COUNTY OF ALBEMARLE

PLANNING STAFF REPORT SUMMARY

 

Project Name:  SP2008-027 Field School 

Staff: Rebecca Ragsdale

Planning Commission Public Hearing:

September 9, 2008

Board of Supervisors Public Hearing:

To Be Determined

 

Owners:  Claudius Crozet Park, Inc.

(Robert A. Maupin, President)

Applicant: Todd Barnett, Head of School

Field School

Acreage:  22.396

Special Use Permit: Private School  18.10.2.2.5 of the zoning ordinance applies to this proposal. 

TMP:  56A2-01-72 and 72A

Location:  Claudius Crozet Park in Crozet, north side of Park Street

Existing Zoning and By-right use:   

RA -- Rural Areas: agricultural, forestal, and fishery uses; residential density (0.5 unit/acre); public uses and parks

 

Magisterial District:  White Hall

Conditions: Yes

DA (Development Area)Crozet

Requested # of Dwelling Units:  NA              

Proposal:  Applicant requests an amendment to SP 06-043 to extend special use permit approval for a private middle school for boys of up to 70 students.

Comprehensive Plan Designation: Open Space and Crozet Transect (CT) 1 Development Area Preserve

 

Character of Property: The parcels subject to the special use permit are part of Crozet Park.

Use of Surrounding Properties:  The building in which the school is located is surrounded by recreational uses and parking. The nearest homes are located at the end of Hilltop Street and on Indigo Road, adjacent to the park to the north.

Factor Favorable:

1.       The private school will provide expanded educational opportunities to the community, located near residential areas.

 

 

Factor Unfavorable:

1.       No unfavorable factors have been identified.

 

RECOMMENDATION: Staff recommends approval of this Special Use Permit, with conditions noted on page 6 of this staff report.

 

  

STAFF PERSON:                                                                  REBECCA RAGSDALE

PLANNING COMMISSION:                                                  September 9, 2008

BOARD OF SUPERVISORS:                                               To Be Determined

                                               

 

SP 2008-027 FIELD SCHOOL AMENDMENT

 

Petition: 

PROJECT: SP 200800027 Field School

PROPOSED: Request 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

 

Character of the Area:

The park site is 22 acres and includes a community building, swimming pool, one acre lake, baseball and T-ball fields, soccer field, basketball courts, 2 large picnic pavilions, 2 new playgrounds and space for special activities such as the Crozet Arts and Crafts festival. The park community building is currently available for rental for private functions but there are no recreational programs planned for the building at this time.

 

Surrounding the park site to the north and west are the Parkside Village and Hilltop/Myrtle neighborhoods. There are also some residences south of the park site, across Park Road. There is undeveloped property surrounding the eastern corner of the park site. Properties surrounding the park are zoned R2, R4, and R6 residential districts. Please refer to the attached location maps for more information. (Attachment A-Aerial, Attachment B-Zoning)

 

 

Specifics of Proposal:

The Field School of Charlottesville is requesting a special use permit amendment for a private school, to allow a middle school for boys to continue using the community building at Claudius Crozet Park. The school is using the existing one-story 80’x60’ Community Building in the Park as their temporary location for the first 3-5 years of the school’s start-up.  The school will be seeking a more permanent facility as needed, based on growth of the school. (Attachment C-Concept Plan and Detail)

 

History:

The private school use was originally approved by the Board of Supervisors on May 2, 2007 with the conditions. (SP 2006-043) Minutes of the Planning Commission’s review and discussion of the original special use permit request are provided as Attachment D. Minutes of the Board of Supervisors public hearing are provided as Attachment E.  When the previous application was submitted, the applicant also requested approval for 70 students. Impacts of the proposed special use permit were analyzed based on that maximum enrollment, with staff recommending a maximum of 70 students to the Commission. However, the Commission recommended approval of the SP with a maximum enrollment of 48 students. This allowed  temporary approval of two years, which would then allow the Commission to assess the impacts of the school use at the park,  should a special use permit extension be requested. The Board approved the SP with the following conditions:

