COUNTY OF ALBEMARLE STAFF REPORT SUMMARY

 

Project Name:  SP 06-008 SOCA South Fork Expansion

Staff:  Scott Clark

 

Planning Commission Public Hearing:  January 23, 2007

Board of Supervisors Public Hearing: February 14, 2007

 

Owners:  Hurt Investment Company

Applicant:  Soccer Organization Charlottesville-Albemarle

 

Acreage:  10

Special Use Permit for:  Club

 

TMP:  Tax Map 46 Parcels 22 and 22C

Location:  1717 Polo Grounds Road (Rt. 643), 1.2 miles east of the intersection with US 29 North

Conditions: Yes

 

Existing Zoning and By-right useRA Rural Areas: agricultural, forestal, and fishery uses; residential density (0.5 unit/acre);  FH Flood Hazard – Overlay to provide safety and protection from flooding

Magisterial District: Rivanna

 

DA                               RA   X

Comprehensive Plan Designation:  RA - Rural Areas: preserve and protect agricultural, forestal, open space, and natural, historic and scenic resources/ density (.5 unit/ acre); Parks and Greenways: parks; greenways; playgrounds; pedestrian and bicycle paths

 

Requested # of Dwelling Units:  N/A

 

Proposal:  Soccer club/office with outdoor field and training courts, one indoor arena

 

Character of Area:  The proposed development would be located on a low ridge adjacent to the floodplain of the South Fork Rivanna River. This site is within a section of Rural Areas protecting the river’s floodplain. Neighborhood 2 is located across the river to the south, and the Hollymead Community is across Polo Grounds Road to the north.  The specific site to be used is largely open and has been used as a fill site. An early-20th-century brick Colonial Revival house is on the site.

Use of Surrounding Properties:  Residential, horticultural, outdoor recreation (on existing SOCA property)

 

Factors Unfavorable:

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.

 

Factors Favorable:

1.  The use would help to meet a need identified in the County’s “Community Recreational Facilities Needs Assessment Study” of November 2003, which identifies a strong need for indoor recreational facilities and recommends partnerships with other organizations to provide these facilities. The Parks Department support this request.

2.  The applicants are proposing full-cutoff light fixtures for the outdoor athletic field.

3.  The use would be adjacent to the organization’s existing fields and temporary offices, thus reducing travel between sites, compared to developing the proposed facilities elsewhere.

 

RECOMMENDATION: Staff recommends denial. However, potential conditions of approval are included.

 


 

Petition: 

PROPOSED: Soccer club/office with outdoor field and training courts, one indoor arena

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: 10.2.2.2 (Clubs, lodges, civic, patriotic, fraternal);  5.1.02 (Clubs, Lodges)

COMPREHENSIVE PLAN LAND USE/DENSITY:  Rural Areas - preserve and protect agricultural, forestal, open space, and natural, historic and scenic resources/ density (0.5 unit/ acre)

LOCATION: 1717 Polo Grounds Road (Rt. 643), 1.2 miles east of the intersection with US 29 North

TAX MAP/PARCEL: TM 46 Parcels 22 and 22C

MAGISTERIAL DISTRICT: Rivanna

 

Character of the Area:

The site is located in a section of the Rural Areas along the floodplain of the South Fork Rivanna River, which is partially open and partially wooded. Neighborhood 2 lies across the river to the south, and the Hollymead is across Polo Grounds Road to the north.

 

Specifics of the Proposal:

The applicants propose to expand their soccer-club operations, which currently use the adjacent parcel to the west for play fields and an office. That parcel is almost entirely in 100-year floodplain.

 

The expansion (see Attachment C for the conceptual plan) on the subject parcel would include:

 

§         An indoor soccer arena of 33,920 square feet that would contain an indoor synthetic-turf play field. Attached to this would be a structure of approximately 5,300 square feet containing club offices; locker rooms, concession stand (approximately 350 square feet); soccer gear sales for club use only; weight-training rooms; meeting rooms; and an athletic trainer’s room. The applicants propose the following hours of operation for this building: 8 a.m. to 11:30 p.m. Monday through Friday; 7 a.m. to midnight on Saturday; and 7 a.m. to 11:30 p.m. on Sunday.

