STAFF PERSON:                                                                              Rebecca Ragsdale

PLANNING COMMISSION:                                                              June 14, 2006

BOARD OF SUPERVISORS                                                                        July 5, 2006

 

 

SP 2006-007 Thomas Jefferson Parkway Parking

Site Plan Waiver Request

 

 

Petition: 

PROJECT: SP 06-07 Thomas Jefferson Parkway Parking

PROPOSED: Construction of additional parking at the intersection of Thomas Jefferson Parkway (Route 53) and Scottsville Road (Route 20) to serve the pedestrian trail accessing Monticello.

ZONING CATEGORY/GENERAL USAGE: RA - Rural Areas: agricultural, forestal, and fishery uses; residential density (0.5 unit/acre); EC, Entrance Corridor Overlay to EC Entrance Corridor/overlay to protect properties of historic, architectural or cultural significance from visual impacts of development along routes of tourist access

SECTION: 10.2.2(46) which permits Off-site parking for historic structures or sites.

COMPREHENSIVE PLAN LAND USE/DENSITY:  Institutional uses allow for a range of public uses including schools, universities and public recreational facilities.

LOCATION: The proposed parking is located on the north side of Thomas Jefferson Parkway (Route 53) across from the existing parking area for the pedestrian trail accessing Monticello.

TAX MAP/PARCEL: Tax Map 77 Parcel 25

MAGISTERIAL DISTRICT: Scottsville

 

Character of the Area: 

The area surrounding the site is scenic, rural and wooded as part of the gateway to Monticello and other County historic resources such as Ash-Lawn and Michie Tavern. Properties in this area are zoned Rural Areas or Monticello Historic District. The site is fairly wooded with a collection of farm buildings on the lower levels of the property, adjacent to the proposed parking lot. The Blue Ridge Hospital is also located on the northern portions of the site and another entrance drive, Hart Road leads to that complex. The parking lot would be situated in the northeast corner of the property near Route 20 and Route 53 while respecting the required 200 foot buffers along those roadways. Across Route 20 is the Monticello Visitorís Center and across Route 53 from the parking lot site is the Monticello-Saunders trailhead and Kemper Park. (Attachment A and B)

 

Specifics of the Proposal

The Thomas Jefferson Foundation seeks to construct additional parking for the Thomas Jefferson Parkway, which includes the Saunders-Monticello Trail and Kemper Park related to Monticello. The parking lot would be located on a portion of the 157-acre Blue Ridge Hospital Site. The applicant is requesting to construct 50 paved parking spaces and provide the required landscaping in the parking lot. Vehicular access to the lot will be via an existing drive, Dairy Barn Road, and there will be a gate beyond the parking lot entrance on that drive to prevent access to the rest of the Blue Ridge Hospital Site. The Thomas Jefferson Foundation will be leasing this portion of the site from the University of Virginia Real Estate Foundation who owns the Blue Ridge Site. Pedestrians will access the park and trails by following a trail that will take them from the end of the parking lot, through the pedestrian culvert under Route 53 and connecting with the existing park and trails of Monticello. (Attachment B-Concept Plan)

 

Applicantís Justification for the Request:   

Currently, parking is provided for the Saunders-Monticello Trail and Kemper Park in the form of 12 spaces adjacent to Route 53 at Kemper Park and also at the Monticello Visitors lot on Monticello Mountain. This parking is not adequate for the heavily used park and there is a need for additional spaces. Easement restrictions on the site adjacent to Route 53 and Kemper Park prevent enlarging the 12-space parking area at that location. The applicant has indicated that this is the best location for parking to serve the trail to provide safe and convenient access for visitors. No other sites are viable options because of the terrain or because of easement restrictions. Parking at the existing Visitorís Center was once considered to serve the trail but is not an option because the Foundation only leases the property and it would require pedestrians to cross Route 20. The Thomas Jefferson Foundation hopes that more County residents will be able to take advantage of the trail and park once this needed parking is provided. 

 

Planning and Zoning History:  

The Blue Ridge Hospital site is zoned Rural Areas and was used as a sanitorium and there are some farm buildings on the site; the hospital building is currently vacant. Kemper Park was dedicated in 1996 and the Saunders-Monticello Trail opened more recently. The County approved the Monticello Historic District Zoning in June 2005 but it does not include the park or trail properties adjacent to the proposed parking lot.

