STAFF PERSON: Amy Ransom Arnold

PLANNING COMMISSION:            April 25, 2006   

BOARD OF SUPERVISORS: May 3, 2006   

 

 

SP 2006-03 American Cancer Society’s Pink Ribbon Polo

 

 

Applicant’s Proposal: The applicant currently operates a farm winery at King Family Vineyards, 6640 Roseland Farm (TM 55 Parcels 80 and 81). The applicant proposes to hold an annual spectator polo fundraising event to benefit American Cancer Society Breast Cancer Research. (Attachments A. 1., 2., and B.)  The event was held for the first time on June 12, 2005, with administrative approval from the County Zoning Department. The applicant estimates the attendance at that event totaled 764 people in 345 cars.  The applicant is projecting this year’s attendance at 1,120 people with 450 cars to accommodate on site.          

 

Petition: The applicant proposes to hold an annual not-for-profit polo event to benefit American Cancer Society Breast Cancer Research.  Sections 31.2.4 and 10.2.2.42 of the Zoning Ordinance allow for temporary events sponsored by local nonprofit organizations which are related to and supportive of the Rural Areas district with additional stipulations outlined in Supplemental Regulations, Section 5.1.27.  The property directly impacted, which is described as TM 55, Parcels 80 and 81, is zoned Rural Areas giving priority to agricultural, forestal, and fishery uses with a residential density restricted to .5 per unit / acre.  The Comprehensive Plan identifies the land use as Rural Areas, which focuses on the preservation and protection of agricultural, forestal, open space, as well as natural, historic and scenic resources.  The property is located at the King Family Vineyards 6640 Roseland Farm, one mile north of Yancey Mills off of Half Mile Branch (Route 684) in the Whitehall Magisterial District.

 

Character of the Area: The immediate area is comprised of open agricultural fields, residential dwellings, hedgerows, patches of forest.  The village of Yancey Mills, dating to 1748, located one mile to the south of the site, was an important commercial center in the County until WWII and is now primarily residential.  The main street through Yancey Mills (Hillsboro Lane) is the former Route 39, the primary route west towards Rockfish Gap before State Route 250 was established in the early 1940’s.  Half Mile Branch (Route 684) intersects Hillsboro Lane near the western edge of the village, continues to the north, passing adjacent to the eastern edge of the King property and intersecting Jarman’s Gap Road to the north.  The easternmost boundary of King Family Vineyards lies less than .2 miles from the boundary of the Crozet Development Area. 

 

Planning and Zoning History:

Upon purchasing the property where the King Family Vineyards are now located, the applicant removed 23 structures and placed site utilities underground.  In 2000, the entire King Family property holdings were placed under permanent easement with the Virginia Outdoors Foundation. 

‘Site Development Plan 2002-56 King Family Vineyards Farm’ was approved on August 19, 2002.  The primary residence on the site was constructed in 2002. 

 

Zoning staff allowed the polo event held at King Family Vineyards on June 12, 2005, by administrative approval (CLE 2005-60).  Zoning advised the applicant that to continue the use for subsequent years, a special use permit might be required.  Zoning is not aware of any citizen complaints about the polo event held on June 12, 2005.

 

 

RECOMMENDATION:

Staff has reviewed this request for compliance with the provisions of Section 31.2.4.1 of the zoning ordinance and recommends approval, based on consistency with the Comprehensive Plan, subject to conditions of approval contained in this report.

 

STAFF COMMENT:

Staff will address each provision of Section 31.2.4.1 of the Zoning Ordinance.

 

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.

 

The American Cancer Society’s Pink Ribbon Polo event was held for the first time on June 12, 2005, with administrative approval from the County Zoning Division. Attendance at that event totaled approximately 764 people in 345 cars.  The Zoning Division received no complaints regarding the event.   

