PRIVATE COUNTY OF ALBEMARLE

PLANNING STAFF REPORT SUMMARY

Corrected

 

 

Project Name:  ZMA 06-08 Berkmar Business Park

Staff:  Elaine Echols

Planning Commission Public Hearing:

April 1, 2008

Board of Supervisors Public Hearing:

May 7, 2008

Owners: Brian McMahon & Stephen K Von Storch;  Berkmar Business Park LLC; Stuard and Margaret Wood

Applicant: Stonehaus Development  represented by Nate Cunningham

Acreage: 5.67 acres

Rezone from: R6 – residential to NMD Neighborhood Model District and C-1

TMP:   45-112, 45-112E, and portion of 45-112G

By-right use:  Theoretically, 26 units or 39 units with density bonuses and any C-1 use on the1.25 acre portion zoned C-1

Magisterial District:  Rio

Proffers:    Yes

Proposal:  Up to 275,000 square feet of mixed commercial and possible residential

Requested # of Dwelling Units:   Up to190

DA (Development Area) Neighborhood One

Comp. Plan Designation:  Regional Service

Character of Property: Sloping gently from Berkmar Drive toward route 29 and containing primarily mature forest and two residences.

Use of Surrounding Properties:  Keglers Bowling Alley and Schewels Furniture lie to the east along Route 29.  Planet Fun borders the site to the south. The property lies across Berkmar Drive from a day care facility.

Factors Favorable:

1.                  The development reflects a compact, urban pattern reflective of many of the design elements from the Neighborhood Model.  If the outstanding issues identified in the section on the Neighborhood Model are resolved, the development will reflect an excellent response to the NM recommendations.

2.                  The uses proposed in the rezoning are supported by the existing Land Use Plan as well as the proposed Places 29 plan.

 

Factors Unfavorable:

The following issues have not yet been resolved or are still needed:

 

1.                  Appropriate proffers for constructing the connector road.  The Planning Commission may wish to provide input on this issue at the meeting for direction to staff and the applicant.  Preparing proffers that are legally acceptable is also expected to be an issue.

2.                  Resolution of the stormwater management approach.

3.                  Provision for spatial enclosure along Berkmar Drive.

4.                  Need for off-site easements or commitments from adjoining owners to provide easements for grading and grading that provides for the connector road.

5.                   A commitment to no more than 25% retail uses for the development.

6.                  A greater commitment to landscaping and tree planting in the Code of Development to deal with loss of trees identified on the Open Space Plan.

7.                  Information on special conditions for Tier III wireless facilities and commercial recreational establishments or removal of these uses from the proposal.

8.                  Information on how the amenities for a significant residential use would be provided where buildings are shown on the General Development Plan.

9.                  Provision of a conceptual grading plan which works with the connector road as well as with any option constructed that conforms to the General Development Plan.

10.             Provision for a higher level of stormwater management and erosion and sediment control.

11.             Provision of standard language for cash proffers for off-site impacts.

12.             Provision of commitment for bus shelter for transit.

 

A number of other small technical changes are needed to the Code of Development, General Development Plan, the Context Map showing Option 1 from Rezoning Narrative dated 2/18/08, and the Project Narrative.

 

RECOMMENDATION: Staff believes that this project can be an attribute to the County’s Development Areas by reflecting the principles of the Neighborhood Model.  If a connector street is built by the applicant, a transportation goal for the County which has been articulated to date in the draft Places 29 plan will be achieved. 

 

While staff would like to recommend approval of this rezoning it can only recommend that the Planning Commission take public comment at the public hearing and provide direction to the applicant on any changes needed.  Staff recommends that the Commission defer action on the project until the outstanding issues have been resolved.

 


 

STAFF PERSON:                                                          ELAINE K. ECHOLS, AICP

PRIVATE PLANNING COMMISSION:                   APRIL 1, 2008

BOARD OF SUPERVISORS:                                      MAY 7, 2008

 

ZMA 06-08 Berkmar Business Park

 

PROPOSAL

Stonehaus Development is requesting a rezoning of 5.67 acres from R-6 Residential to NMD. This plan includes four blocks laid out in a new urban design pattern with buildings oriented toward Berkmar Drive and an internal street parallel to Berkmar Drive.  A portion of a roadway which would ultimately connect to Route 29 to the east is also shown on the plan. The buildings would bring a total of 275,000 square feet of mixed commercial uses to this area of Neighborhood One.  Up to 190 units constituting a density of 34 units/acre are also proposed as optional uses.  Mixed-use buildings are not required in the proposed Code of Development, so solely residential buildings could be built; however, each block requires a minimum square footage of non-residential use.  In other words, residential uses are not required, but, if built could be up to 34 units/acre.  Non-residential uses are required.