 

Comprehensive Plan and the Neighborhood Model:

This site is located in Neighborhood Four of the Development Area and the Comprehensive Plan advises that the recommendations of the City/County/University Planning & Coordination Councilís Blue Ridge Neighborhood Study be followed. The Master Land Utilization Plan for the Blue Ridge site included in that study identifies building envelopes for future development of the site. (Attachment C) The proposed parking falls within one of those designated building areas. The Study is supportive of the Parkway to Monticello with the recommendation that the scenic and protective parkway be constructed in a manner that allows for safe and efficient traffic movement and preserves the rural character of the area. The plan shows proposed vehicular circulation with consolidation of entrances (Hart Drive and Dairy Barn Road) into one entrance to be located across from College Drive (entrance to PVCC and the Visitorís center) with future development of the site. The Plan also shows 200 foot buffers to be preserved along Route 20 and Route 53 to protect these State Scenic Highways.

The property is designated in the Land Use Plan for Insitutional Uses which would include public and private schools, universities and colleges, and ancillary facilities such as the University of Virginiaís polo grounds, golf courses, stadiums, and indoor sports facilities. Also included are public facilities and utilities, including police, fire and rescue stations, libraries, solid waste facilities, major public water and sewer facilities, and public recreational and sports facilities.

The proposed parking lot is generally consistent with the goals of the Comprehensive Plan. It is situated so that it can be incorporated into future use of the site, in accordance with the Master Land Utilization Plan.  The parking lot has also been situated to avoid negative visual impacts to Route 20 or Route 53.

Given that this request is for an off-site parking lot, that the site is zoned RA, and that the character of the area is generally rural and not urban, an analysis of the 12 Neighborhood Model Principles has not been done.

 

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 parking has been situated on the Blue-Ridge site to minimize impacts to the property. It will not be visible from adjoining roadways or properties and is being constructed to serve the adjoining trail and park.

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

The rural, scenic and wooded character of the area will remain intact with this project. The applicant has tried to minimize the amount of area that will be disturbed and is using tree protection measures. The Architectural Review Board has reviewed the proposal and the applicant has included measures to ensure that the wooded areas remain to screen the parking lot. Conditions of approval have been suggested by staff to ensure that all concerns of the ARB will be addressed with site development.  

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

The proposed use is supportive of the purpose and intent as described in the Zoning Ordinance for the Rural Areas provision for this parking use, which is to provide for parking needs in a manner that conserves natural, scenic, and historic resources.

with the uses permitted by-right in the district,

The parking proposed is to support by-right Rural Areas uses off-site and the proposal would not be in conflict with any of the current uses of the Blue Ridge site. The parking will have a separate entrance off an existing drive and will be buffered by woods. It is not anticipated that the site will develop with any additional RA uses and this parking lot can be incorporated into the University Foundationís ultimate plans for the property.

with additional regulations provided in Section 5.0 of this ordinance,

Additional regulations in Section 5.0 of the ordinance relating to offsite parking for historic structures should be considered with review of this special use permit request.

5.1.38 OFFSITE PARKING FOR HISTORIC STRUCTURES OR SITES (Added 12-10-97)

In order to provide the minimum parking required by section 4.12 or to provide additional parking, off-site parking for a historic structure or site may be authorized only when

 

The historic structure or site considered is Monticello. The Saunders-Monticello Trail and Kemper Park are part of the Thomas Jefferson Parkway created by the Thomas Jefferson Foundation to serve as a scenic entrance to Monticello and as an educational and recreational resource for visitors and local residents. The linear park is free and open to the public.

 

 (1)the provision of on-site parking would substantially degrade or detract from the historic character and setting of the historic structure or site to be served;

 

Parking cannot be expanded at the current lot on Monticello mountain without negatively impacting the historic setting visitors experience when they visit Monticello. The Thomas Jefferson Foundationís goal is to restore the Monticello Mountaintop. For that reason, parking is not proposed closer to the historic resource.

 

(2)the level of use of the property on which the historic structure or site is located, which necessitates the provision of off-site parking, will not degrade or detract from the integrity of the historic structure or site or adversely change the character of the surrounding area; and

 

The level of use and visitors to Monticello will not change with this proposal. The parking will accommodate users of the parkway trails and park and will not impact historic resources based on the sensitive design and siting of the parking lot.

 

 (3)the provision of off-site parking does not change the character of the area surrounding the property on which the off-site parking is proposed and does not require substantial alteration to roads.

 

The parking lot will be accessed from existing roads and will not change the character of the area as discussed in previous sections of this report.

 

To ensure that the review of each application for a special use permit for off-site parking for a historic structure or site pursuant to section 10.2.2.46 is consistent with this intent, each applicant shall comply with the following requirements:

 

a. The applicant shall demonstrate that on-site parking cannot be provided without substantially degrading or detracting from the historic structure or site.

