COUNTY OF ALBEMARLE

PLANNING STAFF REPORT SUMMARY

 

Project Name: SP2007-11 Oak Ridge Church Picnic Pavilion

Staff: Amy Ransom Arnold

Planning Commission Public Hearing:

June 12, 2007

Board of Supervisors Public Hearing:

July 11, 2007

Owner: Oak Ridge Church c/o Walter Smith

Applicant: Oak Ridge Church c/o Walter Smith

Acreage: approximately 1.01 acres

Special Use Permit: 

TMP: Tax Map 126 Parcel 21A 

Location: The parcel is located at 7734 Old Dominion Road, off Green Creek Road, Schuyler

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

Magisterial District: Scottsville

Conditions: Yes

DA (Development Area):  

RA (Rural Areas): X

Requested # of Dwelling Units:  NA                           

Proposal: Construction: 20' x 40' (800 square foot) picnic pavilion

Comprehensive Plan Designation: Rural Areas - preserve and protect agricultural, forestal, open space, and natural, historic and scenic resources/ density (0.5 unit/ acre)

Character of Property: Old Dominion Road bisects the parcel into a ¾ to ¼ proportion.  In a clearing near the edge of Old Dominion Road Oak Ridge Church (brick structure, part standing seam metal roof, part asphalt shingle, 1867) and Fellowship Hall (historic frame school house with standing seam metal roof, date unknown) are located on the west side of Old Dominion.  The remainder of the site is wooded and includes rocky ledges on the western edges of the site.         

Use of Surrounding Properties: The surrounding properties are included in the Rural Areas Zoning District and consist of large forestal and agricultural tracts with minimal residential uses clustered at cross roads or scattered throughout the surrounding landscape.   

Factors Favorable:

1.   The pavilion will not include vehicular access or extension of utilities on the east side of the parcel.

2.   The picnic pavilion will allow the congregation of Oak Ridge Church to continue to support local community life at a rural scale by providing an outdoor gathering place.   

3.   The proposed picnic pavilion should not impact the historic context of the church and school house.   

4.   Supporting the continuing presence of a vibrant church community contributes to the conservation of historic resources and the overall viability of Old Dominion as a crossroads community.  

Factors Unfavorable:

Staff has not identified any factors unfavorable to this application.

 

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

      

STAFF PERSON: Amy Ransom Arnold                

PLANNING COMMISSION: June 12, 2007                                            

BOARD OF SUPERVISORS: July 11, 2007

 

SP 2007-11 Oak Ridge Church Picnic Pavilion

 

Petition: 

PROJECT: SP 2007-11 Oak Ridge Church Picnic Pavilion

PROPOSED: Construction: 20' x 40' picnic pavilion

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

SECTION: 10.2.2.35 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)

ENTRANCE CORRIDOR: Yes____No__x_

LOCATION: 7734 Old Dominion Road, off Green Creek Road, Schuyler

TAX MAP/PARCEL: Tax Map 126, Parcel 21A

MAGISTERIAL DISTRICT: Scottsville

 

Character of the Area:

Heavily forested ridge lines comprise the surrounding context of the subject parcel.  The forest matrix is primarily deciduous with a few scattered evergreen stands.  To the west lies Briar Fork, to the east, Green Creek and the village of Old Dominion.  Several ponds resulting from abandoned quarry sites are located to the north/east of the church parcel.  Scattered open agricultural fields, meadows and residences comprise the remainder of the landscape.  The church is located just south/east of the intersection of Old Dominion Road and Green Creek Road.  This crossroads includes a cluster of small scale residences, two of which appear to be country store buildings in adaptive re-use.  Old Dominion Road is a narrow, compacted gravel byway; Green Creek Road is two lanes, surfaced with asphalt, and continues south/west to meet with Irish Road (Route 6).  Irish Road continues east to the town of Scottsville, west to the Nelson County line.

 

The church is located within the proposed Southern Albemarle Rural Historic District; several historic resources listed by DHR are located near-by reflecting multicultural prehistoric and historic settlement patterns.  Centenary Church House, pre 1897 is located across Old Dominion Road within sight of Oak Ridge Church.

 

Specifics of the Proposal:

The church has requested to allow for the construction of a 20’ x 40’ (800 square foot) picnic pavilion on the portion of the parcel located across Old Dominion Road from the main church building and the fellowship hall.  The church is not proposing vehicular access or extension of utilities on this side of the parcel.  The pavilion will allow for church related family, educational, and social gatherings and the occasional holding of outdoor services on Sunday afternoons.          

 

Planning and Zoning History:

Oak Ridge Church is legally non-conforming; this special use permit request is the first planning and zoning action for this property since the adoption of the Zoning Ordinance.  

 

 

 

 

Conformity with the Comprehensive Plan:

The Comprehensive Plan designates the subject properties as Rural Areas emphasizing the preservation and protection of agricultural, forestal, open space, and natural, historic and scenic resources as land use options.   Under the Rural Areas Section of the Comprehensive Plan allowing the construction of a picnic pavilion on the site of this rural community church supports the following Guiding Principles:

 

“Protect the Rural Area’s historic, archeological, and cultural resources.”

 

“Protect and enhance rural quality of life for present and future Rural Area residents.”

