Albemarle County Planning Commission

November 11, 2008



The Albemarle County Planning Commission held a meeting, work session and public hearing on Tuesday, November 11, 2008, at 6:00 p.m., at the County Office Building, Lane Auditorium, Second Floor, 401 McIntire Road, Charlottesville, Virginia.


Members attending were Calvin Morris, Chairman, Thomas Loach, Linda Porterfield, Marcia Joseph, Bill Edgerton, Eric Strucko and Jon Cannon, Vice Chairman.  Julia Monteith, AICP, non-voting representative for the University of Virginia was absent. 


Other officials present were Gerald Gatobu, Senior Planner, Ron Higgins, Chief of Zoning; Scott Clark, Senior Planner, Claudette Grant, Senior Planner; Rebecca Ragsdale, Senior Planner; Wayne Cilimberg, Director of Planning; David Benish, Chief of Planning; Amelia McCulley, Director of Zoning/Zoning Administrator; Mark Graham, Director of Community Development; Bill Fritz, Chief of Community 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.


SP-2008-00033 Shadwell Market (Sign # 8 & 20)

PROPOSED: Use of more than 400 gallons of groundwater per site-acre per day for convenience store.

ZONING CATEGORY/GENERAL USAGE: C-1 Commercial - retail sales and service uses; and residential use by special use permit (15 units/ acre); EC Entrance Corridor - Overlay to protect properties of historic, architectural or cultural significance from visual impacts of development along routes of tourist access

SECTION:, Uses permitted by right, not served by public water, involving water consumption exceeding four hundred (400) gallons per site acre per day. Uses permitted by right, not served by public sewer, involving anticipated discharge of sewage other than domestic wastes. COMPREHENSIVE PLAN LAND USE/DENSITY:  Rural Areas - preserve and protect agricultural, forestal, open space, and natural, historic and scenic resources/ density (.5 unit/ acre in development lots). ENTRANCE CORRIDOR: Yes

LOCATION: Intersection of US 250 (Richmond Road) and Route 22/231.TAX MAP/PARCEL: Tax Map 79 Parcel 9. MAGISTERIAL DISTRICT: Scottsville. (Scott Clark)


Mr. Clark presented a Power-point presentation and summarized the staff report.


         This is a special use permit request for water usage at the existing Shadwell Market, which is being redeveloped at the intersection of Routes 250 and 22.  This property and the adjacent property are zoned C-1, Commercial.  Section requires that any use not served by public water that uses 400 or more gallons of water per site acre per day apply for a special use permit to use that much water.  This permit request is for approximately 1,000 gallons of water per day on a site of 1.1 acres or 847 gallons of water per site acre per day.  The request is not for the store itself, which is a by-right use.  It is simply for the volume of water used. 

         There are two main issues with this type of permit.  There is water safety for the use itself and the impacts on the adjacent uses as far as affecting their water supply.  As indicated in the staff report, the Groundwater Managerís review shows that there is not any expected impact on the neighboring water supplies because there is such a high volume well on this site that uses such a low percentage of that potential volume.  Therefore, it is unlikely that it will affect the neighboring properties.  Regarding water safety, there is a known spill of MTBE, a fuel additive, on an adjacent site.  Again, however, due to the low volume of use on the site it is not expected that pollutant would be pulled into this direction.  The site has been tested several times including earlier this year.  There is no sign of MTBE in the well on this site.  Even if it were to occur on the site it would be noticed at very low concentrations by anybody that drank the water.  It is not a regulated substance.  Therefore, they are not able to establish a standard at what point it becomes unsafe.  But, it does become obnoxious to anybody that drinks the water at that time.  It can be filtered out.  They donít expect that will the MTBE will move over to this site and be a pollutant to this well.

         In summary, staff did not believe that the water availability in the neighboring properties would be affected.  Staff does not believe that there is any practical health concern.  Even if there is some future concern with MTBE it can be filtered out.  Staff recommends approval of the special use permit request.


Mr. Morris invited questions from the Commissioners.


Mr. Loach asked regarding the MTBE if there is any test monitor protocol so that this gets tested routinely to see if it is moving or migrating. 


Mr. Clark replied that the only testing he was aware of is the occasional testing that has been done in the past by DEQ.   DEQ has checked the site for MTBE, but he did not know if that would continue in the future.  DEQ may consider this as a closed case at this point.


Mr. Edgerton suggested one way they could address the possible health/safety issue here would be to perhaps add a condition that they put a filtration system on the water supply at the store.  That would, in fact, deal with this if it ever became a problem.


Mr. Loach suggested that a condition could require testing.


Mr. Clark pointed out that right now there is nothing to be filtered.  


Mr. Kamptner noted that the condition could require periodic monitoring and once levels reach a certain level, then the filtration could be required.  He clarified that this was not an active DEQ site.


Mr. Clark replied that it was a close case.  The problem with trying to set a value for monitoring is that there have been no federally established thresholds at which MTBE becomes unsafe.  They have not been able to get any results to show that.


