Albemarle County Planning Commission

December 9, 2008

 

 

            Work Session:

 

ZTA-2008-00002 Amendment to PD & NMD Regulations  

The request is to amend regulations for Planned Districts and Neighborhood Model Districts, to modify grandfather clause, provide clarification on requirements, update titles in accord with County reorganization, and change architectural and parking requirements. (Elaine Echols)

 

Ms. Echols presented a PowerPoint presentation and gave an overview of the previous discussion regarding ZTA-2008-2, Amendments to the Planned Districts and Neighborhood Model Districts.  (See PowerPoint presentation and staff report)

         In the spring the Commission expressed some initial interest in dealing with mainly old zonings that were coming in and using old zoning regulations.  It was a concern to the Commission.  The Commission asked staff to draft a resolution of intent, which was approved on April 22, 2008, to amend the zoning ordinance as it related to the old regulations as part of the Planned Districts. 

         On July 29, 2008 the Commission had a work session to provide comments and asked staff to set up a Round Table.  The Round Table Discussion was held on September 30, 2008.  At the Round Table the Commission received a lot of public comment from members of the development community who were concerned about the regulations applying to more current developments and that what was originally proposed was too onerous. The Commission asked staff to look into that to see what other types of options might be available and come back, which was what staff is doing tonight. 

         Staff discussed and reviewed their recommendations on the outstanding issues from the work session, which included vesting, signage, architecture and parking as outlined in the staff report and PowerPoint presentation.  Staff asked the Commission to review the proposed changes and suggest modification where necessary.  Staff will then write the proposed ordinance language and hold a public hearing before sending the Commissionís recommendation on to the Board of Supervisors.

 

Mr. Morris opened the public hearing and invited public comment.

 

Don Franco, of KG Associates, provided input, as follows.

         He noted that at Rivanna Village there is a large range of architecture that could be applied from Williamsburg to Downtown Mall architecture. One of the problems with trying to pin that down at the time of the rezoning has been what is it going to look like.  They want the density, but are years from getting that development to start coming out of the ground.  If they get to 100,000 square feet there are probably going to be two or three story buildings.  .  It is hard to make Williamsburg style look good at four stories. 

         The way the Code of Development is written they have a very broad range of what is going to happen.  By the time things start coming out of the ground they will have that pinned down.  He thought that having the ability to commit to massing aspects but not to the kind of materials and specific architecture at rezoning is going to be important.  That will help the developers. 

         If they had elements like Crozet he would consider that as an infill and materials become more important in that particular setting.  But, if they take potentially larger projects like Albemarle Place and Rivanna Village that might have constraints on the outside their approach has been to hide it with a buffer. He was not sure if the public should be really involved at the rezoning stage of what the inside looks like as long as they can create the Neighborhood Model feel on the inside.

         They are committed to Rivanna Villageís concept and are confident that they can live within that broad range.  The style will affect other elements.  If they donít have shared parking they may not be able to create four story buildings.  Some of that is not talked about at the rezoning stage.  He questioned what kind of architecture they want to commit to.  He was not sure if he liked the Downtown Mall as a one-story or two-story so much as he liked it slightly taller.  He asked if flat roofs were appropriate at that height for a Neighborhood Model District.  He felt that they have to find the right balance of how do they commit to the neighbors.  But his real focus would be similar to the Entrance Corridor in focusing on the perimeter.  The smaller the project gets, such as potential projects in Downtown Crozet, the more that will infiltrate into the center of the site.

 

Mr. Loach asked when the developer should have to show the neighborhood something that they can judge besides just a square on a piece of paper showing how many stories it is.

 

Mr. Franco replied that it was a hard line to draw.  He thought that in Crozet where he was could stand on an existing street and see the building that it becomes more important to him.  If he cannot stand in Glenmore Way and see the center of this town at some point in the future for Rivanna Village he was not sure that it was as important.  In his mind the line is drawn in how visible it is to the outside community.  There are a lot of projects around the community that have different architectural styles.  If the project is self contained he felt that it would be okay to let that detail happen a lot later on by the people going there such as the purchasers and residents of the new village.  The question is how visible it is to the outside community.

