PRIVATE  COUNTY OF ALBEMARLE

PLANNING STAFF REPORT SUMMARY

 

 

Project Name:  ZMA 06-07 Hollymead Town Center Proffer Change

Staff:  Sean Dougherty

Planning Commission Public Hearing: September 5,  2006

Board of Supervisors Public Hearing:

October 11, 2006

Owners Hollymead Town Center, LLC and Target Corporation

Applicant: Steve Blaine

Acreage: 24.7acres

Rezone from: Amend proffers in PDMC

TMP:   Tax Map Parcel 32- 43, 32-43B, 32-43C, and 32-43D

Location: 75 yards west of Hollymead Town Center Area B (Target and Harris Teeter)

By-right use:  24.7 acres of Planned District Mixed Commercial (PDMC) zoning.

Magisterial District:  Rio

Proffers:   n/a     

Proposal:  To amend proffer to allow for the extension of the proffered completion date of Meeting Street by two years.

Requested # of Dwelling Units: n/a

DA (Development Area): Hollymead Town Center in the Hollymead Neighborhood.

 

Comp. Plan Designation: Crozet Master Plan -  Town Center -- Compact, higher density area containing a mixture of businesses, services, public facilities, residential areas and public spaces, attracting activities of all kinds. (6.01-34 dwelling units per acre).

Character of Property:  Graded and prepared for development.

Use of Surrounding Properties:  Surrounding properties include Area B of the Hollymead Town Center (anchored by Target), Holly Memorial Gardens to the east across Rt. 29 and Deerwood to the west. The U.S. Post distribution center along airport road lies to the northeast.

Factors Favorable:

This request would relieve a zoning violation and would allow certificates of occupancy currently being withheld to be issued for businesses seeking to occupy vacant spaces in Area B.

 

Factors Unfavorable:

1. If approved, construction of the road may lag behind development in areas C and D.

2. No circumstances have changed to allow staff to consider the original commitment to be inappropriate.

RECOMMENDATION:  Staff does not recommend extending the proffer. However, if the Commission feels extending the proffer is appropriate, it should only be extended until August 15, 2007. This would allow roads required to support the town center to be in place before additional developments in Areas C and D are occupied, provide sufficient time to build the road and have it accepted by VDOT, and to reduce impacts on existing roads prior to the fall season when the area population and vehicle volumes typically increases.

 

 

STAFF PERSON:                                                                                       Sean Dougherty

PLANNING COMMISSION:                                                                       September 5, 2006

BOARD OF SUPERVISORS:                                                                   October 11, 2006                                                                                                   

ZMA 2006-0007 Hollymead Proffer Change

 

PETITION:

 

PROJECT: ZMA 2006-00007 Hollymead Town Center Area B Proffer Amendment

PROPOSAL:  To amend approved proffers on land that is zoned PDMC: Planned Development Mixed Commercial - large-scale commercial uses; and residential by special use permit (15 units/ acre). No dwelling units are proposed.

PROFFERS:  Yes

EXISTING COMPREHENSIVE PLAN LAND USE/DENSITY:  Town Center -- Compact, higher density area containing a mixture of businesses, services, public facilities, residential areas and public spaces, attracting activities of all kinds. (6.01-34 dwelling units per acre).

ENTRANCE CORRIDOR: Yes

LOCATION: West of Route 29 between Town Center Drive and Timberwood Boulevard.

TAX MAP/PARCEL: Tax Map 32, Parcel 43; Tax Map 32, Parcel 43B, Tax Map 32, Parcel 43C; and Tax Map 32, Parcel 43D

MAGISTERIAL DISTRICT: Rio

 

CHARACTER OF THE AREA
The subject property is located off of U.S. Route 29 north in the Hollymead Town Center west of Harris Teeter and Target. The area has been cleared, graded, and prepared for development.

