Project Name:  ZMA 2007-0012 Blue Ridge Cohousing; Private Street Request with waivers to street standards

Staff:  Rebecca Ragsdale

Planning Commission Public Hearing: 

October 9, 2007

Board of Supervisors Public Hearing:

November 14, 2007

Owners:    Martin & Barbara L. Schulman

Applicant: Blue Ridge Cohousing, Community Housing Partners & Gay and Neel, Inc consulting

Acreage: 6.157[1] acres

Rezone from: RA Rural Areas

TMP:   TMP  56-67A, 67B (portion of)

By-right use: Theoretically three dwelling units if the property has additional development rights, Agricultural, forestal, and fishery uses.


Magisterial District: White Hall

Proffers:    Yes

Proposal:  Rezone to PRD Planned Residential District for a mixed housing development  

Requested # of Dwelling Units:  26

DA (Development Area):  Community of Crozet

Comp. Plan Designation:  CT 3 Urban Edge in the Crozet Master Plan

Character of Property:   Currently developed with a house and outbuildings

Use of Surrounding Properties:  Undeveloped, veterinary hospital, nearby employment uses

Factors Favorable:   

1.       The rezoning is consistent with the Crozet Master Plan recommendations.

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

3.       The applicant has provided affordable housing in excess of the County’s affordable housing policy.



Factors Unfavorable:

1.       Stream buffers appear to be impacted by grading.

2.       The applicant has not demonstrated permission from easement holders that use Parkview Drive will be granted so that the road can be upgraded to accommodate this development.

3.       Proffers are inadequate and do not meet established Board expectations.

4.       Emergency access provisions need to be verified with Fire Rescue to confirm that the plan provided can be approved as shown without significant redesign to meeting Fire Rescue comments.

5.       Workable concepts for stormwater management have not been demonstrated on the application plan.

6.       Sight distance must be confirmed and easements may be required by VDOT.



Staff cannot recommend approval on the rezoning or any waiver requests based on the number of outstanding issues. A public hearing has been advertised so the Commission is

asked to take public comment. The applicant may ask that this meeting be treated as a work session and then request a deferral until outstanding issues can be resolved. If the applicant requests action at this meeting, staff recommends denial.







STAFF PERSON:                                                                         REBECCA RAGSDALE

PLANNING COMMISSION:                                                         October 9, 2007

BOARD OF SUPERVISORS                                                        November 14, 2007




Private Street Request 14-233 and waivers of street standards for curb, gutter, sidewalks, and planting strip

Waivers of 19.8 of 30’ Building Separation and Section Curb and gutter in parking areas and along travelways



PROJECT: ZMA 2007 - 00012, Blue Ridge Cohousing

PROPOSAL:  Rezone 6.157 acres from RA -- Rural Areas: agricultural, forestal, and fishery uses; residential density (0.5 unit/acre) to PRD Planned Residential District - residential (3 - 34 units/acre) with limited commercial uses to include a maximum of 26 dwelling units, a community center, and no commercial uses.


EXISTING COMPREHENSIVE PLAN LAND USE/DENSITY:  Community of Crozet; CT-3 Urban Edge: single family residential (net 3.5-6.5 units/acre) supporting uses such as religious institutions and schools and other small-scale non-residential uses


LOCATION: Approximately 300 yards from Three Notched Road along Parkview Drive near the crossing of Parrot Branch creek.

TAX MAP/PARCEL: Tax Map 57, Parcel 67A and a portion of Tax Map 56, Parcel 67B.




The property is 7.3 acres in size, 6.157 of which is proposed for rezoning, surrounded on the northern and southern property lines by Parrott Branch and a stream to the south, and fronting on a private road. There is an existing house, which is possibly historic, outbuildings, pastures and horse riding ring, and it is wooded along the edges of streams. (Attachment A-Location Map Aerial) Immediately adjacent properties to the north, east, and west are undeveloped or rural and are zoned Rural Areas. (Attachment B-Location Map Zoning) South of this property is the Crozet Veterinary Care Center. The property is located within walking distance of the employment uses at the former ConAgra complex and the proposed neighborhood service uses at Three Notch’d Center.



The current zoning of the property is RA Rural Areas and the property is 6.157 acres in size. If the property has all development rights and meets all other requirements, it could theoretically develop with 2 additional 2-acre lots.



