COUNTY OF ALBEMARLE PLANNING STAFF REPORT SUMMARY

 

Project Name:  SP2006-17 Floral Images 

Staff: Amy Ransom Arnold

Planning Commission Public Hearing:

September 12, 2006

Board of Supervisors Public Hearing:

October 4, 2006

Owners: Joseph Strickler and William Herring 

Applicant: Joseph Strickler and William Herring

Acreage: Approx. 2.690 acres

Special Use Permit: 10.2.2.(31) Home Occupation Class B

TMP: TM 55 Parcel 99

Location: 262 Yancey Mill Lane (State Route 825), Crozet; adjacent Interstate Route 64

Existing Zoning and By-right use: Rural Areas: agricultural, forestal, and fishery; residential; game preserves; wayside stands; electric, gas, oil, and communication facilities; accessory uses including home occupation class A, temporary construction uses; public uses, etc.  

Magisterial District: White Hall

Conditions: Yes

Proposal:  Home Occupation for floral arrangement including the construction of a new workshop, entrance, and driveway; 2-3 van deliveries per week, 2 van trips from site per day; one part time employee, occasional client visits.   (Attachment A.)

Requested # of Dwelling Units:  NA                           

 

DA (Development Area):

RA (Rural Area):  X

Comprehensive Plan Designation: Rural Areas – preserve and protect agricultural, forestal, open space, and natural, historic and scenic resources/ density ( .5  unit/ acre)

Character of Property: The Strickler/Herring property is comprised of a mix of mature trees, open lawn, a folk Victorian residence, and a small out building.  Picket fencing is located adjacent to the edge of Yancey Mills Lane. 

Use of Surrounding Properties: Yancey Mills Lane is comprised of turn of the century or older residences on the western side with the Yancey Mills sawmill located to the east.  Immediately across Route 250 is the historic cross roads community of Yancey Mills.   

Factors Favorable:

1.   The proposal is consistent with the provisions of Section 31.2.4.1

2.   The scale, character, and intensity of the proposal are consistent with the character of the Rural Areas.

3.   The proposal supports Rural Area goals by establishing a community based and focused business.

4.   The proposal incorporates local horticultural activities into the future development of the business, directly supporting preferred Rural Areas land use.

Factors Unfavorable: Staff has not identified factors unfavorable to this application.

 

RECOMMENDATION: Staff recommends approval with conditions.

 

Petition: 

PROJECT: SP2006-17 Floral Images

PROPOSED: floral arrangement business; includes constructing new workshop; no employees

ZONING CATEGORY/GENERAL USAGE: RA -- Rural Areas: agricultural, forestal, and fishery uses; residential density (0.5 unit/acre)

SECTION: 10.2.2.(31); 5.2 Home Occupation Class B

COMPREHENSIVE PLAN LAND USE/DENSITY:  RA -- Rural Areas: agricultural, forestal, and fishery uses; residential density (0.5 unit/acre)

ENTRANCE CORRIDOR: Yes____No__X__

LOCATION: 262 Yancey Mill Lane (State Route 825), Crozet; adjacent Interstate Route 64

TAX MAP/PARCEL: TM 55 Parcel 99

MAGISTERIAL DISTRICT: Whitehall

 

Character of the Area:

Yancey Mills Lane is a remaining fragment of Route 825, disconnected from local road networks with the construction of Interstate 64 and changes in the configuration of Route 250.  Yancey Mills Lane is comprised of turn of the century or older residences on the western side with the Yancey Mills sawmill located to the east.  Immediately across Route 250 is the historic cross roads community of Yancey Mills.  Given the reconfiguration history of Route 250 west and the insertion of Interstate 64, Yancey Mills Lane and the residences located along its length were likely a former integral part of the historic Yancey Mills community to the north and the residences and road networks located south of Interstate 64 with easy access to the country store and wayside stand now located on the western side of the nearby Interstate 64/Route 250 interchange.  The community of Yancey Mills, Yancey Mills Lane, and the land located to the west of the 64 interchange is comprised of older residences, forest, scattered large trees, agricultural fields, hedgerows, and open pasture.   

