Albemarle County Planning Commission

May 19, 2009



ZTA-2009-00007 Temporary construction headquarters and yards Amend Secs. 5.1.18, Temporary construction headquarters, yards,, Temporary construction headquarters, and, Temporary construction yards, of Chapter 18, Zoning, of the Albemarle County Code.  This ordinance would amend Secs. 5.1.18, and by reorganizing the sections into a single section and amending the regulations pertaining to the duration (by requiring that the use terminate within 30 days after construction of the last building is completed or active construction is discontinued, and eliminating the limitation that construction yards exist for not more than 18 months), location (by clarifying the requirement that the use be located on the same site (rather than the same lot) as the construction and that construction yards be set back from existing public streets and dwellings) and maintenance, the screening of temporary construction yards as determined by the zoning administrator, and by authorizing the zoning administrator to approve such uses with a zoning clearance rather than a temporary permit.  A copy of the full text of the ordinance is on file in the office of the Clerk of the Board of Supervisors and in the Department of Community Development, County Office Building, 401 McIntire Road, Charlottesville, Virginia. (John Shepherd)


Mr. Shepherd presented a PowerPoint presentation and summarized the staff report. He introduced Sherry Proctor, Permits Planner who has worked hard with this process.


This is ZTA-2009-0007 Temporary construction headquarters and yards set forth in Section 5.1.18.  The primary interest to this amendment was to eliminate the 18-month time limit that was imposed on temporary construction yards.  This amendment proposes a consistent time lines for both construction yards and also construction headquarters. They want to treat these in the same way as far as the time goes. 

Both of these uses are designated as mobile office trailers, which is a Building Code designation and are now reviewed and approved as building permits.  They want to change that to review and approve them as zoning clearances.  This amendment also reorganizes Section 5.1.18 so it is clearer. 


In a work session in April the Planning Commission requested clarification of the term “discontinued construction”.  That has been redefined in the draft to make it clearer. 


The revisions include:


The language under headquarters is not mirrored word for word.  He suggested that staff would revise the provisions under duration to match.  There are just a couple of sentences left out that had to do with the finding of suspended or abandoned.  It will make each to be subject to the same terms and conditions for yards and headquarters.


Mr. Strucko invited questions for staff.


Ms. Joseph distributed an email received from Morgan Butler who could not be present.  (Attachment)  He had agreed with her comment last time that she thought they needed a definition for these two items.  Mr. Butler looked up a place in Nevada in Franklin County that does have a definition for these two.  They use these words, but there is no definition in the ordinance that tells us what these words mean for what a temporary construction yard is or a facility. 


Mr. Shepherd noted that staff’s first reaction was that the ordinance as written basically contains the definition of a yard within it.  That was their first take on this.  It requires that it be on the site, that the time limit is there and the setbacks are there.  He takes this basically as something that would be a good thing.  It always helps to have a clear definition and to make clear what they are doing.  It is important to amend either of these definitions slightly to make sure that what they are talking about in Section 5.1.18 are yards that are on the site serving that site and only that site so that this is clearly distinguished from a contractor’s office and equipment storage yard, which can be used for a contractor to serve any site that they are working on.  They would want to make certain that they don’t get these two uses mixed up.  That could be done by adding the term onsite in this case.


Mr. Morris supported the addition of the definitions.


Ms. Joseph noted that it would just go in the definition section.


Mr. Herrick asked if that would be Chapter 3 Definitions in the zoning ordinance, and Ms. Joseph replied yes that was correct.


Mr. Edgerton supported the idea of adding the definitions and Mr. Shepherd’s suggestion to tie it to the specific site.  The way it is written if they don’t tie to the specific site someone building a subdivision could set up one thing and run it for 30 to 40 projects. If they are going to tie these to the actual construction activity on a specific site they need to be tied to that specific site.  He supported Mr. Shepherd’s suggested language.


Mr. Morris asked if a developer was going to open up section four of an area would this require a construction facility for each one of the homes going in or would one for section four do it.


Mr. Shepherd replied that one would do it.  That is why they want it to have a looser word like site rather than trying to tie it to a particular parcel.


Ms. Porterfield asked if something was phased would they be allowed to leave it on site or would it have to come off until they started the next section.


Mr. Shepherd replied that if construction is completed or suspended or abandoned then it must be removed.  They would have to keep the project rolling.  In other words if they build out a phase and stop then they would have to shut these down.  Then when they gear up again they could reestablish it.


Ms. Porterfield asked if the 150’ from any preexisting dwelling not owned or leased by the owner is on the subject property or a total of 150’.  In other words could they put this location right on the lot line have the 150’ be the other person’s property. 


Mr. Shepherd replied that they could set the compass on any dwelling at 150’ and spin the pencil and this has to be outside that line.


Mr. Franco said that he was assuming if it was subject to a building permit it would still be subject to the yard requirements of the zoning district.  There would still be a minimum separation of whatever that side yard is and so it can’t be on the property line.


Ms. Proctor pointed out that anytime they have a permit for a mobile office trailer it meets the commercial setback regardless.


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


Motion:  Ms. Porterfield moved and Mr. Morris seconded to recommend approval of ZTA-2009-007, Temporary construction headquarters and yards with the addition of the definition of construction yard and temporary construction facility to the draft ordinance.


Mr. Herrick asked to clarify a couple things on the motion.  The words in the existing Albemarle Ordinance are temporary construction headquarters and temporary construction yards.  He asked if she was looking to having those terms defined as the present proposal.


Ms. Porterfield replied yes.


Mr. Shepherd asked for clarification to have an understanding that staff will work with Ms. Joseph and take the best of both proposed definitions and combine them to come to the definition rather than using one of these in particular. This is going to take a little bit of wordsmithing just to make it understandable.


Mr. Strucko supported the suggestion and that it was acceptable.


The motion passed by a vote of 7:0.  


Mr. Strucko said that ZTA-2009-0007, Temporary construction headquarters and temporary construction yards would go before the Board of Supervisors with a recommendation of approval at a date to be determined.



Ms. Joseph noted that this was John Shepherd’s last meeting and she wanted to express how grateful she was for the service he has given the Planning Commission.  She really appreciates all of the work that he has done.


Mr. Strucko congratulated John Shepherd on behalf of Albemarle County for his years of service, too.  The Planning Commission appreciates his commitment to this community and thanks him.


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