§         An outdoor synthetic-turf play field for year-round use, including field lighting with full-cutoff fixtures on 35-foot poles. This field would not be used after 9:30 p.m.

§         A request to extend the operating hours and hours for field lighting for both facilities above up to four times per year.

§         Two outdoor training courts (each approximately the size of a tennis court)

§         A parking lot with 96 spaces. The facility would also share the 216-space lot on the adjacent SOCA property.

§         Uses in the existing house to include meeting rooms and a groundskeeper residence (upper floor).

 

The facilities would be used by SOCA and might be used by other sports organizations, but would not be rented for commercial uses (most such uses are not permitted in the RA zoning district).

 

The applicants estimate the following peak (“winter indoor season”) use levels. This is a “worst-case” scenario with maximum use of all facilities all day long on a winter Saturday.

 

7 cycles of youth games with 14 players each on 4 courts, plus parent/guardian

784 persons on site

6 cycles of adult games, 20 players each on 2 fields

240 persons on site

Estimated Total Maximum Daily Use

1024 persons

 

The proposed grading shown in Attachment C would affect critical slopes, and a waiver of section 4.2 would be required (see below).

 

Planning and Zoning History:

 

SP 90-35: On June 6, 1990, the Board of Supervisors approved (with conditions) a special use permit for an 800-seat church on this site. In 1992, the Zoning Department found that this permit approval was vested and would not expire. The involved parcels have since been divided, separating this parcel from the adjacent soccer-field site.

 

SP 90-107: On January 16, 1991, the Board of Supervisors denied this request for a 300-seat church proposed for a site just east of this proposal, on a larger parcel that at the time included this site.

 

 

Conformity with the Comprehensive Plan:

The Comprehensive Plan designates the proposed soccer-club site as Rural Areas, emphasizing the preservation and protection of agricultural, forestal, open space, and natural, historic and scenic resources.  Clubs are allowed in the Rural Area zoning district by Special Use Permit.

 

Rural Areas

The Rural Areas chapter of the Comprehensive Plan recognizes a need for a variety of uses in the Rural Areas. However, these uses are intended to provide income for rural landowners as an alternative to residential development. Furthermore, the Plan says that these alternative uses should be:

§         reversible (so that the land can easily return to farming, forestry, conservation, or other preferred rural uses);

§         scaled and sited to cause minimal impacts on their rural surroundings;

§         minimal in their public health and environmental impacts; and

§         viable with no increase in public infrastructure or services, either at time of approval or later.

 

This section of the Plan includes the following relevant strategies:

 

1. Review the Zoning Ordinance to re-evaluate by-right uses and uses by special permit, such as home occupations and farm sales, to encourage uses that promote the preservation of rural lands and activities, including but not limited to farm sales and agricultural service businesses, low-impact forms of recreation, temporary special events, arts and crafts sales, garden centers, and discourage uses that are contrary to the County's growth management policies, including but not limited to swim or tennis clubs, new schools, and off-site parking for industrial districts.

6. Limit the size and intensity of rural alternative uses so that they do not conflict with the character of the Rural Areas.

7. Maintain the existing policy of not expanding public water and sewer service to the Rural Areas, including rural alternative uses.

 

Unlike the existing adjacent SOCA facilities, which are minimally scaled and could easily revert to agricultural or conservation-related uses, the current proposal would be an intensive use that would not be easily reversible and that would require an extension of sewer service (the site will not support septic systems). Staff finds that the proposal is not in conformity with this section of the Comprehensive Plan.

 

Public Facilities

The Public Water and Sewer section of the Land Use Plan states that the County should:

 

Discourage the utilization of central water and/or sewer systems or the extension of public water and sewer into the Rural Area except in the cases where public health and safety are at issue. Rural Area development will be served by individual water and septic systems only (central water facilities are considered wells, springs or other systems capable of serving three or more connections. Central sewer facilities are considered systems consisting of drainfields or septic tanks capable of serving three or more connections).

