COUNTY OF ALBEMARLE

PLANNING STAFF REPORT SUMMARY

 

Project Name: SP2007-19 St. George’s Church Addition

Staff: Amy Ransom Arnold

Planning Commission Public Hearing:

July 10, 2007

Board of Supervisors Public Hearing:

September 5, 2007

Owner: Catholic Diocese of Richmond

Applicant: Catholic Diocese of Richmond

Acreage: approximately 4.00 acres

Special Use Permit: Proposed church addition

TMP: Tax Map 130 Parcels 2A and 2A1 

Location: The parcel is located at 7240 Scottsville Road at the intersection of Scottsville Road (Route 20) and Route 626 approximately two miles north of the town of Scottsville

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

Magisterial District: Scottsville

Conditions: Yes

DA (Development Area):  

RA (Rural Areas): X

Requested # of Dwelling Units:  NA                           

Proposal: The addition of a 26’ x 46’ (1,196 square foot) addition to the church building to serve as a fellowship hall

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: St. George’s is a white concrete masonry church building sited on the top of a rise and includes a cemetery and open meadow to the west. 

Use of Surrounding Properties: The surrounding context is comprised of open agricultural fields with patches of mixed hardwood forest and single family homes.  Several large working farms, some under conservation easements, are located throughout the area.    

Factors Favorable:

Staff has identified the following factors favorable to this application:

1.   The addition will help sustain the continuing presence of a community church, enhancing the quality of life of its rural congregation. 

2.   The church addition addresses the needs of rural residents.

3.   No impacts on adjacent property resulting from the proposed addition.

        

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: July 10, 2007                                             

BOARD OF SUPERVISORS: September 5, 2007

 

SP 2007-19 St. George’s Church Addition

 

Petition: 

PROJECT: SP 2007-19 St. George's Church Addition

PROPOSED: Addition to existing church building

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__x__No___

LOCATION: 7240 Scottsville Road; Scottsville Road and Route 626

TAX MAP/PARCEL: Tax Map 130, Parcels 2A, 2A1

MAGISTERIAL DISTRICT: Scottsville

 

Character of the Area:

The surrounding context is comprised of open agricultural fields with patches of mixed hardwood forest and single family homes.  The site of St. George’s Church is located between Totier and Millers Creeks and near the Totier Creek Agricultural and Forestal District.  Several large working farms, some under conservation easements, are located throughout the area.  Lying to the southeast is the Town of Scottsville and the banks of the James River.  The church is located on Route 20, Scottsville Road south of the Scottsville neighborhood swimming pool.  Sited at the boundary of the proposed Southern Albemarle Historic District, St. George’s is within a mile of several sites of architectural significance surveyed by the Department of Historic Resources including Fairveiw ca 1942 (includes ca 1900 and 1920’s tenant houses and a 1900 smoke house); High Meadows ca 1832; Locust Shades (includes buildings dating 1830 and 1799); Dyer’s Mill House 1787; and Maple Hill Farm ca 1914.    

          

Specifics of the Proposal:

St. George’s Church has requested a 26’ x 46’ (1,196 square foot) addition to the main church building to serve as a fellowship hall.  The addition is proposed telescoping from the notched gable portion of the front (northeast elevation) of the church building towards the parking lot.  In the past, the main sanctuary seating consisted of folding chairs allowing them to be moved for other church events and gatherings to take place in the main sanctuary.  Last year the church installed more permanent seating in the main sanctuary and now with a less flexible sanctuary space, the congregation is proposing to use the fellowship hall for social gatherings, baptisms, confirmations, marriages, funerals, and Sunday school.   

 

      Planning and Zoning:

St. George’s Church is currently legally non-conforming.  Previous records for the church include sign permits in 1979 and 1988, as well as an approved variance allowing for amended setbacks, increased total number, and increased square footage for signs along Route 20.    

 

  

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 an addition to 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.”

