COUNTY OF ALBEMARLE

PLANNING STAFF REPORT SUMMARY

 

Project Name:  AFD 2007-02 Hardware Agricultural and Forestal District Renewal and AFD 2007-03 Nortonsville Local Agricultural and Forestal District Renewal

Staff: Amy Ransom Arnold

Planning Commission Public Hearing:

August 14, 2007

Board of Supervisors Public Hearing:

September 12, 2007

Owners: various 

Applicant: County Staff

Acreage: Hardware currently 4,021.478 acres; Nortonsville Local currently 90.575 acres

Ag/For District Review: Review,  Hardware and Nortonsville Agricultural/Forestal Districts; determine termination, modification, or continuation of the districts

Location: The Hardware Agricultural and Forestal District is comprised of six primary patches near North Garden, framing the North Fork, Middle Branch and South Branch of the Hardware River and reaching from Route 708 to the north, 692 to the west, Route 712 to the south, and Pryor’s Mountain to the east. 

The Nortonsville Local Agricultural and Forestal District extends south of the banks of the Lynch River, just south of Simmons Gap Road (Route 810), approximately ½ mile west of the village center of Nortonsville, near the Albemarle / Green County boundary.

Existing Zoning and By-right use:

Hardware District: Rural Areas: agricultural, forestal, and fishery; residential; game preserves; wayside stands; electric, gas, oil, and communication facilities, accessory uses including home occupation class A, temporary construction uses; public uses, etc.;  Entrance Corridor Overlay District; Commercial; Village Residential; Natural Resource Extraction 

Nortonsville Local District: Rural Areas

 

Magisterial District: Hardware: Samuel Miller; Nortonsville Local: White Hall

Conditions: Yes

Proposal: Renewal of the Hardware and Nortonsville Local Agricultural and Forestal Districts; determine whether to terminate, modify, or continue these districts. Both Withdrawals and additions are proposed for the Hardware District.  The renewal cycle for the Nortonsville Local District is proposed to be revised from its current 8-year to a 10-year review period.  There are no withdrawals or additions proposed for the Nortonsville Local District.  

Requested # of Dwelling Units:  NA                      

 

DA (Development Area):

RA (Rural Area):  X

Comprehensive Plan Designation: RA -- Rural Areas: agricultural, forestal, and fishery uses; residential density (0.5 unit/acre)

RECOMMENDATION: The Agricultural and Forestal Advisory Committee at their meeting on July 16, 2007 recommended approval of the renewal of both the Nortonsville Local and Hardware Agricultural and Forestal Districts with the conditions contained in the staff report.

 

AFD 2007-02 and AFD 2007-03: REVIEW OF THE HARDWARE AND NORTONSVILLE LOCAL AGRICULTURAL AND FORESTAL DISTRICTS

 

Staff Contact: Amy Arnold

Planning Commission Public Hearing: August 14, 2007 

Board of Supervisors Public Hearing:  September 12, 2007

 

Petition:

NOTICE OF AN APPLICATION FOR REVIEW OF THE NORTONSVILLE LOCAL AGRICULTURAL/ FORESTAL DISTRICT

Notice is hereby given, pursuant to Title 15.2 Chapter 43, Section 15.2-4307 of the Agricultural and Forestal Districts Act of the Code of Virginia, 1950, as amended, that:

1.                   An application for Agricultural and Forestal District (known hereafter as Review of the Nortonsville Local Agricultural/Forestal District) has been filed with the Albemarle County Board of Supervisors and the application has been referred to the Albemarle County Planning Commission pursuant to Title 15.2, Chapter 43, Agricultural and Forestal Districts Act of the Code of Virginia, 1950, as amended;

2.                   The application for Review of the Nortonsville Local Agricultural/Forestal District;  together with descriptive maps, is available for public inspection in the office of the Clerk of the Board of Albemarle County, Fourth Floor, Albemarle County Office Building, 401 McIntire Road, Charlottesville, Virginia;

3.                   Where applicable, any political subdivision whose territory encompasses or is part of the Nortonsville Local Agricultural/Forestal District may propose a modification.  Such proposed modification must be filed in the Albemarle County Department of Community Development within 30 days of the date that this notice is first published, (no later than 5:00 p.m., June 6, 2007)

4.                   Any owner of additional qualifying land may join the application for Review of the Nortonsville Local Agricultural/Forestal District within thirty days from the date this notice is first published (no later than 5:00 p.m., June 6, 2007) or, with the consent of the Albemarle County Board of Supervisors, at any time before the public hearing the Albemarle County Board of Supervisors must hold on the application;

