COUNTY OF ALBEMARLE

 

EXECUTIVE SUMMARY

 

 

AGENDA TITLE:

ZMA 00-009 North Pointe Update

SP 02-72 Residential Uses at North Pointe

 

SUBJECT/PROPOSAL/REQUEST:

Worksession

 

STAFF CONTACT(S):

Tucker, Foley, Davis, Kamptner, Graham, Echols

 

 

LEGAL REVIEW:   Yes

 

AGENDA DATE:

June 7, 2006

 

ACTION:                            INFORMATION:   X

 

CONSENT AGENDA:

  ACTION:                         INFORMATION:   

 

 

ATTACHMENTS:   Yes

 

 

REVIEWED BY:

 

 

BACKGROUND:

On May 10, 2006, the Board of Supervisors held a public hearing on the North Pointe project.  Approximately 40 speakers provided comment to the Board. The Board of Supervisors decided not to take action at that meeting, keeping the public hearing open, and asked for a June 7th worksession to discuss input received from the public hearing.  The Board requested that staff provide the following information for the June 7th worksession: 

 

  1. A chart outlining proffered affordable housing that shows how many of each type of unit will be provided, affordable unit versus workforce units, timing for delivery of those units, and an analysis with respect to the total number of residential units.
  2. A discussion of workforce housing that explains what is considered workforce housing, what income range that housing serves, and a summary of past discussions on this type of housing.
  3. A copy of the proffers received on May 10th and staff’s review of those proffers with respect to the outstanding issues.  [The applicant has submitted revised proffers dated May 19th and they are attached as Attachment B and have been reviewed by staff as the proffers for this worksession.]
  4. Reconfirmation from the School division that the location and size of the school lot is acceptable.

 

Since the Board meeting, additional information has been requested by Board members, which includes:

 

  1. Comparison of other recently approved proffers, especially Albemarle Place and Hollymead Town Center, with North Pointe.
  2. Information on “workforce salaries” for jobs planned to be in the vicinity of North Pointe.
  3. Information on what is necessary to make the school safely walkable.
  4. Information on anything additional that can be done to protect environmental resources, especially the Rivanna River.
  5. How to make the anticipated employment center at NGIC more accessible by bicycle or foot

 

 

STRATEGIC PLAN:

3.3  Develop and implement policies that address the county's growth and urbanization while continuing to enhance the factors that contribute to the quality of life in the county.

 

 

DISCUSSION:

CORRECTION OF INFORMATION FROM THE MAY 10 PUBLIC HEARING PRESENTATION

At the May 10 public hearing presentation, staff mistakenly stated that the applicant was asked to provide a 50’ landscape buffer by the ARB on its property and that it had declined by providing a 25’ landscape buffer intermittently on its property and in the VDOT right-of-way.  The 50’ landscape buffer was not a request by the ARB.  The ARB request was for a 25’ landscape buffer entirely on the applicant’s property.  Staff supports the ARB request.

 

 

 

AFFORDABLE HOUSING

Affordable housing is proffered as indicated in the following chart:

 

Affordable – up to 80% median family income

 

Single-Family Detached

Single-Family

Attached (townhouse, duplex)

Apartments

Carriage House

(unit over detached garage)

 

For Sale

0

12

12

0

 

For Rent

*

*

*

4

Workforce – between 80% and 120% median family income

 

 

 

 

 

 

For Sale

16

0

0

0

 

For Rent

0

0

0

0

* 40 rental units are proposed without designation.  All rental units could be of one type or there could be a mix.

 

Ron White, the Director of Housing, has prepared a report (Attachment A) which addresses the Board’s questions relative to workforce housing, trends in affordable housing over the last few years, and salaries in the area that represent persons who would purchase affordable housing and workforce housing.  Mr. White has requested that the term “workforce” housing be replaced with “moderately priced housing”.  Mr. White has also indicated in the report that there is no adopted policy relative to affordable housing at greater than 80% of the median household income.  He has suggested that there may be ways to work with the existing definition for affordable housing and develop a weighted system for accepting proffers for moderately priced housing.  His suggestions, however, have not been reviewed yet by the Housing Committee or the Planning Commission.

