COUNTY OF ALBEMARLE

STAFF REPORT SUMMARY

 

Project Name: 

SP 2007-00002 Farm Worker Housing

SDP 2007-00032 Farm Worker Housing

Staff: Scott Clark

Planning Commission Public Hearing:

May 5, 2007

Board of Supervisors Public Hearing:

June 6, 2007

Owner/s:  Two Times Five LLC

Applicant: Two Times Five LLC

Acreage:  272.640

Special Use Permit: 10.2.2.51. Farm worker housing, Class B (more than ten occupants or more than two sleeping structures) (reference 5.1.44).

TMP:  Tax Map 102 Parcel 10

Location:  571 Coles Rolling Road (Route 712), approximately 1 mile east of the intersection with Route 713.

Existing Zoning and By-right use:  RA Rural Areas: agricultural, forestal, and fishery uses; residential density (0.5 unit/acre)

 

Magisterial District:  Scottsville

Conditions or Proffers: Yes

RA (Rural Areas

Requested # of Dwelling Units: n/a

Proposal:  Scottsville

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: The northeastern half of the property in agricultural use. The southwestern half is forested. The farm includes two ponds on tributaries of Miller Creek.

Use of Surrounding Properties: Agriculture, forestry, residential uses, historic site (Pine Knot)

Factors Favorable:

1.        The use supports agricultural production in the Rural Areas.

2.        The facility would use existing structures, would require minimal changes to the site, and could easily revert to other farm uses.

Factors Unfavorable:

1.      Sight distance along Coles Rolling Road is insufficient for vehicles exiting the site. This problem can be solved with clearing of shrubby vegetation and some grading.

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

 

 

 

Petition: 

PROPOSED: Farm worker housing facilities including 5 sleeping cabins and 1 kitchen/bath structure for 10 seasonal workers.

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

SECTION: 10.2.2.51, Farm worker housing, Class B (more than ten occupants or more than two sleeping structures)

COMPREHENSIVE PLAN LAND USE/DENSITY:  Rural Areas - preserve and protect agricultural, forestal, open space, and natural, historic and scenic resources/ density ( .5  unit/ acre)

ENTRANCE CORRIDOR: No

LOCATION: 571 Coles Rolling Road (Route 712), approximately 1 mile east of the intersection with Route 713.

TAX MAP/PARCEL: Tax Map 122 Parcel 10

MAGISTERIAL DISTRICT: Scottsville

 

Character of the Area:

The surrounding area consists largely of agricultural fields and forest patches, as well as some smaller residential parcels.

 

Specifics of the Proposal:

 

The applicant intends to house seasonal student interns who will assist with and learn about agricultural production on an organic vegetable farm. The facility would use existing structures—five small cabins and one larger building that would house kitchen and bath facilities. The cabins are 14’6” wide by 22’3” deep (including a 6’3” covered porch), and would sleep two people each. The 41’x25’ kitchen/bath building would include a 10’x25’ kitchen area and a separate 10’x25’ bath area.

 

Planning and Zoning History:

 

The applicant has also applied for a Farm Worker Housing Class A facility, which would use only two of the five existing cabins. This would have allowed them to start their operation at a smaller scale while waiting for a decision on this special use permit. However, the Class A facility cannot begin until after the site plan waiver (discussed below) is approved, as the use requires a new parking area (which would trigger a requirement for a new site plan).

 

This property is included in a conservation easement held by the Virginia Outdoors Foundation. VOF staff has verified that the proposed facility is permissible under the easement.

 

The property is located in the Carter’s Bridge Agricultural/Forestal District, and the proposal is supported by the Agricultural/Forestal Districts Committee.

 

SP 2007-00002 Farm Worker Housing

 

Conformity with the Comprehensive Plan:

 

The Rural Areas section of the Comprehensive Plan contains the following policy statements:

 

GOAL: Protect Albemarle County’s agricultural lands as a resource base for its

agricultural industries and for related benefits they contribute towards the

County’s rural character, scenic quality, natural environment, and fiscal health.

 

OBJECTIVE: To support agricultural land uses and to create additional markets for

agricultural products through creative economic and land use strategies.