 

The rezoning is accompanied by a narrative describing the strategy for the site.  The location map is Attachment A; the parcels under review for rezoning are shown in Attachment B, the General Plan of Development is Attachment C; the Code of Development is Attachment D, and the narrative explaining the applicant’s strategy for the site is Attachment E.  Proffers are included as Attachment F.  Attachment G is the applicant’s illustrative plan.  Attachment H shows perspectives provided by the applicant.  Attachment I contains the prior staff report from 2006. 

 

The General Plan of Development shows a depiction of the most important features of design of the development.  The Project Narrative shows several different options that could be achieved using the General Plan of Development.  The detailed plan is representative of one of the options.  The actual plan to be developed would be at the option of the applicant.

 

PETITION

PROJECT: ZMA 20006 - 0008 Berkmar Business Park PROPOSAL:  Rezone 5.67 acres from R-6 zoning district which allows residential uses and up to 6 units per acre to Neighborhood Model District (NMD) for up to 275,000 square feet of commercial use and up to 190 units.  NMD allows residential (3 - 34 units/acre) mixed with commercial, service and industrial uses.  PROFFERS:  Yes  EXISTING COMPREHENSIVE PLAN LAND USE/DENSITY:  Regional Service - regional-scale retail, wholesale, business and/or employment centers, and residential (6.01-34 units/acre) in Neighborhood One.  ENTRANCE CORRIDOR: No  LOCATION: Along the east side of Berkmar Drive between Woodbrook Drive and Hilton Heights Drive north of Planet Fun.  TAX MAP/PARCELS: Tax Map 45  Parcels 112, 112 E, and a portion of 112G.  MAGISTERIAL DISTRICT: Rio

 

BACKGROUND

When the Planning Commission saw this project in a worksession on October 3, 2006, the applicant was requesting a much smaller rezoning from R-6 to PDMC. (See Attachment I.) A total of 50,728 square feet was requested for rezoning and no residential units were proposed.  Staff noted that the adjoining property for Planet Fun was being included in an overall redevelopment proposal but was not included as part of the rezoning.  The staff asked the Planning Commission the following questions and the Commission responded as follows:

 

1.      Question for the Commission:  Are the proposed uses appropriate for the site?

 

When the project was reviewed in 2006, all C1, CO, and HC uses were proposed for the five buildings shown on the plan at that time.  It was the consensus of the Commission that they would like to get the uses defined and to make sure that the uses are modeled in the traffic study.  The Commission was particularly interested in the applicant establishing the proffered uses and the level of retail proposed.

 

2.      Question for the Commission: Is the layout appropriate?

 

It was the consensus of the Commission that they liked the direction that the applicant was going with the proposed rezoning for Berkmar Business Park as it related to buildings facing Berkmar and stepping down the hill towards Route 29. The Commission said that applicant needed to commit to providing a corner treatment along the interconnecting street.  The applicant had indicated that the Planet Fun property was already zoned commercially.  However, the Commission said that if the applicant was going to continue to have the sea of parking in front of Planet Fun and had control over that property, it would affect the Commission’s decision on whether they should grant a rezoning on this property.  The Commission said that the applicant could do a lot more with the properties they owned than what was proposed.

 

3.      Question for the Commission: Is a commitment to elevations or perspectives illustrating building design and specific use of materials important to the Commission?

 

It was the consensus of the Commission that a greater commitment needed to be made to provide more detail on the specific use of materials and the design of the structures.  The applicant should characterize the style in general with the massing.

 

4.      Question for the Commission:  Should transit proffers be considered by the applicant as a way to mitigate impacts?

 

It was the consensus of the Commission that considerations should be given to proffers that relate to transit and focusing in on making the site transit ready in so far as possible.

 

5.      Question for the Commission:  Should the applicant ensure that a public street between Berkmar and Route 29 be provided at this location in the future?

 

It was the consensus of the Commission that a public street should be provided between Berkmar and Route 29 at the location shown on the plan.  The Commission acknowledged the difficulties involved for the applicant but said that the applicant should work with others to get the road completed because it was going to be necessary in the future.  Provisions for its construction should be provided in this rezoning. The Commission asked staff to provide written comments from VDOT on their commitment.

 

6.      Question for the Commission: Should the applicant commit to providing for amenities in this non-residential development?

 

It was the consensus of the Commission that they were in favor of the expansive use of bio-filters, but that some sort of commitment should be made for an outdoor amenity serving this use. 