 

Specifics of the Proposal:

Mr. Strickler and Mr. Herring propose to relocate their floral arrangement business to their home.  Included in the proposal is a series of raised beds near the workshop; the owners would like to begin growing flowers for their arrangements on site.  In addition, the applicants are working to coordinate growing flowers in the off season with a local greenhouse operator.  The applicants propose to construct a new 1,200 square foot floral workshop and extend the existing gravel parking area to include a gravel driveway to the workshop.  (Attachment A.)  The business would make two daily van (mid-sized family) deliveries from their workshop.  A third daily trip may be necessary during three major holidays heavily impacting the floral business.  In addition to their own deliveries, two to three wholesale deliveries are expected to the site in standard cargo vans.  One employee will work with Mr. Strickler and Mr. Herring on a part time basis (25 hrs per week), primarily as a delivery van driver.  No walk in sales will be offered.  Clients will occasionally visit the site for consultation only.  Hours of operation are proposed Monday through Friday 8:00 am through 4:00 pm with occasional hours on Saturday.  Future considerations for hiring additional employees would be limited to no more than two, which is permitted under the definition of Home Occupation, Class B. 

 

Planning and Zoning History:

The Board of Supervisors approved a Special Use Permit for a workshop building on this parcel in February of 2003 (SP 2003-60; Attachment D).  The permit was approved with a single condition: “There shall be no more than seven (7) clients per week on the premises.”  Construction on the workshop was not begun within two years of the approval; the Special Use Permit was deemed abandoned.  The application for the 2003 Special Use Permit was identical to the current proposal.        

 

 

Conformity with the Comprehensive Plan:

The Strickler/Herring proposal directly supports the following Guiding Principles for the Rural Areas from the Rural Areas Section of the Comprehensive Plan:

 

“Provide support to local agricultural and forestal communities and connect local producers and consumers of rural products.”

 

“Address the needs of existing rural residents without fostering growth and further suburbanization of the Rural Areas.”

 

“Provide support for long standing rural crossroads communities and villages without creating de facto growth areas.” 

 

“Encourage creative and diverse forms of rural production and support rural land uses that provide rural landowners with economic viability.”

 

The proposal includes growing flowers to include in floral arrangements in coordination with another local grower.  The primary focus of the applicants business is local clients, including near-by wineries which are increasingly the location of weddings and other events.  The organization and focus of the horticultural component of this proposal directly supports local agricultural activities.   

 

The applicants have indicated their existing primary client base and the focus for business development are located in the near-by communities of Western Albemarle County.  As a result of this home occupation, the applicants will eliminate their commute to Pantops Shopping Center, focusing their efforts on living and working locally.  With the focus of their business within the villages and context of Yancey Mills, Crozet, and Ivy, living and working largely within these crossroads communities directly supports the sustainability of this historic village form.  

 

STAFF COMMENT:

Floral Images currently occupies a store front in Pantops Shopping Center and has been in business for 17 years.  Over time Mr. Strickler and Mr. Herring have focused their market, relying more and more heavily on floral arrangements for special events.  As a result of their emphasis on special events, the bulk of the design responsibility has fallen on the owners, rather than their employees.  By proposing this home occupation Mr. Strickler and Mr. Herring hope to focus their business by reducing employees and eliminating a store front. 

 

Staff will address each provision of Section 31.2.4.1 of the Zoning Ordinance as follows:

 

31.2.4.1: Special Use Permits provided for 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 Strickler/Herring property is located near the end of Yancey Mill Lane.  Route 825 was bisected just beyond the property with the construction of Interstate 64, creating a ‘dead-end’.  Located approximately 270’ beyond the Strickler/Herring driveway is the last residence on this remaining portion of the road.  Directly across Yancey Mill Lane are a large pasture and near-by Yancey Mill.  It is the opinion of staff that the proposed structure and increased activity associated with this proposed home occupation is not of a type or intensity detrimental to adjacent property.