 

PROFFERS AND SPECIAL USE PERMIT CONDITION CHANGES

The proffers and requested special use permit conditions reviewed for the May 10, 2006 public hearing were prepared on April 14, 2006.  New proffers were received on May 10 which the staff was unable to review prior to the meeting and which the Board asked staff to review for the June 7 worksession.  Since that time, the applicant has updated the May 10 proffers and asked staff to review proffers dated May 19 which are substantially the same as the May 10 proffers.  Attachment D is the updated Application Plan for the project.

 

The May 19 proffers contain two major changes over the April 14 proffers which the Board reviewed for the public hearing. The first change was to add a “green roof” option to the library building if the developer co-occupies the building with the library.  The second change was to remove a $200,000 contribution towards a roundabout at Leake and Proffit Roads.  The proffers do not address all of staff’s substantive comments.

 

Regarding the special use permit conditions, the May 19 special use permit conditions requested by the applicant show a change in the overlot grading plan conditions.  Staff and the applicant reached a compromise in the areas of drainage and creating an area of no more than 10% slope around all entrances to the house for a distance of five feet around the entrance.  The compromise is reflected in the staff’s recommended special use permit conditions (Attachment E).  Staff believes that, with the exception of the rate of residential development relative to the rate of commercial development, the applicant is agreeable to staff’s recommended special use permit conditions.

 

GREEN ROOF

The green roof option for the library building was added to the proffers at the suggestion of a Board member.  It was intended to help relieve concerns about runoff and to help make the public building an example that green roof construction is viable, attractive, and functional.  The proffer actually says that:

 

 

To make this proffer work, the applicant has now deleted the previous proffer limitation that the library building only be available for governmental uses.

 

Staff appreciates the attempt to have the County consider green roof or LEED technology for public buildings, but believes this proffer is probably not usable.  First, this building has always been presented as a County-only facility.  This proffer only obligates the owner to pay for its portion of the green roof or LEED only if the non-library space is privately owned.  Second, the allowable size of this building, as presented on the Application Plan, effectively prohibits the building from having more than 2,500 square feet of use other than library (25,000 SF library plus 10% adjustment).  Thus, the applicant’s share of the building would not be more than 10% and the pro rata share of the cost would be limited to 10%.     Finally, while staff does not want to trivialize this proffer, it should be recognized the library would be less than 3% of the non-residential space in North Ponte.  Thus, it should be recognized there is no commitment to environmentally friendly buildings on the other 97% of the non-residential uses.  

 

LOCATION AND SIZE OF THE SCHOOL LOT

Staff contacted the School Division for updated input on the appropriateness and size of the school lot.  The School Division staff said that the current plan is virtually identical to the one that had been presented to the School Board almost two years ago, with a few little requested "tweaks" made as requested.   Proffers were also re-reviewed and School Division staff indicated that they are acceptable because they address all issues identified previously.

 

WALKABLE ELEMENTARY SCHOOL

Concerns have been raised about how children, parents, and teachers can safely walk to the elementary school within the project.  Specific questions have been about crosswalks and safety at the intersection of Northwest Passage and North Pointe Blvd.

 

It is expected that crosswalks will be included with the road plans for this intersection.  If VDOT does not approve crosswalk striping prior to construction of the school, then striping will be required when the school is actually constructed.  If construction of raised crosswalks is desired from the developer, then changes to the plan or proffers will be needed.

 

Staff believes that the real question being raised, though, is whether crossing guards will be needed at this school.  This issue is one that the School Board and County Board of Supervisors will need to address as the school plans are developed in the future. 

