SUB2008-240 - Little Yellow Mountain - Preliminary Subdivision Plat



Approval of preliminary subdivision plat to create 2 lots on 75.65 acres; approval of a waiver to allow access to these lots and two existing lots via a private street.



Messrs.  Tucker, Foley, Davis, Kamptner, Fritz, Pflaum, and Ms. Yaniglos






April 1, 2009


ACTION:     X              INFORMATION:   



  ACTION:                    INFORMATION:   











Richard Bowen submitted a request to divide and reconfigure two existing lots totaling approximately 76 acres into three lots, with a proposed private street to serve these three lots, as well as another existing lot.  The new lots would be 27.0283, 25.666 and 23 acres in size.  The Planning Commission considered this request on February 3, 2009 and denied the applicant’s request for the private street approval.  The applicant has appealed that decision to the Board.



Goal 4: Effectively Manage Growth & Development 



The applicant applied for a private street under Section 14-232(A)(1).  This section allows a private street to be approved to alleviate significant degradation to the environment as the justification. The proposed private street crosses over Powell’s Creek and uses an existing bridge to access the lots. If a public street is required, significantly more earthwork and more disturbance to the critical slopes and the Powell’s Creek stream buffer would occur compared to the construction of a private street.


However, Section 14-234(B) states that, in considering a request for approval of one or more private streets, the agent and the commission shall consider that absent compelling circumstances, private streets should not cross over dams or bridges or involve other infrastructure that would be reasonably prohibitive to maintain.  The staff review of this application resulted in mixed findings.  Because staff could not make the required favorable findings, staff recommended denial.  The Planning Commission denied the private street request for the following reason: “The finding was based on the factors in Section 14-234(B) that states that absent compelling circumstances, no private street shall cross over dams or bridges. The Commission found no compelling circumstance by the approval of the private street to cross over an existing bridge.” 


Since the Planning Commission meeting, the applicant has submitted a letter agreeing to a condition that would restrict the future development of Parcel A and TMP 55-44 (Revised). As stated in the attached letter, Parcel A and TMP 55-44 (Revised) will only retain one development right each and will not be further divided.  In essence, the applicant is agreeing to the imposition of a condition that would limit the number of lots and dwellings served by the private street.  Parcel A is assigned five development rights and TMP 55-44 (Revised) is assigned three development rights.  Therefore, the applicant is agreeing to a condition that would prevent the use of six development rights while it remains in effect.


A condition limiting the number of lots and dwellings served by the private street, combined with the alleviation of significant degradation to the environment by not disturbing critical slopes, or Powell’s Creek, may be considered a “compelling circumstance” within the meaning of Section 14-234(B) so as to justify the approval of a private street over a bridge.  Therefore, staff can now recommend approval of the private street with the conditions recommended below.   



No budget impact.



Staff recommends approval of the private street request subject to the following conditions:


  1. The plat shall be subject to the requirements of Section 14-303 (Contents of final plat), as identified on the “Final Subdivision Checklist” which is available from the Department of Planning and Community Development;
  2. The final plat shall address all minimum requirements from Section 14-410 (Standards for all streets and alleys) and 14-412 (Standards for private streets only);
  3. Health director approval of individual private wells and septic systems;
  4. A maintenance agreement must be submitted and approved by the County Attorney, as specified in Section 14-317 of the Subdivision Ordinance. 
  5. Not more than one dwelling unit may be established on Parcel A and not more than one dwelling unit may be established on TMP 55-44 (Revised), as the term “dwelling unit” is defined in the Albemarle County Zoning Ordinance. 
  6. Neither Parcel A nor TMP 55-44(Revised) shall be further divided. 
  7. Conditions 5 and 6 shall be stated in the notes on the final plat.



A – Planning Commission Staff Report

B – Planning Commission Action Letter

C – Applicants Proposed Condition

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