COUNTY OF ALBEMARLE STAFF REPORT SUMMARY

 

Project Name: SP2006-22 Northridge Preschool

Staff:  Amy Ransom Arnold

Planning Commission Public Hearing: 

September 12, 2006

Board of Supervisors Public Hearing:

October 4,2006

Owners: Virginia District Church of the Nazarene 

Applicant: Northridge Community Church of the Nazarene

Acreage:  Approx. 9.920 acres

Special Use Permit for:  10.2.2.(7) allowing for the operation of a day care or nursery facility

TMP: TM 21 Parcel 11A

Location: 5100 Dickerson Road

Conditions: Yes

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.; Entrance Corridor Overlay  

Magisterial District: White Hall

Requested # of Dwelling Units:  N/A

DA                               RA   X

Proposal: The applicant proposes to operate a Day Care/Pre-school in an existing church facility; no exterior building changes are proposed; this is an amendment to an existing Special Use Permit.

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 property is comprised of a single story church building, large parking area, playground, entrance drive, and a large area of woodland.  

Use of Surrounding Properties: The surrounding properties are currently comprised of a mix of forest, open land, residential, and industrial uses.

Factors Favorable:

1.   Churches and schools with a play a primary role in community life as centers of faith, education, and community gathering.  

2.   It is the applicant’s intention to serve children that live in the near-by communities of northern Albemarle County.  As a result of this local focus, operating a preschool in the existing church facilities would help reduce cross County/City traffic.  

3.   With the recommended condition (7.) protecting the existing woodland, preserves natural and scenic resources.

Factors Unfavorable:

Staff has not identified factors unfavorable to this application.

 

RECOMMENDATION: Staff recommends approval, subject to conditions.

 

 

 

 

Petition: 

PROJECT: SP2006-22 Northridge Community Church of the Nazarene; Northridge Preschool

PROPOSED: Day Care/Pre-school; existing church; no exterior building changes proposed; SP amendment

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

SECTION: 10.2.2.(7); 5.1.06 Day care, childcare or nursery facility

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

ENTRANCE CORRIDOR: Yes__X__No____

LOCATION: 5100 Dickerson Road, Charlottesville; near Route 29 North

TAX MAP/PARCEL: TM21, Parcel 11A

MAGISTERIAL DISTRICT: Whitehall

 

Character of the Area:

Northridge Community Church of the Nazarene is located less than a mile from the northeastern boundary of Albemarle, adjacent to Route 29 North.  The surrounding area is characterized by large stands of mature, mixed deciduous / evergreen forest and open space with scattered residences, a few industrial uses, and a large pond located across Route 29 North.  Located near-by and to the south are two large sites currently zoned industrial, including the over 50 acre GE Fanuc Manufacturing, Inc. site.   

      

Specifics of the Proposal:

With the majority of the facilities and capacity to operate a preschool already in place, the congregation of the Northridge Community Church of the Nazarene church is proposing to establish a half-day preschool program in the fall of this year. (Attachments A and B)  It is the hope of the congregation that the preschool will meet the needs of parents in northern Albemarle County by providing the benefits of a local program.

 

The church is proposing a total capacity of 80 children at the preschool, with a maximum of 50 on site at one time.  The preschool would comprise a half-day program serving 3 and 4 years olds operating from 7:30 am to 12:30 pm.  Parents would park in the church parking lot, escort their children into their class and later pick the children up from the class.  There will be no curbside pick up and drop off.  The children will bring a lunch from home; no lunches will be prepared on site, though full kitchen facilities are available at the church.  In addition, multiple classrooms totaling 2,630 square feet, space for school wide events, and a large playground are in place at the church.    

 

Planning and Zoning History:

SP 2000-58: In January of 2001 the Board of Supervisors approved the construction of a 11,200 square foot church building with 200 seats, 101 parking spaces, and outdoor recreation areas.  The conditions of approval required an amendment to SP 2000-58 for the operation of a day care or preschool. (Attachment C) 

 

SP 2003-68: In January of 2004 the Board of Supervisors approved an amendment to SP 2000-58 to allow for the operation of preschool and after school programs.  The conditions included prohibiting exterior changes to the building and the site, limiting the number of children to 80 for preschool and 60 for the after school programs, and limiting the hours of operation to 7:30 am to 2:00 pm (preschool) and 2:30 pm to 6:00 pm (after school program). (Attachment D)  The current administration of the church was not in place when the Special Use Permit amendment was approved.  Unaware the church already had approval to operate a preschool, the amendment expired in January of this year and the Special Use Permit was deemed abandoned.              

