Albemarle County Planning Commission

September 9, 2008

 

 

The Albemarle County Planning Commission held a meeting, work session and public hearing on Tuesday, September 9, 2008, at 6:00 p.m., at the County Office Building, Lane Auditorium, Second Floor, 401 McIntire Road, Charlottesville, Virginia.

 

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

 

Other officials present were Rebecca Ragsdale, Senior Planner; David Benish, Chief of Planning; Megan Yaniglos, Senior Planner; Scott Clark, Senior Planner; Wayne Cilimberg, Director of Planning; Bill Fritz, Chief of Current Development; Mark Graham, Director 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.

 

            Regular Items:

 

SP-2008-00027 Field School

PROPOSED: The request is to continue a Middle School for boys, with a request to increase maximum enrollment from 48 students to 70 students max. located in the existing community building at Claudius Crozet Park and approved with SP 2006-00043

ZONING CATEGORY/GENERAL USAGE: RA -- Rural Areas: agricultural, forestal, and fishery uses; residential density (0.5 unit/acre)

SECTION: 18.10.2.2.5 Private Schools

COMPREHENSIVE PLAN LAND USE/DENSITY: Designated CT 1 Development Area Preserve for Parks and Greenways in the Crozet Master Plan.

ENTRANCE CORRIDOR: No

LOCATION: 22 acre parcel at Claudius Crozet Park, north side of Park St, 1500 Feet east of High Street

TAX MAP/PARCEL: 56A2-01-72 and 72A

MAGISTERIAL DISTRICT: White Hall

(Rebecca Ragsdale)

 

Ms. Ragsdale made a power-point presentation and explained the proposal.  (See staff report)

 

 

Based on the findings contained in this staff report, staff recommends approval of Special Use Permit 2008-027 Field School, with the following conditions as listed in the staff report (noting changes from original conditions of approval with SP 2006-043):

 

1.       Maximum enrollment shall be forty-eight (48) seventy (70) students;

2.       Hours of operation for the school shall be from 7:30 a.m. to 6:00 p.m., Monday through Friday;

3.       The school is limited to existing buildings and park grounds as indicated on the concept plan (Attachment C). Any additional building or site changes for the school use will require an amendment to this Special Use Permit (SP-2008-027);

4.       Prior to issuance of a Zoning clearance for the private school use, water line dedications to the satisfaction of the Albemarle County Service Authority are required;

5.       The playgrounds and the park grounds, with the exception of the Community Building, will remain open and available for public use during the hours of school operation;

6.       The athletic fields at the park shall not be available for the school’s use after 4:00 p.m. on weekdays and shall not be available on weekends;

7.       The athletic fields shall not be available for school use when closed by the Department of Parks and Recreation for inclement weather, overuse, fields restoration, or when any other scheduled use is authorized by the Department of Parks and Recreation;

8.       The school use may begin and continue only if the Crozet Park covenants and restrictions allow the use;

9.       Special Use Permit 2006-043 2008-027 shall be valid until June 30, 2009  2014; and

10.   Shuttle bus service for students to and from school shall be provided each school day

 

Two of the previous conditions (4 and 8) have been met.  The covenants have been amended so that the school use can be allowed in the park.

 

Mr. Loach asked if the school’s proposal has the support of the Park Board, and Ms. Ragsdale replied yes.

 

Mr. Loach asked if the school still averaged about one-half of the students on the shuttle bus, and Ms. Ragsdale replied yes that is what the applicant has indicated.

 

Mr. Morris opened the public hearing and invited the applicant to address the Planning Commission.

 

Dr. Todd Burnett, Head of the School and founder, presented a power-point presentation to show the improvements the school has made to the park.  He noted that Field School is a middle school for boys, which started last year with grades 5 and 6.  This year the school has grades 5, 6 and 7 and will add 8th grade next year.  The school had 23 boys last year.  This year the school will have 30 boys. The idea is for the school to grow to 65 to 70 students.  The school has followed the rules set out last year and has been a benefit to the park.  They renovated the building, picked up trash and planted trees and grass.  The school’s presence has deterred some of the vandalism that historically has been a problem for the property. The park remains open to other groups in the evenings and weekends for such events as park meetings, birthday parties and weddings.  The use of the building has increased this past year according to Brian Campbell. 

 

Dr. Burnett continued noting that the school has various drop-off and pick-up points.  Two-thirds of the children ride the shuttle.  There really is not that much traffic generated. There are three cars and two buses that sit on site during the day.  Therefore, the traffic seems to be a non-issue.  They have lived up to the county’s expectations in the past year and have surpassed the hopes of the Park Board.  The park is a better place for everyone who uses it.  They have provided an alternative all boys’ school and have not spent any tax money in educating the children in their independent school.  Most of the students are county residents.  They have provided 100 percent of the demonstrated financial aid need.  They have a student body with both ethnic and socially economic diversity. However, they do need to grow. Their goal is to remain at Crozet Park for another four years before moving on to their own facility.  He hoped to bring a proposal for their own facility to the Commission soon.  He asked for approval from the Commission to allow a maximum of 70 students in the school. 

 

Mr. Morris invited questions for staff.  He asked what the increase in the traffic would be with the increased enrollment.

 

Mr. Burnett replied that about two-thirds of the families will use the shuttle to get to the school.  Currently they have three sets of brothers. Therefore, if they are making two trips per day that is 44 trips plus they have 6 faculty members, which totals about 50 car trips per day.  With the high gas prices he felt that number would go down because many parents are eager to find ways to car pool.  He realized that it adds traffic on the road when the students are not riding county or city school buses, but the traffic in the park seems to be a non-issue during the school day. 

 

Mr. Morris invited public comment. 

 

Robbie Maupin, President of the Claudius Crozet Park Board, spoke in support of the school.  He agreed with everything Mr. Burnett has said and that the school has been a great addition to the park. The improvements made by the school to the building have been very beneficial to the park.  It is great having somebody in the park year round to help with security in the park.  The school’s present has deterred vandalism to the park.  Regarding the traffic concerns, there is very little traffic in the park during the off-season while the school is open.  During the summer when the pool is open the school was closed.  Therefore, that was not an issue.  Therefore, the Claudius Crozet Park Board supports the school.

 

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

 

Motion: Mr. Loach moved and Ms. Porterfield seconded to recommend approval of SP-2008-00027, Field School with the conditions recommended by staff.

 

1.       Maximum enrollment shall be seventy (70) students;

2.       Hours of operation for the school shall be from 7:30 a.m. to 6:00 p.m., Monday through Friday;

3.       The school is limited to existing buildings and park grounds as indicated on the concept plan (Attachment C). Any additional building or site changes for the school use will require an amendment to this Special Use Permit (SP-2008-027);

4.       The playgrounds and the park grounds, with the exception of the Community Building, will remain open and available for public use during the hours of school operation;

5.       The athletic fields at the park shall not be available for the school’s use after 4:00 p.m. on weekdays and shall not be available on weekends;

6.       The athletic fields shall not be available for school use when closed by the Department of Parks and Recreation for inclement weather, overuse, fields restoration, or when any other scheduled use is authorized by the Department of Parks and Recreation;

7.       Special Use Permit 2008-027 shall be valid until June 30, 2014; and

8.       Shuttle bus service for students to and from school shall be provided each school day

 

The motion passed by a vote of 5:0. 

 

Mr. Morris said that SP-2008-027, Field School will go before the Board of Supervisors at a date to be determined with a recommendation for approval.

 

 

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