 

PROTECTION OF ENVIRONMENTAL RESOURCES, ESPECIALLY THE RIVANNA RIVER

Staff notes the combination of proffers regarding erosion and sediment control and post construction stormwater management will significantly reduce the impacts to the streams and river.  However, staff believes it is important to note that well designed and well managed facilities will likely capture 80% of the sediment, leaving 20% to reach the streams and river.  Furthermore, some of those impacts cannot yet be defined.  For example, there is still no determination by ACSA as to how this site will be provided sewer service. While ACSA has indicated it can and will provide service to this development, the details of how that is done will define possible impacts.  Finally, staff would note that all development impacts natural resources.  The issues are the extent of the impact and the sensitivity of the resources.   In the case of North Pointe, the most northern part is sensitive.  The creation of conservation areas minimizes the impacts on the most sensitive resources, but it is still necessary to have some impact.  An overlot grading plan that demonstrates how conservation areas will be protected will also help to ensure protection of environmental resources.  Overlot grading, sometimes called “mass grading”, is expected to remove ground cover of a fairly large area initially, as opposed to disturbance on a lot-by-lot basis.  Staff believes that the benefits of overlot grading outweigh the detriments of individual lot grading which often results in drainage problems and poor lot-to-lot relationships. 

 

Staff believes that protection of environmental resources on the site is the best that can be done given the density and type of development proposed.  Greater protection of environmental resources could occur with less intense development in the most sensitive areas.  The Board has not indicated that less intensive development should take place in the northern part of the site.  

 

ACCESSIBILITY OF NGIC BY BICYCLE OR FOOT

With the expected addition of approximately 1,000 new jobs at the National Ground Intelligence Center (NGIC) north of North Pointe, residential units at North Pointe will likely provide new housing that allows new residents to live and work in the Hollymead/Piney Mountain area.  By living and working in the same area, less pressure is placed on Route 29 south of the Rivanna River.  The addition of a pedestrian and bicycle bridge over the Rivanna River between North Pointe and NGIC could help workers avoid travel even more on Route 29. 

 

Construction of a pedestrian and bicycle bridge and path requires a number of things to occur.  First, NGIC would need to embrace the concept, since security is one of its largest concerns.  Second, a location would be needed that satisfies NGIC and is workable with landowners.  Third, funds would be needed to construct the path and the bridge.  Staff anticipates a bridge to be prohibitively expensive on the basis of cost-benefit, given the relatively small number of pedestrians that would be anticipated to use this facility.  While it is hoped that this concept can be explored with the Places 29 project, it is anticipated that determination will be too late for this project.

 

INTERSECTION OF LEAKE AND PROFFIT ROADS

The intersection of Leake and Proffit Roads is a very important intersection in the road network surrounding Route 29.  Because of the additional traffic being placed on this intersection by Leake providing an entrance to the development, the County and VDOT have been very concerned that the intersection of Proffit and Route 29 will fail without improvements.  VDOT has said that a signal at the intersection is not possible because inadequate spacing between Leake Road and Route 29 will negatively impact Route 29.  VDOT has said that a roundabout is the only way to improve the intersection.  Staff would note that removing the possibility of left turn traffic onto Leake Road adversely impacts existing businesses along Leake Road and a roundabout was also assumed in the traffic modeling for North Pointe. Thus, it is considered critical to have this as a fully functional intersection.   

 

To address this situation, the applicant previously proffered to build the roundabout at the intersection of Leake Road and Proffit Road to the extent that right-of-way is available.  If additional right-of-way is needed, the applicant committed to petition the County to obtain the additional right-of-way so that the applicant would make the improvement.  If the County was not successful in obtaining the additional right-of-way, the applicant could contribute $200,000 towards a future project to construct the roundabout.  The current proffer has removed the offer to contribute $200,000 for the County’s or VDOT’s future construction of the roundabout and has limited the commitment to construct the roundabout to be contingent upon the available right-of-way. 

 

The rezoning state is the most appropriate time to address transportation impacts.  The need for the roundabout is generated almost entirely by the project.  Staff believes that a dangerous situation could be created in the future without the roundabout and that the County or VDOT will be put in the position of using public money to fix this problem or closing the intersection to left turn movements, which could prove financially disastrous for the existing businesses.   Staff does not know whether $200,000 would be sufficient to add the roundabout and purchase the additional right-of-way.  For this reason, staff has asked the applicant several times to commit to build the roundabout with the contingency that, if the applicant could not obtain the necessary right-of-way, it could petition the County to obtain it on his behalf.  It would be appropriate for the applicant to proffer to build the roundabout and reimburse the County for the cost to obtain the right-of-way.  A similar proffer to this one was accepted with the Albemarle Place rezoning.  The applicant has declined to proffer the off-site improvement except within the existing right-of-way.

