Albemarle County Planning Commission

January 9, 2007

 

The Albemarle County Planning Commission held a meeting and a public hearing on Tuesday, January 9, 2007, at 6:00 p.m., at the County Office Building, Room 241, Second Floor, 401 McIntire Road, Charlottesville. Virginia. Members attending were Bill Edgerton, Eric Strucko, Jon Cannon, Calvin Morris, Duane Zobrist, Pete Craddock and Marcia Joseph.  Julia Monteith, Senior Land Use Planner for the University of Virginia, representative for David J. Neuman, FAIA, Architect for University of Virginia was absent. 

 

Other officials present were Wayne Cilimberg, Planning Director; Tamara Ambler, Natural Resources Manager; David Benish, Chief of Planning; Lori Allshouse, Strategic Planning Manager and Greg Kamptner, Deputy County Attorney.

 

           

            Work Session:

 

Southern Urban Area B Study CPA and Granger Property CPA - Work session to review proposed text amendments to the Comprehensive Plan incorporating the recommendations of the PACC Southern Urban Area B.  (David Benish)

 

David Benish gave an overview and a power point presentation on the Southern Urban Area B Study CPA and Granger Property CPA. 

 

·         Staff added to the previous reports based on their discussion of both the Southern Urban Area B Study and the Granger CPA proposal.  Staff had received direction on November 28, 2006 on the various recommendations of the study and the Granger site.  Staff has now begun to draft some language that would be text amendments to the Comprehensive Plan that would try to reflect those comments and recommendations of the Area B Study.  This is the first step for the Planning.

 

·         The Area B Study is a study that is conducted by the Planning Coordination Council, which consists of City, County and University representatives.  They drafted a plan for the study area, the Fontaine Avenue/ Sunset Avenue area, which was depicted in the map.  Within the center of that area is the property known as the Granger tract, which is an approximately 70 acre piece of land that in our current Comp Plan recommended for Neighborhood Density Development. The Area B Study had identified a Mixed Use/Residential High Density Residential Land Use for that area.  The applicant is proposing an Office/Service oriented mixed use development on that site.  They are actually looking at two CPA’s at one time, amending the PACC recommendations and considering the Granger Proposal at the same time. 

 

·         The recommendations of the Area B Study, which begins on page 2, were reviewed.  As background, primarily the Area B Study focused in on transportation improvements to support the development of this area in both the City and County. It did make some land use recommendations fairly general and broad Comp Plan level type of recommendations. Those were found in Section 3 of the report, which was summarized on pages 13 and 14.  Staff went through the specific statements or recommendations that are relevant to the County’s portion of the study area and have added to the report in blue print the first attempt at Comprehensive Plan language to address those Area B recommendations. 

 

·         The first recommendation deals with the Granger Property, which is a new neighborhood. The Area B Study had called for it to be primarily high density residential mixed use development with a center.  The center was an important small scale neighborhood center, which was an important component of the Area B Study recommendation to provide for essential services that were lacking in that portion of the County.

 

·         What staff has identified is that the primary concern with both the Area B Study recommendation and the Granger Proposal was the impact of traffic of any development at this site.  The language proposed is based on the discussion last time with the Planning Commission.  Staff felt that it was the general consensus that a non-residential mixed use development may be appropriate, but it had to be focused in a size and development intensity and form that could be sustained both by the land and primarily the transportation system that is being proposed. The language proposed recognized that an Office Service-Mixed Land Use is recommended for the Granger Tract.  It did identify that a Mixed Use Center needs to be provided as part of that.  Staff tried to set some staging within the language that said that the size of development had to match the planned transportation network for the area and that the timing for development had to be consistent with the actual development and improvements of that transportation system.  There was some discussion about the general principle of trying to encourage green development within major development proposals.  Staff added a simple sentence that made that reference. 

 

Ms. Joseph questioned if they should work with the applicant to see if there is some sort of percentage of mixed use.  She did not want to put them in a box in requiring X amount of square feet.  But, it was important to try to identify a certain percentage range so they don’t get some little commercial thing out there when they were anticipating something more than that.  Last time the Commission discussed this they said that it was okay to have office use, but that it does not have to be residential.  She questioned if they want a mixed use or does it matter. 

 

Mr. Edgerton recalled that the Commission’s conversation on the 28th was very clear that it did matter and they wanted mixed use. 