 

Mr. Loach felt it was a reasonable approach.  He did not know how they would codify it as far as where that line would be drawn, but they would have to do their best.  In Crozet he felt that the community was sacrificed for the greater good and then they started to hear about the Neighborhood Model and density.  It has to be compatible.  He thought that the Neighborhood Model has been a net plus in Crozet.  But he also worried that taken to its extremes it might be a negative if there is no way for the community to get input.

 

Cliff Fox, resident of Crozet, said that there are a lot of other components of land development that impact the pedestrian orientation such as street design.  An example is the Downtown Mall that is such an enclosure that comes from the tree canopy three-quarters of the year.  There is a lot of architectural differentiation there, but it still can be sewed together.  The Downtown Mall works because of that canopy regardless of the building size.  There are plenty of different forms.  It is important to not only look at the architecture of the buildings, but the street design.   The new Crozet Main Street is being designed so that one walks into a retaining wall.  That is not ADA compliant.  There are long term components that are outside of the building form that they need to look at.  Flexibility with the building form can actually help with some of the other components.   

 

Valerie Long, representative for a number of owners of large planned district zoning projects, noted that she has been particularly interested in this.   She thanked the Commission and staff for a very productive work session in late September.  They had a large number of representatives of the development community in attendance.  They were very concerned and felt like the Commission and staff listened and heard them.  They are grateful for that and hoped that they could continue that process both on this initiative as well as others. 

 

         Personally, she liked the direction staff is going in the sense of using the 1980 date as a cut off.  She understands that the original reason for this initiative was to address the concerns the Commission had with one or two projects that had pre-1980 zoning.  She felt that was a good way to address those issues without having very dire negative impacts.  But they are still concerned about it.  By having to prove a vesting case on other issues like landscaping, parking, lighting and so forth they are not completely free of the concerns that they have. 

         The vesting criterion that is in the Virginia Code is very subjective and is subject to significant interpretation.  As Mr. Kamptner said at the work session there is little to no case law that exists that provides guidance to anyone about what it means to diligently pursue a project or to rely on a governmental approval or act.  She was concerned that even though it has been scaled back significantly that by having to still make a vesting argument that landscaping, lighting or something like that it could make it impossible.  One, they could spend a tremendous amount of time with the applicant and the staff trying to determine if they have a vested right to do the landscaping the way they want to do it.  That will eat up everybodyís time in trying to deal with those subjective standards.  Also, they could create situations where they have an approved zoning application plan, the standards change dramatically and all of a sudden they could no longer build the project the way it was approved after going through the long zoning process which they spent a lot of time and effort on.  They still have a lot of concerns about that vesting. 

         She thought that if the issue was to address those pre-1980 projects then they could just start with the threshold and just leave it at that, which solves the problem without causing any of the adverse impacts.  Continuing the vesting argument for post 1980 projects on some of these other issues, although it might seem minor, raised many concerns that it will continue to have some of those same adverse impacts.  She supports the staffís proposals to provide greater flexibility on the architectural standards.  She thinks the dialogue has been very helpful.  It makes sense after having worked on a number of these Codes of Development and spelling out architectural requirements, details and orientation that it makes sense not having them be too detailed due to the enforcement issues.  It is a very difficult line to walk.  She thought that moving away from that and focusing on what really matters is a great approach.

         Finally she wanted to raise the question and make sure that some of the other minor housekeeping matters that were discussed over the last year with regard to this zoning text amendment will still be considered as they move forth.  Staff has talked about that under the bullet for removing redundancies, making clarifications and making things consistent. The chart that staff attached to the July 29 work session walked through a lot of other housekeeping revisions to the language that were all logical and very productive for everybody.  She wanted to make sure that those donít fall through the cracks because they made a lot of sense.

 

Ms. Porterfield noted that what staff is suggesting are just specific areas such as the landscaping, entrance corridor and things like that.  She asked are there so many problems in those that they could not just be updated.  In other words is that going to cause a huge problem to a developer who has not started a project since 1980?   She asked if it is going to be so tough to put in lights that are up to the standard at the time as opposed to what happened in 1980.

 

Ms. Long replied that it is hard to say because it is hard to predict what changes might occur with those regulations and how those changes would affect an approved zoning project.

