COUNTY OF ALBEMARLE

STAFF REPORT SUMMARY

 

 

 

Project Name:  SP 2008-58 JR Harris Garage – Amendment and Critical Slopes Waiver

Staff: Joan McDowell,

Principal Planner Rural Areas

Planning Commission Public Hearing:

May 5, 2009

Board of Supervisors Public Hearing:

June 10, 2009

Owner/s:  Thomas and Theresa Harris

Applicant: Thomas and Theresa Harris

Acreage:  3.23 acres (total)

.60 acres designated for special use permit

Special Use Permit: Zoning Ordinance Section 10.2.2 (37) Public Garage

TMP:  008000000035A0

Location:  6929 Markwood Road, approximately one-half mile north of Davis Shop Road

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

Magisterial District:  White Hall

Conditions or Proffers: Yes

RA (Rural Areas)  X

Requested # of Dwelling Units:   N/A         

Proposal:  amend SP 01-49 to allow an expansion of the auto repair garage

Comprehensive Plan Designation:

(Rural Areas 1)  Rural Areas – preserve and protect agricultural, forestal, open space, and natural, historic and scenic resources/ density ( .5  unit/ acre in development lots)

Character of Property:  mixture of residential and auto repair garage

Use of Surrounding Properties:  residential, agricultural, and forestal

Factors Favorable:

  1. The public garage is an existing operation that provides a service to the surrounding community.
  2. The applicant has made improvements to the garage and the parking area.
  3. The use is consistent with the Rural Area, if all impacts of this use are mitigated.

 

 

Factors Unfavorable:

  1. The garage, if conditions are not implemented, compromises the character of the Rural Areas district.

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

 

 


 

Petition:

PROJECT:  SP200800058 Harris Garage

PROPOSED:  Amend SP 00-49 Thomas Harris Garage to allow an expansion of a public garage on approximately a .60-acre portion of a 3.23-acre parcel

ZONING CATEGORY/GENERAL USAGE: RA Rural Areas - agricultural, forestal, and fishery uses; residential density (0.5 unit/acre in development lots)

SECTION: 10.2.2 (37) Public Garage

COMPREHENSIVE PLAN LAND USE/DENSITY:  Rural Areas - preserve and protect agricultural, forestal, open space, and natural, historic and scenic resources/ density (.5 unit/ acre in development lots)

ENTRANCE CORRIDOR:  No

LOCATION:   6929 Markwood Road, approx. one-half mile north of Davis Shop Road

TAX MAP/PARCEL: 008000000035A0

MAGISTERIAL DISTRICT: White Hall

 

Character of the Area:

Located approximately one-mile south of Greene County, this area consists of a mixture of residences, agricultural uses, and wooded areas.  Beaverdam Creek is located on an adjacent property to the east, at a lower elevation than the garage. 

 

Specifics of the Proposal:

In 2002, a special use permit for a public garage (SP 2001-49) was approved with conditions that had been framed to bring an existing non-conforming garage into conformity with the zoning ordinance and to alleviate several zoning and building violations.  With this application, the applicant has requested an amendment to the special use permit in order to expand the garage facilities. The chart below summarizes the existing and proposed facilities in three categories:

1) garage facilities approved with SP 2001-49;

2) garage facilities that have been constructed without approval of an amendment to SP 2001-49 with one exception:  a building expansion that was administratively approved by the Zoning Division, as it was determined that it would not be an expansion of the approved public garage (Attachment B).  With the exception of this building expansion, the remaining improvements are zoning violations (Attachment C); and

3) items that have been requested with SP 2008-58 that have not been implemented.

