PRIVATE  COUNTY OF ALBEMARLE

PLANNING STAFF REPORT SUMMARY

 

 

Project Name:  ZMA 06-14 Professional Office Building at Hydraulic & Georgetown Roads

Staff:  Claudette Grant

Planning Commission Public Hearing:

February 19, 2008

Board of Supervisors Public Hearing:

March 19, 2008

Owners:  H & H Limited Liability Company  

Applicant: Chris Kabbash & W. Keith Woodard

Acreage: 1.051 acres

 

Rezone:  C-1, Commercial to NMD, Neighborhood Model District.

TMP: Tax Map 60F, Parcel 3

 

Location: South west corner of the intersection of Georgetown and Hydraulic Roads. (See Attachments A and B)

By-right use: C-1 with proffers

Magisterial District:  Jack Jouett

Proffers:  Yes

Proposal: The applicant proposes to develop a two-story, approximately 20,000 square foot professional office building on the site.

Requested # of Dwelling Units: 0

RA (Rural Area)

Comp. Plan Designation:  Rural Area

Character of Property: Property fronts on the southwest corner of Georgetown and Hydraulic Roads. The site is undeveloped, wooded and has a lot of overgrown shrubs/plants. The front of the site is flat with a steep slope that drops off towards the rear. 

Use of Surrounding Properties: Apartments, townhouses/condominiums, office space, dentist office, and single family detached.

Factors Favorable:

 

1.                   The proposed use of the site is less intensive than what it is currently zoned for.  

2.                   The proposal meets most principles of the Neighborhood Model. Principles not met are the result of the peculiar characteristics of the site.

3.                   The applicant is proposing a preservation area at the rear of the property as a protection measure for the South Fork Rivanna Reservoir watershed. This area; however, is not delineated on the plan.

4.                   Proposed parking will be located under the building and to the rear of the building.

 

 

Factors Unfavorable:

  1. Property is outside of the Development Area.
  2. Lack of committed delineation for conservation and preservation areas on the plan.
  3. The proffers and Code of Development need technical revisions.

 

 

RECOMMENDATION: Provided that the areas of conservation and preservation are delineated on the plan and technical provisions to the Code of Development and proffers are completed prior to the Board of Supervisors’ meeting, staff recommends approval of ZMA 2006-000014 Professional Office Building at Georgetown and Hydraulic Roads, inclusive of revised proffers, code of development and general development plan. Staff also recommends approval of the four waivers which are a waiver to Section 8.4, the rear setback waiver, critical slopes waiver, and waiver of Section 20A.8 relating to a mixture of uses and housing types.

 

 

 

 

STAFF PERSON:                                                                      Claudette Grant

PLANNING COMMISSION:                                                        February 19, 2008

BOARD OF SUPERVISORS:                                                      March 19, 2008

ZMA 2006- 014 Professional Office Building at Georgetown and Hydraulic Roads

Request for approval of Modification of Development Area designation, Setback waiver, Waiver to Section 20A.8 (Mixture of dwelling types/Mixture of uses) of Zoning Ordinance and Critical slopes waiver 

 

PETITION

PROPOSAL:  Rezone 1.051       acres from C-1 Commercial zoning district which allows retail sales and service uses; and residential use by special use permit (15 units/ acre) to NMD Neighborhood Model District zoning district which allows residential (3 - 34 units/acre) mixed with commercial, service and industrial uses. Approx. 20,000 sq. ft. building.

PROFFERS: Yes

EXISTING COMPREHENSIVE PLAN LAND USE/DENSITY: Rural Areas - preserve and protect agricultural, forestal, open space, and natural, historic and scenic resources/ density (.5 unit/acre)

ENTRANCE CORRIDOR: Yes

LOCATION: Southwest corner of Georgetown/Hydraulic Roads intersection.

