COUNTY OF ALBEMARLE

PLANNING STAFF REPORT SUMMARY

 

Project: SP 2007-64 Camp Watermarks

Staff: Joan McDowell, Principal Planner

Planning Commission Public Hearing:

April 1, 2008

Board of Supervisors Public Hearing:

May 7, 2008

Owner: Angela and Travis M. Critzer; Stuart Vernon

Applicant:  Angela and Travis M. Critzer; Stuart Vernon

Acreage: approximately 89.4 acres

Special Use Permit:  Section 10.2.2 (21) Day camp, boarding camp

 

TMP:  TM 136 Parcels 6B, 9D, 9D1, and 9E

Location:  1145 James River Road, with the entrance less than ˝ mile west of the intersection of Route 726 and Hatton Ferry Road

Existing Zoning and By-right use:

RA -- Rural Areas: agricultural, forestal, and fishery uses; residential density (0.5 unit/acre

Magisterial District:  Scottsville

Conditions:  Yes

DA (Development Area)

RA (Rural Areas): X

Requested # of Dwelling Units:  NA                           

Proposal: Amendment of special use permit for day camp to permit increase of an activity building from 800 square feet to 2,160 square feet.

Comprehensive Plan Designation: Rural Areas - preserve and protect agricultural, forestal, open space, and natural, historic and scenic resources/ density (0.5 unit/ acre)

Character of Property: The property is comprised of evergreen and deciduous forest, open pasture, agricultural fields, residential, agricultural, and camp buildings.

Use of Surrounding Properties:   The surrounding properties consist of agricultural, forestal, and residential uses.  Immediately adjacent and to the west is the Hatton Agricultural and Forestal District.

Factors Favorable:

1.   The camp environment remains well integrated into the surrounding landscape.

2.   The camp experience contributes to Rural Areas goals by heightening awareness and understanding of agricultural processes and natural resources.

3.   Farming and forestry activities will continue at the current levels on the subject parcels.

4.   The expanded accessory building size would not be visible from adjacent properties and would not intensify the uses on the property.

 

Factors Unfavorable:

Staff has not identified any factors unfavorable to this application.

RECOMMENDATION: Staff recommends approval of this Special Use Permit with conditions.

     

 

               


 

STAFF PERSON:            Joan McDowell, Principal Planner Rural Areas

PLANNING COMMISSION:    April 1, 2008

BOARD OF SUPERVISORS:    May 7, 2008

 

PROJECT: SP2007-00064 Camp Watermarks

 

Petition: 

 

PROPOSED: Amendment of special use permit for day camp to permit increase of an activity building from 800 square feet to 2,160 square feet.

ZONING CATEGORY/GENERAL USAGE: RA -- Rural Areas: agricultural, forestal, and fishery uses; residential density (0.5 unit/acre); FH Flood Hazard - Overlay to provide safety and protection from flooding

SECTION: 10.2.2.20, Day camp, boarding camp (reference 5.1.05).

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: No

LOCATION: 1145 James River Drive, west of Route 726 and Hatton Ferry Road

TAX MAP/PARCEL: Tax Map 136 Parcels 6B, 9, 9A2, 9D, 9D1, 9E

MAGISTERIAL DISTRICT: Scottsville

 

Character of the Area:   

James River Road is a two-lane, asphalt surfaced, rolling road leading to the center of the near-by town of Scottsville located to the east.  The surrounding landscape is predominately agricultural fields, hedgerows, agricultural and residential buildings, and large patches of mixed evergreen and deciduous forest.  There are several ponds and local streams throughout the area.  The Hatton Agricultural and Forestal District is immediately adjacent to the Critzer property on western and eastern boundaries.  The CSX railroad tracks and the banks of the James River form the Albemarle / Nelson County boundary to the south.

 

Specifics of the Proposal:  The applicants have requested approval of a 36’ X 60’ (2,160 sq. ft.) multiple purpose building.  A 20’ X 40’ (800 sq. ft.) accessory building was approved with SP 2007-08 (see Planning and Zoning History below).  According to the applicant, the building will be used for storage of agricultural materials when the camp is not in session.  However, as the building would not be exclusively used for agricultural purposes, it was not eligible for an agricultural exemption of the building permit requirements. A building permit for a storage building has been issued; however, an amendment to that building permit will be required to allow the additional uses for the camp. During the operation of the camp, the building would serve multiple uses, including arts and crafts, meetings, play area on inclement days, and possibly for overnight staff sleeping quarters. The applicant has begun construction of the larger multi-purpose building. However, since the building size was a condition of SP 2007-08, increasing the building’s size requires an amendment to the special use permit.  The revised site concept plan depicting the larger building is included (Attachment A).  No other changes to the camp operation or to the camp facilities have been requested. 