Mr. Kamptner said that in their building regulations in Chapter 5 of the County Code they have some prerequisites for getting a building permit in an area that is identified as an active zone so that they are not doing draw down that is going to cause a contamination plume to spread.  They did establish levels for various pollutants in that chapter. 


Mr. Graham noted that BTEX is an acronym that stands for benzene, toluene, ethylbenzene, and xylenes. MTBE is not one of those compounds. 


Ms. Joseph noted that in a conversation with Josh Rubinstein, Groundwater Manager, this afternoon   he said that there was ongoing testing on these sites that have been identified by DEQ.  They do testing periodically.   He said that each of the wells surrounding this area has been tested and they had not found anything within there.  But, they are also doing some ground testing from time to time.  He explained that because of the draw down he did not feel as this thing was migrating.  They talked about the migration habits and whether it is diluting as it migrates and they donít know.   Therefore, Mr. Edgertonís comments about some sort of a filtration system might be appropriate. The other thing Mr. Rubinstein was talking about was that there are some little organic creatures apparently that eat this stuff.  So they are working on that aspect, too.  Therefore, the county is making an effort to find out what is going on in this area.


Mr. Cilimberg pointed out that recently they dealt with a jurisdictional area request where an owner had MTBE in the water supply and asked for public water.  He thought that it ends up becoming an owner concern before it really would become a public issue.  An owner will then say that they have this problem and have no alternatives to deal with it and might ask for public water.   There is the opportunity through the Board of Supervisors in the jurisdictional process to receive public water if there, in fact, is a problem that arises.  In this case there is a water line out in that area.  It has been granted in this area on two occasions with GOCO and one other property in the area.  If it were to arise, first it would be an owner concern.   Secondly, there is that remedy if there is no other alternative to deal with it.


Ms. Joseph said that the difficulty is the remedy is there, but a lot of this zoning is stale old zoning. 


Mr. Cilimberg said that they dealt with it by the jurisdictional area designation of the two existing structures only.  That is a designation that is fairly commonly used in the rural area where they have existing structures within existing problems.


Ms. Joseph questioned if they are creating a problem in the future by allowing this water usage.  She understands that the water usage is based on the size of the septic.  That is the septic determines the amount of water that can be used in terms of 1,000 gallons per day.    What they are looking at is this septic field can handle that amount of water per day.


Mr. Morris opened the public hearing and invited the applicant to come forward.


Lloyd Wood, property owner, said that they have discussed every issue that the Commission has raised over the many months since late last spring when their original site plan was approved. The only reason, as stated by state, that they are here is that the old store that there was there used about 135 to 150 gallons of water a day.  It was very low usage.  They did not about this until they had the site plan before us and they just guessed that the new store would use more than 400 gallons.  After going through hours of discussion with staff to come up with a formula to determine whether they did, there is no formula.  They checked with the health department and EPA. They even did their own study on how many gallons they thought they were using in the store.  In a discussion with the staff he asked that they come up with something.  He noted that Ms. Joseph was correct that the way they come up with the 1,000 gallons a day approximately that is the capacity of the drainfields which are on the other side of 250.  As far as the GOCO situation it is not adjacent to their property, but on the other side of the rail road tracks.  At the request of the county they had an extensive ground water assessment done by a professional assessor out of Culpeper.  They gave that information to the staff and they tested everything within 1,000 feet, which included all of the sites Ms. Joseph referred to and says have been tested.  Since he has been associated with the property in the early thirties they have never had a DEQ problem.  Their site has been tested as well as the other locations around them. That was their big concern when they found out that they would be using more than 400 gallons per day.  Most of this will be used in the facilities and very little will ever get to the consumption of humans.  


Mr. Morris invited questions for the applicant.


Ms. Joseph said that she keeps trying to figure out what food service means.  She asked if they are doing take out food, which is the other big water user.  


Mr. Wood replied that it would be like a normal convenience store with sandwiches and carry-out items.  There will be no seating in the store. It will mainly be a country store like it has been for all these years.  They are just bringing it in to the present day existence.  He noted that his father built the original store in the mid-thirties.  If they had not gotten to this point it would soon have fallen in.  He agreed with the staff report.  They have worked very closely with staff since this issue came up.  They think that what they have come up with is something that the Commission will be proud of.


There being no further questions, Mr. Morris closed the public hearing to bring the matter back before the Commission. 


Motion: Ms. Porterfield moved and Mr. Edgerton seconded to approve SP-2008-00033, Shadwell Market based on the findings in the staff report.


The motion passed by a vote of 7:0. 


Mr. Morris said that SP-2008-00033 would go to the Board of Supervisors on December 3, 2008 with the recommendation for approval, as follows.  The Planning Commission recommended approval of SP-2008-00033 to the Board of Supervisors to allow the use of more than 400 gallons of groundwater per site-acre per day for a convenience store.


 Return to PC actions letter