 

This use would provide needed agricultural labor and support innovative agricultural production in the Rural Areas consistent with the Comprehensive Plan. The use will also support the Comprehensive Plan by providing agricultural awareness and education to the interns who work there.

 

 

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 cabins are located approximately 800 feet from the nearest residence. Traffic and on-site noise would be increased by the addition of up to 10 seasonal farm workers on the site. These impacts would be comparable to those created by by-right residential development, but would be seasonal.

 

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

 

Adding facilities for farm labor is consistent with the character of the Rural Areas.

 

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

 

As this use supports agricultural production, it would be in harmony with the following purposes of the Zoning Ordinance:

 

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;

 

10.1      Preservation of agricultural and forestal lands and activities;

 

with uses permitted by right in the district,

 

This agricultural use is in harmony with by-right uses in the Rural Areas district and is supportive of agriculture.

 

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

 

This facility must comply with the supplemental regulations in section 5.1.44. See Attachment B for the full text of this section; the discussion below describes how the application meets these requirements.


 

 

5.1.44 FARM WORKER HOUSING

Each farm worker housing facility shall be subject to the following:

 

a. Concept plan to be submitted with application for farm worker housing.

 

See Attachment A for the conceptual plan.

 

b. Contents of concept plan.

 

The conceptual plan meets the requirements of this section.

 

c. Notice of receipt of concept plan to abutting owners. The zoning administrator shall send notice

of the receipt of a concept plan as follows:

1. Farm worker housing, Class A, facility:

 

This does not apply to the special use permit request.

 

2. Farm worker housing, Class B, facility:

 

Adjacent owners have been notified of this special use permit application. One nearby landowner (not adjacent to the subject property) has submitted a letter supporting the proposal (see Attachment C).

 

d. Request for planning commission review and action on farm worker housing, Class A, facility

concept plan.

 

This does not apply to the special use permit request.

 

e. Review and action on concept plan. A concept plan shall be reviewed and acted upon as follows:

 

1. Farm worker housing, Class A, facility.

 

This does not apply to the special use permit request.

 

2. Farm worker housing, Class B, facility.

 

The review covered in this report meets this requirement.

 

f. Farm worker housing facilities; permissible structures.

 

No prohibited structures (motor vehicles or major recreational equipment) would be used for this facility. The farm workers would be housed in cabins.

 

g. Minimum yards:

 

These requirements have been met. The cabins are approximately 350 feet from Coles Rolling Road (compared to the minimum front setback of 75 feet), and greater distances from the side and back property lines.

 

h. Zoning compliance clearance.

 

The applicant is already working with Zoning staff to secure the written approvals needed (from the Virginia Department of Health, VDOT, Fire/Rescue, and Inspections staff) for approval of the zoning clearance. As section 5.1.44 requires these approvals for all farm worker housing facilities, no additional conditions of approval are needed for these aspects of the proposal.

 

3. Upon the zoning administrator’s determination that all requirements of the zoning ordinance are satisfied, that all conditions of the special use permit authorizing a farm worker housing, Class B, facility, are satisfied, and upon receipt of the approvals and documents required in section 5.1.44(h)(2), the zoning administrator shall issue a zoning compliance clearance for the facility.

 

The subsections here (1) require that only farm workers and their immediate families reside in the facility, and (2) permit the structures to be used for other farm purposes when not occupied. These measures affect how the use is conducted rather than how it is designed on the plan. The applicant’s plans for the use are consistent with this section.

 

 

and with the public health, safety and general welfare.

 

The Virginia Department of Transportation has stated that sight distance at the entrance to the site from Coles Rolling Road is insufficient. Drivers exiting the site cannot see traffic approaching from the right. The applicant has contracted to have the necessary clearing (shrubby vegetation will be removed) and grading done. The use will not receive a zoning clearance to begin until VDOT has verified that the entrance is acceptable (as required in 5.1.44(h)); no additional condition of approval is needed.

