COUNTY OF ALBEMARLE

STAFF REPORT SUMMARY

 

Project Name:  SP 2006-00031 Glen Oaks Stream Crossing

Staff: Scott Clark

Planning Commission Public Hearing:

August 21, 2007

Board of Supervisors Public Hearing:

November 14, 2007

Owner/s:  Glenmore Associates Limited Partnership

Applicant: Glenmore Associates Limited Partnership

Acreage: 499.12 acres

Special Use Permit: 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.

TMP:  Tax Map 94, Parcels 15, 16, 16A

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

Existing Zoning and By-right use:   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

Magisterial District:  Scottsville

Conditions: Yes

RA (Rural Areas)  

Requested # of Dwelling Units:  0 for requested use; 24 in related subdivisions, of which 15 would need the requested stream crossing          

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

Comprehensive Plan Designation: Rural Areas

 

Character of Property: The property includes deciduous and evergreen woodlands, floodplains along the Rivanna River, the stream valley of Limestone Creek, a large pond along the creek, open pastures, and wetlands.

Use of Surrounding Properties:  Residential development, agriculture, and open-space conservation

Factors Favorable:

1.        The proposed stream crossing would not increase the 100-year floodplain elevation.

2.        Permitting this crossing would allow the property to be developed in a manner (partially using the Rural Preservation Development option) that would avoid the anticipated groundwater impacts on the adjacent Running Deer subdivision while keeping a large area of the property in a conservation easement (the preservation tracts of the Rural Preservation Development).

3.        The proposed subdivision related to the crossing would include a donation to the County of a greenway corridor shown in the Comprehensive Plan.

Factors Unfavorable:

1.       The County does not typically encourage floodplain crossings for the purpose of creating development lots. However, in this case the property would be developed with or without the crossing. With the crossing, environmental resources over all are better protected.

2.       Creation of a private road crossing over a dam might lead to future requests for County ownership or management of the crossing if the landowners cannot afford necessary maintenance.

RECOMMENDATION: Staff recommends approval of this Special Use Permit with conditions.

 

Petition: 

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

 

Character of the Area:

 

The property lies in the Rural Areas adjacent to the boundary between the southwestern edge of the Rivanna Village development area and the Rural Areas. Properties to the northwest are mostly smaller residential lots, while the Rural Areas to the east and south are made up of large forested and open parcels transected by the wide floodplain of the Rivanna River.

 

Specifics of the Proposal:

 

The current proposal is for a stream crossing over an existing dam to allow access to proposed development on the east side of Limestone Creek. The applicants proposed two possible crossing locations (the dam or another existing crossing upstream). Staff has determined that the dam crossing is preferable, as it would avoid impacts on a neighboring property under a conservation easement, and would provide greater opportunities for impact management and for stream restoration below the dam.

 

The existing dam has an open culvert crossed by a wooden bridge. A narrow dirt road crosses the dam, which is in poor repair. Two collapsed metal pipes are located east of the open culvert.

 

The proposal would replace the current dam with a new dam, and the open culvert with a 12-by-10-foot box culvert. The new dam would be wider, to accommodate the access road to the proposed Rural Preservation Development. (Exact details of the dam and road designs would be reviewed by Engineering staff before site work could begin.)

 

The applicants have proposed a stream-buffer mitigation plan that would provide for reforestation of an area equal to the estimated 47,800 square feet of buffer disturbance required for dam construction. The proposed location mitigation area is located just downstream of the site. Any variation in the location or size of the mitigation area would require written approval by the Natural Resources Manager.

 

Typically, staff would not recommend approval of a stream crossing to access more development. However, given the previous denial of SUB 06-046, the remaining options are either to permit the crossing to access some lots on the east side of Limestone Creek, or to accept that the applicants can develop by-right without Planning Commission approval in a form that puts 20 lots on the west side of Limestone Creek, much like the denied RPD (see the Planning and Zoning History section of this report). The latter option would not address the Commission’s concerns regarding groundwater.