 

The applicant has proffered to build an additional lane on Proffit to support the intersection improvements.  A proffer for lane construction on Proffit Road to support intersection improvements is also contingent on available right-of-way.  If right-of-way is not sufficient, a proffer for $67,500 for future construction by VDOT or the County has been made.  Staff and the applicant disagree on whether the applicant should proffer money for this construction or proffer to make the improvement, regardless of whether right-of-way needs to be obtained.  The applicant contends that the improvement is not necessitated by the development.  Staff agrees the improvements would ultimately be needed, but believes that the need for the lane is accelerated by the development.  Since the cost to construct the lane is not known, staff is concerned that $67,500 would not be sufficient to cover the cost of adding the lane when the Proffit Road project is done.  Staff is also concerned about the timing for the Proffit Road project.  If the Board accepts the proffer with the condition for available right-of-way, the additional lane might not be constructed for many years in the future, long after the need exists.

 

 

SOUTHBOUND ROUTE 29

Staff notes the May 19th proffers do not provide the commitment to complete the southbound lane improvements within a certain period of time.  As discussed at the May 10th public hearing, staff had understood the applicant was committing to a ten year completion, but upon further review of the proffers, recognized the issue remains.  Staff believes the applicant should either commit to first construct the improvements with the southern entrance or provide a clear commitment to construct the remaining southbound lane improvements within five years of the first non-residential Certificate of Occupancy. 

 

COMPARSION OF PROFFERS AMONG PROJECTS

A Board member requested information on how North Pointe proffers compare to other rezonings, especially Albemarle Place and Hollymead Town Center.  Any proffer comparison needs to also include a comparison of the area rezoned, information on the zoning of the property prior to the rezoning and the intensity of the proposed use in terms of square footage and number of dwelling units.  Staff is in the process of preparing a spreadsheet that compares proffers of all rezonings approved since 2003.  At this time, though, staff only has a comparison of the proffers received for Albemarle Place and Hollymead Town Center.  Albemarle Place was rezoned from Light Industrial and C-1 Commercial to Neighborhood Model District.  Hollymead Town Center was rezoned from Highway Commercial and Rural Areas to PD-MC.  North Pointe, on the other hand, has only RA Rural Areas zoning.  The comparison of proffers is found in Attachment C.  However, it is important to point out that this comparison from January does not reflect a new analysis of the value of the most recent proffers from North Pointe, which have changed since January.  Given that the proffers have been in a constant state of change, completing an up-to-date comparison of values was not possible.  Finally, the applicant has also questioned the value of the comparison. 

 

RESOLUTION OF ISSUES

Between the May 10th public hearing and now, some of the other outstanding issues were resolved.  Agreement was reached in the special use permit conditions addressing:

 

1.       Grading the right-of-way for the emergency accessways to Pritchett.

2.       Overlot grading.

 

OUTSTANDING ISSUES

If the Board is inclined to approve the project, staff believes that the following proffer issues should be resolved to address the impacts of the proposed rezoning: 

 

1.       Southbound Route 29 improvements should have a calendar date for completion. Staff recommends that they be completed within five years of the first non-residential Certificate of Occupancy. 

2.       The intersection of Leake and Proffit Roads should have a fully functional intersection prior to approval of any non-residential Certificate of Occupancy.  Staff recommends the proffer clearly require an intersection found acceptable to VDOT and the County without provisos that might prevent these improvements, as this could adversely impact existing businesses on Leake Road and fail to address impacts from the development.