TAX MAP/PARCEL: 60F/3

MAGISTERIAL DISTRICT: Jack Jouett

 

CHARACTER OF THE AREA

The site is undeveloped, wooded and has a lot of overgrown shrubs/plants. The front portion of the site adjacent to the corner of Georgetown and Hydraulic Roads is flat. The rear portion of the site has a steep slope that drops off towards the rear. A small office building is located to the north of the site. A variety of residential uses are located to the northwest, west and south of the site, including Georgetown Green, which is adjacent and to the rear of the site. A small dentist office is located east and across Hydraulic Road from the property. Albemarle High School is located approximately 800 feet and to the north of the site.

 

SPECIFICS OF THE PROPOSAL

This site is located on the southwest corner of the intersection of Georgetown and Hydraulic Roads. (See Attachments A & B) The site is currently vacant. In 1981, the site was rezoned from RA, rural area to C-1, commercial. Although the property was in the Rural Areas of the Comprehensive Plan at that time, a portion of the property was taken from the site for the widening of Hydraulic Road. The rezoning was specific to only allow the relocation of a gas station/convenience store and no other commercial uses. An amendment to the original rezoning states the new store was not to exceed 2,579 square feet. The applicant has decided that this would not be a good location for a gas station/convenience store because it would be challenging from a general traffic standpoint for incoming and outgoing traffic, and the relatively small size of the site would be difficult for large trucks accessing the site for deliveries. The adjacent residents and the County agree that use of the property for a convenience store and gas station could create traffic problems. 

 

Instead of a gas station/convenience store, the applicant would like to develop the property with a two-story, 20,000 square foot professional office building. (See Attachment D) The applicant would like to rezone from C-1, commercial to NMD, Neighborhood Model District. The access to this development would be on Hydraulic Road. The proposed building will front the corner of Hydraulic and Georgetown Roads with parking located underneath the building and at the rear of the building. The remainder of the parcel will be open, preservation area. The applicant has also provided a Code of Development. (See Attachment C)

 

APPLICANT’S JUSTIFICATION FOR THE REQUEST

The applicant proposes to provide an office building that will be a less intensive use of the site than the currently approved use of a gas station/convenience store. The applicant has provided elements of the Neighborhood Model, such as bringing the building close to the street, pedestrian improvements, and site planning that respects the terrain and environment.

 

PLANNING AND ZONING HISTORY

1. ZMA 81-7 Malcolm J. Reid – On March 18, 1981, the Board of Supervisors voted to approve the rezoning petition of 1.27 acres from RA Rural Areas to C-1 Commercial with proffers.

 

2. ZMA 82-6 HOP-IN-FOOD STORE, Inc. – On June 2, 1982, the Board of Supervisors voted to amend the proffers so that the size of the building could now be 2,579 square feet instead of the original 2,300 square feet.

 

3. SDP 97-035 Calvet Virginia Company Preliminary Site Plan – On December 21, 1999 the Planning Commission approved a waiver to allow disturbance on critical slopes with conditions. The decision was appealed and the Board of Supervisors reaffirmed the approval of the waiver with amended conditions at its February 8, 2000 meeting. The amended waiver conditions were incorporated into the standard conditions that were set for administrative approval of the final site plan.

 

4. ZMA 00-004 Entrance Corridor Overlay District – On March 14, 2000, the Board of Supervisors voted to approve the designation of State Route 743 as an entrance corridor.

 

5. SDP 00-038 Calvet Virginia Final Site Plan – On March 20, 2000, the applicant submitted a tentative final site plan which was subject to staff review for compliance with the conditions of the preliminary site plan and critical slopes waiver. During this review, a determination was made that the proposed development would be subject to the issuance of a Certificate of Appropriateness by the Architectural Review Board prior to final site plan approval. (See Attachment F)

 

6. ARB-F(SDP)-00-059 – H. & H. L.L. C./Hydraulic-Georgetown Convenience Store – The ARB approved a final Certificate of Appropriateness for the proposed convenience store at its meeting on February 20, 2001. However, the preliminary site plan approval period expired on February, 8 2001.

 

7. SDP 01-050 H & H LLC Final Site Plan – On July 17, 2001 the Planning Commission approved the final site plan and the critical slopes waiver with conditions.  