 

7.      Question for the Commission:  Should the rezoning for parcels 45-112 and 45-112 E affect the design on the adjoining Planet Fun parcel?

 

It was the consensus of the Commission that the rezoning for parcels 45-112 and 45-112E should affect the design on the adjoining parcel 45-112G.

 

Since the Planning Commission meeting in 2006, the applicant has increased the intensity and square footage, added residential use to the development and provided a better articulated plan for a Neighborhood Model District instead of Planned Development – Mixed Commercial. 

 

CHANGES SINCE THE PLANNING COMMISSION LAST REVIEWED THE PLAN

 

Regarding the Commission’s expectations, the applicant has made the following changes which are discussed further in this report:

 

Uses – The applicant shows the proposed uses in the Code of Development which mostly are reflective of C1 and CO uses.  Some HC uses have been included in the Code of Development.  A few of the HC uses that have not been included are: laundromat, service station, car repair, light warehousing, cemeteries, greenhouses and retail nurseries, car washes, and funeral homes. 

 

Inclusion of Planet Fun Parcel in rezoning:  Tax Parcel 45-112 G contains improvements for the Planet Fun recreational center.  The northern part of the parcel containing a portion of the old go-cart track has now been included in the development and a more fully integrated plan for the development has been shown.  The existing parking lot for Planet Fun along the Berkmar frontage has not been included in the rezoning.  The applicant has indicated to staff that the presence of a water main in this area makes it difficult to place buildings rather than parking across the frontage.

 

Elevations and perspectives:  The General Development Plan indicates that there will be buildings along 75% of the street frontage of Berkmar  and parking will be relegated.  Buildings will be along 50% of the connector road and the street which separates Blocks 1 and 3 from Blocks 2 and 4.  Building heights are proposed from 1 – 5 stories.  The applicant also provided perspectives which are provided as Attachment H.  Most of the perspectives are along the main street that runs parallel to Berkmar Drive. They show the character of the street with different height buildings along it.   These drawings are illustrations only.

 

Transit:  Transit proffers have not been provided although the applicant has indicated to staff that transit can be accomplished by the new continuous decel lane on Berkmar.  Also, not as part of a proffer yet, a bus shelter with seating has been offered if a dedicated stop is established in front of the project.   

 

Connector Street:  The applicant has not offered to construct the connector street fully from Berkmar to Route 29, which is discussed in detail later in the report.  Proffers to construct a portion of the street have been provided.

 

Amenities:  The previous plan showed a large biofilter area along Berkmar Drive which was to act as an amenity area.  Twelve small amenity areas are shown in the Code of Development with a total of 12,000 square feet.  Benches and tables and chairs are offered as the outdoor amenities.  Amenities are discussed later in the report.

 

PLANNING AND ZONING HISTORY

 

The zoning of the parcels and surrounding parcels is shown below.

 

  

The subdivision and zoning history of the parent parcel TMP 45-112 is fairly extensive.  Since the 1970’s, the parcel has been subdivided several times to produce seven parcels which are Tax Map 45 Parcels 112 – 112G.  Rezonings on the different parcels have also taken place.  For the parcels in question, TMP 45-112, 45-112E, and TMP 45-112G, there has been no rezoning or special use permit activity.  The Planet Fun property adjacent to the parcels (TMP 45-112G) was part of TMP 45-112 and was rezoned from R-6 to C-1 in 1995.  A special use permit was issued for a commercial recreation center at that same time. (ZMA 94-24 and SP94-44.) 

 

 

CONFORMITY WITH THE COMPREHENSIVE PLAN

 

The Land Use Plan shows that the subject property is located in Neighborhood One and is designated as Regional Service, which supports regional-scale retail, wholesale, business and/or employment centers, and residential (6.01-34 units/acre).   

 

 

Regional Service Designation

 

The Land Use Plan shows this area to be Regional Service.  The Regional Service designation allows for regional-scale retail, wholesale, business and/or employment centers, and residential development at 6 – 34 units per acre.  The Land Use Plan says:

 

A mixture of Urban Density Residential uses and community service uses is anticipated within this designation

 

As in most locations on the Land Use Plan, the Regional Service designation shows a larger area than just this parcel.  The expectation is that there will be a variety of uses within an area and that residential uses will be provided in relation to the commercial uses to create walkable mixed-use communities.

 

At this location, the use could be either commercial or residential.  A by-right use that is in conformity with the Land Use Plan could be accomplished using the R-6 zoning.  Likewise, a non-residential use could be accomplished as a result of the rezoning and be in conformity with the Land Use Plan.  Because of the fairly small size of the parcel and proposal, staff believes that the proposed uses are appropriate for the site.

