Project Name:  SDP 06-081 Black Cat Service Station Preliminary Site Plan

Staff:  David Pennock, Allan Shuck

Planning Commission Public Hearing: 

January 23, 2007

(Deferred from October 3, 2006)

Board of Supervisors Hearing:

Not applicable

Owners:  Virginia Oil Company, Inc.

Applicant: Frayser White, III

Acreage: approx. 13.64

(2.08 ac. C -1, 11.56 ac. RA)

Rezone from: Not applicable

Special Use Permit for: Not applicable

TMP:  Tax Map 94, Parcels 38 and 39          

Location: southwestern corner of the I-64, Black Cat Road (Route# 616) interchange

By-right use: split-zoned RA (Rural Areas), C-1 (Commercial), with EC (Entrance Corridor) overlay

Magisterial District: Scottsville

Proffers/Conditions:  No previous conditions

Requested # of Dwelling Lots: n/a

DA –                            RA – X

Proposal: Applicant proposes to construct a convenience store with fuel pumps.  The current plan requires waivers for critical slopes disturbance and disturbance of the buffer between zoning classifications.

Comp. Plan Designation: The Comprehensive Plan designates this property as Rural Areas in Rural Area 2.

Character of Property:  This property is mostly wooded with varying terrain.  There is a cemetery on the south end of the site.

Use of Surrounding Properties: Adjacent to multiple residential properties and agricultural uses, as well as Interstate 64.

Factors Favorable:

Section 4.2.5 – disturbance of critical slopes

1.      Relatively small area of disturbance

2.      Applicant analysis indicates that slopes are man-made

Section 21.7.3 – buffer disturbance

1.      Applicant owns most of property on both sides of zoning boundary

2.      RA area is undeveloped

Factors Unfavorable:

Section 4.2.5 – disturbance of critical slopes

1.      Extensive grading in rural areas

2.      Visible site in Entrance Corridor

Section 21.7.3 – buffer disturbance

1.      Vegetated buffer doesn’t meet minimum requirements of Ordinance

Section – Site Plan approval

1.      Groundwater report not submitted

2.      Recommend Preliminary ARB review


Zoning Ordinance Waivers:

1. Waiver of Section 4.2.5 – disturbance of critical slopes (recommendation, denial)

2.                   Waiver of Section 21.7.3 – clearing of buffer between incompatible zoning classifications (recommendation, denial)

Other Actions (Zoning Ordinance):

3. Section – Approval of the preliminary site plan (recommendation, denial)


STAFF CONTACTS:                                                 David E. Pennock, AICP, Allan Shuck, EIT,

                                                                                Margaret Maliszewski                       


PLANNING COMMISSION:                                       January 23, 2007


SITE PLAN:                                                               SDP 06-081:  Black Cat Service Station


PROPERTY OWNER:                                                 Virginia Oil Company, Inc.

APPLICANT:                                                              Frayser White, III


Applicant's Proposal:

Request to construct a convenience store with fuel pumps (Attachment A).  The current plan requires waivers for critical slopes disturbance and disturbance of the buffer between zoning classifications.  The plan covers portions of two properties, described as Tax Map 94, Parcels 38 and 39, zoned C-1 (Commercial) and RA (Rural Areas) within the EC (Entrance Corridor).  The proposed building is approximately 6,500 s.f. within the 2.08 acres of commercially zoned property.  Extensive grading is proposed within the remainder of the properties, which are zoned RA, Rural Areas.  All properties are located in the Scottsville Magisterial District at the southwest corner of Black Cat Road (Route# 616) and Interstate 64 (Attachment B).



Currently, the site is mostly wooded.  Some portions have been timbered and cleared, predominantly in the Rural Areas zoned piece of the property.  There is a cemetery on the southern property line.  The applicant is not proposing any disturbance within the limits of the cemetery.

Adjacent parcels along Black Cat Road are heavily wooded.  Single-family homes are on several properties across Black Cat Road from this parcel. 



