SP 2007-056 Rivanna Plaza ~ Drive-in Window

Staff: Patrick Lawrence, Planner

          Jonathon Sharp, Engineer

           Lisa Glass, Principal Planner

Planning Commission Public Hearing:

April 29, 2008

Board of Supervisors Public Hearing:

June 11, 2008

Owner: C B C Partners

Applicant:  C B C Partners

Acreage: approximately 1.416 acres

Special Use Permit:  Section 24.2.2(13)

 Drive-In Window


TMP:  TM 45 Parcels 109, 112C and 112D

Location:  On the west side of Seminole Trail (Rte. 29) approximately 1,100 feet north of Woodbrook Drive, immediately south of Schewels furniture and adjacent to Keglers Bowling Center

Existing Zoning and By-right use:

HC, Highway Commercial; EC, Entrance Corridor Overlay.

Magisterial District:  Rio

Conditions:  Yes

DA (Development Area):   within Urban Area 1,

Designated for Regional Service

Requested # of Commercial Units: 


Proposal: Request for special use permit for a drive-in window as part of a commercial/retail use.

Comprehensive Plan Designation:

Regional Service in Urban Area 1.

Character of Property: The property is currently a vacant lot fronting on Seminole Trail (Route 29).

Use of Surrounding Properties:   The surrounding properties consist of commercial and retail uses.  Immediately adjacent is Schewel’s Furniture and Kegler’s Bowling Center.

Factors Favorable:

1.The proposed development complies with Zoning Ordinance Section Special Use Permits;

2.The design of the drive-thru lanes and on-site traffic patterns for the drive-in window provide adequate access;

3.Entrance improvements meet VDOT standards


Factors Unfavorable:

1. Comments from the ARB are not available at the time of this report; therefore staff cannot find that this request is consistent with the EC, Entrance Corridor Overlay District.




Staff recommends approval of Special Use Permit SP2007-056 with conditions.




STAFF PERSON:      Patrick Lawrence, Planner ; Jonathon Sharp, Engineer

                                    Lisa Glass, Principal Planner

PLANNING COMMISSION:          April 29, 2008

BOARD OF SUPERVISORS:          June 11, 2008


PROJECT:     SP2007-00056 Rivanna Plaza Drive-in Window

                        (SDP2007-00137 Rivanna Plaza Preliminary Site Plan)                 



PROJECT: SP 2007-00056 Rivanna Plaza

PROPOSED: Drive-in Window with Drive-thru lane for proposed retail building

ZONING CATEGORY/GENERAL USAGE: HC, Highway Commercial, and EC, Entrance Corridor Overlay

SECTION: 24.2.2(13) Special Use Permit, which allows for drive-in windows serving or associated with permitted uses.

COMPREHENSIVE PLAN LAND USE: Regional Service in Urban Area 1

LOCATION: Tax Map Parcel 45-109 and 45-1412C, located on west side of Seminole Trail (Rt. 29), approximately 1,100 feet north of Woodbrook Drive




Character of the Area:

Property lies in a commercial corridor. Adjoining properties include: Schewel’s Furniture, Kegler’s Bowling Center and Lowe’s.



Specifics of the Proposal:

The site development plan for Rivanna Plaza proposes three (3) buildings: a 12,500 sq. ft. day care center, a 14,800 sq. ft. structure and a 4,800 sq. ft. retail structure with a drive-in window and drive-thru lane. The retail building utilizing a drive-in window requires a special use permit according to Section 24.2.2 (13). The site plan addresses staff and VDOT comments regarding the “Places 29” study by closing entrances along Seminole Trail (Rt. 29) and providing parcel interconnectivity with Schewel’s and Kegler’s. The current entrances to Kegler’s and Schewel’s will be closed. Access for Schewels, Keglers and Rivanna Plaza will be from the proposed Rivanna Plaza entrance.  The proposed drive-in window will serve a specialty retail use.



Planning and Zoning History:

This property has been subject to numerous subdivision plats resulting in its current configuration.  A site plan for a miniature golf course was previously approved for this site. However, that use has been discontinued and the site is now vacant.  This site is in the area that is part of the Places 29 Study Area.



