Albemarle County Planning Commission

January 22, 2008

 

The Albemarle County Planning Commission held a meeting, work session and a public hearing on Tuesday, January 22, 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, Vice Chairman; Linda Porterfield; Eric Strucko and Calvin Morris, Chairman. Bill Edgerton was absent.  Julia Monteith, AICP, Senior Land Use Planner for the University of Virginia was absent. 

 

Other officials present were Bill Fritz, Chief of Community Development; Megan Yaniglos, Planner; Jack Kelsey, Transportation Engineer, Wayne Cilimberg, Director of Planning; Rebecca Ragsdale, Senior Planner and Greg Kamptner, Deputy County Attorney. 

 

Call to Order and Establish Quorum:

 

Mr. Morris called the regular meeting to order at 6:00 p.m. and established a quorum.

 

Public Hearing Items:

 

ZMA-2007-00011 Patterson Subdivision (Sign # 43 & 61)

PROPOSAL:  Rezone 3.52 acres from R1 - Residential (1 unit/acre)

to R6 - Residential (6 units/acre) to allow for up to 15 dwelling units.

PROFFERS:  Yes

EXISTING COMPREHENSIVE PLAN LAND USE/DENSITY:  Community of Crozet; CT-3 Urban Edge: single family residential (net 3.5-6.5 units/acre) supporting uses such as religious institutions and schools and other small-scale non-residential uses

ENTRANCE CORRIDOR: No

LOCATION: Between Lanetown Road and Lanetown Way approximately 400 yards from the intersection of Mint Springs Road, Lanetown Road, and Railroad Avenue.

TAX MAP/PARCEL: Tax Map 55, Parcel 63 MAGISTERIAL DISTRICT: White Hall

Rebecca Ragsdale)

REFERRED BACK TO THE PLANNING COMMISSION BY THE BOARD OF SUPERVISORS ON DECEMBER 12, 2007.

 

Mr. Ragsdale presented a PowerPoint presentation and summarized that staff report.  (See Staff Report)

 

The request was before the Planning Commission as a public hearing where they recommended denial in October.  It went on to the Board of Supervisors with the applicant’s making revisions to the plan and proffers to address the outstanding items that led to that recommendation for denial.  At the Board meeting it was referred back to the Commission on December 12, 2007.  The request is before the Commission this evening.

·         The applicant is proposing 12 single-family units for which would be allowed as single-family attached units.  It has been revised form 14 to 12 units since the Commission last saw the proposal. 

·         Previously the applicant proposed a public park component within the project.  Currently there is no green recommendation or park recommendation proposed for the property proposed for rezoning.

·         At October meeting the Planning Commission recommended denial.  That recommendation was based on cash proffers that did not meet the Board’s policy on proffers to mitigate impacts associated with developments.  It was unclear as to what the intent of one of the affordable housing proffers was.  The applicant was also proposing affordable accessory units which would add to the density of the project, which are no longer proposed.

·         There was the open space dedication, as mentioned earlier, and staff noted that the concept plan in this case is not a proffered plan.  The applicant has made commitments to limiting the number and types of units to those 4 attached units on the property. 

·         Also, in the discussion the Commission noted that the proposed layout was not sympathetic to the adjoining neighborhood.  There were concerns with the density in this location in the Crozet Development area.    There were some comments on the submittal materials and the information on the concept plan.  There were some concerns regarding the infrastructure capacity in that area. 

·         The revised concept plan was submitted and reviewed by staff in advance of that December board meeting.    It shows the revised lot layout of 12 lots with the stormwater management biofilters located adjacent to Lanetown road.  Lanetown Way comes in off of Lanetown Road through Gray Rock.  The applicant has now provided for an urban street section with sidewalks and curb and gutter along on both sides that meet the Subdivision Ordinance requirements.  They also have provided for an interconnection to the adjoining property.  The street will now end in a cul-de-sac and there is no longer a park component to the project. Based on the number of units provided and these are conventional single-family lots under the R-6 zoning there is no recreational requirements.  This is not a proffered plan, but the applicant has done some more analysis in terms of stormwater management and provided additional information.  Staff did not recommend the proffered concept plan in this case given the characteristics of the site.   

