COUNTY OF ALBEMARLE

PLANNING STAFF REPORT SUMMARY

Project Name:  SP 2007-03 North Pointe Stream Crossing at North Side Drive (Middle Entrance)

Staff:  Tamara Jo Ambler

Planning Commission Public Hearing: 

May 8, 2007

Board of Supervisors Public Hearing:

June 6, 2007

Owners:  CWH Properties Limited Partnership, Violet Hill Associates, LLC

Applicant: North Pointe Charlottesville, LLC

Acreage: 162.06 total acres

Special Use Permit for:  Request for fill in the floodplain in accordance with Section 30.3.05.2.1(2) of the Zoning ordinance

TMP:   32-20, 32-23

Location:   East side of Route 29 North (Seminole Trail) across from North Side Drive.

Existing Zoning and By-right use:  PD-MC Planned Development – Mixed Commercial – large scale commercial uses with residential use by special use permit (15 units/acre); FH Flood Hazard Overlay District – agricultural, recreational, and utility location uses which will not pose a danger to life or property in the event of a flood; EC Entrance Corridor Overlay District – overlay to protect properties of historic, architectural or cultural significance from visual impacts of development along routes of tourist access; all uses permitted by right in the underlying districts

Magisterial District:  Rivanna

Conditions:  Yes

DA (Development Area): X

RA (Rural Area):  

Requested # of Dwelling Units:  N/A

 

Proposal: The applicant proposes to install a new stream crossing within the floodplain to serve the proposed North Side Drive entrance (middle entrance) for the proposed North Pointe Community (ZMA 2000-009).  Immediately upstream from this new crossing, the applicant also proposes to place fill in the floodplain for the construction of a portion of North Pointe Boulevard and for the creation of a new lake.

Comprehensive Plan Designation:  Neighborhood Density Residential – residential (3-6 units/acre) and supporting uses such as religious institutions and schools and other small-scale non-residential uses.

Character of Property:  The immediate vicinity of the project area is currently wooded and undeveloped.

Use of Surrounding Properties:  The properties are located across Route 29 from the North Fork Business Park, and are within the proposed North Pointe Community (ZMA 2000-009). 

Factors Favorable: 

1.    No impact to adjacent properties is expected as a result of this special use permit

 

Factors Unfavorable: 

1.  In-stream excavation of Flat Branch to install the new crossing is proposed.  This has been addressed through conditions of approval.

2.  Detailed engineering information was not provided for all proposed fill in the floodplain.  This has been addressed through conditions of approval

RECOMMENDATION: Staff recommends approval with conditions.


PETITION:
PROJECT:
SP 2007-03 North Pointe Stream Crossing at North Side Drive (middle entrance)
PROPOSED:  
To install a new stream crossing within the floodplain to serve the proposed North Side Drive entrance (middle entrance) for the proposed North Pointe Community (ZMA 2000-009).  Immediately upstream from this new crossing, the applicant proposes to place fill in the floodplain for the construction of a portion of North Pointe Boulevard and for the creation of a new lake.

ZONING CATEGORY/GENERAL USAGE: PD-MC Planned Development – Mixed Commercial – large scale commercial uses with residential use by special use permit (15 units/acre) - a special use permit does exist for residential use (SP 2002-072); FH Flood Hazard Overlay District – agricultural, recreational, and utility location uses which will not pose a danger to life or property in the event of a flood; EC Entrance Corridor Overlay District – overlay to protect properties of historic, architectural or cultural significance from visual impacts of development along routes of tourist access; all uses permitted by right in the underlying districts

SECTION: Section 30.3.05.2.1(2) of the Zoning ordinance

COMPREHENSIVE PLAN LAND USE/DENSITY:  Neighborhood Density Residential - residential (3-6 units/acre) and supporting uses such as religious institutions and schools and other small-scale non-residential uses.

ENTRANCE CORRIDOR: Yes_X_No____   Location:   East side of Route 29 North (Seminole Trail) across from North Side Drive.

