COUNTY OF ALBEMARLE

PLANNING STAFF REPORT SUMMARY

 

Project Name:  AFD 2006-01 South Garden Agricultural and Forestal District Renewal

Staff: Amy Ransom Arnold

Planning Commission Public Hearing:

September 5, 2006

Board of Supervisors Public Hearing:

October 4, 2006

Owners: various 

Applicant: County Staff

Acreage: Approx. 2, 033.33 acres

Ag/For District Review: Review, South Garden Agricultural/Forestal District; determine termination, modification, or continuation of the District

TMP: Tax map 109, parcel 70; tax map 110, parcels 8, 18, 18E, 27.

Location: The South Garden District is generally located in North Garden between Route 29 south and Routes 712 / 719 with northern boundaries adjacent to the South Fork of the Hardware River.

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 District  

Magisterial District: Scottsville Magisterial District

Conditions: Yes

Proposal: Renewal of the South Garden Agricultural and Forestal District; determine whether to terminate, modify, or continue this district. The renewal cycle for South Garden is proposed to be revised from its current 7-year to a 10-year review period.  South Garden was created October 6, 1999. Withdrawals proposed: TMP 109 - 70 (40.063 acres); TMP 110 - 8 (105.20 acres); TMP 110 - 18E (32.767 acres).  Current acreage 2,033.33; with additions/subtractions 1,855.03 acres; net loss 178.03 acres   

Requested # of Dwelling Units:  NA                           

 

DA (Development Area):

RA (Rural Area):  X

Comprehensive Plan Designation: RA -- Rural Areas: agricultural, forestal, and fishery uses; residential density (0.5 unit/acre)

 

RECOMMENDATION: The Agricultural and Forestal Districts Advisory Committee met on July 24, 2006 to review proposed withdrawals to the South Garden District and discuss its renewal.  The seven members in attendance voted unanimously to recommend renewal of the South Garden Agricultural and Forestal District with the conditions included in the body of this staff report.

 

 

 

 

 

AFD 2006-01:

RENEWAL OF THE SOUTH GARDEN

AGRICULTURAL AND FORESTAL DISTRICT

 

Staff Contact: Amy Arnold

Planning Commission Public Hearing: September 5, 2006 

Board of Supervisors Public Hearing:  October 4, 2006

 

Petition:

NOTICE OF AN APPLICATION FOR REVIEW OF THE SOUTH GARDEN AGRICULTURAL/ FORESTAL DISTRICT

Notice is hereby given, pursuant to Title 15.2 Chapter 43, Section 15.2-4307 of the Agricultural and Forestal Districts Act of the Code of Virginia, 1950, as amended, that:

1.     An application for Agricultural and Forestal District (known hereafter as Review of the South Garden Agricultural/Forestal District) has been filed with the Albemarle County Board of Supervisors and the application has been referred to the Albemarle County Planning Commission pursuant to Title 15.2, Chapter 43, Agricultural and Forestal Districts Act of the Code of Virginia, 1950, as amended;

2.     The application for Review of the South Garden Agricultural/Forestal District;  together with descriptive maps, is available for public inspection in the office of the Clerk of the Board of Albemarle County, Fourth Floor, Albemarle County Office Building, 401 McIntire Road, Charlottesville, Virginia;

3.     Where applicable, any political subdivision whose territory encompasses or is part of the South Garden Agricultural/Forestal District may propose a modification.  Such proposed modification must be filed in the Albemarle County Planning Department within 30 days of the date that this notice is first published, (no later than 5:00 p.m., June 14, 2006)

4.     Any owner of additional qualifying land may join the application for Review of the South Garden Agricultural/Forestal District within thirty days from the date this notice is first published (no later than 5:00 p.m., July 14, 2006) or, with the consent of the Albemarle County Board of Supervisors, at any time before the public hearing the Albemarle County Board of Supervisors must hold on the application;

5.     Any owner who joined in the application for Review of the South Garden Agricultural/Forestal District may withdraw his land, in whole or in part, by written notice filed with the Albemarle County Board of Supervisors, at any time before the Albemarle County Board of Supervisors acts pursuant to Section 15.2-4309 of the Code of Virginia, 1950, as amended;

6.     Additional qualifying lands may be added to an already created district upon separate application pursuant to Title 15.2, Chapter 43 of the Code of Virginia, 1950, as amended at any time following such creation;

7.     The application for Review of the South Garden Agricultural/Forestal District and proposed modifications will be submitted to the Albemarle County Agricultural and Forestal Advisory Committee.