·         The revised proffers now address the County’s guidelines for affordable housing and the cash proffer based on unit types.  The affordable housing proffer provides for the minimum 15 percent of the total number of units proposed as affordable.  The applicant has provided the option of either providing two units as affordable or providing one unit and cash in lieu of unit for the other fraction.  The math works out that 15 percent is 1.8 units.

·         In summary, the rezoning is now consistent with the guidelines for density in the Crozet Master Plan that it not exceed a net density for this property of 4.5 dwelling units per acre.  The applicant has provided for cash impacts to public facilities as mentioned through cash proffers.  The applicant has provided affordable housing. 

·         As far as unfavorable factors staff noted that the applicant’s concept plan not being proffered. 

·         Related to the Crozet Master Plan recommendations, it was also raised as a concern from the adjoining neighborhood association of Gray Rock who has supplied input on this rezoning that there is a Master Plan recommendation for CT-3 areas that the average lot size not exceed 10,000 square feet.  In this case the applicant is just under that in the ranges indicated in the staff report. But, as noted in the report staff’s preference is that the stormwater areas be located outside of the lots. So that is attributed to the average lot size in this proposal.

·         Staff believes that the applicant has addressed all of the items that related to the recommendation for denial.  Should the Commission recommend approval, staff would recommend approval with the attached proffers in the packet.

 

Mr. Morris asked if there were any questions for staff.

 

Mr. Loach said that in the staff report on page 4 staff correctly identifies this area as a Hamlet and on page 5 she correctly identifies it as an edge designation.  However, when he looks at the Crozet Master Plan under the land use and places under the edge treatment the edge is actually a CT-1 and CT-2 in the Master Plan.  On the summary list it says very restrictive development area of open space preserved/reserved with very low residential.  Then in residential building types it says CT-2 only.  It looks like they have an edge Hamlet, but she applied the general CT-3 residential numbers to it.

 

Ms. Ragsdale said that the Crozet Master Plan place type and built infrastructure map shows the property as CT-3.  This Hamlet is shown as the primary designation for that property and it goes all the way to the edge of the development area.

 

Mr. Loach assumed that is why it is called the edge.  He felt that what should apply to this on the edge is what was intended in the Crozet Master Plan, which is the edge classification; and, therefore the residential building types there. 

 

Ms. Ragsdale said that in the tables within the Crozet Master Plan land use and place types it does indicate that the edge of the Hamlet is CT-1 and CT-2.  Looking carefully at the maps there is a sliver of that green running along that road, which is the ultimate edge of the property.  In this case within the Hamlet area is called the general area.  The Master Plan organizes each of the colors and then either calls it a center, edge or a general area based on the place type whether it is a Hamlet or a Neighborhood.  So in this case Mr. Loach is right this yellow area or CT-3 is called the general land use designation.  Then there is the sliver that is the edge within the transect.

 

Mr. Loach asked to back it up with what is the textural context of the Crozet Master Plan, which says that most of the periphery of the Crozet development area is recommended for the lowest density of development consistent with the Rural Area designation in the Comprehensive Plan.  That is how the Master Plan says that we should treat these edge areas.  But, that is his interpretation.

 

Mr. Cilimberg noted what they actually have involved with this property are two of the three designations within the Hamlet.  The yellow is general and covers a large part of the site.  The edge was along Lanetown Road.  Also, to the east of that is a center designation.  So in this area they have center, general and edge.  So depending on which parts of the property they are looking at they have a different designation in the plan.

 

Mr. Cannon asked if there is a way in which the edge designation for the fringe along the property is reflected in the proposal or the way they have responded to the proposal.

 

Mr. Cilimberg said that it was the biofilters area.

 

Ms. Ragsdale replied yes, that previously it was the park component to respond to that edge.  The existing plan now shows the biofilters area.

