COUNTY OF ALBEMARLE

PLANNING STAFF REPORT SUMMARY

Project Name:  SP 2006-34 North Pointe Stream Crossing at Northwest Passage

Staff:  Tamara Jo Ambler

Planning Commission Public Hearing: 

January 9, 2007

Board of Supervisors Public Hearing:

February 14, 2007

Owners:  Virginia Land Trust - Charles WM Hurt & Shirley L. Fisher Trustees

Applicant: North Pointe Charlottesville, LLC

Acreage: 20.1 acres

Special Use Permit for:  Request for fill in the floodplain for road crossing in accordance with Section 30.3.05.2.1(2) of the Zoning ordinance

TMP:   32-22K

Location:   East side of Route 29 North (Seminole Trail) across from Lewis and Clark Drive.

Conditions:  Yes

Existing Zoning and By-right use:  PD-MC Planned Development – Mixed Commercial – large scale commercial uses with residential use by special use permit (15 units/acre); FH Flood Hazard Overlay District – agricultural, recreational, and utility location uses which will not pose a danger to life or property in the event of a flood; EC Entrance Corridor Overlay District – overlay to protect properties of historic, architectural or cultural significance from visual impacts of development along routes of tourist access; all uses permitted by right in the underlying districts

Magisterial District:  Rivanna

Requested # of Dwelling Units:  N/A

 

DA (Development Area): X

RA (Rural Area):   

Proposal: The applicant proposes to modify an existing stream crossing by replacing an existing 60” corrugated metal pipe with a box culvert to serve the proposed Northwest Passage entrance for the proposed North Pointe Community (ZMA 2000-009).

Comprehensive Plan Designation:  Neighborhood Density Residential – residential (3-6 units/acre) and supporting uses such as religious institutions and schools and other small-scale non-residential uses.

Character of Property:  The immediate vicinity of the project area is currently wooded and undeveloped.

Use of Surrounding Properties:  The property is located across Route 29 from the University of Virginia North Fork Research Park and is one of 18 parcels associated with the proposed North Pointe Community (ZMA 2000-009). 

Factors Favorable: 

1.    No impact to neighboring properties is expected as a result of this special use permit

2.   No increase in flood levels will result from the modification of the existing crossing.

3.   The new crossing may result in a reduction of the 100-year flood elevation

Factors Unfavorable: 

Staff has not identified any factors which are unfavorable to this request.

RECOMMENDATION: Staff recommends approval with conditions.


 

PETITION:

PROJECT: SP 2006-34 North Pointe Stream Crossing at Northwest Passage

PROPOSED:  Request to modify an existing stream crossing by replacing an existing 60” corrugated metal pipe with a concrete box culvert to serve the proposed Northwest Passage entrance for the proposed North Pointe Community (ZMA 2000-009).

ZONING CATEGORY/GENERAL USAGE: PD-MC Planned Development – Mixed Commercial – large scale commercial uses with residential use by special use permit (15 units/acre) - a special use permit does exist for residential use (SP 2002-072); FH Flood Hazard Overlay District – agricultural, recreational, and utility location uses which will not pose a danger to life or property in the event of a flood; EC Entrance Corridor Overlay District – overlay to protect properties of historic, architectural or cultural significance from visual impacts of development along routes of tourist access; all uses permitted by right in the underlying districts

SECTION: Section 30.3.05.2.1(2) of the Zoning ordinance

COMPREHENSIVE PLAN LAND USE/DENSITY:  Neighborhood Density Residential - residential (3-6 units/acre) and supporting uses such as religious institutions and schools and other small-scale non-residential uses.

ENTRANCE CORRIDOR: Yes_X_No____   Location:   East side of Route 29 North (Seminole Trail) across from Lewis and Clark Drive.

TAX MAP/PARCEL:   32-22K

MAGISTERIAL DISTRICT:  Rivanna

 

CHARACTER OF THE AREA:  The parcel is located on the east side of Route 29, and is across from the University of Virginia North Fork Research Park, which is served by Lewis and Clark Drive.  Route 29 has been identified as an Entrance Corridor by the County Zoning Ordinance.  The North Fork of the Rivanna River and several parcels associated with the proposed North Pointe Community are to the east and south.  The area to the north contains a mixture of low density residential, commercial, and undeveloped properties.   

 

SPECIFICS OF THE PROPOSAL:  A special use permit is being requested for fill in the floodplain to modify an existing stream crossing of Flat Branch.  The modified stream crossing will serve the proposed Northwest Passage entrance to the North Pointe Community from Route 29. The existing crossing utilizes a 60-inch corrugated metal pipe with earthen fill over the pipe and adjacent to Route 29 to provide a roadbed connection from Route 29.  This existing crossing serves only as access to the property from Route 29, and is not associated with any improvements to the property.  No file information for this original crossing is available, and it is assumed that the crossing served as farm or forestry access.  Photographs of the existing crossing are attached, and show that the upstream side of this existing culvert is currently blocked, hindering natural stream flow and exacerbating flood conditions.  The new crossing will utilize a concrete box culvert with earthen fill over the box culvert and adjacent to Route 29 to provide a larger roadbed connection to Route 29 and to accommodate improvements to Route 29 associated with the construction of the Northwest Passage.