 

Expanding the current parking area at Monticello Mountain would impact wooded areas that currently screen the parking lot from Route 53 and from Monticello. Increasing parking at the mountain would detract from Monticello and from Route 53.

 

b. The parking lot shall be located, designed and constructed to reduce or eliminate significant visual impacts from all public streets, private roads and adjacent properties, and to reduce or eliminate other significant impacts to adjacent properties resulting from vehicular noise, dust, artificial lighting, glare, runoff, degradation of water quality and other similar disturbances.

 

The parking lot will be screened from Route 20 and Route 53 and no impacts to adjoining properties have been identified. No lighting has been proposed and a stormwater management plan will be required to ensure that runoff is addressed.

 

c. The applicant shall submit a conceptual plan with its application for a special use permit. The conceptual plan shall show the approximate location of the parking lot on the property, its dimensions, its access to a public street, its distance from the historic structure or site, and shall identify how persons will be transported or will transport themselves from the off-site parking to the historic structure or site. The conceptual plan shall also show all features of the parking lot which will ensure that the parking lot will not degrade or detract from the historic structure or site to be served by the parking lot, will not adversely change the character of or significantly impact the area surrounding the property on which the parking lot is proposed, and will impact to the least extent practicable the property on which the parking lot is proposed. The features which shall be shown on the conceptual plan, and which may be required as a condition of approval of a special use permit, include:

1. Visual and noise barriers such as earthen berms, the existing or planned terrain and/or vegetative screening;

2. Proposed construction elements, which shall include elements which will minimize noise, light pollution, dust, glare, and runoff and which will protect water quality and protect trees designated to be preserved;

3. A lighting plan which identifies the location and design of all outdoor light structures and fixtures, demonstrates that all outdoor lights comply with section 4.12.6.4 and demonstrates that all outdoor lights will be shielded in such a manner that all light emitted from the fixture, either directly from the lamp or indirectly from the fixture, is projected below the horizontal plane of the fixture; and

4. Changes proposed to the entrance and public road, including any necessary road-widening, or grading and removal of trees to accommodate sight distance.

d. The off-street parking and loading requirements set forth in section 4.12 shall apply to off-site parking for a historic structure or site, except as expressly provided otherwise therein.

The applicant has provided a concept plan which addresses these criteria. (Attachment E) A note indicating that no lighting is proposed has been added to the plan. The parking lot will be located approximately 500 feet from the trail head at Kemper Park and a pedestrian trail will lead from the parking lot, under Route 53, to the park and trails on the other side.

And with the public health, safety, and general welfare

Safety of pedestrians and automobiles has been considered in the review of this request. The park visitors will be guided by signage to trails and the exit from the pedestrian culvert under Route 53. The park and trails are staffed by the Thomas Jefferson Foundation and are open from dawn to dusk. Park staff open and close access to the parking areas and trails so no lighting will be needed.

The parking lot and park/trails are located in close proximity to the intersection of Route 20 and Route 53. VDOT has reviewed the proposal and requests that the Dairy Barn Road entrance onto Route 20 be upgraded to meet the Minimum Standards of Entrances to State Highways. A plan has been requested by VDOT that details the proposed entrance and taper, including the radius of the entrance, length and width of taper, and cross section of the turn lane (ie; base and surface treatments). This will mean upgrades to the entrance that is shown in Blue Ridge Site Utilization Plan to be consolidated with Hart Road and lined up with the existing signal.

 

 

 

 

Summary:

 

Staff has identified the following factors, which are favorable to this rezoning request:

o        The parking has been located to have minimal impacts to surrounding properties while providing safe and convenient access to trail users.

o        The Monticello-Saunders Trail and Kemper Park (Thomas Jefferson Parkway) provide a recreational and cultural asset to the County.

o        This proposal will not affect future development of the Blue Ridge Hospital site in accordance with the Master Land Utilization Plan.

 

One unfavorable factor to this request:

o        The proposal requires upgrades to the entrance to Dairy Barn Road on Route 20.

 

Recommendations:

Staff recommends approval of SP 2006-007 with the following conditions:

1.      The site shall be developed in general accord with the plan entitled ďConcept Plan-Thomas Jefferson Parkway ParkingĒ including the ďExisting Conditions & Demolition PlanĒ, prepared by Rieley & Associates, revised April 2006.