 

Ms. Joseph asked if they should give some guidance as far as that is concerned.  As a reaction to something that happened in the City where the applicant came in with such a small percentage of the use, the Commission members were very concerned about it and denied the request as a result of that. 

 

Mr. Edgerton worried about in the abstract trying to come up with a percentage that is appropriate without actually seeing a project. There was a lot of discussion about the need for additional mixed use in the community and they would be supportive of some of the other properties in the area. 

 

Mr. Cannon asked if there was a way to flag the concern without coming up with quantitative ranges, such as mixed use and appropriate balance to give some room for judgment by a future Commission to respond to the merits of a particular proposal.   

 

Mr. Benish said that there isn’t an amount.  There is a lack of specific direction in this statement.  In the second bullet, a new center is anticipated as a component of mixed use, which is small scale.  That was one of the governing qualitative statements with transit stops and connections in the centers.  That is actually a quote out of the plan itself.  But, being small scale was some indication that it was something less than a community center.  The first hyphen down below the bullet was supporting commercial service of a neighborhood scale.  Neighborhood scale actually refers to our Neighborhood Service Designation in the Comp Plan. He was trying to tie it back to that designation.  It is intended to be somewhat similar to what is seen in supporting commercial uses and non-residential development.  By zoning that is about 10 percent of the Planned Development, as an example.  He believed it is 20,000 to 50,000 square feet in Neighborhood Center with no use exceeding 10,000 square feet.  He was hoping that language would refer them back to that section of the plan.  It went on to say to provide the necessary convenient services because staff does not see the center as necessarily being oriented to providing a major grocery store/shopping center.  This is more service oriented.  Perhaps a stronger reference to that Neighborhood Service Designation will take them to a chart that has some ranges in it. That might help.

 

Mr. Morris noted that he liked the emphasis that any rezoning is going to be tied to the actual improvements of the road and infrastructure.

 

Mr. Benish noted that one of the main points of the Area B Study is that there was a particular location for that road that was agreed to.  That is why the second hyphen specifically references that Alternative IV.  Staff has not drafted an actually land use map, but he pointed out the digitized maps of the area.  Staff would hope to have a schematic line that would show that location.  The idea is that they look at the master plan and look at that alignment that shows enough detail to know where the major points are. 

 

Ms. Monteith said that staff talks about an Office Service Mixed Use land use and then talks about a new Neighborhood Center.  But, it seems a little funny that staff speaks of office and then says mixed use, but never suggests anything about residential.  In other words, she could imagine generically saying mixed use and not including the term office, or if they are going to use the term office to also include some wording regarding residential.  The way it reads, it is not clear that there would be residential.  Maybe it is intentional on his part other than the fact that he says total square footage and number of units of development.  One could imply that units of development mean that it would be residential.  She felt that it was a little confusing to use the term office and not to include residential. 

 

Mr. Benish suggested that it should be a little clearer.  The consensus that came out of the November 28 meeting was that residential would not be necessary as part of the mix, but that it would be allowed.  The only reference made to residential is in that first hyphen in the last sentence.  Residential use may be a component of the mix.  He agreed that it was not clear whether residential was necessarily not expected.

 

Mr. Zobrist recalled that there were 3 or 4 alternatives that they discussed last time.  He did not remember this one being any of them.  He asked if the long red line was where staff expected the access to go. 

 

Mr. Benish said that this was just a schematic to show how they would draw the plan.  

 

Mr. Zobrist recalled that there were 3 or 4 alternative accesses or egresses out of the site.  He felt that everyone was in favor of two of the alternatives, but not the one drawn on the plan.  He pointed out that Mr. Strucko might be more familiar with the access because he works in Fontaine.

 

Mr. Benish pointed out that staff took those comments.  This alignment shown is Alternative IV, which PACA agreed was the preferred alignment.  What staff thought that they were hearing in terms of the other alignments was really an issue about the lack of access into this site.  This is the preferred alternative, which is near Stribling.

 

Mr. Strucko said that road is not part of the Fontaine Research Park currently.  He asked if that was correct.  It is immediately adjacent to the parking lot.

 

Mr. Benish said that the way it was shown in the Area B Study is that it was the road on the outside of the buildings.

 

Mr. Strucko asked if it was between the parking lot and the building.

 

Mr. Benish replied that is correct the way that he understands it.  The important component of this alignment is that intersection/railroad crossing and the fact that it connects to Sunset Avenue.  Whether that line suddenly moves differently relatively speaking in the Comp Plan to accommodate that is something that they would look at in a rezoning.

