COUNTY OF ALBEMARLE

STAFF REPORT SUMMARY

 

Project Name:  SP 2007-00018 Blue Ridge Equine Clinic

Staff: Scott Clark

Planning Commission Public Hearing:

July 10, 2007

Board of Supervisors Public Hearing:

September 5, 2007

Owner/s:  Blue Ridge Equine Partners LLC

Applicant: Blue Ridge Equine Partners LLC

Acreage:  3.9 acres

Special Use Permit: 20.4.2.1, Uses permitted by special use permit in section 22.0, commercial, C-1; and 22.2.2.5, Veterinary office and hospital (reference 5.1.11)

TMP:  Tax Map 30 Parcel 110

Location:  Mockernut Lane at the intersection with Buck Mountain Road (Route 665).

Existing Zoning and By-right use:  PUD Planned Unit Development - residential (3 - 34 units per acre), mixed with commercial and industrial uses

 

 

Magisterial District:  White Hall

Condition: Yes

RA Rural Areas

Requested # of Dwelling Units:  n/a    

Proposal:  Addition of examination area, four horse stalls on southeast side of existing barn, and three horse stalls on west side of existing barn.

Comprehensive Plan Designation: Rural Areas

 

Character of Property: Existing veterinary facilities with large gravel entrance/parking area and grass fields.

Use of Surrounding Properties:  Residential and PUD open space

Factors Favorable:

1.        This use supports equine uses and horse farms in the Rural Areas

2.        The proposed amendment would not create significant new impacts or increase the scale of the use.

Factors Unfavorable:

Staff has not identified any factors unfavorable to this application.

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

 

 


 

 

Petition: 

PROPOSED: Amend special use permit for equine veterinary clinic to allow addition of examination area, four horse stalls on southeast side of existing barn, and three horse stalls on west side of existing barn.

ZONING CATEGORY/GENERAL USAGE: PUD Planned Unit Development - residential (3 - 34 units per acre), mixed with commercial and industrial uses

SECTION: 20.4.2.1, Uses permitted by special use permit in section 22.0, commercial, C-1; and 22.2.2.5, Veterinary office and hospital (reference 5.1.11)

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: Mockernut Lane at the intersection with Buck Mountain Road (Route 665).

TAX MAP/PARCEL: Tax Map 30 Parcel 110

MAGISTERIAL DISTRICT: White Hall

 

Character of the Area:

 

The immediate surroundings are largely small and large residential lots, beyond which are larger parcels with a mix of open land and deciduous woods. One 356.2-acre property located across Buck Mountain Road from this site is under a conservation easement held by the Virginia Outdoors Foundation. Open space for the Hickory Ridge Planned Unit Development (PUD) is adjacent to this property, on Tax Map 30 Parcel 87A.

 

Specifics of the Proposal:

 

The applicants wish to add four horse stalls on the exterior of southeast side of the existing barn, three on the exterior of the west side of the barn, and an enclosed examination area connecting the existing veterinary-office building and the barn (see conceptual plan in Attachment C). The use itself is not expected to expand or increase in scale; the request is simply to improve the on-site facilities and make it possible for more of the horses to be kept in sheltered areas.

 

The use would continue to be operated as originally specified in a letter from the applicants dated July 23, 1997 (Attachment D), with the exception that the improvements on the site would now match the plan in Attachment C. The letter describes:

 

Ø      The practice, which occurs largely off-site on farms. On-sites uses are for surgery and lameness cases.

Ø      The use of existing buildings. (The additions described above, as shown on Attachment C, would require the current special use permit amendment.)

Ø      Creation of an outdoor exercise ring (which as been built).

Ø      Levels of use (four practice vehicles, four “lay employees” on site, an average of two horse trailers per day, occasional night visits for emergency surgery)

Ø      Disposal of wastes (all disposal occurs off-site)

Ø      Lighting (night lighting used only when cases are expected).

 

Planning and Zoning History:

 

SP-272 Hickory Ridge Planned Unit Development: This request was approved in 1973 under

Section 2-7, Planned Communities, within the A-1 District.  In 1980, the Board rezoned the entire County in an effort to bring zoning into conformance with the Comprehensive Plan.  Recognizing planned communities that had been created earlier, the development was given an equivalent PUD zoning designation.

 

SP 1997-32 Blue Ridge Equine Clinic: Original special use permit for the veterinary practice.

 

SP 2000-40 Blue Ridge Equine Clinic: Amended SP 1997-32; added an isolation barn.