     

      Planning and Zoning History:

SP 2005-34 Camp Watermarks – approved by the Board of Supervisors to establish a camp for girls and boys ages 8-18; four week-long (overnight) sessions per year; maximum enrollment between 45 children per session; nine cabins; recreation hall/dining facility, basketball and skate boarding areas, fishing lake, fire pit, animal paddock. The Board of Supervisors Action Letter is included (Attachment B). 

 

SP 2006-37 Camp Watermarks Amendment – approved by the Board of Supervisors to amend SP 2005-34 to allow for the extension of camp sessions from four per year (week-long, overnight) to sixteen per year.  A condition requiring that the water supply be verified by the Health Department prior to issuance of a zoning compliance and commencement of the special use was added to the approval of this special use permit. The Board of Supervisors Action Letter is included (Attachment C).

 

SP 2007-08 Camp Watermarks Amendment – approved by the Board of Supervisors to amend the previous special use permits to allow a maximum of 75 campers; 20 staff; 20’ X 40’ accessory building; one additional cabin; and weekly food delivery. Condition 1 refers to the concept plan that specifies the accessory building size. The staff report is included (Attachment D).  

 

Conformity with the Comprehensive Plan: The Comprehensive Plan designates the subject properties as Rural Areas emphasizing the preservation and protection of agricultural, forestal, open space, and natural, historic and scenic resources as land use options.   The camp use is integrated into the agricultural uses on the property and a larger multi-purpose building, used for the camp as well as for storage of agricultural supplies when the camp is not in session would not affect the conformity with the Plan.

 

STAFF COMMENT:

Staff addresses each provision of Section 31.2.4.1 of the Zoning Ordinance:

 

31.2.4.1: Special Use Permits provided for in this ordinance may be issued upon a finding by the Board of Supervisors that such use will not be of substantial detriment to adjacent property,

The multi-purpose building is located 75 feet from the nearest property with visibility from the nearest adjacent property limited due to tree cover.  

 

Sound restrictions will remain consistent with the provisions of the existing special use permit. 

 

that the character of the district will not be changed thereby and

As with the existing camp operation, agricultural and forestal activities on the property will not be reduced and will remain within the context of camp activities.  The accessory building is not visible from James River Road.   

 

that such use will be in harmony with the purpose and intent of this ordinance,

Section 18, Chapter 10 of the Zoning Ordinance outlines the purpose of Rural Areas zoning: “This district (hereafter referred to as RA) is hereby created and may hereafter be established by amendment of the zoning map for the following purposes:

 

-Preservation of agricultural and forestal lands and activities;

-Water supply protection;

-Limited service delivery to the rural areas; and

-Conservation of natural, scenic, and historic resources.”

 

Existing levels of farming and forestry will remain constant on the subject parcels.  The camp is located within a working farm operated by the applicants and their family.  The Tapscott/Critzer family has been farming on this land for over 100 years.  Farming activities on the site currently include raising goats, cattle, and donkeys, harvesting hay, the cultivation of several crops, and tree farming. 

 

Camp Watermarks was established with, among other goals, the intention to promote the community’s awareness of agricultural processes and natural resources.  This goal directly supports the purpose and intent of this ordinance: through their camp experiences campers have the opportunity to gain understanding of the relationship of rural/agricultural land to the larger community. 

 

with uses permitted by right in the district,

The property and the adjacent properties are zoned RA, Rural Areas.  Given the relationship between the camp and the promotion of agricultural and forestal activities and the camp uses are generally located on the interior of the property to minimize the impact on the surrounding community, the additional accessory building size would not negatively impact by right uses in the RA District.

 

 

with the additional regulations provided in section 5.0 of this ordinance,

Regulations in Section 5.0 of the Ordinance that apply to the establishment of a (day or overnight) camp in the Rural Areas are as follows (5.1.05 Day Camp, Boarding Camp):

 

“a. Provisions for outdoor cooking, campfires, cooking pits, etc., shall be subject to Albemarle County fire official approval whether or not a site development plan is required;

 

b. All such uses shall conform to the requirements of the Virginia Department of Health Bureau of Tourist Establishment Sanitation and other applicable requirements.”