 

Mr. Cilimberg pointed out that Mr. Strucko mentioned this in particular that for the road that goes through that the Commission wanted to make sure that there were internal connections for the park existing as well as any future park development to that road going through.

 

Mr. Strucko agreed.  If the use of the Granger property is going to be an office park of this magnitude and this intensity as Fontaine Research Park currently is his antidotal experience is that they are going to need to create multiple accesses in and out of Fontaine.  Currently there is only one access point, which dumps onto Fontaine Avenue.  However, if they can access Fontaine Research Park with the railroad crossing road and create two access points, it has the potential to alleviate what could become quite a traffic congested area on Fontaine Avenue with two research parks dumping onto that road.  That line as shown was cutting through a parking lot right now.  That is a parking lot road.  However, along the stream is an existing gravel road that he thought potentially would be the access from Granger to Fontaine.  Then Fontaine could connect to that road through this dotted line and there would be a single railroad crossing.  He remembered discussing the cost effectiveness of the single railroad crossing versus multiple.  That was probably the two options that they talked about.

 

Mr. Benish said that the consultant in their study identified an alignment that kind of skirts it.  They provided the information on a Comprehensive Plan type of scale, although they have been looking at it and engineering it recognizing the next hopeful step of the process.  They have actually shown something different.  Staff wanted to reflect what PACC has agreed to as what is in that document as the recommended Alternative IV.  This is the reason that they wanted them to refer to the document and this specific aerial information, which he did not have in his presentation. But, it does articulate what the expectations are for that Alternative IV.  When staff gets to the recommendations for the Fontaine Research Park, they made a specific statement that said that additional access points should be provided to the Fontaine Research Park. The status of Stribling is something that they are going to have to look at with the City as the plan for this roadway emerges and how it interconnects.  This Area B Study is not clear on what that ultimate status is going to be.  He asked for other comments.

 

Mr. Edgerton agreed with Mr. Morris in how staff worked into each of these comments the needed linkage between the ability of the transportation system to be able to support whatever rezonings came in.  He questioned what effect this would have on rezonings if this strong language is in the Comp Plan ultimately.

 

Mr. Benish noted that he still has to vet this language with Mr. Kamptner.  It is somewhat consistent with some very old recommendations from years ago that they used for the Comp Plan.  He wanted to make sure that he was on the right track, but noted that the County Attorney’s Office still needs to review the language.

 

Mr. Edgerton noted that there was a lot of discussion about the topographic restrictions in that area for putting in the roads.

 

Ms. Joseph asked if the applicant wanted to speak on the Granger property at this time.

 

Frank Cox, representative for New Era Properties, pointed out that he was generally in disagreement with just about everything.  Regarding the transportation issue, there seems to be a little bit of confusion relative to what they tried to communicate on the road planning. The point of departure for the work that his firm has been doing for the Granger interests has been very loosely coordinated with the Real Estate Foundation.  He believes that the Foundation, though he is not speaking for them, has weighed in on the concern for any road running smack dab through their property, whether it is option 1, 2, 3 or 4.  In option 4, as shown on the Area B Plan, it does run along the parking lot access road.  They have studied that alignment.  That alignment will not work for an interconnection road.  There are too many problems of many different natures.  They have presented an alignment in a preliminary design that they have actually tested and done a cost estimate in the little booklet presented with their CPA application.  Their alignment basically went along the existing Stribling Extended or the gravel road.  To the extent that they believe that is feasible they believe they can achieve coordinated tie-ins to the Foundation property as Mr. Strucko has suggested.  He felt that was possible.  He thought that one thing that might be helpful just speaking globally on the whole Area B Study is to challenge those particular applicants, the Foundation and Granger, to do sufficient coordination to achieve an alignment that is to their mutual satisfaction.  That will take a lot of work and will take a lot more engineering to be done before either Granger or the Foundation can reach that conclusion. But, he certainly thinks it would be an appropriate challenge by the Commission to include in a CPA, given the fact that if any additional development is to proceed on the Foundation property as he understands from staff, it will require a rezoning.  Certainly there is no way that they can get across the railroad tracks unless they undertake a major transportation improvement from Fontaine to the Granger property.  To the point of the mixed use question, their CPA application did not mix residential.  It was fairly clear in the range of potential densities that could be achieved for residential and for non-residential development.  They have no problems with the Commission setting a general guideline, if they feel that is appropriate. There is nothing in the CPA application that they have independently filed that indicated that they don’t want to do residential.  What they would like to have is the option as they move forward with the zoning to test the market further given that significant transportation improvements are going to need to be made. Also, given the fact that there is very limited development area on the property, it is going to have to be a tall project rather than a spread out project.  So whether the buildings are being used for retail, office or commercial it will have a similar look.  They have tried to represent what that look will be in the illustrative plan that was included in the CPA. 