8.     Upon receipt of the report of the Advisory Committee, a public hearing will be held by the Albemarle County Planning Commission on the application for Review of the South Garden Agricultural/Forestal District; and any proposed modifications.

 

Purpose:  The Agricultural and Forestal Districts program is an important voluntary protection measure utilized in the County. It is enabled by state law and adopted by the Board of Supervisors in Chapter 3 of the County Code.  Through the program, rural land is safeguarded and the County’s policy goal of protecting “Albemarle’s agricultural and forests as a resource base for its agricultural and forestry industries and for related benefits they contribute towards the County’s rural character, scenic quality, natural environment, and fiscal health” is implemented. The purpose of an Agricultural and Forestal District is further expanded in the County Code, adding that agricultural and forestal lands should be protected as valuable natural and ecological resources which provide essential open space for clean air sheds, watershed protection, wildlife habitat, as well as for aesthetic purposes. 

 

Effects of a District:  

 

1.   The District provides a community benefit by conserving and protecting farmlands and forest; environmental resources such as watersheds, air quality, open space, and wildlife habitat; and scenic and historic resources.

 

2.   The State Code stipulates that the landowner receive certain tax benefits*, and restrictions on public utilities and government action (such as land acquisition and local nuisance laws) to protect the agricultural/ forestal use of the land.  In exchange, the landowner agrees not to develop the property to a "more intensive use" during the specified number of years the district is in effect.

*Since Albemarle County currently permits all four categories of use value assessment, a district designation may not provide any additional real estate tax deductions.  Land in a district is protected from special utility assessments or taxes.

3.   The State Code stipulates that, "Local ordinances, comprehensive plans, land use planning decisions, administrative decisions and procedures affecting parcels of land adjacent to any district shall take into account the existence of such a district and the purposes of this chapter."  The district may have no effect on adjacent development by-right, but could restrict proposed rezonings or uses by special use permit which are determined to be in conflict with the adjacent agricultural/ forestal uses.  Districts must now be shown on the official Comprehensive Plan map each time it is updated.

 

In general, a district may have a stabilizing effect on land use.  The property owners in the district are making a statement that they do not intend to develop their property in the near future, and that they would like the area to remain in agricultural, forestal, and open space uses.  Adjacent property owners may be encouraged to continue agricultural uses if they do not anticipate development of adjacent lands. Currently, there are 24 agricultural/forestal districts in the County containing approximately 64,000 acres.

 

Renewal Procedure: In conducting a renewal, the Board shall ask for the recommendations of the local Advisory Committee and the Planning Commission in order to determine whether to terminate, modify, or continue the district.

 

The Board may stipulate conditions to continue the district and may establish a time period before the next renewal of the district, which may be different from the conditions or period established when the district was created.  Any such different conditions or period must be described in a notice to landowners in the district, and published in a newspaper at least two weeks prior to adoption of the ordinance continuing the district.

 

Unless the district is modified or terminated by the Board of Supervisors, the district shall continue as originally constituted, with the same conditions and time period before the next review as were established when the district was created.

 

When each district is reviewed, land within the district may be withdrawn at the owner’s discretion by filing a written notice with the Board of Supervisors at any time before the Board acts to continue, modify, or terminate the district.

 

THE SOUTH GARDEN AGRICULTURAL AND FORESTAL DISTRICT

 

The Albemarle County Code currently contains this description of the District:

 

“Sec. 3-225.5 South Garden Agricultural and Forestal District.

The district known as the “South Garden Agricultural and Forestal District” consists of the

following described properties: Tax map 109, parcel 70; tax map 110, parcels 8, 18, 18E, 27. This district,

created on October 6, 1999 for not more than 7 years, shall next be reviewed prior to October 6, 2006.

 

(Ord. 99-3(5), 10-6-99) (11-17-93; 2-14-96; Code 1988, § 2.1-4(v); Ord. 98-A(1), 8-5-98)”

 

The South Garden District is generally located in North Garden between Route 29 south and Routes 712 / 719 with northern boundaries adjacent to the South Fork of the Hardware River. (Attachment A.)  There have been no additions or withdrawals since the creation of the District.  Landowners may withdraw their parcels from districts by right during a renewal at anytime before the Board of Supervisors takes final action to continue, modify, or terminate the district.   

