COUNTY OF ALBEMARLE

PLANNING STAFF REPORT SUMMARY

 

Project Name:  ZMA 2006-10; SP2006-24 Albemarle Airport Authority – Pleasant Grove Baptist Church 

Staff: Amy Ransom Arnold

Planning Commission Public Hearing:

October 10, 2006

Board of Supervisors Public Hearing:

November 1, 2006

Owners: Charlottesville Albemarle Airport Authority 

Applicant: Charlottesville Albemarle Airport Authority 

Acreage: 2.00 acres of an 11.451 acre parcel

Zoning Map Amendment: Rezone 2.00 acre portion of 11.451 parcel from LI - Light Industrial to RA - Rural Areas zoning

Special Use Permit:  To allow for the construction of a church building and parking area.

TMP: TM 31 Parcel 27A 

Location: The east side of Earlysville Road between Route 606 (Dickerson Road) and the Walnut Hills Subdivision

Existing Zoning and By-right use: LI - Light Industrial zoning district which allows industrial, office, and limited commercial (no residential) uses

Magisterial District: White Hall

Conditions: Yes

Proposal:  Rezone 2.00 acre portion of 11.451 acre parcel from LI - Light Industrial zoning district to RA - Rural Areas zoning district and allow new church under Special Use Permit; Construct a new church building

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: This parcel is characterized by mixed deciduous woodland with some evergreen trees. 

Use of Surrounding Properties: The parcel is on the edge of the Development Areas and is adjacent to the airport, Rural Areas and Light Industrial zoning.            

Factors Favorable:

1.    Clarified boundary between the RA and DA, with less intensive use adjacent to residential property and isolates the remaining Light Industrial zoning to properties adjacent to the Charlottesville / Albemarle Airport.

2.    Establishes zoning on the 2.00 acre parcel that is in conformance with the Comprehensive Plan.

3.    Reduced levels of demand on local utilities and roads.

4.  This small scale church is a less intense use than most other by-right uses under Rural Areas zoning, lessening impact on local water quality and local character.

5.   Allows the congregation of Pleasant Grove Baptist to continue its relationship to the surrounding community and maintain its physical presence within the neighborhood, directly supporting the conservation of historic and cultural resources in this part of the County. 

6.  A church on this parcel would provide a community meeting place, at a rural scale, and opportunities for residents to take part in local community life. 

Factors Unfavorable:

1.  Reduction of overall area of Light Industrial zoning available in the County.

 

RECOMMENDATION: Staff recommends approval with conditions.

 

STAFF PERSON: Amy Ransom Arnold                

PLANNING COMMISSION: October 10, 2006                                       

BOARD OF SUPERVISORS: November 1, 2006

 

ZMA 2006-10 and SP 2006-24 Albemarle Airport Authority – Pleasant Grove Baptist Church

 

Petition: 

PROJECT: ZMA 2006-10 Charlottesville-Albemarle Airport Authority-Pleasant Grove Baptist Church

PROPOSAL:  Rezone 2.00 acre portion of 11.451 parcel from LI - Light Industrial zoning district which allows industrial, office, and limited commercial (no residential) uses to RA - Rural Areas zoning district which allows agricultural, forestal, and fishery uses and residential density of 0.5 units per acre to allow new church under Special Use Permit.

PROFFERS:  Yes____No__x__

EXISTING COMPREHENSIVE PLAN LAND USE/DENSITY:  Rural Areas – preserve and protect agricultural, forestal, open space, and natural, historic and scenic resources/ density (.5 unit/ acre)

ENTRANCE CORRIDOR: Yes____No__x__

LOCATION: Earlysville Road between Route 606 (Dickerson Road), Walnut Hills Subdivision

TAX MAP/PARCEL: Tax Map 31, parcel 27A (2.00 acre portion)

MAGISTERIAL DISTRICT: White Hall

 

PROJECT: SP2006-24 Charlottesville-Albemarle Airport Authority-Pleasant Grove Baptist Church