 

Ms. Joseph invited public comments on the Granger Property.

 

Jean Chase, resident of Old Lynchburg Road, said that the Granger property development will impact her residential street and neighborhood of Fry’s Spring.  She asked that before there are any changes given in the rezoning or zoning of the Granger property to please include plans for the connector plans designed to relieve the already intense traffic that comes from the County development south of Azalea Park.  The plans of the road needs to adequately funded and built before the new developments at Granger are built.  They need to be willing to work with the neighborhoods.  They have lived in this area for over 30 years.  They would like to have the quality of life that they have adopted in this area to be sustained, and ask the Commission to take that into consideration when casting their vote.  On behalf of the Fry Springs Neighborhood Association, of which she is also Secretary, she thanked the Commission for their time and sensitivity in these areas of voting. Also, a letter has been submitted on behalf of Andrea Wieder who could not attend the meeting.  (The letter is as follows.)

 

“Jan. 9, 2007

To: Albemarle County Planning Commission

From: Andrea K. Wieder

Re: Granger Property development re-zoning request

and the Southern Urban Area B Study

           

            My name is Andrea K. Wieder. I live at 2331 Highland Avenue in the city of Charlottesville. 

            My neighborhood of Fry’s Spring is close by the University of Virginia, and right on the border of Albemarle County. Development of the Granger property and Biscuit Run will have a huge impact for us.

            Tonight’s Albemarle County planning commission meeting will, as part of a work session, discuss the Granger property application for re-zoning and the Southern Urban Area B Study. 

            The Biscuit Run development is on the agenda tonight for the City of Charlottesville planning commission. 

            Representatives from the Fry’s Spring Neighborhood Association are attending both these meetings since both of these developments are right in our back yard. Our voices will be heard.

            I am sure that you know that Old Lynchburg Road is already overwhelmed with traffic, with vehicles regularly exceeding the posted 25 mph limit. Morning and evening rush hour traffic on Jefferson Park Avenue is intense and gets more fierce every day. 

            You know this because members of the Fry’s Spring Community have regularly attended meetings and spoken up, written letters, and sent email along to commission members, both in the city and in the county.

            We request that any changes to the zoning of the Granger Property include plans for connector roads designed to relieve the already intense traffic that comes from county roads to city streets.  And that the plans for roads be adequately funded and built before the new developments at Granger are built.

            The city of Charlottesville is a small southern city of neighborhoods and streets and trees and bikes and shops. And schools and businesses and people living lives of peace. 

            We believe that progress and preservation can work side by side.

             We expect the Albemarle planning commissioners to help make that happen. 

            Thanks for your consideration in this matter. A copy of these remarks will be left with the clerk for inclusion in the public record of this meeting.”

 

There being no further public comment, Ms. Joseph asked if there was any further discussion.

 

Mr. Edgerton asked that they address Ms. Monteith’s point that Mr. Cox referenced that his CPA application did not exclude residential.  He felt that the language is confusing in what is being proposed by staff.  He remembered some conversation that there is no shortage of residential in the area. Therefore, there is no a perceived need for it.  But, at the same time it may be appropriate to have a component of residential in the project. 

 

Mr. Benish noted that in the first bullet he would introduce the whole notion and say that there may be some residential.

 

Mr. Edgerton noted that mixed use includes a lot of things, which residential is one of those.  If they say mixed use and then start listing things and don’t list residential, then the question is if they are sending the signal that they don’t want it.  He felt that they need to be careful about the language.

 

Mr. Benish said that the first priority would be for it to be non-residential, mixed use.  That residential mixed use would also be appropriate, but was not necessary on this site.  That was his understanding of what the direction was. They need to make that clear in the first bullet.  This is intended to at least be a non-residential mixed use and that residential could be included.  In Fontaine Research Park staff notes that residential is not expected on that site.  There being no further questions on the Granger proposal, he moved on to the Old Lynchburg/Fifth Street Neighborhood Center. 