TAX MAP/PARCEL:   32-20, 32-23

MAGISTERIAL DISTRICT:  Rivanna 

 

CHARACTER OF THE AREA:  The parcels are located on the east side of Route 29, and are across from the North Fork Business Park, directly across from North Side Drive.  Route 29 has been identified as an Entrance Corridor by the County Zoning Ordinance.  The North Fork of the Rivanna River and several parcels associated with the proposed North Pointe Community are to the north, east and south.  The area to the north contains a mixture of low density residential, commercial, and undeveloped properties.   

 

SPECIFICS OF THE PROPOSAL:  A special use permit is being requested for fill in the floodplain to install a new stream crossing of Flat Branch.  The new stream crossing will serve the proposed North Side Drive entrance to the North Pointe Community from Route 29.  Immediately upstream from this new crossing, the applicant also proposes to place fill in the floodplain for the construction of a portion of North Pointe Boulevard and the creation of a new lake.  Figure 1 below shows the characteristics of Flat Branch and the flood plain in the general area of the proposed crossing and fill. 

 

The 2005 FEMA Flood Study and Maps included this stream in the “detailed study” and the Base Flood Elevations were determined.  According to this study the 100-year flood elevation in the area of the proposed crossing is base flood elevation 424.  Further upstream the base flood elevation rises to an elevation of 435 where the fill for North Pointe Boulevard will be placed, and continues to rise to elevation 440 where the new lake is proposed. 

 

The creation of the proposed lake will be designed to pass the 100-year storm and therefore is not expected to significantly impact the floodplain elevation.  The addition of the fill for North Pointe Boulevard will likely raise the floodplain slightly, but will not threaten existing or proposed development.  Detailed engineering was not provided in the application, however, to more specifically describe the anticipated changes to the floodplain.  The applicant states that the installation of the new crossing for North Side Drive will lower the elevation of the 100-year floodplain on the upstream side of the crossing by 0.20 to 0.32 feet (2.4 to 3.84 inches). 

FIGURE 1 – Flat Branch and floodplain in general area of proposed fill

 

The precise length of the new crossing and subsequent design and treatment of the fill slopes for North Side Drive have not yet been finalized because approval of the lane configurations for North Side Drive have not been granted by VDOT and water quality permits have not yet been authorized by Federal and State water quality permitting agencies for impacts to Flat Branch.  The total width will depend upon requirements associated with the provision of turning lanes, transitional tapering of pavement width, and other design components which will be a part of the detailed road plans developed at a later date. 

 

Regarding the design and treatment of the fill slopes associated with the modified stream crossing, if a longer culvert is utilized then the roadway cross section for North Side Drive will consist of the typical vegetated 2:1 fill slopes.  If a shorter culvert is utilized, then stone retaining walls will be incorporated into the 2:1 fill slopes to shorten the slope length and provide for the necessary roadway section.  The proposed design and treatment for the fill slopes is identical to that proposed for the northernmost entrance, approved under SP 2006-34.  The slopes and the retaining walls for the middle entrance will be visible from the Entrance Corridor to some degree, but not as visible as the slopes associated with that northernmost entrance.

 

The new crossing will be located within the vegetative stream buffer for Flat Branch required by Section 17-317 of the Water Protection Ordinance.  The applicant has proposed to mitigate these impacts as required under Section of 17-322 of the Water Protection Ordinance through restoration and permanent preservation of riparian areas along Flat Branch as part of an overall stream impact mitigation plan currently being developed for the cumulative impacts associated with the entire North Pointe Community project.

 

PLANNING AND ZONING HISTORY:

On August 2, 2006 the Board of Supervisors approved a rezoning request for the proposed North Pointe Community.  The concept plan associated with this approved rezoning illustrates this crossing of Flat Branch to serve as the middle of three proposed entrances from Route 29 to the proposed North Pointe development.  In addition, the concept plan associated with the rezoning illustrates a portion of the fill for the proposed North Pointe Boulevard and a new earthen dam for a proposed lake encroaching into the floodplain.

 

On February 14, 2007 the Board of Supervisors approved a special use permit request to allow fill in the floodplain of Flat Branch for a road crossing to serve as the northernmost entrance to the proposed North Pointe Community.  That approved crossing is located on a nearby parcel approximately 0.5 mile downstream from the current proposal.

