Albemarle County Planning Commission

August 8, 2006


The Albemarle County Planning Commission held a meeting and a public hearing on Tuesday, August 8, 2006, at 6:00 p.m., at the County Office Building, Room 241, Second Floor, 401 McIntire Road, Charlottesville, Virginia. Members attending were Eric Strucko, Calvin Morris, Vice-Chairman; Jon Cannon and Pete Craddock.  Absent were Marcia Joseph, Chairman; Jo Higgins and Bill Edgerton. Julia Monteith, Senior Land Use Planner for the University of Virginia, representative for David J. Neuman, FAIA, Architect for University of Virginia was absent. 


Other officials present were Wayne Cilimberg, Planning Director; Amy Arnold, Planner; Scott Clark, Senior Planner; Joan McDowell, Principal Planner; Bill Fritz, Chief of Current Development; David Pennock, Principal Planner; Amy Arnold, Planner; Glenn Brooks, Senior Engineer and Greg Kamptner, Deputy County Attorney.


Call to Order and Establish Quorum:


Mr. Morris called the regular meeting to order at 6:00 p.m. and established a quorum.


SP-2006-014 SOCA Club Offices at South Fork Soccer Park (Sign #27)

PROPOSED: Amendment to SP 1998-018, which permitted creation of a club facility for soccer fields, to add temporary office facilities.

ZONING CATEGORY/GENERAL USAGE: RA -- Rural Areas: agricultural, forestal, and fishery uses; residential density (0.5 unit/acre); FH -- Flood Hazard - Overlay to provide safety and protection from flooding

SECTION: Clubs, lodges, civic, patriotic, fraternal.

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


LOCATION: Polo Grounds Road, approximately 1.1 miles east of US 29.



STAFF:  Scott Clark


Mr. Clark distributed copies of the concept plan for SOCA at South Fork New Offices dated August 4, 2006 (Attachment E).  He summarized the staff report.


         This is a special use permit request to amend SP-1998-18, which permitted an athletic facility to change the use to a club, which would allow the addition of a small office building in the operation of the club offices for this organization on the site. 

         The site in question is a 28 acre rural parcel located between Neighborhood II in the Hollymead Community along the South Fork Rivanna River just upstream of the confluence with the North Fork.  It is largely in the floodplain.  The edge closest to the river is under a conservation easement co-held by the Soil and Water Conservation District and by the County.  The majority of the parcel is open.  The section along the river is wooded.  This is also the site of a very significant archaeological area of a 17th century Monican Indian village. 

         The use as it now stands is an approximately 2,000 square foot building with storage areas and a concession stand with two rest rooms.  Otherwise, there is parking in a large flat grassy area in the fields themselves. 

         It is currently served by sewer, but is under a limited use designation, which only permits the uses that became possible with the two special use permits in 1998, for the use and the floodplain fill.  So that limits in that designation and does not permit this expansion to happen. So at the same time the special use permit is being processed there is a request for extending that limited service designation for the use that is going to the Board.  Assuming this is recommended for approval, it will go to the Board on the same night.  If the use is approved, the Board will consider extending the service.  There would not be any physical changes to the service on the site.  It would just be allowing the increased use to happen.  That use would consist of 1,000 square foot of building being added to the site in an office use for about 9 people.  Seven of those persons frequently visit the site anyway.  So the impacts of those people on the site are not really significant.

         Staff is recommending approval with conditions.  In the report staff has noted where there are additions or changes in the conditions.  Staff distributed a replacement for Attachment A of the staff report.  Condition 1 recommends approval with a plan dated August 1, but the new plan distributed is dated August 4. So any approval would have to make that change.  That was just to allow for a couple of small corrections that were made on the plan. 

         Some of the other significant changes that were made to the conditions from the original approval include: 

o        Condition 7 is being deleted because that was a condition that related to the final site plan that has already been approved on the site. 

o        Condition 11 is a modified version of the condition relating to the archaeological resources on the site from the final site plan.  Originally, this permit would have just called for Phase I Archaeological Review and what staff has added is the remaining relevant parts of the condition that applied after the Phase 1 and the Phase II surveys were carried out. 

o        Condition 11 is phrased just to keep access for the study of the site still open to the UVA Department of Anthropology.  Condition is now noted for deletion. This was originally imposed because of concerns that the Meadow Creek Parkway might go through this site.  That is no longer expected, recommended or planned for this area.  Also, because this permit should run with the land it was a questionable condition from the beginning.

o        Condition 13 has some additions that clarify that the proposed building can exist on the site.