 

·         That is the area near the bull’s eye where the County Office Building South is located.  Staff feels that the current Comp Plan already shows Office Service/Neighborhood Service, high density and Community Service designations in there.  The Neighborhood Model direction would lead towards encouraging mixed use developments.  Staff felt that at this time there was not a need to make a specific statement regarding mixed use in that area.  Also, that might be something that is better addressed when they begin master planning for Neighborhood IV and V, but recognize that it probably will be a year and a half away.  This area is technically outside of the Area B Study Area.    That was staff’s conclusion on that one.  There being no comments, he moved on to the next item.

 

·         Next is the Trinity Presbyterian Church Neighborhood Center, which is at the end of Fontaine Avenue.  It is another area that was shown for a Neighborhood Center use.  Our Comp Plan currently shows that area currently as a Neighborhood Service Designation/Neighborhood Density Residential and then Office Services where the Forestry Department is located.  When the consultant modeled this area it basically modeled it assuming the same type of build out that would be seen under the current Comp Plan Designation of Neighborhood Density and Neighborhood Service.  Staff’s recommendation was to make a reference since those uses were across the streets from one another that those uses could be kind of put together and a Mixed Use Development could be created, but the gross development coming from that would not be any different than what could be generated out of our current Comp Plan.  Therefore, staff did not recommend a change in the Land Use Map and the gross densities, but just to identify that is an area where there could be a Neighborhood Center. 

 

·         Infill development on Fontaine Research Park is the other major development in an area currently in the Comp Plan shown for Office Service Use.  The Study recommended infill and expansion within this area.  Staff does believe that this is a good location to continue that level and scale of development.  However, the same issues and concerns with the extent of that expansion and infill were relative in being able to be served by the existing and proposed transportation system.  The bullets are in much the same form as used for the Granger Proposal.  Staff in the third hyphen down said provides additional access points to the Research Park to Sunset Avenue Connector Road and Fontaine Avenue. 

 

·         There is a possible attached residential mixed use at the Forestry Department.  Although that might be viable in the future, staff does not feel that is a use that is going to happen within the next 5 to 10 years.  Staff did not think there was a need to make that reference.

 

·         Single family detached residential south of the railroad tracks and across from the Granger property.  Redfields development was referenced incorrectly.  The Area B Study was actually referencing the Knob Hill development.  Staff does not feel any amendment is necessary there.  It is already shown as Neighborhood Density Residential. 

 

·         Residential and mixed use opportunities at I-64 interchange.  Again, that is a reference back to pretty much the same area shown as Community Service, Office Service and Urban Density Residential. That is Neighborhood Service use there.  Staff does not feel that there is a need to amend that.  That will best be considered during the master plan review for Neighborhood IV and V.

 

·         The possible location for a new school in this area was identified.  At the November meeting staff had indicated that this might be an okay site for a school.  Again, that is something that would be better addressed when they look at the Neighborhood IV and V master plan.  Staff proposes to have a general reference to the Area B Study for its information and consideration of the information and recommendations contained with it.  By that reference if they were to be doing a school locator analysis it would be a reference document where they would look at various possible recommendations.  Staff feels that is sufficient.  It is a study that staff can look to for additional information and ideas.  But, no reference to the schools is necessary in the Comp Plan.

 

·         Infrastructure – Staff would add a specific reference to construct the Sunset/Fontaine Connector Road.  They believe that the other references on those sites where the road is located tie it to the timing of development with a development proposal.  So a simple reference to the road construction is all that is needed.  There is a reference to the upgrade to Sunset Avenue that would be necessary all the way to Fifth Street.  That is already identified in the Comp Plan by a map. 

 

·         Staff will go back and make sure that the intent of the road is in the Comp Plan verbiage. 

 

Mr. Cilimberg noted that Alternative IV is as Mr. Benish explained a dotted line on a small scale map.  The reality is what Mr. Cox was referring to that ultimately when dealing with a development of Fontaine and Granger that is when you really have to decide exactly where the road can best go to meet the intent.  That is where Mr. Benish was suggesting some possible added language that would talk about intent.

 

Ms. Monteith noted it shows the connection points that were discussed.  There are certain key connection points that they want to achieve.

