Albemarle County Planning Commission

September 30, 2008




            Work Sessions:


ZTA-2008-00002 Amendments to PD & NMD Regulations

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

(Elaine Echols)


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


In the work session the Planning Commission reviewed and discussed the content of the proposed changes to the Planned Development regulations in a round table discussion with the development community.  Comment was received from the several members of the public, as noted below:

o        Chuck Rotgin;

o        Neil Williamson, with Free Enterprise Forum;

o        Valerie Long, attorney; representing several clients and as one involved in several of these type of projects;

o        Morgan Butler, with Southern Environmental Law Center;

o        Wendell Wood;

o        Charlie Armstrong, with Southern Development; and

o        Don Franco, with KG Associates.


Mr. Morris said that they have gotten a very good start on the beginning of the discussion.  That is about as far as they have gotten unless they are willing to come up to the table.  He felt that the next item on the agenda deserves some of the Commission’s attention, also.  Therefore, he suggested that the discussion of this be ended at this time and brought up at a later time. 


Mr. Cilimberg noted in order to end the discussion he wanted to point out what he heard.  It is not complete in terms of what the Commission wants to further explore for more specific thresholds or standards that are important to be preserved from our new regulations for old zoning. So it is not just about vesting. It would also be about vesting in combination with those things.  He also heard that the real concern is the old zoning and it may be that they can look into what might be even a date in time before which planned developments would be required to show that they meet those tests of vesting or they would be subject to new regulations.  They would tend to be the old planned developments that never had a plan and if they did get a plan as part of the 1980 rezoning of the county it was the site plan in existence at the time that became the application plan. That is not a good standard to be working from in a lot of cases.  They can pursue that.


Mr. Morris said that was a good point.  He echoed what Mr. Edgerton saying that he really thought that the thing that was triggering this was those things that happened prior to 1980.  That not only caused the confusion to the Planning Commission, but a lot of confusion with the development community.


Mr. Strucko pointed out that he was also hearing that the real concern was what the future implications are.  They can have a lot of discussion about the past in looking at the old zoning from 1980, but he thought they needed to look at the implications of what this decision is for the future.  That is background that he would like to get from Mr. Kamptner.  He would like to know the definition of “vesting,” “diligence pursuit” and “significant government act” so he could truly understand this.


Mr. Kamptner said that the whole vesting issue was codified about ten years ago. There has been one Supreme Court case that has considered these issues.  It was based on an unusual case with unique facts. He can look at finding the applicable criteria. 


Mr. Morris noted that the Commission could revisit the discussion at a later time. He thanked the public for their attendance and dialogue.


Mr. Rotgin said that it needs to be recognized particularly for the recent rezonings that go back up to 15 years ago that the process was so detailed that those rezonings should not be subject to this criterion.  He felt that new rezonings should only be subject to subdivision and site plan review. 


Ms. Echols pointed out that staff would come back with information about the signage next time.  There will be opportunities for further dialogue.


In summary, The Planning Commission held a work session to discuss the proposed changes to the Planned Development regulations. The Planning Commission received an overview from staff, discussed the proposed changes, took public comment and made comments. No formal action was taken.


The Planning Commission noted the following for further staff work:

1.       Staff should schedule an additional Planning Commission work session with the Development Community to discuss this zoning text amendment further.

2.       The Commission wants to further explore specific thresholds or standards that are important to be preserved from our new regulations for old zoning. The issue is not just about vesting, but also about vesting in combination with those regulations.

3.       Because the real concern is the old zoning, staff is requested to look into specific dates before which planned developments would be required to show that they are vested; otherwise, they would be subject to new regulations.    For example, developments with a planned development zoning designation approved before 1980 were rezoned to a “planned development” zoning designation under the 1980 zoning ordinance without an application plan.

4.       Staff should bring back information on sign regulations (in particular, information pertaining to sign size) applicable to the Neighborhood Model District at the next meeting.

5.       The Commission needs to look at future implications of this decision.  Mr. Kamptner was asked to provide background information pertaining to vested rights, including definitions of “vesting,” “diligent pursuit” and “significant governmental act.”



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