COUNTY OF ALBEMARLE

PLANNING STAFF REPORT SUMMARY

 

Project Name:  SP 2007-09 Little Keswick School Amendment

Staff:   Joan McDowell

Planning Commission Public Hearing:

April 17, 2007

Board of Supervisors Public Hearing:

May 2, 2007

Owner/s:  LKS Enterprises LLC

Applicant: LKS Enterprises LLC

Acreage:  21.05 acres

Special Use Permit: Zoning Ordinance Section 10.2.2 (5) Private Schools

TMP:  80-110, 110A, 110A2, 112, 117A, 118, 119

 

Location:  500 Little Keswick Lane

Existing Zoning and By-right use:   

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

 

 

Magisterial District: 

Conditions: Yes

RA :  Rural Areas 2

Requested # of Dwelling Units:        N/A    

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

Comprehensive Plan Designation: RA - Rural Areas: preserve and protect agricultural, forestal, open space, and natural, historic and scenic resources/ density (.5 unit/ acre)

 

Character of Property: Private school with one and two story buildings, sports fields, and open spaces

Use of Surrounding Properties:  Agricultural, commercial, residential

Factor Favorable: 1.  The proposed square footage increase would not increase traffic. 2.  The increase in square footage would not adversely impact visibility from neighboring properties.

Factor Unfavorable:

None

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

 

 

 

 

Petition:  PROJECT: Special Use Permit 2007-09 Little Keswick School Amendment  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: Yes____No__X__ 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 MAGISTERIAL DISTRICT: Rivanna

 

Character of the Area:  The area surrounding the Little Keswick School consists of farmland, commercial, scattered residential.  The school buildings are generally located within the 21-acre site and have limited visibility from the public road.  The former depot that later served as the fire department community building on Keswick Road now serves as the dining room for the school.  Stokes of England, a blacksmith, is adjacent to the dining hall on a parcel owned by the applicant (TMP 80-110A).  Keswick Country Club property is located to the south of the subject property, across the CSX railroad. 

 

Specifics of the Proposal:  The applicant has requested an amendment of the underlined stipulation in one condition of approval approved with SP 06-13, an application for an expansion of a public school.  The amendment pertains only to the limitations applied to the size of the New Dorm residential facility (underlined).

 

1.        Special Use Permit 2006-13 shall be limited to the construction of a maximum two-story 45' by 95' residential facility "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 (last revision date).  However, the Zoning Administrator may approve revisions to the concept plan to allow compliance with the Zoning Ordinance. 

 

In explaining the requested change, the applicant stated that “the architectural plans were not 100% complete; therefore the building window was inadvertently increased from 45’ X90’ to 56’8” X100’ by the architect.  The actual increase in square footage is only 503 square feet per floor as the building design has several cut outs as shown on the proposed plans. No additional children (students), staff or time of operation [would result from this additional square footage].” Amended concept plans are included as Attachment A. 

 

Planning and Zoning History:  SP 2006-13, a special use permit to relocate the dorm to the New Dorm site and to use the existing dorm for office was approved by the Board of Supervisors on September 6, 2006.  The Board modified the number of students that could be enrolled from 31 (the number of students enrolled in 2006 and approved by the Planning Commission) to 35 students. 

 

Further details of the school’s planning and zoning history are included in the SP 06-13 Little Keswick School Dorm Amendment staff report (Attachment B). 

 

Conformity with the Comprehensive Plan: The property and the adjacent properties are zoned Rural Areas.  The uses permitted by right under RA zoning directly support agriculture, forestry, and conservation of rural land.  The private school and the relocation of the dorm and change of interior uses of the existing dorm building would not negatively affect the permitted by right uses in the RA zoning district.  The private school has existed in this location for forty-three years and has become a significant part of the Keswick community.

 

STAFF COMMENT:  As the additional square footage of this new two-story student residence would not affect enrollment or staffing of the school and would not increase visibility from the public right-of-way or from the adjacent neighbor,  no concerns were offered from the reviewing divisions or departments. 

 

The square footage included in condition number one (SP 2006-13) reflected information obtained from the applicant, at that time. However, due to later, unanticipated changes of the architectural drawings, the applicant has requested an additional 503 square feet per floor of this two story building.  Staff believes that removal of the strict limitations on the building’s dimensions would not affect the findings of this report (compliance with Section 31.2.4.1) and the provision that “The "New Dorm" shall be located and developed in general accord with the concept plan..” would provide some flexibility to allow the applicant to make future minor changes, without an additional amendment to this special use permit.  The findings would not be affected, as the building’s two-story height limitation (key to keeping the limited visual impact of the building), and the limitation on enrollment (key to VDOT’s concerns regarding safety - see Attachment B, Staff Comment finding for public health, safety and welfare) would remain unchanged.

 

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,

As the New Dorm would be sited at a lower elevation than the nearest neighbor, the additional 503 square feet per floor of the New Dorm would cause minimal visual impact and no additional noise or traffic would result.      

 

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

The character of the Rural Areas district will not be affected by the additional square footage of the New Dorm, as the building would be minimally visible in the area.  The school use and its improvements have been sensitively designed and sited to blend with the rural character.

 

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

The purpose and intent of the Rural Areas zoning is to preserve agricultural and forestal lands and activities, to protect the water supply, to limit service to rural areas, and to conserve the natural, scenic, and historic resources of the County.  The proposed additional square footage would be in accord with the purposes and intent of the ordinance, as the adjacent agricultural use would not be affected and the additional square footage would not require additional demands for service.   

 

with uses permitted by right in the district,

The subject property and the adjacent properties are zoned Rural Areas.  The uses permitted by right under RA zoning directly support agriculture, forestry, and conservation of rural land.  The private school and the additional square footage of the relocated dorm would not affect the permitted by right uses in the RA zoning district.  The private school has existed in this location for forty-three years and has become a significant part of the Keswick community.

 

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

There are no regulations in Section 5.0 of the Zoning Ordinance that apply to private schools.

 

and with the public health, safety and general welfare.

No additional staff or students over what was approved with SP 06-13 (35 students) would result from the increased square footage.  The changes to condition number one would not adversely affect nor require additional measures to address the public health, safety and general welfare.

 

SUMMARY:

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.

 

 

RECOMMENDED ACTION:

Based on the findings contained in this staff report, staff recommends approval of Special Use Permit 2007-09 Little Keswick School Dorm with the following conditions (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.

 

ATTACHMENTS

 

Attachment A - "Little Keswick School, Concept Plan", dated February 16, 2007 (last revision date)

 

Attachment B – Staff report for SP 06-13 Little Keswick School Dorm Amendment dated August 8, 2006 (Planning Commission hearing)

 

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