 

The applicants have demonstrated (see Attachment D) that they can develop a total of 24 lots on this property without need for a special use permit. They are willing to accept conditions of approval on the special use permit limiting them to that same total of 24 development lots.

 

The stream-crossing permit application included a proposed development layout that would have had the same number of lots across the whole property, in a conventional form. Staff comments on the application stated that it would be preferable for the lots accessed by the crossing to be included in a Rural Preservation Development.

 

In response, the applicants have proposed the layout shown in Attachment E. This layout would use a series of boundary adjustments and subdivisions to combine conventional development (Lots 1 through 9) with a Rural Preservation Development (lots 11 through 25). The conventional development would also create Lot 10 (a parcel of approximately 40 acres to be held by the Glenmore Homeowners’ Association for unspecified future recreational uses). The Rural Preservation Development, with the development lots located on the east side of Limestone Creek, would contain 15 development lots. The preservation tract would contain approximately 268 acres.

 

Finally, and importantly for the County’s recreational needs, a 100-foot-wide parcel along the Rivanna River would be deeded to the County for extension of the trail shown in the Greenway Plan.This lot would be divided out of Lot 10 (described above). This greenway parcel would be created as a “non-development lot” as defined in the Zoning Administrator’s determination of February 13, 2007 (see Attachment F).

 

The RPD would include 15 development lots and one preservation tract. The applicants have stated that they would place the preservation tract under an easement that would not permit dwellings (typically, RPD preservation tracts have the right for one dwelling).

 

Thus 27 lots would be created, only 24 of which could have dwellings.

 

Planning and Zoning History:

 

On May 30, 2006, the Planning Commission denied approval of a preliminary plat for a Rural Preservation Development (SUB 2006-046) on a portion of this property with 19 development lots and 1 preservation tract. The remainder of the property was proposed for 11 conventional lots. Staff had recommended approval of the RPD, as it met the design standards for RPDs contained in the Zoning Ordinance. The major issue in the denial was a potential problem with groundwater availability. The proposed development lots were adjacent to the Running Deer subdivision, which has experienced groundwater supply problems.

 

On July 5, 2006, the applicants appealed the Planning Commission’s decision to the Board of Supervisors. At that meeting, the Board deferred action on the appeal with the applicants’ agreement, so that the applicants could resubmit another plan that would potentially avoid the concerns identified by the Planning Commission.

 

On December 12, 2006, the Planning Commission held a work session on the current stream-crossing request (see Attachment C for the staff report for the work session).

 

Conformity with the Comprehensive Plan:

 

This proposal has a complex relationship with the goals of the Comprehensive Plan, some of which conflict. The proposal and staff’s comments on it are the result of attempts to protect important resources in a situation where the Commission’s expectations regarding one goal (groundwater protection) have led the applicants and staff to find alternative approaches to other meeting other goals (avoidance of habitat fragmentation, protection of wetlands and floodplains, and reduction of residential-development impacts in the Rural Areas).

 

Policy

Relationship to Policy

Reactions/Mitigation

Groundwater Supply Protection

This proposal is intended to avoid depleting the supply for existing residential development.

Places new lots farther from existing lots in Running Deer that are experiencing groundwater supply problems.

Reducing Rural Residential Development

This proposal would permit residential development in the Rural Areas.

The proposal would permit less than the theoretical total development potential (31 lots). The 24 proposed lots are arranged to reduce resource impacts (partly in a clustered development), and to avoid groundwater impacts, but also to achieve relatively large lots sizes desired by the applicants.

Greenway Planning

The proposal would support this goal by including the donation of a stretch of greenway trail identified in the Greenway Plan.

 

Surface Water Protection

The proposal would allow a floodplain crossing utilizing an existing dam to access development, with the consequent impacts.

The alternative is by-right development that could be achieved without legislative review and that would fail to meet the groundwater-protection goal identified by the Planning Commission. Surface-water impacts of the crossing would be managed by conditions of the special use permit.