5.                   Any owner who joined in the application for Review of the Nortonsville Local Agricultural/Forestal District may withdraw his land, in whole or in part, by written notice filed with the Albemarle County Board of Supervisors, at any time before the Albemarle County Board of Supervisors acts pursuant to Section 15.2-4309 of the Code of Virginia, 1950, as amended;

6.                   Additional qualifying lands may be added to an already created district upon separate application pursuant to Title 15.2, Chapter 43 of the Code of Virginia, 1950, as amended at any time following such creation;

7.                   The application for Review of the Nortonsville Local Agricultural/Forestal District and proposed modifications will be submitted to the Albemarle County Agricultural and Forestal Advisory Committee.

8.                   Upon receipt of the report of the Advisory Committee, a public hearing will be held by the Albemarle County Planning Commission on the application for Review of the Nortonsville Local Agricultural/Forestal District; and any proposed modifications.

 

NOTICE OF AN APPLICATION FOR REVIEW OF THE HARDWARE AGRICULTURAL/ FORESTAL DISTRICT

Notice is hereby given, pursuant to Title 15.2 Chapter 43, Section 15.2-4307 of the Agricultural and Forestal Districts Act of the Code of Virginia, 1950, as amended, that:

1.         An application for Agricultural and Forestal District (known hereafter as Review of the Hardware Agricultural/Forestal District) has been filed with the Albemarle County Board of Supervisors and the application has been referred to the Albemarle County Planning Commission pursuant to Title 15.2, Chapter 43, Agricultural and Forestal Districts Act of the Code of Virginia, 1950, as amended;

2.         The application for Review of the Hardware Agricultural/Forestal District;  together with descriptive maps, is available for public inspection in the office of the Clerk of the Board of Albemarle County, Fourth Floor, Albemarle County Office Building, 401 McIntire Road, Charlottesville, Virginia;

3.         Where applicable, any political subdivision whose territory encompasses or is part of the Hardware Agricultural/Forestal District may propose a modification.  Such proposed modification must be filed in the Albemarle County Department of Community Development within 30 days of the date that this notice is first published, (no later than 5:00 p.m., June 6, 2007)

4.         Any owner of additional qualifying land may join the application for Review of the Hardware Agricultural/Forestal District within thirty days from the date this notice is first published (no later than 5:00 p.m., June 6, 2007) or, with the consent of the Albemarle County Board of Supervisors, at any time before the public hearing the Albemarle County Board of Supervisors must hold on the application;

5.         Any owner who joined in the application for Review of the Hardware Agricultural/Forestal District may withdraw his land, in whole or in part, by written notice filed with the Albemarle County Board of Supervisors, at any time before the Albemarle County Board of Supervisors acts pursuant to Section 15.2-4309 of the Code of Virginia, 1950, as amended;

6.         Additional qualifying lands may be added to an already created district upon separate application pursuant to Title 15.2, Chapter 43 of the Code of Virginia, 1950, as amended at any time following such creation;

7.         The application for Review of the Hardware Agricultural/Forestal District and proposed modifications will be submitted to the Albemarle County Agricultural and Forestal Advisory Committee.

8.         Upon receipt of the report of the Advisory Committee, a public hearing will be held by the Albemarle County Planning Commission on the application for Review of the Hardware Agricultural/Forestal District; and any proposed modifications.

 

Purpose:  The Agricultural and Forestal Districts program is an important voluntary protection measure utilized in the County. It is enabled by state law and adopted by the Board of Supervisors in Chapter 3 of the County Code.  Through the program, rural land is safeguarded and the County’s policy goal of protecting “Albemarle’s agricultural and forests as a resource base for its agricultural and forestry industries and for related benefits they contribute towards the County’s rural character, scenic quality, natural environment, and fiscal health” is implemented. The purpose of an Agricultural and Forestal District is further expanded in the County Code, adding that agricultural and forestal lands should be protected as valuable natural and ecological resources which provide essential open space for clean air sheds, watershed protection, wildlife habitat, as well as for aesthetic purposes. 

 

Effects of a District:  

 

1.         The District provides a community benefit by conserving and protecting farmlands and forest; environmental resources such as watersheds, air quality, open space, and wildlife habitat; and scenic and historic resources.

 

2.         The State Code stipulates that the landowner receive certain tax benefits*, and restrictions on public utilities and government action (such as land acquisition and local nuisance laws) to protect the agricultural/ forestal use of the land.  In exchange, the landowner agrees not to develop the property to a "more intensive use" during the specified number of years the district is in effect.