ZMA 122: Harriette Brown – 2.08 acres of property rezoned to B-1 Business in 1970.

1980 – Countywide Comprehensive rezoning – B-1 zoning changed to C-1, Commercial.

SUB 000-019: Elizabeth Anderson – This subdivision combined properties and created TMP 94-38.  Zoning of the properties was not changed.

ZMA 05-001: Dominion – This request was to rezone 13.66 acres of RA and C-1 property to L-1, Light Industry.  The case was withdrawn prior to completion of review.



The Comprehensive Plan designates this property as Rural Areas in Rural Area 2.  This property is located at an Interstate interchange.  According to the Land Use Plan for Interstate Interchange Development within the Comprehensive Plan, Route 616 (Black Cat Road) is not recommended for development (Attachment C).  However, the property has been commercially zoned since 1970. 



There are several reasons for Planning Commission review:

This application has been requested for review by staff on behalf of many adjacent property owners who verbally requested such a review during the Site Review Committee meeting.  The Planning Commission must review the preliminary site plan for approval in accordance with Section  In addition, two waivers are necessary for the approval of the proposal as submitted (Attachment D).  The applicant is requesting waivers in order to disturb critical slopes on the property, which requires approval by the Planning Commission in accordance with Section 4.2.5.  The grading activities would also impact the required undisturbed buffer between C-1 and RA zoning classifications.  Disturbance of this buffer requires approval by the Planning Commission in accordance with Section 21.7.3.



21.7.3 –Buffer zone adjacent to residential and rural areas districts: No construction activity including grading or clearing of vegetation shall occur closer than twenty (20) feet to any residential or rural areas district.  Screening shall be provided as required in section 32.7.9

Except, the commission may waive this requirement in a particular case where it has been demonstrated that grading or clearing is necessary or would result in an improved site design, provided that:

a.      Minimum screening requirement are met; and

b.      Existing landscaping in excess of minimum requirements is substantially restored;


Significant grading is proposed within nearly the entirety of the 20 foot buffer.  This grading constitutes more than 20 feet of fill in some places.  The Zoning Ordinance allows for a waiver, as specified above, only in cases where the minimum screening requirements are met or restored.  The screening required by Section can be a fence, wall, vegetation, or a combination.  In cases where vegetation alone is proposed, a double staggered row of evergreen trees 15 feet on center or double staggered row of evergreen shrubs 10 feet on center within a screening strip not less that 20 feet in depth is required.  There are several problems with the proposed plantings:

·     The applicant is proposing plantings within a 20 foot buffer easement in most places.  However, this buffer is entirely on the RA zoned land, rather than on the C-1, as required. 

·     Adjacent to the cemetery, the buffer is within the C-1 zoned property.  However, the depth of the planting strip in this area is reduced to approximately 15 feet, rather than the 20 feet required.  The plant separation is also reduced in this area to approximately 12 feet on center.  As mentioned above, staggering for evergreen trees must be 15 feet on center.

·     Within the buffer, Eastern Red Cedars (Juniperus Virginiana) are proposed, which are on the County’s list of approved screening trees.  However, when required for screening, the minimum standards in Section require that evergreen trees be at minimum 4 to 5 feet in height, rather than the 24 inches proposed by the applicant.


Typically, buffers of this type are along property lines.  However, despite the split zoning of the property, the specifications in the ordinance regarding separation of uses are the same.  In addition, strategies in the Comprehensive Plan relating to development in the rural areas include recommendations to minimize impact on agricultural and forestal resources in order to protect natural and scenic resources. Staff does not feel that the requirements for granting a waiver of this type have been demonstrated.  Staff recommends that the Planning Commission cannot grant this waiver at this time, as the minimum requirements of the Ordinance are not being met.