 

The proposed addition to St. George’s Church will help sustain the continuing presence of a community church, enhancing the quality of life of its rural congregation.  The proposed church addition addresses the needs of rural residents without encouraging suburbanization, contributing to the creation of a defacto growth area, or impacting the character of local historic, scenic, or cultural resources.    

 

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 proposed addition to an existing church building does not represent an increased intensity of use.  Associated traffic patterns or overall activity on the site will not change as a result of this proposal.  Staff feels there will be no impacts on adjacent property resulting from the proposed 26’ x 46’ (1,196 square feet) addition to the main church building. 

 

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

St. George’s Church was constructed in 1979.  The white concrete masonry church building is sited on the top of a rise and is surrounded by agricultural fields, forest, and residential development; several large operational farms are located near-by.  The addition to St. George’s, totaling 26’ x 46’ (1,196 square feet), is proposed telescoping from the notched gable portion of the front (northeast elevation) of the church building towards the parking lot and is similar to the character of the existing church building. 

 

St. George’s is located within the Route 20 Entrance Corridor Overlay District.  The Design Planner had the following comments regarding the proposed addition: “The existing church building is a contemporary style structure and the proposed addition (based on the undated elevation drawing submitted with the SP application, Attachment C) is compatible with it. The scale and location of the addition are compatible with the existing building. The existing building is visible from the Route 20 Entrance Corridor and the addition will be visible. However, if the materials and colors of the addition match those of the existing building, no negative impact on the EC is expected.”

 

The details of the architecture of the proposed addition and other issues relevant to the Route 20 Entrance Corridor EC will be reviewed through the Architectural Review Board process.

 

    

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 for a more convenient and functional gathering place encourages the congregation of St. George’s Church to continue its active presence within the local community, directly supporting the local rural community. 

 

with uses permitted by right in the district,

The uses permitted by right under RA zoning include the preservation of agricultural and forestal activities, St. George’s Church and the adjacent properties are located within the Rural Areas zoning district.  Sustaining the County’s Rural Area zoning district is dependent on including uses that support agricultural and forestal communities, including meeting places, at rural scales, providing the opportunity to take part in community life.  The proposed addition to St. George’s will allow the congregation to continue to support agricultural and forestal community life at a rural scale by providing a formal gathering place for the church congregation.  

  

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 proposed addition to the church does not increase the area of assembly or represent an increase in the intensity of the use and therefore does not affect the overall parking area.  The Virginia Department of Transportation’s Charlottesville Residency has indicated St. George’s has recently upgraded the entrance to meet commercial standards under a VDOT permit.  The recent upgrade included reducing the earth berm on the south side of the entrance to the church parking lot from Route 20 to improve visibility. 

 

The Virginia Department of Health had expressed concerns regarding the proximity of an existing well with the proposed addition.  VDH has since made a site visit to the church and has confirmed in writing the addition will not be termite treated and will be at least 10' away from the existing well, alleviating their concerns.

 

SUMMARY:

Staff has identified the following factors favorable to this application:

1.    The addition will help sustain the continuing presence of a community church, enhancing the quality of life of its rural congregation. 

2.    The church addition addresses the needs of rural residents.

3.    No impacts on adjacent property resulting from the proposed addition.

        

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 2007-19 St. George’s Church Addition with the following conditions:

 

1. Special Use Permit 2007-19 shall be developed in general accord with the concept application plan, provided by the applicant and dated July 31, 2006 (Attachment C.)  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 1,196 square feet.

3. The area of assembly shall be limited to a maximum 65 seat sanctuary; occasional church gatherings beyond the normal capacity of the sanctuary shall be permitted.

4. There shall be no day care center or private school on site without approval of a separate special use permit. 

5. Construction of the 1,196 square foot addition shall commence within 5 years or this special use permit shall expire.

 

ATTACHMENTS

Attachment A - Site Context

Attachment B – Site Detail

Attachment C - Concept Plan and building elevation

Attachment D - Site Photographs

Attachment E – Email from Joshua Kirtley, Virginia Department of Health dated June 5, 2007

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