 

SP 2001-49 – approved

Existing facilities proposed w/ SP 2008-58

additional changes proposed w/ SP 2008-58

1,936 sq.ft. metal building for a public garage containing 3 bays

1,496 sq.ft. block building  expansion with 1 bay (to contain existing outside car lift) and storage was administratively approved

16’ X 30’ Storage building

10 parking spaces (outside)

5 additional parking spaces (outside) – 15 total

Designate area for special use permit to separate it from the residential portion of the property

1 outside car lift (moved inside to new building expansion)

1 new outside car lift

 

Gravel parking and access

Paved parking and access

 

Trash dumpster (front)

Relocated trash dumpster (rear)

 

 

Paint mixing building

 

 

Carport – two car spaces

Carport – three car spaces

 

 

 

In addition, an approximately a .60 acre portion of the property has been designated for the public garage use.  The remaining property contains a residence and accessory buildings for the residence. Additional information regarding this separation of the garage use and the residential use is discussed in the Staff Comment section of this report.

 

Planning and Zoning History:

·     The SP 01-49 staff report includes the history of a garage on this property (Attachment D, pages 2-3). 

·     SP 01-49 was approved by the Board of Supervisors on February 13, 2002.

·     Currently there are Zoning Violations on the property (Attachment C)

·     The applicant received building permits (residential) for two carports, but when it was determined that these carports were part of the public garage operation and not the residence, the applicant was notified that the permits were voided and that commercial permits would be required, subject to approval of an amendment to the special use permit.  

 

Conformity with the Comprehensive Plan:

The property is located within the Rural Areas land use designation of the Comprehensive Plan.

 

While the Rural Areas section of the Comprehensive Plan does not specifically mention public garages, it does caution that the size and intensity of rural alternative uses should be limited so that they do not conflict with the character of the Rural Areas.  A Guiding Principle aims to address the needs of existing rural residents without fostering growth and further suburbanization of the Rural Areas.  The expansion of an existing garage to serve the surrounding community would not appear to conflict with goals and policies of the Comprehensive Plan, if the garage expansion is careful to retain the rural character of the area.  Therefore, a condition of approval (Condition 8) is offered to require additional landscape screening between both Markwood Road and the garage facilities and to contain the garage uses within a specific area of the property.

 

STAFF COMMENT:

As described in SP 2001-49 staff report (Attachment D), there is a history of zoning and building violations related to this use.  The applicant had been operating the garage at a scale greater than staff could recommend for approval without conditions needed to bring the operation into scale and intensity for a use to be consistent with rural area policies. This history together with the current violations again raises questions concerning the scale and intensity of this use and the applicant’s non-compliance with the conditions of the existing special use permit. In discussions during the review of this application, it became apparent that a part of the problem may have resulted from the unusual number of vehicles owned by the applicant’s family (15 vehicles currently) parked on the property.  In addition, even though an expansion to the garage was administratively approved to allow inside storage of materials, the applicant has continued to store items outside on the garage site.  In seeking a solution, the applicant’s engineer believes that a separation of the business from the residential use may direct customer and private parking to different areas of the property.  With this separation, the area inside that part of the property subject to the special use permit for a public garage (special use permit boundary) would contain vehicles waiting for repair, for pick up, and in the paint drying process.  All vehicles owned by the family would be parked outside the special use permit boundary.  Occasional minor repairs that would allow the vehicle to be started in order to be moved into the garage for further repairs would be permitted outside.  All other vehicle repair, painting and assembly related to the public garage would be restricted to the inside of the garage. Signage along the driveway at the public garage area entrance would indicate where customers may park their vehicles and where the parking is for private use only.  The existing restriction on outdoor storage (Condition 5) would continue and the outdoor storage of materials currently taking place outside would be placed inside a new 480 square foot storage building.

 

A comparison of this use and other public garage uses in the Rural Areas is included as reference (Attachment H).  Only one garage, the Earlysville Service Center, which is currently under review, is larger. 