Conformity with the Comprehensive Plan:

The Comprehensive Plan designates the subject properties as Regional Service in Urban Area 1 emphasizing that this corridor is designated for developing varied business, retail and service related uses. The proposed uses are day care facility, retail and drive-thru serving a retail use. Special use permits for drive-in windows in this district are not uncommon in Regional Service Areas.



A site plan has been submitted for concurrent review with the special use permit.  The Planning Commission and Board of Supervisors do not need to act on the site development plan because it is subject to administrative review.  The site development plan is provided with this special use permit review in order to review circulation and other impacts that may be generated by the drive-in window.


The issues which typically arise in the review of drive-in windows are: 1. traffic impacts on and off site; 2. visibility of the site from an entrance corridor, and 3. impact from the headlights of stacked vehicles. These issues are addressed in the assessment below.


Section 18 - of the Code of Albemarle requires that Special Use Permits be assessed as follows:


Will the use be of substantial detriment to adjacent property?

The location of the drive-in window will not cause a substantial detriment to adjacent property.  The location and design of the window and travelways are consistent with typical commercial design. The headlights of stacked vehicles at the drive-in window are directed to the interior of the commercial site.


Will the character of the district be changed by this use?

Drive-in windows are common in this zoning district and along Route 29.  Approval of this special use permit will not change the character of the district. Architectural Review Board (ARB) impacts are discussed below.


Will the use be in harmony with the purpose and intent of this ordinance?

Staff has reviewed the purpose and intent of the ordinance as contained in section 1.4, 1.5, and 1.6, the intent of the HC, Highway Commercial district as contained in Section 24.1, and the intent of the EC, Entrance Corridor Overlay district as contained in section 30.6.  This request is generally consistent with these ordinances.


However, staff is unable to make positive findings with respect to visibility from the Entrance Corridor because the Architectural Review Board (ARB) has not reviewed this application at the time of this report.  The ARB meeting is scheduled for April 21st.  Staff will share the results of that review.


This development meets the intent and purpose of the HC, Highway Commercial zoning district by providing a diversified commercial setting on a major thoroughfare. (Section 18.24.1). 


The described development complies with the Comprehensive Plan and reflects the intent of the Places 29 Study with interconnectivity and entrance closures.


The Rivanna Plaza development provides both the frontage and the depth to allow controlled access and inter parcel connectivity.  The site plan reflects the intent of the proposed access management plan in the Places 29 Study by   closing the existing entrance to Keglers Bowling Center and providing access to Keglers thru the Rivanna Plaza site, thereby improving overall access to the drive-in window. 


      Will the use be in harmony with the uses permitted by right in the district?

By-right uses in HC, Highway Commercial District include a wide variety of intensive commercial activities.  Drive-in windows are common with many uses in the district.


Will the use comply with the additional regulations provided in section 5.0 of this ordinance?

Section 5.0 contains no additional regulations regarding drive-in windows.


Will the public health, safety and general welfare of the community be protected if the use is approved?

The site development plan has been revised to adequately address Engineering comments regarding travelway connections and inter-parcel connectivity.  The drive-in window traffic impacts are minimized by lengthened stacking lanes and reconfiguration of the site.



Staff has identified the following factors favorable to this application:

1.      The proposed development complies with Zoning Ordinance Section Special Use Permits as indicated in the assessment above.

2.      The design of the drive-thru lanes and on-site traffic patterns for the drive-in window address Engineering comments.


Staff has identified the following factors unfavorable to this application:

1.        Comments from the ARB are not available at the time of this report.

Although the applicant intends to have heavy landscaping to minimize visibility of the drive-in from the Route 29 corridor, the impact on the EC corridor cannot be adequately addressed until after ARB review.




Based on the findings contained in this staff report, staff recommends approval of Special Use Permit SP 2007-056 Rivanna Plaza Drive-in window

pending comments from the ARB.


Recommended conditions of approval:  

1.      Drive-in window is limited to one window.

2.      Development of the site will be in general accord with the site plan titled Special Use Permit Application Plan for Rivanna Plaza and initialed LKG 4/17/08.




Attachment A - Vicinity Map

Attachment B - Aerial Photograph

Attachment C - Site Photographs

Attachment D - Drive-In Location shown on reduced Landscape Plan

Attachment E - Site Plan Documents


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