COUNTY OF ALBEMARLE
CPA 2006-003/ZMA 2006-019 Willow Glen
Applicants have applied for a Comprehensive Plan Amendment (CPA) and a Zoning Map Amendment (ZMA) to construct Willow Glen, a residential development of 234 units, with community amenities
Cilimberg, Benish, Echols, Wiegand
LEGAL REVIEW: NO
October 10, 2007
ACTION: X INFORMATION:
Dickerson Ridge, LLC, is the owner; Sugaray Two, LLC is the applicant, with Valerie W. Long of Williams Mullen as contact; and Terra Concepts, PC as the land planners.
The Planning Commission held four worksessions and a public hearing on the Willow Glen CPA/ZMA. Minutes of these worksessions and public hearing were attached to the Executive Summary for the Board’s worksession on September 5, 2007. On January 23, 2007, the Planning Commission also adopted a Resolution of Intent (ROI) by a vote of 5 – 2. A copy of that Resolution was included with the Executive Summary for the Board’s Worksession on September 5, 2007.
On September 5, 2007, the Board held a worksession on Willow Glen. The Board addressed two questions during that worksession for which staff and the applicant requested direction:
1. In view of this information, does the Board agree with the Commission’s recommendation that the Comprehensive Plan be amended as part of Places 29 to show this area as Urban Density Residential?
The Board did not reach consensus on the Commission’s recommendation. Instead, the Board suggested that the applicant return for a public hearing with the best project proposal plan and proffers that they could offer that would warrant the change, and indicated that the Board would consider the appropriateness of the Comprehensive Plan amendment at the public hearing.
2. Does the Board expect the full cash proffer with all funds devoted to capital improvements as recommended by the Planning Commission, or is the Board willing to accept the applicant’s proffer of moderately priced units, reduced cash proffers for those units, and cash proffers for transit and a Housing Load Fund in lieu of capital improvements?
The Board directed the applicant to offer the full amount of cash proffers with all funds devoted to capital improvements as recommended by the Planning Commission.
Strategic Objective 1.2. By June 30, 2010, working in partnership with others, increase affordable housing opportunities for those who live and/or work in Albemarle County.
The applicant is requesting two actions from the Board of Supervisors:
In addressing these two actions and in light of the Board’s direction at the September 5, 2007 worksession, staff would like to make the following two points:
1. Affordable Housing Proffer. The applicant has proffered to construct 35 units or 15% of the proposed 234 units as affordable. This complies with the County’s affordable housing policy. A copy of the Willow Glen proffers is attached as Exhibit B.
The Willow Glen project, which has indicated that it wants to be a unique development addressing several levels of affordable housing need, is now committing to only the amount of affordable housing that is expected from any residential development in the County (15%). The applicant is not proffering any moderately priced housing or the four price tiers that were part of the original proposal. The applicant has indicated verbally that they will try to provide the four price tiers and a variety of unit types, but there is no assurance being made to the County. Thus, if the CPA and ZMA are approved, the County is not assured that the development will be any different than other recently approved residential rezoning projects in the County. This calls into question whether the applicant has provided a project proposal that the Board feels warrants a change of the Comprehensive Plan from Industrial Service to Urban Density Residential. Staff opinion is that it does not, based on the Board’s comments at its Willow Glen worksession.
2. The Need for Industrially Designated and Zoned Land in the County. The Planning Commission has recommended that the Comprehensive Plan Amendment be incorporated into the Places29 Master Plan process and that the land use designation for the Willow Glen area be changed from Industrial Service to Urban Density Residential.
At its last worksession on Willow Glen, some of the Board members questioned this change in light of the County’s current industrial and residential land inventories. The Board indicated an interest in additional information. Susan Stimart, the County’s Business Development Facilitator, has completed an analysis of the amount of industrial land available in the County. A copy of the report is included in Attachment I.
To summarize the points made in the report, the County has less than 100 acres in the four Northern Development Areas (the Places29 area) that are 1) designated Industrial Service in the Comprehensive Plan, 2) zoned Light Industrial, and 3) vacant. This 100-acre figure does not include acreage in mixed-use districts, which, if included, increases the total number of designated, zoned, and vacant acres to 266. As stated in Susan Stimart’s report, light industrial businesses are looking for vacant property that is already appropriately designated and zoned. This enables them to build to suit their needs; they do not need to go through the risk of a time-consuming and potentially expensive rezoning process before they can build. Small businesses like many of these are looking for readily available space.
In contrast to the need for industrially designated and zoned property, the County’s Comprehensive Plan gives the following information on residential units in the four Northern Development Areas (the Places29 area):
Existing dwelling units (1996): 8,124
Additional units that could be built in residentially designated areas: 4,804 – 12,592
TOTAL units possible under Comprehensive Plan (at buildout) 12,928 – 20,716
The applicants have claimed that, even though the property is designated Industrial Service, it had been on the market for four years and is too expensive for potential industrial users. Staff would like to point out that the Rural Areas zoning would mean that any user would have the additional time and expense of a rezoning. Further, if an owner expects that a prospective purchaser can change both the designation and the zoning on the property, the owner will set a price based on a more lucrative use.
Staff would also like to point out, in response to the representative of the Deerwood subdivision who expressed preference for residential rather than industrial development (at a Planning Commission worksession), any Light Industrial development would be required to provide a 50-footl buffer between the industrial development and an adjacent residential neighborhood. The required buffer between a Heavy Industrial development and an adjacent residential development is 100 feet.
Also, changing the designation of the Willow Glen property to Urban Density Residential would be another in a series of land use designation revisions in this area over the last 15 or so years that have removed industrial land, leaving an isolated 6-plus acre area to the north that is currently designated Industrial Service. It would be very difficult for a prospective industrial business to locate building(s), parking, and the necessary buffers on a property this small, likely meaning this remaining acreage also is changed to residential.
In addition to the entrance onto Dickerson Road, the applicant has proffered a second connection to Towncenter Drive. Until Towncenter Drive is built, the proffered connection cannot be made. The site plan requirement for a second means of ingress/egress for more than 50 units is not waived with approval of this project.
Minor wording changes to the proffers that have been requested by the County Attorney’s office are expected on signed proffers before the public hearing
The Planning Commission has recommended approval of CPA 2006-003 and ZMA 2006-019 essentially as now proposed by the applicant. However, in consideration of the Board’s discussion at its prior worksession on this project and the applicant’s project proposal, as well as information on industrial and residential land inventories, staff does not feel this project warrants a change of the Comprehensive Plan. Without this change, the rezoning for Willow Glen should not be approved.
Should the Board decide to approve CPA 2006-003, staff recommends ZMA 2006-019 only be approved with a change to the cash proffer that removes the stipulation that, “The cash contributions shall be used for schools, libraries, fire, rescue, parks or any other public use serving the Hollymead Community identified in the County’s Capital Improvements Program.”
Attachment I: Report: Light Industrial Demand Analysis
Attachment II: Willow Glen Proffers, dated October 1, 2007
Attachment III: Willow Glen Application Plan, dated October 1, 2007 (on file in Clerk's office)
View PC minutes of August 14, 2007, February 6, 2007, January 23, 2007 and December 5, 2006
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