 

Staff will address 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 garage facilities are within sight of the adjacent properties on the north and south.  In seasons that deciduous trees have shed their leaves, the landscape buffer between the garage and the adjacent property to the north is not sufficient to screen the garage area.  In addition, the existing landscape buffer between the garage area and Markwood Road is not sufficient to screen the garage from the road.  In order to mitigate the visual impacts of a public garage from existing residences, staff has recommended a condition to require additional landscape screening (Condition 8) from the street.  A condition of the critical slope waiver would require landscaping between the rear of the garage and the adjacent property to the north.

 

As the separation of the public garage from the private residential area of this property would result in the family vehicles being parked along the driveway in front of the garage in a highly visible area from the street, A condition of approval to require landscape screening in the area between the road and the private parking area is also recommended.  Attachment F shows the locations of the recommended (Condition 8) landscaping buffers.  

 

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

Dense landscape screening between the public garage, the garage parking area, and the family parking area would shield the garage and vehicles from public view, protect the general character of the district.  An additional storage building would provide space for inside storage. 

 

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

The purpose and intent of the Rural Areas zoning is to preserve agricultural and forestal lands and activities, to protect the water supply, to limit service to rural areas, and to conserve the natural, scenic, and historic resources of the County.  Although this use does not preserve these resources, public garages are allowed by special use permit in the Rural Areas.  Conditions of approval are intended to keep the scale and intensity of the garage in conformity with the character of the Rural Areas. 

 

with uses permitted by right in the district,

The proposed expansion of the public garage would not interfere with the uses permitted by right in the Rural Areas district.

 

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

No regulations for a public garage are in Section 5.0 of the Zoning Ordinance. 

 

and with the public health, safety and general welfare.

As required by SP 2001-49, the driveway was re-located in order to provide adequate sight distance.  The Virginia Department of Transportation has not recommended any additional changes to the entrance, with this application.  The Fire Department has indicated that they routinely conduct yearly inspections of these types of businesses.  The Department of Environmental Quality has not recommended any additional requirements. 

 

SUMMARY:

Staff has identified the following factors favorable to this application:

  1. The public garage is an existing operation that provides a service to the surrounding community.
  2. The applicant has made improvements to the garage and the parking area.
  3. The use is consistent with the Rural Area, if all impacts of this use are mitigated.

 

 

Staff has identified the following factor unfavorable to this application:

  1. The garage, if conditions are not implemented, compromises the character of the Rural Areas district.

 

RECOMMENDED ACTION:

Based on the findings contained in this staff report, staff recommends approval of SP2008-58 JR Harris Garage Amendment, subject to the following conditions of approval.  (The conditions approved with SP 2001-49 have been have been copied below and amended, as needed.)

 

 

  1. Within one (1)  month following approval of this special use permit, the permittee shall submit to the County either a site plan or an application for a site plan waiver and shall obtain preliminary site plan approval or approval of a site plan waiver.  If a preliminary site plan is approved, within one (1) month of that approval the permittee shall submit for approval the final site plan.  If a final site plan is not approved within six (6) months after the date of the preliminary site plan was approved, the public garage use shall cease until a final site plan is approved;

Development of the use shall be in accord with the conceptual plan titled “Amended Site Plan Harris’ Garage”, prepared by DW Enterprises, and dated March 16, 2009 (hereinafter, the “Conceptual Plan”), as determined by the Director of Planning and the Zoning Administrator.  To be in accord with the plan, development shall reflect the following major elements within the development essential to the design of the development:

·   The area designated for the special use (public garage);

·   The size, height and location of the proposed buildings (16’ X 30’/maximum 24’ high);

·   The size, height and location of the existing buildings/structures (original garage – 1,936 square feet/24 feet high/3 vehicle bays; garage expansion – 1,496 square feet/24 feet high/1 vehicle bay; enclosed compressor room; paint mixing room; one outside lift; one dumpster pad/fence enclosure;  3 parking spaces carport; 2 parking spaces carport);

·   The number (maximum15 spaces public garage) and location of the vehicle parking spaces;

·   The two (2) signage locations at the entrance to the special use permit area.  The signs shall state, “All vehicles beyond this point must be placed in a marked parking space and be a maximum of four (4) square feet.

