COUNTY OF ALBEMARLE
SDP 2006-081 Black Cat Road Service Station Site Plan Appeal
Appeal of Planning Commission’s Denial of Site Plan Waivers
Tucker, Foley, Davis, Graham, McCulley, Pennock, Fritz
LEGAL REVIEW: YES
April 4, 2007
ACTION: X INFORMATION:
The applicant proposes to establish a convenience store with fuel pumps on Black Cat Road. The Planning Commission disapproved the applicant’s preliminary site plan on January 23, 2007 after it denied the applicant’s request for waivers for critical slopes and buffer disturbances. Without approval of those waivers, the preliminary site plan could not be approved. At the meeting, questions arose regarding whether the water consumption and sewage discharge for the proposed development would require a special use permit to allow the convenience store use.
Goal Four: Effectively Manage Growth and Development
As presented in the attached Staff Report, the applicant’s proposal for this site is the construction of a convenience store with fuel pumps. The site is an existing C-1, Commercial, zoned piece of land covering portions of two properties in the Entrance Corridor. Two waivers of Zoning Ordinance requirements are necessary to accommodate the proposed site plan. The discussion of both waiver requests is presented in the attached minutes from the January 23, 2007 Planning Commission meeting. However, some of the key points are summarized below.
Section 21.7.3 of the Zoning Ordinance requires an undisturbed buffer between commercial zoned uses and adjacent properties in residential or Rural Areas zoned properties. The Planning Commission can allow disturbance of this buffer. However, the Planning Commission must find that the grading or clearing is necessary and/or would result in an improved site design. In addition, minimum screening must be provided and landscaping comparable to pre-existing conditions must be reestablished.
The current site plan proposes to locate the buffer on the portion of the property zoned Rural Areas, rather than on the portion zoned C-1, as required by the Zoning Ordinance. In addition, the screening and landscaping proposed within the buffers do not meet the minimum requirements of the Zoning Ordinance. The Zoning Administrator determined that the Planning Commission could not approve the requested waiver unless the buffer was moved to the portion zoned C-1 and the minimum requirements for replanting were shown.
Critical Slopes Waiver
A waiver to allow disturbance of critical slopes on the property was also requested by the applicant under Zoning Ordinance § 4.2.5. Although there are relatively few critical slopes on the site, almost all of them would be disturbed based on the proposed site plan. Most of these critical slopes are within the Commercial zoned portion of the property. The applicant has presented evidence suggesting that all disturbed critical slopes were man-made, mostly due to construction activities.
The current plan will elevate much of the site, including the Rural Areas zoned portion. In places, fill will exceed 20 feet above current conditions. As it was staff’s opinion this level of grading is not necessary to support use of the property, the engineering review did not result in a favorable recommendation for the waiver. In addition, given the sensitive location of the site within an Entrance Corridor, staff recommended a preliminary review by the Architectural Review Board to ensure that appropriate aesthetic concerns were addressed. No such review has taken place. Similar to the issue with the water usage, this issue would need to be resolved as part of the final site plan. Finally, the Interstate Interchange Development segment of the Comprehensive Plan recommends avoiding development at the Black Cat Road interchange. Given the combination of these factors, staff recommended denial of the requested waiver for critical slopes disturbance. The staff report contains a complete analysis of the applicable standards and relevant facts for this wavier.
Without the two waivers, the preliminary site plan cannot be approved. Additional concerns regarding the preliminary site plan are presented in the staff report.
Water Consumption and Sewage Discharge
Zoning Ordinance § 22.2.2(11) provides that any use permitted by-right in the C-1 zoning district that is not served by public water, involving water consumption exceeding four hundred (400) gallons per site acre per day, is permitted only by special use permit. Zoning Ordinance § 22.2.2(11) also provides that any by-right use in the C-1 zoning district that is not served by public sewer, involving the anticipated discharge of sewage other than domestic waste, is likewise permitted only by special use permit. The proposed use will be served by individual wells and a septic disposal system.
Staff sent the applicant, his consultant and the Health Department a letter explaining the issue on February 14th (attached). In order for this development to occur by-right: a) the water consumption must not exceed four hundred (400) gallons per site acre per day or 832 gallons per day and b) it must not discharge sewage other than domestic waste. If either of these requirements cannot be met, a special use permit is required. At the time of this writing, staff has not received water consumption and sewage discharge information to allow it to determine whether the convenience store use will be allowed by-right or by special use permit.
The Tier 3 groundwater report required by Ordinance has now been submitted and reviewed by the County’s groundwater manager. If the Board decides to grant the waivers and approve the preliminary site plan, it is recommended that it include a condition that the applicant obtain a special use permit prior to final site plan approval if the Zoning Administrator determines that one is required, and that the final site plan include all necessary changes required by the special use permit conditions.
As the Zoning Ordinance does not include fiscal impact as a factor to be considered in the approval of a site plan or waivers, staff has not estimated the revenue and impacts created by the proposed use.
Staff recommends that the Board affirm the Planning Commission’s denial of the above described waivers and the disapproval of the preliminary site plan. If the consensus of the Board is to affirm the Planning Commission’s actions, staff recommends that the Board defer action on this appeal until May 2, 2007 to allow staff to prepare appropriate findings, setting forth the reasons for the Board’s decision.
A- Staff Report
B- Planning Commission Action Letter
C- Minutes, January 23, 2007 and October 3, 2006 Planning Commission Meetings
D- Letter from Staff Regarding Special Use Permit
View letter in
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