STAFF PERSON:                                                                  Margaret Maliszewski

PLANNING COMMISSION:                                              April 11, 2006

BOARD OF SUPERVISORS:                                              May 3, 2006

 

OUTDOOR FURNITURE DISPLAY (CLASSIC FURNITURE)

SP-2005-35: Special Use Permit for outdoor sales, storage and display of furniture

 

Applicant’s proposal

 

The applicant proposes to display furniture in two areas measuring approximately 20’ x 20’ in an existing parking lot on the north side of the Classic Furniture building. The furniture display would be accommodated in a total of 4 existing parking spaces currently located on the north side (front) of the building. (A sketch plan is included as Attachment A. An enlargement of the display area plan is included as Attachment B.) The display is intended to have the appearance of a furnished patio, enhanced by planters and pavers. The sketch shows a variety of seating (dining chairs, lounge chairs, sofas, etc.) and tables (dining tables, coffee tables, etc.), and the applicant’s description notes that “accessories” would also be displayed. Accessories could include items such as serving carts, umbrellas, tables, table tops, and table bases. (The applicant’s illustration of the proposed display is included as Attachment C.) No new lighting is proposed.

 

Petition:

 

Request for special use permit to allow outdoor display of furniture in accordance with Section 30.6.3.2(b) of the Zoning Ordinance which allows for outdoor sales, storage and/or display associated with permitted uses, when visible from an EC Entrance Corridor Overlay Zoning District street. The property contains approximately .918 acres zoned EC Entrance Corridor and C1 Commercial. It is described as Tax Map 61M, Parcel 2 and is located in the Rio Magisterial District at 460 Premier Circle on the west side of Seminole Trail (Rt. 29 North) across from Branchlands Boulevard.  The Comprehensive Plan Land Use/Density for this property is designated as Community Service  – community-scale retail, wholesale, business and medical offices, mixed use core communities and/or employment services, and residential (6.01-34 units/acre).

 

Character of the Area:

 

The site of the proposed development is located on Premiere Circle, on the west side of Route 29 North, across from Branchlands Boulevard. It is located just south of the Waffle House site and just north of a small office building occupied by DePaul Family Services. Nearby sites that have approved outdoor display areas include the Toys-R-Us store and the Food Lion, both at Branchlands across Route 29 to the east. Other development in the area includes motels, banks, shopping centers, restaurants, and automobile related uses.

 

By-right use of the Property:

 

The property is located within a C1 Commercial Zoning District, which permits a number of retail sales and service uses, personal service uses, office and dwelling units. A special use permit is required for the proposed areas of outdoor storage and display on this site due to its location within the EC overlay district. The focus of the Special Permit review is on the impacts to the Entrance Corridor, not on the use itself.

 

RECOMMENDATION:

 

Staff has reviewed this proposal for conformity with the Comprehensive Plan and compliance with Section 30.6.3.2 (b) of the Zoning Ordinance and recommends approval of the special use permit with conditions.

 

Planning and Zoning History:

 

SDP-1987-68: Premier Plaza Preliminary Site Plan: Preliminary plan approved with conditions December 8, 1987.

SDP-1988-16: Premier Plaza Administrative Final Site Plan: Plan signed administratively February 18, 1988.

ARB-2000-12: Mattress Gallery Sign: Certificate of Appropriateness granted for an internally illuminated wall cabinet sign.

ARB-2000-31: Cavalier Sports Sign: Certificate of Appropriateness granted for an internally illuminated wall cabinet sign.

CLE-2005-150: Zoning Clearance approved 6/6/05.

CLE-2005-177: Zoning Clearance approved 6/29/05.

ARB-2005-171: Outdoor Furniture Display (Classic Furniture): ARB recommended no objection to the special use permit; recommended conditions of approval; and approved a Letter of Revision, pending staff approval of conditions.

ARB-2006-23: Mattress Gallery/Classic Furniture Signs: Applications under review for wall sign refacings and new channel letter wall sign for the east wall (facing Route 29) of the building.