·   The sign location at the area designated as “Parking for Private Vehicles.”  The sign shall state, “Parking for only personal vehicles of the Harris Family and be a maximum of four (4) square feet.   

2.1.Within five (5) months following approval of this special use permit, the permittee shall apply for approval from the Virginia Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) for storing oil, radiator fluid and other chemicals associated with the public garage.  Storage shall conform to all requirements of DEQ.  The chemicals shall be stored under a shelter with overhead coverage;

3.1.Within three (3) months following approval of this special use permit, the permittee shall obtain written approval from the County Department of Fire and Rescue of a means to contain accidental or incidental spills from storage drums or containers and a spill containment system;

4.1.Within three (3) months following approval of this special use permit, the permittee shall either remove or demolish one of the dwelling units on the property, or convert it so that it is no longer a dwelling unit within the meaning of the Zoning Ordinance, as determined by the Zoning Administrator;

5.Within one (1) month following approval of this special use permit, the permittee shall submit to the DEQ a Form 7 application for an air permitting determination for the paint operation. The permittee shall comply with all rules and regulations imposed by DEQ.  If a Form 7 application is not submitted or if the permittee fails to comply with all rules and regulations imposed by DEQ, body work and spray painting vehicles is prohibited;

6.2. Gasoline sales are prohibited;

7.3. The sale or rental of vehicles or other motorized equipment is prohibited;

8.4. All repairing or equipping of vehicles shall take place inside the existing garage, with the exception of vehicles being repaired on the vehicle lift located adjacent to the garage;

9.5. The outdoor storage of parts, equipment, machinery and junk is prohibited;

6.       Only personal vehicles may be parked in the area marked “parking for personal vehicles” on the Conceptual Plan. No more than fifteen (15) vehicles associated with the public garage use shall be located outside the garage.  All vehicles associated with the public garage use shall be parked in the spaces shown as “for garage only on the Conceptual Plan. Any vehicles parked outside the area marked “parking for personal vehicles” shall be considered to be associated with the public garage and are counted in the fifteen (15) vehicle maximum.

10.1.No more than a total of ten (10) vehicles of the public garage customers; and the vehicles of the owner or occupant of the property, or any other person, that: (a) are inoperable vehicles within the meaning of Section 3/1 of the Zoning Ordinance; (b) are being or will be repaired, equipped, restored, refurbished, or painted; (c) are having or will have body work performed on them; or (d) are having or will have their parts or equipment removed, to be used in the repair or equipping of other vehicles or to be sold;

11.Within three (3) months following approval of this special use permit, the permittee shall obtain written Fire Official approval of the garage operation;

12.1.Within three (3) months following the approval of this special use permit, the permittee shall apply for Health Department approval of the septic system.  The septic system shall comply with Healther Department requirements;

13.1.Within three (3) months following the approval of this special use permit, the permittee shall obtain written Engineering Department approval of the waste disposal and collection methods;

14.7.    The hours of operation shall be betweennot exceed (earlier or later) 8 A.M. and 8 P.M., Monday through Saturday.  These hours of operation do not prohibit customers from dropping off vehicles before 8 A.M. on the days of operation; and

15.8.    Within three (3) months following approval of the site plan or site plan waiver, the permittee shall install and thereafter maintain a minimum twenty (20)-foot deep landscape evergreen-screening buffer to shield between the view of the garage from and garage parking and the adjacent properties on Markwood Road; and between the areas designated as parking for personal vehicles and Markwood Road The screening buffer shall be located in the approximate area labeled “gravel parking,” and between the building and the street, as shown on the “SP 01-49 Harris Garage Concept Plan.”  The spacing and materials used in the landscape buffer shall be approved by the Planning Director.  This landscape screening shall supplement existing landscape approved with SP 2001-49 and consist of Eastern Red Cedar or other material approved by the Planning Director, a minimum 4feet high at planting, and planted in staggered rows with a maximum of ten (10) feet on center spacing between the landscape materials.   The permittee shall also submit a landscape plan with the site plan application that will be subject to the approval of the Planning Director or the Planning Director’s designee; and.