On April 24, 2007 the Planning Commission held a pre-application work session on the Blue Ridge Cohousing concept to provide guidance to staff and the applicant on several issues and received input from the public. The Commission discussed density and housing type in relation to Crozet Master Plan recommendation and also provided comments regarding the design and layout of the proposal as it relates to the Neighborhood Model. (Attachment C–Planning Commission Action Memo)


The applicant initially proposed 32 residential units and the Commission suggested that a lower density 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 applicant has reduced the number of units initially proposed from 32 units to 26 and has provided architectural details to address the form of the units. 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. There were several neighbors that spoke about impacts to the character of that area, improvements to Parkview Drive to support the project, impacts to Parrot Branch, and traffic.



The applicant has provided an application package with supplemental information, proffers, an application plan (dated 9/11/07) and several waiver requests. (Attachments I & J)  Information is provided in the application packet, which describes the goals of cohousing that make this proposal unique from conventional developments. The proposal is to allow up to 26 residential units, including duplexs/townhomes, single family detached, and two quadraplex units. The residential units would be primarily located east and north of the existing house, pool and outbuildings. Parking would be located primarily around the existing house, off the entry drives into the project, and near the recreational and amenity area, while seeking to respect the stream buffers on the property. The proposal seeks to preserve the existing buildings and pool on the property for use as common areas in the cohousing development. The applicant has indicated that they would be providing 19% of the total number of residential units as affordable.



The applicant has indicated that their request will provide affordable housing opportunities and a mix of housing types in the community and intends to use sustainable materials for the project. (Refer to Pages 21-23 of the Application Package-Attachment I)




Crozet Master Plan

The property proposed for Blue Ridge Cohousing is located within a Neighborhood as defined in the Crozet Master Plan, at the edge of the Crozet Development Area. The property is a portion of the area added to the Community of Crozet with the Comprehensive Plan Amendment that was adopted prior to the adoption of the Master Plan and is located entirely within the Development Area. The northern boundary of the Community of Crozet follows Parrott Branch. The Crozet Master Plan maps do not depict this boundary correctly.  (Attachment D)


The property proposed for cohousing is in a neighborhood that includes an existing and potential Employment District at its center with the former Con Agra (currently Music Today) and Acme buildings. (See inset below & Attachment D) Neighborhoods are described in the Master Plan as discernible places with a focal point and boundary that maintains and fosters social, cultural and economic activities. The area of neighborhoods, from center to edge, is based on a ¼ mile radius, or comfortable 5-minute walking distance, and the intensity and density of land uses are intended to decrease from the center, out to the edges of the neighborhood.





Crozet Master Plan Place Type and Built Infrastructure Map





The property is designated Neighborhood/Village Edge (CT3-yellow) in the Crozet Master Plan. The Edge areas are intended to support neighborhood centers with predominantly residential uses, especially single family detached. Net residential density recommended in the plan is 3.5-4.5 units per acre. The plan provides a recommendation of up to 6.5 units per acre if they are accessory apartments added for 50% of the residential stock. Lot sizes of 10,000 square feet are recommended in CT3 areas with 1-2 story structures at street level. The Green Infrastructure map in the Master Plan shows proposed greenways along Parrott Branch on this property.


The applicant is proposing 26 units and the range of units suggested by the plan are 20-26 units for this property, or up to 29 with provisions for additional affordable/accessory apartments. The proposed net density is 4.5 units/acre, which is within the guidelines for this property in the Master Plan. The applicant has proposed a mix of housing types, predominantly single family attached, however all units have been designed to mimic single family detached.


Neighborhood Model

The Neighborhood Model describes the more "urban" form of development desired for the Development Areas. The following is an assessment of this proposal’s consistency with the Neighborhood Model’s 12 principles:


Pedestrian Orientation

The conceptual layout submitted shows an internal system of pedestrian paths that lead from the parking area to the residential units, in some cases the pedestrian paths would also provide emergency access. Pedestrian access has been provided along Parkview Drive in the form of an 8’ multipurpose asphalt path on the east side of the Park View Drive. This principle is met.

Neighborhood Friendly Streets and Paths

Parkview Drive is a private rural section which is12 feet in some places. The applicant is proposing pavement widening and an 8’pedestrian path on the east side. This seems an appropriate response to this principle, given its location on the edge of the Development Area. However, more information is needed on the feasibility of widening the road since the ability to use the easement for additional units is unknown.

Interconnected Streets and Transportation Networks

The triangular shaped property is surrounded by Parott Branch to the north and a stream to the south.  There are no recommendations for interconnections to adjoining properties to the north, south, or east in the Crozet Master Plan due to these constraints.

