The Albemarle County Planning Commission held a meeting and a public hearing on Tuesday, October 16, 2007, at 6:00 p.m., at the County Office Building, Lane Auditorium, Second Floor, 401 McIntire Road, Charlottesville, Virginia.
Members attending were Jon Cannon, Bill Edgerton, Calvin Morris, Vice-Chairman; Marcia Joseph, Chairman; Eric Strucko; Duane Zobrist and Pete Craddock. Mr. Craddock arrived at 7:25 p.m. Mr. Strucko left at 7:33 p.m. Julia Monteith, AICP, Senior Land Use Planner for the University of Virginia was absent.
Other officials present were Wayne Cilimberg, Planning Director; Claudette Grant, Principal Planner; Rebecca Ragsdale, Senior Planner; Elaine Echols, Principal Planner; Lee Catlin, Community Relations Manager; Harrison Rue, Thomas Jefferson Planning District Commission and Greg Kamptner, Deputy County Attorney
Ms. Joseph called the meeting to order at 6:02 p.m. and established a quorum.
ZMA-2007-00011 Patterson Subdivision
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.
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
Ms. Ragsdale presented a power point presentation and summarized the staff report.
· This is a request for a rezoning that was advertised for a public hearing. It does carry with it some waiver requests based on what the applicant submitted four proposed street sections. The request is to rezone 3.5 acres from R-1 to R-6. It does not come with a proffered application plan, but the applicant has submitted a conceptual layout and provided proffers limiting the development to 14 units total, which would include 10 single family detached one-half of which would have an accessory unit with those single family detached units and 4 single family attached units proposed for a net density of 4.9 units per acres.
· The main access is proposed from Lanetown Road, which the Crozet development area boundary. The rural area is on the other side of the road. It is near some proposed greenway connections near the ponds at Gray Rock. There is an existing home on the property with some outbuildings and sheds. There are some evergreen trees planted along the property line adjoining Gray Rock. The proposal includes about .8 acres of open space at the end, which was proposed as a public street that would have parking on the end of it. The applicant would like to provide this as a public open space amenity. Staff has asked Parks and Rec whether they would accept that into their system. There would be 2 single family attached units adjacent to the open space. The applicant has provided for where storm water management might go, but there has not been information provided to staff in order to review it. It was shown conceptually on the Patterson property.
· An exhibit was provided by the applicant that showed how the open space area was intended to be proffered. It fits in with the green infrastructure network of greenways as shown in green on the Crozet Master Plan Green Infrastructure Map. An eastern park and western park was shown on the Master Plan Infrastructure Map, but no park was shown for this area. But, the greenways are provided.
· There are some outstanding issues with the proffers submitted. Some of the issues are substantive. The applicant is proffering no more than 14 units and providing for affordable housing with single family attached units as the affordable units. The intent in what was provided to staff was to exceed the 15 percent with that. The applicant would also like to provide accessory units to be associated with the single family detached units for one-half or those for 5. There are still some issues to be worked out with being clearer on what is defined with an accessory unit and what the County Code can not regulate in regards with those units.
· The open space dedication was offered adjacent to Lanetown Road to provide the amenities for this development, but to also serve the neighborhood in that area. The applicant believes that there is a need for that and to also provide some trail facilities. Staff received some preliminary comments from Parks and Rec indicating that it would not be something that they could accept into their system at this point.
· Comments from VDOT indicated that the Lanetown Road access should be restricted and the applicant should use Lanetown Way through Gray Rock North to get to this property. There are a number of single family homes on Lanetown Road. VDOT’s desire is to get one of those driveways closed. Based on the driveway spacing they thought that was necessary.
· The applicant has provided a cash proffer, which staff does not think mitigates the impacts of the development. It is for $3,000 per market rate. Staff did not have the applicant’s basis for that amount for the staff report, but it does not fall within the guidelines for cash proffers. Staff notes that is an outstanding issue. There was some information provided by the applicant today, which was distributed.
· Regarding waiver requests, there were 2 road sections proposed from the information provided by the applicant. One was a rural section and one was a modified urban section neither of which met the requirements. The road was proposed as public with 4 different right-of-ways. Both of them have pedestrian facilities on one side only at 4’, which does meet the minimum standards for either a trail or a sidewalk. Staff could not recommend approval of the waiver requests at this time. There is no workable street section alternative proposed. Being at the conceptual stage for the rezoning it was not one that was appropriate to be entertained at the rezoning stage either.
· Staff was unable to recommend approval based on the number of outstanding issues regarding proffers and cash proffers. Since the applicant is not providing a proffered plan staff feels that some of the concepts shown on the conceptual layout should be worked on to see if any of those could be incorporated as proffers in addition to the need to address the accessory units proposed. Staff does not recommend actions on the waivers at this time.
