COUNTY OF ALBEMARLE

 

EXECUTIVE SUMMARY

 

 

AGENDA TITLE:

Community Development Work Program

 

SUBJECT/PROPOSAL/REQUEST:

Revisions to current FY 07-08 Work Program

 

STAFF CONTACT(S):

Messrs. Tucker, Foley, Davis, Kamptner, Graham

 

LEGAL REVIEW:  Yes

 

AGENDA DATE: 

February 4, 2009

 

ACTION:     X          INFORMATION:   

 

CONSENT AGENDA:

        ACTION:                 INFORMATION:   

 

ATTACHMENTS:   Yes

 

REVIEWED BY:

 

 

 

BACKGROUND:

The purpose of this work session is to establish work program priorities for Community Development in FY 09-10 and anticipated priorities for subsequent years.  Community Development annually reviews its work program with the Board. This was last done in February 2008 and the FY08-09 work program is provided as Attachment A.   Attachment B provides a status report for the current work program items.   Related to this update, staff is also providing the Board an update on the status of the Development Review Process Task Force recommendations. Those recommendations, which were adopted in May 2007, are one part of the work program. (Attachment C) As shown in that attachment, staff believes most recommendations are either completed or ongoing efforts, with a few that will be initiated as resources become available. 

 

STRATEGIC PLAN:

Goal 2: Protect the County's Natural, Scenic and Historic Resources

Goal 4:  Effectively Manage the County’s Growth and Development.

 

DISCUSSION:

Staff considers the last year to be a success for the work program.  With the exception of the Places 29 Master Plan, projects have remained on schedule or have been completed ahead of schedule.   This includes a number of ordinance amendments that staff had previously anticipated would not be completed this year.  The Places 29 Master Plan has lagged due to the need for additional revisions.  Those revisions resulted from Planning Commission input of draft chapters and staff’s recognition that some draft chapters required a rewrite to meet the expectations of the County.   Staff believes the Places 29 Master Plan is now in an acceptable draft form and ready for review by the public and Planning Commission.  Following that review, staff anticipates it will be ready to proceed to public hearings in the second half of 2009. 

 

Resource Considerations:

In developing next year’s work program, staff first focused on workload and available resources.   To assist the Board in understanding the current work load, staff has prepared an historical overview of workload in key areas. (Attachment D).  In reviewing this, it should be noted that significant decreases have been seen the last year for two areas.  The first decrease is related to the number of building permits and associated building inspections.  In particular, staff notes the significant drop in the number of new residential permits.   To date, the other types of building permit applications have remained fairly consistent.   Based on this workload change, staff is shifting some of the building inspector workforce to other tasks, such as assisting Facilities Development with CIP projects, the proposed removal of illegal signs, enhancing erosion and sediment control enforcement, and records management.   The second area with a significant drop is rezonings (ZMAs), which are one of the legislative reviews.   This has allowed planners that would be working on rezonings to direct their attention to ordinance amendments and other work program items.   Other than those two areas, staff has not seen an appreciable reduction in workload and, in the case of ARB and site plan applications, staff notes a record number of applications in 2008.  With respect to available resources, staff notes the department had seven frozen positions at this time last year. The department now has seven and one-half frozen positions and two additional positions have been shifted to work in other departments, effectively leaving the department with the equivalent of nine and one-half vacant positions.   In considering the above information, staff believes the reduced workload has been effectively offset by the decreased number of positions.  This leaves the department with no significant change in capacity to undertake work program initiatives.          

 

Priorities:

Next, staff has established priorities for next year’s work program.   The priorities have focused on three factors. First, staff has considered legal mandates.   The County is obligated to review its Comprehensive Plan every five years.  Staff has approached this task over the last few years through a section by section review rather than attempting to undertake one review for the entire Comprehensive Plan.  To compensate for past delays, staff plans a combined review of several chapters starting the 4th quarter of FY 09-10.  Second, staff has considered the County’s Strategic Plan.  Two areas were noted as important.  The Board requested a review of the Rural Areas Plan for additional strategies to undertake and the Board requested the Crozet Master Plan update be scheduled ahead of work on a Southern Urban Areas Master Plan. Both have been accommodated in this proposed work program.   Third, based on the Board’s December 9, 2008 consideration of the County’s Five Year Financial Plan, staff has assumed that new efforts should be limited to currently available resources (funding and staff) and preference be given to efforts that would improve staff’s availability to undertake other tasks in the near future.   For example, development of an Historic Preservation Ordinance was given a low priority because it is not legally mandated, not an objective of the Strategic Plan, the Historic Resource Planner is a frozen position, and this ordinance would increase resource demands.

 

Proposed Work Program:

Staff’s recommended work program is provided as Attachment E.   With respect to master plans, staff anticipates completion of both the Places 29 and Village of Rivanna plans in 2009.  Also, staff is currently preparing for the Crozet update in the next fiscal year.   With respect to updating the Comprehensive Plan, staff plans on an initial review of Community Facilities standards for staffing and response times by the Board this Spring.  Following that review, staff will undertake a major consolidated review of the Land Use Plan, Community Facilities, Utilities, Natural / Cultural, Rural Areas, and plan format to bring mandated reviews up to date.   .   

 

The Rural Areas Plan is presented as both Comprehensive Plan implementation and an anticipated five year review.  From the Board’s last retreat, staff understands the Board is interested in establishing additional priority strategies this year.   Beyond those strategies, staff believes the Board needs to consider whether the Rural Areas Plan requires an update as part of its five year review.   Staff has assumed an update to the Plan in this schedule.  Beyond this, staff has planned on focusing additional resources towards conservation easements, which was understood as the Board’s direction from last Fall’s retreat.  

 

Next, with respect to implementing strategies from the Comprehensive Plan, staff is proposing to complete work on the Neighborhood Model implementation and associated revisions to the Zoning Ordinance. That work is already underway and should be completed in the next fiscal year. Staff is not proposing to work on the three other projects shown on this schedule, except at resources become available. With respect to the ARB update, staff anticipates this would increase resource demands when implemented and notes the ARB reviews are currently at record levels. With respect to Historic Preservation and Natural Heritage, staff anticipates the Historic Resource Planner and Natural Resource Planner positions will remain frozen for at least the next four to five years and those resources would likely be needed for implementation of this work.   Thus, both were given a low priority.  

 

Finally, with respect to other initiatives, staff notes that current work efforts include a number of initiatives that had not been programmed for the current year.  This suggests the Board has an interest in reserving capacity to respond to new initiatives that come up during the year.   Currently, staff is responding to this type of request with wind turbines, illegal signs in the right of way, and public requests for changes in the Water Protection Ordinance.  To this end, staff has listed a number of proposed ordinance amendments that would be addressed as resources are available, but assumes that capacity may be redirected to new initiatives introduced during the next year.        

 

BUDGET IMPACT:

This work program has been drafted to fit within the department’s FY 09-10 requested budget.  Additional funding may be needed in FY 10-11 for work on the Southern Urban Areas Master Plan, but an approach to this master plan has not yet been considered by the Board or Planning Commission. As such, a funding need has not been developed.       

 

RECOMMENDATIONS:

Staff requests the Board consider the FY 09-10 work program as proposed in Attachment E and advise staff of any changes desired in this proposed work program.  Staff then asks for the Board’s adoption of that work program. 

 

ATTACHMENTS

Attachment A – Work Program adopted February 2008

Attachment B – FY 08-09 Progress Review

Attachment C – Status of Development Review Process Task Force Recommendations

Attachment D – Historical Workload Trends

Attachment E – Proposed FY 09-10 Work Program   

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