COUNTY OF ALBEMARLE
SP 2006-00008 SOCA South Fork Expansion
Revised request from applicant received after Planning Commission hearing
Tucker, Foley, Graham, Benish, Clark
LEGAL REVIEW: No
April 11, 2007
ACTION: X INFORMATION:
On January 23, 2007, the Planning Commission held a hearing on this request for a new soccer-club facility in the Rural Areas. The facilities would include a 30,000-square-foot-soccer arena, additional office and support space, and a lighted outdoor year-round play field on a property adjacent to SOCA’s existing South Fork Soccer Park.
The Commission recommended denial of the special use permit request, citing their concerns with the unfavorable factors raised in the staff report:
1. This request does not conform with the Land Use Plan policy that this “critical” section of the Rural Areas “is to remain in an open state as a buffer between the Urban Area and the Community of Hollymead.”
2. The soils on the site cannot support septic fields, and the proposed use could only be supported by an extension of the ACSA jurisdictional area. The “Public Water and Sewer” section of the Comprehensive Plan states that “Rural Area development will be served by individual water and septic systems only.” The “Alternative Uses” section of the Rural Areas chapter of the Comprehensive Plan states that such uses should be “viable with no increase in public infrastructure or services, either at time of approval or later.”
3. The proposed use includes approximately 39,220 square feet of new building space for the arena and its support facilities. This is a large structure for the Rural Areas and is not in keeping with the Comprehensive Plan intent to maintain this area as a buffer between the Development Areas. Only 15 other buildings greater than 30,000 square feet exist in the Rural Areas, and 14 of those are by-right uses. With the investment needed for such facilities, they are unlikely to be “reversible” to farming, forestry, or open-space uses as recommended under “Alternative Uses” in the Rural Areas chapter of the Comprehensive Plan.
4. The existing dwelling to the east, and other existing or future dwellings on nearby properties, would potentially be impacted by noise from outdoor activities.
The Commission also stated a concern with the public-safety impacts of increasing traffic through the one-lane railroad underpass on Polo Grounds Road.
The Commission also denied the applicants’ request for a waiver of the requirements of section 4.2.3 of the Zoning Ordinance regarding critical-slope disturbance.
Following the Planning Commission hearing, the applicant submitted a revised request for the Board’s consideration (see details of the applicant’s changes in Attachment A, and their revised conceptual plan in Attachment B). These revisions include:
In summary, these revisions reduce the visual, noise, and traffic impacts of the proposed use on the adjacent properties on and the surrounding area. The applicant estimates that, as a result of the reduced hours, total vehicle trips would decrease from 667 to 644 vehicle-trips per day. In response to the Planning Commission’s concern with the Polo Grounds Road railroad underpass, the applicant correctly points out that VDOT has estimated that only 4 percent of the traffic generated by this use would use that route.
However, the revisions do not address several of the Commission’s major concerns with this use. These include the appropriateness of the use in a location the Comprehensive Plan says should be reserved for open-space uses; the necessity of extending sewer service for a Rural Areas use, which would be counter to Comprehensive Plan policy; or the unusually large scale of the structure (still over 39,000 square feet in size) and use in the Rural Areas context. In addition, the traffic reduction in this revised proposal is fairly minimal.
Staff believes that the impacts that led to the Commission’s recommendation, while somewhat reduced, still exist. Therefore, staff recommends denial of this special use permit request as recommended by the Planning Commission. Should the Board desire further commission guidance on the applicant’s changes, it has the option of referring this back to the Planning Commission for further consideration and recommendation.
Attachment A: Revision letter from applicant, received March 23, 2007
Attachment B: Revised conceptual plan dated March 16, 2007
View PC action letter
View staff report and attachments
View PC minutes August 8, 2006 and January 23, 2007
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