 

 

 

Conformity with the Comprehensive Plan:

The proposal to operate a preschool at the Northridge Community Church of the Nazarene directly supports the following Guiding Principles for the Rural Areas from the Rural Areas Section of the Comprehensive Plan:

 

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

 

It is the applicant’s intention to serve children that live in the near-by communities of northern Albemarle County.  As a result of this local focus it is the intention of the applicant to help reduce cross County/City traffic. The church property and the adjacent properties are zoned RA, Rural Areas.  Rural Area land uses are intended to support rural communities at rural scales and provide the opportunity to take part in community life.  Churches and schools with a play a primary role in community life: as centers of faith, education, and community gathering.  

 

STAFF COMMENT:

 

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

 

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,

To date, Planning staff has not received any concerns or negative comment from adjacent land owners.  The applicant has indicated that the land owner of the parcel immediately adjacent to the north, Grace Community Church, fully supports the addition of a preschool at this location.

 

The preschool is proposed to be operated completely within existing facilities; no exterior changes are proposed as part of this request.  The site includes substantial wooded area to the west, south of the church and parking area providing adequate buffering of on site activity from the adjacent residential parcels.  The wooded area is a contiguous part of a large forest stand to the south, west, and north of this parcel.  Because of the extent of this wooded area and its contribution to buffering the surrounding residential areas from church activities, staff has recommended a condition limiting disturbance of the existing woodland excluding the maintenance of the existing storm water facility located between the church and the western parcel boundary. (condition 7., Attachment D)  SP 2000-58 includes the following condition: “9. Trees and plant material shall not be disturbed within twenty-five (25) feet of the west, north, and south property line buffers.” (Attachment C)  It is the opinion of staff that the preservation of approximately 4 acres of wooded area on this parcel should be considered not only as effective buffers for near-by parcels, but as a scenic and natural resource as well. (See discussion under “character of the district” and “harmony with the purpose and intent of this ordinance”.)

 

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

The existing church building, entrance drive, parking, and plantings are visible from the Entrance Corridor Route 29 Overlay District.  With no exterior changes included in this proposal, the Architectural Review Board has no comment on the proposal.

 

The church property includes approximately 4 acres of woodland, just under half of the total 9.920 acres.  Part of this area has been dedicated to storm water management, with the majority of the woodland remaining undisturbed. The existing forest land on this site extends well beyond the boundaries of this parcel. (Attachment C)  The portion of the forest land located to the south of the existing church building contributes

 

 

substantially to the character of this section of Dickerson Road and the views from Route 29 North.  Because

of the extent of the woodland and its contribution to the character of the surrounding district staff has recommended a condition limiting disturbance of the existing woodland. (condition 7., Attachment C)

 

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)”

 

This proposal is not in conflict with preferred uses in the Rural Areas and supports rural communities on a local scale.  With the recommended condition number 7, the proposal further supports rural areas goals by protecting the existing woodland and thereby preserving scenic and natural resources. 

 

with uses permitted by right in the district,

The property and the adjacent properties are zoned Rural Areas.  The uses permitted by right under RA Zoning directly support agriculture, forestry, and the conservation of rural land.  Part of the vision for the Rural Areas outlined in the Comprehensive Plan includes the support of agricultural and forestal communities through community services, at rural scales, that keep longer distance travel to a minimum. The church’s intention of a locally focused preschool in the existing church building can help focus community life at a rural scale and minimize longer distance travel.      

