Albemarle County Planning Commission

April 17, 2007


The Albemarle County Planning Commission held a meeting on Tuesday, April 17, 2007, at 6:00 p.m., at the County Office Building, Auditorium, Second Floor, 401 McIntire Road, Charlottesville, Virginia. Members attending were Pete Craddock, Duane Zobrist, Jon Cannon, Bill Edgerton, Eric Strucko and Marcia Joseph, Chairman.  Calvin Morris, Vice-Chairman was absent.  Julia Monteith, Senior Land Use Planner for the University of Virginia was absent. 


Other officials present were David Benish, Chief of Planning; David E. Pennock, Principal Planner; Joan McDowell, Principal Planner; Amelia McCulley, Zoning Administrator/Director of Zoning & Current Development; Glenn Brooks, County Engineer; Allan Shuck, Engineer; Elaine Echols, Senior Planner and Greg Kamptner, Deputy County Attorney. 


Call to Order and Establish Quorum:


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


SP 2007-00009, Little Keswick School Amendment (Signs #101, 102)

PROPOSED: Amend SP 06-13 to increase the size of the New Dorm from 45' X 90' to 56'8" X 100'.  No additional students or staff would result.

ZONING CATEGORY/GENERAL USAGE: Rural Areas - preserve and protect agricultural, forestal, open space, and natural, historic and scenic resources/ density ( .5  unit/ acre).

SECTION: 10.2.2(5) Private School.

COMPREHENSIVE PLAN LAND USE/DENSITY:  RA -- Rural Areas: agricultural, forestal, and fishery uses; residential density (0.5 unit/acre).

ENTRANCE CORRIDOR: No. LOCATION: 505 Little Keswick Lane; Rt. 731 1/10th of a mile SE of Rt. 22.

TAX MAP/PARCEL: TM 80 Parcels 110, 110A, 110A2, 112, 117A, 118, 119.


STAFF: Joan McDowell


Ms. McDowell summarized the staff report.


A special use permit was approved last year to allow the relocation of a dorm to an existing dorm for offices and storage.  The applicant has requested a modification of a condition of approval for that application to allow additional square footage for the new dorm due to changes in the architecture.  In its approval the Board of Supervisors increased the enrollment from 31 to 35 students.  The dorms increased square footage would not cause a further increase in students or staff.  The new dorm would have limited visibility from Keswick Road, the nearest public road.  The height would not be affected. 


Staff’s opinion is that amending the square footage from the condition would allow some flexibility for minor changes in the future should they occur without compromising the findings of Section of the Zoning Ordinance.  Staff recommends approval of SP-2007-09 subject to the conditions of approval contained in the staff report.


Staff has identified the following factors favorable to this application:

1.  The proposed square footage increase would not increase traffic.

2. The increase in square footage would not adversely impact visibility from neighboring properties.


Staff has not identified any factors unfavorable to this application.


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


Mark Columbus, Head Master of Little Keswick School, thanked staff for helping them to push this minor change through to allow them to get before the Board.  They already had a builder in line upon the first approval.  When these minor changes were made it set back the building process.  The minor change as indicated is as indicated that after approval of the first one is simply a dorm located in this area that originally had the dimensions of 45’ X 95’.  His understanding is that when looking at the modifications and the architectural plan that fits the boys of the school it came out to be 56’8” by 100’.  So the concept plan now shows that, which is indicated by the change of the new dorm.  That is the only change that they have made to the Little Keswick School Concept Plan.


Public comment was opened.  There being none, the public hearing was closed and the matter before the Commission.


Ms. Joseph asked Mr. Columbus to come back to address a question concerning an email received by the Commission from Johnathan Rintels who lives next door.  She also received a phone call from Mr. Rintels. 


Mr. Columbus noted that since the Commission received that email that he had talked to John Rintels.  He used to be the President of the Foundation of their School.  So they have good relationships with them.  Some of the things that they talked about were visually providing some Leyland Cyprus to provide a buffer.  They have already planted some Spruce trees along this line.  Another property that they have is in back of the soccer field and for their view and protection they have already planted Leyland Cyprus.  Their plan is to certainly work with Johnathan Rintels and provide a buffer there.  Although, if you look at the visual height of the building this sets down a good 40 ‘.  So the actual profile of the building is very low.  It is lower than the actual gymnasium..  With the Leyland Cyprus and the Spruce that they have already planted it will give adequate protection.


Ms. Joseph noted that Mr. Rentall was saying something about the soccer field, too.