 

STAFF COMMENT:

 

Comprehensive Plan:

 

Chapter 2 of the Comprehensive Plan, entitled Natural Resources and Cultural Assets, establishes the goals for preserving scenic resources that are recognized as being essential to the County’s character, economic vitality and quality of life. The Entrance Corridor Overlay District is intended to further the County’s efforts toward attaining the Comprehensive Plan objective for maintaining the visual integrity of all roadways. The Architectural Review Board addresses potential adverse aesthetic impacts by applying the County’s Entrance Corridor Design Guidelines on their review of development proposals. The Architectural Review Board has reviewed the subject request for conformance with the Design Guidelines. (See Attachment E for the ARB’s full action on the proposal.) At its meeting on February 6, 2006, the ARB voted 5:0 to forward the following recommendation to the Planning Commission:

 

The ARB has no objection to the request for the Special Use Permit for the outdoor display of furniture based on a Classic Furniture plan dated February 6, 2006, with the following conditions:

1.      Items shall be displayed only in the areas marked for display on the plan entitled “Classic Furniture Outdoor Display” and dated 2-6-06.

2.      Items shall be displayed to achieve the appearance of a furnished patio. Beds and mattresses shall not be displayed.

3.      Items for display shall not be stacked one atop another.

4.      Items for display shall not be elevated anywhere on site.

5.      Planters joined by black chain shall be used to delineate the boundaries of the display areas.

6.      No new lighting is approved for the new display areas.

7.      Add one 2½” caliper tree to the island located at the interior of the parking row in front of the building and add one 2½” caliper tree to the island at the east end of the parking row in front of the building.

8.      Along the EC frontage, replace the row of shrubs closest to the parking spaces with evergreen screening shrubs to screen the parking lot.  A holly that grows to a minimum of 2-3’ in height would be appropriate.

9.      Replace the missing tree along the EC frontage with a Kwanzan Cherry at 2½” caliper.

10.  Add one flowering Cherry tree along the EC for balance.

 

Zoning Ordinance Review

 

Following is an analysis of how the request for outdoor sales and display complies with the requirements of Section 31.2.4.1 of the Zoning Ordinance:

 

The board of supervisors herby 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, that the character of the district will not be changed thereby

 

Two primary features of the proposed development have relevance to the character of the district: 1) the location and visibility of the furniture display, and 2) the treatment and character of the furniture display.

 

Location and visibility of furniture display: The segment of the Entrance Corridor in which the subject parcel resides has a strong commercial character. Nearby sites that have approved outdoor display areas include the Toys-R-Us store and the Food Lion, both at Branchlands across Route 29 to the east of the Classic Furniture site. These display areas are located at much greater distances from the EC than the proposed Classic Furniture display would be. Although the introduction of furniture display on the subject parcel expands this use to a location much closer to the corridor, the display area is relatively small area of site. The existing parking lot is raised a few feet above the elevation of Route 29. Cars parked in the parking lot could block the view of the display area from the EC. The trees on site would also help minimize visibility of the display area during the spring, summer and early fall months. The proposal is expected to sufficiently minimize the impacts of the display on the EC.

 

 

Treatment/character of furniture display: The type and character of the items proposed for display do not have an inappropriate appearance for the EC. However, some items, like mattresses, do have an inappropriate appearance for outdoor display, and items could be displayed in an inappropriate manner. For example, chairs and tables could be stacked on each other, or table tops could be stored in groups on end. This type of display would have a sloppy, disorganized appearance that would not be appropriate for the EC.  The ARB has recommended conditions of approval to ensure appropriate methods of display.

 

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

 

Staff has reviewed this proposal for compliance with the purpose and intent as set forth in Section 1.4 of the Zoning Ordinance and finds no conflict that would arise from the approval of the special use permit. According to section 30.6 of the Zoning Ordinance, the intent of the EC Overlay District is, in part, to ensure a quality of development that is compatible with the county’s important scenic, architectural and cultural resources through the architectural control of development. The ARB has applied the County’s adopted guidelines for development within the EC to the review of this request; the ARB had no objection and has recommended conditions of approval.