 

Mr. Cannon asked if the biofilter would be an appropriate use for a very restrictive edge CT-1 or CT-2.

 

Ms. Ragsdale replied that it does provide green space adjacent to the rural area edge.

 

Mr. Cilimberg recalled that they had a similar situation with Blue Ridge Co-Housing where they had a couple of different designations within their property. Part of their property was CT-3 and edge adjacent to the rural area.  That was another case where they dealt with a couple of different designations within the one property.  There were issues and concerns about how the development was treating those different areas.  He recalled that the Commission and ultimately the Board recommended that they provide an internalized development in the area that was CT-3 and preserved

 

Mr. Morris opened the public hearing and invited the applicant to address the Commission.

 

Cliff Fox, representative for the Pattersons, said that they came before the Planning Commission and had a lot of environmental components integrated into the first plan. But, when they did not meet the cash proffer policy he felt like the door was closed. There were comments like that the prior development plan was not sensitive to the neighborhood. In response to come of those concerns they have tried to stretch the lots to their largest size.  Gray Rock North is concerned about the impact of smaller housing around them. They created the interconnection to the adjacent parcel.  They addressed the concerns for stormwater management.  They have looked at ways to try to find an alternative access Because the Gray Rock North folks have been very concerned about the additional traffic coming into the site he had one alternative plan that is not in front of the Commission right now, which would essentially create 2 driveways off of Lanetown Way and the main access off of Landtown road. VDOT has looked at that preliminarily.  It has not been reviewed by the county. They are trying to be sympathetic with the adjacent owners.  One of the problems with that alternative access is that it would require a site easement.  They have not been able to create a site easement across the three properties to the west with the adjacent neighbors to date.  There has been a lot of confusion about the interpretation of what this property is in the master plan.  This is the second meeting that he had been where there has been confusion about it.  He felt that it is CT-3 in a Hamlet as the staff has currently interpreted it.

 

Mr. Morris asked if there were any questions for the applicant.

 

Ms. Joseph asked if there was any reason why they don’t want to proffer the plan.

 

Mr. Fox replied that they have not engineered it.  If he proffered the plan, it means that he has to abide by every lot line.   If it is in general accord he would be happy to proffer the biofilter areas, the general alignment of the road and the interconnection. They have already proffered the number of lots.  As staff said up to four attached units, but they would be happy with two or one duplex and ten single-family detached units.  He felt that would be more sympathetic to Gray Rock North because they are concerned with how house pricing in this area would affect their values.

 

Ms. Porterfield said that there is no information on how to handle the parking. She asked are there going to be garages for all of the units.

 

Mr. Fox replied that the plan is that there would be garages. The lots are generally 72’ wide. The fire flow test on the hydrants has been done.  There is plenty of pressure and fire flow with residual 20 PSI. The hydrants are in the system to allow for a reduction of side setbacks to 10’.  That is the existing setback in Gray Rock North.  Therefore, they could provide one or two car garages. They would not want to proffer that.  The general guideline for garages is that they need to be 25 percent behind the actual façade so that they diminish that aesthetic.

 

Ms. Porterfield said that if they end up with a single car garage where would they park the remaining automobiles.  She asked if this would be on street parking or would he create parking areas on each of the lots.

 

Mr. Fox replied that they would park the cars just like they do in Gray Rock North in the driveway or on the street.  The street is a 28’ section right now, which allows on street parking.

 

Mr. Morris invited public comment.