 

Ms. Porterfield asked are those big limiting factors compared to other things that would be worth the fight to find out whether they were vested or not.

 

Ms. Long replied that compared to other things they are not as significant.  But, again without being able to predict what changes might take place and how they might affect a project with the level of detail that is required for an application plan these days it is hard to tell.  The application plan required is so detailed that it is essentially a site plan. 

         With lighting it is harder to conceive of a regulation that would make it difficult other than saying no lighting in this area at all when they might have a retail tenant for instance that insists on having lighting.  Landscaping is an example that is easier to use as an illustration.  If on an approved application plan there is an area shown that is going to be landscaped along the entrance corridor and all of a sudden the landscaping regulations were to double along the entrance corridor because that is what the Board and Commission deemed appropriate it could be a problem. 

         Another problem would be if an approved application plan that no longer worked because the landscaping was designed for a particular tenant that was lost and then they no longer had enough room for parking or access roads as shown on the plan.  It would take a lot of time to proof that they had a good case to show they had a right to use the landscaping regulations in effect in 2007 instead of those in 2010.  She questioned how one proves that they have a vested right.  They have to demonstrate essentially for three or four criteria that they have relied on a substantial governmental act and diligently pursued the approvals.  How does one prove that they have diligently pursued it?  Who is to say what diligently pursued really is?  Those are the issues that she worries about. 

         She questioned whether they really need to go through this exercise to address it when the original reason this all got started was one or two pre-1977 projects, which she felt they were appropriately to be concerned with.  The Commission seemed to agree in late September that they did not want to undo all of the time and efforts that went into these recent planned district application plans.  She asked that they just focus on the ones from pre-1980 where there are concerns and let everybody from 1980 on, particularly those in the last few years that have so much detail, just move forward and use the current regulations.

 

Mr. Strucko asked if it was a business risk in terms of the timing.  If he was a developer that laid out a plan, got it approved and sat on it for 20 years and in the meantime community standards have changed through the elected representatives of the community, the business risk he assumes by not acting in that time is now that he had to comply with standards that now meet the new community demands.  Whereas, if he acted earlier he would have had his plan completed.  Community standards will adjust and change to meet the opinions of the time through elected representatives through a legislative act.  If he was doing business in that environment he has to know that there is a risk and he will face some changes if he does not act in a timely enough fashion.

 

Ms. Long said that his point was a good one.  But, it may not be that the developer has just sat around and failed to develop it.  It may be that especially with a lot of these project that are large significant projects with 10 and 15 year build outs that phase 5 of the project was not done because the developer had spent the last 10 or 15 years working on phases 1 through 4.  Now at phase 5 the developer may find that the regulations are all different.

 

Mr. Strucko questioned if that would be a vested right, and Ms. Long replied perhaps.

 

Mr. Strucko pointed out that they could not control the way the term vested is interpreted in the Commonwealth of Virginia.

 

Mr. Kamptner noted that they canít be more restricted.  He noted that everything that they are talking about the county is being more generous to the development community than is the minimum required by state law.  What they have right now in place and what is proposed is grandfathering for the most part for these projects that were approved many years ago.

 

Mr. Loach agreed with Mr. Strucko that one has to assume that new regulations and requirements were put in at the request of the public in association with its elected officials. What he is hearing tonight is that they really look at the lowest common denominator and that is what he was arguing against before.  He thought that the community has a right to expect that the regulations they feel is necessary be carried out.  But that is not what he is hearing.

 

Mr. Kamptner replied certainly what the draft is saying right now is that any project that has been approved since 1980 they will grandfather everything that was approved with limited exceptions, such as the outdoor lighting, landscaping and features like that.  In those cases they can proceed under the regulations in effect at the time they were approved if they can show that they have vested.   There are actually two ways in which they can establish vesting.  One is under the significant governmental act with the diligent pursuit and all of that.  The other is that if they had proffered substantial cash, substantial land or substantial improvements.  That throws in some additional protections for them.  There is no requirement for diligent pursuit.  There is not even a requirement of spending money in the interim as long as they can meet the other tests outlined in the materials.  It protects them under that standard as to uses, density and floor area ratio.  For example, if the landscaping standards change and they somehow doubled in size or if they had substantial cash proffers and met the other requirements, then the new landscaping requirements could not be imposed in a way that would reduce their density, reduce their floor area ratio or change any of the uses that are in place.

