The Albemarle County Planning Commission held a meeting and a public hearing on Tuesday, January 15, 2008, at 6:00 p.m., at the County Office Building, Lane Auditorium, Second Floor, 401 McIntire Road, Charlottesville, Virginia.
Members attending were Marcia Joseph; Thomas Loach, Jon Cannon; Bill Edgerton; Linda Porterfield; Eric Strucko and Calvin Morris. Julia Monteith, AICP, Senior Land Use Planner for the University of Virginia was absent.
Other officials present were Glenn Brooks, County Engineer; Bill Fritz, Chief of Current Development; Megan Yaniglos, Planner; Gerald Gatobu, Planner; Summer Frederick, Planner; Margaret Maliszewski, Design Planner; Joan McDowell, Principal Planner; Wayne Cilimberg, Director of Planning; John Shepherd, Manager of Zoning Administration, Lee Catlin, Community Relations Manager and Greg Kamptner, Deputy County Attorney.
Call to Order and Establish Quorum:
Mr. Cilimberg, serving as temporary chair, called the regular meeting to order at 6:02 p.m. and established a quorum.
Public Hearing Items:
SP-2007-00045 Flow Automotive Sales and Display (Sign # 17)
PROPOSED: Expansion of the Flow Volkswagen-Audi-Mazda outdoor automobile sales and display parking areas in the Entrance Corridor
ZONING CATEGORY/GENERAL USAGE: HC - Highway Commercial - commercial and service uses and residential use by Special Use Permit (15 units/acre); EC Entrance Corridor Overlay District - overlay to protect properties of historic, architectural or cultural significance from visual impacts of development along routes of tourist access.
SECTION: 18.104.22.168 (b) which allows for outdoor storage, display and/or sales visible from an EC street in the EC Entrance Corridor zoning overlay district
COMPREHENSIVE PLAN LAND USE/DENSITY: Regional Service - regional-scale retail, wholesale, business and/or employment centers, and residential (6.01-34 units/acre).
ENTRANCE CORRIDOR: Yes
LOCATION: 1307-09 and 1313 Richmond Road, south side of Route 250 East, approximately 1060' east of Riverbend Drive
TAX MAP/PARCEL: 78/15E and 78/15D
MAGISTERIAL DISTRICT: Rivanna
Ms. Maliszewski presented a power point presentation and summarized the staff report. (See Staff Report.)
Mr. Morris asked if there were questions for staff.
Ms. Joseph said that VDOT looked at this request and did not require another travel lane. In the past VDOT has requested an additional 12’ lane. Therefore, she worried about the proposed landscaping if that is what they are going to ask for on this.
Ms. Maliszewski replied that this proposal is similar to one that was approved just a few months ago. The turn lane that was required then is required with this as well. That is also shown on this plan.
Ms. Joseph said that she was a little perplexed because it seems as if with the Car Max site there had a brick wall placed around the outdoor sales and display. She wondered if there was any discussion about that.
Ms. Maliszewski replied that there was no discussion about adding a wall for screening. At the Car Max site they normally had some type of fence, which was their standard. That fencing was changed to coordinate with the building on the Car Max site. In this case what is different about this particular proposal is that there is no building on this parcel. In this case there is significantly more landscaping that the ARB has normally required. She felt that was what was different here.
Mr. Cilimberg noted that the operational model for Car Max is that their display area is actually secured. The public cannot just drive into it, which is different than most auto dealerships. He believed that the wall was in place for a security fence in that case. That is not the case here because they are not securing a display area.
Ms. Joseph said that she had made that jump that the ARB had required that so that the cars would be screened. That is why she was just wondering what was going here. On page 11 in condition 20 it talks about putting a note on the landscape plan that all site plantings of trees and shrubs shall be allowed to reach and be maintained at a mature height, etc. She asked if staff thinks that condition will be effective in keeping these plants stay healthy and intact. They are relying on these plants a lot to mitigate the effects of this use.
Ms. Maliszewski replied that was a standard condition that the ARB has been using for a while.
Ms. Porterfield asked if the ARB has said in the past if anything dies it has to be replaced at the size of the rest of the plantings are at the time.