 

Conditions that were approved with previous special use permits address each of these supplemental regulations. Both the Department of Fire and Rescue and the Virginia State Department of Health have provided staff with documentation of approvals for fire safety, septic, and water use for the proposed increase in intensity with the previous special use permits.     

 

and with the public health, safety and general welfare.

The VDOT Charlottesville Residency has reviewed the applicant’s proposal and approved the existing entrance drive. As the intensity of use would not be changed as a result of the building expansion, VDOT did not offer any objection.

    

SUMMARY:

Staff has identified the following factors favorable to this application:

1.    The camp environment remains well integrated into the surrounding landscape.

2.    The camp experience contributes to Rural Areas goals by heightening awareness and understanding of agricultural processes and natural resources.

3.    Farming and forestry activities will continue at the current levels on the subject parcels.

4.    The expanded accessory building size would not be visible from adjacent properties and would not intensify the uses on the property.

 

Staff has not identified any factors unfavorable to this application:

 

 

RECOMMENDED ACTION: 

Based on the findings contained in this staff report, staff recommends approval of Special Use Permit SP 2007-64 Camp Watermarks with the following conditions (changes as compared to SP 2007-08 are noted with strikethrough and underlines):

 

1.      The improvements, and the scale and location of the improvements authorized by Special Use Permit 2007-08 2007-64 Camp Watermarks, shall be in general accord with the concept application plan dated May 29, 2007, February 15, 2008, prepared by Angela and Travis Critzer, and titled “Watermarks Christian Ministries Camp” (Attachment A).  However, the Zoning Administrator may approve revisions to the concept application plan to allow compliance with the Zoning Ordinance. 

2.      Compliance with the Virginia Statewide Fire Prevention Code shall be verified by the Fire Marshall prior to issuance of a zoning compliance clearance.

3.      Amendment of the building permit for a storage building (permit # 2007-2448 NNR), as shown on the concept application plan (Attachment A), shall be required to allow overnight occupancy of staff, as well as other camp uses. 

4.      Prior to issuance of the zoning compliance clearance, compliance with the Virginia State Department of Health (VDH) regarding minimum septic requirements shall be required. The VDH shall re-review the status of septic standards within one year of the date of the approval of the special use permit.  At that time, and if necessary, systems shall be upgraded or enrolment reduced based on VDH recommendations.

5.      Prior to issuance of the zoning compliance clearance, compliance with the Virginia State Department of Health regarding kitchen and food service approvals shall be verified.

6.      Total number of staff (in addition to the applicant and their family) on site at one time shall be limited to twenty (20).  

7.      Camp sessions shall be limited to a maximum of sixteen (16), each one (1) week long, overnight sessions per year.

8.      The maximum number of children per session shall be limited to seventy five (75).

9.      The maximum number of bus or van trips (round trips) to and from the camp, each week long session shall be six (6).  Bus or van trips shall be the primary means of transportation for the children.

10.  Five food deliveries by truck shall be permitted per week long session.

11.  Camp activities are permitted on Tax Map 136, Parcels 6B, 9, 9A2, 9D, 9D1, 9E.

12.  Outdoor amplified sounds or bull horns shall be prohibited.

13.  Compliance with the Virginia State Department of Health regarding water supply shall be verified by the Health Department prior to issuance of a zoning compliance clearing and the commencement of the special use. The VDH shall re-review the status of water standards within one year of the date of the approval of the special use permit.  At that time, and if necessary, systems shall be upgraded or enrolment reduced based on VDH recommendations.

14.  This special use permit does not include approval for additional lighting subject to Chapter 18, Section 4.17 of the Zoning Ordinance.

 

 

ATTACHMENTS

Attachment A –  Concept application plan, dated February 15, 2008

Attachment B –  SP 2005-34 Board of Supervisors Action Letter

Attachment C –  SP 2006-37 Board of Supervisors Action Letter

Attachment D -   SP 2007-08 Staff Report (with attachments A, A1, B-E)

Attachment E –   SP 2007-08 Board of Supervisors Action Letter

Attachment F –   Photos of new multi-purpose building

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