COUNTY OF ALBEMARLE
ZTA-2007-00001 Zero Lot Line Residences in the R-2 to R-15 Zoning District
Request to amend the zoning ordinance to allow a “zero side yard” on one side of a single family lot in residential zoning districts, provided there is a 10 foot building separation
LEGAL REVIEW: NO
June 11, 2008
ACTION: X INFORMATION:
On April 22, 2008, the Planning Commission held a public hearing on the proposed zoning text amendment to allow a zero side yard on one side of a lot for single family houses in conventional residential zoning districts. The text amendment would require a ten foot separation between houses. Because of the length of time that had been involved in bringing this text amendment forward and because two new Commissioners had joined the Commission, staff was asked to provide history on the amendment that was not included in the staff report. The history related to this amendment is below:
• Prior to 1997 the Commission and Board were asked to amend the zoning ordinance to allow for zero lot lines; the Board said that the Development Area Initiatives Steering Committee should address the appropriateness of this request.
• May 2001 Neighborhood Model adopted; more shallow setbacks endorsed.
• 2000 – 2002 Various zoning text amendments reviewed by Planning Commission and Board of Supervisors including shared driveways in the Development Areas, alleys, and parking.
• Sept. 2002 Drafting of subdivision text amendments began.
• 2003 Work sessions held with PC on subdivision text amendments.
• Fall 2004 Subdivision Text Amendment recommended to BOS for NM features (curb/gutter/sidewalks/street trees, interconnections).
• BOS sent to DISC II in June 2004 because of concerns of developers.
• DISC II uncovered that, among other issues, the need for more shallow front setbacks was a major concern with new street sections.
• November 2004 DISC II recommended approval of modified Subdivision Text Amendment.
• December 2004 DISC II recommended that front setbacks be modified to make NM form easier to achieve with new subdivision requirements.
• Sept. 2005 Staff brought zoning text amendments for reduced front yards to PC. PC asked staff to bring back a comprehensive proposal for front, side and rear yards that also related to EC’s.
• October 2005 to January 2007 – staff worked on draft amendments; development review projects took priority.
• January 2007 – An applicant made request for zero lot line for R-6 district.
• Jan. 2007 – June 2007 staff continued to work on draft amendments for front, side, rear yards; buffers between uses; and setbacks for parking.
• June 2007 – Staff brought proposals to PC. Staff described applicant’s proposal for 15 feet between structures at zero side yards in R-6 district only. Staff asked if zero lot line could be incorporated into comprehensive setback work. PC said yes.
• July 2007 – Staff brought full concepts for zero lot line for all residential districts as well as other setbacks to PC.
• August 2007 -- Planning positions frozen; development review took priority.
• November 2007 – PC asked that zero lot lines not wait for rest of setback amendments and that it be advanced as soon as possible.
• December 4, 2007 – Staff held worksession to finalize discussion on whether 10’ separation was acceptable to PC and to answer other outstanding questions.
• April 22, 2008 – Planning Commission public hearing and action on requested amendment.
At the Planning Commission’s public hearing, the Commission recommended approval, but asked for several changes to the proposed text amendment which are described in the attached action memo (see Attachment II). The most notable change was to remove recommended Section 4.11.3 (C.) regarding development approved prior to January 1, 1983, which essentially replicates language currently contained in the zoning ordinance. This “grandfathering” provision is not supported by the Commission and is the subject of a Resolution of Intent to amend another section of the zoning ordinance. The Commission also asked for input from the Fire and Rescue Division of the County on whether ten feet of separation between buildings is adequate for fire suppression.
Since the Planning Commission’s April 22, 2008 meeting, staff has made the Planning Commission’s requested changes to the ordinance. The Fire and Rescue Division has reiterated that the building code allows this separation and there are provisions that a contractor would have to show adequate fire flow. A representative will attend the Board’s public hearing to answer any questions.
Staff and the Planning Commission recommend approval of the attached zoning text amendment (see Attachment I).
ATTACHMENT I: Proposed Zoning Text Amendment dated May 6, 2008
ATTACHMENT II: Planning Commission Action Memo for April 22, 2008
ATTACHMENT III: Staff Report dated April 22, 2008
Return to PC actions memo