*Since Albemarle County currently permits all four categories of use value assessment, a district designation may not provide any additional real estate tax deductions.  Land in a district is protected from special utility assessments or taxes.

 

3.         The State Code stipulates that, "Local ordinances, comprehensive plans, land use planning decisions, administrative decisions and procedures affecting parcels of land adjacent to any district shall take into account the existence of such a district and the purposes of this chapter."  The district may have no effect on adjacent development by-right, but could restrict proposed rezonings or uses by special use permit which are determined to be in conflict with the adjacent agricultural/ forestal uses.  Districts must now be shown on the official Comprehensive Plan map each time it is updated.

 

In general, a district may have a stabilizing effect on land use.  The property owners in the district are making a statement that they do not intend to develop their property in the near future, and that they would like the area to remain in agricultural, forestal, and open space uses.  Adjacent property owners may be encouraged to continue agricultural uses if they do not anticipate development of adjacent lands. Currently, there are 24 agricultural/forestal districts in the County containing approximately 64,000 acres.

 

Renewal Procedure: In conducting a renewal, the Board shall ask for the recommendations of the local Advisory Committee and the Planning Commission in order to determine whether to terminate, modify, or continue the district.

 

The Board may stipulate conditions to continue the district and may establish a time period before the next renewal of the district, which may be different from the conditions or period established when the district was created.  Any such different conditions or period must be described in a notice to landowners in the district, and published in a newspaper at least two weeks prior to adoption of the ordinance continuing the district.

 

Unless the district is modified or terminated by the Board of Supervisors, the district shall continue as originally constituted, with the same conditions and time period before the next review as were established when the district was created.

 

When each district is reviewed, land within the district may be withdrawn at the owner’s discretion by filing a written notice with the Board of Supervisors at any time before the Board acts to continue, modify, or terminate the district.

 

THE NORTONSVILLE LOCAL AGRICULTURAL AND FORESTAL DISTRICT

 

The Albemarle County Code currently contains this description of the District:

 

Sec. 3-307 Nortonsville Local Agricultural and Forestal District.

The district known as the “Nortonsville Local Agricultural and Forestal District” consists of the following described properties: Tax map 8, parcel 26. This district, created on October 6, 1999 for a period of 8 years, shall next be reviewed prior to October 6, 2007.

(Ord. 99-3(5); 10-6-99)

 

The Nortonsville Local Agricultural and Forestal District extends south of the banks of the Lynch River, just south of Simmons Gap Road (Route 810), approximately ½ mile west of the village center of Nortonsville, near the Albemarle / Green County boundary. (Attachment A)  There have been no additions or withdrawals since the creation of the District.  Landowners may withdraw their parcels from districts by right during a renewal at anytime before the Board of Supervisors takes final action to continue, modify, or terminate the district.  Tax Map 8, Parcel 26 was subdivided by-right in 2004, creating two lots, 26 (41.158 acres) and 26B (49.417 acres).  In addition to the two lot subdivision, a two acre portion of the property was transferred by gift to adjacent neighbor, increasing the area of Tax Map 8, Parcel 28 to 4.317 acres.  

  

Agricultural and Forestal District Significance: All of the 90.575 acres that comprise the Nortonsville Local District are currently enrolled in the Forestry category of the land-use taxation program.  Mixed deciduous and evergreen forest stands located in the District comprise a northern portion of a system of forest and ridge lines expanding to the west, south and east of the district.    

 

Land Use other than Agriculture and Forestry:  At present, forestal uses remain the land use for Tax Map 8, Parcels 26 and 26B.  

 

Local Development Patterns: The district is surrounded by wooded mountainous land, open pasture, hedgerows, farms, and the banks of the Lynch River.  There are not any substantial residential developments on near-by parcels.  

 

Comprehensive Plan Designation and Zoning Districts: The Nortonsville Local District is located within Rural Area 1 of the Comprehensive Plan and both parcels are zoned RA (Rural Areas). There are no Development Areas land use designations located near-by.

