Project Name:  SP2004-00050 Flow Auto Sales and Display

Staff: David Benish

Planning Commission Public Hearing:

April 17, 2007

Board of Supervisors Public Hearing:

 May 2, 2007



Acreage:  1.94 acres

Special Use Permit: Sales and Display in the Entrance Corridor (EC) Overlay District (Section (b)) of the Zoning Ordinance

TMP: TM 78, Parcels 15D and 15E

Location: 1307-09 and 1313 Richmond Road, south side of Richmond Road (Rt. 250 East), approximately 1060 feet east of Riverbend Drive.

Existing Zoning and By-right use: HC- Highway Commercial and EC, Entrance Corridor Overlay District – retail sales and service uses.


Magisterial District: Rivanna

Conditions: Yes

Proposal:  Expansion of the Flow Volkswagen-Audi-Mazda dealership.

Requested # of Dwelling Units:  NA                           


Comprehensive Plan Designation: 

DA (Development Area): Pantops (Neighborhood 3)


Comprehensive Plan Designation: Regional Service – regional-scale retail, wholesale, business and/or employment centers, and residential (6.01-34 units/acre).

Character of Property: Parcel 15 E (.69 ac.) is not developed and is being used as a temporary parking area (old stone structure recently razed).  Parcel 15D contains the existing Flow Auto dealership.

Use of Surrounding Properties: The subject property is surrounded by commercial uses, specifically other car dealerships on either side of this site and across the street (Brown Toyota to the east and Battlefield Ford/Jeep to the north, across Route 250 from this site).

Factors Favorable:

  1. Motor vehicle sales use is a by-right use in the Highway Commercial District;

2.      ARB recommendation for approval (with conditions).

3.      There will be no detrimental impacts to the entrance corridor as recommended by ARB.

Factors Unfavorable:

There are no unfavorable factors.


RECOMMENDATION: Staff recommends approval with conditions.






STAFF PERSON:                                                            David Benish

     PLANNING COMMISSION DATE:                                February 13, 2007

     BOARD OF SUPERVISORS DATE:                              March 14, 2007



UPDATE:  Attachment B has been revised to correct a typographical error in the parking calculations found on the version reviewed by the Planning Commission. Consequently, Condition 2 has been modified to reflect the date of the revised version of the site plan (Attachment B).



SP 2004-00050 Flow Automotive, Volkswagen, Audi, Mazda



PROJECT: SP 2004-50, Flow Automotive, Volkswagen-Audi-Mazda

PROPOSAL: Special Use Permit (SP) to allow sales and display area associated with a proposal to expand the existing Flow Auto dealership, including modifications to the existing building and outside display, and the construction of a new auto dealership/showroom building with new outdoor display area.  A total of 46 outdoor vehicle display spaces are provided on the combined sites.


The existing Flow Auto building will be expanded and some reconfiguration of the outside vehicle sales/display will take place.  On the adjacent site, a new dealership/showroom building and new outdoor vehicle sales/display area will be constructed.  When completed, the sites will function as one dealership (Flow Auto).

ZONING CATEGORY/GENERAL USAGE: HC, Highway Commercial – Motor Vehicle Sales, Service and Rental; and EC, Entrance Corridor Overlay District – Outdoor Sales and Display and/or Sales.

SECTION: 24.2.1(25) and (b)

COMPREHENSIVE PLAN LAND USE/DENSITY: Regional Service – regional-scale retail, wholesale, business and/or employment centers, and residential (6.01-34 units/acre) in Neighborhood 3 (Pantops) Development Area.


LOCATION: South side of Richmond Road (Route 250),  approximately 1060 feet east of its intersection with Riverbend Road.

TAX MAP/PARCEL: TMP 78-58D and 58E

MAGISTERIAL DISTRICT: Rivanna Magisterial District.



The area consists primarily of retail uses, with this immediate stretch of Richmond Road consisting of auto dealerships. The subject parcel is located on the south side of Route 250 East, adjacent to the Brown Toyota dealership (to the east) and across the street from Battlefield Ford (See Attachment A for a location map). To the west is the site is the Crown BMW dealership.  The ACSA headquarters and equipment storage is to the south of the site.


One of the two parcels associated with this request contains the existing Flow Auto dealership.  The second adjacent Parcel is currently vacant but has been cleared and previously graded. A stone house was located on the parcel for many years.  The house was recently demolished and debris removed from the site (within the last 2 years). 



