Albemarle County Planning Commission

December 12, 2006

 

The Albemarle County Planning Commission held a meeting and a public hearing on Tuesday, December 12, 2006, at 6:00 p.m., at the County Office Building Auditorium, Second Floor, 401 McIntire Road, Charlottesville, Virginia. Members attending were Eric Strucko, Calvin Morris, Vice-Chairman; Jon Cannon, Marcia Joseph, Chairman; Bill Edgerton; Duane Zobrist and Pete Craddock.  Julia Monteith, Senior Land Use Planner for the University of Virginia, representative for David J. Neuman, FAIA, Architect for University of Virginia was present.  (She left the meeting at 8:16 p.m.)

 

Other officials present were Wayne Cilimberg, Planning Director; Gerald Gatobu, Senior Planner; David E. Pennock, Principal Planner; Judy Wiegand, Senior Planner; Scott Clark, Senior Planner; Sean Dougherty, Senior Planner; Elaine Echols, Senior Planner; Bill Fritz, Chief of Current Development; Amelia McCulley, Director of Zoning & Current Development/Zoning Administrator; Glenn Brooks, Senior Engineer; Jack Kelsey, Transportation Planner and Greg Kamptner, Deputy County Attorney.

 

Call to Order and Establish Quorum:

 

Ms. Joseph called the regular meeting to order at 6:06 p.m. and established a quorum.

 

 

Work Sessions:

 

SP 2006-031 Glen Oaks Stream Crossing (Sign #22)

PROPOSED: Fill in the floodplain of Limestone Creek for a road crossing over the creek to provide access for residential development.

ZONING CATEGORY/GENERAL USAGE: RA -- Rural Areas: agricultural, forestal, and fishery uses; residential density (0.5 unit/acre); FH Flood Hazard - Overlay to provide safety and protection from flooding

SECTION: 30.3.05.2.1(2), which permits water related uses such as boat docks, canoe liveries, bridges, ferries, culverts and river crossings of transmission lines of all types.

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: No

LOCATION: Running Deer Drive [Route 808], approximately 1.1 miles from its intersection with Richmond Road [Route 250].

TAX MAP/PARCEL: Tax Map 94, Parcels 15, 16, 16A

MAGISTERIAL DISTRICT: Scottsville

STAFF:  Scott Clark

 

Mr. Clark presented a power point presentation and summarized the staff report. 

 

o        The proposal is for a special use permit for fill in the flood plain of Limestone Creek for a road crossing the creek to provide access for residential development.  There is a slight issue in the location.  This is rural area land on the southeast side of the Rivanna Village development area.  It is located at the end of Running Deer Drive along the Rivanna River.

o        There are significant areas of forest on the site as well as open pastures. There are large areas of valuable resources identified in the Comp Plan, such as areas of 100-year flood plain.  There are also wetlands shown in green/blue cross hatch.  The orange areas are critical slopes.  Property to the east in the green diagonal hatched is conservation easement held by the Virginia Outdoors Foundation on Limestone Farm.

o        The basic proposal is for a stream crossing, although the majority of what they are going to be talking about for the rest of the session about the form of development accessed by that crossing.  There are two possible sites.  One is located downstream on Limestone Creek across an existing dam.  The one is upstream to the northeast that is immediately adjacent to the land under conservation easement. 

o        To this point staff has determined that the lower crossing slightly is preferable for natural resource protection reasons and to avoid impacts on that property under easement.  The remainder of the technical details about crossing choice will be brought to the Commission in the public hearing on this item, which will be scheduled later.

o        In May, 2006 this property was before the Commission for a Rural Preservation Development proposal.  They followed staff’s suggestion as far as the location of the development lots.  Unfortunately, there was a complication with the issue of groundwater availability and the existing groundwater availability problems in the Running Deer Subdivision to the north end.  Following the discussion at the Commission meeting, this proposal was denied.  It went on to the Board for an appeal and the applicant has since agreed to rethink their proposal and approach this in a different way and tried to avoid the groundwater impacts on Running Deer while still achieving their development goals and attempting to protect some of the resources staff has identified. 

o        The applicants have shown that they can achieve 24 lots on this property without needing special use permits for crossing the creek.  Basically they would have driveways to two separate crossings as drive ways accessing two lots each.  Given that layout they can achieve 24 lots. 