         So with those conditions staff is recommending approval of SP-2006-14, SOCA Club Offices. 


There being no questions for staff, Mr. Morris opened the public hearing and invited the applicant to address the Commission.


Billy Mueller, Executive Director with SOCA Organization of Charlottesville/Albemarle, said that they are a not for profit volunteer based community service organization.  They are an inclusive club dedicated to serving the community by providing soccer activities for persons of all ages and all abilities.  They have year round programming for both children and adults.  They will register about 9,000 players each year.  In any given season they will have over 3,600 participants playing in their organization.  As such they are committed to providing quality experience for all those participants and the South Fork Soccer Park is a critical part of that plan to provide service.  Our impact in the community is significant. They are a vital part of the community.  They are vital in two different ways by being full of life and vitality and also because they are a critical part of what makes this community a great place to be and to live and participate in these sorts of activities.  Their purpose is to serve the soccer community.  They are a committed community servant.  They make it their business to provide healthy, happy activities for all of their participants by providing a high quality programming in activities.  They manage them to the greatest benefit of our participants.  This is visible through their recreation program, which is open to all comers.  In their outreach program they have a program that includes children from underserved and under privileged communities.   In the paper today they had one of their teams win a national championship.  That describes the breath and dept of their programming.  They have a significant financial assistance program.  Everyone was invited to come and participate in their recent camp that took place out at the park.  That is just an example of the life and the vitality and the joy that is part of their program, but also the commitment that they have towards their community.  Our request before the Commission is pretty simple and straight forward.  They are asking for permission to amend their existing special use permit to allow the addition of an office use on their existing site.   He felt that it was worth clarifying that the Commission was going to be seeing a second application that has to do with the expansion of the park.  This first item being discussed this evening really came about as a result of our plans for an expansion to help us in our service.  When they begin the process of defining and designing their expansion they learned that they were going to lose any ability to save on their existing lease.  They were going to be looking for a place to live frankly.  The expansion project being as complex as it is will take some time before it comes before the Commission and the Board of Supervisors.  As a result they are finding ourselves needing to relocate our office.  Their intent is that the office use would be a temporary one.  They are looking for a solution that is fiscally responsible to our customers and allows us to serve them well.  There is an obvious confluence of interest by having our office associated with the park facility, which is really the center of their operations.  To located the office use on site they feel they can serve their customers well and contribute to the community as they have been doing.  There will be minimal disturbance to the surrounding neighbors.  They can go about the business of serving their customers as best as they can.  In terms of impact, they will be quiet and sort of tucked away and out of site.  Frankly, there will be fewer automobile trips as a result of locating the staff on site because there is no intent to shuttle back and forth between their existing office and the park.  The greatest numbers of their registrations actually take place through the mail.  They donít have a huge volume of walk in traffic.  They do have some, but they expect that to diminish further when they convert all of their registrations to an on line process, which will hopefully take place this fall.  He asked that the Commission approve their request.


Mr. Morris asked if there were any questions for the applicant.


Mr. Craddock asked if they would be using the offices at night or does there need to be anything in the conditions about night use.  The current conditions state no lights and that the park is used during the day.


Mr. Mueller said that they do have meetings at night.  They are opened one day a week until 6:30 p.m.  So at different times of the year that is dark.  Typically the offices are opened until 4:00 p.m.  Staff does work well beyond closing.  There are board meetings and other meetings with coaches and other activities that take place in the evening.  They donít have anything other than lights on the building lighting the immediate exterior of the building. They donít have any parking lot fixture because those were not permitted on the first go round.


Mr. Kamptner said that the permit allows the use to take place at any time. The hours of operation is a permissible condition if he thinks there is an impact from that use.


Mr. Craddock said that he did not think that there is any problem, but just wanted to make sure there was no problem with night meetings.  He assumed that in the second phase it was going to be a more permanent building.