 

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

The applicant’s have expressed a great deal of concern for maintaining the character of their property, Yancey Mills Lane, and the area as a whole.  Their specific concerns have been building a structure that is compatible with the existing folk Victorian house and small barn, minimizing the need to remove any trees, and keeping the vehicular entrance and driveway gravel.  The applicant has indicated that the proposed floral workshop will be similar to the existing small barn located behind the residence.  Staff recommends that the proposed vehicular entrance and driveway be surfaced with gravel in keeping with the existing character of the neighborhood.   

 

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

Section 18, Chapter 10 of the Zoning Ordinance outlines the purpose of Rural Areas zoning: “This district (hereafter referred to as RA) is hereby created and may hereafter be established by amendment of the zoning map for the following purposes: (Amended 11-8-89)

-Preservation of agricultural and forestal lands and activities;

-Water supply protection;

-Limited service delivery to the rural areas; and

-Conservation of natural, scenic, and historic resources. (Amended 11-8-89)”

 

Mr. Strickler and Mr. Herring have included in their application the intention to begin growing flowers for their arrangements as part of this home occupation.  The applicant have arranged for growing flowers off season with a near-by greenhouse operator.  The horticultural component of this proposal directly supports local agricultural activities.   

 

with uses permitted by right in the district,

The property and the adjacent properties are zoned RA, Rural Areas.  Staff opinion is that the addition of a barn like workshop and raised beds for growing flowers would not affect the uses permitted by right in the district.  With a limited number of deliveries the proposed scale and intensity of this Home Occupation should not interfere with by-right uses.

 

with the additional regulations provided in section 5.0 of this ordinance,

Section 5.2 of the Zoning Ordinance refers to supplementary regulations for Home Occupation, Class B.  This Section includes the following:

 

“a. Such occupation may be conducted either within the dwelling or an accessory structure, or both, provided that not more than twenty- five (25) percent of the floor area of the dwelling shall be used in the conduct of the home occupation and in no event shall the total floor area of the dwelling, accessory structure, or both, devoted to such occupation, exceed one thousand five hundred (1,500) square feet; provided that the use of accessory structures shall be permitted only in connection with home occupation, Class B;”

 

The impacts on neighboring properties from the construction of a floral work shop building and operation of a floral design business will overall be minimal.  However the size of the workshop building may be of concern given the restrictions on accessory buildings related to home occupations.  Section 5.2.2.1a limits the size of accessory buildings in two ways: the workshop should be sized to be 25% of the size of the associated residence and in no case should the work shop exceed 1,500 square feet.  The existing residence is 2,500 square feet, which by ordinance results in an accessory structure limited to 625 square feet.  The proposal includes a 1,200 square foot building which is 575 square feet larger than the 625 square feet allowed by ordinance.  The applicant has requested a waiver of the size limit to allow for a 1,200 square foot building for their floral workshop.  The property includes an existing small barn.  Staff feels that an additional barn like structure of this size is appropriate in this rural context.  Staff recommends support of this request for a waiver.  

 

“b. There shall be no change in the outside appearance of the buildings or premises, or other accessory structures shall be similar in facade to a single-family dwelling, private garage, shed, barn or other structure normally expected in a rural or residential area and shall be specifically compatible in design and scale with other development in the area in which located. Any accessory structure which does not conform to the setback and yard regulations for main structures in the district in which it is located shall not be used for any home occupation;”

 

The workshop building must meet the primary setbacks of the Rural Areas District: 75’ from the front parcel boundary, 25’ from the sides and 35’ from the rear.  These setbacks are indicated on the concept plan.  The Zoning Division has indicated that area devoted to growing flowers is not considered when calculating the square footage of the home occupation.  It is the opinion of staff that the floral workshop is in keeping with the type, scale and character of buildings normally expected in the Rural Areas. 

 

and with the public health, safety and general welfare.