PROPOSED: New church building

ZONING CATEGORY/GENERAL USAGE: LI - Light Industrial - industrial, office, and limited commercial uses (no residential use); Airport Impact Area

SECTION: 10.2.2 (35)

COMPREHENSIVE PLAN LAND USE/DENSITY:  Rural Areas – preserve and protect agricultural, forestal, open space, and natural, historic and scenic resources/ density (.5 unit/ acre)

ENTRANCE CORRIDOR: Yes____No__x__

LOCATION: Earlysville Road between Route 606 (Dickerson Road), Walnut Hills Subdivision

TAX MAP/PARCEL: Tax Map 31, parcel 27A (2.00 acre portion)

MAGISTERIAL DISTRICT: White Hall

 

Character of the Area:

Pleasant Grove Baptist Church congregation and building is an integral part of the historic African-American communities of Hydralic, Rivanna, and Proffit that have historically characterized this area.  The construction of the Charlottesville/Albemarle Airport in the 1950’s, located adjacent and to the east of the proposed church site, changing the existing communities.  This is now an area of contrasting new development, established residential neighborhoods, and remnants of local cultural history.  The area includes the boundary between the Development Areas of Route 29 North and the adjacent Rural Areas to the west.  The parcels along this section of Earlysville Road include light industrial uses and heavy woodland.  The intersection of Rio Mills and Earlysville Road, near the location of the historic Pleasant Grove Church building, includes one of the largest White Oak (Quercus alba) trees in the state of Virginia.      

 

Specifics of the Proposal:

With the construction of the Charlottesville / Albemarle Airport and subsequent enactment of Airport Design and Safety Standards through the Federal Aviation Act of 1958, the surrounding area to the south of the airport, including Pleasant Grove Baptist Church, was declared part of a Runway Protection Zone intended to protect local people and property.  The airport protection zone is by law to be devoid of any human habitation or structures.  The Airport Authority has worked closely with the congregation of Pleasant Grove Baptist Church for several years to find a site suitable for a new church building that would allow the congregation to remain within the near-by community.  The applicant is proposing to:

 

·   Rezone a 2.00 acre portion of 11.451 acre parcel (31-27A) from existing Light Industrial designation which allows industrial, office, and limited commercial uses to Rural Areas zoning which allows agricultural, forestal, and fishery uses (churches with a Special Use Permit). (Attachment A1)  The remaining 9.451 acres remains Light Industrial and is included in the Airport Master Plan, with a facility access road planned through the parcel residue. (Attachment F)  The proposed two acre parcel falls within the Rural Areas (Rural Areas 1 comp plan use) with the remaining 9.451 acre residue located within the Development Areas (Institutional comp plan use).   

·   By Special Use Permit construct a new church building (36' x 80'; 2,880 square feet; 200 maximum fixed seats), entrance drive, and parking area (Attachment A2) within the re-zoned 2.00 acre portion of 31-27A.  The congregation is currently comprised of approximately 35 active members. The church would be used for worship services, group meetings, choir practice, luncheons and dinners, funerals, weddings, and other expected uses associated with a church. 

     

Planning and Zoning History:

Parcel 31-27A was rezoned from Agricultural to Light Industrial in 1980.  The Charlottesville / Albemarle Airport Authority purchased the parcel from Teledyne Industries in May of 1999. 

 

The historic Pleasant Grove Baptist Church building is located approximately 2 miles to the immediate south of this site on TMP 31-45 (Attachment C), also on Earlysville Road.  Constructed in 1875 the church served the community as a gathering place and place of worship for over 130 years. 

 

Applicant’s Justification for the Request:

The Charlottesville / Albemarle Airport Authority has indicated that the proposed rezoning will enable the relocation of the congregation of Pleasant Grove Baptist Church to property that is outside the boundaries of the runway protection zone in conformance with Federal regulations.  The existing Light Industrial zoning does not allow for churches as a land use.  The applicant believes the relocation will protect the safety of the public and the aircraft utilizing the airport and most importantly protect the safety of the congregation of Pleasant Grove Baptist Church. 

         

By-right Use of the Property:

The property is currently zoned Light Industrial which allows industrial, office, and limited commercial use.

