Albemarle County Planning Commission

May 13, 2008



The Albemarle County Planning Commission held a meeting, work session and public hearing on Tuesday, May 13, 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, Bill Edgerton, Eric Strucko, Thomas Loach; Jon Cannon, Vice Chairman; Linda Porterfield and Calvin Morris, Chairman. Julia Monteith, AICP, non-voting representative for the University of Virginia was absent. 


Other officials present were Wayne Cilimberg, Planning Director; Joan McDowell, Principal Planner; Mark Graham, Director of Community Development; Bill Fritz, Chief of Current Development 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:


SP-2008-07 Lebanon Evangelical Presbyterian Church (Sign # 8)

PROPOSED:  Special Use Permit to bring an existing church into conformance with the zoning ordinance and to allow the construction of a storage building

ZONING CATEGORY/GENERAL USAGE: RA -- Rural Areas: agricultural, forestal, and fishery uses; residential density (0.5 unit/acre)

SECTION: 10.2.2 (35)  church building and adjunct cemetery

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 Overlay


LOCATION: 8312 Brooksville Road; north side of Route 250 West; approximately .10 mile east of Plank Road; in the Greenwood area

TAX MAP/PARCEL: TMP 70-2; TMP 70-2A; TMP 70-3A


(Joan McDowell)


Ms. McDowell presented a power-point presentation and summarized the staff report.  (Attachment A:  SP-2008-07 Lebanon Presbyterian Church Power-point Presentation)


The request is to bring the existing church and cemetery into conformance with the zoning ordinance and to allow the construction a new storage building.  The only change proposed is the storage building to the rear of the property.


Factors Favorable:

1.           The special use permit will bring the non-conforming church into conformance with the zoning ordinance.

2.           The proposed storage building will be located in an area of the property that will not affect the existing historic church and would be constructed using colors that will be less visible from Route 250. 


Factors Unfavorable:



Staff recommends approval of this Special Use Permit with the conditions listed in the staff report.



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


Ms. Joseph asked if there is any reason they are not combining the three parcels with the special use permit.


Ms. McDowell replied that staff did not bring that issue up because the storage unit would be entirely on one parcel.


Ms. Joseph noted that many times they ask that parcels be combined because of setbacks.  She asked if staff looked at the shed to see if it met the setback lines.


Ms. McDowell replied that zoning staff reviewed the proposal and it meets the setbacks.


Ms. Joseph asked the size of the current congregation or the area of assembly since they are asking to bring the church into compliance.  She questioned if they should set a number for this.


Ms. McDowell noted that the applicant was present and could answer that question.  She noted that they are not enlarging the sanctuary.


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


Irene Woodward, member of Lebanon Church, said that Frank Birdsaw, Trustee, was also present.   She noted they are both on the Building and Grounds Committee. 


Mr. Morris asked the size of the congregation.


Mr. Frank Birdsaw said that the average attendance is about 100 persons per week.  Over the years they have had some splits in the church and lost a lot of children.  A lot of the classrooms for young people were used for storage for the church.  But, now that they find they need the inside rooms for classrooms, which was why they needed the storage building.


Ms. Joseph asked if they have the square footage of the sanctuary.


Mr. Birdsaw replied that they did not measure the sanctuary.  It is just one large open room.  They took the pews out to put in moveable cushioned chairs so that they could move those around for added guests and members for church and other functions.


Ms. Joseph pointed out that she was looking for a number so that the approval would be for the current size of the church and the number of the congregation.  The only reason she was asking for these numbers was so it would be set.


Mr. Birdsaw said that at the present time they have about 100 people attending each Sunday.  But, the church will hold about 200 people.


Ms. Joseph noted that was the number she was looking for because as the church grows nobody is going to be concerned because they have 200 people coming.


Mr. Morris noted that the request was for the storage building and to bring the church into conformity, which was why the Commission was concerned that the church was covered.   


Ms. Porterfield asked if there is a benefit to the church that they would require them to become one parcel as opposed to three different parcels. 


Mr. Cilimberg noted that there is no advantage unless the church has some type of problem.


Mr. Kamptner said that the one advantage, which did not exist here, would be that the storage structure is on one of the two parcels and it is an accessory structure and an accessory structure needs to be on the same parcel as the primary use.    But, the church use really does extend to both parcels.  Therefore, he was comfortable concluding that the storage structure can stay where it is and there is no accessory use.


Mr. Morris invited public comment.  There being none, the public hearing was closed and the matter before the Commission.


Mr. Cannon questioned if there should be a note added about the congregation being 200 persons.


Mr. Cilimberg noted that normally when a church is established they want to establish its limits based on the area or a plan that is going to be put into play whereas this exists.  Condition 4 notes that there shall not be an increase in the sanctuary without prior approval of an amendment to the special use permit. 


Motion: Mr. Strucko moved, Mr. Loach seconded to approve SP-2008-007, Lebanon Presbyterian Church, with the conditions recommended by staff, as modified.


1.       Special Use Permit SP 2008-07 Lebanon Presbyterian Church shall be developed in general accord with the concept application plan, provided by the applicant and received February 11, 2008 (Attachment A.)  However, the Zoning Administrator may approve revisions to the concept application plan to allow conformance with the Zoning Ordinance. 

2.       The color of the storage building shall be brown and the roof color shall be charcoal, as agreed by the applicant. 

3.       There shall be no day care center or private school on site without prior approval of a separate special use permit.

4.       There shall not be an increase in the sanctuary without prior approval of an amendment to this special use permit.

5.        All outdoor lighting shall be arranged or shielded to reflect light away from the abutting properties.


The motion passed by a vote of 7:0.


Mr. Morris said that SP-2008-007, Lebanon Presbyterian Church will go before the Board of Supervisors on June 11 with a recommendation for approval.


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