 

 

Conformity with the Comprehensive Plan:

 

This use supports equine uses, which are an appropriate and traditional part of the character of the Rural Areas, and in cases where the customers are commercial horse farms, conforms with Comprehensive Plan goals for supporting agriculture.

 

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,

 

This proposal is a minor amendment to an existing use that would provide better facilities for treating horses on the site, but would not change the overall level of use. No substantial detriment to adjacent properties is expected.

 

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

 

This amendment would not significantly increase the impacts of the use, and would not change the character of the PUD zoning district or the surrounding RA district.

 

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

 

Section 1.4 of the Zoning Ordinance states that one intent of the ordinance is to ensure that "the needs of agriculture...be recognized in future growth." This project will further a use that in part supports agricultural needs.

 

with uses permitted by right in the district,

 

Veterinary hospitals are not permitted by right in the PUD district (hence the need for the original special use permit for this facility). However, the Hickory Ridge PUD was created before the current RA district came into existence. The character of the area is rural, and the majority of the land in the area is zoned RA Rural Areas. Staff The proposal is not expected to significantly increase impacts of the already-permitted use.

 

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

 

The original special use permit for the equine hospital required a waiver of Section 5.1.11 of Zoning Ordinance, which requires soundproofing and other measures for veterinary clinics.

 

5.1.11 COMMERCIAL KENNEL, VETERINARY SERVICE, OFFICE OR HOSPITAL, ANIMAL

HOSPITAL, ANIMAL SHELTER (Amended 6-14-00)

Each commercial kennel, veterinary and animal hospital shall be subject to the following:

Each commercial kennel, veterinary service, office or hospital, animal hospital and animal shelter

shall be subject to the following:

a. Except where animals are confined in soundproofed, air-conditioned buildings, no structure or

area occupied by animals shall be closer than five hundred (500) feet to any agricultural or

residential lot line. For non-soundproofed animal confinements, an external solid fence not

less than six (6) feet in height shall be located within fifty (50) feet of the animal confinement

and shall be composed of concrete block, brick, or other material approved by the zoning

administrator; (Amended 11-15-89)

b. For soundproofed confinements, no such structure shall be located closer than two hundred

(200) feet to any agricultural or residential lot line. For soundproofed confinements, noise

measured at the nearest agricultural or residential property line shall not exceed fifty-five (55)

decibels; (Amended 11-15-89; 6-14-00)

c. In all cases, animals shall be confined in an enclosed building from 10:00 p.m. to 6:00 a.m.

(Amended 11-15-89; 6-14-00)

d. In areas where such uses may be in proximity to other uses involving intensive activity such

as shopping centers or other urban density locations, special attention is required to protect the

public health and welfare. To these ends the commission and board may require among other

things: (Amended 11-15-89)

-Separate building entrance and exit to avoid animal conflicts;

(Added 11-15-89)

 

The Planning Commission granted that waiver. The applicant has applied for the same waiver for this amendment.

 

The standard in this section are appropriate for veterinary practices in urbanized areas, and for practices that treat dogs and other noisy animals. The applicant’s practice is located in the Rural Areas, and treats only horses, whose sounds are an expected part of the character of the Rural Areas. Also, the areas where the animals are kept and treated are partly adjacent to the designated open-space area of the Hickory Ridge PUD. Soundproofing and nighttime confinement are not appropriate for large grazing animals in the Rural Areas.

 

As this horse-only facility has minimal noise impacts, staff supports this waiver request.

 

and with the public health, safety and general welfare.

 

The Virginia Department of Transportation has stated that this site already has a sufficient entrance.

 

The Virginia Department of Health has stated that no improvements to septic facilities are needed, as the additions will not increase the number of people on the site.

 

SUMMARY:

 

Staff has identified the following factors favorable to this application:

1.       This use supports equine uses and horse farms in the Rural Areas

2.       The proposed amendment would not create significant new impacts or increase the scale of the use.

 

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 2007-00018 under the following condition:

 

1.       The clinic shall be for equine care only and shall be operated in accordance with the letter dated July 23, 1997 (attached to the staff report as Attachment D). However, the clinic’s improvements and the scale and location of the improvements shall be developed in general accord with the conceptual plan entitled “Conceptual Plan for SP 2007-00018,” dated June 26, 2007, and initialed “SMC.”

 

Staff also recommends that the Planning Commission waive the requirements of Section 5.1.11 of the Zoning Ordinance for this use.

 

ATTACHMENTS

Attachment A – Location Map

Attachment B – Detail Map

Attachment C – Conceptual Plan for SP 2007-00018

Attachment D – Letter describing operation of clinic, dated July 23, 1997

Return to PC actions letter