 

The soils near the surface on this site are largely fill, and the site cannot support septic systems. Therefore the applicants have requested extension of sewer service to the site. (This amendment to the Albemarle County Service Authority jurisdictional area will be considered at the same Board of Supervisors hearing as this special use permit request.) The existing SOCA facility on the adjacent parcel has sewer service. However, this approval was influenced by the fact that most of that site is in floodplain, where septic fields cannot be installed. Septic treatment would have required pumping to an uphill site, and this posed the risk of failures that would pollute the floodplain and river. Since an existing sewer line ran through that property, the connection was approved.

 

The requested service extension is not the result of an existing health or safety threat. Therefore staff finds that the requested use is not in conformity with this section of the Comprehensive Plan.

 

However, on February 12, 1992, the Board of Supervisors approved both water and sewer service on this site to serve the church approved under SP 90-35.

 

The Board of Supervisors will consider the extension of sewer service at the same time as this special use permit proposal. Approval of the special use permit would make the extension of service necessary.

 

Natural Resources & Cultural Assets

 

The Biodiversity section of the Natural Resources & Cultural Assets Plan includes a Goal stating that the County should “[c]onserve ecological communities to ensure their continued genetic diversity, and protect ecosystems that provide essential services to humans.”

 

The Biodiversity Work Group has identified a migration route for spotted salamanders that crosses Polo Grounds Road about 100 yards east of the US 29 intersection (west of the proposed project site). The salamanders, which spend most of the year in the woods north of the road, are dependent on wetland pools in the South Fork Rivanna floodplain for their breeding habitat. The species is relatively secure within its range, but is not common in the County. Citizen volunteers have attempted to maintain the fencing that currently directs the salamanders to a culvert under the road, but overall conservation efforts have been ineffective at preventing road kills of salamanders crossing Route 643.

 

The applicants estimate peak traffic generation of approximately 660 vehicles trip per day from their combined (existing and proposed) facilities in the spring, when this route would be used. The most recent available daily traffic count for Route 643 is from August 1, 2003, when 1900 vehicles used the road. (Some of that traffic may have included vehicles from the existing soccer facilities, which could be as high as 452 vehicles per day at that time of year.) The addition of approximately 200 vehicle trips per day could impact this crossing. However, staff research suggests that spotted salamanders are nocturnal migrants, so daytime traffic from this use would not impact the migration route.  In summary, nighttime traffic from this project could have an impact on the spotted salamander population in the area, but existing traffic from other uses and the lack of a safe crossing are more significant threats.

 

This chapter of the Comprehensive Plan also addresses lighting design. The applicants have proposed full-cutoff lighting fixtures for the outdoor field, which would support the Comprehensive Plan objective to “Reduce light pollution caused by uplighting, excessive lighting, glare and light trespass.” The Rural Areas plan states that the County should “[r]equire alternative uses located in the Rural Areas to use lighting (if any) that conforms to the design specifications found in the Natural Resources and Cultural Assets Plan.”

 

This chapter also includes policies on historic resources, including an objective to “[p]ursue additional protection measures and incentives to preserve Albemarle’s historic and archaeological resources in order to foster pride in the County and maintain the County’s character.” The existing residence on the site has been surveyed by the Virginia Department of Historic Resources. The 1990 evaluation did not consider the property eligible for listing on the National Register. Despite this evaluation, the house is a good example of the Colonial Revival style. Retention and re-use of the residence is a positive aspect of the proposal. However, the proposed indoor soccer facility, at about 26 times the size of the house, dwarfs the residence. Greater distance between the facility and the house, with new plants added in the space for buffering, would be appropriate.

 

Land Use Plan

 

The Hollymead section of the Land Use Plan states that:

 

The area between the southern boundary of the Development Area and the South Fork of the Rivanna River is to remain in an open state as a buffer between the Urban Area and the Community of Hollymead. This boundary is critical as it preserves the distinct identity of the Community from the Urban Area and prevents continuous development [from the] community of Charlottesville to the North Fork of the Rivanna River.

