COUNTY OF ALBEMARLE STAFF REPORT SUMMARY

 

Project Name: 

SP 2007-025 First Christian Church

Staff:  Scott Clark

Planning Commission Public Hearing:  September 11, 2007

Board of Supervisors Public Hearing: October 10, 2007

OwnersFirst Christian Church; Nellie L Moubry, Tanner Y Carver, Charles B Go

Applicant:  First Christian Church

Acreage:  15.12 acres

Special Use Permit for:  Amendment of previously-approved church

TMP:  79-24A

Location: Northeast corner of intersection of Richmond Road (US 250) and Keswick Road (Route 731)

Conditions: Yes

Existing Zoning and By-right use:  RA Rural Areas: agricultural, forestal, and fishery uses; residential density (0.5 unit/acre);  EC Entrance Corridor – overlay to protect properties of historic, architectural or cultural significance from visual impacts of development along routes of tourist access;

Magisterial District: Scottsville

Requested # of Dwelling Units:  N/A

DA                               RA   X

Proposal:  Special use permit amendment for church, to change location and size of proposed picnic pavilion and change boundary of wooded area not to be disturbed.

Comprehensive Plan Designation:  RA - Rural Areas: preserve and protect agricultural, forestal, open space, and natural, historic and scenic resources/ density (.5 unit/ acre)

Character of Property:  Wooded

Use of Surrounding Properties:  Mixture of small and large residential parcels, some wooded land, and one adjacent church

Factors Favorable:

1. This amendment would not create additional impacts to adjacent properties.

2.The Architectural Review Board had no objections to the proposed amendment.

Factors Unfavorable:

1. The protected wooded area on the site would be reduced by 0.39 acres. However, this is a very minimal reduction. Changes to the “area not to be disturbed” would increase buffering on the east side of the property, which is the only boundary that does not abut a road.

RECOMMENDATION: Staff recommends approval, subject to conditions.

 

 

Petition: 

PROPOSED: Special use permit amendment for church, to change location and size of proposed picnic pavilion and change boundary of wooded area not to be disturbed.

ZONING CATEGORY/GENERAL USAGE: RA -- Rural Areas: agricultural, forestal, and fishery uses; residential density (0.5 unit/acre); EC Entrance Corridor - Overlay to protect properties of historic, architectural or cultural significance from visual impacts of development along routes of tourist access

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

LOCATION: Northeast corner of Richmond Road (US 250) and Keswick Road (Route 731).

TAX MAP/PARCEL: 79-24A

MAGISTERIAL DISTRICT: Scottsville

 

Character of the Area:

The surroundings are a mix of open and wooded land crossed by two major highway corridors—US 250 and Interstate 64. Most of the surrounding parcels, including the Village of Rivanna to the southeast, are residential properties. Union Run Baptist Church (a mid-20th-century building, possibly modified in the 1970s) is located directly across Keswick Road to the northwest. The subject property is currently wooded, with deciduous trees and some evergreens. (See Attachments A and B.)

 

Specifics of the Proposal:

The applicants are proposing a change to the conceptual plan for this approved church. The two small picnic shelters shown on the original plan (see Attachment C) would be replaced with a single larger shelter in a new location, and the boundaries of the “area not to be disturbed” would be changed to accommodate the new arrangement and to better accommodate the septic system. See Attachment D for the proposed replacement conceptual plan.

 

Planning and Zoning History:

 

SP 2006-025 First Christian Church – On January 10, 2007, The Board of Supervisors approved this special use permit (see Attachment C for the original staff report) for a 306-seat church with the following conditions:

 

1. The church’s improvements and the scale and location of the improvements shall be developed in

general accord with the conceptual plan entitled “First Christian Church,” prepared by McKee

Carson, and dated 11-14-2006;

2. The area of assembly shall be limited to a maximum three hundred six (306)-seat sanctuary;

3. No grading or tree removal shall take place within the area marked "area not to be disturbed" on

the conceptual plan or within the seventy-five (75)-foot setback adjacent to Route 250 East;

4. No erosion and sedimentation control plan nor building permit shall be approved for the area

marked "area not to be disturbed" without prior approval of a tree conservation plan complying

with section 32.7.9.4 of the Zoning Ordinance;

5. All parking setbacks and undisturbed buffers required by Zoning Ordinance section 21.7,

Minimum Yard Requirements, shall apply if this use is developed;

6. Lighting of the site shall be limited as follows:

a. Light levels at the property lines shall be no greater than 0.3 foot candles;

b. No flood lighting of the building is permitted;

c. Utilize bollard type lights in place of pole lights whenever possible. Use only full

cutoff fixtures;

d. Site and building illumination shall be limited to the satisfaction of the ARB; and

e. All outdoor lighting shall be arranged or shielded to reflect light away from the

abutting properties.

7. The existing prescriptive right-of-way along this parcel’s Keswick Road (Route 731)

frontage shall be replaced with a public right-of-way at least twenty-five (25) feet wide

and dedicated to public use;

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

use permit; and

9. If the use, structure, or activity for which this special use permit is issued is not commenced within

sixty (60) months after the permit is issued, the permit shall be deemed abandoned and the

authority granted thereunder shall thereupon terminate.