o        This form of development could be achieved without any review by the Commission or the Board and would not require any special use permits.  Although it does show some fairly large lots on the east, none of this land would be under conservation easement.

o        This is the current proposal being brought forward to the Commission tonight to determine if this is a preferable approach to development on this property.  The applicant has proposed the same number of lots, which are 24 lots.   After extensive discussions with staff the applicant has agreed to place the portion east of Limestone Creek in an RPD, Rural Preservation Development so that they would have some important features here.  By right lots would be located on the west side of the creek.  Lot 10 is intended to be an open space lot.   The proposed trails are marked on the proposed plat, which will be a greenway dedication to the County of an 100’ wide strip in the flood plain along the Rivanna River.  That would extend the existing route of the greenway in the area identified in the greenway plan.  On the side of the creek is the development lots and most of the preservation tract for the Rural Preservation Development.

o        There are essentially three options for this property to be developed. One is the by right that the applicants showed 24 lots.  It could be approved as an administrative act that does not particularly well protect these resources that are shown in the preservation tract and does not fully achieve the goal of keeping the development away from Running Deer and avoiding that groundwater problem.  Another option that is not shown here is to have the stream crossing, but still have conventional development that places all of the property in a mix of medium size and large lots.  The third option is this proposal. Although it requires something that staff would not normally recommend approval for, which is a stream crossing to access development, it does achieve the goal of getting a lot of the development away from the ground water problem in to a better area for groundwater supply and provides some opportunities for protecting the important resources on the site. 

o        There are several complications with this proposal, as mentioned in the staff report.  The proposed lot 10 fragments the proposed preservation tract into three pieces.  One is to the southeast.  The second is between the development lots and the creek. The third is adjacent to Running Deer Subdivision.  There is a significant area in preservation, but it is not contiguous and complicates the management somewhat.  Also, because this northern most piece is an isolated piece with no road frontage it cannot be approved in this form according to the Subdivision Ordinance. 

o        While staff supports this idea of achieving the development through partial rural preservation development and approving this stream crossing, this particular form of the preservation tract has some problems and would need to be revised. 

o        Regarding the proposed greenway dedication, the applicants are still trying to find a way to make that happen.  Staff is still working with the Zoning Division to figure out exactly how they can make that happen.  That is an item that will be brought before the Commission in more detail during that public hearing. 

 

o        There are three questions listed in the staff report for the Commission to address:

 

1.       Is the applicant’s current proposal for an RPD on the east side of Limestone Creek the preferred approach for residential development on the site given what the potential is?

2.       Does the proposed RPD design meet the Commission’s expectations under the ordinance’s design standards, or for some other modified form as a potential condition of approval of the stream crossing planned?

3.       On lot 10, if in fact it is created, one option is to eliminate lot 10 and just have one much larger preservation tract.  If lot 10 was created would it be appropriate to have that only for trails or could that also include some sort of clubhouse or other recreational use?  Should lot 10 be created?  Staff discussed the idea of including it all in the preservation tract and having trails on the preservation tract with the Chair of the Public Recreational Facilities Authority, which is the body that would hold that easement.  Her initial reaction was that she believed that it was a reasonable approach given the proposal is to have no dwelling on that tract, but to have some sort of trails as long as the scope and the design of those trails is limited in the easement.  The authority could definitely consider holding an easement with those terms.

 

Ms. Joseph asked if there were any questions for staff.  There being none, she asked if the applicant wanted to give a presentation.

 

Don Franco, of K. G. Associates, said that he was present on behalf of the owner of the property, Glenmore Associates.  He made a quick power point presentation.  To put this in context, they have a number of work sessions they are about to have in series.  They are starting down on the lower end with Glen Oaks and plan to work through the Leake property to the Livengood property on to Rivanna Village. 