 

Special Use Permit Review

 

31.2.4.1: Special Use Permits provided for in this ordinance may be issued upon a finding by the Board of Supervisors that such use will not be of substantial detriment to adjacent property,

 

County engineering and water-resources staff have reviewed the applicant’s proposal, and concur with the applicant’s conclusion that the replacement of the existing dam (with open culvert, wooden bridge, and 48-inch metal pipes) with a new dam (including the 12-by-10-foot box culvert),  and the placement of fill for this stream crossing and road improvements, will not result in an increase in the 100-year flood elevation and will not detrimentally affect adjacent properties.

 

that the character of the district will not be changed thereby and

 

This stream crossing would not significantly change the stream valley, as it would replace an existing dam with a somewhat larger dam in the same location.

 

The residential development that would be accessed by the proposed stream crossing would change the character of the district. However, the same level of development could occur, and could have more detrimental impacts, without the proposed crossing. At the December 12, 2006 work session, the Planning Commission stated that it preferred a Rural Preservation Development accessed by the proposed crossing to a by-right development that would not require the crossing.

 

that such use will be in harmony with the purpose and intent of this ordinance,

 

Residential development is not in harmony with the stated purposes of the RA zoning district as listed in section 10.1 of the Zoning Ordinance:

 

10.1 INTENT, WHERE PERMITTED

This district (hereafter referred to as RA) is hereby created and may hereafter be established by

amendment of the zoning map for the following purposes: (Amended 11-8-89)

-Preservation of agricultural and forestal lands and activities;

-Water supply protection;

-Limited service delivery to the rural areas; and

-Conservation of natural, scenic, and historic resources. (Amended 11-8-89)

 

Residential development not related to bona fide agricultural/forestal use shall be encouraged to

locate in the urban area, communities and villages as designated in the comprehensive plan where

services and utilities are available and where such development will not conflict with the

agricultural/forestal or other rural objective. Where development does occur, rural residents

should expect to receive a lower level of service delivery than will be provided to residential

developments in designated growth areas. In relation to residential development,

agricultural/forestal activities shall be regulated only to the extent necessary to protect public

health and safety. (Added 11-8- 89; Amended 10-3-01)

 

In regard to agricultural preservation, this district is intended to preserve the county's active farms

and best agricultural and forestal lands by providing lot areas designed to insure the continued

availability of such lands for preferential land use tax assessment in order to enhance the economy,

and maintain employment and lifestyle opportunities. In addition, the continuation and

establishment of agriculture and agriculturally-related uses will be encouraged, and landowners

will be encouraged to employ Virginia State Water Control Board best management practices.

(Amended 11-8- 89)

 

However, residential development is a permitted use in that district, and the choices in this case are to subdivide this land as a Rural Preservation Development or as a conventional subdivision. The RPD option would better support the purpose and intent of the ordinance.

 

Compared to by-right subdivision, protection of the preservation tract under a conservation easement (as the preservation tract of an RPD) would support the intent of the Rural Areas zoning district to conserve “natural, scenic, and historic resource,” and the intent of the Zoning Ordinance “[t]o provide for the preservation of agricultural and forestal lands and other lands of significance for the protection of the natural environment.”

 

Dedication of the greenway segment discussed above would support the Zoning Ordinance’s intent to facilitate the provision of parks and recreational facilities.

 

with uses permitted by right in the district,

 

Residential development is a by-right use in the Rural Areas. Although such development conflicts with agricultural, forestal, and conservation uses, this request would not increase the achievable level of development on the site.

 

with the additional regulations provided in section 5.0 of this ordinance,

 

There are no supplemental regulations in section 5.0 for this use.

 

and with the public health, safety and general welfare.

 

Fifteen of the development lots in the proposed development would be accessed over the proposed dam. Section 14-410(F) of the Subdivision Ordinance requires subdivisions to have road access that is not obstructed by a 25-year storm. The roadway on top of the proposed dam would be above the level of the 50-year storm, and so would meet this standard.

 

The Natural Resources Manager has found that the applicant’s proposed stream-buffer mitigation plan is sufficient to offset the buffer disturbances created by construction of the dam.

 

Dam safety is regulated by the Virginia Department of Conservation and Recreation (DCR). Staff recommends a condition of approval that would require the applicants to show that they have DCR approval of the final dam design before beginning site work.