Yancey Mills Road (State Route 825) is a gravel road approximately 14 feet wide and serves 5 dwellings.  Traffic activity to and from the Strickler/Herring residence will include two daily van deliveries from the workshop, a third daily trip on major holidays, two to three wholesale deliveries, and the arrival and departure of one part-time employee. VDOT has determined the operations of Floral Images will have an insignificant impact on local traffic.  However, VDOT has requested that a second vehicular entrance to the driveway not be permitted, has recommended that the existing vehicular entrance, now serving as a parking area, be reviewed and improved to meet VDOT ‘Private Street’ requirements, and that the existing vehicular entrance be adjusted to meet sight distance requirements for a commercial entrance. 

 

The County Engineer has the following response to existing site conditions and comments provided by VDOT:

 

“The existing entrance/parking area serving this residence is wider than the typical VDOT standard private entrance.  Based on the information submitted by the applicant it is envisioned that the entrance/parking area will be modified to extend a driveway to the delivery bay door of the workshop. 

 

VDOT’s comments (27 June 2006) make three specific points regarding the entrance:  

 

The first point is that a second entrance to the driveway should not be permitted.  I agree with this comment and recommend it be added as a condition of approval this special permit. 

 

The second is that the entrance will need to meet sight distance requirements.  The availability of adequate sight distance is not an issue at this entrance. 

 

The last point is that the existing entrance/parking area be improved to meet the “private street” connection design.  Given the low traffic volume on this street and at this specific entrance location, the lower travel speed on this gravel road, and the rural character of this road, it’s my opinion that there is little public benefit to reconstructing this existing entrance/parking area to a “private street” connection.  Therefore, I do not support making this comment a requirement of the special permit.”

           

Planning staff fully supports the recommendations of the County Engineer.  In order to maintain the character of the existing parking area and adjacent road staff recommends the new vehicular entrance and driveway be surfaced with gravel which is in keeping with the applicants intentions.

 

 

SUMMARY:

Staff has identified the following factor favorable to this application:

1.        The proposal is consistent with the provisions of Section 31.2.4.1

2.        The scale, character, and intensity of the proposal are consistent with the character of the Rural Areas.

3.        The proposal supports Rural Area goals by establishing a community based and focused business.

4.        The proposal incorporates local horticultural activities into the future development of the business, directly supporting preferred Rural Areas land use.

 

Staff has not identified factors unfavorable to this application.

 

Waiver Requests:

Should the Special Use Permit be approved, the zoning ordinance allows 24 months to start construction of the workshop (Section 18-31.2.4.4.).  The applicant has requested an additional year to begin construction of the workshop.  Staff recommends that the time allowed for the commencement of this Special Use Permit, should it be approved, be increased to three (3) years.

 

Should the Special Use Permit be approved, the applicant has requested a modification of the size limit of accessory buildings for home occupation class B to allow for a 1,200 square foot building.  Section 5.2.2.1a defines the size limits for buildings associated with home occupations.  Staff supports the applicant’s request for modification of Section 5.2.2.1a to allow for the construction of a 1,200 square foot floral workshop.  

 

RECOMMENDED ACTION:

Based on the findings contained in this staff report, staff recommends approval of Special Use Permit 2006-17 Floral Images with the following conditions:

 

1.    Special Use Permit 2006-17 Floral Images shall be developed in general accord with the concept plan dated August 24, 2006, prepared by W. R. Strickler, and titled “Floral Images” (Attachment A.)   

2.    One vehicular entrance from Yancey Mill Lane shall serve as the only driveway for this parcel.  It shall be required to be surfaced with gravel.

3.    No walk-in sales shall be permitted on the premises.

4.    A maximum of seven (7) client visits per week shall be permitted on the premises.

5.    The total area of the workshop shall be limited to 1,200 square feet.

6.    This use shall commence within 3 years of the date of approval rather than the 24 months stated in section 31.2.4.4.

7.    Hours of operation are required to be limited to 8:00 am to 4:00 pm Monday through Saturday.

 

ATTACHMENTS

Attachment A - Concept Plan dated August 24, 2006, prepared by W. R. Strickler, and titled “Floral Images” Attachment B – Site Photographs

Attachment C - Application

Attachment D - Vicinity plan and aerial

Attachment E – SP 2003-60, staff report and action letter
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