ALBEMARLE COUNTY DEPARTMENT OF COMMUNITY DEVELOPMENT

STAFF REPORT

 

Project Name:  ZMA 07-05 Avon Park II;

Private Street Request

 

Staff:  Rebecca Ragsdale

Planning Commission Public Hearing:

October 16, 2007

 

Board of Supervisors Public Hearing:

 November 14, 2007

Owners:  Weatherhill Development represented by Frank Pohl/Ian Bosserman

Applicant: Terra Concepts represented by Mark Keller

Acreage: 5.170

 

Rezone:  R-1 to R-6 Residential

TMP: Tax Map 90, Parcel 31

By-right use: 5 dwelling units and up to 7 dwelling units with a density bonus; supporting uses permitted in R-1 such as schools, churches, and clubs by special use permit.

Magisterial District:   Scottsville

Proffers:  Yes

Proposal: Rezone from R-1 to R-6 with a proffered application plan to provide 31 single family and townhouse dwelling units

 

Requested # of Dwelling Units:  31, at a gross density of 6 dwelling units per acre

DA (Development Area): Neighborhood 4

Comp. Plan Designation:  Neighborhood Density Residential

Character of Property: Two existing homes, outbuildings; approximately half of the site is wooded

 

Use of Surrounding Properties:  Single Family Residential

Factors Favorable:   

1.                   The rezoning is consistent with the Land Use Plan recommendations.

2.                   The applicant has provided an application plan that meets Neighborhood Model design expectations.

3.                   The applicant has provided affordable housing and cash proffers that meet County Policy

 

Factors Unfavorable:

1.    The applicant is not proposing a street section that meets County requirements.

 

RECOMMENDATION:  Staff recommends approval of ZMA 07 05 and the private street request; the planting strip waiver is not recommended for approval.

 

STAFF PERSON:                                                                                          REBECCA RAGSDALE

PRIVATE PLANNING COMMISSION:                                                         October 16, 2007

BOARD OF SUPERVISORS:                                                                       November 14, 2007

 

ZMA 07-05 AVON PARK II

Private Street Request

 

Petition:

PROJECT: ZMA 2007-005 Avon Court II

PROPOSAL:  Rezone 5.17 acres from R-1 Residential (1 unit/acre) to R-6 Residential (6 units/acre) with a proffered application plan. The proposal is to allow development of 31 townhouse and single family units.

PROFFERS:  Yes

EXISTING COMPREHENSIVE PLAN LAND USE/DENSITY:  Neighborhood Density Residential - residential (3-6 units/acre) and supporting uses such as religious institutions and schools and other small-scale non-residential uses.

ENTRANCE CORRIDOR: Yes

LOCATION: Avon Street Extended, approx. 1,000 feet north of the intersection of Avon Street Ext. and Route 20, south of existing Avon Court

TAX MAP/PARCEL: Tax Map 90, Parcel 31

MAGISTERIAL DISTRICT:  Scottsville

 

Planning and Zoning History

There is no rezoning, plan or subdivision history on this parcel.  A special use permit (SP 03-48) for a Home Occupation Class B (Randy E. Fox) was approved in 2003 for a small engine repair shop but will not be continued on the property if this proposed rezoning is approved. The buildings in which the home occupation is conducted will be removed.

 

Planning Commission Work Session

This rezoning was reviewed by the Commission in a work session on August 14, 2007, to discuss two issues. The first issues was the design and layout of the proposal, specifically how residential lots and pedestrian access related to the open space/amenity area. The Commission also considered the private street request and proposed street section for that private street, summarized here:

·           The Commission indicated the applicant’s changes to the lot layout presented at the meeting, specifically to the lots located adjacent to the existing house within the development and the provision of more direct access for pedestrians from Stratford Way to the open space area was an improvement. The Commission recommended the applicant continue looking at the layout in this area of the development to provide more direct driveway access to the lots.