 

Engineering staff has pointed out that public costs could result if landowners in the proposed subdivision could not afford the costs of maintenance and possible liabilities for the future dam and road crossing. Such a situation could lead to requests for public management or ownership of the facility.

 

 

Private Roads Request

 

As permitted by section 14-234(b) of the Subdivision Ordinance, the applicant is requesting that the Planning Commission approve the use of private roads in the subdivision whose proposed lots are shown conceptually in Attachment E. This section of the ordinance states that applicants may apply for private roads before submitting the preliminary subdivision plat. In this case, because the proposed stream crossing is tied to a subdivision that would need private roads, the applicant wishes to secure the private road approval at the same time as the special use permit for that crossing.

 

At the December 12, 2006, work session, the Commission agreed (during discussion of the adjacent Leake rezoning) to the following points of the applicant’s proposed plan for access:

Staff Comment

 

The applicant has requested authorization of private streets in the Glen Oaks subdivision under Section 14-232(A) and 14-234. The justification sites 14-323(A)(1)(b) and 14-232(A)(3).

 

In order to approve this request, the Commission must be able to find one of the criteria provided in Section 14-232(A). It is current development staff’s opinion that this request can be found to meet the standard of 14-233(A)(3), General Welfare, if the Board of Supervisors agrees that Glen Oaks is best served by a streets that connects to the existing road network in Glenmore.

 

14-232 When private streets in rural areas may be authorized.

A private street may be authorized in the rural areas under the following circumstances, provided

that the findings required by section 14-234(C) are made:

 

14-232(A)(1)(b). Environmental impacts including, but not limited to, erosion and

sedimentation, stormwater runoff, surface water pollution, loss of tree cover and/or the loss of indigenous

vegetation resulting from a public street, which would be substantially greater than that of a private street in

the same alignment, based upon evidence submitted by the subdivider and reviewed by the county engineer

and other qualified staff.

 

14-232(A)(3). General welfare. One or more private streets may be authorized if 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.

 

Glen Oaks as proposed would be served by an extension of the private street network that was established with the original and subsequent approvals of Glenmore. Serving this subdivision with public streets would mean (1) converting the road system through Glenmore to public streets, which has not been proposed, or (2) connecting Glen Oaks to the public road system through the Running Deer subdivision, which would add to the traffic impacts on a substandard road, and which was not the Planning Commission’s preferred solution at the December 12, 2006, work session.

 

Section 14-234(B) states that, absent compelling circumstances, private streets should not cross over dams. However, in this case there is a compelling circumstance that would make a private road over a dam appropriate. The dam crossing is necessary in order to make possible a Rural Preservation Development that would conserve  a large portion of the property while avoiding anticipated groundwater impacts on the existing Running Deer subdivision. Without the crossing, the property would be developed as a by-right subdivision that would not create a preservation tract, and that would have greater groundwater impacts on Running Deer.

 

The Commission must also find that the provisions of Section 14-234(C)(1-5) are met. Those standards are included below, with staff comment.

 

14-234(C). The agent and the commission may authorize one or more private streets in a subdivision if it finds that one or more of the circumstances described in sections 14-232 or 14-233 exist and it determines that:

 

1. The private street will be adequate to carry the traffic volume which may be reasonably expected to be generated by the subdivision.

 

The adequacy of the road design would be ensured through Engineering staff review of road plans for the subdivision. In addition, a recommended condition of approval for the stream crossing permit states that the applicant must secure “County approval of the final lane configuration over the stream crossing with the final road plans.”

 

2. The comprehensive plan does not provide for a public street in the approximate location of the proposed private street;

 

The Comprehensive Plan does not recommend a public road in this area.

 

3. The fee of the private street will be owned by the owner of each lot abutting the right-of-way thereof or by an association composed of the owners of all lots in the subdivision, subject in either case to any easement for the benefit of all lots served by the street;

 

In discussions with staff, the applicant has stated that this road would be owned by an association of the owners of lots in the subdivision.