 

Mr. Strucko asked what about a standard that impacts public safety and if a new regulation came into effect that substantially improves public safety and has some impact.  He asked if that circumstance was covered outside of the entrance corridor exceptions.

 

Mr. Loach noted that VDOTís driveway standards might be applied now as versus then.

 

Mr. Strucko asked if they did not have a vesting in the project would they be required to comply with new standards that enhance public safety.

 

Mr. Kamptner noted that today he reviewed the draft VDOT Entrance Regulations.  Even in matters of public safety they do realize that rights will vest.  In their proposed regulations they have a cut off date.  If the project existed before a certain date they are allowed to proceed under prior regulations.  This particular regulation was dealing with entrance spacing requirements.  Those requirements are going to change if and when these regulations take effect.  In any matter of public safety it is recognized that rights will vest and protect the ownerís financial interest.

 

Mr. Cilimberg said that they did include one public safety regulation for the flood hazard overlay, which changes over the years.

 

Mr. Strucko said that was a very specific one in a targeted area.  He asked about broader language.  He was trying to keep in mind the spirit of what initiated this whole process, which was started by Mr. Edgerton.  They had parcels that were under old regulations that were coming before the Commission over 30 years later and they were saying this does not comply with anything they have and if there was something that they could do.

 

Mr. Edgerton said that staff has come up with a reasonable compromise and drawn a line in 1980.  They have picked things in the current regulations that the community has declared a concern for and the new regulations were developed.  A specific example is lighting.  If a project was approved in 1981 and there was no Dark Sky Ordinance and that was not applied under this it could undo all of the good in the surrounding neighborhood.  A line is being drawn. Certainly from the development community perspective the best answer from all of them would be letís forget about zoning and do anything that they want to do.  Ms. Echols pictures are very informative.  The picture of the little one story house next to the four stories is Houston, Texas.   That is an example given in architectural school of a community that was allowed to develop without any zoning at all.  From a development perspective that is the ultimate dream.  But there is no concern for the community there.  That is why they have zoning and are here.

 

Mr. Strucko noted that he gets uneasy when they start talking about specific architectural features.  That is a matter of style and taste.  He really gets concerned with something like the Dark Sky Ordinance or a stream buffer.    

 

Mr. Edgerton opposed having an architectural style in an ordinance. Staff has tried to speak to the ambiance of the Neighborhood Model.  A good architect will respond to that in an appropriate way.  He had his own selfish styles that he liked better, but there are differences of opinions.  A lot of the historic styles that have been represented as being more appropriate for the Neighborhood Model he sees more as a fashion statement.  But a good architect and a good designer will respond to scale and massing.  Ms. Echols has done a marvelous job in explaining that. 

 

Ms. Porterfield said that if a project was phased out over a long period of time and was being done in phases she was assuming that starting the first phase would indicate vesting.

 

Mr. Kamptner replied that it depends on the significant governmental approval that they are relying on or if it is the proffered rezoning.  The rezoning action is going to have the proffers, the Code of Development and all of the cash offered.  That is going to be the significant governmental act and if they find vesting then it is going to apply to the entire rezoning.  The significant governmental act may just be a site plan or a site plan that pertains to a specific piece of property.  He thought that here in almost all of the cases the action that will determine what is vested is going to be the rezoning action.  So once they find vesting then it is going to apply to everything.

 

Ms. Porterfield questioned if it was regardless of what phase they were in, and Mr. Kamptner replied yes. 

 

Neil Williamson, with The Free Enterprise Forum, said that one question Mr. Kamptner brought to mind was the change in ownership of phase 5 or that they have multiple owners in these options and how that moves in.  He noted the following points.

         First and foremost they continue to be concerned about the signage issue and look forward to working with staff when that comes forward.  Mixed use communities require mixed uses that have an opportunity to succeed, which he felt was the goal of everyone on the Commission.