 

BACKGROUND

On June 6, 2006, the Planning Commission held a pre-application worksession on this project. (See Attachment E) Several questions were posed and discussed during the worksession. At the worksession, the Commission generally felt the proposed use was less intensive than the permitted use for a gas station/convenience store, and considered the proposed use to be appropriate for this location.

 

One of the issues the Planning Commission agreed needed to be addressed was the project’s location in an entrance corridor and the need for review by the Architectural Review Board (ARB). On October 16, 2006 the ARB discussed this project and had the following concerns: 1) The ARB was not able to support the request for the rezoning as presented because they felt landscaping was needed for relief between the street and the building, and 3 feet was not an adequate setback. The ARB felt ten to fifteen feet free of utilities and easements would be appropriate.

2) The ARB felt they could support the rezoning if the applicant provided a suitable building setback to allow for landscaping free of utilities and easements and reduce the building size to be more appropriately sized for the site, with minimal grading and tree clearing.   

 

The ARB agreed that the proposed office use is less intensive and more appropriate than the permitted use for a gas station/convenience store. 

 

After the pre-application work session in June, the applicant decided to proceed with a two-story, 13,000 square foot professional office building. The applicant decided to request a rezoning for NMD primarily because of the flexibility in setback requirements.

A work session with the Planning Commission was held on November 7, 2006 in order for the Commission, to provide staff and the applicant guidance regarding the location of the building and the size of the building before proceeding with plans for the building. (See Attachment F)

The question regarding how to balance the appropriate setback for the building and the size of the building was specifically discussed. While there was no consensus of the Commission, the following comments were made:

Since the work session the applicant has:          

·         Provided street trees and sidewalks in front of the building.

·         Provided front setbacks that vary from 9.6’ and 13.5’ at the building corners, to 21.9’ at the center of the building. The existing property line on Hydraulic Road is currently located 10’ from the back of the sidewalk. The setbacks from the property line create a zone for widened sidewalk and landscaping.

·         Provided parking in the rear of the building and under the building.

·         Delineated a portion of the rear of the site as preservation area.

·         Provided a parking modification request approved by zoning staff. The parking modification request describes the square footage of the proposed building and its uses. (See Attachment J).

·         Provided parking for the adjacent property not in the forested area, but incorporated it within the on-site parking.

 

Comments from VDOT, the Service Authority and Rivanna Water and Sewer Authority reflecting agreement of the proposed plan are included as Attachments G, H, and I.

 

CONFORMITY WITH THE COMPREHENSIVE PLAN:

The Land Use Plan shows this area as Rural Area. However, the property was rezoned to C-1 – Commercial and also has the potential to be developed residentially with a special use permit.  Size, topography, and zoning make this property challenging to be developed. It could not be rezoned as Rural Area because it is less than 2 acres in size. The location of the lot at the intersection of two very busy streets means that access would have to be limited. Steep slopes at the rear of the parcel render the developable area fairly small. The topography suggests that an office or multi-family dwelling in a location as proposed would be appropriate if the land were in the Development Area.

 

The current zoning restricts its use to C-1 Commercial with the following proffers:

1.                   The only entrance to the subject property shall be located on Hydraulic Road so that the northern margin of the entrance at the property line will be located 12 ½ feet south of the northern boundary of the subject property;

2.                   The subject property will be used for a relocation of the convenience store in accordance with the general lay-out of the enclosed preliminary site plan. Of course, a more definitive site plan will be presented at a later date. The new store shall not cover more than 2,579 square feet;

3.                   The applicant will comply with all requirements of the storm water runoff ordinance. A 50 foot buffer zone, adjacent to the residential areas, will be maintained and as many trees as possible will be retained in this area, and, if sufficient trees are not retained, the applicant will plant sufficient evergreens to provide reasonably adequate screening;

4.                   The applicant will install, within 60 days after rezoning, a guard rail along the boundary adjacent to the play area of Georgetown Green. The guard rail shall be constructed of 4 foot pipes planted in the ground, with horizontal pipes running between vertical posts. This installation has proved very satisfactory in other locations.