 

Community Development staff have discussed the water supply for fire suppression with Fire/Rescue staff. The site has a pond with a dry hydrant reserved for fire department use, and this is generally sufficient for the use. Fire/Rescue staff will visit the site and require any improvements (hydrant work, access-road improvements, etc.) before providing the written approval needed for the zoning clearance. As this approval is required for the zoning clearance, no additional condition of approval is needed.

 

Just before the Planning Commission hearing, the Virginia Department of Health (VDH) issued an approval for the site as a migrant worker housing facility. However, this approval limited the site to eight rather than ten residents, due to septic-field capacity. VDH staff stated that the capacity could be increased to ten depending on future water use on the site. Community Development staff has discussed this with the applicant, who has stated that capacity could also be increased with upgrades to the septic field. Given that it is likely that the site will soon be approved by VDH for ten residents, staff believes that permitting ten residents on the site is still appropriate. The VDH permit will limit the use to eight until the septic field is upgraded, at which point the 10-person limit in the special use permit application will apply.

 

The use will need a new parking area. Community Development engineering staff have reviewed the plan and recommend approval of the proposed parking area with a gravel surface and parking stops delineating the spaces.

 

This property is located in the Carter’s Bridge Agricultural/Forestal District. On April 17, 2007, the Agricultural/Forestal Districts Committee considered this application and voted unanimously to support the proposal.

 

The property is adjacent to the Pine Knot historic site, and is located within the proposed Southern Albemarle Rural Historic District. However, the proposed housing facility is approximately 2,700 feet from Pine Knot, which is not visible from the site due to the forested state of the Pine Knot property. The Historic Preservation Planner has reviewed the request, and the addition of seasonal farm worker housing to an existing farm is not expected to create impacts on Pine Knot or the proposed District.

 

 

SDP 2007-00032 Farm Worker Housing – Site Plan Waiver

 

This is an application for approval of a site plan waiver.  These requests are reviewed in accord with Chapter 18, Section 32.2.2 of the County Code which states:

 

 

Staff has reviewed this request and is able to support the request.  The structures and entrance to the site already exist. The proposed parking area is shown in sufficient detail on the conceptual plan for SP 2007-00002 (Attachment A). The proposed parking area can be approved with a gravel surface.  No conditions are needed and no public concerns were expressed regarding this application.  Given the limited work required to establish this use, and the fact that the conceptual plan for SP 2007-00002 provides the information that would be needed on a site plan, the agent recommends approval of this waiver request.

 

 

SUMMARY:

 

Staff has identified the following factors favorable to this application:

1.       The use supports agricultural production in the Rural Areas.

2.       The facility would use existing structures, would require minimal changes to the site, and could easily revert to other farm uses.

 

Staff has identified the following factors unfavorable to this application:

1.       Sight distance along Coles Rolling Road is insufficient for vehicles exiting the site. This problem can be solved with clearing of shrubby vegetation and some grading.

 

RECOMMENDED ACTION: 

Based on the findings contained in this staff report, staff recommends approval of Special Use Permit 2007-02 Farm Worker Housing under the following condition:

 

1.       The improvements proposed under SP 2007-00002 and the scale and location of the improvements shall be developed in general accord with the conceptual plan entitled “Conceptual Plan for SP 2007-032” (including the attached sheet titled “Conceptual plan for farm worker housing”), revised March 23, 2007, and initialed “SMC”.

2.       Parking spaces shall be delineated by bumper blocks. Bumper blocks shall be constructed of a durable material such as concrete or treated timbers. Each bumper block shall be a minimum length of six (6) feet, a maximum height of five (5) inches, and shall be securely anchored into the ground in at least two (2) places.

3.       The parking area shall be surfaced with gravel. A minimum depth of 6 inches of #57 or #21A stone shall be used to surface the entire parking area.

 

Staff also recommends approval of the site plan waiver, SDP 2007-00032 Farm Worker Housing.

 

ATTACHMENTS

Attachment A – Conceptual Plan for SP 200700002 (3 pages), revised March 23, 2007

Attachment B – Full text of Albemarle County Zoning Ordinance section 5.1.44

Attachment C – Letter from James W. Sams regarding SP 200700002

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