 

o        The first question that they want to deal with on the Glen Oaks is the form of development.  Access is going to come up in the discussion.  It is important that they discuss it.  But, it is really tied to the Leake property.  So when they make that transition in the growth area is when they area hoping to deal with that issue.  With respect to the Glen Oaks piece, they were here six months ago.  They ended up going to the Board.  The direction they received from the Board was that they would consider a special use permit, but they had to come up with reasons for the special use permit.  The Board was willing to consider moving some of the residential units from this area next to Running Deer to the other side of the creek and in such grant the special use permit depending on the form of development and how it worked.  This plan shows 24 proposed lots, which are achievable by right in a conventional form of development and need no special use permit.  So it establishes the base line for the rest of the scenarios that they look at.  What they have done now is reduced from the original plan seen last time, which had 21 lots in the area towards Running Deer.  It reduces it down to about 15 lots. 

o        The next form that they look at stays conventional, but takes advantage of the special use permit.  There is not open space.  They have clustered most of the lots on one side.  They still have 24 lots.  They have reduced it down to about 5 lots being adjacent to the Running Deer area.  It does not achieve the overall goal of trying to preserve as much of that open space as possible. 

o        The plan before the Commission now, they have worked the concept out with staff and reduced the lots from 21 to about 4 lots in this area. Those are the conventional lots. They have clustered the lots in other areas.  There was some discussion about the lot 10 area that mainly covers the trail, the lake and the greenway.  Their goal with that is to make it as simple as possible with the Rural Preservation Tract with the standard easement.  They see active recreational going on in this area.  There remains this potential conflict between the standard easement for the Rural Preservation Development and trails, particularly in active things like a ball field, etc. down in the lower flood plain area.

o        It will be decided later on, depending on the direction they get, how this will be owned and operated.  If it ends up being open space and common area and Glenmore Community Association decides they want it and see the advantage of owning this open space and having access to these trails, then that may affect how it all lays. 

o        But, the core question before the Commission is does this form satisfy what they are looking for.  There are several environmental constraints that are in there, which includes the flood plain, critical slopes and the block of wooded area.  The striped area shows the area that they preserve as a corridor link in the significant wooded spaces.  They have tried to stay out of those areas as much as possible.  They are basically consolidating their residential development to about 30 percent of the project and preserving roughly 70 percent of the project as open space.  They are happy to do that depends on how the association feels about the project either as common area or as a preservation tract.  They can even attach it to one of the parcels and give up one development right or leave it as shown as one or two parcels in and through there.

o        They would like the Commission to address the same questions as posed by staff.  If the Commission agrees with the special use permit and the special use permit location, then they are ready to go to the next step.  Then they will bring the technical information forward and have the public hearing with respect to that.  He asked that the Commission understand as part of that with a road over a dam they are going to be looking at private roads in order to deal with the VDOT situation. VDOT will not take a road over a dam.  So if they believe in minimizing the impacts to the flood plain and only having the dam and a road across it as opposed to two structures down there, then they are going to be talking about the use of private road in and through there.

o        One of the big questions that are out there is if there is a precedent that is being set here that if they allow Glen Oaks to be developed through Glenmore that there is a potential that they could come back later and develop it as a development area.  He wanted to be clear that in their minds they can’t do that.  This is not changing the Comp Plan.  This is not changing the zoning.  It is just allowing it to be accessed through that other direction in and through there.

 

Ms. Joseph asked if there were any questions for Mr. Franco.

 

Mr. Edgerton asked if access has anything to do with those by right options.

 

Mr. Franco replied that it will definitely be tied to how it is accomplished.

 

Mr. Franco noted that the next set of slides talk about how the form will change depending on whether it is part of Glenmore or not part of Glenmore.  Basically on the Ridge Road in this area there will have to be a parallel road network to make it look different.  So the quick answer is that yes it is dependent on access. It is going to look different it is not according to what was shown here.

 

Mr. Edgerton asked if he had legal access across Running Deer Drive to access this property.

 

Mr. Franco replied yes.  This property has frontage on Running Deer Drive.  Therefore, it could access in that direction.

 

Mr. Edgerton asked if it was a state road of which he has legal access across.

 

Mr. Franco replied that was correct.

 

Mr. Strucko asked if it is considered part of Glenmore.

 

Mr. Franco replied that right now what they were proposing was that it would be part of Glenmore.  It is by zoning that it would be part of Glenmore.  It would simply have access through Glenmore.  Part of the debate that they will have on the other work sessions to follow this will be what happens up and through here.  Again, if this is the big issue he would be happy to start going into how the access affects the layout and the design.  Or, they can push this off a little bit further and just get input on the layout as is.

 

Mr. Strucko asked if this proposal assumes access to Running Deer.

