COUNTY OF ALBEMARLE
AGENDA TITLE: ZTA2009-00006 Accessory Structures in required yards
SUBJECT/PROPOSAL/REQUEST: Amendment to restore front setback for accessory structures and to establish minimum separation between accessory and primary structures.
STAFF: John Shepherd and Stewart Wright
PLANNING COMMISSION DATE: May 19, 2009
BOARD OF SUPERVISORS DATE: TBA
Section 22.214.171.124 was amended in 1983 to increase the accessory structure setback from 5 to 6 feet and to prohibit the location of such structures in required yards adjacent to streets, roads or access easements in the Rural Areas or residential districts. This section was again amended in 2002 to allow accessory structures to be set back 3 feet from alleys and shared driveways to better allow the implementation of the neighborhood model. The language that previously prohibited accessory structures in required front yards was not included in the 2002 amendment of the section. As a result, accessory may now be located six feet from the front property line in the RA and residential districts.
Buildings can be considered to be accessory, and eligible for location within 6 feet of a property line, if detached from the primary structure. The minimum distance of separation is not specified in the ordinance. This results in porches and garages that are separated by as little as one half an inch from the primary structure to be located six feet from a property line. While legal, this circumvents the principle that primary structures and uses should meet primary setbacks.
The Planning Commission held a work session on this proposal on April 21, 2009. The Commission adopted the Resolution of Intent and advised staff as follows:
This amendment reorganizes sections 4.11.2, 126.96.36.199, 188.8.131.52 and 184.108.40.206 into two well drafted sections. The purpose of this amendment is to restore the front setback for accessory structures to that of the required front yard and to provide a minimum separation between primary and accessory structures of a minimum of six (6) feet. It adds retaining walls and ATMs to the list of accessory structures that are allowed in required yards. Finally, it creates a new, separate section that strengthens the regulation of structures located in easements.
Specifically, this ZTA includes the following revisions to the ordinance.
PUBLIC PURPOSE TO BE SERVED: This proposal restores regulations that provide for a more orderly development pattern in front yards in the rural and residential districts. It also creates a clear distinction between primary and accessory structures for the purpose of maintaining setbacks.
ADMINISTRATION/ REVIEW PROCESS: This proposal will not change the review process for the vast majority of permits for accessory structures. The reduced area available for accessory structures can be expected to result in a small number of requests for setback variances.
IMPLICATIONS TO STAFFING / STAFFING COSTS: This proposal will have an insignificant effect on staff time or cost. The limited number of variances resulting from the increased separation will result in increased staff time and cost to the applicant.
HOUSING AFFORDABILITY: This proposal will have no effect on housing affordability.
RECOMMENDATION: Staff recommends approval of the draft ordinance. (See Attachment A)
ATTACHMENT A: Albemarle County Zoning Ordinance Section 4.11.2, dated May 4, 2009
ATTACHMENT B: Resolution of Intent
Return to exec summary