 

This proposal, which would include a large structure and parking areas, would not maintain the open, rural character of this area as called for in the Comprehensive Plan. Intensive developments of this type would make the break between the Urban Area and Hollymead less distinct, and would reduce the impression of a hard edge between development areas and rural areas.

 

Discussion

 

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 nearest dwelling is approximately 300 feet to the east and could potentially be affected by noise from the outdoor play field. (See letter from this neighbor in Attachment E). Other nearby dwellings are 500 feet or more away and most are located across Polo Grounds Road in the Hollymead Community. The property directly across the road from the proposed outdoor field (Tax Map 46 Parcel 26) is currently wooded, but is zoned R1 Residential Development. Future dwellings on that property could be affected by noise from the field. The applicants have stated that the outdoor field would not be used or lit after 9:30 p.m.

 

If the use is approved, staff recommends that landscaping on the site be increased to include a double-staggered row of screening trees around the proposed outdoor field, to reduce impacts on neighboring properties.

 

The applicants’ requested hours (8 a.m. to 11:30 p.m. Monday through Friday; 7 a.m. to midnight on Saturday; and 7 a.m. to 11:30 p.m. on Sunday), as well as the four requested extensions (unspecified increases in operating hours), are not consistent with the hours for “daytime” noise levels as required in section 4.18 of the Zoning Ordinance, “Noise.” The Zoning Division recommends that, if the use is approved, hours of operation be limited to 7 a.m. through 10 p.m to be consistent with that section.

 

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

This expansion would be a significant intensification of the existing soccer-club use on the adjacent parcel. This portion of the Rural Areas is currently characterized by residential, horticultural, and open-space uses. This use would add a large building and more constant year-round activity.

 

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

 

This use would be in harmony with one general purpose of the Zoning Ordinance:

 

1.4.4 To facilitate the provision of adequate police and fire protection, disaster evacuation, civil defense, transportation, water, sewerage, flood protection, schools, parks, forests, playgrounds, recreational facilities, airports and other public requirements;

 

But would conflict with purposes related to the Rural Areas:

 

1.4.8 To provide for the preservation of agricultural and forestal lands and other lands of significance for the protection of the natural environment; (Amended 9-9-92)

 

and

 

10.1 INTENT, WHERE PERMITTED

This district (hereafter referred to as RA) is hereby created and may hereafter be established by amendment of the zoning map for the following purposes: (Amended 11-8-89)

-Preservation of agricultural and forestal lands and activities;

-Water supply protection;

-Limited service delivery to the rural areas; and

-Conservation of natural, scenic, and historic resources. (Amended 11-8-89)

 

In short, the facilities would be a benefit to the community, but would be more appropriately sited in a zoning district intended for more intensive development, because those districts could more appropriately absorb the impacts of this use, and are intended to include recreational facilities among other uses.

 

with uses permitted by right in the district,

The property is zoned RA, Rural Areas.  The uses permitted by right under RA Zoning directly support agriculture, forestry, and the conservation of rural land, or permit residential use. This recreational use would be more intense and urban or suburban in character than those uses.


 

 

Staff has carried out a GIS search of buildings in the Rural Areas comprehensive-plan designation that footprints of 30,000 square feet or more. Buildings in this size range are unusual in the RA zoning district (see the table below). Of the 15 buildings in that district over 30,000 square feet, 14 are by-right uses (9 schools, 4 agricultural buildings, and 1 dwelling). Five other Rural Area buildings over that size occur in the LI and HC zoning districts.

 

Buildings on Parcels Designated as Rural Areas in the Comprehensive Plan

Zoning

Building Type

Number > 30,000ft2 footprint

RA

 

 

 

Schools

9

 

Agricultural Buildings

4

 

Clubhouse

1

 

Dwelling

1

LI Light Industrial

 

 

 

Industrial Buildings

4

HC Highway Commercial

 

 

 

Hotel

1

 

Light poles for the outdoor field would be limited to a height of 35 feet. See Attachment G for a zoning determination explaining why the Planning Commission cannot approve modifications to this requirement.