 

Applicable statements/goal from the Comprehensive Plan relevant to this site is protect the County’s natural, scenic, and historic resources in the Rural Area and Development Area.

 

Principles of the Neighborhood Model -- Because of the existing zoning, the property’s proximity to the Development Areas across the street, and the nature of the requested re-zoning, staff has assessed the proposal for conformity with the Neighborhood Model:

 

Pedestrian Orientation

Sidewalks are located adjacent to this property on both Georgetown and Hydraulic Roads. Site plan requirements will require internal pedestrian access. This principle is met.

Neighborhood Friendly Streets and Paths

The proposed plan does not show street trees adjacent to the street because a sidewalk is already adjacent to the street. This principle is not met.

Interconnected Streets and Transportation Networks

While interconnections are not shown, they were considered; however, due to difficult topography and the need to preserve the rear portions of the site, interconnections were not further pursued. This principle is not met; however, staff believes it does not need to be met.

Parks and Open Space

As shown on the plan, a large portion of the rear of the site will be open space and no disturbance is expected in this area due to the steep slopes. A picnic area at the rear of the parking area and bike racks near the front of the building are shown on the plan. This principle is met.

Neighborhood Centers

Albemarle High School is located very near this site and serves as a center. Although this site is located in an area that is considered Rural Area, its’ proximity to the Development Area makes it very accessible to several nearby areas that could also be considered neighborhood centers.

Buildings and Spaces of Human Scale

The applicant has worked diligently with staff and the ARB to provide a building and space that are of human scale and appropriate to the surrounding area. This principle is met.

Relegated Parking

Given the size and topography of the site and the design and layout of the building, the location of parking under the building and at the rear of the building provides reasonable relegated parking.

Mixture of Uses

 

This area of Albemarle County has a variety of different uses nearby making this principle not applicable.

Mixture of Housing Types and Affordability

This principle is not applicable.

Redevelopment

This principle is not applicable.

Site Planning that Respects Terrain

Keeping the building at the front/top of the property and the parking under the building and to the rear of the building allows the site to be designed with respect for the terrain. The preservation area at the rear of the site also provides of respect for physical characteristics of the site.

Clear Boundaries with the Rural Areas

This principle cannot be met because the property is in the Rural Areas.

 

STAFF COMMENT

Relationship between the application and the purpose and intent of the requested zoning district: The purpose and intent of the Neighborhood Model District (NMD) is to establish a planned development district in which traditional neighborhood development, as established in the County’s Neighborhood Model, will occur. The NMD provides 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 request for a NMD outside of the Development Areas is an unusual one. This proposed NMD is for a single small parcel. It proposes no mixture or uses nor does it include housing. Normally, staff would not recommend that the NMD be used where these important features are missing. In this circumstance, however, the NMD is the only district which will allow for the design elements which are important to staff and the Commission to be accomplished. Staff notes that use of the NMD here should be considered an exception to the rule and not a precedent.

 

Public need and justification for the change: The County’s Comprehensive Plan supports development in the designated development area that is consistent with use, density, and form recommended in the Plan. This property is located in the Rural Areas, but its’ current zoning is for a specific commercial use. While the use proposed in this re-zoning is not in conformity with the Comprehensive Plan, staff believes that the less intensive use of this site proposed in this rezoning is superior to what could be developed under the current zoning, particularly considering the size and location of this property.

 

Impact on Environmental, Cultural, and Historic Resources: The site contains wooded areas. Some of the woods would be removed in order to accomplish the proposed plan; however, the applicant also shows preservation areas on the plan. This is important considering this property’s location in the watershed of the South Fork Rivanna Reservoir. There are no cultural or historic resources associated with this site.

 

PRIVATE Anticipated impact on public facilities and services:

Streets:  The development will generate an additional 132 trips per day on Hydraulic Road and/or Georgetown Road, which provide primary access to the site.  Staff and VDOT agrees that the traffic impact will be minimal.

 

Water and Sewer: This site is located in the Rural Area but has Jurisdictional Area designation for public water and sewer. Attachment G shows that the Service Authority will want the sewer service connected to the existing man hole and the utility easements will need to be shown during the site plan stage.

