COUNTY OF ALBEMARLE
Provision for Athletic Facility Light Pole Height Waiver
Adoption of a Resolution of Intent for a zoning text amendment to Provide a waiver for athletic facility light pole height
Messrs. Tucker, Foley, Davis, Kamptner, Graham, Mullaney, and Shepherd
LEGAL REVIEW: Yes
April 2, 2008
ACTION: X INFORMATION:
In the RA, VR, R-1, R-2, R-4 and R-6 zoning districts, structures cannot exceed 35 feet in height. In the R-10, R-15, and the commercial and industrial zoning districts, structures cannot exceed 65 feet in height. Zoning Ordinance § 4.10.3 provides exceptions to the district height limitations for structures such as transmission towers, television and radio towers, flag poles, steeples and several other classes of structures. Poles for athletic facility lighting are not among the classes of structures excepted from the district height limitations.
In an official determination dated June 9, 2006, Zoning staff confirmed that poles for athletic facility lighting do not fall within one of the classes of excepted structures, and that they are subject to the height limitation allowed in the applicable zoning district. Prior to this determination, the Planning Commission had approved modifications under Zoning Ordinance § 4.17.5 to allow athletic facility lighting on poles that exceeded the district height limitations for St. Anne’s Belfield School, Western Albemarle High School, Monticello High School and Brownsville Elementary School.
Goal 1: Enhance the quality of life for all citizens.
Goal 3: Develop policies and infrastructure improvements to address the County’s growing needs.
In order to safely light an athletic facility, the lighting system must provide sufficient illumination to all parts of the field or court and, to do so, the luminaires must be placed high enough over the athletic facility to provide the illumination. The 35- and 65-foot height limitations in the zoning district regulations do not, for most all sports, allow the luminaires to be placed high enough over an athletic facility to provide safe illumination.
In order to assure that athletic facilities are safely illuminated, staff recommends that the Zoning Ordinance be amended to allow poles for athletic facility lighting to be taller than the height otherwise allowed in the applicable zoning district. Rather than completely exempting these poles from regulation, Staff recommends that the Planning Commission be authorized to waive the zoning district’s height limitation on a case-by-case basis and allow poles to be erected at a height determined to be necessary to safely illuminate the athletic facility, based on recognized standards of the Illuminating Engineering Society of North America.
This amendment will reduce staff time that would otherwise be spent reviewing these variances.
Staff recommends that the Board adopt the attached resolution of intent.
A - June 9, 2006 Official Determination
B - Resolution of Intent to Amend the Zoning Ordinance
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