 

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

 

Section 5.1.02 applies to clubs permitted under section 10.2.2.2 of the Zoning Ordinance:

 

5.1.02 CLUBS, LODGES

Each club or lodge shall be subject to the following:

a. Regardless of any zoning district regulations, gun clubs and shooting ranges shall be permitted by special use permit only; (Amended 10-3-01)

 

This section is not relevant.

 

b. Subordinate uses and fund-raising activities such as bingo, raffles and auctions may be conducted outdoors during daylight hours and shall be conducted in an enclosed building at all other times. (Amended 6-14-00; 10-3-01)

 

Approval of this soccer club would include the outdoor soccer fields as a primary use (not subordinate) and would not require Planning Commission modification of 5.1.02(b).

 

and with the public health, safety and general welfare.

 

The Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT) has stated that the current traffic using the facility based on ITE trip generation rates is 357 VPD and the expansion will increase the total volume (existing site, plus new facilities) to 872 VPD. VDOT estimates that 96 percent of this traffic would be between the site and the US 29 intersection.

 

The applicants estimate a peak traffic volume of 667 vehicle trips per day, given that while the new facilities were at their peak use (in winter), the existing outdoor facilities would receive little or no use. From spring through fall, the existing facilities would see more use, and the proposed facilities less.

 

VDOT has stated that the traffic-safety needs for the site can be addressed by the existing taper and turn lane at the entrance to the existing SOCA facilities, and by re-painting the existing entrance road to add a left turn lane for vehicles going to the proposed facilities. Staff therefore finds that the traffic impacts of this use can be supported by the existing infrastructure.

 

If the use is approved, fire safety in the facilities (whose water supply would come from wells) should be evaluated by the Fire/Rescue Department. The staff reviewer from that department has said that fire safety for larger buildings can be achieved with well-fed systems, but that the specific design should be evaluated before the use begins. Staff has included condition that would require the applicants to get Fire/Rescue approval of the system they select.

 

This use would help to meet a need identified in the County’s “Community Recreational Facilities Needs Assessment Study” of November 2003, which identifies a strong need for indoor recreational facilities and recommends partnerships with other organizations to provide these facilities. The Parks Department supports this request for indoor and outdoor play areas based on the findings and recommendations of their recreation needs assessment (see comments in Attachment F. 

 

Creation of the proposed outdoor field would require grading in an area that is now wooded (see “Existing Wooded Area Cleared for New Sitework” on Attachment C). The applicants have agreed to replant this area in native plant species. After consultation with the Natural Resources Manager, staff recommends that if this use is approved, this area be replanted to a standard modified from the Chesapeake Bay Program guidelines for planting riparian buffers. Given the nature of this site (landscaping on a developed site, not in a riparian buffer), staff recommends a reduced planting density that would be more practical for the applicants. This density would be 1 canopy tree, 1 understory, and one shrub or woody groundcover plant per 400 square feet. A condition recommended below would require 80 of each type of plant, arranged in a naturalistic pattern.

 

REVIEW OF MODIFICATION OF SECTION 4.2.3 TO ALLOW ACTIVITY ON CRITICAL SLOPES.

 

The proposed development includes activity on critical slopes, which requires the Planning Commission to approve a modification of sections 4.2 and 4.2.5 of the Zoning Ordinance.  Staff has reviewed this request as required by these sections of the ordinance.  This review is divided into two parts, a review for impact on aesthetic resources and a review of the engineering impacts. 

 

Before this proposal may be approved a modification to allow critical slopes disturbance is necessary.  The request for a modification has been reviewed for both Engineering and Planning aspects.   

 

Review of the request by Current Development Planning Staff.

 

This review is focused on the criteria in Section 4.2 and the potential loss of aesthetic resources. Staff finds that there is little aesthetic value in a site whose form was largely created by past earthmoving activities. One area that would be graded for the proposed outdoor play field would be replanted with native species.