 

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

Section 5.1.06 refers to supplementary regulations for day care and nursery facilities:  Section 5.1.06 ‘DAY CARE CENTER, FAMILY DAY HOME’ includes the following portions that will be significant to this proposal:

 

“Each day care center or family day home shall be subject to the following: (Added 10-3-01)

a. No such use shall operate without the required licensure by the Virginia Department of Social Services. It shall be the responsibility of the owner/operator to transmit to the zoning administrator a copy of the original license. Failure to do so shall be deemed willful noncompliance with the provisions of this chapter; (Amended 10-3-01)

 

b. Periodic inspection of the premises shall be made by the Albemarle County fire official at his discretion. Failure to promptly admit the fire official for such inspection shall be deemed willful noncompliance with the provisions of this chapter; (Amended 10-3-01)

 

c. These provisions are supplementary and nothing stated herein shall be deemed to preclude application of the requirements of the Virginia Department of Social Services, Virginia Department of Health, Virginia State Fire Marshal, or any other local, state or federal agency. (Amended 10-3-01)”

 

Staff has included conditions of approval to ensure compliance with 5.1.06.

 

and with the public health, safety and general welfare.

The Zoning Division has indicated that the site plan approved in September, 2003 shows sufficient parking for the operation of the preschool.  At the request of the Zoning Division, the County Engineer has approved the pick-up and drop-off area located in front of the church, though the applicant has indicated that children would be escorted to and from the building by their parents.

 

VDOT has determined the operation of a preschool at the church will increase the trips to the site by 50 vehicles per day. The current traffic on Route 606 (Dickerson Road) is low at approximately 200 vehicles per day.  Based on this data VDOT has determined the impacts of the preschool operation would be minimal to the existing roadway.  VDOT also recommended the site entrance be reviewed to ensure that it meets the current standards; any entrance and frontage improvements need to be designed in accordance with the current Subdivision Street Standards, the Road Design Manual and the Minimum Standards for Entrances to State Highways.  The County Engineer has indicated the existing entrance was designed and constructed to VDOT Commercial Entrance standards as part of the requirements of the previously approved site plan and therefore, VDOT’s recommendation has been addressed.

  

The Albemarle County Fire/Rescue Division has no objection to the proposal however the preschool must comply with the Virginia Statewide Fire Prevention Code. Approval will be subject to field inspection and verification.

 

The Environmental Health Onsite Supervisor from the Virginia State Department of Health has indicated that Northridge Church of the Nazarene appears to be in compliance with health department regulations for the addition of a preschool as described in this Special Use Permit application.  

 

SUMMARY:

Staff has identified the following factors favorable to this application:

1.       Churches and schools with a play a primary role in community life as centers of faith, education, and community gathering. 

2.       It is the applicant’s intention to serve children that live in the near-by communities of northern Albemarle County.  As a result of this local focus, operating a preschool in the existing church facilities would help reduce cross County/City traffic.  

3.       With the recommended condition (7.) protecting the existing woodland, preserves natural and scenic resources.

 

Staff has not identified factors unfavorable to this application.

 

RECOMMENDED ACTION: 

Based on the findings contained in this staff report, staff recommends approval of Special Use Permit 2006-22 Northridge Community Church of the Nazarene, Northridge Preschool with the following conditions:

 

1.       Special Use Permit 2006-22 shall be developed in general accord with the interior concept plan received May 30, 2006, and titled “Northridge Preschool” (Attachment A). 

2.       Hours of operation shall be limited to 7:30 am to 12:30 pm Monday through Friday. 

3.       Enrollment shall not exceed 80 children with a maximum daily attendance of 50. 

4.       The church building must be approved for day care use by the Building Official.

5.       Licensure by the Virginia Department of Social Services is required.

6.       Health Department approval is required before the commencement of the use.

7.       The existing woodland shall remain undisturbed with one exception: the woodland may be disturbed within 10 feet of the highest water level in the storm water facility.  In no case shall the site be disturbed within 35 feet of the western boundary of this parcel. (Reference Attachment E)

 

 

 

ATTACHMENTS

Attachment A - Concept Plan received May 30, 2006 and titled “Northridge Preschool”

Attachment B – Site photographs and site layout

Attachment C – Action letter for SP 2000-58 Northside Community Fellowship Church of the Nazarene

Attachment D – SP 2003-68 action letter and staff report

Attachment E - Limits of site clearing

Attachment F - Application

Attachment G – Approved site plan, Northridge Community Church of the Nazarene

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