 

Schools: This type of development would not generate students.

 

Fire, Rescue, Police: The Seminole Trail fire - rescue station serves this site. Albemarle County 5th Street Office Building contains the County’s Police Department, although the police patrol all areas of the County. Current policy for police service recommends an average response time of 10 minutes for all Development Areas.  

 

Stormwater Management: The applicant proposes managing the entire volume of storm water from this development in a variety of ways, including a storm water retention area, and underground holding tanks to hold rain water for landscape irrigation purposes. In general, this approach is acceptable and the County Engineer has no objection with the management concepts proposed.

 

Anticipated impact on nearby and surrounding properties: The office building aspects of this project are very much in keeping with the existing surrounding properties, which are comprised of residential and office/commercial uses. However, this property is wooded, which adds a particular characteristic and level of privacy for the adjacent properties.

 

ARCHITECTURAL REVIEW BOARD COMMENT

This project was reviewed by the ARB on March 5, 2007. (See Attachment K) In summary, the ARB had no objection based on the preliminary site plan they reviewed, as long as the building and parking setbacks as illustrated and all RWSA requirements could be met without reducing the quantity or otherwise change the general character of the proposed plantings. The ARB provided several comments and suggestions for the applicant’s next submittal, which are detailed in Attachment K.

 

CODE OF DEVELOPMENT

The Code of Development is included as Attachment C.  It demonstrates that only two types of uses are allowed. They are retail sales and service establishments and services and public establishments. It contains the design details for the site and describes the conservation areas, preservation areas, amenities and provides other code of development standards. There are a few technical revisions needed to provide additional clarification regarding this development. The revisions will need to be completed prior to the Board of Supervisors public hearing.

 

PROFFERS

Proffers are provided as Attachment L. They are described as follows:

Proffer 1. The applicant will install a permanent 5 – bike bicycle rack as shown on the plan no later than the issuance of the certificate of occupancy for the building.

 

Proffer 2. The applicant agrees to construct a bus shelter, including a bench as shown on the plan. If the location of the shelter is not determined by the time of certificate of occupancy of the building, then the applicant will pay the County up to $7,800 in cash for the installation of the shelter. An annual adjustment of the cash proffer is also provided in the proffer.

 

Proffer 3. The applicant agrees to construct the building to be a minimum of LEED Certified (under the LEED-NC Green Building Rating System for New Construction and Major Renovations, Version 2.2 (October 2005) or the LEED Green Building Rating System for Core & Shell Development, Version 2.0 (July 2006)). This will be verified by a licensed architect. Before a certificate of occupancy is provided for the building on the site a written statement from the architect regarding design and LEED certification of the building will be submitted to the County’s Director of Community Development.  

 

Proffer 4. The conservation and preservation areas are generally delineated on the plan, but without boundaries. Therefore, the applicant needs to specify these areas on the plan with boundaries.

 

Staff believes the proffers are substantively acceptable, except for proffer 4. They are still in need of technical and language revisions. (See Attachment L)

 

WAIVERS

The applicant has requested several waivers. The first is approval of a parking modification, which is an administrative request recommended for approval by Zoning. The Planning Commission and the Board of Supervisors will need to act on the following waivers: Modification to the requirement that the Planned District designation be allowed only in the Development Areas, setback waiver, critical slopes waiver, and waiver of Section 20A.8 of the Zoning Ordinance (Mixture of dwelling types/mixture of uses).

 

Analysis of the critical slopes waiver is in Attachment M with staff’s recommendation for approval.