 

The current zoning on the property is R-6 which allows for residential development.  By-right, if all density bonuses were utilized, up to 39 units could be built on the site.  The applicant believes that a strict residential use is not appropriate at this location because it would be surrounded by commercial development on the west side of Berkmar.

 

Specific Comprehensive Plan recommendations for the area are limited.  Recommendations that relate to this proposal are as follows:

 

Maintain the wooded ridgeline along Berkmar Drive to buffer the residential properties along Woodburn Road.

 

As a buffer for residential properties along Woodburn Road, the wooded ridgeline relates more to the west side of Berkmar than the east side where this property is located.  With the level of development proposed, all trees will be removed in order to create the 275,000 square feet of commercial/office space and possible residential uses. 

 

Maintain and upgrade transit service to the Neighborhood. Consider extending transit service along Route 29 to the northern most portion of the Neighborhood and to Berkmar Drive.

 

Transit service is provided at this location and ridership along the route is fairly heavy.  In 2006, staff suggested that the applicant make the site transit ready or offer money towards other transit improvements for the route. The site is transit ready with the continuous right-turn lane on Berkmar.  The applicant has verbally indicated that he will proffer a bus shelter if a dedicated stop is provided.

 

Though the Comprehensive Plan has limited statements concerning specific recommendations for this area, the area is being studied as part of the Places 29 Master Plan.

 

Places29 Land Use Designations. The Places29 Land Use Framework Map designates this area as Office R&D and a portion is shown as Commercial Mixed Use. The proposed development is in conformity with the proposed Places 29 land use designations in the sense that office and commercial uses are proposed.  Although it is not indicated in the Code of Development or proffers, the applicant has verbally committed to develop not more than 25% of the total non-residential square footage allowed as retail.  This would equate to 68,750 square feet of retail use, which is in excess of the by-right use on the portion of parcel 45-112G. The portion of the parcel requested for rezoning is 54,450 sq. ft.

Text Box: Area under review 
 
 
Office R&D
 
 
Commercial Mixed Use
 
 
 
Places 29 Plan Proposed

 

Places29 Proposed Road. The Places29 Land Use Framework Map also shows a “proposed road” along the northern edge of TMP 45-112 and -112E. This proposed road is intended to connect Berkmar Drive and US 29, and it is an integral part of the Places29 network of roads parallel and perpendicular to US 29. The applicant has proffered to provide a continuous turn lane on Berkmar across the site to the Berkmar-Rt. 29 connector road.  He has also proffered to design a road from Berkmar Drive to the end of the existing Schewel’s Drive and construct this section within 1 year of approval by VDOT of the road plans.  This issue is discussed in more detail later in the report.

 

Open Space Plan

The Open Space Plan shows a wooded buffer across this property adjacent to Berkmar.  The Plan provides the following Objective and Strategy:

 

Encourage the preservation of existing wooded areas as development occurs in Growth Areas.  Maintain or establish wooded buffer areas between dissimilar land uses as development occurs.

 

Preserve or establish trees or vegetative buffers in the following specific areas as development occurs:  The wooded ridge along Berkmar Drive Extended which is highly visible from Route 29 North and provides a buffer between adjacent residential and commercial land uses.

 

The wooded area was designated on the Open Space Plan to prevent a continuous view of buildings and parking on the ridge adjacent to Berkmar Drive.  It was also recommended to help buffer residential uses on the west side of Berkmar.  While the buffering of residential uses is not a major issue relative to retaining the wooded area, replanting of trees to help break up the visual appearance of buildings and parking is an issue.  This issue can be dealt with by the applicant providing a greater commitment to landscaping and tree planting in the Code of Development.

 

Conformity with the Neighborhood Model

 

The following section outlines staff’s analysis of the Neighborhood Model.

 

 

Pedestrian Orientation

The overall network of pedestrian facilities is complete. Sidewalks are shown along the Proposed Berkmar Connector and along Berkmar Drive. The internal pedestrian system shown provides multiple access points between parking and buildings.   This principle is met.

Neighborhood Friendly Streets and Paths

Street trees are proposed on Berkmar Drive and on the internal streets along with sidewalks. This principle is met.

Interconnected Streets and Transportation Networks

The applicant proposes a drive that will ultimately connect Route 29 to Berkmar Drive. However, no specifics for a dedication of this road have been provided nor is there a commitment to build the street to Route 29 to make the interconnection.  An interconnection to the Planet Fun site is provided.  The applicant has shown a right-turn lane on Berkmar Drive which can be used for transit.  This principle is met on-site but not off-site.