 

The 2005 FEMA Flood Study and Maps included this stream in the “detailed study” and the Base Flood Elevations were determined.  According to this study the 100-year flood elevation at the downstream side of the existing stream crossing is base flood elevation 385.5.  The 100-year flood elevation on the upstream side of the existing Flat Branch stream crossing rises to the base flood elevation 399.7, very likely due to the capacity constraints of the existing 60-inch culvert, and floodwaters appear to impact Route 29 Northbound.  The applicant states that the replacement of the existing culvert with a 8-foot by 6-foot box culvert will reduce the elevation of the 100-year floodplain on the upstream side of the crossing to elevation 392, thereby reducing or eliminating the apparent existing impacts to Route 29 Northbound.

 

The length of the new box culvert and subsequent design and treatment of the fill slopes for Northwest Passage have not yet been finalized because approval of the lane configurations for Northwest Passage and related improvements to Route 29 have not been granted by VDOT and water quality permits have not yet been authorized by Federal and State water quality permitting agencies for impacts to Flat Branch.  If final lane configuration design for this stream crossing involves improvements to Route 29 Northbound then a longer box culvert and additional fill may be required to accommodate those improvements.  Because the design has not yet been finalized it is the intent of this special use permit request to authorize the necessary fill in the floodplain associated with the overall final lane configuration for the construction of the Northwest Passage crossing over Flat Branch and the associated improvements to Route 29 Northbound.  The authorization will prevent the applicant from the need to revise the special use permit as a result of minor design changes.

 

Regarding the design and treatment of the fill slopes associated with the modified stream crossing, if a longer culvert is utilized then the roadway cross section for Northwest Passage will consist of the typical vegetated 2:1 fill slopes.  If a shorter culvert is utilized, then stone retaining walls will be incorporated into the 2:1 fill slopes to shorten the slope length and provide for the necessary roadway section. The slopes and the retaining walls would be visible from the Entrance Corridor.

 

The modified crossing will be located within the vegetative stream buffer for Flat Branch required by Section 17-317 of the Water Protection Ordinance.  This buffer area has been previously impacted by the installation of the existing crossing.  The applicant has proposed to mitigate these impacts as required under Section of 17-322 of the Water Protection Ordinance through restoration and permanent preservation of riparian areas along Flat Branch as part of an overall stream impact mitigation plan currently being developed for the cumulative impacts associated with the entire North Pointe Community project.

 

 

PLANNING AND ZONING HISTORY:

In 1997 the Planning Commission and the Board of Supervisors approved SP 1997-046 (see Attachment C) for fill in the floodplain for Virginia Land Trust to expand this existing crossing of Flat Branch to provide access to a proposed Korean Community Church on an adjacent parcel, which was also authorized by special use permit (SP 1997-003).  The permit was valid for five (5) years and construction did not commence within that timeframe.  In 2002 the Planning Commission and the Board of Supervisors approved 2002-047 (see Attachment D) to extend the original special use permit for fill in the floodplain for another five (5) years.  The original permit for the Korean Community Church was also approved in 2002 for another five (5) year period (SP 2002-035).  To this date no activity or construction has commenced under the approved extensions.

 

On August 2, 2006 the Board of Supervisors approved a rezoning request for the proposed North Pointe Community.  The concept plan associated with this rezoning illustrates this crossing of Flat Branch to serve as the northernmost of three proposed entrances from Route 29 to the proposed North Pointe development (see Attachment B).  

 

Although SP 2002-047 has not yet expired, the scope of work authorized under that permit would not be sufficient to accommodate the proposed entrance to the North Pointe Community.  As stated above, it is the intent of this new special use permit to authorize the necessary fill in the floodplain associated with the overall final lane configuration for the construction of the Northwest Passage crossing over Flat Branch and the associated improvements to Route 29 Northbound.  The authorization will prevent the applicant from the need to revise the special use permit as a result of minor design changes.

 

Conformity with the Comprehensive Plan: 

The Open Space and Critical Resources Plan, a component of the Comprehensive Plan, identifies this area of the proposed stream crossing modification as a “major and locally important stream valley” due to the presence of critical slopes and 100-year floodplain for Flat Branch.  The concept plan associated with the approved North Pointe Community rezoning illustrates the stream valley areas around the proposed crossing as “conservation areas with utilities” and calls for these areas to remain undisturbed and protected from development beyond the construction of streets, pedestrian paths, stormwater management facilities and utilities. 

 

The Stormwater Master Plan, also a component of the Comprehensive Plan, identifies this portion of Flat Branch as “community and private use/trails”, which means that the primary objective of these stream corridors is to provide access to natural refuge and trails in proximity to developed areas. 

 

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,

The County Engineer and engineering staff have reviewed the applicant’s proposal, and concur with the applicant’s conclusion that the replacement of the existing 60-inch culvert with an 8-foot by 6-foot box culvert and the placement of fill for this stream crossing and road improvements will not result in an increase in the 100-year flood elevation and will not detrimentally affect adjacent properties, and that this new crossing may result in a reduction of the 100-year flood elevation. 