·           Further consideration of the proposed street design for Stratford Way was needed.  The Commission desired more information to demonstrate why the applicant’s variation should be approved and more information as to why trees normally are placed between the sidewalk and the street. [See Neighborhood Model sections on Neighborhood Friendly Streets & Paths, provided as Attachment E]

·           The applicant was encouraged to address the neighbor concerns, both those resulting from the first phase of Avon Park regarding installation of a privacy fence and comments made from other neighbors regarding this proposed second phase, including a request for fencing, public road interconnection, and extension of water.

 

The applicant submitted a revised application plan following the Commission work session that includes changes to the lot layout and provides direct pedestrian access adjacent to the open space area, has provided a detailed request for approval of Stratford Way as private street, and has addresses all adjoining property owner concerns.

 

Characteristics of the Site & Area

There are two existing homes on the site, one built after 2000 and one c. 1945 dwelling, and also outbuildings, and mature trees. (See Sheet 1-Attachment E) Adjoining properties to the north, south, and east are single family residential and zoned R1. Parcels to the west are currently wooded. Immediately adjacent to this site to the north is Avon Park I, which was a rezoning (ZMA 04-03), approved May 25, 2004 for 16 single family homes and 43 townhouse units. That project is currently under construction, near completion with some units occupied. Nearby to the north are the MillCreek Subdivision and Snows Garden Center, along with an Industrial Area. (Attachment A-Aerial, B-Zoning Map, C-Land Use Plan)

 

By-Right Uses of the Site

The site is approximately 5 acres and is zoned R-1 which would potentially allow for 5 residential units or up to 7 with bonus density and clustering provisions.

 

Specifics of Proposal

The applicant has submitted a revised rezoning plan and proffers since the Commission work session, which appears to address the issues discussed at that meeting. Avon Park II is proposed as a continuation of the existing Avon Park project. This rezoning is for a mixed residential development of 20 townhomes with two-car garages, four condo/apartments with two-car garages, and six single family houses with two-car garages, along with the existing c. 2000 single family house to remain. The units would be served by an extension of Hathaway Street (public road) in Avon Park and a private street that is requested. The front portion of the property, adjacent to Avon Street Ext., will provide the open space and recreational area for the development.  (Attachment E-Application Plan) In addition to the plan and waiver request, the applicant has submitted proffers indicating a commitment to provide 15% affordable housing and to provide cash proffers for each residential unit meeting the Board’s expectations.

 

Conformity with the Comprehensive Plan

 

Land Use Plan

The Land Use plan designates this property as Neighborhood Density Residential in Neighborhood 4.  (Attachment C) Applicable statements from the Comprehensive Plan relevant to this site are identified below in italics.  Staff comments relative to the recommendations of the Land Use Plan follow each statement:

 

Neighborhood Density Residential

o           Neighborhood Density Residential areas are intended to have a gross density of between 3 to 6 dwellings per acre. Neighborhood Density Residential may be located within the Urban Area, Communities and Villages.

o           Neighborhood Density Residential areas are intended to accommodate all dwelling unit types as well as institutional uses such as places of worship, public and private schools, and early childhood education centers including day care centers and preschools.

o           It is anticipated that Neighborhood Density Residential areas will accommodate small areas of non-residential land uses on the scale of Neighborhood Service, as defined later in this chapter, to serve residential uses.

o           Any new development within an existing subdivision shall be in keeping with the character and density of the existing development.

o           New developments adjacent to existing subdivisions or developments shall be developed at higher densities and in a form in keeping with the Neighborhood Model to support infill development efforts.

 

 

Avon Park II is proposed at a density of 6 dwelling units per acre, or 31 units on 5.1 acres, with one house already existing. Non residential uses are not proposed or expected at this location. This project is developing at a density and in a form that is in keeping with the Neighborhood Model and adjacent development of Avon Park.