 

Conformity with the Comprehensive Plan:

The Comprehensive Plan designates the proposed 2.00 acre church site as Rural Areas emphasizing the preservation and protection of agricultural, forestal, open space, and natural, historic and scenic resources as land use options.  Re-zoning of this 2.00 acre portion of 31-27A to Rural Areas is consistent with the Comprehensive Plan.  Churches are allowed in Rural Area Districts by Special Use Permit.    

  

Under the Rural Areas Section of the Comprehensive Plan the Charlottesville / Albemarle Airport Authority; Pleasant Grove Baptist Church proposal supports the following Guiding Principles for the Rural Areas:

 

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

 

The construction of a new church building near the historic home of the congregation will allow Pleasant Grove Baptist Church to continue to support local community life at a rural scale, as it has since 1875.    Part of the County’s vision for the RA districts includes the support of agricultural and forestal communities through community meeting places, at rural scales, that provide the opportunity to take part in community life. 

 

 “Protect the Rural Areas’ historic, archeological, and cultural resources.”

           

Allowing the congregation of Pleasant Grove Baptist to continue its relationship to the surrounding community and maintain its physical presence within the neighborhood directly supports the conservation of local historic and cultural resources.  Pleasant Grove Baptist Church has been active on the site for over 130 years and has served as a focus for the local community for much of that time. 

 

 “Protect the quality and supply of surface water and groundwater resources.”

 

      “Protect Albemarle County’s forest as a resource base for its forestry industries and watershed protection.”

 

Staff has recommended in the Special Use Permit analysis of this report means to reduce the amount of woodland removed from the site.  The woodland on this parcel contributes to maintaining the quality of drinking water within the Chris Green Lake watershed. 

 

ZMA 2006-10 Charlottesville / Albemarle Airport Authority; Pleasant Grove Baptist Church

 

STAFF COMMENT:

 

Relationship between the application and the purpose and intent of the requested zoning district:

It is intended that Rural Areas Districts preserve and protect agricultural, forestal, open space, and natural, historic and scenic resources.  With the proposed re-zoning, the two acre RA parcel is potentially open to all by-right uses permitted in the Rural Areas and with approval, all uses permitted in the Rural Areas by Special Use Permit. With the remaining 9.451 acres zoned Light Industrial, the proposal would reduce the total amount of Light Industrial land available in the County.

 

Uses permitted in the Rural Areas by-right or by Special Use Permit will result in less intense activity on this site than Light Industrial uses.  Converting this 2.00 acre parcel to Rural Areas zoning establishes a Rural Area boundary continuously along the adjacent to the Walnut Hills subdivision.  This continuous Rural Areas condition clarifies the boundary between the Rural Areas and the Development Areas, provides a less intensive use adjacent to residential property than Light Industrial zoning, and isolates the remaining Light Industrial to properties adjacent to the Charlottesville / Albemarle Airport. (Attachment A1)          

 

Public need and justification for the change:

The proposed rezoning establishes a less intensive land use adjacent to residential property, reduces demand on local infrastructure, and lessens the long term impact on the existing woodland than the existing Light Industrial designation.    

 

Anticipated impact on public facilities and services:

Should the rezoning be approved, the property would be zoned Rural Areas, which receive no public water or sewer service.  Rural Areas by-right and Special Use Permit uses will likely result in less intensive use of local roads than Light Industrial uses.  Due to these factors, it is the opinion of staff that the impact of this rezoning on public facilities and services would be minimal and likely reduced from the demands of the current zoning.

 

 

Anticipated impact on natural, cultural, and historic resources:

The proposed church property is currently covered with woodland that is part of a larger wooded patch extending across near-by parcels to the north and south.  Short of clearing the site for agricultural purposes, Rural Areas uses will likely have less impact on the existing woodland than a Light Industrial use, contributing to the stability of the local watershed and helping to maintain the wooded character of this part of Earlysville Road.  