Ms. Joseph asked if there were questions for Ms. Ragsdale.
Mr. Morris noted that in the staff report it indicated that Parks and Rec said that the Crozet Master Plan calls for an eastern and western park and this would not fit in. He asked if there was last minute comment from them.
Ms. Ragsdale replied that there was no last minute comment. They received comment that it did not fall within their criteria based on serving the larger public need. To be clear on the waivers, staff did not recommend the applicant’s street sections that were not acceptable in general. Whether they act on the waivers or not, staff does not recommend those.
There being no further questions for staff, Ms. Joseph opened the public hearing and invited the applicant to address the Commission.
Cliff Fox, representative for the Pattersons, said that he would like to go through the items discussed in the staff report. Regarding the proposed park, Parks and Rec were actually very excited about it to begin with. It just changed in the past week. He did not know if that was in relationship to the cash proffer situation or what. Actually the proposed trail head is about 140’ X 300’ and it bisects 2 planned greenway systems. One goes right up through Crozet Crossings and dead ends at the railroad right-of-way. The other one is about 1,000’ west of the proposed greenway park. SOCOA is very excited about having neighborhood based active recreation facilities. It helps with transportation and those types of things. There are currently 453 homes in the surrounding neighborhoods that don’t have access to an active recreational facility. There is about an acre of green that has topographic issues in Wayland Grant and some others. He provided an explanation at how they were approaching the cash proffer offer. He would like the Commissioners to review that and ask questions. The affordable housing was not correctly described in the staff report. What they are trying to do is create affordable and accessible apartments in the context of 5 of the market rate residential units. He first tried to get that adopted in a PRD in Waylands Grant, which was about 5 or 6 years ago. The zoning department said that they could not figure how to figure out the density, setback regulations, etc. at that time. So it just fell out of the plan. The current Code regulation for accessory apartments is that it has to be part of the dwelling. It would be great if the County could find a way on the same lot to create an accessory apartment above a garage or something like. The affordable housing units would be right at the top fronting the greenway system or open space area. It does meet all of the criteria for everything but the highest level of SOCOA competition. It would not be a full scale high school grade field. There are so many different forms of cash proffer and affordable housing proffer language floating around. He researched some of the recently approved proffers such as Biscuit Run and NIGIC, which has an interesting definition of affordable housing, and others. They are happy to work with any of those definitions. For context before the Crozet Master Plan was developed that site was actually zoned for 75 town homes. It was essentially down zoned. So when considering land use policy and getting the most efficiency out of the growth area this site in density he believed within the Code is calculated on a gross acreage and not the net acreage. The Comp Plan and Master Plan recommends that the density be calculated on the net. This lies right in the middle of that range.
Ms. Joseph invited public comment.
Barbara Westbrook, resident of Crozet, had no particular problem with the subdivision per say, but with the impact on the surrounding area particularly traffic. Traffic has been her main concern with all of these subdivisions in Crozet. Most of the traffic would come down Lanetown Road and One-Half Mile Branch to get over to the either Route 250 or I-64, which are both just small country roads. The King Vineyard, which is on One-Half Mile Branch, already is putting enough traffic on it. The neighbors are already upset. Also, traffic to get to Crozet would go down Jarman’s Gap Road, which is still behind schedule for improvements. The other northern exit to get out of that area would be going north on Lanetown Road to cross the railroad at a somewhat dangerous crossing that does not have a gate that comes down when trains are coming and it is on the crest of a hill. It could be too much traffic on these small country roads. The water situation is a concern. She can’t quite understand why more and more houses are being approved when right now they area having to carry 3 gallon buckets of water to water our plants in their yards. If they were so short on water she did not quite get the connection with building more houses until the water situation has improved. The field out front is on Lanetown Road. It was said that there was no other park around. But, Mint Springs Park is just right up the road. If that was turned into a park who will take care of it and where would the parking be located?
Mike Benon, a Crozet resident, said that Crozet was here in force tonight for the Patterson property hearing.
· He asked that the folks of Gray Rock and Gray Rock North that are here to discuss this to stand up to say that they are here and engaged in the process. Gray Rock is approximately 150 homes, 26 of which are in Gray Rock North. Ms. Ragsdale outlined the situation in that area. He was a member of the Home Owner’s Association Board of Directors and represents their comments tonight. They have had the opportunity to speak with the developer, Mr. Fox and Ms. Ragsdale on different occasions. They submitted written concerns that were forwarded to the Commission for review. He hoped that the Commission had those in a letter format. The Home Owner’s Association requests that the Planning Commission sent a disapproval recommendation for the development of the Patterson property as it is currently proposed to the Board of Supervisors.