 

 

·         Consider the recommendations of the Southern Charlottesville Transportation Study for this Neighborhood

 

The primary recommendations of this study were the construction of east-west connecting roads within Neighborhoods 4 and 5, including the Avon-Fifth Street Connector road (Southern Parkway), Avon-Route 20 Connector road (constructed), and an Avon-Fifth Street connector road north of I-64.  The connectors south of I-64 were considered higher priorities. This parcel does not provide an opportunity for either of these connecting roads.

 

·         Due to increased development in this area, including the construction of the new Monticello High School, upgrade Avon Street Extended and Route 20 and construct bicycle facilities and walkways in conjunction with these upgrades. Determine the right-of-way requirements for these road upgrades and obtain and/or reserve right-of-ways as necessary.

 

An asphalt path has been constructed on the west side of Avon Street from the Southern Parkway to South Mill Creek.  The CIP calls for a walkway to be constructed from the Southern Parkway to the City limits within the next 5 years.   No widening for bike lanes are planned or funded at this time.

 

·         Locate a library branch in or near Neighborhood Four.

 

The Jefferson-Madison Regional Library has proposed the construction of a new library in the southern urban areas to adequately serve this area although there has not been any site selection yet. The library needs approximately two acres of land for the 15,000 square foot facility. The County owns large acreage near the high school and fire station off of Mill Creek Drive which may be appropriate, although some of the property is hilly and not the best for development. Site selection and land acquisition, if necessary, is scheduled for 2012/13 and construction in 2014/15.  A site near an east-west connector road would seem to be the best location so it would be convenient to either Neighborhood 4 or 5.  This site is in proximity to the Southern Parkway, once it is built to Fifth Street. 

 

·         Participate with the City to construct the eastern branch of the southern water loop. This loop will link the Avon Street and Pantops Mountain Water tanks and improve water distribution in the Neighborhood. Build another smaller water tank on Avon Street to increase flow to Neighborhoods 4 & 5.

 

The eastern branch of the southern loop is programmed in RWSA’s CIP for construction in FY 09-10.

 

·         Provide additional water storage in the southern portion of the Neighborhood to support demand and ensure adequate fire flow.

 

Storage tanks have been developed as part of Avon Park and Mosby Mountain development that will provide water storage and address fire flow issues for this area.

 

·         Extend the Biscuit Run Interceptor to provide capacity for the entire drainage basin.

 

The Biscuit Run interceptor was extended close to the Biscuit Run property as part of the improvements provided to serve the Mosby Mountain development off of Fifth Street.

 

·         New development and redevelopment along Route 20 and Avon Street Extended should be designed in a manner that is sensitive to its location within the Monticello viewshed and designation as Entrance Corridor Roadways.

 

The proposed development is not in the Monticello viewshed. The Architectural Review Board has provided comments on the Application Plan.

 

Open Space Plan -- The County’s Open Space Plan shows no significant environmental resources on this property. 

 

Principles of the Neighborhood Model -- Conformity with the Neighborhood Model is assessed below:

 

Pedestrian Orientation

Sidewalks are shown along all streets, both public and private, internal to the development, connecting different buildings to the amenities and to other buildings.   The applicant has also provided a sidewalk across the frontage of the property along Avon Street Extended. This principle is met.

Neighborhood Friendly Streets and Paths

(Attachment E)

Street trees are shown for all proposed streets; however, street trees along the private street (Stratford Way) are proposed behind the curb and sidewalk, which does not meet the desired street section. The applicant has submitted a private street request and justification for this design for the Commission to consider.  This principle is met.

 

Interconnected Streets and Transportation Networks

Opportunities for north-south interconnections exist to adjoining properties and are provided via a planned interconnection approved with Avon Park, shown as Hathaway Street on the application plan. (Attachment E) This interconnection is being extended to the Brooks property to the south of this proposed development. This principle is met.

 

 

Parks and Open Space

 

Proposed amenity and recreation areas comprise 1.69 acres or 33% of the site and are located on the front one-third of the property on Avon Street Ext. The area would include a pavilion, picnic tables, grill area, and horseshoe pits. These amenities are proposed as a substitution of recreation requirements of the ordinance rather than providing a tot lot. This development will be added to Avon Park I and will have access to those amenities as well, which includes a tot lot, so the substitution is supported. This principle is met.

