Albemarle County Planning Commission

April 24, 2007


The Albemarle County Planning Commission held a meeting and public hearing on Tuesday, April 24, 2007, at 6:00 p.m., at the County Office Building, Auditorium, Second Floor, 401 McIntire Road, Charlottesville, Virginia. Members attending were Bill Edgerton, Jon Cannon, Duane Zobrist, Calvin Morris, Vice-Chairman and Marcia Joseph, Chairman. Eric Strucko and Pete Craddock were absent. Julia Monteith, AICP, Senior Land Use Planner for the University of Virginia was absent. 


Other officials present were Wayne Cilimberg, Planning Director; David Benish, Chief of Planning; Pat Lawrence, Planner; David E. Pennock, Principal Planner; Allan Schuck, County Engineer; Rebecca Ragsdale, Senior Planner; John Shepherd, Chief of Current Development and Greg Kamptner, Deputy County Attorney.


Call to Order and Establish Quorum:


Ms. Joseph called the meeting order at 6:00 p.m. and established a quorum.


The Planning Commission took a break at 6:59 p.m. and the meeting reconvened at 7:07 p.m.


            Work Session:


Blue Ridge Cohousing ZMA Pre-Application Work Session

PROPOSAL:  Conceptual development proposal submitted for discussion with the Planning Commission prior to a rezoning application to rezone 6.16 acres from RA Rural Areas, which allows for agricultural, forestal, and fishery uses; residential density (0.5 unit/acre), likely to PRD Planned Residential District, which allows for residential (3 – 34 units/acre) with limited commercial uses. The applicant proposes up to 32 dwelling units, including duplexes and townhomes.


EXISTING COMPREHENSIVE PLAN LAND USE/DENSITY:  Crozet Master Plan, Urban Edge (CT3) - supports center with predominately residential uses, especially single-family detached (net 3.5-4.5 units per acre) (net 6.5 units per acre if accessory apartments are added for 50% of the residential stock) and Development Area Preserve (CT1) - development area open space preserve or reserve with very low residential density (net 1 unit per 20 acres) in the Community of Crozet in the Development Area.

LOCATION: Community of Crozet, 1317 Parkview Drive, approx. 500 feet north of the intersection of Parkview Drive and Three Notched Road (Route 240).

TAX MAP/PARCEL:  Tax Map 56, Parcel 67A


STAFF:  Rebecca Ragsdale


Ms. Joseph apologized to staff for asking so many questions because she thought this was an actual rezoning application. This is a pre-application review.  But, she did appreciate staff’s answers.  It would be helpful for the applicant to a copy of those answers.


Mr. Ragsdale summarized the staff report.


This is a preliminary review and the first look at it to talk about the consistency of the cohousing proposal with County policies, mainly the Crozet Master Plan.  They need to begin to identify those issues and areas of concerns or expectations that they would have for an actual rezoning submittal.  This will provide an opportunity for the applicants for the cohousing proposal to introduce themselves and provide some background information.  Staff has notified the adjoining property owners so that they can be part of the discussion if it moves for a rezoning.  That being said, she presented an overview power point presentation.  Then the applicant will address the cohousing concept.  Staff has some discussion questions to cover tonight.


The proposed site is 6.1 acres, but there may be some discrepancies between the parcel boundaries in our tax map that will need to be addressed with an updated survey.  It is located in Crozet off of Three Notched Road in Crozet.  The parcel is located entirely in the development area.  The development area boundaries for Crozet follow Parrot Branch, which is also the northern property line.  The property would be access via what is a private road, Park View Drive indicated as a 50’ right-of-way existing back.  There are also some other private drives going back.  There is another stream along the southern boundary. It is in an area surrounded by Rural Areas zoning. 

Staff asked for the Commission’s direction on the following discussion questions:


·         Are the residential Density and housing type, as conceptually proposed, appropriate based on Crozet Master Plan recommendations?

Staff noted that the 32 proposed units is slightly more than the 29 units indicated in the report, which is what would be the guidelines for density in the Crozet Master Plan.


·         Any comments regarding the design and layout of the proposal as it relates to the Neighborhood Model.


·         Other questions.


Ms. Joseph invited the applicant to address the Commission.