 

Mike Bend, resident of Gray Rock North and a member of the Homeowner’s Association, asked to answer the last question.  All but one of the 26 homes in Gray Rock North is two car garages.  As a Homeowner’s Association they prohibit on street parking because they don’t have any sidewalks or gutters.    There is an exception for temporary visits and things like that.  There are many members of their community present that are concerned about how the Patterson property is developed.  They submitted a letter at the previous meeting that addressed three concerns.  Two of the three issues are still germane. Specifically they don’t feel that the density of the proposal is quite right for this property.  They are concerned with the traffic and the drainage and stormwater management potentially going into the Gray Rock ponds.  They are not sure where the stormwater will go.  All of the lots in Gray Rock are over 12,000 square feet in size.  He concurred personally with the Crozet Master Plan for CT-3 Hamlet, but that does call for 10,000 square feet lot average.  Also, within the designation in the general section of a Hamlet definition it says that 50 percent of the land and area is dedicated to open space either in preserved or reserved.  He did not know how that was judged as far as what is open and what is considered developed.  But, the biofilters should be counted one way or the other towards lot size or open space.  In short, they think that R-6 is still too dense and does not comply with the Crozet Master Plan in this transitional area on the edge of Crozet.  They think that R-4 might be more appropriate. On Lanetown Way they have no sidewalks.  This may become part of a greater access and greenway through the Albemarle County Parks and Rec up to Mint Springs.  He felt that there would only be more people walking on this stretch of road that does not have sidewalks.  With that potential interconnection spur there the development as proposed will have at least 12 more single family homes.  They would like to see the applicant continue to work the plans towards access from Lanetown Road.  Regarding drainage and run off he noted that they are concerned that they own the ponds, but don’t understand environmental impacts as a new homeowner’s association of how they are going to deal with maintaining them.  So they would like to make sure that there is no additional run off going into those ponds.  If the lot density were decreased, the entrance was readdressed from Lanetown Road and they could be assured that there was no additional water; most of the residents of Gray Rock North would probably not be as weary about this plan as they are now.

 

Cynthia Arnold, resident of Lanetown Road for 24 years, said that it would be a big mistake to make another entrance off Lanetown Road.  It is a very dangerous road.  There are ten car trips considered per day for each home.  So that would be a lot of car trips added to that little road.  She suggested that adding a yellow line to the road like was done on Half Mile Branch might help some.

 

Rob Patterson, resident of Gray Rock North and former member of the association, said that there has been some talk by the developer that the real value that they are placing on this is the value of home. Although that may be one of the variables they are looking at, but what they are really talking about is the safety of their children.  There are 28 children at home under the age of 10.  They have no sidewalks in Gray Rock North.   Lanetown Road is a very small street.  He encouraged each Commissioner to drive out to Crozet and see what kind of road they are talking about.  Lanetown Way is a subdivision street, which is occupied by several children.  It is already hard for them to control the speed of the cars that come into the development.  He asked that they consider what impacts the proposed plan would have on the traffic into their subdivision. It would be a great increase in traffic, particularly with an entrance going into the proposed plan from Lanetown Way. 

 

Ernie Morris, a neighbor, said that in his dealings with Gray Rock one of the things he found out was that developers did not consider the neighbors too much when they designed the stormwater runoff.  They would run ditches right to the property line and let the water continue to flow onto someone else’s land. He did not know how it would be done here, but they also have ditches going out to the end of the property line discontinuing.  It looks like the stormwater needs to be addressed before the issue can be approved.

 

Patty Perks said that her main concern is a lack of commitment being heard to the environment and its protection.  The homeowners put in a lot of volunteer time, labor and money managing the trails that currently exist and how to rescue the ponds from what is going on.  It is an active process and needs active input.  If they weigh the net effect of this development as it is proposed on the environment she was not convinced that it won’t be more negative than positive.

 

There being no further public comment, Mr. Morris invited the applicant back for a five rebuttal.

 

Mr. Fox said that the master plan in regards to the lot size says that in a hamlet that the average lot size would be 10,000 square feet.  The average lot in Gray Rock is over 12,000 square feet.  The average lot size in this development is around 8,800 square feet.  They are closer to the respected proposed average lot size than Gray Rock is.  From a land use efficiency point of view and looking at the two developments together they are about on target.  In the staff report he believed that it says that the biofilter designated areas are in excess of what would be required to manage the stormwater. So he thought that they have addressed that issue. They have to take the county and VDOT’s guidance on the roads.  He did not know how else to address that. 

 

Mr. Morris closed the public hearing to bring the matter before the Commission for discussion and action.