 

Neighborhood Centers

Cale Elementary School is the nearest center to this area and a place to which the residential units can relate. However, it is a mile away. This area is expected to relate to the adjoining center proposed in Biscuit Run under review. This principle is met.

 

Buildings and Spaces of Human Scale

The scale of the buildings appears to be appropriate and this principle is met. A site section is provided in the application plan.

 

Relegated Parking

Parking for residential units is provided in garages and guest parking is the only parking provided outside of garages.  This principle is met.

 

Mixture of Uses

 

Non-residential uses are not expected within this development and the nearest non-residential use is a church approximately a quarter-mile to the north on Avon Street Extended. A commercial center is approximately a mile away at the intersection of Mill Creek Drive and Avon Street Extended.

No additional mixture of uses is recommended and this principle is met with nearby uses.

 

Mixture of Housing Types and Affordability

The mixture of housing types, with four multi-family units, townhomes, and single family, is viewed as appropriate and the applicant has committed that 15% of the units will be affordable. This principle is met.

 

Redevelopment

The project represents redevelopment from low density rural residential to higher density residential. The existing house on the site and outbuildings closest to Avon Street will be demolished and the other existing house on the property will remain and be integrated into Avon Park II. This principle is met.

 

Site Planning that Respects Terrain

As previously indicated, the property has some topographical challenges and slopes downward towards Avon Street. This principle is met for most of the project; however, staff has concerns regarding the proposed grading for Lot 28, as they are proposed as 2:1 slopes.   

 

Clear Boundaries with the Rural Areas

Not applicable, the nearest Rural Area boundary is to the east of Route 20 and south.

 

   

 

STAFF COMMENT

Relationship between the application and the purpose and intent of the requested zoning district

 

The applicant has requested a rezoning to R6 Residential and the intent of that district in the Ordinance and lot and setback requirements are provided here:

 

 This district (hereafter referred to as R-6) is to provide a plan implementation zone that:

-Provides for compact, medium-density residential development;

(Amended 9-9-92)

-Permits a variety of housing types; and

-Provides incentives for clustering of development and provision of locational, environmental and developmental amenities.

R-6 districts may be permitted within community and urban area locations recommended for medium-density residential use in the comprehensive plan. (Amended 9-9-92)

 

Staff believes this proposal meets the intent of the R-6 Zoning, which is consistent with the Land Use Plan recommendation of Neighborhood Density. Avon Park I is also zoned R6 and this proposal will be added to that development.

 

 

Impact on Environmental, Cultural, and Historic Resources

Approximately 50% of the site, on the western half is wooded and there are significant grade changes across the site, from elevations of 690 at the highest point near proposed Hathaway Street and 590 near Avon Street Ext. The woods would be removed and the slopes graded in order to accomplish the plan proposed.  The existing vegetation located around the homes on the site is proposed to remain. There are no environmental features shown on the County’s Open Space Plan. 

 

The Historic Preservation planner provided information regarding historic resources. Albemarle County Real Estate records indicate that the existing dwelling on Tax Map 90, Parcel 31 was constructed c. 1945 and is therefore considered historic. This resource has not been evaluated for listing on the National or State historic registers. The applicant has indicated on the Site Plan Study that the existing c. 2000 or later dwelling will be retained but the historic structure will be removed because of its condition.  Staff is requesting that the applicant provide documentation of the resource, in accordance with the Department of Historic Resources (DHR) standards prior to its removal, which they have agreed to provide. The Virginia Department of Historic Resources’ (DHR) Data Sharing System (DSS) also identified the Midvale School (DHR #002-1141), which is on the adjoining property.

