COUNTY OF ALBEMARLE

PLANNING STAFF REPORT SUMMARY

Project Name:  SP2007-22 Lewis and Clark Fill in Floodplain

Staff:  Tamara Jo Ambler

Planning Commission Public Hearing: 

August 14, 2007

Board of Supervisors Public Hearing:

September 5, 2007

Owners:  City of Charlottesville and County of Albemarle

Applicant: Lewis and Clark Exploratory Center of Virginia

Acreage: 101.47 acres

Special Use Permit for:  Request for fill in the floodplain in accordance with Section 30.3.06.1 of the Zoning ordinance

TMP:   62-23

Location:   Northern end of Darden Towe Park, on the west side of Stony Point Road (Route 20 North), approximately one-half mile north of the intersection with Richmond Road (Route 250 East).

Conditions:  Yes

Existing Zoning and By-right use:  

R-1 Residential –1 unit/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

Requested # of Dwelling Units:  N/A

 

DA (Development Area): X

RA (Rural Area):   

Proposal: The applicant proposes to place fill in the floodplain to construct an access road to the proposed Lewis and Clark Exploratory Center (SP2004-04).

Comprehensive Plan Designation:  .

Parks and Greenways, and Neighborhood Density Residential (3 - 6 d.u. per acre) in Neighborhood Three.

Character of Property:  The proposed project is within the 101.47-acre Darden Towe Park, owned by the City of Charlottesville and the County of Albemarle.  The project area is within the northern 18 acres of the park and is currently in open space.  The soccer complex and the dog park are in the immediate vicinity of the project area.  The Rivanna River borders the park to the north and west, and a portion of the Park lies within its wide floodplain.

Use of Surrounding Properties:  The property is located within the northern end of Darden Towe Park.  To the east across Stony Point Road is a church and residential development.  North of the site land use is primarily rural agricultural and residential.  To the south is the Route 250 corridor characterized by commercial and business uses.

Factors Favorable: 

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

2.   No increase in flood levels will result from the construction of the access road.

 

Factors Unfavorable: 

Staff has not identified any factors which are unfavorable to this request.

RECOMMENDATION: Staff recommends approval with conditions.


 

PETITION:

PROJECT: SP 2007-22 Lewis and Clark Fill in Floodplain

PROPOSED:  The applicant proposes to place fill in the floodplain to construct an access road to the proposed Lewis and Clark Exploratory Center (SP2004-04).

ZONING CATEGORY/GENERAL USAGE: R-1 Residential –1 unit/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

SECTION:  Section 30.3.06.1 of the Zoning ordinance

COMPREHENSIVE PLAN LAND USE/DENSITY:  Parks and Greenways, and Neighborhood Density Residential (3 - 6 d.u. per acre) in Neighborhood Three.

ENTRANCE CORRIDOR: Yes_X_No____   Location:   Northern end of Darden Towe Park, on the west side of Stony Point Road (Route 20 North), approximately one-half mile north of the intersection with Richmond Road (Route 250 East).

TAX MAP/PARCEL:   62-23

MAGISTERIAL DISTRICT:  Rivanna

 

CHARACTER OF THE AREA:  The proposed project is within the 101.47-acre Darden Towe Park, owned by the City of Charlottesville and the County of Albemarle.  The project area is within the northern 18 acres of the park and is currently in open space.  The soccer complex and the dog park are in the immediate vicinity of the project area.  The Rivanna River borders the park to the north and west, and a portion of the Park lies within its wide floodplain.

 

SPECIFICS OF THE PROPOSAL:  A special use permit is being requested for fill in the floodplain to construct an access road to the proposed Lewis and Clark Exploratory Center (SP2004-04). The access road will be an extension of the existing gravel road within the floodplain that circles the park to the east and along the Rivanna River. The total length of the new access road is approximately 1,300 feet, and approximately 580 feet of the new road will be within the floodplain, and will require the placement of fill material.  The existing topography will allow the remainder of the road to be constructed at grade or in cut.  

 

The 2005 FEMA Flood Study and Maps included this area in the “detailed study” and the Base Flood Elevations were determined.  According to this study the 100-year flood elevation in the project area ranges from elevation 344 to 347.  While the fill will not raise the floodplain elevation, it will change the cross section of the floodplain.

 

Because the project is within the County’s Development Area, the stream buffer does not include the floodplain and instead is set at 100 feet from the edge of the river.  The access road will not be located within that stream buffer.

 

PLANNING AND ZONING HISTORY:

On November 22, 2005 and January 4, 2006 the Planning Commission and Board of Supervisors, respectively, approved SP 2004-04 to allow the establishment of the Lewis and Clark Exploratory Center (see Attachments C and D).  A condition of approval was that the site be developed in general accord with the October 18, 2005 plan titled “Lewis & Clark Exploratory Center” prepared by Nelson, Byrd, Woltz.  This plan illustrated the extension of the existing gravel road through the floodplain to provide access (see Attachment E).

 

Conformity with the Comprehensive Plan: 

 

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 has reviewed the applicant’s proposal, and has determined that placement of fill in the floodplain should not have a significant effect on the floodplain limits or elevations at this location.  The river floodplain is very wide at this location, and the roadway fill is small in comparison.  However, the County Engineer has advised that the cross section of the floodplain will be altered, and since the FEMA detailed study is based upon the cross sectional area of the floodplain, the applicant must coordinate with FEMA to determine if a letter of map revision is necessary.  In addition, the County Engineer indicated that the fill slope must be protected against possible scour during the 100-year storm and must not encroach further into the floodplain than shown in the application plan.

 

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

The schematic plan site plan associated with the approved Lewis and Clark Exploratory Center clearly anticipated the construction of this access road through the floodplain.  The proposed alignment is consistent with the plan approved with SP2004-04 (see Attachment E).  The minor amount of fill for the entrance road is ancillary to the overall project.

 

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

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.

 

The construction of the access road in a manner that will not increase the floodplain elevation, and will withstand scour from the 100-year storm is in keeping with the Flood Hazard overlay zoning.  The minor amount of fill for the entrance road will not present visual impacts within the Entrance Corridor.

  

with uses permitted by right in the district,

The creation of a road to provide access to an approved historical center 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.

The construction of the access road within the floodplain will not raise the 100-year flood elevation and will not detrimentally affect adjacent properties. 

 

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

2.  No increase in flood levels will result from construction of the access road.

 

Staff has not identified any factors which are unfavorable to this request.

 

 

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.

2.      The fill slope must be protected against possible scour during the 100-year storm, and must not exceed that shown in the application plan.

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

 

 

ATTACHMENTS:

Attachment A - Location Map

Attachment B – Proposal from applicant

Attachment C – Planning Commission Action Letter for SP-2004-04

Attachment D – Board of Supervisors Action Letter for SP 2004-04

Attachment E – Schematic Site Plan for Lewis and Clark Exploratory Center

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