Parks and Open Space


PRD Zoning requires a minimum of 25% for open space and recreational uses. Amenities proposed include the existing pool, a common green, and playground centrally located. Greenway trails will be provided along Parrott Branch. This principle is met, however the applicant should specify on the application plan the percentage of area to be provided in open space/amenties.

Neighborhood Centers

This site is located within walking distance of an existing neighborhood center in Crozet that includes a major employer, with Music Today, neighborhood service uses such as video rental, laundry and small offices, and a restaurant. Downtown is located approximately 1.5 miles from the site. The pedestrian path along Parkview Drive will lead to Route 240 and facilitate walking to these centers. This principle is met.

Buildings and Spaces of Human Scale

The layout of homes, which are proposed as no more than two stories, framing a central open area will provide a spatial enclosure in keeping with the Neighborhood Model. The Zoning Ordinance would allow up to 35 feet without additional setbacks, which is up to 3 stories. This is an issue that should be resolved with the applicant. This principle is addressed.

Relegated Parking

Parking has been located in several areas around the site and some spaces remain between Parkview Drive and the proposed residential units.  To relegate parking, the applicant is proposing to screen this parking from Parkview Drive. Given the unique characteristics of this site, with stream buffers on most sides of the site, staff believes this principle is met.

Mixture of Uses


The proposal includes residential uses only, which is consistent with Crozet Master Plan expectation for the property. Non-residential uses are existing or planned in the Master Plan for nearby properties, within walking distance of the site.

Mixture of Housing Types and Affordability

The variety of housing types within this development includes three housing types, including single family, single family attached, and quadraplex units and 19% of the units are proffered as affordable. This principle is met.  


The property is redeveloping into a more urban form, while preserving the existing house, outbuildings, and pool.

Site Planning that Respects Terrain

The site has slopes and wooded areas leading down to two streams, Parott Branch along the northern boundary and an unnamed stream along the southern boundary. The applicant has worked to cluster the development on the knoll adjacent to the existing farmhouse. However grading plans submitted do not appear complete and the County Engineer has concerns that development cannot be accomplished without impacting the buffer. This principle is not met.

Clear Boundaries with the Rural Areas

The project site is located entirely within the Crozet Development Area boundaries but borders on the Rural Area edge, with Parrott Branch as the northern  boundary of both this property and the development area.    




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

The PRD Planned Residential District is intended to encourage sensitivity toward the natural characteristics of the site and toward impact on the surrounding area in land development. More specifically, the PRD is intended to promote economical and efficient land use, an improved level of amenities, appropriate and harmonious physical development, and creative design consistent with the best interest of the county and the area in which it is located. To these ends, the PRD provides for flexibility and variety of development for residential purposes and uses ancillary thereto. Open space may serve such varied uses as recreation, protection of areas sensitive to development, buffering between dissimilar uses and preservation of agricultural activity.


Staff believes that the intent and expectations listed here for PRD districts are met with this rezoning proposal as it is providing a variety of housing types while seeking to preserve the existing house, outbuildings, and natural features of the site.



Anticipated impact on public facilities and services


Environmental & Stormwater Management- A 100-foot stream buffer from Parrot Branch and the stream along the southern edge of the property, at the rear of the property, must be kept free of encroachment by the proposed development.   The applicant has shown residential units up to the 100-foot stream buffer. According to the County Engineer, the application plan submitted does not demonstrate workable concepts for meeting the requirements of the Water Protection Ordinance for detention and water quality. The conceptual grading plan appears to be incomplete and it does not appear that the perimeter construction/grading work can remain accomplished outside the stream buffer. (Attachment E)



Streets The Cohousing project would be served by an existing private street, Parkview Drive which is accessed off of Three Notched Road (Route 240) and continues to the north, providing access to two other private roads, Halcyon and Thurston Drives. At least 5 other properties are accessed on Halcyon Drive via Parkview Drive. Thurston Drive also connects to Route 810. Route 810 appears to serve as primary access to Thurston Drive, and Parkview Drive appears to provide secondary access to those properties. Existing pavement on Parkview Drive is approximately 12-16 feet wide. The applicant has submitted a request to allow the road to remain a private rural section. However, it has not been demonstrated by the applicant that they have authority under existing agreements for Parkview Drive, which involves other property owners and users of the road, to increase users and make upgrades to the road.   