 

SPECIFICS OF THE PROPOSAL

The applicant is requesting an amendment to an approved proffer which required the owner of Area B to construct Meeting Street as a half section with a travel lane in each direction and a bike lane in one direction by one year after Target opened. This “half section” standard is half of the ultimate road and can function satisfactorily until the full section is built. The deadline for building the road was June 15, 2006 and it is not yet built. It is identified on Attachment A as Meeting Street; the portion the applicant is responsible for constructing is highlighted in red. The applicant would like this date to be extended by two years to June15, 2008.  Attachment B contains the proffers approved for the town center and proposed changes. Proffer 4 is in violation. The approved proffer language is shown in red-strikethrough, and the proposed changes are shown in blue.

APPLICANT’S JUSTIFICATION FOR THE REQUEST

This zoning violation prohibits any certificates of occupancy to be issued in Area B until the violation is reconciled. The applicant is requesting an extension of the deadline to construct Meeting Street by two years in order to resolve an outstanding proffer violation and allow certificates of occupancy to be granted for businesses in this area. The applicant estimates it will take four to six months to build the road and take roughly the same amount of time to have it accepted by VDOT and is therefore requesting a generous extension to avoid the need to amend the proffer again. However, the applicant has stated that he would prefer that the Area A applicant build the road as a full section. Area A has not been rezoned . The applicant anticipates the rezoning would occur in the near future to allow the applicant for Area A to build the road by June 15, 2008. According to the proffers, if the Area A applicant commits to build the entire desired section of Meeting Street, the Area B applicant would be relieved from the requirement to construct any portion of Meeting Street.

 

PLANNING AND ZONING HISTORY

On July 16, 2003 the Board of Supervisors approved a rezoning of Area B in the Hollymead Town Center from RA to PDMC. This rezoning was followed by the Area C and D rezonings on August 6, 2003. Action on Area A, 78 acres lying to the south and west of the developed portion of the town center, was deferred in March of 2003. The applicant for Area D proffered no specific vehicular transportation improvements, but committed to building a greenway trail and made cash proffers for capital improvements. The following proffers for transportation improvements were made with area B and C rezonings:

 

Area B proffered to build Town Center Drive (southern town center entrance on U.S. Route 29) to the edge or Area B including dual left turn lanes from Northbound U.S. Route 29 to Town Center Drive and install a traffic signal. Area B also proffered to construct Town Center Drive to its intersection with Route 606 (Dickerson Road). This proffer will be considered satisfied when Area A is rezoned and the Area A owner makes a proffer binding Area A to build this connection. Area B proffers include a commitment to build an additional northbound through-lane along Route 29. Area B also proffered to build Meeting Street to accommodate two travel lanes (one in each direction) and a bike lane. Area C proffered to build Timberwood Boulevard (northern town center entrance) from Route 29 to Airport Road including dual turn lanes and signal on U.S. Route 29. Area C proffers include a commitment to build a continuous southbound through-lane on U.S. Route 29. The Area C applicant has built the roads he committed to in the rezoning. To date, a portion of these roads have been accepted by VDOT and in the process of gaining VDOT acceptance.

 

In order to gain a certificate of occupancy for Target in Area B, the applicant bonded Meeting Street, as required by the proffers. This first certificate of occupancy in the town center (Target store) was issued on June 15, 2005, making the deadline for completing Meeting Street June 15, 2006.

 

On August 18, 2006, the Chief of Zoning issued a memo directing staff to withhold all permits for businesses in Area B. This does not affect businesses that were open by August 18, 2006, such as Target and Harris Teeter. All businesses that did not have a certificate of occupancy by August 18, 2006 in Area B are affected and are unable to operate until the proffer is executed by the owner or the proffer is amended and accepted by the Board of Supervisors.

 

After being withdrawn in 2003, the Area A rezoning was reactivated in last year. In October 2005, a proposal for Area A was reviewed in a Planning Commission work session. In March of 2006, a modified rezoning application plan for Area A was reviewed by the Planning Commission in a public hearing. Due to many outstanding issues with the application plan, the project was deferred. In early August of 2006, the Area A applicant resubmitted a rezoning application plan. This plan will be reviewed by the Planning Commission on September 12, 2006

 

 