Parks and Open Space

Agnor Hurt School is the closest park to this development.  Small outdoor amenity areas for workers as shown on page 7 or the Code of Development.  These areas would not be sufficient for 190 residents.  The applicant has said in the Code of Development that if multi-family units are built, recreational amenities in accordance with zoning ordinance requirements will be provided.  If multi-family units are provided, areas shown for buildings may have to be devoted instead to areas for outdoor recreation.  The Code of Development needs to reflect this possibility.  This principle is not yet met.

Neighborhood Centers

This development would become a center and there are other centers in the area include the Rio Hill Shopping Center, Woodbrook Elementary, and Agnor Hurt School.  This principle is met.

Building and Spaces of Human Scale

The applicant is seeking to create a mixed use development and through the General Development Plan shows where buildings will be located along streets.  For single-family attached units and multi-family structures, the applicant is proposing a minimum of 2-stories and a maximum of 4-stories.  For mixed-use buildings and non-residential buildings, the applicant is proposing a minimum of 1-story and a maximum of 5-stories.  Along Berkmar, a build-to range of 1 – 15’ is proposed.

 

Staff has encouraged the applicant to provide a minimum of 2-stories for all buildings; however, the applicant has indicated he would like the option of constructing only 1-story buildings on Berkmar.  The applicant has said that requiring 2-stories throughout the development will likely result in additional parking which would require a larger parking structure.  A larger parking structure would likely overwhelm 2-story buildings on Berkmar.  Additionally, the applicant believes that the future development across Berkmar from this development is very limited because of shallow depth of parcels.  The applicant believes that it is unlikely that spatial enclosure could be achieved along Berkmar.  For this reason, the applicant does not wish to commit to providing 2-story buildings on Berkmar.

 

Current Places 29 recommendations which have not yet been vetted by the Planning Commission suggest 3 – 6 stories in height for non-residential uses and a maximum of 4 stories for residential uses. 

 

While staff believes that build-to lines of 1 – 15’ on Berkmar and maximum heights proposed may be appropriate, a 2-story minimum on Berkmar is more appropriate than a 1-story minimum.  As this project will build-out over a long period of time, future parking requirements and transportation solutions may solve this issue.  This principle is not met.

Relegated Parking

Parking is relegated throughout the development behind buildings, possibly in parking structures, and on-street.  This principle is met.

Mixture of Uses

A mixture of uses is proposed.  This principle is met.

Mixture of Housing Types and Affordability

Although the applicant is requesting a Neighborhood Model District, he is requesting that provision of housing be at the option of the owner of the property.  If housing is provided, it may be single-family attached or multi-family.  It may be in apartments on upper level floors of multi-story buildings. 

 

The property is shown as Regional Service on the current Land Use Plan and primarily Office R&D on the proposed Places 29 Plan.  Neither of these designations requires housing.  For that reason, staff can support housing being provided at the option of the owner. 

 

The owner has proffered to provide 15% of any housing developed as affordable.  Proffers will need to be reworded to reflect current County policy.  This principle is met.

Redevelopment

Most of the property is undeveloped.  Except for a small portion of the Planet Fun site, this principle is not applicable.

Site Planning that Respects Terrain

The terrain is fairly hilly at this location and the applicant has proposed a development which steps buildings and parking areas down the hill in an appropriate fashion.   A critical slopes waiver request was made by the applicant and submitted with the latest proposal.  Because of time constraints, staff has not been able to analyze the critical slopes waiver with this report.  If possible, staff will provide this analysis at the Commission’s public hearing.

 

Issues of concern relate more to grading than disturbance of critical slopes.  The County Engineer has said that it is not clear that the grading concept will work without extensive cooperation from off-site owners.  There are no tie-ins on the north side, and the grading does not include the connector road.  This principle is not met.

Clear Boundaries with the Rural Areas

This parcel does not abut a Rural Area boundary.  Therefore, this principle is not applicable.

  

STAFF COMMENT

Relationship between the application and the purpose and intent of the requested zoning district: 

 

Most of the property is within the R-6 Zoning district which may not be appropriate for either Regional Service (from the current Land Use Plan) or Office R&D (proposed from Places 29).  Both Regional Service and Office R&D allow residential uses but do not require it for small sites of 5 acres or less.