 

Mr. Edgerton said that so much of the dotted lines and the vagueness in the maps in the Comp Plan has come back to haunt the Commission.  When actual proposals come in it is hard for the Commission to interpret what those lines mean.  If the lines happen to go across a piece of property that they are considering for a rezoning all of a sudden those lines take on a life of their own whether dotted or not.

 

Mr. Cilimberg said that what has ended up happening more recently is that they have been in the position of having to interpret where those locations are as development proposals have come in.  In the absence of actual location studies that is where they are left.  He felt that they could take the example of Crozet where Eastern Avenue might be, which they ultimately had determined was not directly on one property that was subject to rezoning, but was literally on the edge of that property.  The project ultimately got through. On the western side of Crozet they had a Western Avenue that was not exactly where the plan called for it, but it met the intent of providing Western Avenue in Old Trail.

 

Mr. Edgerton noted that in that case fortunately it was controlled by one developer, which is such a rare occasion.

 

Mr. Benish noted that PACC was very adamant about where certain points were, which was what staff would emphasize.  It is fairly precise as to where the entrance needs to be, which is east of the existing Fontaine Park. There needs to be a railroad overpass, which the physical features are going to predicate where that is going to be.  It needs to intersect with Sunset.  Those are the key points.  There is a level of flexibility about how that can be accommodated.

 

Mr. Cilimberg said that one of the things that came up during the Area B Study and probably will not become something they can get their arms around was that those parking lots were redevelopment areas for Fontaine.  Until they see the plan for Fontaine for its expansion they can only go by intent now.  So they should not think of a road passing through a parking lot as necessarily being what is there now.  It may be a very different scenario under redevelopment. That is why it is important to express the intent of what they want to accomplish.  The rezoning is where it becomes reality.  The idea of connections needed on Fontaine is the critical pieces.

 

Ms. Monteith noted that Mr. Benish already noted that the general discussion was to align more closely with Stribling and to go around rather than to go through. 

 

Mr. Benish said that the next road recommendation was to extend Stadium Road from Fontaine Avenue and connecting with the new Fontaine/Sunset Avenue.  From the City and County staff’s perspective, it was seen as a road that needs to be considered as a piece for solving the potential road network transportation issues out there.  Staff believes they need to make that recommendation and identify that as a possible connection.  It’s particularly line location is less important than its intersection point, particularly at Fontaine Avenue to create an intersection with the Fontaine/Sunset Connector.

 

Mr. Strucko pointed out that it was a walking path now.

 

Mr. Benish said that there was also a recommendation put back to the Study Area for a connector road between Fifth Street and Avon Street.  One day it may have some potential depending on what might happen in the long term.  It might be of some value to that.  Staff did not feel that right now that road has a great benefit.  It is a costly road to build.  There is not much development opportunity to incorporate that.  Most of that area has been developed.  Staff is not recommending that to be included in the plan.  It will obviously be in the Study Area so it will be an idea that has been articulated.  But, staff is not recommending it as a road that needs to be constructed.  The last major road item is the recommendation regarding the Southern Parkway.  It is outside the Study Area, but the consultant did provide recommendations for a possible alignment for the Southern Parkway.  The Comp Plan shows the road running up between two subdivision streets down the stream and intersecting generally in there.  The consultants considered an alignment that would tie in with the roadway for Oak Hill and the road that serves Covenant School.  Staff believes that is a neighborhood roadway network that is worth considering as the Southern Parkway is considered for construction.  This would be an alternative alignment that would tie into some existing and potentially future road systems and intersect with Sunset Avenue at Fifth Street.  There are some opportunities to create some of these linkages with the development of Southwood Mobile Home Park by Habitat of Humanity.  The language says to consider this as a possible alignment and/or interconnection to the Southern Parkway.   It could end up being something done as a next phase after Southern Parkway is built.

 

Ms. Joseph noted that it looks impossible.  There are a lot of houses in that area as well as a stream and topographic issues.

 

Mr. Benish said that the alignment would pick up several existing roadways.  There are some vacant lots in this area.  When the consultant looked at it they acknowledged that those lots were vacant.  But, ten to fifteen years from now they may not be.  But, there are small corridors that they could get through to make this connection.  There are subdivision streets there and not through streets.  So it is a different character of road way.

 

Mr. Cilimberg pointed out that whenever the Southern Parkway has been discussed the biggest challenge has been getting over Biscuit Run and then finding a way to make it to Fifth Street on the west side of Biscuit Run because of the existing lots.  They face the same kind of challenge if they are coming up through the other areas.  The Southern Parkway in general has that challenge.  It has been on their plan for so many years. 