 

As a farm winery, King Family Vineyards is permitted festivals up to four times per year.  In addition, events such as weddings and business gatherings can be held on site with 150 as a maximum number of attendees.  The applicant is an avid polo player and often holds informal polo matches on site.  The distinguishing factors between the events normally held at King Family Vineyards and the proposed annual polo event are the expected numbers of attendees and the sponsorship by a non-profit organization.  The proposed event is projected to generate approximately 1,120 attendees in 450 carsThe event for 2006 is scheduled for the afternoon of June 18, with the gates opening at 10:00 am.  In 2005, a similar time schedule was used allowing for early arrivals and picnicking before the event.  With this approach to scheduling, traffic produced by arriving spectators was distributed throughout the morning and early afternoon, placing the most significant concentration of traffic at the end of the event.  The traffic management plan for the event utilizes the long entry drives into King Family Vineyards by having the  traffic pull well into the property (approximately 700 feet) before turning for general admission parking and allowing for an additional road to accommodate long queues upon exiting as the event concludes. 

 

The closest proximity of any nearby property to the event is the area designated for general admission parking.  The easternmost corner of the parking area is located 30 feet from the boundary with neighbors at parcels 80A and 80A1. The primary event, however, is held 800 feet from Route 684, within the center of a series of large land parcels that comprise the land holdings belonging to the applicant.  All proposed parking areas are comprised of established stands of turf grass.  All internal travelways utilized by the event are paved.  It is the position of the planning staff that interior traffic will generate very little dust, regardless of the weather preceding the event.     

  

The applicant has indicated that outdoor amplified sound related to this event will be limited to the intensity and content of the 2005 event.  The amplified sound in 2005 consisted of a portable system used to play the National Anthem prior to the commencement of the polo match and make announcements for the length of the match, which is approximately two hours.  Staff feels that impacts to adjoining properties from sound will be minimized due to the brevity of the use of amplified sound and the location of the event deep within the property.           

 

 

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

 

The surrounding area is comprised of open agricultural fields, residential dwellings, hedgerows, and patches of forest.  Adjacent to King Family Vineyards to the east is Half Mile Branch, which approximates a westernmost boundary of the Crozet Development Area.  The village of Yancey Mills, dating to 1748, is located one mile to the south of the site.  Formerly predominated by rural farm land and rural villages like Yancey Mills, the immediate area is in flux with Half Mile Branch serving as a divide between suburban development and rural land to the west.  A temporary event implies that the overall context will remain constant with only short term interruption.  The impact of this event will be minimal and would contribute to a sense of local community and support a focus on rural activities.  

 

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

 

County ordinance pertaining to the Rural Areas were established for the following purposes:

 

The primary use for this land will remain a farm winery.  The land on which King Family Vineyards is located has been placed under easement, permanently preserving agricultural and forestal lands, contributing to water supply protection and the conservation of natural and scenic resources.  The proposed event, while not directly supporting the vineyard industry, does support agriculture by showcasing an equestrian event at an operating winery.  Equestrian events are often used to demonstrate the results of animal raising and training and have a long history in both rural and agricultural traditions.              

 

with the uses permitted by right in the district,

 

The property and the adjacent properties are zoned RA, Rural Areas.  The uses permitted by right under RA Zoning directly support agriculture, forestry, and the conservation of rural land.  With its inherent focus and surroundings, an equestrian event held on a farm winery directly supports local agricultural activities.  The applicant’s commitment to the conservation of rural land was demonstrated in 2002 when the property was placed under permanent conservation easement.  The proposed event is a model of integrating the purpose of the rural areas ordinance with an event that directly benefits the community as a whole.

 

with additional regulations provided in Section 5.0 of this ordinance,

 

Section 5.1.27 of the Ordinance applies to temporary events sponsored by local nonprofit organizations which are related to and supportive of the Rural Areas district.  This proposed event supports the Rural Area ordinance by holding an equestrian event at an operating winery.    Included in this section are provisions for the following conditions with regards to this type of temporary event:

 

‘Except as the board of supervisors may expressly add or delete conditions in a particular case,

each such permit shall be subject to the following conditions:

a.       A preliminary plan showing access, parking, vehicular and pedestrian circulation, and

method of separation of the same shall be approved by the director of planning;

b.   Such organization shall have made adequate arrangements with the county sheriff, fire and rescue squads, and the local office of the Virginia Department of Health for the conduct of

      such event;

c.   Adequate arrangements have been made for the removal of trash and debris, reseeding and

      general restoration of the site following the event. The board of supervisors may establish

      and require the posting of a bond in an amount deemed by the zoning administrator to be

      sufficient for such purpose.’