 

Mr. Loach pointed out that his reading of the Crozet Master Plan is very clear.  The Master Plan says that on the periphery it should be treated with the lowest density and should be treated almost similar to the rural designation.  He asked if the benefit of this development over weigh and override the risk of the extra vehicle trips on Lanetown Road.  Lanetown Road is a very narrow road, which empties into Three Mile Branch Road that is a worse road.  There is an edge treatment that is applicable that is CT-1 and CT-2.  He did not think they could compare this with Gray Rock North, which was approved prior to the adoption of the Master Plan. That is one of the reasons why Gray Rock North does not have sidewalks.  Now sidewalks are required in Crozet.  He could not support the rezoning due to the concerns he just expressed and that the proposal does not meet the master plan. 

 

Mr. Strucko agreed with Mr. Loach.  He has driven an ambulance down that road at night and it is a tough road.

 

Ms. Joseph said that it is CT-3, which allows certain things.  But, she felt that the applicant is pushing the size of these lots.  The lots need to be 10,000 square feet.   The biofilters may be able to expand a little more on Lanetown Road so that they continue with a large area that is green space before getting to the back yards of some of the lots.  She felt that he was close, but not quite where he needs to be.  She felt that for any rezoning that there needs to be a clear message that sidewalks will go in when the road goes into. She would hate to see this neighborhood developed and then have the road come in and then the sidewalks come in later.    The public needs to know that the sidewalks are going to be there.  Also, the lots need to be larger.    

 

Ms. Porterfield agreed with Ms. Joseph that the lots should be 10,000 square feet.  That will also help with the density issues that were brought up previously.

 

Mr. Cannon agreed.  There is intended to be some development here.  It is a fair interpretation of the plan to say it should not be as intense.  He felt that Ms. Joseph’s statement seemed fair.

 

Ms. Joseph invited Mr. Fox to address the Commission.

 

Mr. Fox said that if the minimum lot size is 10,000 square feet, they will reduce the density to meet that requirement.

 

Ms. Joseph said that she was hearing some concern about the character of Lanetown Road.  She asked if he could beef up that biofilters.

 

Mr. Fox said that they will expand the biofilter and in context will probably lose one or two lots to get to the 10,000 square foot average.  So they will rearticulate that biofilters along Lanetown Road so that it reasonably resembles the green CT-1 or CT-2 as identified on the Crozet Master Plan.

 

Mr. Strucko asked if the number of lots would go from 12 to 10.

 

Mr. Fox replied it would be whatever they can get on there and maintain the lot size.  The biofilters will stretch the entire length of Lanetown Road.

 

Mr. Morris voiced concern about the conflict of the interpretation of the Crozet Master Plan and that the Commission could possibly end up taking an action that might be contrary to what the developers of the Crozet Master Plan worked so hard to come up with.  That was his primary concern on this.

 

Mr. Loach pointed out that what he read from the master plan is what should be done.  The master plan shows what should be considered to be built on the property, which would be his criteria.

 

Ms. Joseph suggested that the biofilter be made deep enough so that there is some sort of buffer between Lanetown Road and where this development begins. But, it is real hard to ignore the yellow on there that allows for a certain density. That is what she was having trouble with.  This whole area has been designated a hamlet.  The yellow area allows a certain density and there is the pink color next to it, which is a center. 

 

Mr. Loach said that it is pink, but they would not call Gray Rock North a center.  There are a lot of colors that are conceptual.  It is very clear that it is an edge and should be treated as an edge.

 

Mr. Cannon noted that it was an interpretation problem.  He asked Mr. Loach if under his interpretation of the plan is there really no development that could take place on this parcel except what is already there or a replacement for that.

 

Mr. Loach replied no, that he believed under the by right with the density bonus would be more than the 1 house that is there now.

 

Mr. Strucko noted that it was 3.5 acres.

 

Mr. Cannon said that he would say basically the plan is the current zoning and that the plan did not anticipate anything other than the zoning that existed at the time that the plan was adopted.

