Project Name:  SP2006-43 Field School

Staff: Rebecca Ragsdale

Planning Commission Public Hearing:

April 4, 2007

Board of Supervisors Public Hearing:

May 2, 2007

Owners:  Claudius Crozet Park, Inc.

(Robert A. Maupin, President)

Applicant: Todd Barnett, Head of School

Field School

Acreage:  22.396

Special Use Permit: Private School of the zoning ordinance applies to this proposal. 

TMP:  56A2-01-72 and 72A

Location:  Claudius Crozet Park in Crozet, north side of Park Street

Existing Zoning and By-right use:   

RA -- Rural Areas: agricultural, forestal, and fishery uses; residential density (0.5 unit/acre); public uses and parks


Magisterial District:  White Hall

Conditions: Yes

DA (Development Area):  Crozet

Requested # of Dwelling Units:  NA              

Proposal:  Applicant requests a private middle school for boys of up to 70 students.

Comprehensive Plan Designation: Open Space and Crozet Transect (CT) 1 Development Area Preserve


Character of Property: The parcels subject to the special use permit are part of Crozet Park.

Use of Surrounding Properties:  The building in which the school is located is surrounded by recreational uses and parking. The nearest homes are located at the end of Hilltop Street and on Indigo Road, adjacent to the park to the north.

Factor Favorable:

1.        The private school will provide expanded educational opportunities to the community, located near residential areas.

Factor Unfavorable:

1.      Concern has been expressed by a nearby resident that the school use would deter the public from using the park. However, the recreational facilities of the park will continue to remain open for public use.


RECOMMENDATION: Staff recommends approval of this Special Use Permit, with conditions.





STAFF PERSON:                                                                  REBECCA RAGSDALE

PRIVATE PLANNING COMMISSION:                                 April 3, 2007

BOARD OF SUPERVISORS:                                               May 2, 2007







PROJECT: SP 200600043 Field School

PROPOSED: Middle School for boys of approximately 70 students max. to be located in the existing community building at Claudius Crozet Park.

ZONING CATEGORY/GENERAL USAGE: RA -- Rural Areas: agricultural, forestal, and fishery uses; residential density (0.5 unit/acre)

SECTION: Private Schools

COMPREHENSIVE PLAN LAND USE/DENSITY: Designated CT 1 Development Area Preserve for Parks and Greenways in the Crozet Master Plan.


LOCATION: 22 acre parcel at Claudius Crozet Park, north side of Park St, 1500 Feet east of High Street

TAX MAP/PARCEL: 56A2-01-72 and 72A




Character of the Area:

The park site is 22 acres and includes a community building, swimming pool, one acre lake, baseball and T-ball fields, soccer field, basketball courts, 2 large picnic pavilions, 2 new playgrounds and space for special activities such as the Crozet Arts and Crafts festival. The park community building is currently available for rental for private functions but there are no recreational programs planned for the building at this time.


Surrounding the park site to the north and west are the Parkside Village and Hilltop/Myrtle neighborhoods. There are also some residences south of the park site, across Park Road. There is undeveloped property surrounding the eastern corner of the park site. Properties surrounding the park are zoned R2, R4, and R6 residential districts. Please refer to the attached location maps for more information. (Attachment A-Aerial, Attachment B-Zoning)



Specifics of Proposal:

The Field School of Charlottesville is requesting a special use permit for a private school, to allow a middle school for boys to open in the Fall of 2007 at Claudius Crozet Park. The school would use the existing one-story 80’x60’ Community Building in Claudius Crozet Park for the initial 3-5 years of the school’s start-up and would seek a more permanent facility as needed, based on growth of the school. (Attachment C-Concept Plan and Detail) The school would initially open with about 16 students and offer only Grades 5 and 6, then adding Grades 7 and 8 in the following two years of operation for a maximum school size of 70 students. The school would use the existing athletic fields of the park for recess and sports. No exterior construction or site work is proposed with this application. Some minor alterations are anticipated for the interior of the existing building. Hours of operation will be limited to regular school hours, typically 8:30-5:00pm. The school anticipates employing 8 teachers and staff. The school would be operating a bus to alleviate traffic.



Site History & Park Operation:

The park was zoned R2 Residential but rezoned to RA Rural Areas during the comprehensive rezoning in 1980. The site has been in use as a park for more than 50 years and the community building is possibly historic. SDP 99-093, the most recent site plan, was approved for additional ball fields and to allow overflow parking.


Claudius Crozet Park, Inc. owns and operates the park in cooperation with the Albemarle County Department of Parks and Recreation. The Crozet Park board determines use of the community building and not the County Parks and Recreation department. However, County Parks and Rec. has a member on the Park’s Board. The County has an agreement with the park, by which it is made available for public recreation and the County maintains the park grounds. Parks and Rec. has made comments relative to the special use permit, which are attached. (Attachment D) Parks and Rec. does not feel that the proposed use will have a negative impact on the public recreational use of the park, provided that the conditions of usage stipulated by Parks and Rec. are followed. These have been incorporated into the recommended conditions of approval for this special use permit.


The County’s agreement with Crozet Park includes covenants and restrictions as to uses allowed in the park which would not allow the private school use.  These covenants and restrictions must be modified by the Board of Supervisors, should the special use permit for the private school be approved. The Park Board is currently drafting a proposed amendment to this agreement to allow the school use on a temporary basis.



Conformity with the Comprehensive Plan:



Crozet Master Plan

The Place Type & Built Infrastructure Map (inset below) does not designate the majority of the park with a land use color because it is existing open space. A portion of the park, in the northwest corner, is designated as CT2 Development Area Preserve. CT 2 areas are expected to be fairly restricted in terms of land use. However, the proposed school will make use of the existing park building and facilities and has the same land use designations as the exiting schools in Crozet, so the use would be consistent with uses recommended in the master plan.


