COUNTY OF ALBEMARLE

STAFF REPORT SUMMARY

 

Project Name:  SP2008-49 Pine Ridge Church of the Brethren Addition

Staff: Eryn Brennan

Planning Commission Public Hearing:

December 9, 2008

Board of Supervisors Public Hearing:

January 14, 2009

Owner: General Mission Board of the Brethren c/o Charles Herring

Applicant: Stanley Heatwole, Pine Ridge Church of the Brethren

Acreage:  1.5 acres

Special Use Permit: Section 10.2.2 (35) Church building and adjunct cemetery

TMP:  Tax Map 19 Parcel 45

Location:  The parcel is located at 5990 Buffalo River Road, off Buck Mountain Road (Route 663), north of Earlysville.

Existing Zoning and By-right use: Rural Areas: agricultural, forestral, and fishery uses; residential density (0.5 unit/acre)  

 

 

Magisterial District: Whitehall

Conditions: Yes

RA (Rural Areas):  X  

Requested # of Dwelling Units:  N/A          

Proposal:  To construct a 18’ x 24’ (432 square foot) addition on the rear of the church to serve as a multi-purpose area

Comprehensive Plan Designation: Rural Areas – preserve and protect agricultural, forestral, open space, and natural, historic and scenic resources/density (0.5 unit/acre)

 

Character of Property: Pine Ridge Church of the Brethren is a cross-shaped building located on the top of a rise and includes a cemetery to the northwest.

Use of Surrounding Properties:  The surrounding context is comprised of mixed hardwood forest and single family homes. A large forested parcel located to the south/east is under conservation easement.

Factors Favorable:

1.        No impacts on adjacent property resulting from the proposed addition.

2.        The addition to the church supports the continuing use of an historic building, encouraging its long term protection.

3.        The addition will help sustain the continuing presence if a vibrant community church, enhancing the quality of life of its rural congregation.

4.        The addition will minimally impact the existing character of the church building and will not be visible from the road.

5.        This application will bring the church into conformance with the zoning ordinance.

Factors Unfavorable:

Staff has not identified any factors unfavorable to this application.

RECOMMENDATION: Staff recommends approval of this Special Use Permit, with conditions.

 

STAFF PERSON: Eryn Brennan, Senior Planner

PLANNING COMMISSION: December 9, 2008

BOARD OF SUPERVISORS: January 14, 2009

 

 

SP2008-49 Pine Ridge Church of the Brethren Addition

 

Petition:

PROJECT: SP2008-49 Pine Ridge Church of the Brethren Addition

PROPOSED: To construct a 18’ x 24’ (432 square foot) addition on the rear of the church to serve as classroom space and a dining area

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

SECTION: 10.2.2.35 Church building and adjunct cemetery

COMPREHENSIVE PLAN LAND USE/DENSITY: Rural Areas – preserve and protect agricultural, forestral, open space, and natural, historic and scenic resources/density (0.5 unit/acre)

ENTRANCE CORRIDOR: Yes___ No_x__

LOCATION: 5990 Buffalo River Road, off Buck Mountain Road (Route 663), north of Earlysville

TAX MAP/PARCEL: Tax Map 19, Parcel 45

MAGISTERIAL DISTRICT: Whitehall

 

Character of the Area:

The surrounding context is comprised of heavily forested ridge lines including a primarily deciduous matrix and a few evergreen stands. Residences and agricultural fields create a few open patches in what would otherwise be contiguous forest. Lying to the northeast of the church is the North Fork Rivanna River, and adjacent to the southeast portion of the parcel is a large tract of land under conservation easement. The church is located approximately 400 feet from where Vintage Road forks off of Buffalo River Road (Route 604), after a 90 degree curve in the road. Approximately 35 feet behind the church is a cemetery. A 180 foot gravel drive stretches from Buffalo River Road to the church, which is located in the central portion of the lot equidistant from the north and south property lines.

 

Specifics of the Proposal:

Pine Ridge Church of the Brethren has requested an 18’ x 24’ addition to the main church building to serve as a multi-purpose area. The church is a cross-shaped plan, and the proposed rectangular addition would connect the north and east wings on the building. The proposed addition would not include additional seating in the sanctuary; therefore, no additional parking would be required.

 

Planning and Zoning:

Pine Ridge Church of the Brethren is legally non-conforming; this special use permit request is the first planning and zoning application for this property since the adoption of the Zoning Ordinance and will bring it into conformance with the Zoning Ordinance.