   

Agricultural and Forestal District Significance: Of the 2,033.33 acres that comprise the South Garden District, 1,483.383 acres are enrolled in the Forestry category of the land-use taxation program while 520.936 are enrolled in the Agricultural category.  Mixed deciduous and evergreen forest stands located   in the District are a small portion of an expansive system of forest and ridge lines. (Attachment B.)     

 

Land Use other than Agriculture and Forestry:  In addition to agricultural and forestal uses, the South Garden District includes residential uses.   

 

Local Development Patterns: Immediately surrounding the district are wooded mountainous parcels, open pasture, hedgerows, and farms.  There are not any substantial residential developments on near-by parcels.   

 

Comprehensive Plan Designation and Zoning Districts: The South Garden District is located within Rural Area 3 of the Comprehensive Plan and all parcels are zoned RA (Rural Areas). There are no Development Areas land use designations located near-by.

 

Environmental Benefits: The Open Space Plan identifies this area as part of a major open space system including important forests, agricultural land, major stream valleys, mountains, and critical slopes greater than 25%. (Attachment C., ten foot contours; Attachment D., 20 meter contours and critical slopes)  Keeping these properties in an Agricultural and Forestal District will help protect farm land and mountain resources, which the Comprehensive Plan and Rural Areas Zoning Ordinances seek to preserve.  Conservation of this area will help maintain the environmental integrity of the County and aids in the protection of ground and surface water, agricultural soils, mountain resources, critical slopes, and wildlife habitat. The parcels contained within the District are part of the South Fork of the Hardware River and Green Creek watersheds.  With a high percentage of forest cover, the South Garden District helps to preserve important water resources for the entire community.

 

Time Period: The South Garden District is currently on a 7-year review cycle. It has been County policy to establish a 10-year review schedule (the maximum) for all districts.  The Agricultural and Forestal Districts Advisory Committee has requested and staff recommends that the review cycle for the South Garden District be changed to a 10-year interval.

 

 

Withdrawals: Staff has received a request from a South Garden landowner to withdraw Tax Map 109, Parcel 70 (40.063 acres), Tax Map 110, Parcel 8 (105.2 acres), Tax Map 110, Parcel 18E (32.767 acres).  This request leaves Tax Map 110, Parcel 18 (1,087 acres) owned by the same landowner in the South Garden District.  This withdrawal represents a total of 178.03 acres.

 

Additions: Staff has received no requests for additions to the District.

 

The current acreage of the South Garden Agricultural and Forestal District is 2,033.33.  With the proposed withdrawals the total acreage becomes 1,855.30.  The proposed withdrawals are illustrated in Attachment E. with the proposed re-configuration of the district shown in Attachment F.      

 

Recommendation: The Agricultural and Forestal Districts Advisory Committee met on July 24, 2006 to review proposed withdrawals to the South Garden District and discuss its renewal.  The seven members in attendance voted unanimously to recommend renewal of the South Garden Agricultural and Forestal District with the following conditions:

 

1.     The following shall be withdrawn from the South Garden Agricultural and Forestal District:

·Tax Map 109, Parcel 70 (40.063 acres)

·Tax Map 110, parcel 8 (105.2 acres)

·Tax Map 110, Parcel 18E (32.767 acres)

 

2.     The renewal cycle shall be revised from a 7-year to a 10-year interval.

 

ATTACHMENTS:

 

A.   MAP OF THE PARCELS CURRENTLY CONTAINED WITHIN THE SOUTH GARDEN AGRICULTURAL AND FORESTAL DISTRICT

B.   AREIAL VIEW OF THE SOUTH GARDEN DISTRICT

C.   TOPOGRAPHIC (10 FOOT INTERVAL) MAP OF THE SOUTH GARDEN DISTRICT

D.   TOPOGRAPHIC (20 METER INTERVAL) AND CRITICAL SLOPES MAP OF THE SOUTH GARDEN DISTRICT

E.   PROPOSED WITHDRAWALS

F.   PROPOSED NEW CONFIGURATION OF THE SOUTH GARDEN DISTRICT

G.   LETTER REQUESTING WITHDRAWAL OF PARCELS

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