 

• Regarding the request that this zoning district be allowed in the Rural Areas, staff makes the following analysis: The applicant is requesting a modification of Section 8.4 of the Zoning Ordinance which states that " A planned development district may be established in any development  area identified in the comprehensive plan, and in any rural area identified in the comprehensive plan if the district is a planned historic district containing a historic site and the purposes of the district include the restoration, preservation, conservation and enhancement of the historic site, provided that its location is suitable for the character of the proposed uses and structures.”  “Section 8.2 allows an applicant to request that any requirement of sections 4, 5 and 32, or the planned development district regulations be waived or modified if it is found to be inconsistent with planned development design principles and that the waiver or modification is consistent with the intent and purposes of the planned development district under the particular circumstances.” As previously mentioned in this report, although the subject project is shown as located in Rural Area on the Land Use Plan, the property’s proximity to the Development Area, and the characteristic of the surrounding property’s to the subject site, the desire for a more “urban design” this close to the Development Area and the need to modify the rear setback make it a candidate for this waiver. The applicant is proposing a lower intensive use of the site than what the site is currently zoned for is also a positive reason for staff’s support of this modification request. Staff recommends approval of the waiver to Section 8.4 to allow the zoning to occur in the Rural Areas.

• The proposed office building encroaches by 2.5’ into the required 50’ setback from the Rural Area on the southwest side of the property. The applicant requests a waiver to permit a 47.5’ setback. The small size of this property, the challenges of keeping development away from the utility easements, and the steep topography are elements that the applicant had to deal with in order to protect some of the sensitive areas. Thus, the proposed building encroaches 2.5’ into the required 50’ setback from the Rural Area. Staff feels the applicant has attempted to protect the rear of the site by keeping the development out of the watershed area, preserved some of the wooded area of the site, and kept the disturbance of the critical slopes somewhat low. Staff recommends approval of this waiver.

• Section 20A.8 of the Zoning Ordinance calls for Neighborhood Model Districts to have a mixture of dwelling unit types and a mixture of uses. Due to the small size of this site, the applicant does not propose residential uses or a mixture of uses. The surrounding area has a mixture of uses and a variety of housing types; therefore, in this case, staff feels that a waiver of Section 20A.8 is appropriate given the many challenges of this site as previously mentioned in this report. 

 

SUMMARY

Staff has identified the following factors, which are favorable to this rezoning request:

1.                   The proposal meets most principles of the Neighborhood Model.

2.                   The applicant is proposing a preservation area at the rear of the property as a protection measure for the South Fork Rivanna Reservoir watershed. This area, however, is not delineated on the plan.

3.                   Proposed parking will be located under the building and to the rear of the building.

4.                   The proposed use of the site is less intensive than what it is currently zoned for.  

 

Staff has identified the following factors, which are unfavorable to this rezoning request:

1.                   Property is outside of the Development Area.

2.                   Lack of committed delineation for conservation and preservation areas on the plan.

3.                   The proffers and Code of Development need technical revisions.

 

RECOMMENDATION

Provided that the areas of conservation and preservation are delineated on the plan and technical provisions to the Code of Development and proffers are completed prior to the Board of Supervisors’ meeting, staff recommends approval of ZMA 2006-000014 Professional Office Building at Georgetown and Hydraulic Roads, inclusive of revised proffers, code of development and general development plan.  Staff also recommends approval of the four waivers which are a waiver to Section 8.4, the rear setback waiver, critical slopes waiver, and waiver of Section 20A.8 relating to a mixture of uses and housing types.

 

ATTACHMENTS

ATTACHMENT A – Tax Map

ATTACHMENT B – Location Map

ATTACHMENT C – Code of Development, dated and revised February 12, 2008

ATTACHMENT D – General Development Plan, dated January 19, 2006, revised November 30, 2007

ATTACHMENT E – Planning Commission Minutes, dated June 6, 2006

ATTACHMENT F – Planning Commission Minutes, dated November 7, 2006

ATTACHMENT G – Electronic mail from Gary Whelan, ACSA, dated October 31, 2007

ATTACHMENT H – Electronic mail from Michelle Simpson, RWSA, dated June 26, 2007

ATTACHMENT I – Electronic mail from Joel DeNunzio, VDOT, dated November 2, 2007

ATTACHMENT J – Parking modification request, dated October 19, 2007

ATTACHMENT K – Letter from Brent Nelson, dated March 26, 2007

ATTACHMENT L – Proffers, dated January 29, 2008

ATTACHMENT M – Waivers and Analysis

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