COMPREHENSIVE PLAN

The Land Use Plan designates this area as Town Center. The Town Center designation at Hollymead includes 180 acres is accompanied by “Conceptual Masterplan and Design Guidelines for the Hollymead Town Center” (Guidelines). Prior to approval of the town center comprehensive plan amendment, a comprehensive traffic study was performed based on a maximum of allowable uses in each area. The traffic study, which is reflected in the Guidelines, included several new roads that would connect U.S. Route 29, Airport Road, and Dickerson Road to provide a network of internal streets to address new development and provide for better functionality of existing roads. The primary roads considered in the traffic study include Town Center Drive, the east-west route that connects Dickerson Road to Route 29; Timberwood Boulevard, the east-west route that connects Airport Road with Route 29; and Meeting Street, the primary north-south route that connects the aforementioned east-west routes, that runs parallel to U.S. Route 29. Building Meeting Street is in conformity with the Comprehensive Plan.

 

STAFF COMMENT

Though the Area B owner proffered to construct a half section of Meeting Street, it is located in Area A and part of the larger road system that serves the town center. To satisfy the proffer, the applicant needs to build a travel lane in each direction and a bike lane in one direction.  The full section ultimately prescribed for Meeting Street in the Guidelines includes a planted median, travel lanes, bike lanes, on-street parking, planting strip, and sidewalk. Included in the Area B bond for Meeting Street are the required travel lanes and a segment of Town Center Drive that would allow a connection between Meeting Street and U.S. Route 29. It is anticipated that the Area A applicant would construct the full section if and when a rezoning is approved in that area.

 

Road plans for Meeting Street, including the desired full street section have been provided to engineering staff by the Area A applicant. These plans are generally in line with the expectations for the full section as identified in the Guidelines. However, until there is an approved rezoning in Area A, there is no proffer commitment to build the full section of the road, nor is there a mechanism for accepting a bond for the full section.

 

After the Area B,C, and D rezonings were approved, the owner of Area B signed an access, construction, and maintenance agreement with multiple owners of the entire town center property to establish each entity’s responsibility for the construction of roads within the town center (see Attachment C for a copy of this agreement with portions pertaining to this proffer highlighted). This agreement states that if Meeting Street is not completed as outlined in the proffers, the applicant has the right to build the road and charge Wendell Wood, partner to the agreement and owner of several properties included in the town center Comprehensive Plan designation area, for the cost to construct the road. This agreement has provided and continues to provide the applicant the ability to satisfy the proffer. The applicant has indicated that exercising their right to fulfill the proffer through the access, construction, and maintenance agreement is likely to foment a lawsuit between the private agreement signatories. In spite of the clearly defined responsibilities laid out in the agreement, the applicant estimates that this process may result in further delaying construction of the road.

 

Options for the Planning Commission and the Board of Supervisors

 

There are three options available to the Planning Commission and Board of Supervisors to ensure Meeting Street is constructed.

 

The first option would be to deny this request to change the proffer. In doing this, the owners would likely exercise their option to construct the road and bill the former owner, Wendell Wood. The negative side is that the owner is only obligated to build Meeting Street to its intersection with Town Center Drive. (Completing Town Center Drive from U.S. Route 29 to Dickerson Road is an obligation of the Area A Owner, who has yet to obtain a rezoning of that property.) Therefore until Town Center Drive is completed, the Area B proffer to build Meeting Street to Town Center Drive would result in a dead end. A dead end on Meeting Street  means that interconnecting Meeting Street and Town Center Drive would not take place until Area A is rezoned and Town Center Drive is accepted by VDOT.

 

Should the applicant exercise this right to satisfy the proffer, the required two travel lanes and bike lane of  Meeting Street needs to be built and accepted by VDOT. In a best case scenario, the road could be built this fall or early next spring after asphalt plants are reopened. However, VDOT acceptance will likely take up to six or seven months after the road is built. Therefore, the soonest the proffer could be met, assuming construction begins this fall, would be June 2007. This is one year after the proffer violation and one year sooner than the applicant has requested.