 

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

The Architectural Review Board conducted a full review of the proposal, and because length of the culvert and subsequent treatment of the fill slopes for Northwest Passage have not been finalized, the ARB requests review of the road plans.  If a longer culvert is utilized then the roadway cross section for Northwest Passage will consist of the typical vegetated 2:1 fill slopes.  If a shorter culvert is utilized, then stone retaining walls will be incorporated into the 2:1 fill slopes to shorten the slope length and provide for the necessary roadway section. The slopes and the retaining walls would be visible from the Entrance Corridor.  The ARB has requested to review the treatment of the fill slopes and the design of the retaining walls that might be used.  The ARB has also recommended conditions regarding the streetscape planting associated with the stream crossing.  Conditions for approval relating to the ARB’s further review of the design are listed as items 6 through 10 below, and are listed in the attached excerpt from the ARB action memo dated December 18, 2006.

 

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

The intent of the Planned Development – Mixed Commercial zoning is to permit development of large-scale commercial areas with a broad range of commercial uses under a unified planned approach.  The Flood Hazard zoning has the purpose and intent of restricting development in the floodplain which may result in danger to life and property, public costs for flood control measures, public costs for rescue and relief efforts, soil erosion and sedimentation, pollution of water resources, and general degradation of the natural and man-made environment.  The purpose and intent of the Entrance Corridor Zoning is to protect properties of historic, architectural, or cultural significance from visual impacts of development along routes of tourist access.

 

The modification of the existing crossing of Flat Branch to improve the passage of normal streamflow and floodwaters is in harmony with the Flood Hazard overlay zoning.  The final design of the retaining wall, slope treatment, and streetscape planting for the crossing will be reviewed by the ARB to ensure that the treatment is appropriate for the Entrance Corridor overlay zoning.

  

with uses permitted by right in the district,

The modification of an existing stream crossing to provide access to a planned development would appear to be in harmony with the other uses permitted by right in the district.

 

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

There are no supplementary regulations relating to the placement of fill in the floodplain for a stream crossing in Section 5.0 of the Zoning Ordinance. 

 

and with the public health, safety and general welfare.

The modification of the existing stream crossing to provide a larger culvert will not raise the 100-year flood elevation and will not detrimentally affect adjacent properties.  The modification may result in a decrease in the 100-year flood elevation.

 

SUMMARY:

Staff has identified the following factors which are favorable to this request:

 

1.  No impact to neighboring properties is expected as a result of this special use permit

2.  No increase in flood levels will result from the modification of the existing crossing.

3.  The new crossing may result in a reduction of the 100-year flood elevation

 

Staff has not identified any factors which are unfavorable to this request.

 

 

RECOMMENDED ACTION:

Staff recommends approval of the request with the following conditions:

 

1.   County and VDOT approval of the final lane configuration for the Northwest Passage over the stream crossing with the final road plans

2.   County and VDOT approval of final design plans and hydrologic/hydraulic computations for the stream crossing.

3.   The applicant must obtain a map revision, letter of revision, or letter of amendment as required from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and copy the County Engineer on all correspondence.

4.   County approval of a grading and an erosion and sediment control plan prior to the issuance of a grading permit for modification of the existing stream crossing.

5.   Natural Resources Manager approval of a stream buffer mitigation plan prior to the issuance of a grading permit for modification of the existing stream crossing

6.      Provide an informal planting of mixed tree and shrub species and sizes to compensate for removed vegetation, and low-growing plants to stabilize slopes in the “proposed landscaping areas” shown on the plan submitted for  ARB review entitled “Proposed Entry Layout with Landscaping North West Passage Intersection @ Route 29 North” with revision date of 12-04-06.

7.      Provide large shade trees on the north and south sides of Northwest Passage, along the sidewalk and space reserved for the sidewalk, 2½” caliper minimum at planting, 40’ on center, for a minimum distance of 400’ from the existing edge of pavement of Route 29 North.   

8.      Provide trees in the median of Northwest Passage, beginning at the point closest to Route 29 North that can be approved by VDOT and extending for a minimum distance of 400’ from the existing edge of pavement of Route 29 North. The planting shall take the form of a continuous informal mix of large, medium and small deciduous trees ranging from 1½” to 2½” caliper and evergreen trees ranging from 4’–6’ in height.

9.      All of the above-noted landscaping shall be shown on the road plans submitted for Northwest Passage. The plans shall include a complete planting schedule keyed to the plan. The plans are subject to review of the ARB.   

10.  Design details of the retaining walls, including column cap design, pier design, stone finish, other materials, etc., culvert color, plant size and planting configuration shall be shown on the road plans and are subject to ARB approval as part of the review and approval of the road plans.

 

 

ATTACHMENTS:

Attachment A - Location Map

Attachment B – Proposal from applicant

Attachment C – Board of Supervisors Action Letter for SP-1997-046

Attachment D – Board of Supervisors Action Letter for SP-2002-047

Attachment E - Photographs of Existing Stream Crossing

Attachment F – Excerpt from Architectural Review Board Action Memo for ARB-2006-129 and proposed entry layout with landscaping concept submitted to the ARB

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