The applicant has indicated that the proposal will generate 156-260 trips per day. The applicant is proposing a pavement width to18’ to be provided for within the existing easement of 50’ for the private road and an 8’ multipurpose path to be provided along the east side of Parkview Drive. This pavement width design would accommodate up to 400 trips per day but would not be fully designed and upgraded to public road standards.  If traffic exceeds 400 vpd, including through traffic, then additional widening may be necessary.


VDOT has indicated that improvements would be needed at the intersection of Parkview Drive and Route 240. (Attachment F) This includes the need for a sight distance easement to the west of 390 feet on the adjoining property and also the need to upgrade the private road entrance to Route 240 (Three Notch’d Road). The applicant has proposed the necessary intersection upgrades requested by VDOT but the sight distance easement appears to be an outstanding issue. In addition, any off-site improvements to Parkview Drive should be included in the proffers.


Schools Students from this development would impact Crozet area schools and likely attend Crozet Elementary School, Henley Middle School and Western Albemarle High School. Cash proffers are intended to provide for impacts to schools.


Fire, Rescue, Police –The Crozet Volunteer Fire Station and the Western Albemarle Rescue Station provide fire and rescue services to the area.  The planned Ivy Area Station will also augment services provide by the existing fire and rescue stations in Crozet. Albemarle County 5th Street Office Building houses the County’s Police Department, although the police patrol all areas of the County. Current policy of police services recommends an average response time of 10 minutes for all Development Areas. To this end, police satellite offices are recommended within a service sector to help achieve these desired response times to all police emergency calls. The possibility of an additional fire/rescue/police station is under consideration for the area in 2012.


Fire and Rescue have requested that the applicant verify adequate fireflow is available. They have no objection to the use of walking paths shown on the plan to be used for firetrucks and other emergency access. However, the standard for these alternate facilities will have to meet basic rural road turning radius standard and be constructed to withstand the weight of emergency service vehicles. Those details will need to be provided at the site plan stage and will be reviewed in detail then. Staff is still verifying with Fire Rescue that these standards can be adequately met without substantially impacting the design of the plan.



Utilities – The property is currently designated as water service to existing structures only on the Albemarle County Service Authority Jurisdictional Area (ACSAJA) and has water service. Because the property is in the Development Area, the ACSAJA boundary would be amended and processed concurrently with this rezoning. The property is not served by sewer and the nearest sewer lines are to the west, located in near the video rental/laundry mat retail/service area across from Music Today. It is not clear if gravity sewer is possible. If it isn’t, a private pump station and force main to the nearest gravity line will be needed. (Attachment G -ACSA comments)


Anticipated impact on cultural and historic resources

Comments have been provided by the Historic Preservation Planner with no objection. Existing structures on the property will be maintained and integrated into the Cohousing project. County Real Estate Records indicate that the house on the property dates to c. 1890, however there is no information available from the Department of Historic Resources.


Entrance Corridor Impacts

Tax map 56/parcel 67B falls within the Route 240 Entrance Corridor. The portion of the development proposed within this parcel is not expected to be visible from the EC. Consequently, ARB review is not required.


Anticipated impact on nearby and surrounding properties

Neighbors within the vicinity of this project raised concerns about a change in rural character of the area with this project. The applicant has addressed this concern by designing the units to appear as single family with height limits of 35 feet, clustering the homes, and preserving landscaping. The issue remains as to how adjoining properties have been involved with determining upgrades to Parkview Drive.


Public need and justification for the change

The change in zoning is consistent with the CT3 designation of the Land Use Plan and provides a variety of residential uses within walking distance of existing employment uses and neighborhood service uses, near Downtown.





The applicant has provided proffers on page 49 of the rezoning application package. (Attachment H), summarized here:


Cash Impacts

The applicant has indicated an intent to proffer the full cash impact amount for each market rate unit proposed ($17,500 single family detached, $11,900 Single Family Attached, and $12, 400 Multifamily) which staff supports. However the applicant is requesting a $20,000 credit for each affordable unit provided, which is not supported.


Affordable Housing

The applicant intends to proffer a minimum of 5 affordable units, or 19% of the total number of units proposed. This meets the County’s affordable housing policy goals.  In addition to not paying the cash impact amount for the affordable units, the applicant is requesting that a credit of $20,000 given against the cash impacts. While staff does not fully understand the intent of the credit, staff cannot support it since cash proffers are not expected on affordable units anyway. The Director of Housing has provided comments and suggests changes to this proffer.


The proffers are inadequate and would have to be revised, using proper form and standard language before they could be accepted by the County. The proffers also do not provide for the following:


Park View Drive Improvements

The applicant should also provide for the off-site and intersection improvements to Park View Drive in the form of proffers.