Mr. Columbus noted that there are some existing Pine trees along this drive.  It is sort of a right-of-way.  Mr. Rentall has put up a lattice fence there.  They would be happy to plant some Spruce or Leyland Cyprus.


Ms. Joseph asked if he could accept as a condition of approval some screening trees being planted between the school and the adjacent neighbor.


Mr. Columbus replied yes, that they can.  They have already had an arborist that has planted some trees along there.  They certainly can plan some trees.


Motion:  Mr. Strucko moved, Mr. Cannon moved for approval of SP-2007-00009, Little Keswick School Amendment, with that additional condition of screen plantings.


Ms. Joseph asked staff if that was specific enough.


Ms. McDowell suggested Leyland Cyprus.


Ms. Joseph asked staff to figure out the type of species to be used.  She asked if staff wants spacing.  She suggested that staff allow the applicant to figure out what he can buy at a good price that will work in that location.  She asked staff to suggest the size and spacing.


Ms. McDowell replied that she had also talked with the adjacent neighbor.  He is interested in some screening to be provided as quickly as it can grow.  She suggested starting off with something around 3’ to 4’ tall and she would leave it up to the Commission as to how close they should be.


Ms. Joseph asked that the trees be 15’ on center.


Mr. Benish asked if the intent is to block the view with the vegetation.


Ms. McDowell replied yes.


Ms. Joseph suggested planting the trees 15’ on center in a double staggered row.


Mr. Benish noted that it would depend on the species.  So maybe the intent of creating that sort of obscured view is what the Commission needs to identify such as planting Leyland Cyprus, White Pines, etc.


Ms. Joseph asked staff to work out that condition before it goes to the Board.


Mr. Benish replied yes, if the Commission could just direct staff to do that and meet that intent they will provide something.


Mr. Strucko asked staff to provide the language of that condition.


Mr. Craddock asked if they wanted the screening down that side and also to make the turn at the soccer field.


Amended Motion: Mr. Strucko moved, Mr. Cannon seconded, to approve SP-2007-009, Little Keswick School Amendment, subject to the conditions recommended by staff, as amended, to provide language of that condition concerning screening to be worked out by staff prior to the Board of Supervisors hearing.

(includes SP 06-13, as approved, with strikethroughs to delete reference to exact size and underlines for new information). 


1.      Special Use Permit 2006-13 2007-09 shall be limited to the construction use of a maximum two-story 45' by 95' residential facility the "New Dorm" for students enrolled in the Little Keswick School and for the conversion of the existing "Barn Dorm" to non-residential uses, such as office, recreational, storage, meeting area, or other similar uses.  The "New Dorm" shall be located and developed in general accord with the concept plan, titled, "Little Keswick School, Concept Plan"  (Attachment A.) and dated June 22, 2006 February 16, 2007 (last revision date) (the “Concept Plan”).  However, the Zoning Administrator may approve revisions to the c Concept p Plan to allow compliance with the Zoning Ordinance. 

2.      Maximum enrollment of students shall be limited to thirty-five (35). Any increase in enrollment shall require an amendment to this special use permit and may require entrance improvements subject to Virginia Department of Transportation requirements. 

3.      The existing dorm, labeled "Barn Dorm" on the concept plan (Attachment A) shall be subject to review by the Building Official prior to conversion of the existing use to any other use. 

4.      Construction shall commence within five (5) years of the date of approval of the special use permit SP-2006-013  SP 2007-09.

5.      The screening condition to be worked out by staff prior to Board of Supervisors hearing.


Mr. Driver asked for a quick clarification concerning Mr Craddock’s comment about providing screening at the turn of the field.  When talking with John Rentall this morning about this the substantial Leyland Cyprus that he sees there he likes.  The turn here is not the problem.  It is really these two other areas.  He did not feel that Mr. Rintels could see the property in that corner. 


Ms. Joseph felt that was something that they needed to work out with staff and Mr. Rintels before May 2. 


Mr. Craddock said that would be fine because it does not show any trees on their property.  It looks like it is all on Rintels’s property. 


Ms. Joseph agreed.


Mr. Driver said that in fact if they look at this most of the trees are in a culvert on their side of that. He did not think that this was really indicative of the vegetative of tree growth.


The motion passed by a vote of 6:0.  (Mr. Morris was absent.) 


Ms. Joseph stated that SP-2006-009, Little Keswick School Amendment, would go before the Board of Supervisors on May 2, 2007 with a recommendation for approval, but with a change to the conditions to allow for the planting.


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