9.       All outdoor lighting shall be only full cut-off fixtures and shielded to reflect light away from all abutting properties.  A lighting plan (for new lighting) limiting light levels at all property lines to no greater than 0.3 foot candles shall be submitted to the Zoning Administrator or their designee for approval.

 

 

CRITICAL SLOPE WAIVER

The applicant has also applied for critical slope waivers for disturbances that already have been made on two areas of the property:  generally between the garage and the adjacent neighbor on the north and between the garage and the Beaver Dam Creek on the east (Attachment F).  The engineering analysis of the request follows:

 

Description of critical slope area and proposed disturbance:

The two areas of critical slope disturbance consisted of a large wooded slope leading down to the stream on the rear, eastern property line, and a steep wooded slope behind the building on the northern property line.  The applicant has already disturbed these areas in violation of the ordinance and existing special use permit plans. The applicant is proposing to stabilize the northern slope behind the building with seed and a small wall at the toe, and to leave the eastern slope as-is.

 

Areas

Acres

Total site

3.23 acre parcel

Critical slopes

0.37

12% of site

Critical slopes disturbed

0.3

81% of critical slopes

 

Exemptions to critical slopes waivers for driveways, roads and utilities without reasonable alternative locations:

This disturbance is not exempt.

 

Compliance with Zoning Ordinance 18-4.2:

“movement of soil and rock”

The slopes have not been properly constructed.  They are slightly steeper than 2:1 in places, which is not inherently stable for most soils in Albemarle.  The slope in back of the building is an exposed cut.  The slope down to the creek is slightly convex, with exposed boulders and debris, and a light covering of new grass. It does not appear to have been properly compacted.  The northeast corner is loose fill with rubble and exposed rebar placed amid the trunks of small trees, which will likely die.

“excessive stormwater runoff”

Stormwater runoff has been increased in these areas with steeper slopes than original, less vegetation, and more impervious area behind the building. 

“siltation”

Most siltation has already taken place.  Long-term stability may be an issue.

“loss of aesthetic resource”

This area is visible from the surrounding properties.

“septic effluent”

This does not appear to be an issue, but the applicant has provided no information on this topic.

 

 

RECOMMENDATION:

Considering the disturbance has already taken place and, based on the review above, staff recommends the following conditions to grant a waiver:

1.       The eastern facing slope above the creak must be reshaped to a uniform grade not steeper than 2H:1V, covered with erosion control matting, and permanently seeded. 

2.       The retaining wall proposed in the rear of the garage building must be at least 3’ high, and topsoil, matting, and permanent seed or mulch and shrubs must be applied to the cut slope for adequate stabilization. 

3.       To provide stormwater management and replenish the buffer, the entire buffer area within the property should be planted in accordance with the Chesapeake Bay Riparian Buffers Modification and Mitigation Guidance Manual no later than three (3) months following the approval of this critical slopes waiver.  (The applicant is referred to the Restoration Establishment Tables in Appendix D, calling for canopy trees at 6’ centers, understory trees at 4’ centers, and shrubs at 18” centers.)  These shall be bonded as a guarantee of survival for a minimum of 5 years.

 

ATTACHMENTS

 

Attachment A – Conceptual Plan

Attachment B – Zoning Determination for Building Expansion

Attachment C – Notice of Violation

Attachment D – SP 2001-49 Staff Report / Update

Attachment E – Board of Supervisors Approval Letter SP 2001-49

Attachment F – Proposed Landscape Screening / Critical Slope Disturbance Areas

Attachment G – Site Photographs

Attachment H – RA Public Garage Comparisons

Attachment I – Application Location Map

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