Mr. Mueller said that is correct.  Their plan is that in the expansion project there would be a permanent office building along with a playing field and a covered arena.  They would be happy to talk about it in greater detail in the future.  Their intention is for it to be a temporary facility.  Pending approval of the expansion project then the office would be relocated up the hill. 


Mr. Cannon asked if the expansion will be on land that they own or would they have to acquire additional land.


Mr. Mueller said that they have an option on the land, but do not own it at this point.  They are seeking to own the land.


Mr. Morris invited public comment.  There being none, he closed the public hearing to bring the matter back before the Commission.


Mr. Cilimberg said that in response to Mr. Struckoís last question, there is a separate special use permit that will be coming that intends to establish permanent facilities, including an office.  That is going to be subject to a future decision.  This permit does not require or condition that this be a temporary use.  In the event that for some reason that other special use permit does not end up going through this might be a longer term use.


Mr. Cannon said that it is clear from these conditions that the office use is solely for the soccer organization and is not office space that will be used for other purposes.


Mr. Cilimberg replied that is actually the way the application was made.


Mr. Cannon noted that condition 13 addresses that, and Mr. Clark agreed.


Mr. Kamptner asked to clarify his comments on page 6 regarding condition 12.  When he was reviewing these comments he was focusing on the conditions language that the permit would be void.  Looking at it a different way that kind of condition could be permissible as a durational limitation, which the Board occasionally imposes on uses typically where the full intent of the impacts is not know and they want the applicant to come back through and renew their permit and modify the conditions as necessary.  But, in this case it works out.  His recommendation to staff was that this condition was inappropriate because it is no longer needed because of the Meadow Creek Parkway plans have been altered since back in 1998.


Motion:  Mr. Strucko moved, Mr. Craddock seconded, to approve SP-2006-014, SOCA Club Offices at South Fork Soccer Park, with the recommended conditions, as amended, as follows.


1.      Special Use Permit 2006-14 shall be developed in general accord with the concept plan, titled ĎSOCA at South Fork New Offices at Existing South Fork Soccer Parkí (Attachment A.) and dated August 4, 2006.  However, the Zoning Administrator may approve revisions to the concept plan to allow compliance with the Zoning Ordinance.

2.No exterior lighting shall be installed;

3.No loudspeakers or public address system shall be permitted;

4.      No portion of any athletic field shall be located closer than seventy-five (75) feet to any lot line;

5.Compliance with the provisions of 5.1.16;

6.      The vehicular entrance to the site shall be gated to prevent use of the site after hours and during flood events;

7.Water quality measures shall be provided to achieve water quality at least equivalent to pre-development conditions, subject to the approval of the Water Resources Manager;

8.Route 643, Polo Grounds Road, shall be upgraded with a minimum of 1.5 inches of SM-2A from Route 29 to the entrance of the soccer fields. This work shall be completed prior to the applicant making use of both SP-98-18/SP-98-22 [Soccer Fields] and SP 90-35 [Church]. The applicant may make use of one of the special use permits without the need to upgrade Route 643, Polo Grounds Roads;

9.      The owner shall reserve a one hundred (100) foot wide strip of land the length of the property abutting the northern side of the Rivanna River for the Rivanna Greenway. The width of the reserved area shall be measured from the edge of the Rivanna River at its normal flow level. When the County decides to establish a public area or park, including canoe access, the owner shall dedicate the reserved area to the County and such property necessary for ingress and egress to the reserved area;

10.  The applicant shall cooperate with the University of Virginia Department of Anthropology regarding development and further archaeological study of the site, specifically, the Applicant shall grant the Department permission to collect artifacts from any plowing or other soil disturbance of the site, and allow the Department to be present for the excavation of the French Drain on the western edge of the soccer field.

11.    The use of the buildings shall be limited to restrooms, equipment storage, a concession counter, and offices for the soccer organization. The interior area of the new office structure shown on the concept plan shall not exceed 1,000 square feet.

12.    The concession counter shall be open only during use of the soccer fields; and

13.    A tot lot shall be provided.


The motion passed by a vote of 4:0.  (Commissioners Higgins, Edgerton and Joseph were absent.)       


Mr. Morris stated that SP-2006-014 would go to the Board of Supervisors on September 6 with a recommendation for approval.


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