 

Mr. Franco replied that it does not.  What is shown here is the same thing that they saw last time, but the lot layout has changed a little bit.  But, it is showing an emergency access to Running Deer from their loop road.  Again, depending on what they get out of this work session, they are willing to bow to the input that they get from the Commission and the public.

 

Ms. Joseph asked if lot 10 was a buildable lot.  She asked if they expect to have a residence on there.

 

Mr. Franco replied that their intent is not to, but to create a lot that they could do something besides rural preservation.  As they look at the overall Master Plan for Glenmore they see the potential for ball fields extending down in the flood plain area and active recreation.  They see the potential conflict with the Rural Preservation development.  So if all the open space were Rural Preservation, then it becomes difficult to assure that they can provide that recreational space.

 

There being no further questions for the applicant, Ms. Joseph invited public comment.

 

Richard Wagaman, President of the Glenmore Community Association, asked to address a couple of overarching issues associated with the four projects that comprise this work session.  The roads shown in the slides connected to their community.  The Association was developing a 5 year plan complete with funding to how to maintain their roads and so forth.  So these things hit their Association in the pocketbook.  There are a lot of people at the meeting that he represents.  He asked for all persons from Glenmore to stand up.  After the last work session they put out a survey to the community.  They had an 85 percent return that said that they did not want to have Glen Oaks as part of Glenmore.  The majority of the people he talked to said they came from northern Virginia and other areas where they have seen this type of an act used to expand a development area and they did not want that to happen.  They felt that if this were allowed it might be the wedge for that to occur. He encouraged the Commission to consider tonight that K3, which staff has presented, is in fact the best alternative.  If they move off Ridge Road it makes no sense. (See letter dated 12/12/06 from Richard T. Wagaman, President of the Glenmore Community Association.)

 

Kat Imhoff, Vice President of Monticello, said she was present tonight to ask one question to staff and the developer.  She asked how they were finding conformity with the Comp Plan goal of making sure the view shed from Monticello is protected.  She did not see it addressed in the staff report and questioned if there would be conditions in the approval of the special use permits and rezoning.  She asked if there would be tree retention formulas used for some of the fantastic wooded lots or if there has been a view shed analysis of any type on the color or the massing.  She was present to remind them that it was a goal and very important to protect a rural area heritage site in order to get the most blended amendable development in that area.  She asked for this comment to stand for all of the requests that follow.  She appreciated the Commission paying attention to Jefferson’s sea view.

 

Jeff Werner, of Piedmont Environmental Council, noted that they were proud of the Johnson’s conservation easement just to the east.  It was a very nice protected edge for this subdivision.  This is an attempt to vest some scale of development with an eye towards future growth area expansion.  That is how Glenmore got in this area a decade ago.  He asked that some consideration be given in the special use permit review of the adjacent conservation easement.  If preservation is truly an objective here then as a condition of approval of this special use permit he would like to know if the designation of that conservation easement can be done corresponding to that approval.  They were granting the ability to access these sites.  It is unfortunate that these sites will need to be put where it needs to cross streams and steep slopes to get to them.  But, that is the way the regulations are being interpreted now.  He asked that the easement be recorded now and not later.

 

There being no further public comment, Ms. Joseph noted that the Commission would go through the questions staff has proposed.  (See summary for the Commission’s responses to the questions.)

 

In summary, the Planning Commission held a work session on SP-2006-031, Glen Oaks Stream Crossing.  Staff requests that the Commission affirm staff’s finding on using the RPD approach on the site; design of the proposed RPD; and the range of uses to be permitted on Lot 10, or provide alternate direction.  The Commission took public comment from the applicant and others and provided input on the following questions staff posed in the staff report.

 

1.       Question for the Planning Commission:  Is the applicant’s current proposal for an RPD on the east side of Limestone Creek the preferred approach for residential development on the site?

 

The Commission’s reply to staff’s question was yes that the preferred approach for residential development on the site was the applicant’s current proposal for an RPD on the east side of Limestone Creek.

 

2.       Does the proposed RPD design meet the Commission’s expectations under the ordinance’s design standards?

 

The PC preferred that the applicant add the portion of Lot 10 north of the proposed stream crossing to the RPD preservation tract, and keep the portion south of the crossing for future recreational uses, not to be included in the RPD.

 

3.       What types of activities other than trails should be allowed on Lot 10?

 

See #2.  As long as Lot 10 was designed as described above, the PC had no specific direction on the activities.

 

 

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