Architectural Standards

The application package includes architectural standards. This is not a requirement for PRD zoning so if the applicant is making commitments to certain architectural elements, such as roof types, materials, scale, massing, than those should also be provided for in the proffer statement. The word typical should be added to these sheets. Floor Plans should be removed altogether or notes added.




Private Street request

The applicant has submitted a request to allow Parkview Drive to remain as a private street, which would include a waiver of curb, gutter, sidewalks, and a planting strip. However, since there is a lack of information as to what authority the applicant will have to make changes to the road, staff is not commenting on the waiver until that issue is resolved. The ordinance section is provided here for reference and the applicant has requested the waver based on Neighborhood Model Development and General Welfare. (Attachment H)

14-233 When private streets in development areas may be authorized.

A private street may be authorized in the development areas under the following circumstances, provided that the findings required by section 14-234(C) are made:

A. By the commission. The commission may authorize a subdivision to be developed with

one (1) or more new private streets in the following circumstances:

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;

(ii) the subdivision design would allow it to better achieve the density goals of the comprehensive plan; (iii) rear vehicular access to buildings would be provided so that the buildings may face a common amenity; (iv) a significant environmental resource would be protected; or (v) relegated parking would be provided to a greater extent than could otherwise be provided.

2. Two-lot subdivision. The proposed private street(s) would be within a two-lot subdivision.

3. General welfare. The general welfare, as opposed to the proprietary interest of the subdivider, would be better served by the construction of one or more private streets than by the construction of public streets.

B. By the agent. The agent may authorize one (1) or more new private streets in the following circumstances:

1. Subdivision containing attached dwelling units or non-residential uses. The proposed private street(s) would be in a subdivision containing attached dwelling units or non-residential uses where the units, groups of units, or non-residential uses are to be located on individual lots.

2. Family subdivisions. The proposed private street(s) would be within a family subdivision.


Building Separation

In accordance with Section 8 of the Zoning Ordinance which allows waivers, the applicant is requesting a reduction in the 30’ building separation required as part of a PRD Zoning District:



Except as otherwise provided in section 4.11.3, whether or not located on the same parcel, there

shall be a minimum of thirty (30) feet between main structures. This provision shall not apply to

structures built to a common wall. (Amended 1-1-83)


The Building Official has reviewed this request and can support it if a minimum of 10’ building separation between the single family and single family detached units is provided and a minimum of 15’ between the multifamily units. This separation appears to be provided between all buildings, with one exception. If these minimum separations are not provided for, special fire separation construction standards would be required.





Staff has identified the following factors favorable to this rezoning and special use permits requested:

1.      The rezoning is consistent with the Crozet Master Plan recommendations.

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

3.      The applicant has provided affordable housing in excess of the County’s affordable housing policy

Staff has identified factors unfavorable to this request:

1.   Stream buffers appear to be impacted by grading.

2.   The applicant has not demonstrated permission from easement holders that use Parkview Drive will be granted so that the road can be upgraded to accommodate this development.

3.   Proffers are inadequate and do not meet established Board expectations.

4.   Emergency access provisions need to be verified with Fire Rescue to confirm that the plan provided can be approved as shown without significant redesign to meeting Fire Rescue comments.

5.   Workable concepts for stormwater management have not been demonstrated on the application plan.

6.   Sight distance must be confirmed and easements may be required by VDOT.




Staff cannot recommend approval on the rezoning or any waiver requests based on the number of outstanding issues. A public hearing has been advertised so the Commission is asked to take public comment. The applicant may ask that this meeting be treated as a work session and then request a deferral until outstanding issues can be resolved. If the applicant requests action at this meeting, staff recommends denial.




A.      Location Map-Aerial

B.     Zoning Map

C.     Planning Commission Work Session comments, April 24, 2007

D.     Crozet Master Plan Place Type & Built Infrastructure Map

E.     County Engineer Comments

F.      VDOT comments, via e-mail from Joel Denunzio, P.E.

G.    Albemarle County Service Authority comments via e-mail from Gary Whelan

H.     Waiver requests, letter dated September 11, 2007 from Gay and Neel, Inc.

I.        Blue Ridge Cohousing Rezoning Application, including proffers, resubmitted September 11, 2007, prepared by Community Housing Partners

J.      Application Plan, “Blue Ridge Cohousing Application Plan”, dated September 11, 2007 and prepared by Gay and Neel, Inc.

 Return to PC Actions letter


[1] Corrected 11/1/07