· There are 3 areas of concern that he wanted to address:
1. The continuity with the existing neighborhoods;
2. What they believe is noncompliance with the Crozet Master Plan and the intent of the Crozet Master Plan specifically the zoning recommendation; and
3. The safety and traffic concerns on Lanetown Way.
· This proposed area is referred to incorrectly in the staff report as being a Neighborhood in the Crozet Master Plan and should actually be a CT-3 Hamlet.
David Ryan, Vice President of the Gray Rock Home Owner’s Association, said that he also represents in addition to Mr. Benon the other residents of Gray Rock. To put the basic point out Gray Rock is not opposed to this development. They actually encourage its development. They realize that they are in a growth area and want to encourage that growth. So they are not here to oppose it necessarily. They are here to oppose the way that it has been presented and some of the ideas in that plan. The plan put forth thus far does not even meet with the county’s own definition of the neighborhood areas. In fact, the applicant has come forth and requested a number of waivers yet in their own proposal does not even meet a number of the requirements in the Neighborhood Model. Without going over all of them, he did want to point out a couple in particular. The pedestrian orientation principle of the Neighborhood Model the applicant is proposing 2 alternative street sections neither of which is a workable approach. For the neighborhood friendly streets and paths new projects within the development areas are expected to have curb, gutter, sidewalks and planting strips. This is a requirement which is also being requested to be waiver. Interconnected streets and transportation networks the applicant has not provided on the concept plan and is a requirement of the Subdivision Ordinance. The applicant is requesting that to be waived also. Regarding parks and open spaces the big plan here is that they are going to put a soccer field at the very end of it and hope that will do it. The Parks and Rec Department does not even want it. The other person who spoke questioned who is going to take care of it. They have the same concerns. The building and spaces of human scale gets to a greater sense of enclosure through the use of trees, etc. if these are provided. But, they don’t even have a plan to know whether or not they are going to be provided. Regarding relegated parking, the applicant’s concept plan does not demonstrate how parking will be provided. As Mr. Benon pointed out they do anticipate a considerable increase in parking and they have no idea where those cars are going to go. The only suggestion was at the end of the property near the soccer field. Regarding the site planning that respects terrain no conceptual grading plan has been provided. There are environmental and storm water management concerns, but there is not enough information on the plan for engineering comments. Regarding the streets, VDOT has concerns about the perpendicular parking proposed at this time. Regarding the cash proffers, the requirement is $17,500, but the proffer thus far has been $3,000. The basic plan is that the applicant will provide a soccer field that nobody wants. What it comes down to is that they are not opposed to the development, but their concern is that as proposed it does not meet the county’s plan and are concerned with the zoning. They do not have complete information at this point to make a proper decision.
Patty Hirsch, resident of Gray Rock, said that many of the concerns have been well addressed. One other concern is the impact that the proposal as it is presented might have on the lake and streams that outflow from that lake. The storm water management question is a huge one. They asked about Gray Rock North before the house was built and the land was completely done and were assured that there were adequate provisions. Really in looking back they would have to say that Gray Rock North probably has inadequate storm water management. Part of the reason for that is that a river runs through it. Part of the water runs through her yard into the lake. There is a lot of silt and red clay. The alga is increasing in the lake. Some of the residents have discussed that. It is an important resource. She felt that the way the Patterson property is so close to that water and the potential for fertilizers and such to continue to run into the lake should be considered before approval of the project.
There being no further public comment, Ms. Joseph closed the public hearing to bring the matter before the Commission.
Mr. Cannon agreed with the suggestion in the staff report that the applicant might want to consider this as a work session.
Ms. Ragsdale said that was staff’s recommendation if the applicant would like. Staff made the applicant aware of that option.
Mr. Joseph invited Mr. Fox to come forward and speak to that issue.
Mr. Cannon said that it would be helpful to know which direction that they were headed if the applicant was able to make that suggestion.
Mr. Fox said that the Pattersons would rather go ahead and they might ask for a deferral after they have heard some of the conversation. They think that there is a lot of stuff to be articulated, but a lot of the issues that were brought up such as the streets and storm water can be reasonably addressed. Some of the technical engineering stuff is still to be taken care of. But, he felt that he could address some of those questions.
Ms. Joseph asked if he did not want this as a work session.
Mr. Cannon said that he wanted to wait and see how it goes. He thought that was a hopeful expectation.
Mr. Zobrist said that there were insuperable barriers to this project over getting it done. The infrastructure is way behind. The water issues are significant. The school issue is even more significant because they had to move a number of students from Crozet Elementary to Brownsville. The storm water and erosion is a problem in that area. They had a very difficult time with Mr. King because of One Half Mile Branch, which is going to take a lot of heavy traffic from that side of town. Also, Jarmans Gap Road is way behind. He looked at this as a project that they need to slow down the growth in Crozet while they figure out how to serve what has already been approved. They articulated a very strong policy in the Places29 where they asked staff to add to the Master Plan that rezoning will not be approved in an area where the infrastructure is inadequate.