         With regard to parking it is important to recognize staffís contention that the uses are not always known.  There is less need for more parking.   There are probably more opportunists for shared parking and less impervious surface if they delay that to the site plan for review. 

         He remains concerned with the vesting issue that this is not a legal employment act.  The level of case law that is available and where the county is headed does not seem very clear.  While he could see some points with the first point of vesting with regards to the 1980 line in the sand he really thinks that there is a question with vesting and what is involved there. 

         In regards to Mr. Struckoís point, he felt that the adoption of this would add a new risk.  Since this did not exist today it was a new business risk.  Just knowing what they are doing is important. 

         He was of the opinion that members of the business community work within the framework that they have.  There are some really nice projects out there that are the benefit of zoning, this Commission and the development community that put them forward. 

 

Mr. Morris invited further public comments.

 

Don Franco asked to respond to Mr. Williamsonís comments.

 

         He noted that a lot of the developers are the larger landowners in the community, too.  They are protected by the zoning around us.  Therefore, he personally supports zoning.  If they can play within the rules, then it is good for everybody.  He agreed, but did not know how to draw the line.  Health and safety is not really the magic line.  He felt that outdoor lighting and Dark Skies is important, but was not sure about signs. 

         He was trying to figure out how parking would be something that could hurt him.  The only way it might hurt him is if they double the parking requirements increasing the impervious surface and maybe there should be an out not to have to do that.  

         An entrance corridor would not hurt him unless it was increased in size or restrict what can be done in it.  So again that was something that he would probably want to be protected in. It is not just the phasing of the project, but Rivanna Village is now going through the state and federal permitting.  So it may be a number of years before they get to a site plan level, before they actually pay a proffer and they may be spending a million dollar to get to that phase.  He was still not sure if they were vested yet.  So if the entrance corridor was to double in size that could be a real problem for them.  That vesting aspect is still a problem that needs to be worked out. 

         Regarding the comment on the ARB, he felt that being managed by the development is fine, but they need to make sure the language is created correctly.  From their perspective the language would be at the sale of a property or at concept level with the site plan and it may have conceptual architecture.  He would not necessarily say final approval.  That final approval will come with the building permit.  If they make them the regulator of this do they need to include issuance of a certificate of compliance at the end.  He questioned if that needs to be added to the CO process as well.  Those would be the steps they would look at.  It would be conceptually what kind of architecture and what it is generally going to look at.  If they all agree on that then they proceed with the site plan.  Then when they get to the building permit they get to that level of detail.  At the end they certify that what they build was consistent to what they all agreed to.

 

There being no further public comment, Mr. Morris closed the public comment and bring it back to the Commission for discussion.

 

Mr. Kamptner noted there were some questions by Mr. Williamson that he would like to address. 

         The first issue was in response to the change in ownership question.  Earlier this year in Hollymead Town Center they determined that they needed all of the signatures within one of the developments for an application.  Under the current regulations they determined that they needed to have the signatures of all of the owners to sign.  Staff is going to address that issue in the text amendment.  That was in relation to a use and the increase in intensification.  What they are looking at doing is that there are certain cases where there is not an increased intensification of the use but generally there was some kind of an amendment required it would require that only the owner of that lot within the planned development sign the application.  That was the issue here of who signs the application.  Notice would be required to be given to everybody else within the planned development.  But at least for the application to go forward only the owner of the lot that was affected would be required to sign the application.  One of the reasons for that shift that is going to become essential, particularly as time goes on, is because as these developments get established and become denser the boundaries between one development and another are going to blur.  The development community is going to be hamstrung if everybodyís consent to simply filing the application is required.  One owner may have a lot of control over another owner where they donít really have an interest at stake.  They will get notice and be entitled to voice their objections at the public hearing.  But this at least gets the applicant in the process.  Staff is going to deal with that.   

         Regarding the signage and parking issues, those are becoming more flexible.  The current sign regulations will be up for amendment soon.  Over the last decade the sign regulations have been amended several times.  The way the current regulations operate is that the owner cannot pick and choose which ordinance they want to have applied. If they have a 1985 development they may be stuck with the 1985 sign ordinance that allows only certain types of signs.  There is a movement to allow the LED type of signs.  They currently allow signs with what is called rare gas or neon in certain districts.  They would not have that option to do that.  It is wrong just to assume that regulations are always in the future going to become more and more restrictive.  They are trying to deal with current situations and address them. 