 

SUMMARY:

Staff has identified the following factor favorable to the rezoning request:

1.    Clarified boundary between the RA and DA, provides a less intensive use adjacent to residential property

than Light Industrial zoning, and isolates the remaining Light Industrial to properties adjacent to the Charlottesville / Albemarle Airport.

2.    Establishes zoning on the 2.00 acre parcel that is in conformance with the Comprehensive Plan.  

3.    Reduced levels of demand on transportation infrastructure; no additional demand on local water and sewer services.

 

Staff has identified the following factors unfavorable to the rezoning request:

1.    Reduction of overall area of Light Industrial zoning available in the County.

 

RECOMMENDED ACTION: 

Based on the findings contained in this staff report, staff recommends approval of Zoning Map Amendment 2006-10.

 

SP 2006-24 Charlottesville / Albemarle Airport Authority; Pleasant Grove Baptist Church

 

STAFF COMMENT:

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,

In Rural Areas zoning districts, setbacks for the property are required to be 75 feet front, 25 feet sides, and 35 feet rear. 

 

In the Rural Areas, a 20 foot buffer (no disturbance zone) is required to be maintained continuously along the boundaries between commercial and Rural Areas uses. Staff has recommended that a 20 foot buffer (no disturbance zone) be required to be maintained continuous along the boundary between the church property and TMP 31-23J to the north. (Attachment D) (Condition 3)

 

Walnut Hills subdivision is located to the east of this parcel and currently benefits from the presence of the woodland on the proposed church parcel.  The existing woodland eliminates any view of Earlysville Road from inside Walnut Hills.  Staff has been contacted by the citizens of Walnut Hills, expressing concern about the impacts on neighboring parcels due to the potential loss of this woodland cover. The citizens of Walnut Hills have requested a wooded buffer along the full length of the eastern edge of the proposed church site remain undisturbed. 

 

Because of adjacent Walnut Hills subdivision and due to the density and age of this existing woodland, staff recommends a 50 foot zone of no site disturbance the full length of the eastern boundary of the proposed church property. (Attachment D) (Condition 4)  It is the opinion of staff that a 50 foot buffer will provide the total depth needed for an uninterrupted stand of trees.  In addition, the impact of the proposed size of the church building, parking area, and septic field leave adequate area for a larger stand of trees to remain. 

 

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

This proposed Special Use Permit will allow the congregation of Pleasant Grove Baptist Church to remain in the community it has served since 1875.  The presence of this historic congregation in this neighborhood reinforces the continuing presence of the ancestry of the historic communities of Rivanna, Proffit, and Hydralic.  The Airport Authority and church congregation have indicated the willingness to assist individuals or organizations interested in initiating the preservation of the existing church building.

 

This district is characterized by contrasts of new development, established residential neighborhoods, remnants of local cultural history, and the strong presence of the Charlottesville / Albemarle Airport.  This parcel, and the parcels adjacent to the north and south are characterized by mixed deciduous woodland (tulip poplar, hickory, maples, oaks etc.) with some evergreen trees included (white pine primarily), from whips to 20-30 years in age.  Density seems to range between close spacing, 2-3 feet, to roughly 10 feet apart.  The trees appear to dominate; the only dense underbrush seems to be along the edges.  This continuous woodland located near the eastern edge of Earlysville Road provides a powerful sense of enclosure for traffic passing by. In addition to the edge the woodland creates on the eastern side of Earlysville Road, the woodland on this parcel contributes to maintaining the quality of drinking water within the Chris Green Lake watershed.  Because of its contribution to local water quality, staff recommends that impacts to the existing woodland be minimized. 

 

Because of issues of local water quality, staff recommends a 50 foot zone of no site disturbance the full length of the eastern boundary of the proposed church property. (Attachment D) (Condition 4)        

 

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)”

 

Pleasant Grove Baptist Church has been active on the site for over 130 years and has served as a focus for the local community for much of that time.  Allowing the congregation of Pleasant Grove Baptist to continue its relationship to the surrounding community and maintain its physical presence within the neighborhood directly supports the conservation of historic and cultural resources in this part of the County. 

