Albemarle County Planning Commission

June 12, 2007


The Albemarle County Planning Commission held a meeting and public hearing on Tuesday, June 12, 2007, at 6:00 p.m., at the County Office Building, Auditorium, Second Floor, 401 McIntire Road, Charlottesville, Virginia. Members attending were Bill Edgerton, Jon Cannon, Eric Strucko, Pete Craddock, Calvin Morris, Vice-Chairman and Marcia Joseph, Chairman. Duane Zobrist was absent.  Julia Monteith, AICP, Senior Land Use Planner for the University of Virginia was absent. 


Other officials present were Wayne Cilimberg, Planning Director; Amy Arnold, Planner; Rebecca Ragsdale, Senior Planner, Elaine Echols, Principal Planner; Scott Clark, Senior Planner; and Greg Kamptner, Deputy County Attorney.


Call to Order and Establish Quorum:


Ms. Joseph called the meeting order at 6:01 p.m. and established a quorum.


Regular Items:


SP2007-00016 Mt. Alto Church Addition (Sign # 109)

PROPOSED: Expansion of church alter area, additional choir space

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

SECTION: Church building and adjunct cemetery

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


LOCATION: 4330 Mt. Alto Road, off Howardsville Turnpike, Esmont

TAX MAP/PARCEL: Tax Map 133, Parcel 16


(Amy Arnold)


Ms. Arnold summarized the staff report.


         The applicant is requesting a special use permit to expand the alter area to provide additional space for the choir to stand and for a small waiting space for the pastor.

       Staff presented photographs of the church to show the back of the church where the addition would be placed and a couple photographs of the parking conditions on site.  It is very similar to Oak Ridge in that it is compacted gravel.  Several photographs showed the site distance at the entrance to the church.

      Staff recommends approval of the addition to the church with the conditions listed in the staff report.  This is a non-conforming use being brought into conformity. Staff will need to do the same research on this property as previously discussed.


Ms. Joseph asked if there were any questions for staff.


Mr. Edgerton said that on page 4 of the report staff notes that Albemarle County Fire and Rescue has requested adequate fire flow at this site be confirmed.  Should that be one of the conditions?


Ms. Arnold replied that it was her understanding that there is not an existing perimeter for what that means at this point in the rural areas.


Mr. Edgerton asked what they were asked for.


Ms. Arnold replied that is referencing a part of the ordinance that was really written for the development areas.  So there is not a standard at this point.


Mr. Cilimberg noted that has been a question that has arisen on subdivision plats with the same comments from Fire and Rescue that would imply some things that have not been discussed in public venues.  At this point they have had to really continue has they have been in the past based on making sure that any project meets the standard for appropriate septic and such.  But, this one is a bit undefined at this point.  Staff is waiting for that to get further discussed.


Mr. Morris asked if there are any other historical considerations on this site with the building that needs to be considered.


Ms. Arnold replied that the building itself was built in the 50s.  The church itself has a history on the site back to the 1800s.


As there were no further questions for staff, Ms. Joseph opened the public hearing and invited the applicant to address the Commission.  There being no one present to speak for the applicant, other public comment was invited.  There being none, the public hearing was closed and the matter before the Commission.  She asked Mr. Kamptner if the Commission should act on the request or wait until the applicant is present.


Mr. Kamptner replied that there was nothing that prevents the Commission from acting on the request tonight.


Mr. Cannon noted that he was inclined to act on the request and approve it with the same condition the Commission placed on the earlier application.  That is the condition that the staff would review issues of capacity and include that as a condition in the matter as it goes before the Board.


Ms. Arnold noted that the church was not proposing any increase at all in capacity.  The church literally just needs a place for the choir to stand.  Right now they are standing between the pulpit and the pews.


Mr. Cannon asked if the Commission was changing a nonconforming use into a conforming use, and would therefore have the same capacity issue. 


Ms. Arnold agreed that they would need to set the number of the sanctuary.


Motion:  Mr. Cannon moved, Mr. Morris seconded, to approve SP-2007-00016, Mt. Alto Church Addition with the conditions recommended by staff, as amended.


1.       Special Use Permit 2007-16 shall be developed in general accord with the concept application plan, provided by the applicant and received February 26, 2007 (Attachment A.)  However, the Zoning Administrator may approve revisions to the concept application plan to allow compliance with the Zoning Ordinance.

2.       The addition shall be limited to 320 square feet.

3.       Staff will work with the applicant regarding the capacity or size limitation issue before the request goes to the Board of Supervisors.  Staff will research similar projects to determine what standard condition the Planning Commission has used in the past associated with the area of assembly to make sure the size of the church and the number of people attending will correspond.  


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


Ms. Joseph stated that SP-2007-00016, Mt. Alto Church Addition will go to the Board of Supervisors with a recommendation for approval on July 11.  She requested staff to talk with the applicant about using hardy plank instead of vinyl on the outside since this is a historic site and the vinyl would be more durable.



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