2.      The parking area shall be limited to 50 spaces.

3.      The parking area shall not be expanded without prior approval of a new special use permit.

4.      No lighting shall be permitted in the parking area.

5.      The parking area shall be closed and access restricted while the park is closed by Thomas Jefferson Parkway staff. The parking area shall be opened at dawn and closed at dusk.

6.      The applicants shall secure VDOT approval of the entrance from Route 20, prior to the issuance of a zoning compliance clearance for use of the site.

7.      Approval by the Architectural Review Board of final plans is required and supplemental plantings may be required to screen the parking lot from Route 20 and Route 53.

 

 

SITE PLAN WAIVER

In addition to the special use permit request, the applicant is seeking a site plan waiver. As part of the review of this application, staff believes that a full site plan is not needed and suggests a site plan waiver be approved. The Zoning Ordinance addresses the need for a site plan in Section 32.2.1 which states:

 

32.2.1 A site plan shall be required for any construction, use, change in use or other development in all zoning districts; provided that no site plan shall be required for the following:

 

a. The construction or location of any single-family detached dwelling which is located upon a lot whereon are located or proposed to be located an aggregate of two (2) or fewer dwellings.

 

b. The construction or location of a two-family dwelling on any lot not occupied by any other dwellings.

 

c. Any accessory structure to a single-family detached or two-family dwelling.

 

d. Any agricultural activity except as otherwise provided in section 5.0.

 

e. Any change in or expansion of a use provided that: (1) such change or expansion does not occasion additional parking under the requirements of this chapter; (2) no additional ingress/egress or alteration of existing ingress/egress is recommended by the Virginia

 Department of Transportation based on intensification of use; (3) no additional ingress/egress or alteration of existing ingress/ egress is proposed. (32.2.1, 1980)

 

This project requires a site plan due to the proposed changes to the entrance only.  If no changes to the entrance were proposed or required this project would not require a site plan. 

 

The Zoning Ordinance does permit the waiving of the site plan requirement in Section 32.2.2 which states:

 

32.2.2 The foregoing notwithstanding, after notice in accordance with section 32.4.2.5, the commission may waive the drawing of a site plan in a particular case upon a finding that the requirement of such plan would not forward the purposes of this chapter or otherwise serve the public interest; provided that no such waiver shall be made until the commission has considered the recommendation of the agent. The agent may recommend approval, approval with conditions, or denial of such waiver. In the case of conditional approval, the agent in his recommendation shall state the relationship of the recommended condition to the provisions of this section. No condition shall be imposed which could not be imposed through the application of the regulations of section 32.0. (32.2.2, 1980; Amended 5-1-87)

 

Staff has analyzed this project and is recommending approval of a waiver of the drawing of a site plan, with conditions.  The method staff used to reach this recommendation is addressed below. 

 

The submittal of a site plan meeting all of the criteria of Sections 32.5.6 (Preliminary Site Plan Content) and 32.6.6 (Final Site Plan Content) would not in the opinion of staff forward the purposes of this chapter or otherwise serve the public interest.  The submittal of a plan will provide substantially more information than currently provided.  However, the proposed level of development is limited and the plan provided by the applicant for review with the special use permit has allowed staff to analyze the impact on this project on adjacent properties. The Architectural Review Board has reviewed this proposal and no additional requirements must be met for approval to be granted.  With the submission of some additional information, the County will be able to insure that adjacent properties are not adversely impacted and the safety of the public is maintained.  Prior to development the applicant will need to obtain approval of an Erosion and Sediment Control Plan.  This will allow the County to address all issues of drainage, both during and after development.  Further, the applicant will have to obtain a permit from the Virginia Department of Transportation for the improvement of the entrance.  This permitting process by VDOT will insure that the entrance is properly designed and installed.  The scale of this project is limited and the use of the Erosion and Sediment Control Plan and the VDOT permitting process will allow adequate protection of the public interest. 

 

Staff recommends approval of this modification subject to two conditions:

  1. No development shall occur until an Erosion and Sediment Control Plan has been approved and any required bonds have been posted.
  2. The applicant shall submit a stormwater management plan to provide for water quality measures to address runoff.  No development may occur until this plan is approved and any necessary bonds posted. 

 

 

 

 

Attachments:

A.      Location Map-Aerial

B.     Location Map-Topography

C.     Blue Ridge Hospital Site Master Land Utilization Plan

D.     Thomas Jefferson Parkway Overview Plan

E.     Thomas Jefferson Parkway Concept Plan-Thomas Jefferson Parkway Parking including the Existing Conditions & Demolition Plan, prepared by Rieley & Associates, revised April 2006.

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