The intent of the special use permit requirement is to review the potential impacts to the Entrance Corridor of the outdoor sales and display activity related to the dealership operation. Other activities related to auto sales are considered by-right uses.  The ARB has reviewed this proposal for its impact on the Route 250 East Entrance Corridor and had no objection to the request for the Special Use Permit with a condition related to landscaping. 




No prior planning/zoning history exists for the adjacent site. 





Land Use Plan-

The property is located in Pantops Development Area (Neighborhood 3), and is designated Regional Service in the current Land Use Plan. The purpose/intent of the Regional Service designation noted in the Plan is to provide locations for highway related uses, comparison shopping and specialized goods and services.  Typical primary uses include regional-scale commercial uses, and auto dealerships which typically include outdoor storage and display of vehicles for sale.


Neighborhood Model-

The ordinance limits the review of this Special Use Permit specifically to the impacts of the sales and display activities to the Entrance Corridor.  Therefore, this request is not reviewed in regards to conformity to the Neighborhood Model.




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


The subject parcel is located in the HC zoning district. The dominant character of the segment of the Entrance Corridor in which the subject parcel resides is that of a dense commercial strip. Many of the properties in this corridor have already been developed as automobile dealerships with outdoor storage and display (as described above under “Character of the Area”). The proposed use is compatible with other existing auto dealers in the immediate vicinity.



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


According to section 30.6 of the Zoning Ordinance, the intent of the EC Overlay District is, in part, to ensure a quality of development that is compatible with the county’s important scenic, architectural and cultural resources through the architectural control of development. The ARB has applied the County’s adopted guidelines for development within the EC to the review of this request and has recommended approval with conditions.



with uses permitted by-right in the district,


Although a special use permit is required for the proposed modifications/additions to the outdoor sales and display areas on these sites, this activity (sales/display area) is for an accessory use to motor vehicle sales, which is already allowed by right within the Highway Commercial (HC) zoning district. Other automobile dealerships exist in the immediate vicinity. Therefore, the sales and display use is compatible with other permitted and existing uses.



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


There are no additional regulations provided in section 5.0 of this ordinance related to vehicle storage or display.




The intent of the special use permit requirement is based on potential impacts to the Entrance Corridors. The ARB has reviewed this proposal for its impact on the Route 250 East Entrance Corridor and had no objection to the request for the Special Use Permit provided the site is adequately landscaped and operated consistent the conditions recommended by the ARB (Attachment C).



Staff has identified the following factors that are favorable to this request:


1.   A motor vehicle sales use is a by-right use in the Highway Commercial District and the proposed use is accessory to that use;

2.   The Architectural Review Board has reviewed the request for outdoor storage and display and recommends approval with conditions.

3.  There are no detrimental impacts to the Entrance Corridor, with conditions as recommended by the ARB.


Staff has identified no unfavorable factors to this application. 



The following factors are relevant to this consideration:


1.   There are several automobile dealerships with outdoor sales/display of vehicles in the immediate vicinity along the Route 250 East Entrance Corridor.




Based on the findings contained in this staff report, Staff recommends approval of this special use permit with the following conditions:


1.         Vehicles shall not be elevated anywhere on site.

2.         Vehicles shall be displayed only in areas indicated for display shown on the site plan entitled “Flow Automotive,” prepared by the Collins Engineering, dated April 18, 2007.

3.         Display parking shall be only in designated striped parking spaces as identified on this plan.

4.         Final site plan approval is subject to ARB approval of the landscape plan (submitted with the site plan). Landscaping shown on the plan may be required to be in excess of the minimum requirements of ARB guidelines or the Zoning Ordinance to compensate for the negative visual impact of the proposed use, particularly regarding the retaining wall on the west side of the property.

5.         Final site plan approval is subject to the recordation of easements for ingress/egress, as well as the installation, maintenance and use of parking spaces, planter islands, and landscaping on adjacent parcels (Tax Map 78, Parcels 15D and 15E).

6.         Final site plan approval is subject to ARB approval of the lighting plan (which shall be submitted with the site plan). Maximum light levels on site shall not exceed 30 foot candles.   Maximum spillover lighting requirements must also be met.





A.      Location Map

B.     Flow Automotive Volkswagen, Audi, Mazda Special Use Permit Concept Plan (Sept. 27, 2006)

C.     ARB conditions of approval
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