 

A condition of approval notifies the applicant of the necessity for compliance with these standards and requires compliance verification at the time of Zoning clearance. 

      

and with the public health, safety and general welfare.

 

The applicant has proposed the use of caterers and food vendors for the event.  The applicant will not provide power, water or sewage connections for caterers or vendors.  Health Department approval of caterers and vendors serving food is required.  Although acquiring the approval of the Health Department and acquiring any additional licenses is the responsibility of the caterers/vendors, the applicant must verify that approval and provide that verification to the Zoning Department.  The applicant has projected the need for ten (10) port-a-johns for the event; Health Department approval of the port-a-johns must be verified as well.      

 

Both the Albemarle County Engineer and VDOT have recommended that the applicant arrange for traffic control personnel to be located at the intersection of Routes 691 (Jarman’s Gap Road) and 684 (Half Mile Branch) and the Route 250 intersection with Route 684 (Half Mile Branch) for the period of time when the highest concentration of traffic is expected.  The applicant has indicated that they will provide traffic control personnel at the intersection of Half Mile Branch and the entrance to King Family Vineyards.    

 

SUMMARY:

Staff has identified the following factors favorable to this application:

1.       The primary use of the property remains a farm winery that has been placed under permanent conservation easement.

2.       The proposed event is a model of integrating the purpose of the rural areas ordinance within an event that directly benefits the community as a whole.

3.       An equestrian event held on a farm winery directly supports local agricultural activities.

Staff has identified the following factors unfavorable to this application:

1.       With a projected attendance of over 1,000 people for the event, traffic volumes for a short period of time may be heavy in the surrounding areas.

              

RECOMMENDED ACTION:

Based on the findings contained in this staff report, staff recommends approval of SP 2006-03, subject to the following conditions:

1.    Special Use Permit 2006-03 shall be developed in general accord with the sketch plan submitted March 16, 2005, prepared by the Pink Ribbon Polo Committee, and titled “American Cancer Society, Pink Ribbon Polo, SP2006-03” (Attachment A.).  However, the Zoning Administrator may approve revisions to the concept application plan to allow compliance with the Zoning Ordinance. 

2.    The event shall be held once a year between the dates of May 30th and July 1.  The event shall be limited to the hours of 10:00 am and 6:00 pm.  Amplified sounds shall be limited to the National Anthem and announcements related to the polo game.  The applicant shall arrange for traffic control personnel to be placed at all locations and for what period of time the Albemarle County Police Department deems necessary.

3.    Approval of a zoning compliance clearance is required prior to commencing this use.  The applicant shall apply for the zoning clearance no later than three (3) weeks prior to the date for the event.  Zoning approval will be contingent upon the Zoning Administrator determining that the provisions in Section 5.1.27 of the Albemarle County Code and all conditions of this special use permit have been satisfied and on confirmation from the Health Department, as well as the Departments of Fire / Rescue, Police and Sheriff, that they have been contacted by the applicant and can recommend approval.

 

Attachments:

A.  Site Drawings

1.       Sketch plan submitted March 16, 2005, prepared by the Pink Ribbon Polo Committee, and titled “American Cancer Society, Pink Ribbon Polo, SP2006-03”

2.       Combination of the sketch plan (A. 1.) and the approved plan from SDP 02-56 as a base drawing.  Prepared by staff with the assistance of the applicant.

B.  Site Context Drawing 

C.  Site Panorama: taken from the west side of the winery building, looking west across the polo field (light brown) with the primary residence located in the distance (center), the entrance road on the left, and the horse barn to the right. 

 

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