Peter La Zore, of Blue Ridge Cohousing, LLC distributed an introductory book about Cohousing to the Commission.  He pointed out that there was a strong homeowner’s association that was managed by the residents.  He presented a power point presentation.  He noted that they were not taking any profit from this project.  Other persons present include future neighbors and officers from Community Housing Partners, who are their partners for developing, as follows:  David Jones, project manager; Carland Arnold, architect, Jim Pritchett, VPO of Development; Michael Gay, civil engineer; John Capictor, CEO and Founder.


The following persons spoke in favor of the rezoning request.


Nancy Jackall spoke on behalf of the Blue Ridge Cohousing Group. As a single parent this would provide an opportunity to own her own home.  They plan to preserve the old home, the old tree, the outbuildings and the perimeter of the property.  She supported the request.  They look forward to producing a community on this piece of land.


Trina Blair, an adjacent property owner to the propose Cohousing site, voiced concerns about the development of this site.  They enjoy the privacy and beauty of their home.  They have several concerns about the development of this site.  What is currently a beautiful entrance to the property will be widened and become a state maintained road eliminating beautiful old trees.  There will be a lot of construction and an increase in traffic.  What will be the environmental impact if this property is developed? They have a beautiful creek that runs along the back of the property and will it be affected in any way.  Regarding growth, Crozet Elementary School is already overcrowded and children have been redistricted to Brownsville Elementary.  How do they know that the growth will stop here?


Danius Blair spoke in opposition to the request.  He had concerns about the potential damage to the creek and the water supply.  The increased traffic will be a problem.  He questioned who would monitor the traffic to ensure that the traffic was not increased by the cohousing. He did not object to the cohousing concept, but felt this was not the right place for it to exist.  He supported keeping the property rural in nature even though it was in the development area.


Beverley Hereford noted concerns about the private road and the increased traffic.  There is already a problem with traffic getting out onto the road.  She was concerned with the private road and questioned if a traffic signal would be necessary with the addition of these houses. 


Rosemary Gould, resident of 1251 Chatten Ridge Road near Penn Park, said that the staff report describes the community as being inwardly focused.  Their intent is not to be closed to the wider community.  She spoke in support of the request.  They want to have the parking lot located so it is safe to walk within the community


Steve Melton, an adjacent property owner for 20 years, said that this is a special area.  He was in opposition to this use being located in this unique area.  There is a mixed use in this area currently.  Park View Drive has an easement on it.  They have been maintaining the road for years and have a lot of concerns about this proposal.  They care about what happens in their back yard.


The Planning Commission answered the questions posed by staff in the following summary.


In summary, the Planning Commission held a pre-application work session on the Blue Ridge Cohousing ZMA to provide guidance to staff and the applicant on several issues that relate to the applicant’s request to rezone the property.  The Commission received input from the applicant, staff and the public.  The Commission discussed the questions posed by staff and provided the following comments.


1.       Are the residential Density and housing type, as conceptually proposed, appropriate based on Crozet Master Plan recommendations?


2.       Any comments regarding the design and layout of the proposal as it relates to the Neighborhood Model.


·                     The Commission discussed residential density and housing type, considering the Crozet Master Plan recommendations for CT 3 Urban Edge designated areas and the relationship of the property to the Rural Area boundary. (The applicant indicated at the meeting that they had considered reducing their proposed number of residential units from 32 to 29 units, which would be consistent with the maximum number of units recommended by the Crozet Master Plan, provided that 50% affordable/accessory units are provided to allow a net density of 6.5 dwelling units per acre.) The Commission suggested that the density may need to be further reduced and that more single family detached units, or units designed in a manner that mimics single family detached units, would be appropriate for the property.


·                     The Commission’s comments regarding design and layout were primarily about the relationship of the parking lot to Parkview Drive, the road that serves that area. The Commission suggested the applicant consider other design concepts for locating parking on the site.


·                     There were several neighbors, outside of the immediately adjoining properties but located nearby on Halycon Drive, that spoke concerning the proposal. The neighbors did not speak favorably of the project at this stage and their concerns were regarding impacts to the character of that area, improvements to Parkview Drive to support the project, impacts to Parrot Branch, and traffic concerns. The Commission recommended the applicant speak with the neighbors directly regarding their concerns.


·                     The Commission recognized that there is additional work needed by the applicant prior to a rezoning submittal, involving many other agencies and departments on the proposal, including the Albemarle County Service Authority, VDOT, Fire Rescue etc.


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