 

 

Anticipated impact on public facilities and services

 

Streets – The development will generate an additional 208 trips per day on Avon Street Extended which provides primary access to the site.  Traffic counts are not available at this location although north of Mill Creek Drive; the street has 10,306 Average Daily Trips (ADT) with a Level of Service E.  Regarding Avon St. Extended, the hope is that the road can continue to function as a 2-lane (with turn lanes), lower speed (35-40 mph) road that can stay more in keeping with a neighborhood oriented, multi-modal type of collector road.  It was anticipated that east-west street connections (Willoughby connector, Southern Parkway) would help distribute traffic to the larger regional road network (Fifth Street, Route 20) that currently almost have to travel on Avon to reach almost any city/university destination.   

 

Some of VDOT and the County’s initial comments regarding streets have been addressed, since the applicant no longer proposes maintaining the existing drive from Avon Street Ext. into the property. The request to allow Stratford Way as a private street is discussed below.

 

Schools – The development is expected to generate 8 students broken down as follows: 4 elementary school students, 2 middle school students, and 2 high school students.  These students will attend Cale Elementary School, Walton Middle School, and Monticello High School.  Cale will be renovated in 2006 to add classrooms.  The renovation will replace the portable units currently in use and also accommodates the growth from development of this adjoining site.

There is an additional elementary school proposed in the CIP for the Southern Urban Areas to address growth in the Southern Urban Areas.  At present, an elementary school is being considered in conjunction with the Biscuit Run development.

Fire, Rescue, Police – Fire, Rescue, and Police facilities are located nearby in buildings south of I-64.  The Monticello Fire Station located near Monticello High School provides fire and rescue services to the area.  Albemarle County 5th Street Office Building is contains the County’s Police Department, although the police patrol all areas of the County regardless of the location of the station.  No impact to these facilities is expected.

Utilities – Albemarle County Service Authority indicates that water and sewer service is available to the site.  Single family lots will be served by grinder pumps, which the ACSA does not have an objection to and were approved in Avon Park I. Generally, grinder pumps are not recommended because of private maintenance and easements are required. However, the easements have been located in such a way that they do not cut across properties. (See Utility Plan, Sheet 3-Application Plan, Attachment E)

Anticipated impact on nearby and surrounding properties                                           This project is expected to be in keeping with the residential character of this area. The applicant has mitigated all concerns raised by adjoining property owners that were raised at the August 14 work session.

Proffers

The applicant has submitted proffers (Attachment D) including a commitment to the application plan, which are summarized below. The proffers have been reviewed by the County Attorney and only minor changes are needed and there are no outstanding substantive issues.

Affordable Housing- This proffer provides for four affordable units, identified as 21/22 and 23/24 on the application plan and proposed as multifamily units which may either be for-sale or for-lease units. The affordable housing policy of providing 15% affordable, which is 4.5 units for this development, is met through provision of these four units and a cash contribution is proffered for the 0.5 unit. These proffers are acceptable to the Housing Director.

Cash Proffer- The applicant has proffered to meet the Board’s cash proffer policy, by proffering $343,000 to the County for mitigating impacts from this development. That amount is equal to $11,900 per market rate townhome and $17,500 for each single family unit.

 

Private Street Request

 

The Subdivision Ordinance specifies criteria for the Commission to approve a private street. The applicant has requested a private street be approved under neighborhood model development criteria of this section of ordinance for Stratford Way. (Attachment F) The street section proposed is shown on sheet 2 of 3 of the application plan as a 33’ ROW with two 11’ travel lanes and 5‘sidewalks behind the curb and is approximately 500’ total, with about 230’ section to the west and a 260‘section to the east. Street trees would be provided behind the sidewalk on individual lots. This is a variation from the standard expected of curb, 6’ planting strip, then a 5’ foot sidewalk. The applicant has indicated in their justification that this design is proposed to keep the existing house on the property, to promote healthier trees and because of how water and sewer easements must be located.

 

Staff has provided the ordinance criteria for authorizing private streets under Section 14-233A, followed by comments below.