Mr. Morris did not support the waivers because this was just not right for this area.
Mr. Craddock agreed with Mr. Zobrist and that the cash proffers are inadequate.
Mr. Edgerton concurred because this was not an acceptable solution to be considered for a rezoning because of the lack of details on this project. He assumed that they were under the 90 day rule on this project. But, if this was considered an acceptable application and the clock has started ticking that it is amazing. He did not think that there was enough information for the Commission to review. Therefore, he would not be able to support the proposal under this form.
Ms. Joseph said that they did not think that there was adequate infrastructure in this location. But, they did not have a problem with that in the downtown area. She said that her reasoning for supporting the proposal in downtown is that it will keep the downtown vibrant. That is extremely important. Also, they were reusing those buildings to make sure that commercial activity stayed there. They are looking at the same amount of units going in each place. If the infrastructure is inadequate for one, then it may be inadequate for the other. But, they are looking at two different sites in two different areas. She just wanted to explain her reasoning for why she could support one and not the other. She felt that infrastructure was extremely important. She agreed with Mr. Zobrist that the Commission needs to start looking at these things. She was happy to hear from the Gray Rock residents that they are saying they are not totally against this, but just don’t like the form this thing is taking. It needs to be something that is more sympathetic to this particular area. She questioned if a soccer field would be allowed in R-6 zoning district. But, she felt that the layout was definitely not sympathetic to the existing neighborhood. Therefore, she could not support the request.
Mr. Zobrist felt that they need to be very careful with the urban edge. The urban edge designation in the Master Plan provides all the way from preservation to what they are looking at here. He felt that was really inconsistent if they were going to have it as a transition area. This is right on the edge. They were not going up against the railroad track. There is a huge amount of rural area right across the street. They need to be careful with the urban edge to keep the density down to where it was consistent with a transition to the rural neighborhoods out there and not let them abut right up against it. It is the same issue that they had with the Crozet Cohousing.
Action on Rezoning:
Motion: Mr. Zobrist moved, Mr. Morris seconded, to deny ZMA-2007-000011, Patterson Subdivision, for the reasons stated in the staff report, by the Commission and staff, as outlined below.
Reasons indicated by staff in report:
1. Cash proffers do not meet Board expectations.
2. The applicant has not made proffer commitments to features of the concept plan that has been provided. However, the maximum number of residential units and provision of open space is proffered.
3. Affordable housing proffers must be clear on the number of affordable units proffered and use standard language. The proffer to provide accessory apartments is unclear, does not define the type of units to be provided, and does not specify mechanisms for the provision of the proposed units.
Why proffers are considered inadequate, as presented by Staff at meeting:
o Affordable Housing Proffer- Unclear whether the applicant intends to proffer 3 or 4 units. The affordable units are proposed as single family attached. 15% of the total number of units proposed is 2.10.
o Affordable Accessory Units- Proffer unclear, accessory units proffered with half of the SFD units, a total of 5.
o Open Space Dedication to the County- The applicant is proposing to proffer approximately 0.80 acres of open space, adjacent to Lanetown Road, to the County for parks and recreation purposes. This dedication is not desired by Parks & Recreation at this time.
o Cash Proffers-$3,000 per market rate unit. There are 10 market rate units proposed and the Board’s expectation for single family detached is $17,500 per unit to mitigate impacts of the development.
The Commissioners also stated other reasons for not supporting the project in discussion, as follows:
o Ms. Joseph - The proposed conceptual layout was not sympathetic to the adjoining neighborhood.
o Mr. Morris - That this proposal was not right for this area.
o Mr. Edgerton - The applicant did not provide acceptable submittal materials.
o Mr. Zobrist - There were insuperable barriers to this project over getting it done. The infrastructure is way behind. The water issues are significant. The school issue is even more significant because they had to move a number of students from Crozet Elementary to Brownsville. The storm water and erosion is a problem in that area. There were concerns about the density of the project at this location in Crozet.
The motion passed by a vote of 6:0. (Mr. Strucko was absent.)
Ms. Joseph stated that ZMA-2007-00011, Patterson Subdivision, will go before the Board of Supervisors on December 12, 2007 with a recommendation for denial.
Action on Waivers:
Motion: Mr. Zobrist moved, Mr. Morris seconded, to deny the waivers for ZMA-2007-000011, Patterson Subdivision for the following reasons.
The motion passed by a vote of 6:0. (Mr. Strucko was absent.)
Mr. Cilimberg pointed out for the record that a member of the public spoke about the Master Plan designation and it is a Hamlet. The maximum number of units under the plan would be 13 because they could not exercise the bonus provision under the Hamlet. So they are correct there is one more unit proposed here than would be the maximum under a Hamlet designation for this particular CT.
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