  1. The 25-foot landscape area and double rows of parking in the Entrance Corridor have not been modified to place all of the required landscaping on the applicant’s property.  Staff recommends there be an on-site 25 foot buffer exclusive of parking spaces.  
  2. The single story large footprint buildings are in excess of staff’s understanding of an agreement reached by the Board established committee set up to review the North Pointe development in 2004.  Staff recommends the size of the two largest buildings be limited to 88,500 square feet and 72,000 square feet.
  3. A proffer for lane construction on Proffit Road to support intersection improvements is contingent on available right-of-way. Staff recommends the proffers provide for construction of this lane without provisos that shift the burden to the County.
  4. Transportation proffers are based on numerous contingencies and alternative timing scenarios and are more complex than necessary which causes confusion and misunderstanding of what was intended.  Staff recommends that the transportation proffers be rewritten in a more simple and direct manner. An analysis of the current proffers and their complexity is attached (Attachment F).

 

Regarding the special use permit conditions, the applicant continues to disagree with staff’s recommended condition requiring a commitment to phase construction of residential units with commercial development. 

 

The applicant has requested the following:

 

Timing

Amount of Commercial/Hotel/and Office Square Footage to be allowed by Building Permit

% of Total Commercial/Hotel and Office

Number of Residential Building Permits to be Issued

% of Total Residential Units

 

 

 

 

 

Within 90 days of issuing the first building permit for the first commercial building

 

 

24

2.7%

Before more than

142,000 square feet

21%

36

4%

Before more than

220,000 square feet

32.6%

60

6.7%

Before more than

290,000 square feet

43%

138

15.4%

 

Staff continues to believe that the residential need is far greater than the need for additional retail development and that the rate at which the applicant intends to provide residential units should be increased.  It also is significant that the applicant is requesting that the condition’s commercial phases be linked to the issuance of building permits.  Issued building permits do not assure that the residential units will be completed, or that construction will even begin.  The previous staff report indicated that, at 290,000 square feet, certificates of occupancy should have been issued for at least 25% of the residential units. [See proposed special use permit condition #2]  An alternative schedule was also provided for Board review, should the Board believe that 25% of the residential units are too few for 43% of the commercial square footage to be approved.

 

Staff believes it is important for the Board to understand how the conditions requested by the applicant could play out.  First, staff notes the applicant could build as few as 60 residential units with the first 290,000 square feet of commercial space and all of the required housing units could be apartments or condominiums, which would not provide any relief on the demand for single family detached housing in the rural area.  Second, staff notes that the affordable housing proffer can be satisfied by providing 3 affordable or workforce apartments or condominiums per year.  By 2026, the same time period as used with Places 29, the applicant would be required to provide 60 affordable or workforce housing units and as few as 16 of those units must be for-sale units.  The worst case scenario would be that the owner constructs 290,000 square feet of commercial space and 60 multi-family units within the next 20 years.  The end result would be stale zoning which does nothing to reduce demand for rural area housing, and provides minimal affordable housing in the foreseeable future.  

 

Regarding the advisability of approving the rezoning at this time, staff still believes that the design of the project is not sufficiently in keeping with the Neighborhood Model to support the amount of retail development proposed and is in excess of what the market can reasonably absorb over a ten year period.

 

 

RECOMMENDATIONS:

Staff recommends that the Board review the outstanding issues at this worksession, identify any other issues of concern,  and advise the applicant and staff on what changes, if any, are considered appropriate.  The Board may either vote to deny

the rezoning or direct staff to re-advertise the public hearing for July 12th contingent upon the applicant meeting the Board’s proffer submittal policy.

 

 

ATTACHMENTS

ATTACHMENT A:  Affordable and Moderately Priced Housing Report, May 22, 2006

ATTACHMENT B:  Proffers dated May 19, 2006 with Staff Comments

ATTACHMENT C:  Proffer Comparison dated January 17, 2006

ATTACHMENT D:  Application Plan dated May 10. 2006

ATTACHMENT E:  Special Use Permit Conditions dated June 1, 2006

ATTACHMENT F:  Analysis of the Timing of the Proffered Road Improvements for North Pointe

                                    dated June 1, 2006

 

 Documents Provided by Applicant
    May 31 letter to Board

    Report of Williamsburg Environmental Group

    Appraisal Group Retail Vacancy Study

    VDOT letter of February 21