 

Environmental Benefits: The Nortonsville Local District is located in the Middle James River Basin, whose northernmost edge is established by the banks of the Lynch River, a branch of the North Fork of the Rivanna River The Nortonsville Local District lies within the boundaries of a home (or local) watershed.  The District comprises the northern portion of a large expanse of woodland, ridgelines, and areas of critical slopes (25% or greater).  (Attachment B: ten foot contours and critical slopes) Keeping these properties in an Agricultural and Forestal District will help protect forest land and mountain resources, which the Comprehensive Plan and Rural Areas Zoning Ordinances seek to preserve.  Conservation of this area will help maintain the environmental integrity of the County and aids in the protection of ground and surface water, agricultural soils, mountain resources, critical slopes, and wildlife habitat. The District is located within the North Fork Rivanna River Water Supply Watershed and the Blue Ridge groundwater province; with a high percentage of forest cover, the Nortonsville Local District helps to preserve important water resources for the entire community.

 

Time Period: The Nortonsville Local District is currently on an 8-year review cycle.

 

THE HARDWARE AGRICULTURAL AND FORESTAL DISTRICT

 

The Albemarle County Code currently contains this description of the District:

 

Sec. 3-214 Hardware Agricultural and Forestal District.

The district known as the "Hardware Agricultural and Forestal District" consists of the following

described properties: Tax map 73, parcels 38, 39B, 41A, 41B1, 41B2, 42, 42A, 43, 44, 45, 46, 48; tax map

74, parcels 26, 28; tax map 86, parcels 14, 16A, 16C, 16D, 16F, 27; tax map 87, parcels 3, 10, 13A, 13E

(part consisting of 89.186 acres); tax map 88, parcels 4, 5, 5A, 6A, 20A, 20B, 20C, 20D, 20F, 23, 23E, 24,

26B, 29, 40, 41A, 42, 42A; tax map 99, parcels 29, 52. This district, created on November 4, 1987 for not

more than ten years and last reviewed on November 12, 1997, shall next be reviewed prior to November

12, 2007.

(Code 1988, § 2.1-4(h); Ord. No. 98-A(1), 8-5-98; Ord. 00-3(2), 7-12-00)

 

The Hardware Agricultural and Forestal District is comprised of six primary patches near North Garden, framing the North Fork, Middle Branch and South Branch of the Hardware River and reaching from Route 708 to the north, 692 to the west, Route 712 to the south, and Pryor’s Mountain to the east.  (Attachment C) Approximately 2,383 acres were withdrawn from the district at the time of the last review in November of 1997.  Since the creation of the district, additions have been made as follows: 1989, 142 acres; 1998, 12 acres; 1999, 118 acres, 2000, 153 acres; 2003, 21 acres.  Landowners may withdraw their parcels from districts by right during a renewal at anytime before the Board of Supervisors takes final action to continue, modify, or terminate the district. 

  

Agricultural and Forestal District Significance: Of the 4,021.478 acres that comprise the Hardware District, 2,022.952 acres are enrolled in the Forestry category of the land-use taxation program while 1768.133 are enrolled in the Agricultural category.  A patchwork mosaic of mixed species forests and agricultural fields comprise the overall character of the land use patterning.      

 

Land Use other than Agriculture and Forestry:  In addition to agricultural and forestal uses, the Hardware District approximately 30 scattered dwellings.

 

Local Development Patterns: The district is located roughly within a ring of wooded mountains, framing the North Fork, Middle Branch, and South Branch of the Hardware River and their associated bottom land.  The crossroads village of North Garden is clustered at the southwestern end of the district.  Open pasture, agricultural fields, mixed species forest, hedgerows, farms, and stretches of river bottom land currently characterize the district.  At present there are not any substantial residential developments on near-by parcels, although a large portion of the Hardware District on the north side of Route 692 (Plank Road) at North Garden comprises the proposed Bundoran Farms residential development.  The three Bundoran development parcels remaining in the Hardware Agricultural and Forestal District have requested to be withdrawn within this renewal period.       

 

Comprehensive Plan Designation and Zoning Districts: The Hardware District is located within Rural Area 3 of the Comprehensive Plan with most parcels currently zoned RA (Rural Areas). Included in the Hardware District near the crossroads village of North Garden are portions of Village Residential zoning.  Northeast of the intersection of Route 692 (Plank Road) and Route 29 are three large parcels zoned Commercial.  Between Red Hill Road and Route 29 and adjacent to the district is a large area zoned Natural Resources Extraction Overly.  There are no Development Area land use designations located near-by. (Attachment D)

 

Environmental Benefits: The Hardware District is located in the Middle James River Basin, with the North Fork, Middle Branch and South Branch of the Hardware River tracing through the district and forming the top of the Hardware River watershed.  The District lies across a wooded, mountain bowl containing the bottom lands of the North Fork, Middle Branch, and South Branch of the Hardware River as well as a patch work of farmland and forest.  (Attachment E: 20 meter contours and critical slopes) Keeping these properties in an Agricultural and Forestal District will help protect forest and farm land as well as mountain resources, which the Comprehensive Plan and Rural Areas Zoning Ordinances seek to preserve.  Conservation of this area will help maintain the environmental integrity of the County and aids in the protection of ground and surface water, agricultural soils, mountain resources, critical slopes, and wildlife habitat. The District is located within a watershed not currently protected under runoff control ordinance and is located within the Piedmont groundwater province.

