AGENDA TITLE:  ZTA-2008-00003 Administrative Waivers




Amendments to the Zoning Ordinance to permit limited administrative approvals for the following: disturbance of critical slopes; open space dedication; buffer disturbance and site plan waivers.



STAFF:  Amelia McCulley, Ron Higgins




PLANNING COMMISSION DATE:  November 11, 2008 – Public Hearing







ORIGIN & BACKGROUND:  On May 2, 2007 the Development Review Task Force (DRTF) provided a report to the Board of Supervisors that outlined a series of recommendations regarding “improvements to the efficiency, effectiveness, quality and adequate public participation” in the development review process.  Among these was a fourth priority item: “to establish staff authority for waivers and modifications in the development areas.”  It is in response to that priority that the proposed zoning ordinance amendments were developed.


The Planning Commission held three (3) work sessions on the various draft proposals and criteria: November 20, 2007;  March 25, 2008 and August 26, 2008.  The Resolution of Intent was adopted by the Commission on February 5, 2008.  At the work sessions, the Commission discussed these and made suggestions for refinements.  The Commission agreed to permit administrative approvals for: a) limited authority to codify administrative approval for disturbance of critical slopes; b) open space dedication; c) buffer disturbance in limited circumstances and d) waiver of the drawing of a full site plan.   


DISCUSSION:  The attached zoning ordinance amendments codify the procedural changes for certain administrative waivers and allow for public notice, comment and the ability of the abutting owners or Commissioners to call the application to the Commission for review.  In addition, these amendments outline the criteria for such waivers or modifications, as agreed upon by the Planning Commission.  The draft ordinance establishes administrative waivers of critical slopes only in the development areas. The ordinance establishes the following circumstances for such waivers: when the critical slopes were created as part of an approved site plan or when replacing an existing structure where the new footprint does not exceed that of the structure being replaced.   


PUBLIC PURPOSE TO BE SERVED:  The proposed criteria to direct the administrative waivers and modifications are  consistent with the practices for such requests that have been before the Planning Commission.  Codifying these to enable administrative approvals provides efficiencies that benefit the applicants, citizens, staff and the Commission by reducing the time and cost to process applications, without sacrificing the quality of the review or the end product.  In addition, it affords the Commission additional time to focus on policies, legislative actions and other priorities.


ADMINISTRATION/REVIEW PROCESSThe codification of criteria will permit more appropriate administration of future requests.


HOUSING AFFORDABILITYBy reducing time and cost to process various waivers, when they involve residential projects, this could have a positive impact on the cost of housing.  These amendments do not directly require additional development improvements that would then result in higher development costs.


IMPLICATIONS TO STAFFING/STAFFING COSTSThis is expected to reduce staff time and costs associated with the preparation of staff reports and presentations at the Commission and Board meetings.  It is also expected to reduce the time spent by commissioners and board members in review and deliberation on such matters, thereby providing additional time to focus on policy matters.


RECOMMENDATION:  Approval of the draft ordinance (Attachment A).



(A) ORDINANCE NO. 08-18( ), Ordinance to Amend Chapter 18 of the Code of the County of Albemarle, Virginia.

      Dated October 3, 2008.

(B) Staff report for the November 20, 2007 Planning Commission Work Session on Administrative Waivers along with the

      first attachment to that report, being the Development Review Task Force Report & Recommendations.



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