The Green Infrastructure Map (inset below) designates Crozet Park as an existing park and proposes greenway connections to the park. Establishing greenway trails (for pedestrians and bikes) from Lickinghole Creek Basin to Crozet Park and downtown is a priority in the master plan. The Field School is open to partnering with the greenways program to further trails shown on the Green Infrastructure map.



Place Type & Built Infrastructure Map                                       Green Infrastructure Map




Neighborhood Model

The Neighborhood Model describes the more "urban" form of development desired for the Development Areas. This special use permit request is for a private school use within an existing building and no site development changes are proposed. As such, staff has not undertaken an analysis of its relationship to the 12 Principles of the Neighborhood Model, but notes that the park does serve as a neighborhood center so locating a school within the park would be consistent with the principle of Neighborhood Centers.


Staff Comment:

Staff will address each provision of Section of the Zoning Ordinance as follows: 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,

Staff does not anticipate any substantial detrimental impacts to adjacent property. The school will utilize existing facilities that can be shared by the several users, and the applicant has addressed potential traffic and parking impacts with the use of a bus. The proposed school will be limited in size to 70 students and compared to other uses of the park, will be fairly low intensive.


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

There will be no site development changes and new buildings on the property. The proposed private school will make use of the community building, which has always been available for use during the daytime hours that the Field School proposes to use the building.


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

The purpose of the Rural Areas Zoning District is the 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. However, in this case, the Rural Areas Zoning is located central to a Development Area and the intent is to preserve the property for primarily park uses. Since the school will be using an existing building and park uses will be unchanged, the use is not in conflict with Rural Areas Zoning.


with uses permitted by right in the district,

Park and public uses are permitted by right in the Rural Areas zoning district and the school use should not conflict with any other by-right RA zoning uses. As mentioned, the park is further limited in terms of land uses allowed by the restrictive covenant agreement with the County.


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

There are no additional regulations in section 5.0 that address private schools.


and with the public health, safety and general welfare.

The public health, safety, and general welfare of the community are protected through the special use permit process which assures that the proposed uses are appropriate in the location requested. The Building Official has verified acceptability of the structure for school use and the Fire Marshall offered no objection to the proposal.


The Albemarle County Service Authority (ACSA) has indicated that the site is served by water and sewer and has noted that there is an outstanding dedication of waterlines that needs to be made. This dedication is important to ensure that lines are properly maintained and functioning, both for service at the site and fire protection.  At present, since the lines have not been dedicated, the ACSA does not maintain them. Dedication of the water lines is a recommended condition of approval of this Special Use Permit. (Attachment E- Service Authority Comments)


Access to Crozet Park is provided by Park Road (Rte. 1204), which ranges from 20.5 to 21 feet wide and has a maximum capacity of 1750 vehicle trips per day. Total trips on Park Road west of Claudius Crozet Park were 1600 ADT based on 2002 VDOT traffic counts. Potential traffic impacts to Park Road have been assessed with review of this special permit request and were also a concern raised by an adjoining property owner. Given the limited size of the school use requested and that a bus will be used to reduce car trips, there are no significant concerns with additional traffic impacts.  The applicant has estimated that approximately ¾ of the total enrollment of 70 students will ride the bus to the school. The Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT) has indicated that site distance is adequate at the entrance into the park, but has also noted that, with future development that may occur in that area of Crozet, Park Road (Rt. 1204) will need to be further addressed. (Attachment F)  




Staff has identified the following factors favorable to this application:

1.      The private school will provide expanded educational opportunities to the community, located near residential areas.

Staff has identified one factor unfavorable to this application:

2.      Concern has been expressed by a nearby resident that the school use would deter the public from using the park. However, the recreational facilities of the park will continue to remain open for public use.



Based on the findings contained in this staff report, staff recommends approval of Special Use Permit 2006-043 Field School, with the following conditions:

1.      Maximum enrollment shall be 70 students.

2.      Hours of operation for the school shall be from 7:30 a.m. to 6:00 p.m.

  1. The school is limited to existing buildings and park grounds, as indicated on the concept plan (Attachment C).  Any additional building or site changes for the school use will require an amendment to this Special Use Permit (SP-2006-00043).

4.      Prior to issuance of a Zoning Clearance for the private school use, water line dedications to the satisfaction of the Albemarle County Service Authority are required.

5.      The playgrounds and the park grounds, with the exception of the Community Building, will remain open and available for public use during the hours of school operation.

6.      The athletic fields at the park shall not be available for the school's use after 4pm on weekdays and shall not be available on weekends.

7.      The athletic fields shall not be available for school use when closed by the Department of Parks and Recreation for inclement weather, overuse, fields restoration, routine maintenance, prescheduled conflicting public use, etc.





Attachment A – Aerial Map

Attachment B – Zoning Map

Attachment C – Concept Plan

Attachment D – Parks & Recreation Comments, E-mail from Pat Mullaney to Rebecca Ragsdale, dated January 24, 2007

Attachment E-Albemarle County Service Authority Comments, Memo from Gary Whelan to Rebecca Ragsdale, dated January 15, 2007

Attachment F-Virginia Department of Transportation Comments, letter from Joel Denunzio, PE to Bill Fritz, dated January 26, 2007

Attachment G-Adjoining Property owner concerns and objection, letter from Emil Groth to Rebecca Ragsdale, received February 16, 2007


Go to next attachment

Return to PC actions letter