 

Conformity with the Comprehensive Plan: 

The Open Space and Critical Resources Plan, a component of the Comprehensive Plan, identifies this area of the proposed stream crossing as a “major and locally important stream valley” due to the presence of critical slopes and 100-year floodplain for Flat Branch.  The concept plan associated with the approved North Pointe Community rezoning illustrates the proposed crossing, and the plan shows stream valley areas around the proposed crossing as “conservation area” and calls for these areas to remain undisturbed and protected from development beyond the construction of illustrated pedestrian paths.  In addition, the concept plan shows the stream valley areas adjacent to the proposed lake and North Pointe Boulevard as “conservation areas”.

 

The Stormwater Master Plan, also a component of the Comprehensive Plan, identifies this portion of Flat Branch as “community and private use/trails”, which means that the primary objective of these stream corridors is to provide access to natural refuge and trails in proximity to developed areas. 

 

STAFF COMMENT: 

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 County Engineer and staff have reviewed the applicant’s proposal, and generally concur that the placement of fill in the floodplain for North Side Drive, North Pointe Boulevard, and the new lake will not detrimentally affect adjacent properties.  Changes to the floodplain are anticipated but it is expected that these changes will be confined to the project site, and will not affect planned development or existing development.  However, insufficient engineering information was provided to more specifically anticipate the changes to the floodplain from the fill associated with North Pointe Boulevard and the dam for the lake.  The County Engineer has conducted independent analyses to more accurately predict the impacts to the floodplain and has revised the applicant’s sketch of anticipated floodplain impacts (Figure 2).  The new lake will be an expansion of the floodplain limits.  Also, there will likely be a small buildup of water at the entrance to the proposed culvert under North Side Drive.  Otherwise the remainder of the floodplain limits should be largely unchanged.  These expected changes to the floodplain, as determined by the County Engineer, are shown in red in Figure 2 below. 

FIGURE 2  Applicant’s sketch of anticipated floodplain impacts (revised by County Engineer)

 

The applicant proposes to excavate the stream channel to construct the stream crossing at North Side Drive, in order to provide additional capacity and pass the 100-year storm without raising the floodplain elevation.  The County Engineer and staff strongly discourages excavation of the stream channel to provide greater capacity, and instead recommend that the stream channel be left undisturbed to the extent possible.  The County Engineer has addressed this concern and the outstanding engineering issues through a number of conditions of approval, found at the end of this report.

 

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

If a longer culvert is utilized then the roadway cross section for Northwest Passage will consist of the typical vegetated 2:1 fill slopes.  If a shorter culvert is utilized, then stone retaining walls will be incorporated into the 2:1 fill slopes to shorten the slope length and provide for the necessary roadway section. The slopes and the retaining walls would be visible from the Entrance Corridor.  The Design Planner has requested to review the treatment of the fill slopes and the design of the retaining walls that might be used.  The Design Planner has also recommended conditions regarding the streetscape planting associated with the stream crossing. 

 

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

The intent of the Planned Development – Mixed Commercial zoning is to permit development of large-scale commercial areas with a broad range of commercial uses under a unified planned approach.  The Flood Hazard zoning has the purpose and intent of restricting development in the floodplain which may result in danger to life and property, public costs for flood control measures, public costs for rescue and relief efforts, soil erosion and sedimentation, pollution of water resources, and general degradation of the natural and man-made environment.  The purpose and intent of the Entrance Corridor Zoning is to protect properties of historic, architectural, or cultural significance from visual impacts of development along routes of tourist access.

 

Because the placement of fill in the floodplain for North Side Drive, North Pointe Boulevard, and the new lake will not detrimentally affect adjacent properties, including existing and planned development, the proposal is in harmony with the Flood Hazard overlay zoning.  Changes to the floodplain are anticipated but it is expected that these changes will be confined to the project site, and will not affect planned development or existing development. 

 

The final design of the retaining wall, slope treatment, and streetscape planting for the crossing will be reviewed by the Design Planner to ensure that the treatment is appropriate for the Entrance Corridor overlay zoning.

  

with uses permitted by right in the district,

The creation of a stream crossing to provide access to a planned development, and the placement of fill to create a roadway and lake as shown on the approved rezoning application plan would appear to be in harmony with the other uses permitted by right in the district.