 

Should the Owner not exercise his right to build the road as prescribed by the access, construction, and maintenance agreement, the County’s recourse would be to continue withholding certificates of occupancy and call the bond and construct the street itself. The bond for Meeting Street includes a segment of Town Center Drive which would connect to Meeting Street, eliminating the dead end reference above. Further, this segment would connect Meeting Street with U.S. Route 29 along Town Center Drive, making a complete connection. (Though this segment is part of the bond for Meeting Street, it is not required by the Area B proffer to build Meeting Street). The downside to this option is that calling the bond would be a time intensive process during a period in which the engineering staff has a backlog of reviews and has been understaffed.

 

The second option would be for the County to approve the proposed proffer change and allow the applicant to extend the time for completion. The positive aspect of this option is that it might provide an opportunity for a full section of Meeting Street to be constructed rather than two half sections. The downside of this option is would be that Meeting Street’s construction may be further delayed during a time that other pending developments may occur that were intended to be able to utilize Meeting Street:

 

Area D has been subdivided into 94 townhouse lots, with another 60 anticipated in the near future. A total of four final site plans are in the process of being reviewed in Area C to bring 55,000 square feet of office and retail, a 7,800 square foot restaurant, a 67,000 square foot assisted living facility, and 42 townhouses. Though there is no way to determine when the projects identified will be completed, it is likely that a good portion will begin site work shortly after the pending site plans are approved. The original traffic study allowing for the aforementioned development relied on the complete road system, including Meeting Street,  being constructed by certain deadlines. If the deadline to complete Meeting Street is extended by two years, it is likely the completion of the road facility may follow the development of significantly more residential and commercial development in Areas C and D.  Without the road being constructed, the impacts of pending development in Areas C and D would fall on the existing roads constructed inside the town center and associated access point on Route 29 and Airport Road.  To date, with roughly ¼ of the town center developed, no serious transportation problems can be attributed to the road not being constructed.

 

A third option is to only extend the deadline to August 15, 2007 which is likely to generally coincide with any certificates of occupancy that would be issued in Area C and D. This proffer extension date has not been offered by the applicant. An extension to August 15, 2007 would provide sufficient time to meet the proffer, particularly in consideration that it was promised this year. This deadline would ensure that the road is in place before the busy fall season and the return of roughly 20,000 students and employees to the University of Virginia. This yearly return, in addition, to the regular school year and upswing in commercial activity after summer adds more volume to local roads. The extension to August of next year would allow businesses currently seeking certificates of occupancy in the Area B portion of the town center to proceed in the meantime. Though the proffer only guarantees a half section of Meeting Street to be built, the function the road was designed to provide would be in place. Building the half section would be less efficient than building the full road. However, there is no guarantee the other party who could build the full section of the road (Area A owner) will do so before August 15, 2007.

 

SUMMARY

Staff believes that the applicant has not met their obligation and that the circumstances under which the applicant committed to build a half section of Meeting Street have not changed. Meeting Street is a critical facility shared by all areas of the town center. Staff has identified many pending developments in Areas C and D that will be allowed to move forward which need the road, but which are not responsible for the applicant to meet his obligation. Staff can identify no reason to extend this proffer and reduce pressure for the applicant to meet his obligation.

 

Factors Favorable

1. The proposed proffer deadline extension to June 15, 2008 would relieve a zoning violation and would allow certificates of occupancy currently being withheld to be issued for businesses seeking to occupy vacant spaces in Area B.

 

Factors Unfavorable

1. The requested two year extension for construction of the road may lag behind significant development in areas C and D.

2. No circumstances have changed to allow staff to consider the original commitment to be inappropriate.

 

RECOMMENDATIONS:  Staff does not recommend extending the proffer. However, if the Commission feels extending the proffer is appropriate, it should only be extended until August 15, 2007. This would allow roads required to support the town center to be in place before additional developments in Areas C and D are occupied, provide sufficient time to build the road and have it accepted by VDOT, and to reduce impacts on existing roads prior to the fall season when the area’s population and vehicle volumes increase due to returning students and the end of summer.

 

ATTACHMENTS

Attachment A: Town Center Illustrated Map                                                                                                                 

Attachment B:  Proposed Proffer Changes                                                                                                                 

Attachment C:  Access, Construction and Maintenance Agreement

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