 

1. Neighborhood model development. The proposed private street(s) would enable the principles of the neighborhood model to be more fully implemented than could be achieved with a public street, without diminishing other principles of the neighborhood model, in the following circumstances:

 

(i) the subdivision would have a streetscape more consistent with the neighborhood model;

The applicant has provided a private street that is narrower than a public street and  will have lower travel speeds. The arrangement of sidewalks and planting strips is not in keeping with recommendations of the Neighborhood Model and is discussed under the Planting Strip waiver section below.

 

 (ii) the subdivision design would allow it to better achieve the density goals of the comprehensive plan;

This design will allow density in keeping with the Land Use Plan.

 

(iii) rear vehicular access to buildings would be provided so that the buildings may face a common amenity;

Rear vehicle access is not provided to the residential units. The subject parcel is rectangular shaped and is not conducive to providing alleys.

 

 (iv) a significant environmental resource would be protected; or

No significant environmental resources exist on the site.

 

(v) relegated parking would be provided to a greater extent than could otherwise be provided.

Relegated parking is not achieved to a greater extent and parking provided is front loaded, mostly in garages.  

 

 

Staff supports the proposed private street and recommends approval since the traffic on each section of the private street will be very low and the streets will not interconnect.

 

Planting Strip Waiver

 

The Subdivision Ordinance specifies criteria for the Commission to approve a waiver of the planting strip requirement. Street trees are proposed on individual lots, behind the sidewalk. This is a variation from the standard expected of curb, 6’ planting strip, then a 5’ foot sidewalk. The applicant has indicated in their justification that this design will allow healthier trees and because of how water and sewer easements must be located under pavement.

 

Staff has provided the ordinance criteria for granting a waiver of Planting Strips Section 14-222F(2) followed by comments below.

 

(i) a waiver to allow a rural cross-section has been granted;

     The applicant is proposing an urban section.

 

(ii) a sidewalk waiver has been granted;

     The applicant proposes to provide the 5’ sidewalk required by the ordinance.

 

(iii) reducing the size of or eliminating the planting strip promotes the goals of the comprehensive plan, the neighborhood model, and the applicable neighborhood master plan; and;

The street design proposed by the applicant will allow for greater density to be achieved on a property in the development area; it does not , however, result in a form that greater reflects principles of the Neighborhood Model.

 

(iv) waiving the requirement would enable a different principle of the neighborhood model to be more fully achieved.

The waiver does not allow relegated parking to occur or to help buildings face the street.

 

In approving a waiver, the commission shall find that requiring planting strips would not forward the purposes of this chapter or otherwise serve the public interest; and granting the waiver would not be detrimental to the public health, safety or welfare, to the orderly development of the area, and to the land adjacent thereto.

Street design that addresses character and appearance as well as design speed and capacity are important in the Development Areas. Trees, usually planted in grassy strips of land between the curb and the sidewalk, provide a softened appearance to streets and enhance the quality of the walk for pedestrians. Trees also provide a barrier between the pedestrian and a moving car.

 

Staff does not support this waiver. Planting strips located behind the curb provide a greater sense of enclosure and this is important to creating a Neighborhood Model form of development and providing for the pedestrian.

 

Summary

 

Staff has found the following factors favorable to this rezoning request:

1.      The rezoning is consistent with the Land Use Plan recommendations.

2.      The applicant has provided an application plan that meets Neighborhood Model design expectations.

3.      The applicant has provided affordable housing and cash proffers that meet County Policy

 

Staff has found the following factors unfavorable to this request:

 

1.   The applicant is proposing a street section that does not meet County requirements.

 

 

RECOMMENDATION

Staff recommends approval of ZMA 07-05 and the private street request with a waiver of the planting strip requirement.

 

ATTACHMENTS

 

A.      Aerial Map

B.     Zoning Map

C.     Land Use Plan

D.     Proffer Form

E.     Neighborhood Model-Neighborhood Friendly Streets & Paths sections

F.      Private Road Justifications

G.    Application Plan-Titled “Zoning Map Amendment for Avon Park II”, prepared by Terra Concepts, P.C., dated April 30, 2007 and last revised September 10, 2007

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