COUNTY OF ALBEMARLE

 

EXECUTIVE SUMMARY

 

 

AGENDA TITLE:

SDP 07-048: Crozet Gateway Center – Final Site Plan Appeal

 

 

SUBJECT/PROPOSAL/REQUEST:

Appeal of denials of requests for shared parking and reduction in required parking spaces

 

 

STAFF CONTACT(S):

Messrs. Tucker, Foley, Davis, Kamptner, and Fritz, and Ms. McCulley

 

 

LEGAL REVIEW:   Yes

 

 

AGENDA DATE:

February 6, 2008

 

        ACTION:     X                 INFORMATION:   

 

CONSENT AGENDA:

       ACTION:                         INFORMATION:   

 

 

ATTACHMENTS:   Yes

 

 

REVIEWED BY:

 

 

BACKGROUND:

The Crozet Gateway site plan proposes retail and office uses.  Under the applicable parking schedules in Zoning Ordinance § 4.12.6, these proposed uses would require a total of 120 parking spaces (118 parking spaces after the site plan was modified) onsite.  The applicant has proposed to provide 99 spaces.

 

Shared parking allows the number of required parking spaces to be reduced because it allows parking spaces to be shared among two or more uses that typically experience peak parking demands at different times.  Shared parking may be approved by the Zoning Administrator if she determines that "each use participating in the shared parking experiences peak parking demands at different times." (Zoning Ordinance § 4.12.10(a))

 

The number of required parking spaces for a commercial use also may be reduced if the Zoning Administrator “finds that the public health, safety or welfare would be equally or better served by the modification or waiver and that the modification or waiver would not otherwise be contrary to the purpose and intent of this chapter.” (Zoning Ordinance § 4.12.2(c))  A request to reduce the number of parking spaces must be supported by a parking study submitted by the applicant that addresses seven issues delineated in Zoning Ordinance § 4.12.2(c)(1).  The applicant submitted the required study which is attached to the staff report presented to the Planning Commission. 

 

The Deputy Zoning Administrator denied the applicant’s requests for shared parking and a reduction in the required number of parking spaces to 99.  After the applicant modified its site plan to reduce the amount of commercial and retail space and convert it to storage, the number of required parking spaces was reduced from 120 to 118 spaces.  The applicant appealed the decision to the Planning Commission, which likewise denied the applicant’s requests.  The applicant has appealed the Planning Commission’s decision to the Board.

 

 

STRATEGIC PLAN:

Goal 1: Enhance quality of life for all citizens

Goal 4: Effectively manage growth and development

 

 

DISCUSSION:

The preliminary site plan for this project was approved with the following note on the plan, “The parking requirements will be finalized at the final site plan stage when the building footprint and design has been finalized.  The building outline and area shown hereon is approximate.  The final building outline and area will not exceed the totals shown hereon.’

 

Shared parking may be approved under Zoning Ordinance § 4.12.10(a) if it is determined each use participating in the shared parking experiences peak parking demands at different times.  Because the retail and office uses proposed on this site have similar operating hours and experience peak parking demands at the same time, this site is ineligible for shared parking.  The applicant has submitted no information to demonstrate otherwise.

 

The number of required parking spaces may be reduced under Zoning Ordinance § 4.12.2(c) if a finding is made that the public health, safety or welfare would be equally or better served by the modification or waiver and that the modification or waiver would not otherwise be contrary to the purpose and intent of this chapter.  The reduction of required parking spaces from 118 to 99 spaces sought by the applicant was denied because there was insufficient evidence to find that the reduction would equally or better serve the public health, safety or welfare.  Two issues an applicant must address to support a reduction in parking spaces are whether there are alternative solutions to off-street parking on the lot and whether the applicant is providing incentives for employees to use transportation modes other than single-family occupancy motor vehicles. (Zoning Ordinance § 4.12.2(c)(1)(v) and (vi))  These issues were not satisfactorily addressed because this site is not accessible by either public transportation or by significant pedestrian traffic.  An applicant must also support its request by demonstrating that the number of required off-street parking spaces can be established on the lot and showing which spaces would not be established if the reduction was granted. (Zoning Ordinance § 4.12.2(c)(1)(vii)).  The applicant failed to satisfactorily address this issue.  If the reduction was approved and it was later determined that the parking was inadequate, there is no additional area either onsite or on adjoining property to provide overflow parking or to construct additional parking.

 

The Planning Commission shared these concerns.

 

The applicant’s information in support of its requests contended that the County’s parking requirements are excessive for all retail and office uses.  The County’s parking schedules were developed after a lengthy and careful study.  The applicant used standards from the Urban Land Institute (ULI) Shared Parking Second Edition, 2005 for uses with a Community Shopping Center designation.  This designation and the applicable standards differ from those adopted by the County.  The County Code contains parking regulations for the types of uses proposed and the applicant failed to demonstrate to staff that the proposed uses were of a character different from those identified in the parking schedule in Zoning Ordinance § 4.12.6.  Therefore, the Deputy Zoning Administrator was unable to make the required findings that “the public health, safety or welfare would be equally or better served” by the waiver, and that the waiver “would not otherwise be contrary to the purpose and intent” of the Zoning Ordinance. 

 

If the County’s parking standards are in fact excessive, this is resolved with a zoning text amendment complete with research and a public hearing process.  If requests for a reduction in parking were routinely approved, the County’s parking schedules would be amended in a de facto manner without the benefit of public hearing. 

 

 

BUDGET IMPACT:

None

 

 

RECOMMENDATIONS:

Staff recommends that the Board of Supervisors uphold the decision of Staff and the Planning Commission and deny the applicant’s appeal. 

 

 

ATTACHMENTS

A – Staff report and attachments
View PC minutes of June 19 and December 11, 2007

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