 

Mr. Benish said that the consultant at the time was trying to split between the two neighborhoods.  There are some pretty significant constraints with the original concept of getting that road in.  It is something that someone is going to have to take a closer look at to see what the cost benefit is environmentally and to the neighborhood.  It is going to be a very expensive crossing.  The consultant wrapped the road around the critical slopes. 

 

Mr. Strucko said that staff’s language is flexible enough to accommodate a variety of circumstances. The point staff is making is that it is in the best interest for a connection to occur.

 

Mr. Benish agreed that the intent was to say that this makes some sense to consider.  If the Southern Parkway ends up going through this area they might decide to do a neighborhood connection.  But, all of these linkages have some sense to them whether it is the Meadow Creek Parkway or not.  One of the times they should take a look at this is when they move forward with the Southern Parkway, which is a high priority roadway that the Board has established for construction.  The City feels that it is a very important connection.

 

Mr. Edgerton noted that there would be some very serious budget constraints dealing with the critical slopes.

 

The Planning Commission was okay with leaving the language in.

 

Mr. Benish noted that they had already covered #6.  There are a number of good recommendations embedded in the Open Space and the Historic Preservation Plan Study.  Most of them are already referenced in various documents that the County has already adopted.  But, he thought that it would be useful to remind people to take a look at the Area B Study.  Staff recommends considering the transit, bicycle and pedestrian recommendations.  Staff has some direction on better articulating the intent on the Fontaine/Avon Street Connector and making sure that they are clear about the expectations for residential use on the Granger property.  Those are the two major issues that need to be considered. 

 

Mr. Craddock commented on page 6 in #1.  It is included in the whole document about adding the Fontaine/Sunset Connector Street.  But, in a literal interpretation you could read that sentence as you either add Fontaine/Sunset Connector Street or reopen Sunset Ave Bridge.  He suggested that it read “and” reopen Sunset Avenue Bridge eliminating “or”.  If they open the Sunset Avenue Bridge, then they don’t have to do the connector street.

 

Mr. Benish noted that the major focus of the recommendation is to get the connector road.  The City component of developing this plan, to both staff and the community, was very adamant about the connector road.  They were very much less in favor of opening Sunset Avenue.  He felt that the plan and sensitivity to City concerns was leaving that as the and/or as being the broadest variable about how they address the Sunset Avenue Connector.

 

Mr. Cilimberg said that from the City’s point of view the Sunset/Fontaine Connector was priority one and then Sunset Avenue in the City being upgraded with connection back over into the County would be a potential subsequent action.  But, Sunset/Fontaine needed to be in first.

 

Mr. Craddock agreed.

 

Mr. Benish said that it is okay to take the “or” out because it seems like if you don’t do one that you would do the other.  He did not think the City has any interest in that.  It also could be misinterpreted though that the “and” means that you are definitely going to open up Sunset Avenue.  He did not know that they were comfortable with the final decision that they are definitely going to open it. 

 

Mr. Craddock suggested putting in that it is a possibility.

 

Mr. Cilimberg pointed out that the next step is the public hearing.  Staff is talking with the City staff to make sure that they understand.

 

Mr. Benish noted that there would be a meeting between the two Chairmen as opposed to a joint City/County meeting.  That is the consensus of the City.  Therefore, they would start with a liaison approach.

 

Ms. Joseph invited public comment.  There being none, the meeting moved on to old business.

 

 

 

In summary, the Planning Commission held a work session on the Southern Urban Area B Study CPA and Granger Property CPA.  Staff reviewed the proposed text amendments to the Comprehensive Plan incorporating the recommendations of the PACC Southern Urban Area B.  The Planning Commission took applicant input and public comment.  The Commission discussed, asked questions and made comments and suggestions. The Commission was in general agreement with the direction of the recommended amendment language.  There was a suggestion to clarify the amendment language to be clearer on whether residential uses are allowed as a possible use or expected as part of the mix of uses on the Granger site. There was another suggestion for staff to clarify the scale of the commercial aspect of the development recommended for the Granger site, that being of a smaller Neighborhood Service scale of development.  Staff will be discussing the County staff’s recommendations with the City’s planning staff (Neighborhood Services Dept) and possibly with the City Planning Commission depending on the feedback from the City Director of Neighborhood Services.  The next step is a public hearing.

 

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