         The last question was regarding vesting.  He reviewed the four cases outlined in the slide presentation.  One is a Virginia Supreme Court case, the Suffock case.  Two of the other cases, the Robertson case and the Salem Fields case are trial court cases.  The Medical Structures case is an old Virginia Supreme Court case before vested rights were codified in Virginia Code.  They have a very limited pool from which to determine what diligent pursuit means.  They have one case that the owner acted within a year.  There is one case where they started acting within five years.  In the third case the owners did not begin acting until 50 years after the date of the decision.  So it does not really help define what the perimeters are.  From the cases they have a pretty good understanding of what it means to rely on the approval.  The cases are simply outlined and once approved the owner starts hiring consultants to do various types of activities.  Then with the amount of money that needs to be expended to establish extensive obligations or substantial expenses the cases are very limited.  They have the Suffock case, the Medical Structures case and one other case.  The range of money spent is between about $35,000 up to the Suffock case, which was $115,000.  The Suffock case dealt with a rezoning of a few hundred acres.  It is a lot of money, but in the context of several hundred acres not necessarily a tremendous amount. 

 

Ms. Echols asked the Planning Commission to go through each one and decide whether to move on or if they need further discussion what they want to do.

 

Mr. Strucko reiterated that his concern is entrance corridor, flood hazard overlay, outdoor lighting and signs and the public safety concerns in whether it is pollution, effluents or spacing.  He asked if they were covered, if not in here, by other law. 

 

Mr. Kamptner noted that the vesting issues they were dealing with here are really dealing with what is addressed in the zoning ordinance.  There is a separate provision that applies to subdivision which really vests for a limited period of time.  Regulations that are beyond the zoning ordinance are not vested.  So the applicant needs to deal with the regulations in place at the time of the development.

 

Mr. Cilimberg pointed out that the Water Protection Ordinance, as an example, is in a different Code section and has to be applied.

 

Mr. Strucko noted that they were going to postpone discussion on signs.  He asked what the concern is about the landscaping.

 

Ms. Echols replied that it is something that generally does not seem to affect the site plan so much, but it is a standard adopted several years back for appearance sake. They have a percentage requirement of canopy coverage and those have not changed in many years.  Staff is not thinking that will be an onerous thing for someone to have to deal with.  If they were doubling the amount it could.  But if somebody did not have a plan and they did not have proffers that might not make a huge difference.  If they met their vesting and have a detailed plan with proffers, which most of the recent projects do, staff does not think it will affect them that much. 

 

Mr. Strucko asked what the pressing landscape issue is that allowed it to make the short list, and Ms. Echols replied the appearance.

 

Mr. Edgerton pointed out that speaks quite directly to the Neighborhood Model and the scale of the effects.

 

Ms. Echols asked if the Planning Commission is okay with what staff has proposed, including the architectural standards.

 

Mr. Loach asked to see more specificity.

 

Mr. Morris felt this would be covered more in the planning stage and not in the Code.

 

Mr. Edgerton pointed out that he agreed with staffís recommendation.  He felt that the massing, scale and getting away from the non-pedestrian feeling are what they should focus on as opposed to style.

 

Ms. Porterfield noted that there were only two Commissioners involved with master plans present and they were trying to say that there is a lot of community involvement in the master plan concept. She asked if there was any chance the others could go back and just think about it to see if there was any way to try to do what the community of the area is looking for as a concept. 

 

Mr. Cilimberg noted that he was not sure if the master plans have defined architectural style specifically.  That is all they were talking about here.  They donít have in their master plans anything dictating the architectural styles.  They would be removing the requirement in the Code of Development to specify which styles they were going to use.  That is all they were saying. The rest of it is exactly what they have said that they want to see.  It is at a level of specificity that staff does not think was intended.

 

Mr. Loach noted that he would like to go back and discuss it with the Crozet Advisory Committee and get some input.  He agreed with Ms. Porterfield that there were only two Commissioners who are going to have to live with this.  Therefore, they would like this to be looked at further. 

