on this request in February.


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