Project Name: SP 2007-37 Informed Simplifications, LLC

Staff: Joan McDowell, Principal Planner, Rural Areas

Planning Commission Public Hearing:

November 13, 2007

Board of Supervisors Public Hearing:

December 5, 2007

Owner: William B. Levy

Applicant: William B. Levy

Acreage: 10.41 acres

Special Use Permit: 

TMP:  45 - 47

Location: 520 Panorama Road; approximately 1,782 feet north of Earlysville Road

Existing Zoning and By-right use: Rural Areas: agricultural, forestal, and fishery uses; residential density (0.5 unit/acre)

Magisterial District: Rio

Conditions: Yes


RA (Rural Areas): X

Requested # of Dwelling Units:  NA                           

Proposal: Home Occupation Class B to have a part-time employee

Comprehensive Plan Designation: Rural Areas - preserve and protect agricultural, forestal, open space, and natural, historic and scenic resources/ density (0.5 unit/ acre)

Character of Property: Mixture of agricultural and residential

Use of Surrounding Properties: Residential, pasture, agricultural areas

Factors Favorable:

1.        One part-time employee would not generate impacts greater than what is normally associated with a residence.

2.       No alterations to the structure or the site would be required, as a result of this use.

3.       No additional demand for services would result from this use.


Factors Unfavorable:

Staff has not identified any factor unfavorable to this application

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





STAFF PERSON:                         Joan McDowell, Principal Planner, Rural Areas

PLANNING COMMISSION:      November 13, 2007                  

BOARD OF SUPERVISORS:      December 5, 2007



Character of the Area:  The area is characterized by agricultural fields, wooded areas, pastureland, and large-lot residential. The parcel is located on Panorama Road, which also provides access to trucks associated  with a composting and mulching operation on Panorama Farm.


Specifics of the Proposal:  The applicant, Dr. William Levy, has requested approval of a Home Occupation Class B permit to be allowed to have one part-time employee to assist with his research.  The applicant has estimated that the employee would be at the residence no more than two days per week for a total of no more than twenty hours per week. All the work will take place within the existing residence in a 423 square foot office in a residence with 2,984 square feet of finished area.  The research will not necessitate customers and / or clients coming to the property.   The employee will park in an existing gravel area adjacent to the garage. 


      Planning and Zoning History:

The 1938 log structure has been a residence since its construction. In 1984, a Home Occupation Class A permit was granted for a previous occupant.  The applicant has owned the property since 1992. 



Conformity with the Comprehensive Plan: The Comprehensive Plan designates the subject property as Rural Areas, emphasizing the preservation and protection of agricultural, forestal, open space, and natural, historic and scenic resources as land use options.  The proposed use would not generate traffic or noise that is not ordinarily associated with residential neighborhoods, and it would not have any impact on the agricultural uses in the area. This use would not generate a demand for additional services.



Staff addresses each provision of Section of the Zoning Ordinance: 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,


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


The activity associated with this home occupation will take place entirely within the existing residence and the parking will be in an area away from the road and away from adjacent neighbor’s properties. The increased traffic associated with one employee will be nominal and the activities associated with the home occupation will produce no noise or visual impacts. The agricultural and rural character of the district will not be affected by the proposed use.


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

Section 18, Chapter 10 of the Zoning Ordinance outlines the purpose of Rural Areas zoning: “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:

-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)”

While the home occupation does not directly further these purposes, the impacts of the proposed use are limited to the extent that they would not negatively affect the purpose and intent of the ordinance. 


with uses permitted by right in the district,

The proposed part-time employee would not negatively affect the residential and agricultural uses within this district.


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

5.2.2 REGULATIONS GOVERNING HOME OCCUPATIONS The following regulations shall apply to any home occupation:

a. Such occupation may be conducted either within the dwelling or an accessory structure, or

both, provided that not more than twenty- five (25) percent of the floor area of the dwelling

shall be used in the conduct of the home occupation and in no event shall the total floor area

of the dwelling, accessory structure, or both, devoted to such occupation, exceed one thousand

five hundred (1,500) square feet; provided that the use of accessory structures shall be

permitted only in connection with home occupation, Class B;

The office contains 423 square feet, which is less than 15% of the total of the 2,984 square foot residence.


b. There shall be no change in the outside appearance of the buildings or premises, or other

visible evidence of the conduct of such home occupation provided that a home occupation,

Class B, may erect one home occupation Class B sign as authorized by section 4.15 of this

chapter. Accessory structures shall be similar in facade to a single-family dwelling, private

garage, shed, barn or other structure normally expected in a rural or residential area and shall

be specifically compatible in design and scale with other development in the area in which

located. Any accessory structure which does not conform to the setback and yard regulations

for main structures in the district in which it is located shall not be used for any home


There would  not be any changes to the residence or to the property, as a result of this use. No sign will be erected.


c. There shall be no sales on the premises, other than items hand crafted on the premises, in

connection with such home occupation; this does not exclude beauty shops or one-chair

barber shops;

The proposed home occupation would not involve customers or clients coming to the residence.


d. No traffic shall be generated by such home occupation in greater volumes than would

normally be expected in a residential neighborhood, and any need for parking generated by

the conduct of such home occupation shall be met off the street;

The traffic generated by the one part-time employee would be minimal (two trips per day for a maximum of two times per week) and would be consistent with what is expected in a residential neighborhood.  The existing gravel parking area would be ample for the additional vehicle. 


e. All home occupations shall comply with performance standards set forth in section 4.14;

section 4.14:  The provisions of sections 4.1.2 and 4.1.3 notwithstanding, in such cases where a greater

minimum area is required by the regulations of the district in which the parcel is located, said

district regulations shall apply.

The applicant has not requested an area exceeding the maximum square footage regulations described in Sec. (above).  


f. Tourist lodging, nursing homes, nursery schools, day care centers and private schools shall

not be deemed home occupations.

This requirement is not applicable to this proposal. 


and with the public health, safety and general welfare.

The Virginia Department of Transportation did not offer any objections to this proposal. One part-time employee (two days per week) will not further impact the well or septic system.  The Health Department has offered to evaluate the septic system, should the applicant ever need that service. The applicant has advised staff that they will request the evaluation, should it become necessary.  The applicant has advised that they have not experienced any problems with their well or septic system.




Staff has identified the following factors favorable to this application:

1.       One part-time employee would not generate impacts greater than what is normally associated with a residence.

2.       No alterations to the structure or the site would be required, as a result of this use.

3.       No additional demand for services would result from this use.


Staff has not identified any factor unfavorable to this application.



Based on the findings contained in this staff report, staff recommends approval of SP 2007-37 Informed Simplifications, subject to the following conditions:


1.       Special Use Permit 2007-37 Informed Simplifications shall be limited to one employee for no more than two days per week.

2.       No on-site visits from clients, patients, and / or customers shall be permitted.

3.       Special Use Permit 2007-37 Informed Simplifications shall be limited to the home office area as it currently exists (423 square feet).

4.       Parking for the employee shall be in the area between the house and the garage.

5.       No sign advertising this special use shall be permitted.




Attachment A –  Site map

Attachment B –  Application

Attachment C – Location Map

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