 

In terms of uses proposed, as previously indicated, the applicant has requested high density residential uses and mostly C-O and C-1 commercial uses.  Some HC uses are also proposed.  Staff has concerns with two of the uses – commercial recreation, which includes dance halls and pool halls, and Tier III towers where there are no special conditions attached.  One solution would be to exclude dance halls and pool halls from the list of uses and make sure that all supplementary regulations in the Zoning Ordinance apply for the remaining commercial recreation uses.  The same recommendation exists for Tier III towers.  Either a set of supplementary regulations should be provided in the Code of Development or the use should be excluded.  These two issues have only been recently identified by staff; however, changes to address these issues are not considered major. 

 

The request for NMD is appropriate in terms of requesting a desirable form of development.    The intent of the NMD is provided below: 

 

The NMD is intended to provide for compact, mixed-use developments with an urban scale, massing, density, and an infrastructure configuration that integrates diversified uses within close proximity to each other within the development areas identified in the comprehensive plan.

 

The particular uses permitted within a particular district, as well as the character, form and density of the development, shall be derived from the comprehensive plan, including the land use plan for the applicable development area, the master plan for the applicable development area, and the Neighborhood Model. Density shall be achieved with careful attention to design, as articulated in the Neighborhood Model.

 

Public need and justification for the change:  The County’s Comprehensive Plan supports rezoning proposals which are in conformity with recommendations for use, density, and form.  The proposed use of the property for office needs appears appropriate and staff believes that a small amount of retail use could be supported.

 

Attachment J provides the retail and office analysis provided for the Places 29 Assets, Needs, and Opportunities Report.  It shows that the County has more than enough retail square footage rezoned for its absorption rate.  For office square footage, excess capacity exists within the University Research Park (formerly known as North Fork).  Because of the unique requirements of the University relative to the Research Park, it appears that additional office square footage is needed over the next 10 years. 

 

Staff believes that the applicant should limit the amount of retail proposed to no more than 25% of the square footage.  The applicant has verbally agreed to do this.

 

Impact on Environmental, Cultural, and Historic Resources:  The Open Space Plan shows no important streams or slopes on the property.  It does, however, show wooded areas which were discussed earlier in the report.  No cultural or historic resources are on the property. 

 

Anticipated impact on public facilities and services

 

Transportation

Access to the site is provided from Berkmar and from the adjoining Planet Fun parcel when it

 

Text Box: Schewels
 

 

Text Box: Better Living
 

 

 

is redeveloped.  The connection from Berkmar to Route 29 is not shown on the General Development Plan or the Illustrative Plan, but, proffers indicate a commitment to build the road to the terminus with Schewel’s.  Schewel’s Drive is not built to a public street standard.

 

The connector road is an important road shown on the Places 29 draft Master Plan.  The proposed Access Management Plan shows the closing of several entrances on Rt. 29 and consolidation to just a few entrances.  Closing of the entrances to Schewels and Better Living and rerouting their access to Route 29 are needed in order to make the Access Management Plan work.  The applicant has proffered to build the connector road but not make the intersection and signal improvements needed.  The applicant has said that the entrance improvements should be the responsibility of VDOT since VDOT created the entrances that are being used today when they widened Route 29 a few years ago.  The applicant has also indicated that the adjoining owners have no motivation to respond to a request to close and reroute entrances because their current driveways are functional as they are.

 

The applicant has provided a traffic impact analysis, for which full comments have not yet been received.  Comments to date are included with comments from the County’s Transportation Planner and the County Engineer.  (See Attachment K.)  VDOT, the County Engineer, and the County’s Transportation Planner all agree that the connector road should be built for and with this project.  Further, they have said it should be the applicant’s responsibility to build the road because of the impacts from Berkmar Business Park.  A site plan for an adjoining property to the south on Rt. 29, Rivanna Plaza, proposes to consolidate entrances and close Schewel’s entrance to the existing connector road.  This leaves only the Better Living entrance to be redesigned.

 

As previously, stated, the applicant has said he would proffer to design and build the road if VDOT will redesign and build the entrance to Better Living and pay for all intersection improvements.  At present, staff does not believe this is enough to mitigate the impacts of the 275,000 square feet of retail and office and up to190 residential units.

 

Schools – If all 190 units are built in the development, approximately 24 elementary students from the development would go to Agnor Hurt Elementary School, 10 middle school students would go to Sutherland Middle School, and 9 high school students would go to Albemarle High School.  It is not known if or when any of these units would be built; however, impacts to the schools (as well as to public safety, parks and recreation, and libraries) would be mitigated with cash proffers which are provided by the applicant.

