Albemarle County Planning Commission

March 10, 2009


The Albemarle County Planning Commission held a public hearing and meeting on Tuesday, March 10, 2009, at 6:00 p.m., at the County Office Building, Lane Auditorium, Second Floor, 401 McIntire Road, Charlottesville, Virginia.


Members attending were Marcia Joseph, Don Franco, Calvin Morris, Bill Edgerton, Linda Porterfield and Thomas Loach, Vice Chairman. Eric Strucko, Chairman at 6:13 p.m. Julia Monteith, AICP, non-voting representative for the University of Virginia was absent. 


Other officials present were Wayne Cilimberg, Director of Planning; Mark Graham, Director of Community Development; Bill Fritz, Chief of Current Development, Juan Wade, Transportation Planner; Gerald Gatobu, Principal Planner; Eryn Brennan, Senior Planner; David Benish, Chief of Planning and Greg Kamptner, Deputy County Attorney. 


Call to Order and Establish Quorum:


Mr. Loach called the regular meeting to order at 6:00 p.m. and established a quorum.


            Public Hearing Items:


SP-2008-00065 Tandem Friends School Classroom Trailer

PROPOSED: Temporary classroom trailer in northeast corner of parcel

ZONING CATEGORY/GENERAL USAGE: R-1 Residential - 1 unit/acre

SECTION: Private Schools

COMPREHENSIVE PLAN LAND USE/DENSITY:  Institutional - schools, universities and colleges and ancillary facilities and public facilities and utilities


LOCATION: 279 Tandem Lane, approx. 350 feet west of the intersection with Mill Creek Dr.

TAX MAP/PARCEL: 09100-00-00-002A0


(Eryn Brennan)


Ms. Brennan summarized the staff report.  (See Staff Report)

·         Staff has identified the following factors favorable to this application:

1.       The addition will continue to provide expanded educational opportunities to the community.

2.       There will be no detrimental impacts to surrounding properties.


·         Staff has not identified any unfavorable factors to this application.


·Staff recommends approval of the special use permit with the conditions outlined in the staff report.


Mr. Strucko invited questions for staff.


Ms. Joseph noted that in the executive summary staff talks about a temporary use but there is no time limitation.  She asked if there was any reason that the use was called temporary.


Ms. Brennan replied that the applicant has indicated that it is temporary.


Mr. Edgerton noted that he had the same question.  He looks forward for the applicant to explain what they mean by temporary and if there is a date associated he would like to make that a condition of the approval.


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


Bill Dunson, with Tandem School, was present to answer questions related to the project.  He explained that Tandem Friend School was a college preparatory school that embraces diversity focused on developing that which is special and unique within each individual.  The school was formed in 1969. It opened its doors in 1970 with 22 students serving the 9th and 10th grades in a location of a small brick building which is now used by Southern Development on Pantops Mountain Road.  In 1972 the school moved to the Hill Crest Estate which at the time was entered from Route 20 and was a rural estate.  At that point the school at 67 students was serving the 9th through 12th grade.  In the spring of 1973 the school had its first commencement with 17 students graduating.  Over time the school has continued to grow.  In 1976 an 8th grade was added.  In 1983 the school expanded to a full middle school with 6th through 8th grade.  In 1987 a 5th grade was added, which brought about the expansions that staff alluded to during the 1990’s.  First a field house and gymnasium were added in addition to the soccer fields and field hockey field.  A community hall with class room space was added.  In 1998 the final building was added, which is a mass science building. 


Mr. Dunson explained that currently the school serves approximately 200 students.  Over time additional educational electives have been offered and as time as gone by this has put constraints on the space available.  The 2007/2008 school year the Board of Tandem contracted with VMDO Architectures to do a space utilization study and analysis their needs versus the space available.  At that time they identified that they needed two additional class rooms.  Very fortunately they were given the opportunity or donated a modular trailer unit that made up two class rooms.  This unit had previously been used at the Peabody School.  That brings them to the point of needing a special use perm it to put the modular unit in place and hopefully to put it in use by the fall of this coming year. 


In response to Mr. Edgerton’s question Mr. Dunson noted that this request is in response to doing a master campus plan with the idea that eventually they would hopefully add onto their existing gymnasium space.  Ideally they would like to add a permanent designated performing arts space.  Right now one of the constraints they have is that their community meeting hall is also their drama space.  So every time they have drama class they have to break everything down for the next class.  But more importantly they hope in the near future to add permanent middle school building that would replace a current cinder block structure that they have on campus and would replace the modular class room unit.  They are hoping to do that in the next three to four years depending somewhat on the economy and giving.  That is their plan and why they refer to this as a temporary structure.  It is not something as a community that they want to keep on their campus in the long term.  It is just to alleviate short term space needs.


Mr. Strucko invited questions for the applicant.


Mr. Loach pointed out that he would reference the modular unit as a “learning cottage.”


Mr. Strucko invited public comment.  There being none, the public hearing was closed and the matter came back before the Commission.


Motion:   Ms. Porterfield moved and Mr. Morris seconded to approve SP-2008-00065, Tandem Friends School Classroom Trailer with the condition as recommended by staff.


1.   The development of the use shall be in conformity with the concept plan entitled, "Tandem Friends School Campus Plan Study Site Plan,” prepared by VMDO Architects, and dated 12/4/08 as determined by the Director of Planning and the Zoning Administrator. To be in conformity with the plan, development shall reflect the following major elements within the development essential to the design of the development, including:

         Building Orientation

         Building Size

         Location of the Buildings

         Limits of Disturbance as shown on the plan.

Minor modifications to the plan which do not conflict with the elements above may be made to ensure compliance with the Zoning Ordinance;

2.   Additional buildings or increase in total enrollment/staffing may only be authorized by a new special use permit;

3.   Total school enrollment and on-site staffing shall be limited to 260 persons.


The motion passed by a vote of 7:0.


Mr. Strucko said that SP-2008-00065, Tandem Friends School Classroom Trailer would go to the Board of Supervisors on April 8 with a recommendation for approval.



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