 

“Address the needs of existing rural residents without fostering growth and further suburbanization of the Rural Areas.”

 

“Provide support for long standing rural crossroads communities and villages without creating de facto growth areas.”

 

“Implement the applicable objectives of the Natural Resources and Cultural Assets Plan.”

 

·      “Continue to identify and recognize the value of buildings, structures, landscapes, sites and districts which have historical, architectural, archaeological or cultural significance.”

·      “Pursue additional protection measures and incentives to preserve Albemarle’s historic and archaeological resources in order to foster pride in the County and maintain the County’s character.”

 

Allowing the congregation of Oak Ridge Church to construct the proposed picnic pavilion will enrich the community life of the church and helps sustain an active, rural scale church in the context of the near-by crossroads community of Old Dominion.  In turn, the continuing presence of a vibrant church community contributes to the conservation of the historic school house (now a fellowship hall), the overall viability of Old Dominion as an authentic rural community, and the preservation of a long standing local community as a cultural resource.     

 

STAFF COMMENT:

Staff addresses 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 an accessory structure, a minimum 6’ setback from Old Dominion Road and adjacent property boundaries is required.  The proposed location for the picnic pavilion includes an area large enough to accommodate these setbacks.  The picnic pavilion is proposed located adjacent to a 254 acre wooded parcel.  This adjacent parcel is not in an Agricultural and Forestal District, not under easement, and does not include any residences visible from near-by roads or through aerial photography.  The nearest neighbor is located ¼ mile to the southeast.  The picnic pavilion is proposed to improve and enhance existing community gatherings; coupled with the extensive wooded context of the site staff believes the proposed pavilion will not negatively impact adjacent property.    

 

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

The Albemarle County Historic Preservation Planner has indicated the congregation of Oak Ridge Church has been active in the local community for 140 years according to oral tradition; the congregation currently includes approximately 30 members.  Survey records at the Virginia State Department of Historic Resources list the current one-story brick church building as constructed ca. 1990 with a ca. 1920 wood-frame school house on site included in the survey, which the DHR records speculate may have been the original church building.  The Albemarle County Historic Preservation Planner has indicated since the proposed pavilion is located across the street from the historic school house, it should not impact the historic context of the church and school house.

 

The picnic pavilion will require clearing a small portion of the edge of a large adjacent forest; staff expects the impacts to the forest will be minimal.

 

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

Section 18, Chapter 10 of the Zoning Ordinance outlines the purpose of Rural Areas zoning: “This district (hereafter referred to as RA) is hereby created and may hereafter be established by amendment of the zoning map for the following purposes:

 

-Preservation of agricultural and forestal lands and activities;

-Water supply protection;

-Limited service delivery to the rural areas; and

-Conservation of natural, scenic, and historic resources. (Amended 11-8-89)”

 

Allowing the congregation of Oak Ridge Church to continue its relationship to the surrounding community and maintain an active presence within the crossroads community of Old Dominion directly supports the conservation of both historic and scenic resources in the County. 

 

with uses permitted by right in the district,

The property and the adjacent properties are zoned Rural Areas.  The uses permitted by right under RA zoning include the preservation of agricultural and forestal activities.  Important to sustaining the Rural Area zoning district are uses that support agricultural and forestal communities, including meeting places, at rural scales, providing the opportunity to take part in community life.  The construction of a picnic pavilion on this site will allow the congregation of Oak Ridge Church to continue to support local community life at a rural scale by providing an outdoor community gathering place.      

 

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

There are no regulations in Section 5.0 of the Ordinance that apply to church buildings and adjunct cemeteries. 

 

and with the public health, safety and general welfare.

The County engineer has recommended, but not required, parking at the existing church be specified.  Staff feels specifying parking would not improve the current functioning of the site and would compromise the existing character of the site.   

 

Because the application does not indicate that the proposed change will increase traffic to the site or change the entrances the Virginia Department of Transportation has not requested any changes to the existing conditions.  Since the picnic pavilion is located across the street from the parking lot, VDOT has asked adequate access be provided to cross the street.  Staff feels a specified crossing of Old Dominion Road, a narrow, gravel road, would likely be underutilized and may be unnecessary.      

 

 

SUMMARY:

Staff has identified the following factors favorable to this application:

1.       The pavilion will not include vehicular access or extension of utilities on the east side of the parcel.

2.       The picnic pavilion will allow the congregation of Oak Ridge Church to continue to support local community life at a rural scale by providing an outdoor gathering place.   

3.       The proposed picnic pavilion should not impact the historic context of the church and school house.   

4.       Supporting the continuing presence of a vibrant church community contributes to the conservation of historic resources and the overall viability of Old Dominion as a crossroads community.   Staff has not identified any factors unfavorable to this application.

 

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 2007-11 Oak Ridge Picnic Pavilion with the following conditions:

 

1.       Special Use Permit 2007-11 shall be developed in general accord with the concept application plan and building details, 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 picnic pavilion shall be limited to 800 square feet and shall not include bathroom facilities or vehicular access.

 

ATTACHMENTS

Attachment A - Concept application plan

Attachment B – Oak Ridge Church aerial detail

Attachment C – Oak Ridge Church aerial context

Attachment D - Site photographs

 

Go to next attachment

Return to exec summary