     

with uses permitted by right in the district,

The property and the adjacent properties to the north and west are zoned RA, Rural Areas.  The uses permitted by right under RA Zoning directly support agriculture, forestry, and the conservation of rural land.  Part of the County’s vision for the RA districts includes the support of agricultural and forestal communities through community meeting places, at rural scales, that provide the opportunity to take part in community life.  The construction of a new church building near the historic home of the congregation will allow Pleasant Grove Baptist Church to continue to support local community life at a rural scale, as it has since 1875.   

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

There are no regulations in Section 5.0 of the Ordinance that apply to church buildings. 

 

and with the public health, safety and general welfare.

The Virginia Department of Transportation has indicated that the taper from Earlysville Road to the vehicular entrance to the property provided on the concept plan is adequate for the church and traffic generated.  A permit for a commercial entrance will have to be obtained from VDOT at the time of construction; at that time more detail may be necessary in terms of topography, the length of taper, and sight distance requirements.  The entrance will have to meet the standards as shown in Minimum Standards for Entrances to State Highways. 

 

The applicant has requested a waiver of Section 14-404 which includes the following:

 

“14-404 Lot location to allow access from lot onto street or shared driveway.

Each lot within a subdivision shall be located as follows:

 

b. If the subdivision is within the rural areas, all subsequent divisions of the residue shall enter only onto such street(s) shown on the approved final plat and shall have no immediate access onto to any public street.

 

c. The requirements of this section may be waived by the commission as provided in section

14-225.1. In reviewing a waiver request, the commission shall determine whether: (i) the county engineer

recommends an alternative standard; or (ii) because of unusual size, topography, shape of the property,

location of the property or other unusual conditions, excluding the proprietary interests of the subdivider, strict application of the applicable requirements would result in significant degradation of the property or to the land adjacent thereto. In approving a waiver, the commission shall find that requiring the standard would not forward the purposes of this chapter or otherwise serve the public interest; and granting the waiver would not be detrimental to the public health, safety or welfare, to the orderly development of the area, to sound engineering practices, and to the land adjacent thereto. In reviewing a waiver request, the commission may allow a substitute design of comparable quality, but differing from that required, if it finds that the subdivider would achieve results which substantially satisfy the overall purposes of this chapter in a manner equal to or exceeding the desired effects of the requirement.”

 

Section 14-404 would require the church parcel and the parcel zoned light industrial adjacent to the south share the same entrance drive and road.  The applicant has requested waiver of this section to allow for a vehicular entrance from Earlysville Road serving the church parcel only.  The applicant has indicated that the airport use of this Light Industrial parcel will likely involve heavier truck and maintenance vehicle traffic moving to and from the site.  It is the opinion of staff that a shared driveway between uses this contrasting is inappropriate and suggests that this section was likely established with residential or other like uses sharing the entrance in mind.  Staff supports the applicant’s request to waiver Section 14-404.

 

The County Engineer provided the following comments regarding the proposed waiver of Section 14-404:

 

“Based on our conversation, a waiver of Code 14-404 will be necessary for the proposed relocated church parcel to have direct ingress/egress from Earlysville Road (Rte. 743) in lieu of accessing an internal subdivision street.  I have reviewed the available information and approval of this waiver is recommended.

 

Phase III (2013 – 2022) of the Charlottesville-Albemarle Airport master plan provides for a permanent west side access road constructed near the southeastern property line of TMP 31-27A.  I expect that this access road would be required to either align with the existing entrance to TMP 32-23 (Sunny Boy Gardens) or to be combined with the northern entrance for TMP 32-66 (Teledyne) as shown on the attached map. (Attachment F) 

 

If the first scenario was required, the Sunny Boy Garden-Airport access roads and the church entrance would be separated by at least 300 feet.  This would provide adequate separation of the access points.  However, it is more reasonable that a combined Airport and Teledyne access would be required since these uses are more similar and compatible.”