 

 

Review of the request by Current Development Engineering Staff.

 

Description of critical slope area and proposed disturbance:

This site has approximately 1.1 acres of existing critical slopes.  Most or all of these slopes appear to have resulted from previous earthmoving activity on the site. Critical slope are to be disturbed by grading to install travel ways and parking, and to create areas for recreation facilities. 

 

Areas

Acres

Total site

10

Critical slopes

1.1

11 % of site

Critical slopes disturbed

1

89.4 % of critical slopes

 

Exemptions to critical slopes waivers for driveways, roads and utilities without reasonable alternative locations:

There are alternative alignments and connections to the existing roadways that may not affect the critical slope to the extent proposed by this plan. However, such alignments would degrade road safety, as the proposed entrance is at a safer location with more sight distance, and would require changes to the existing roadway that the current proposal does not.

 

Critical slopes make up 1.1 acres of the site’s 10 acres, or 11% of the site area.  Below, each of the concerns of Zoning Ordinance section 18-4.2 is addressed:

 

Movement of Soil and Rock,  Excessive Stormwater Runoff, Siltation, and Septic Effluent

 

There is adequate area within the existing parcels to assure that erosion & sediment control practices and stormwater management facilities can be provided to assure compliance with the Water Protection Ordinance and address the issues of rapid and/or large-scale movement of soil and rock; excessive stormwater run-off; and the siltation of natural and man-made bodies of water.  However, prior to the approval of any proposed subdivision of the parcels (see proposed property line) adequate temporary and permanent easements must be secured to assure the construction and maintenance of the erosion control and stormwater management facilities.

 

A soil scientist report has been submitted that states the provision of an adequate septic drainfield is not possible on the project site.  As such, the viability of this project is completely dependent on the outcome of the jurisdictional area request for extension of public sewer.  Therefore the concerns related to septic system failure and the greater travel distance of septic effluent are not applicable to this review.  The Open Space Plan identifies areas of “Major & Locally Important Stream Valleys & Adjacent Critical Slopes” along Powell Creek and along the tributary to the South Fork Rivanna River that follows the border between Tax Parcels 46-26C1 and 46-23E.  The areas of critical slopes impacted by this application are not included in these designated areas.

 

Loss of Aesthetic Resource

Please see the comments above under the special use permit review regarding replanting of the graded area for the proposed field. This area would be replanted in appropriate native species, mitigating the impact of the proposed grading.

 

Summary of review of Modification of Section 4.2

 

Section 4.2.5 establishes the review process and criteria for granting a modification of Section 4.2.3.  The preceding comments by staff address the provisions of Section 4.2.5a.  Staff has included the provisions of Section 4.2.5b here, along with staff comment on the various provisions (Staff comments are in italics.) If the application meets one or more of the three standards below, the commission may grant the requested waiver.

 

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)

 

Staff is unable to make a finding that strict application of these requirements would not forward the purposes of this chapter, or that there are equivalent alternatives.

 

            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 11-15-89)

 

Staff is unable to make a finding that denying this waiver would effectively prohibit or unreasonably restrict use of the property. Other by-right uses would be available without the waiver.

 

            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)

 

The proposed use could meet a recognized public need—provision of indoor recreational facilities—and the proposed design increases road safety by allowing use of an existing entrance that meets VDOT standards.

 

This analysis results in the following findings. 

 

Factors favorable to approval of a modification to allow activity on critical slopes:
 

 

Generally staff finds that this request is consistent with the criteria of Section 4.2.5a for granting a modification and therefore is able to recommend approval to the Commission of a modification of Section 4.2.3.  If the Commission makes the necessary positive findings required by Section 4.2.5b staff also recommends approval subject to the following condition:

 

1.       Adequate temporary and permanent easements will be secured with a proposed subdivision of the parcels included in the special permit application to assure the construction and maintenance of the erosion control and stormwater management facilities.