 

Conformity with the Comprehensive Plan:

The Comprehensive Plan designates the subject properties as Rural Areas emphasizing the preservation and protection of agricultural, forestal, open space, and natural, historic and scenic resources as land use options.   Under the Rural Areas Section of the Comprehensive Plan allowing an addition to this rural community church supports the following Guiding Principles:

 

 “Protect the Rural Area’s historic, archeological, and cultural resources.”

 

“Protect and enhance rural quality of life for present and future Rural Area residents.”

 

“Address the needs of existing rural residents without fostering growth and further suburbanization of the Rural Areas.”

 

The proposed addition to Pine Ridge Church of the Brethren will help sustain the continuing presence of a community church, enhancing the quality of life of its rural congregation.  The proposed church addition addresses the needs of rural residents without encouraging suburbanization, contributing to the creation of a defacto growth area, or impacting the character of local historic, scenic, or cultural resources.    

 

STAFF COMMENT:

Staff addresses each provision of Section 31.2.4.1 of the Zoning Ordinance:

 

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,

The proposed addition to an existing church building does not represent an increased intensity of use.  Associated traffic patterns or overall activity on the site will not change as a result of this proposal.  Staff feels there will be no impacts on adjacent property resulting from the proposed 18’ x 24’ addition to the main church building.   

 

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

A plaque in Pine Ridge Church of the Brethren indicates that the church was built in 1937. With few exceptions, including a steeple and vinyl siding added to the church in the mid-twentieth century, the church has remained unchanged since its construction. The white frame church is situated on a rise, and extensive forest cover characterizes the near-by district with intermittent clearings occupied by churches and residences.

 

The proposed addition to Pine Ridge Church of the Brethren, totaling 18’ x 24’ (432 square feet), is proposed to connect the north and east wings of the building without extending beyond the face of the sides of the existing church building. Staff feels the proposed addition is conceived in a manner that will minimally impact the existing character of the church building, the site, and the surrounding district.      

 

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

Section 18, Chapter 10 of the Zoning Ordinance outlines the purpose of Rural Areas zoning: “This district (hereafter referred to as RA) is hereby created and may hereafter be established by amendment of the zoning map for the following purposes:

-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. (Amended 11-8-89)”

 

Allowing for a more convenient and functional place of worship encourages the congregation of Pine Ridge Church of the Brethren to continue its active presence within the local community, directly supporting the conservation of both historic and scenic resources in the County. 

 

with uses permitted by right in the district,

The uses permitted by right under RA zoning include the preservation of agricultural and forestal activities. Sustaining the County’s Rural Area zoning district is dependent on including uses that support agricultural and forestal communities, including meeting places, at rural scales, providing the opportunity to take part in community life.  The proposed addition to Pine Ridge Church of the Brethren will allow the congregation to continue to support agricultural and forestal community life at a rural scale by providing an indoor community gathering place.      

 

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

There are no regulations in Section 5.0 of the Ordinance that apply to church buildings and adjunct cemeteries. 

 

and with the public health, safety and general welfare.

The Albemarle County Engineer has indicated that this project is not in the Albemarle County Service Authority jurisdictional area for water and sewer service.

 

The proposed Special Use Permit would not impact groundwater resources.

 

The proposed Special Use Permit does not generate the need for a site plan.

 

SUMMARY:

Staff has identified the following factors favorable to this application:

  1. The addition to the church supports the continuing use of an historic building, encouraging its long term protection. 
  2. The addition will help sustain the continuing presence of a vibrant community church, enhancing the quality of life of its rural congregation. 
  3. The church addition addresses the needs of rural residents.
  4. No impacts on adjacent property resulting from the proposed addition.
  5. The addition will minimally impact the existing character of the church building.  

        

Staff has not identified any factors unfavorable to this application.

 

RECOMMENDED ACTION: 

Based on the findings contained in this staff report, staff recommends approval of Special Use Permit 2008-49 Pine Ridge Church of the Brethren with the following conditions:

 

1. The church’s improvements and the scale and location of the improvements shall be developed in general accord with the conceptual plan provided by the applicant and received September 12, 2008;

 

2. The area of assembly shall be limited to a maximum of an 88-seat sanctuary;

 

3. There shall be no day care center or private school on site without approval of a separate special use permit.

 

4. All outdoor lighting shall be arranged or shielded to reflect light away from all abutting properties. A lighting plan limiting light levels at all property lines to no greater than 0.3 foot candles shall be subject to approval by the Planning Director.

 

 

ATTACHMENTS

Attachment A - Concept application plan

Attachment B – Pine Ridge Church of the Brethren aerial detail

Attachment C – Pine Ridge Church of the Brethren aerial context

Attachment D - Site photographs

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