Critical Slopes Waiver:

Section of the Zoning Ordinance restricts earth-disturbing activity on critical slopes, while Section 4.2.5(b) allows the Planning Commission to waive this restriction.  The applicant has submitted a request and justification for the waiver (Attachment D), and staff has analyzed this request to address the provisions of the ordinance.


Critical slopes cover approximately 0.98 acres, or 0.79 percent, of the 12.46 acres included in this request.  This request is to disturb 100 percent of these critical slopes.  The applicant has stated with this submittal that the disturbed critical slopes are man made.  The justification and analysis are attached (Attachment I). 


Staff has reviewed this waiver request with consideration for the concerns that are set forth in Section 4.2 of the Zoning Ordinance, entitled “Critical Slopes.”  These concerns have been addressed directly through the analysis provided herein, which is presented in two parts, based on the Section of the Ordinance each pertains to.


The Open Space Plan is the primary tool used by staff to identify aesthetic resources.  The maps for the rural areas are compiled in a Concept Plan.  This is a composite map that indicates the resources that are of some significance or are part of a system forming a significant resource, such as a stream valley or mountain range.  The Concept Plan shows this area as part of an Entrance Corridor.  As such, based on the content of the Open Space Plan, staff opinion is that the critical slopes on this site represent an aesthetic resource. 


Development of the site is subject to review by the Architectural Review Board (ARB).  As noted by the staff liaison to the ARB, Margaret Maliszewki, “potential areas of concern for the ARB include (but are not limited to): extensive removal of wooded area/tree replacement, fuel pump canopy design, lighting/level of illumination and sign design/impact” (Attachment H).  At this time, no preliminary submittal has been made to the ARB.


Section 4.2.5(a):

The engineering analysis of the request follows:

Description of critical slope area and proposed disturbance:


The critical slope area, within TMP 94-39, appears to be natural slopes.  The applicant has stated with this submittal that the disturbed critical slopes are man made.  Engineering cannot confirm that these critical slopes are man made because no previous grading plans have been approved by Engineering on these parcels.  The critical slope disturbances are in the form of site plan construction and grading; accessways, stormwater facilities, drainfields and structures. 




Total site in Project


Critical slopes

Approx. 0.98

Approx. 0.79% of development

Critical slopes disturbed


100% of critical slopes


Below, each of the concerns of Zoning Ordinance section 18-4.2 is addressed:


1.      “movement of soil and rock”:   Proper slope construction, control of drainage, and vegetative stabilization with approved erosion control measures constructed within the standards of Virginia Erosion and Sedimentation Control Regulations will prevent any movement of soil.

2.      “excessive stormwater run-off”:   Stormwater runoff will be controlled by the drainage / stormwater management plan required for this site. 

3.      “siltation of natural and man-made bodies of water”:   There are no existing streams located on the property.  An existing stream is located on the adjacent property just to the north of TMP 94-39.  Inspection and bonding by the County will ensure siltation control during construction.  Proper stabilization and maintenance will ensure long term stability.

4.      “loss of aesthetic resource”:   This site is visible from Interstate 64, Black Cat Road (State Route 616, and adjoining property owners.  The site has existing wooded areas throughout the property.  It appears that the loss of aesthetic resources will be necessary with the proposed plan.  Also, a buffer is required between the rural area and the development area portions of TMP 94-39.  This buffer is not to be disturbed.  The applicant is proposing construction activities throughout this buffer area.

5.      “septic effluent”:   Septic systems or drainfields are proposed in this project.  This site is not accessible to the public sanitary sewer system.


This site does not drain into a waterway that is a public drinking water supply for Albemarle County.  No portion of this site plan is located inside the 100-year flood plain area according to FEMA Maps, dated 04 February 2005.


The preliminary site plan shows excessive grading activities, with some fill areas exceeding 20 feet, on the rural area portion of TMP 94-39 that is not required to support the preliminary site plan.  Also, the plan shows excessive offsite grading on the adjacent parcel, TMP 94-38, disturbing critical slope areas for a drainfield.