 

SUMMARY:

Staff has identified the following factors favorable to this application:

1.       The use would help to meet a need identified in the County’s “Community Recreational Facilities Needs Assessment Study” of November 2003, which identifies a strong need for indoor recreational facilities and recommends partnerships with other organizations to provide these facilities. The Parks Department support this request.

2.       The applicants are proposing full-cutoff light fixtures for the outdoor athletic field.

3.       The use would be adjacent to the organization’s existing fields and temporary offices, thus reducing travel between sites, compared to developing the proposed facilities elsewhere.

 

Staff has identified the following factors unfavorable to this application:

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.”

  1. 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 clearly 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.

4.       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.

5.       The existing dwelling to the east, and other existing or future dwellings on nearby properties, would potentially be impacted by noise from outdoor activities.

 

 

RECOMMENDED ACTION: 

Based on the findings contained in this staff report, staff recommends denial of Special Use Permit 2006-008. However, if the Planning Commission wishes to recommend that the Board of Supervisors approve the permit request, staff recommends that the following conditions be added to the recommended action:

 

1.       The improvements proposed under SP 2006-008 and the scale and location of the improvements shall be developed in general accord with the conceptual plan entitled “SOCA at South Fork New Offices, Arena and Turf Field,” prepared by Stoneking von Storch Architects, and dated Jan. 1, 2007.

2.       All outdoor lighting shall be arranged or shielded to reflect light away from abutting properties.

3.       The area labeled on the conceptual plan as “Existing Wooded Area Cleared for New Sitework” shall be replanted with species listed in the brochure titled “Native Plants for Conservation, Restoration, and Landscaping: Piedmont Plateau,” published by the Virginia Department of Conservation and Recreation. Replanting shall include 80 canopy trees (1.5 to 2-inch caliper), 80 understory trees (0.75 to 1.5-inch caliper), and 80 small shrubs or woody groundcover plants (minimum 15 inches high). The final plant layout shall resemble a random and natural pattern of plants rather than an orderly pattern.

4.       All landscaping on the site shall include only native plants identified in the brochure “Native Plants for Conservation, Restoration, and Landscaping: Piedmont Plateau,” published by the Virginia Department of Conservation & Recreation. The new trees shown bordering the outdoor field shall be planted as a double-staggered row of a mix of evergreen and deciduous species listed in the above brochure, all a minimum of 5 feet in height when planted.

5.       No grading or tree removal shall take place within the areas labeled "Tree Protection Area" on the conceptual plan, except for construction of the patio area shown adjacent to the existing house.

6.       A tree protection plan for all "Tree Protection Areas" in accord with section 32.7.9.4 of the Zoning Ordinance and section 704 of the Design Manual (2005) shall be shown on each sheet of the site plan for this use that includes landscaping and/or erosion-control plans.

7.       The existing house on the site shall not be demolished.

8.       The facilities shall be used only for SOCA club activities, or by other athletic organizations. The facilities shall not be rented or otherwise used for commercial activities by other organizations or businesses.

9.       Hours of operation for the arena and for non-residential uses of the existing house shall be no earlier than 7 a.m. and no later than 10 p.m. The outdoor field shall not be used, and no outdoor lighting of the field shall be illuminated, before 7:00 a.m. or after 9:30 p.m.

10.   Verification of adequate fire flow by the Albemarle County Fire/Rescue Department.

 

Staff also recommends that, if the Commission approves SP 2006-008, they also approve the critical slopes waiver under section 4.2.3 with the following condition:

 

1.       Adequate temporary and permanent easements will be secured with a proposed subdivision of the parcels included in the special permit application to assure the construction and maintenance of the erosion control and stormwater management facilities.

 

ATTACHMENTS

Attachment A – Area Map

Attachment B – Detail Map

Attachment C – Conceptual Plan for SP 06-008

Attachment D – Application Letter for SP 06-008

Attachment E – Letter from Fulvio and Lynette Iachetta

Attachment F – Comments from Pat Mullaney, Director of Parks and Recreation

Attachment G – Zoning Determination regarding Height of Light Poles

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