Ms. Maliszewski said that if the site plan shows a plant and it dies it needs to be replaced. On certain occasions the ARB has indicated that when there are mature trees existing trees that might be lost due to construction or something they are trying to protect those in saying that those if lost to construction would have to be replaced with a tree of similar size.
Ms. Porterfield asked if it would to a similar size to what they have matured to at the time or of similar size that they were put in at.
Ms. Maliszewski replied that what she was just referencing was the existing trees. So that would be the size that was on the plan.
Ms. Porterfield said that it was nothing about the new vegetation that is being required. In other words if it dies then it is just gone.
Ms. Maliszewski relied that anything that is shown on the site plan is required. So if it dies it has to be replaced.
Ms. Porterfield asked at what size it has to be replaced.
Ms. Maliszewski replied that the site plan does not say that.
Mr. Cilimberg noted that is not very typical. Normally trees and landscape materials tend to die in their early years and when they reach the more mature years it is less likely. But, it is also much more difficult to find a replacement then. If they have to replace trees to comply with the site plan they are going to replace it at a size that has a potential for survival.
Ms. Joseph asked if they would be replacing it at the size that the site plan calls for. So if it is 2.5” or 3.5” caliper that is what they would have to plant.
Mr. Cilimberg replied yes, if that size was considered to be appropriate in the beginning when one is making a new planting for it to survive.
Ms. Porterfield noted that they were relying very heavily on this landscaping for screening. If they lose some of it, then they would not have the screening.
Mr. Kamptner noted that they have been told by some tree experts that when trees over a certain size are planted, they don’t do as well. More recently they have depended on that recommendation for replanting.
Mr. Cilimberg said that there has to be a replanting. It is going to take some years to get to a level of maturity where you would not be able to replace with pretty close to the size that was originally planted. At that many years out it would be difficult to find a replacement that would survive or have a better potential to survive. Normally they go back to the planting sizes so the trees have the best chance.
Mr. Morris opened the public hearing and invited applicant comment.
Scott Collins, engineer representing Flow Automotive, said that the staff report was very thorough in what they are requesting. They agree with all of the conditions of the staff report. He was present to address any questions. He noted that there is a full turn lane. VDOT did review this earlier and approved it. It was built as a full 12’ lane across the whole front. So if they ever plan to expand Route 250 they have it built across this property and won’t affect the landscaping. As far as landscaping there will be a bond in place that first year in case anything that dies would be replaced. That is a good start in ensuring that what is planted out front for the screening of this project for display would make it.
Mr. Morris invited public comment. There being none, the public hearing was closed and the matter placed before the Commission.
Ms. Joseph noted that the special use permit for outdoor sales and display is something that the ARB is thoroughly responsible for. Therefore, she was in favor of the request.
Motion: Ms. Joseph moved, Mr. Strucko seconded, for approval of SP-2007-00045, Flow Automotive Sales and Display, with the conditions as outlined by staff in the staff report.
1. Vehicles shall not be elevated anywhere on site.
2. Vehicles shall be displayed only in areas indicated for display shown on the plan entitled “Flow Automotives”, identified as Sheet 3, prepared by Collins Engineering, with revision date of 12/18/07. Display parking shall be only in designated striped parking spaces, as identified on this plan. No parking shall occur in travelways.
3. Final site plan approval is subject to ARB approval of the lighting plan (submitted with the site plan). Maximum light levels on site shall not exceed 30 footcandles.
4. Final site plan approval is subject to ARB approval of the landscape plan (submitted with the site plan). Landscaping shown on the plan will be required to be in excess of the minimum requirements of ARB guidelines and/or the Zoning Ordinance to compensate for the negative visual impact of the proposed use, including but not limited to the use of larger caliper trees, additional evergreen shrubs and continuous interior planting islands.
5. Final site plan approval is subject to the recordation of easements for ingress/egress and for the installation, maintenance and use of planter islands and landscaping on adjacent parcels (Tax Map 78, Parcels 15, 15D and 15E).
The motion for approval passed by a vote of 7:0.
Mr. Morris stated that SP-2007-00045 Flow Automotive Sales and Display, would go before the Board of Supervisors on February 6, 2008 with a recommendation for approval.
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