 

 

Conformity with the Comprehensive Plan:

The Comprehensive Plan designates the proposed church site as Rural Areas, emphasizing the preservation and protection of agricultural, forestal, open space, and natural, historic and scenic resources.  Churches are allowed in the Rural Area zoning district by Special Use Permit.

  

This proposal may support the following Guiding Principles from the Rural Areas chapter of the Comprehensive Plan:

 

“Address the needs of existing rural residents without fostering growth and further suburbanization of the Rural Areas.”

 

The proposed amendment does not increase impacts on the rural areas, as the capacity of the church and the overall character of the use on the site would not change.

 

“Protect the quality and supply of surface water and groundwater resources.”

“Preserve and manage the Rural Areas' natural resources in order to protect the environment and conserve resources for future use.”

“Preserve the County's rural scenic resources as being essential to the County's character, economic vitality, and quality of life.”

 

The property is currently wooded; forest cover provides the best protection for groundwater. Forest cover also protects surface-water quality and helps to maintain the scenic character of the area. Conditions of approval included here-in are designed to maintain forest cover over much of the property.

 

The new conceptual plan would reduce the “area not to be disturbed” by 0.39 acres. North and west of the sanctuary, approximately 20,500 square feet have been added to the area of disturbance to accommodate drain fields. East of the parking lot, the area to be disturbed has been increased by approximately 3,500 square feet. Staff does not find that this is a significant reduction in the wooded area of the property.

 

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 changes would not create additional  new impacts to adjacent properties. The changes to the “area not to be disturbed” would increase buffering on the east side of the property, which is the only boundary that does not abut a road.

 

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

 

This property is located in the Entrance Corridor (EC) overlay zoning district. The proposal has been reviewed by the Architectural Review Board (ARB). The ARB had no objection to the requested amendment.

 

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: (Amended 11-8-89)

-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)”

 

The conceptual plan for this proposal includes buffers and vegetation-protection areas that are intended to reduce its impacts on natural and scenic resources. Tree protection on the site will also help to protect groundwater. The proposed plan amendment still provides these resource-protection areas.

 

with uses permitted by right in the district,

The property and the surrounding properties are zoned RA, Rural Areas.  The uses permitted by right under RA Zoning directly support agriculture, forestry, and the conservation of rural land.  Part of the County’s vision for the RA districts includes the support of agricultural and forestal communities through community meeting places, at rural scales, that provide the opportunity to take part in community life. The proposed amendment would not increase impacts on the district compared to the original approval.

 

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 with the public health, safety and general welfare.

 

The proposed plan changes do not create new public health, safety, or welfare impacts.

 

Waiver Request:

The Zoning Ordinance allows 24 months for both construction and start of the use of a Special Use Permit (18-31.2.4.4.).  With the original approval, the applicant requested the time allowed for construction and start of the use of this Special Use Permit, should it be approved, be increased to five (5) years. The Board of Supervisors approved that condition.  Staff supports approving a request for a five-year time extension from the approval of SP 2007-00025.

 

 

SUMMARY:

Staff has identified the following factors favorable to this application:

1. This amendment would not create additional impacts to adjacent properties.

2. The Architectural Review Board had no objections to the proposed amendment.

 

Staff has identified the following factors unfavorable to this application:

 

1.       The protected wooded area on the site would be reduced by 0.39 acres. However, this is a very minimal reduction. Changes to the “area not to be disturbed” would increase buffering on the east side of the property, which is the only boundary that does not abut a road.

 

RECOMMENDED ACTION: 

Based on the findings contained in this staff report, staff recommends approval of Special Use Permit 2006-20 First Christian Church under the following conditions:

 

1)      The church’s improvements and the scale and location of the improvements shall be developed in general accord with the conceptual plan entitled “First Christian Church, Albemarle County, Virginia – Minor Amendment to the Special Use Permit” prepared by McKee Carson, and dated May 29, 2007.

2)      The area of assembly shall be limited to a maximum 306-seat sanctuary.

3)      No grading or tree removal shall take place within the area marked "area not to be disturbed" on the conceptual plan or within the 75-foot setback adjacent to Route 250 East.

4)      No erosion and sedimentation control plan nor building permit shall be approved for the area marked "area not to be disturbed" without prior approval of a tree conservation plan complying with section 32.7.9.4 of the Zoning Ordinance.

5)      All parking setbacks and undisturbed buffers required by Zoning Ordinance section 21.7, Minimum Yard Requirements, shall apply if this use is developed.

6)      All outdoor lighting shall be arranged or shielded to reflect light away from the abutting properties.

7)      The existing prescriptive right-of-way along this parcel’s Keswick Road (Rte. 731) frontage shall be replaced with a public right-of-way at least 25 ft wide and dedicated to public use.

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

9)      If the use, structure, or activity for which this special use permit is issued is not commenced within sixty (60) months after the permit is issued, the permit shall be deemed abandoned and the authority granted thereunder shall thereupon terminate.

 

 

ATTACHMENTS

Attachment A – Area Map

Attachment B – Aerial view of site

Attachment C – SP 06-020 Staff Report

Attachment D – SP 06-020 First Christian Church conceptual plan

Attachment E – SP 07-025 First Christian Church conceptual plan – current amendment proposal

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