  

The County Engineer made several additional recommendations during the course of review including lengthening the entrance taper, improving internal circulation on the site, showing conceptual grading and storm water management facilities.  The applicant has amended the concept plan, responding to each of these requests.  The County Engineer has also noted this site is not located within the development area or jurisdictional area for water or sewer, it will need to be served by a well and septic field.  Based on the population it will serve, the well will be classified as a non-community well and will need to meet the Health Department design criteria and separation requirements. (Attachment C)  A soil evaluation done by an AOSE is required to determine that there is adequate space on site for drain fields.  The Health Department will require documentation of this analysis.  Health Department approval of the septic systems will be required.

 

The Fire Department has no objection to this proposal, but has requested the location of the nearest hydrant be identified on the concept plan and that the verification of adequate fire flow be coordinated with their department during the building permit process.  The applicant has included the location of the nearest hydrant on the concept plan. (note 5.)  A condition of approval is recommended for the applicant to coordinate with the Fire Department during the building permit process.

 

SUMMARY:

Staff has identified the following factors favorable to this application:

1.        This small scale church is a less intense use than most other by-right uses under Rural Areas zoning, lessening impact on local water quality and local character.

2.        Allows the congregation of Pleasant Grove Baptist to continue its relationship to the surrounding community and maintain its physical presence within the neighborhood, directly supporting the conservation of historic and cultural resources in this part of the County. 

3.        A church on this parcel would provide a community meeting place, at a rural scale, and an opportunities for residents to take part in local community life. 

 

Staff has not identified factors unfavorable to this application.

 

Waiver Request:

Section 14-404 would require the church parcel and the parcel zoned light industrial adjacent to the south share the same entrance drive and road.  The applicant has requested waiver of this section to allow for a vehicular entrance from Earlysville Road serving the church parcel only.  Staff supports the applicant’s request.

 

The Zoning Ordinance allows 24 months for both construction and start of the use of a Special Use Permit (18-31.2.4.4.).  The applicant has requested the time allowed for construction and start of the use of this Special Use Permit, should it be approved, be increased to five (5) years.  Staff supports the applicant’s request.

 

RECOMMENDED ACTION: 

Based on the findings contained in this staff report, staff recommends approval of Special Use Permit 2006-24 Pleasant Grove Baptist Church with the following conditions:

 

1.       Special Use Permit 2006-24 shall be developed in general accord with the following: “Proposed 2.000 acre division off of Tax Map 31, Parcel 27A” prepared by Kirk Hughes and Associates and Concept plan dated June 23, 2006, prepared by Kirk Hughes and Associates, and titled “Pleasant Grove Baptist Church” (Attachments A1 and A2) 

2.       A site development plan shall be required.

3.       Setbacks for the church property shall be 75 feet front, 25 feet sides, and 35 feet rear. 

4.       A 20 foot buffer (no disturbance zone) shall be maintained continuous along the boundary between the church property and TMP 31-23J to the north.

5.       A 50 foot buffer (no disturbance zone) shall be established the full length of the easternmost property boundary of the church parcel; a tree protection plan shall be required as part of site plan approval.      

6.       Sanctuary and classroom expansion, or the addition of day care and other non-worship uses, will require amendment to this petition.

7.       Section 14-404 shall be waived to allow for a separate vehicular entrance from Earlysville Road serving the church parcel only.  

8.       VDOT approval of vehicular entrance shall be required. 

9.       Virginia State Health Department approval of well and septic systems shall be required

10.   The applicant is required to coordinate verification of adequate fire flow with the Fire Department during the building permit process.

11.   Five years shall be allowed from the date of approval of this Special Use Permit to the commencement of the use.  

 

ATTACHMENTS

Attachment A1 – “Proposed 2.000 acre division off of Tax Map 31, Parcel 27A” prepared by Kirk Hughes and Associates

Attachment A2 - Concept plan dated June 23, 2006, prepared by Kirk Hughes and Associates, and titled “Pleasant Grove Baptist Church”

Attachment B – Site Photographs

Attachment C – Church Context Aerial

Attachment D - ACSA JA Map of the Church Parcel

Attachment E – 20 and 50 foot buffers

Attachment F – Church and Airport facilities access

Attachment G – Applications: ZMA 2006-10 and SP 2006-24

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