 

Mr. Loach replied yes, that his view was that the 3.52 acres would allow 5 dwellings.  He would not argue with that.  But, he would like to see the road be maintained as a rural road the way it is now.

 

Mr. Cannon reiterated that his interpretation is that the existing zoning itself is not really consistent with what the master contemplated, which is basically is to leave it the way it is.

 

Mr. Loach said that there is a difference in the way it is described in the colors.

 

Mr. Cannon asked if they have a protocol for interpreting the master plan.  He asked if the master plan text trumps the colors or is it up to the Commission to figure out.

 

Mr. Strucko said that the maps have always been conceptual.  It is the text.

 

Mr. Kamptner said that he wanted to look at the master plan itself to see if it gives any guidance.  The maps that are associated with the Comprehensive Plans and master plans are generally as Mr. Strucko said conceptual in nature.

 

Ms. Porterfield invited the applicant to address the Commission.

 

Mr. Fox said that he had been before the Commission and worked on many properties in the Crozet growth area.  He attended a lot of DISC meetings in the creation of the Neighborhood Model than anybody on that committee except Elaine Echols.  He participated in the Crozet Master Plan from beginning to end.  In prior rezoning applications the Commission and Board looked at the color and interpret the utility of the land in relationship to that color. There are two colors on the Patterson property.  There is the slivered edge along Lanetown Road and the yellow CT-3 within the context of the hamlet.

 

Ms. Porterfield asked if the request could be deferred to the next meeting so the Commission could look at the applicant’s revised plan with less density as discussed.

 

Ms. Joseph said that the applicant has to request a deferral.

 

Mr. Morris said that it could be put in as part of the motion.

 

Mr. Kamptner said that the Commission might have more time with the rezoning because this has gone on to the Board and at the applicant’s request it was referred back.   It puts the Commission’s work in the Board’s one year review period as opposed to the usual 90 day period. 

 

Mr. Morris reiterated Mr. Kamptner’s response to the question that it could be the applicant requesting the deferral or if someone makes a motion to include the reduction from 12 to 10 lots and pushes back additional space for biofilters. 

 

Mr. Strucko noted that they could move for denial.

 

Mr. Kamptner agreed that the Commission had all of those options.

 

Mr. Cilimberg noted that the applicant does not have to request a deferral if the Commission wants to see what they would do with their plan.  The Commission could actually act to defer as long as they were not running up against the 12 months.  That would mean that the applicant would have to come back with a revised plan.  That is another option.

 

Ms. Joseph noted that in the past the Commission has given a list to the applicant to change before going to the Board.  But, many times those items have not changed.  Therefore, she would be interested in deferring this item.

 

Ms. Porterfield agreed that the Commission should look at the new plan.

 

Mr. Loach felt that the best way to handle this situation was by a motion for denial.

 

Motion: Mr. Loach, Mr. Strucko seconded, to deny ZMA-2007-00011, Patterson Subdivision based on the following reasons:

o        The proposed density was not appropriate, based on the Crozet Master Plan’s recommendations for the edge areas of the Crozet Development Area.

o        Concern about adding additional traffic to Lanetown Road and Lanetown Way.

 

 

The motion for denial passed by a vote of 4:2.  (Mr. Loach, Mr. Strucko, Mr. Morris and Mr. Cannon voted aye.) (Ms. Joseph and Ms. Porterfield voted nay.)  (Mr. Edgerton was absent.). 

 

Some Commissioners believed the applicant should have the opportunity to defer to address the items of concern to the Commission. In discussion, some agreed that the proposal should meet the 10,000 square foot average lot size recommendation of the Crozet Master Plan CT3 Hamlet land use designation, thereby reducing the overall density of the project, that the biofilter/greenspace area adjacent to Lanetown Way should be increased, and that new streets to serve the proposed development should include sidewalks.

 

Mr. Morris stated that ZMA-2007-00011 Patterson Subdivision was recommended for denial.  The request will go before the Board of Supervisors on March 19, 2008.

 

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