Albemarle County Planning Commission

July 29, 2008



CPA-2008-00001 Water Supply Update

This is a proposal to amend the Natural Resources and Cultural Assets and the Land Use sections of the Comprehensive Plan. (Tamara Ambler)


Mr. Benish distributed copies of the proposed resolution of intent, presented a power point presentation and explained the proposal on CPA-2008-00001, Water Supply Update. 

        This proposal is to amend the Natural Resources and Cultural Assets of the Land Use sections of the Comprehensive Plan.  These sections refer to outdated supply and demand information from 1995 and call for the creation of the Buck Mountain Reservoir for supplementing the urban water service supply.  This alternative was determined to be defunct due to endangered species in the Buck Island Mountain.  Since the adoption of these sections of the plan numerous new studies have been adopted with new recommendations for providing public water supply.  Therefore, the Comprehensive Plan needs to be amended.  Staff sees this as mainly a housekeeping item to reflect the decisions and actions by the Board of Supervisors and the City Council and refer to updated information generated from the new studies. These amendments eliminate some of the redundancies between the two sections, streamline some of the language of those sections and moved some points of information from one section to another where staff felt it was more appropriate to be located.


        On June 7, 2006 the Albemarle County Board of Supervisors approved the Ragged Mountain Reservoir expansion as the preferred alternative for the water supply to the urban service area.  Water quality permits for the project have been issued by both the Department of Environmental Quality and the US Corps of Engineers.  Separately the county has begun preparation of a county-wide water supply plan as mandated by the Commonwealth for local and regional water supply planning.  That process requires the county to do a comprehensive plan that not only covers our urban area, but county wide.  The County is doing that in conjunction with the City of Charlottesville.  That will take in account groundwater supply issues.  That work is not required to be completed until 2011. 


        The proposed amendments to the Natural Resources and Cultural Assets component of the Comprehensive Plan are contained in the staff report.  Staff recommends that the Planning Commission adopt the Resolution of Intent that was provided at the work session.  The proposed language will be brought back to the Commission for a public hearing at the next available date. Staff requested   comments on the proposed amendments. (See staff report)


Mr. Morris invited questions for staff.


Mr. Edgerton questioned if they are leaving agricultural activity out on purpose or is it required by law.  A lot of the siltation issues with the drinking water impoundment causing a lot of that erosion.


Mr. Davis replied that this was just stating a historical fact, which was the intent.  In 1977, it was not intended to deal with agricultural activities.  It only dealt with on lots that were being built upon in a setback.


Mr. Benish noted that the language in blue was proposed and for most part it was just rephrasing the existing language that they deleted and put in bullet form. 


Mr. Edgerton asked why school sites are exempted.


Mr. Cilimberg replied that it was just the historic history stated and the reason for it.


Mr. Edgerton said on the last page in the last paragraph starting with the software model it says at this time the county does not possess sufficient well monitoring data.  He suggested putting a date in there.


Mr. Loach noted that the resolution of intent references a 50-year planning period to be analyzed.  He said in the DISC report from 1999, CHK did a build-out analysis.  It was their point that the expected population growth in the county through the year 2015 will seriously challenge the ability of the designated growth area to provide enough developable land area.  In fact, it is clear unless the density is achieved in the remaining developable parcels that at some point well before the year 2015 a serious shortage in housing would exist.  On one hand they have a county summary build-out analysis that says by 2015 they are going to be running short of property.  But, on the other hand they have a 50-year water supply plan for those who are on city and county water.  But, anything outside of the growth area is on wells.  He questioned a 50-year plan for water and a reasonable 20-year supply of property. 


Mr. Benish replied that the 50-year plan was a state planning standard for public utilities.  Therefore, the Service Authority is mandated to plan for that 50-year period.  He believed the CHK Study was addressing our land use capabilities within those 20 years of absorbing the amount of growth that was planned for that 20-year period.  In our evaluation of the development areas, they consider that 20-year period and the types of land use designation changes, such as intensifying development zoning that would allow for the accommodation of future development.  The planning process takes into account the population growth that they think may occur.  In the Land Use planning they try to accommodate that growth through the holding capabilities of our development area. 


Mr. Cilimberg noted that the CHK Study was trying to point out that if they continued utilizing land the way they were at that time, they were going to run out. 


Mr. Loach said that he understood that. But, unless the growth areas expand, essentially that flattens out at some time in the near future as they are getting closer to build-out. 


Mr. Cilimberg pointed out that one of the things that have happened since is that they have had a number of rezonings at a much higher density than what the CHK projection was based on in terms of the land use patterns they were receiving at that time.  He thought they were speaking to if they continue with two dwelling units an acre, which was basically the way they were developing at the time, that they were going to run out.  Now they are trying to factor in the idea that they are getting projects at higher densities.  They are getting projects with more than two dwelling units an acre. They have actually had rezoning to enable that.  There is now an opportunity at least to see the curve extend further out.


Mr. Loach said that he understood. It is just his programmer side that wanted to see the data to support 142 million dollars or whatever they were talking about for a water supply plan.  Essentially it is not far above even what under the best expectations might be needed.


Mr. Benish pointed out that a section on conservation is being deleted with the anticipation that when they come back with future updates of Chapter 2 within the next year or two they would be providing more information on their water conservation efforts. 


Mr. Morris opened for public comment.  There being none, the public hearing was closed and the matter before the Commission for discussion and consideration of the resolution of intent.


Mr. Benish said that staff needs an action on the resolution of intent and then can set a public hearing.


Motion:    Mr. Cannon moved and Mr. Edgerton seconded to approve the resolution of intent for CPA-2008-001, Water Supply Update and to ask staff to schedule the public hearing.


The motion passed by a vote of 6:0.  (Ms. Joseph was absent.)


Mr. Morris said that the resolution of intent was approved for CPA-2008-0001 Water Supply Update and staff will schedule the public hearing.



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