 

1.       Maximum enrollment shall be forty-eight (48) 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-copy on file in Clerk’s office). Any additional building or site changes for the school use will require an amendment to this Special Use Permit (SP-2006-043);

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 shall be valid until June 30, 2009; and

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

 

The applicant is seeking to modify conditions #1 and #9 with this special use amendment request. In addition to seeking a maximum enrollment increase to 70 students, the applicant is seeking to remove condition #9 and anticipates that the Field School would be at the park location for no more than five years.  Conditions # 4 and #8 have been satisfied.

 

The Field School has provided the following description of their use of the site in the SP amendment application:

 

 

Site History & Park Operation:

The park was zoned R2 Residential but rezoned to RA Rural Areas during the comprehensive rezoning in 1980. The site has been in use as a park for more than 50 years and the community building is possibly historic. SDP 99-093, the most recent site plan, was approved for additional ball fields and to allow overflow parking.

 

Claudius Crozet Park, Inc. owns and operates the park in cooperation with the Albemarle County Department of Parks and Recreation. The Crozet Park board determines use of the community building and not the County Parks and Recreation department. However, County Parks and Rec. has a member on the Park’s Board. The County has an agreement with the park, by which it is made available for public recreation and the County maintains the park grounds. Parks and Rec. has made comments relative to the special use permit and has indicated they have no issues with the applicants requested amendments to the special use permit. Parks and Rec. does not believe that the proposed use will have a negative impact on the public recreational use of the park, provided that the conditions of usage stipulated by Parks and Rec. are followed. These have been incorporated into the recommended conditions of approval for this special use permit.

 

Conformity with the Comprehensive Plan:

 

Crozet Master Plan

The Place Type & Built Infrastructure Map (inset below) does not designate the majority of the park with a land use color because it is existing open space. A portion of the park, in the northwest corner, is designated as CT2 Development Area Preserve. This CMP land use designation was applied to all schools and parks in Crozet. Both the CT 1 and CT 2 land use recommendations are described together in Table 1and Table 2 of the CMP. These areas are intended to be predominately parks and preserved open space, with agricultural and civic uses such as schools, usually defining the edge of the Crozet Development Area or neighborhood edges. Limited residential uses are intended in theses areas at a density no greater than 1 unit/20 acres.

 

The Green Infrastructure Map (inset below) designates Crozet Park as an existing park and proposes greenway connections to the park. Establishing greenway trails (for pedestrians and bikes) from Lickinghole Creek Basin to Crozet Park and downtown is a priority in the master plan. The Field School is open to partnering with the greenways program to further trails shown on the Green Infrastructure map. The school has completed projects in the park to make it more walkable, including a stairway down to the soccer field, and hopes to continue similar projects during this school year.

 

 

Place Type & Built Infrastructure Map                                       Green Infrastructure Map

            

 

 

 

 

Neighborhood Model

The Neighborhood Model describes the more "urban" form of development desired for the Development Areas. This special use permit request is for a private school use within an existing building and no site development changes are proposed. As such, staff has not undertaken an analysis of its relationship to the 12 Principles of the Neighborhood Model, but notes that the park does serve as a neighborhood center, so locating a school within the park would be consistent with the principle of Neighborhood Centers.

 

Staff Comment:

Staff will address each provision of Section 31.2.4.1 of the Zoning Ordinance as follows:

 

31.2.4.1: Special Use Permits provided for in this ordinance may be issued upon a finding by the Board of Supervisors that such use will not be of substantial detriment to adjacent property,

Staff does not anticipate any substantial detrimental impacts of the increased enrollment to adjacent property. The school will continue to utilize existing facilities that can be shared by several users, and the applicant has addressed potential traffic and parking impacts with the use of a bus. The proposed school will be limited in size to 70 students and compared to other uses of the park, will be fairly low intensive.

