Zinsser-Booth Right of Way Abandonment Request



Set public hearing to consider request to abandon a 50-foot right-of-way on TMP 56-35 in the Crozet Community.



Messrs. Tucker, Foley, Kamptner, Graham, Benish, and Wade





September  3, 2008


ACTION:               INFORMATION: 



  ACTION:    X         INFORMATION: 











On September 4, 2007, the Planning Commission considered a request from Michael and Charlotte Zinsser-Booth (Attachment A) for a waiver to Subdivision Ordinance § 14-404 to allow each of two proposed lots on TMP 56-35 to access separate public streets.  The multiple access points would allow the subdivision without requiring a road to cross Lickinghole Creek. (See Attachment B)


This parcel is located in the White Hall Magisterial District off of Crozet Avenue (Route 240), across from Meadow Drive. The parcel has a legal frontage that has an existing drive accessing off of Crozet Avenue and another frontage along a platted 50’ right-of-way, extending from Brookwood Road to the northeast end of the property.  Lickinghole Creek and a floodplain run through the property, essentially splitting the property into two separate developable areas/future parcels, one fronting on Crozet Avenue and the other fronting on the right-of-way that extends from the property to Brookwood Road. The property is zoned R1 (Residential) and EC (Entrance Corridor).  


The Planning Commission approved the waiver (7:0) with the following conditions:

  1. No more than two dwelling units would be constructed on Lot A (13.96 acres).
  2. The Board would either abandon the 50-foot right-of-way, which would access this property to the subdivision behind it or grant the applicants the right to have a single private shared driveway under County standards to access the two dwelling units to be built.



     3. - Develop Polices and Infrastructure to address the County’s Growing Needs



The applicant is acting upon Condition 2 of the waiver.  Condition 2 provides the applicant two options: (1) ask the Board for permission to allow what essentially would be a two-lane private driveway across the public right-of-way. The applicant was informed that County staff would likely recommend against this approach; or (2) ask the Board to abandon the public right of way so that a private street could be built in its place. This area is in the County's Development Areas as identified in the Comprehensive Plan. The applicant is requesting that the Board abandon the 50’ right of way connecting from Brookwood Drive to the portion of the parcel north of Lickinghole Creek.


Proposed Lot A contains an existing 50-foot public right-of-way which was platted in the 1970’s, but a road was never constructed.  The platting was likely intended to serve any future development of this site with a subdivision street.  With the Commission’s action on the waiver request, development of Lot A is restricted to the development of not more than 2 dwelling units.  With such a restriction on the number of lots, and without a connection across Lickinghole Creek to serve additional lots, any road constructed on this site (and right of way) could not be accepted into the State highway system.  Public roads in the State system require three or more users.  Therefore, the public right-of-way is not needed to serve the site. Furthermore, because a dedicated right-of-way is public land to be used for public purposes, private streets should not be located within public rights-of-way and County staff has not allowed public rights-of-way to be privately used.


Staff has evaluated this abandonment request for its consistency with the Comprehensive Plan and other County policies and finds that this abandonment will not conflict with the policies of the County.  The Comprehensive Plan, including the Crozet Master Plan, does not identify/recommend any public road or other public improvement in this area for which the right-of-way could be used.  No road crossings of Lickinghole Creek are identified in this immediate area in either the Comprehensive Plan/Crozet Master Plan or Transportation Plans.  Further, the construction of a road connecting Lots A and B to Brookwood Drive would be costly given the length of that road and, under current regulations, additional approvals would be required because the road would cross critical slopes, floodplains, and stream buffers. 


Abandonment would not, in and of itself, convey the County’s interest in the alignment to either the property owners lateral to the alignment or to the Zinsser-Booths.  Rather, if the public right-of-way is abandoned, the Board may then authorize the sale of the alignment or an exchange of lands.


Lastly, if the Board decides not to proceed with the abandonment, the applicant has one other option: to request that the Planning Commission amend Condition 1 to allow a third dwelling unit to be constructed on Lot A so that the right-of-way could be eligible under current VDOT regulations to be accepted into the State system.



There will be no budget impact.



Staff recommends that the Board authorize notice of the Board’s intention to abandon the 50-foot dedicated public right-of-way and to set the matter for public hearing, as required.



A – Abandonment Request Letter

B – Location Sketch Map

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