Based on the above review, there are engineering concerns which prohibit the disturbance of the critical slopes as shown on the plans.   Engineering does not recommend approval to this critical slope waiver.


Section 4.2.5(b):

Staff has included the provisions of Section 4.2.5b here (in italics), along with staff comment on the various provisions:


b. The commission may modify or waive any requirement of section 4.2 in a particular case upon finding that: (Amended 11-15-89)

1.         Strict application of the requirements of section 4.2 would not forward the purposes of this chapter or otherwise serve the public health, safety or welfare, or that alternatives proposed by the developer would satisfy the purposes of section 4.2 to at least an equivalent degree; or (Added 11-15-89)


            Based on the location within the Entrance Corridor and the comments provide in the Engineering review above, it is staff’s opinion that strict application of the requirements set forth in Section 4.2 acts to forward the purposes of the chapter in this case. 


2.         Due to its unusual size, topography, shape of the property, location of the property or other unusual conditions, excluding the proprietary interest of the developer, the requirements of section 4.2 would effectively prohibit or unreasonably restrict the use of the property or would result in significant degradation of the site or adjacent properties. Such modification or waiver shall not be detrimental to the public health, safety or welfare, to the orderly development of the area, or to adjacent properties, or be contrary to sound engineering practices; or (Added 11-89)


            Because of the relatively small areas of critical slopes on the site, this plan could potentially be redesigned to avoid critical slopes areas.  However, as most of the critical slopes are within the C-1 zoned portions of the property, some reduction in scale would likely be necessary, especially given the scattering of slopes through that area.  The requirements of the Ordinance do not unreasonably restrict the use of the property.


3.         Granting such modification or waiver would serve a public purpose of greater import than would be served by strict application of section 4.2. (Added 11-15-89)


There are no immediately identifiable reasons that would be considered of greater import.



Based on the analysis of the Open Space and Critical Resources Plan and on the review of the engineering criteria presented above, staff opinion is that the critical slopes proposed for disturbance via this site plan are in a sensitive area.  Extensive grading is proposed throughout, which will reshape the entirety of the property.  The intent of the strategies outlined in the Comprehensive Plan regarding development in rural areas is to minimize disturbance of scenic, natural, and agricultural resources.  Staff recommends denial of the requested waiver.



This project has been reviewed by the Site Review Committee (see attachments E-H).  There are outstanding issues that prevent approval of the preliminary site plan, even with approval of the above referenced waivers. Section 32.5.7 of the Zoning Ordinance requires that any required draft groundwater management plan must be submitted in conjunction with the submittal of the preliminary site plan.  This information has not been received.  In addition, the project has not been reviewed by the Architectural Review Board (ARB). Although a Certificate of Appropriateness from the ARB is not required until final site plan, staff has recommended that a preliminary review by the ARB should be pursued for this project.  This site is in a highly visible location and design changes are possible.  If so, such changes might require redesign of the site, which would in turn require the preliminary site plan to be amended, if previously approved.



Staff has reviewed this request for compliance with the provisions of the Zoning Ordinance and, with or without the requested waivers, recommends denial of the preliminary site plan.  Items that need to be corrected are listed below:

  1. A Tier-III or Tier-IV groundwater study must be submitted, as further explained in David Swales’ comments of July 28, 2006.
  2. The current design is not possible without the previously discussed waivers.
  3. Staff recommends a preliminary review by the Architectural Review Board, as detailed in Margaret Malisewski’s comments of August 4, 2006 and January 12, 2007.  A Certificate of Appropriateness is required prior to final site plan approval.



A.                 Preliminary Site Plan

B.                 Vicinity Map

C.                 Land Use Plan Interchange Development

D.                 Letter from Applicant Requesting Waivers

E.                  Engineering Review – 1-8-07

F.                  VDOT Site Review Comments – 8-14-06

G.                 Health Department Comments – 8-10-06

H.                 Various Short Site Review Comments

I.                    Applicant Analysis of Slopes

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