 

Mr. Cilimberg suggested that they consider an option in deciding whether architectural styles are being appropriately reflected. 

         He was not sure that master plans go to this detail on dictating architectural style.  But if they did and in a master plan they decided that a particular area was only to have certain styles that would actually govern the review of the rezoning.  A rezoning that comes in would need to meet those styles, which is part of the work that staff would have to do.  It would not be an option that they would suggest to the Commission as acceptable as part of that development  to the extent that architectural styles are dictated through a master plan and projects that come in that master plan area are going to meet those styles.  Staff would let the Commission know what they are and say that they should make sure that the project achieves those styles. In terms of translating the master plan to the actual development of the property that is the way it would happen.  So staff would certainly capture that in staff review. 

         In Crozet for an infill project staff would want to make sure that a new project coming in under the Neighborhood Model zoning would reflect styles in Downtown.  Staff would have to specify what those are in that case.  Comparatively what they are also saying is if specific styles are not otherwise determined for a particular master plan area and that project comes in they are not going to worry so much about the internal styles.  There will be external considerations if it is on an Entrance Corridor.  But internally they are not going to worry about them and say that is up to the developer to self enforce it so to speak unless the master plan said that there needs to be certain styles.  Nothing prevents a development from taking suggestions from the community on architectural styles and that would be put into the style.  Staff would say that they know what that is and it would be self enforcing.  That is the approach staff is trying to take with this.  If that works for the Commission, then he thought that they were all on the same page and were accomplishing what they were interested in accomplishing.  If the Crozet Advisory Council has comments on Downtown Crozet it can be addressed in the upcoming five year Master Plan update.

 

Mr. Loach said that it sounded reasonable and he would get feedback from the Crozet Advisory Council.

 

Mr. Cannon noted that he liked the way staff framed it here in the sense of eliminating attention to more focused projects that are going to be established in existing settings where architectural conflict would be most acute.  For the rest he agreed that they should let it go unless it was addressed in the master plan.  There are some risks here if they do something like this that they are going to over determine everything and end up with landscapes and developments that are not very interesting.

 

Ms. Echols asked if there was a consensus about that.

 

Ms. Porterfield asked that it be looked at further.  Staff is talking about that infill being different and it was brand new in an area.  They have numerous acres that are being looked at this point.  She suggested that Mr. Franco converse with Ms. Echols since he had some good ideas about the outside and inside.  She suggested that they try to get that into the master plan so that it does not pigeon hole them but provides some direction in the master plan that makes the community that has been working close with him for numerous years feel more comfortable. 

 

Ms. Echols asked if there was agreement on allowing a parking study with rezoning or the site plan level.

 

Mr. Morris replied yes.

 

Ms. Echols noted that the rest of the items the Commission agreed to last time.  The other changes in the table referred to by Ms. Long will be brought back to the Commission and made available to the public for further review to make sure everything is in there.  Also, it includes bringing the staff titles in line with what is current, cleaning up the requirements to be consistent and putting the special use permit as an option in the Code of Development where an applicant might not be able to anticipate the conditions  now.    

 

Mr. Morris thanked the public for their participation.

 

In summary, the Planning Commission held a work session as a follow-up to previous discussion on the options available for the proposed changes to the Planned Development regulations. The Planning Commission reviewed and discussed the proposed changes, and took public comment.  It was the consensus of the Commission to move forward with staffís recommendations. 

 

The Planning Commission agreed with staffís recommendation to make the following changes to the proposed text for ZTA-2008-00002 and set the public hearing.

 

         Set parameters for new regulations on old zonings

         Remove/add some architectural requirements

         Allow parking study with rezoning or at site plan

         Bring staff titles in-line with current Community Development staff titles, where staff has decision-making authority

         Remove redundancy, make clarifications, make consistency in requirements

         Add ďspecial useĒ option for Code of Development where applicant may not be able to anticipate conditions

         Postpone signage changes.  The Zoning Division will bring back a set of signage changes that will include the Neighborhood Model district.

 

Staff will draft the proposed amendment language and set the public hearing. 

 

 

Go to next set of minutes

Return to exec summary