 

with the uses permitted by right in the district,

 

The property is located within a C1 Commercial zoning district along Route 29 North. This zoning district permits a number of retail sales and service uses, personal service uses, office and dwelling units. The proposed display is in harmony with the commercial uses that have developed in the district. The proposed use is not expected to have a negative impact on nearby properties and is expected to maintain a compatible appearance.

 

with additional regulations provided in Section 5.0 of this ordinance,

 

There are no additional regulations provided in section 5.0 of this ordinance related to furniture storage or display.

 

and with public health, safety and general welfare.

 

The intent of the special use permit requirement for outdoor storage and display is based on the need to mitigate the potential negative impact of this use on the aesthetics of the Entrance Corridors and to mitigate the potential for development that is incompatible with the historic resources of the County. This intent is directly related to the promotion of public health, safety and welfare. The ARB has reviewed the proposal with this intent in mind. The ARB had no objection to the proposed use and has recommended conditions of approval.

 

The Site Review Committee has provided comments on the proposal. The SRC review addresses compliance with the relevant development review regulations that are also set forth to protect the public health, safety and general welfare. The SRC recommended a physical barrier along the perimeter of the display area to delineate the display area and to prevent encroachment of the display into other parking spaces, travelways, and planting areas.  The ARB has recommended  a condition of approval regarding the barriers. The SRC review has also confirmed that on-site parking requirements can still be met with the loss of four parking spaces to display area. The SRC has also noted that a site plan amendment/letter of revision will be required for the proposed development, should the SP be approved, to update the plan regarding the location of display areas and revised planting.

 

Finally, staff requested comment from the County’s Police Department on this proposal due to the sometimes rowdy nature of the late-night crowd at the Waffle House restaurant, which is located just to the north. The police have recommended that the applicant secure the Classic Furniture parking lot after business hours, mark the lot for “no trespassing,” and give the police full authority to enforce the no trespassing regulation.

 

Summary:

 

The intent of the special use permit requirement is based on potential impacts of the use on the Entrance Corridors. The ARB has reviewed this proposal for its impact on the Route 29 North Entrance Corridor. The ARB had no objection to the request for the Special Use Permit and has recommended conditions of approval related to the type and method of display, illumination, and planting.

 

Staff has identified the following factor that is favorable to this request:

1.      The Architectural Review Board has reviewed the request for outdoor storage and display and the ARB had no objection.

 

RECOMMENDED ACTION:

 

Staff recommends approval of this special use permit, subject to the following conditions that reference the “Classic Furniture Outdoor Display” sketch plan dated 2-6-06.

 

1.      Items shall be displayed only in the areas marked for display on the plan entitled “Classic Furniture Outdoor Display” and dated 2-6-06.

2.      Items displayed shall be limited to patio furniture. Beds and mattresses shall not be displayed.

3.      Items for display shall not be stacked one atop another.

4.      Items for display shall not be elevated anywhere on site.

5.      Planters joined by black chain shall be used to delineate the boundaries of the display areas.

6.      No new lighting is approved for the display areas.

7.      Final approval of the site plan amendment/letter of revision is subject to Design Planner approval of the revised landscape plan (submitted with the amendment). Planting illustrated on the plan shall including the following additions to the site:

a)      One 2½” caliper tree located in the island situated at the interior of the parking row in front of the building.

b)      One 2½” caliper tree located in the island at the east end of the parking row in front of the building.

c)      Evergreen screening shrubs along the EC frontage to screen the parking lot from the EC. These shrubs shall replace the existing row of shrubs located closest to the parking spaces and shall consist of a holly that grows to a minimum of 2-3’ in height.

d)      Replace the missing tree along the EC frontage with a Kwanzan Cherry at 2½” caliper, and add another flowering Cherry in the planting bed along the EC to visually balance the replacement tree.

 

ATTACHMENTS:

A.     Sketch plan

B.     Enlarged diagram of display area

C.     Illustration of proposed furniture display

D.     Vicinity/Tax Map

E.      ARB Action

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