 

During discussion of the original special use permit request, there were concerns raised about the compatibility of this use with the park and its activities. Specifically, the Commission was concerned that the Field School would compete for use of the athletic fields or cause an increase in the maintenance budget for the park grounds. The school has been in operation for one school year at the park and no issues or concerns have been raised by Parks and Rec. The school use appears to be complimentary to the park. Conditions of approval #5-#7 are meant ensure that public and athletic programs receive priority use of the park.  Given the Commission’s previous concerns and desire to only approve the school as a temporary use at the park, Condition #9 has been modified to allow 5 additional years of approval to 2014, beyond the original 2 year approval period. (Refer to recommended conditions of approval on Page 6)

 

that the character of the district will not be changed thereby and

There will be no site development changes and new buildings on the property. The proposed private school will continue to make use of the community building, which has always been available for use during the daytime hours that the Field School proposes to use the building.

 

that such use will be in harmony with the purpose and intent of this ordinance,

The purpose of the Rural Areas Zoning District is the preservation of agricultural and forestal lands and activities; water supply protection; limited service delivery to the rural areas; and conservation of natural, scenic, and historic resources. However, in this case, the Rural Areas Zoning is located central to a Development Area and the intent is to preserve the property for primarily park uses. Since the school will be using an existing building and park uses will be unchanged, the use is not in conflict with Rural Areas Zoning.

 

with uses permitted by right in the district,

Park and public uses are permitted by right in the Rural Areas zoning district and the continued school use should not conflict with any other by-right RA zoning uses. As mentioned, the park is further limited in terms of land uses allowed by the restrictive covenant agreement with the County.

 

with the additional regulations provided in section 5.0 of this ordinance,

There are no additional regulations in section 5.0 that address private schools.

 

and with the public health, safety and general welfare.

The public health, safety, and general welfare of the community are protected through the special use permit process which assures that the proposed uses are appropriate in the location requested. The Building Official has verified acceptability of the structure for school use and the Fire Marshall offered no objection to the proposed increased enrollment in this building. The Albemarle County Service Authority (ACSA) has indicated that the site is served by water and sewer

 

Access to Crozet Park is provided by Park Road (Rte. 1204), which ranges from 20.5 to 21 feet wide and has a maximum capacity of 1750 vehicle trips per day. Total trips on Park Road west of Claudius Crozet Park were 1900 ADT based on July 2006 VDOT traffic counts.  Given the limited size of the school use requested and that a bus is used to reduce car trips, there are no significant concerns with additional traffic impacts.  The school operates during off-peak hours of park use and is a very low traffic generator compared to the more intensive uses already taking place by-right in the park. The applicant has estimated that approximately ¾ of the total enrollment of 70 students will ride the bus to the school. The Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT) has indicated that site distance is adequate at the entrance into the park, but has also noted that, with future development that may occur in that area of Crozet, Park Road (Rt. 1204) will need to be further addressed.

 

 

SUMMARY:

 

Staff has identified the following factors favorable to this application:

1.      The private school will provide expanded educational opportunities to the community, located near residential areas.

 

Staff has identified one factor unfavorable to this application:

1.      No unfavorable factors have been identified.

 

 

RECOMMENDED ACTION: 

Based on the findings contained in this staff report, staff recommends approval of Special Use Permit 2008-027 Field School, with the following conditions (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

 

 

ATTACHMENTS

 

A.      Aerial Map

B.     Zoning Map

C.     Concept Plan

D.     Planning Commission Minutes, April 3, 2007 meeting, SP 2006-043 Field School Public Hearing

E.     Board of Supervisors Minutes, May 2, 2007 meeting, SP 2006-043 Field School Public Hearing

F.      Virginia Department of Transportation Comments, letter from Joel Denunzio, PE to Bill Fritz, dated July 23, 2008

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