Fire, Rescue, Police – Fire and Rescue service is provided from the Seminole Fire Station and response time is adequate.  Police coverage takes place through the sector-beat method so that response times within the development areas are met.

Utilities – The property can be served by public water and sewer which are on the site.

Stormwater Management – The applicant has proposed using the County stormwater basin next to Kegler’s Bowling Alley to satisfy their stormwater management requirements.  However, the County Engineer has concerns with the stormwater management concept.  He has said that there appears to be about 5.5 acres draining to the proposed BMP with a removal rate around 68%, and the facilities are too small to accomplish this.  It is also unclear whether water quality treatment is being offered for the Planet Fun development.  Stormwater management at this location is also very important because of possible downstream impacts on the Woodbrook ponds and the Woodbrook and Carrsbrook neighborhoods.

 

General Services maintains this basin for the County and the applicant has been working with their staff on this possibility.  In theory, the proposed changes can be made, but, General Services has indicated an unwillingness to accept changes to the county facility for additional detentionThere are technical issues with the rock blasting and the proposed redesign of the facility.  

 

While modifications to the basin may be possible, there remain complex technical and legal issues to resolve before it can be assured the basin can satisfy this property’s stormwater management requirements.  While the applicant and General Services staff have made progress towards satisfying those issues, the issues are still unresolved.   If the applicant is unable to resolve the issues for use of the Kegler’s basin, it will be necessary for the property’s stormwater management requirements to be satisfied through on-site facilities.  The tight arrangement of buildings and parking areas with this plan means on-site stormwater management will require an extensive underground facility.  Based on past problems with similar facilities, County staff has only supported this type of facility when all other options are exhausted and the alternative would be to prohibit the owner use of their property. 

 

To avoid creating a similar circumstance with this project, staff recommends the stormwater management issue be resolved prior to approval of the rezoning.

 

The County Engineer has added that in general, most other rezonings are providing more than the bare minimum in stormwater management and erosion control.  This plan is proposing the minimum, and it may not be feasible without county cooperation in use of the county facilities.  He has suggested that, similar to other recent rezonings, the applicant commit to enhanced stormwater management and erosion control.

 

 

 

 

PROFFERS

Attachment F contains the applicant’s proffers which are described below:

 

Proffer 1 – The applicant proffers to construction of 15% affordable dwellings.  In general the proffer meets the County’s policy.  Technical changes are needed to the wording to make it legally and substantively acceptable to the County Attorney’s office and the Housing Director.   

 

Proffer 2 – The applicant has made cash proffers to mitigate impacts.  The applicant has indicated a willingness to use the County’s standard language for making cash proffers.  The standard language will need to be updated for 2009 such that the amount for SFA/TH would be $12,100.00 and for MF -- $12,600.00.  There is also an annual adjustment formula which would be needed in the proffers.

 

Proffer 3 – The applicant has proffered to:

 

  1. design and construct a continuous right turn/decel lane on Berkmar Drive and finish within 2 years after approval of the first site plan. 

 

Staff has not heard back from VDOT on whether the right turn/decel lane is required or whether this proffer is appropriate.  If it is desirable, staff will propose a completion date which is tied to a building permit rather than a future date.

 

The applicant has also proffered to

 

  1. design a public street to connect from Berkmar to the termination of Schewel’s drive.
  2. construct the public street to the termination of Schewel’s drive within one year of VDOT’s approval of the street plans.
  3. construct the portion of the connector road so that it will be in accord with the proposed center line and grade profile for the entire road.

 

As previously indicated, Schewel’s drive doesn’t meet public road standards and entrances along Route 29 will need to be redone.  Because the applicant is only proffering to make the changes from Berkmar to Schewel’s drive, the impacts of the development are not adequately addressed.

 

Absent from the proffers are the expected commitments for a higher level of erosion and sediment control offers as well as a higher level of stormwater management.  Staff does not know whether the applicant will make these proffers, though they have been recommended by the County Engineer.

 

OUTSTANDING ISSUES

On March 20, staff provided the applicant 2 ½ pages of changes needed to the proffers, the Code of Development, the Illustrative Plan, the Narrative, and the connector road and indicated that these changes were only a portion of the changes needed.  Additional comments were expected from other reviewers.  Because of the importance of resolving substantive issues and the number of outstanding smaller technical issues staff suggested that the applicant defer until he could get most of the issues resolved.  The applicant declined and asked that his public hearing be held with the Planning Commission.  He also wishes to take the proposal to the Board on May 7. 

 

There are both substantive and technical changes needed to the documents that are part of the rezoning and staff is concerned with how all of these items can be resolved between April 1 and April 14 which is the date on which all items are to be finalized for the Board hearing.