 

4. Except where required by the commission to serve a specific public purpose, the private street will not serve through traffic nor intersect the state highway system in more than one location;

 

The proposed road (running over the dam and into the RPD portion of Glen Oaks) would not serve through traffic, as it would end within the boundaries of the RPD and not connect to another property. It would not intersect the state highway system at all.

 

And

 

5. If applicable, the private street has been approved in accordance with section 30.3, flood hazard overlay district, of the zoning ordinance and other applicable law.

 

Approval of the current special use permit request for a stream crossing would constitute approval under Section 30.3, Flood Hazard Overlay, of the Zoning Ordinance.

 

SUMMARY:

 

Staff has identified the following factors favorable to this application:

 

1.         The proposed stream crossing would not increase the 100-year floodplain elevation.

2.         Permitting this crossing would allow the property to be developed in a manner (partially using the Rural Preservation Development option) that would avoid the anticipated groundwater impacts on the adjacent Running Deer subdivision while keeping a large area of the property in a conservation easement.

3.         The proposed subdivision related to the crossing would include a donation to the County of a greenway corridor shown in the Comprehensive Plan.

 

Staff has identified the following factors unfavorable to this application:

 

1.          The County does not typically encourage floodplain crossings for the purpose of creating development lots. However, in this case the property would be developed with or without the crossing. With the crossing, environmental resources over all are better protected.

2.         Creation of a private road crossing over a dam might lead to future requests for County ownership or management of the crossing if the landowners cannot afford necessary maintenance.

 

RECOMMENDED ACTIONS: 

 

Based on the findings contained in this staff report, staff recommends approval of Special Use Permit 2006-00031 under the following conditions:

 

1.         The stream crossing shall be built in general accord with the plan titled “SP 06-031 Application Plan,” revised “Aug. 01, 2007,” and prepared by Roudabush, Gale, & Associates, Inc.

2.         Any subdivision on the portion of the property designated as Rural Areas in the Comprehensive Plan shall be designed in general accord with the plan titled Glenoaks, dated “8/1/07”, and prepared by “kg Associates.” The development lots east of Limestone Creek and Lot 26 shall be developed as a Rural Preservation Development in accord with section 10.3.3.3 of the Zoning Ordinance, with Lot 26 as the preservation tract. As part of the same subdivision, the applicant shall convey to the County a portion of Lot 10 (whose boundaries are approved by the Parks and Recreation department) for use as a greenway.

3.         There shall be no land disturbing activity or removal of vegetation within the stream buffer, exclusive of the dam, except as required for mitigation.

4.         The dam shall allow for a continuation of the base flow in the stream.

5.         The following conditions shall be met prior to issuance of a grading permit to allow installation of the stream crossing or submittal of the final subdivision plat, whichever comes first:

a)         The applicant must obtain a map revision, letter of revision, or letter of amendment as required from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and copy the County Engineer on all correspondence between the applicant and FEMA.

b)         County approval of an erosion and sediment control plan for the stream crossing.

c)         County approval of the final lane configuration over the stream crossing with the final road plans.

d)         Natural Resources Manager approval of a stream buffer mitigation plan in general accord with the conceptual plan shown on the plan titled “SP 06-031 Application Plan,” revised “Aug. 01, 2007,” and prepared by Roudabush, Gale, & Associates, Inc.

e)         County approval of final design plans and hydrologic/hydraulic computations for the stream crossing.

f)          Army Corp of Engineers, Virginia Department of Environmental Quality, and other necessary state and federal agency approvals must be obtained prior to issuance of grading permits.

g)         Approval of the final design of the dam by the Department of Conservation and Recreation, as necessary.

 

Staff also recommends that the Commission make the necessary findings under Section 14-234(C)(1-5) and approve the applicant’s private roads request for the Glen Oaks subdivision.

 

 

ATTACHMENTS

A.     Location Map

B.     Detail Map

C.     Staff Report from December 12, 2006 Planning Commission Work Session

D.     By-right Subdivision Layout

E.      RPD Layout Plan

F.      Official Zoning Determination – creation of new non-development special lots

G.     SP 06-031 Application Plan

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