 

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

There are no supplementary regulations relating to the placement of fill in the floodplain in Section 5.0 of the Zoning Ordinance. 

 

and with the public health, safety and general welfare.

Changes to the floodplain are anticipated but it is expected that these changes will be confined to the project site, and will not affect planned development or existing development.

 

 

SUMMARY:

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

1.  No impact to neighboring properties is expected as a result of this special use permit.

 

Staff has identified the following factors which are unfavorable to this request: 

1.  In-stream excavation of Flat Branch to install the new crossing is proposed.  This has been addressed through conditions of approval.

2.  Detailed engineering information was not provided for all proposed fill in the floodplain.  This has been addressed through conditions of approval

 

 

RECOMMENDED ACTION:

Staff recommends approval of the request with the following conditions:

 

1.      The applicant must obtain a map revision, letter of revision, or letter of amendment as required from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and copy the County Engineer on all correspondence, since changes to the floodplain are proposed.

2.      County and VDOT approval of the final lane configuration for North Side Drive over the stream crossing with the final road plans

3.      County approval of hydrologic and hydraulic computations for the dam, culvert crossing and channels is required prior to issuance of grading permits.

4.      There shall be no disturbance within 50 feet of the stream channel, exclusive of the dam, the culvert under North Side Drive East, and walking trails.  (In the Figure 2 above, the grading shown at points 1 and 2 must be eliminated, and where proposed contours are shown closer than 50’ to the stream, such as at point 3, the grading must be pulled back.)

5.      The culvert under North Side Drive shall be an arch culvert which leaves the natural stream channel and banks undisturbed for a minimum width of 24 feet.  In the case that VDOT does not approve the placement of footings or the arch span under North Side Drive, box culverts may be used, subject to the approval of County staff.  In this case a minimum of two culverts with one countersunk for base stream flow shall be used, with impacts to the FEMA floodplain equal to or better than for the arch culvert span.

6.      County Engineer approval of the following:

a)      The culvert and embankments for North Side Drive shall encroach a maximum of 190 feet along the stream channel.

b)      The dam shall be designed with an emergency spillway (separate from the primary spillway) which will pass the 100 year storm (base flood) under the road which traverses the dam.

c)      The dam shall allow for a continuation of the base flow in the stream.

7.      Buildings and structural foundations shall be a minimum of 20 feet from the limits of the floodplain.  (This is a precautionary measure, anticipating the reaction of owners or tenants to water levels close to buildings, such as proposed in Area 1 in Figure 2.)

8.      Army Corp of Engineers, Virginia Department of Environmental Quality, and other necessary state and federal agency approvals must be obtained prior to issuance of grading permits.

9.      Natural Resources Manager approval of a stream buffer mitigation plan prior to the issuance of a grading permit prior to placement of any fill in the floodplain, and County approval an erosion and sediment control plan prior to the issuance of a grading permit for placement of any fill in the floodplain.

10.  Design Planner approval of a landscape plan.  The landscape plan shall be shown on the road plans and erosion and sediment control plans submitted for North Side Drive. The landscape plan shall include a complete planting schedule keyed to the plan and shall provide the following:

a)      Existing tree line and proposed tree line to remain, the limits of clearing and grading, and tree protection

b)      Provide an informal planting of mixed tree and shrub species and sizes to compensate for removed vegetation, and low-growing plants to stabilize slopes in the areas of proposed grading and tree removal.  This planting shall occur regardless of the grading proposal (DDR or KCA) chosen.

c)      Provide large shade trees on the north and south side of North Side Drive, along the sidewalk and space reserved for the sidewalk, 2 ½” caliper minimum at planting, 40’ on center, for a minimum distance of 400’ from the existing edge of pavement of Route 29 North.

d)      Planting at the stormwater detention basins shall be integrated with other proposed planting and existing vegetation to remain, to establish an overall integrated planting scheme.

11.  Design details of the retaining walls, including column cap design, pier design, stone finish, etc. shall be shown on the road plans and are subject to review of the Design Planner.

 

 

ATTACHMENTS:

Attachment A - Location Map

Attachment B – Proposal from applicant

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