 

The most significant needs are listed below:

 

  1. Appropriate proffers for constructing the connector road.  The Planning Commission may wish to provide input on this issue at the meeting for direction to staff and the applicant.  Preparing proffers that are legally acceptable is also expected to be an issue.
  2. Resolution of the stormwater management approach.
  3. Provision for spatial enclosure along Berkmar Drive.
  4. Off-site easements or commitments from adjoining owners to provide easements for grading and grading that provides for the connector road.

 

Significant changes to the Code of Development include:

  1. A commitment to no more than 25% retail uses for the development.
  2. A greater commitment to landscaping and tree planting in the Code of Development to deal with loss of trees identified on the Open Space Plan.
  3. Information on special conditions for Tier III wireless facilities and commercial recreational establishments or removal of these uses from the proposal.
  4. Information on how the amenities for a significant residential use would be provided where buildings are shown on the General Development Plan.

 

Significant changes to Conceptual Grading Plan

  1. Provision of a conceptual grading plan which works with the connector road as well as with any option constructed that conforms to the General Development Plan.

 

Significant changes to the Proffers:

  1. Provision for a higher level of stormwater management and erosion and sediment control.
  2. Provision of standard language for cash proffers to provide for impacts to public facilities.
  3. Provision of commitment for bus shelter for transit.

 

Many other small technical changes are needed to the Code of Development, General Development Plan, the Context Map showing Option 1 from Rezoning Narrative dated 2/18/08, and the Project Narrative.

 

FACTORS FAVORABLE

  1. The development reflects a compact, urban pattern reflective of many of the design elements from the Neighborhood Model.  If the outstanding issues identified in the section on the Neighborhood Model are resolved, the development will reflect an excellent response to the NM recommendations.
  2. The uses proposed in the rezoning are supported by the existing Land Use Plan as well as the proposed Places 29 plan.

 

FACTORS UNFAVORABLE

The following issues have not yet been resolved or are still needed:

 

  1. Appropriate proffers for constructing the connector road.  The Planning Commission may wish to provide input on this issue at the meeting for direction to staff and the applicant.  Preparing proffers that are legally acceptable is also expected to be an issue.
  2. Resolution of the stormwater management approach.
  3. Provision for spatial enclosure along Berkmar Drive.
  4. Need for off-site easements or commitments from adjoining owners to provide easements for grading and grading that provides for the connector road.
  5.  A commitment to no more than 25% retail uses for the development.
  6. A greater commitment to landscaping and tree planting in the Code of Development to deal with loss of trees identified on the Open Space Plan.
  7. Information on special conditions for Tier III wireless facilities and commercial recreational establishments or removal of these uses from the proposal.
  8. Information on how the amenities for a significant residential use would be provided where buildings are shown on the General Development Plan.
  9. Provision of a conceptual grading plan which works with the connector road as well as with any option constructed that conforms to the General Development Plan.
  10. Provision for a higher level of stormwater management and erosion and sediment control.
  11. Provision of standard language for cash proffers for off-site impacts.
  12. Provision of commitment for bus shelter for transit.

 

A number of other small technical changes are needed to the Code of Development, General Development Plan, the Context Map showing Option 1 from Rezoning Narrative dated 2/18/08, and the Project Narrative.

 

RECOMMENDATION

Staff believes that this project can be an attribute to the County’s Development Areas by reflecting the principles of the Neighborhood Model.  If a connector street is built by the applicant, a transportation goal for the County which has been articulated to date in the draft Places 29 plan will be achieved. 

 

While staff would like to recommend approval of this rezoning it can only recommend that the Planning Commission take public comment at the public hearing and provide direction to the applicant on any changes needed.  Staff recommends that the Commission defer action on the project until the outstanding issues have been resolved.

 

ATTACHMENTS

 

ATTACHMENT A--  Location Map

ATTACHMENT B –  Composite Plat Showing Parcels 112, 112E, 112G, and 112G1

ATTACHMENT C – General Plan of Development

ATTACHMENT D – Code of Development

ATTACHMENT E -- Narrative explaining the applicant’s strategy

ATTACHMENT F – Proffers

ATTACHMENT G:  Context Map showing Option 1 from Rezoning Narrative dated 2/18/08

ATTACHMENT H:  Staff Report dated October 3, 2006

ATTACHMENT I:    Perspectives

ATTACHMENT J:    Places 29 ANO Report dated June 2007

ATTACHMENT K:  Comments on Traffic Impact Analysis

Go to next attachment

Return to exec summary