 

Time Period: The Hardware District is currently on a 10-year review cycle.  The Nortonsville Local District is currently on an 8-year review cycle. It has been County policy to establish a 10-year review schedule (the maximum) for all districts.  The Agricultural and Forestal Districts Advisory Committee has requested and staff recommends that the review cycle for the Nortonsville District be changed to a 10-year interval.

 

 

Additions: Staff has received two requests to add land to the Hardware District: 

·                     Mr. Robert B. Rogers has requested to add Tax Map 86, Parcel 16E (13.581 acres) increasing the 136.56 acres Mr. Rogers has currently enrolled in the district.  The parcel includes land harvested for timber and hay; there are no dwellings on the property.

·                     Mr. John Hoselton has requested to add Tax Map 88, Parcel 2A (21 acres) to the District.  The parcel includes land harvested for hay production; there is a one single family dwelling on the property.

 

Withdrawals:  Staff has received four requests to withdraw land from the Hardware District:

·                     Mr. David Hamilton representing Bundoran Farm residential development has requested the withdrawal of Tax Map 87, Parcel 3 and Tax Map 86, Parcels 24C and 24D.  The withdrawal represents a loss of 469.797 acres from the Hardware District. 

·                     Mr. David Bass of Anchorage Farm has requested the withdrawal of Tax Map 88, Parcels 41A, 42A, 5A, 5, and 4.  The withdrawal represents a loss of 653.947 acres from the Hardware District. 

·                     Mr. James Bowling, IV has requested the withdrawal of Tax Map 73, Parcels 45, 46, and 48.  These parcels have been a part of the Hardware District since its inception.  The withdrawal represents a loss of 5.167 acres from the district.   

·                     Ms. Beverly Wright has requested the withdrawal of Tax Map 73, Parcel 39B from the district.  The withdrawal represents a loss of 7.068 acres from the Hardware District.   

 

Proposed Configuration: The current acreage of the Hardware Agricultural and Forestal District is 4,021.478.  With the proposed additions and withdrawals the total acreage of the district becomes 2,920.08.  The proposed additions and subtractions are illustrated in Attachment F.     

 

Planning Commission Referral:

In accordance with the Code of Virginia, Agricultural and Forestal Districts and in order to initiate the renewal of a district, the Planning Commission must first accept the application at a regularly scheduled meeting and direct the Department of Community Development to provide notice of the application pursuant to Virginia Code § 15.2-4307(1).

 

Staff Recommendation:

Staff has recommended approval of the renewal of both the Nortonsville Local and Hardware Agricultural and Forestal Districts.  The Agricultural and Forestal Advisory Committee, at their meeting on July 16, 2007, recommended approval with the following conditions:

 

1.                   The following shall be withdrawn from the Hardware Agricultural and Forestal District:

·                     Tax Map 87, Parcel 3 and Tax Map 86, Parcels 24C and 24D (469.797 acres)  

·                     Tax Map 88, Parcels 41A, 42A, 5A, 5, and 4 (653.947 acres)  

·                     Tax Map 73, Parcels 45, 46, and 48 (5.167 acres)    

·                     Tax Map 73, Parcel 39B (7.068 acres)   

 

2.                   The following shall be added to the Hardware Agricultural and Forestal District:

·                     Tax Map 86, Parcel 16E (13.581 acres) 

·                     Tax Map 88, Parcel 2A (21 acres) 

 

3.                   The renewal cycle for the Nortonsville Agricultural and Forestal District shall be revised from an 8-year to a 10-year interval.

 

ATTACHMENTS:

A.                  Nortonsville Local District: location

B.                  Nortonsville Local District: 10 foot contours, critical slopes, and 100  year floodplain

C.                  Hardware District: location

D.                  Hardware District: current zoning

E.                  Hardware District: 20 meter contours, critical slopes, and 100 year floodplain

F.                  Hardware District: proposed additions and withdrawals

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