COUNTY OF ALBEMARLE

STAFF REPORT SUMMARY

 

Project Name:  SP2008-60 Albemarle Baptist Christian School

Staff: Eryn Brennan

Planning Commission Public Hearing: June 23, 2009

Board of Supervisors Public Hearing: tbd

Owner:  Albemarle Baptist Church; Marcus Deloach, Pastor

Applicant: Albemarle Baptist Church; Marcus Deloach, Pastor

Acreage:  6.26 acres

Special Use Permit: 10.2.2.5 Private Schools

TMP:  Tax Map 61 Parcel 1E

Location:  The parcel is located at 1685 Roslyn Ridge Road, at the northwest corner of Hydraulic Road (Route 743) and Roslyn Ridge Road

Existing Zoning and By-right use:   

Rural Areas: agricultural, forestal, and fishery uses; residential density (0.5 unit/acre); Entrance Corridor Overlay District

 

Magisterial District:  Jack Jouett

Conditions:  Yes

RA (Rural Areas): 

Requested # of Dwelling Units:  N/A           

Proposal:  To allow the use of a private school with up to 40 students and 5 teaching staff in conjunction with the existing Albemarle Baptist Church

Comprehensive Plan Designation:

Rural Areas – preserve and protect agricultural, forestral, open space, and natural, historic and scenic resources/density (0.5 unit/acre)

Character of Property:  The church, a timber frame and hardiplank construction, and a substantial parking lot are located in the center of the site. Surrounding the church and parking lot is a mix of deciduous and evergreen woods.

Use of Surrounding Properties:  The properties to the south across Rio Road are included in the Development Areas Comprehensive Plan Land Use and are zoned R-6 Residential. The properties to the north, east, and west are included in the Rural Area Zoning District, and are characterized by large single-family residential lots. A large church and parking lot is located east of the site.

Factors Favorable:

1.      No impacts on adjacent property resulting from the proposed use.

2.      The proposed use will help sustain the continuing presence of a vibrant community church, enhancing the quality of life for its congregation. 

3.      The proposed use will minimally impact the existing character of the church building.            

Factor Unfavorable:

1.                  An increase in vehicle trips on Hydraulic Road during peak morning hours.

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

 

 


 

STAFF PERSON:                                                                              ERYN S. BRENNAN

PRIVATE PLANNING COMMISSION:                                             JUNE 23, 2009

                                               

SP 2008-60  Albemarle Baptist Christian School

 

Petition: 

PROJECT: SP200800060 Albemarle Baptist Christian School

PROPOSED: Private school with up to 40 students and up to 5 teaching staff on a 6.26 acre property in conjunction with the existing Albemarle Baptist Church

ZONING CATEGORY/GENERAL USAGE: RA Rural Areas - agricultural, forestal, and fishery uses; residential density (0.5 unit/acre in development lots); EC Entrance Corridor - Overlay to protect properties of historic, architectural or cultural significance from visual impacts of development along routes of tourist access

SECTION: 10.2.2.5 Private schools

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: Yes

LOCATION: 1685 Roslyn Ridge Rd. at n/w corner of Hydraulic Rd. (Rt. 743) and Roslyn Ridge Rd.

TAX MAP/PARCEL: 061000000001E0

MAGISTERIAL DISTRICT: Jack Jouett

 

Character of the Area:

The Albemarle Baptist Christian Church and a substantial parking lot are located in the center of the parcel (see Attachment A). Surrounding the church and parking lot is a mix of deciduous and evergreen woods (see Attachment B). The properties to the south are included in the Development Area and are zoned R-6 Residential (see Attachment C). The properties to the north, east, and west, designated Rural Area in the Comprehensive plan, are included in the Rural Area Zoning District, and are generally characterized by large single-family residential lots. A large church and parking lot is located east of the site. 

 

Specifics of the Proposal:

The Albemarle Baptist Christian Church is requesting a special use permit for a private school, to allow an elementary school to open in the fall of 2009 (see Attachment G for a complete list of special use permits applications for private schools in Albemarle County since 1998). The school would operate on the lower level of the existing church, with a maximum of 40 students and 5 teaching staff at this time (see Attachment D). Initially, the enrollment would be for Grades 3-8; however, Grades 1 and 2 and 9-12 would be added as the need develops. But, any expansion beyond a maximum of 40 students and 5 teaching staff will require an amendment to this Special Use Permit. The school would operate from September to June, and hours of operation would be limited to regular school hours, typically 8:30-4:30pm. Outdoor activities would be confined to the left side yard and parking lot. Although no exterior construction is proposed with this application, the applicant has indicated that some playground equipment would be purchased for the side yard. As students would be transported by their parents, the school would not operate a bus. Students would bring their own lunches since no lunch service will be provided.

 

Planning and Zoning History:

·In 1987, the parcel was originally created as a 21.1156 acre lot with the right-of-way to have only one dwelling.

·In 1999, VDOT established a right-of-way for the future Route 29 Bypass, essentially splitting the site into two parcels.

·SP2001-47, a special use permit to construct a church on the site farthest from the remainder of the original residential subdivision lots, was approved by the Board of Supervisors on May 15, 2002 (see Attachment E and F).

·An application for a special use permit, SP2002-49, requesting to amend the existing special use permit to relocate the entrance from Roslyn Ridge Road to Hydraulic Road, was withdrawn on October 31, 2002.

 

Conformity with the Comprehensive Plan: The land uses supported by the Rural Areas chapter of the Comprehensive Plan include agriculture, forestry, and conservation. This chapter also outlines the vision and goals for the Rural Areas, and recommends that land uses be small-scale and consistent with traditional rural scales. As stated in the chapter, “Ensure that the scale and scope of any new use is consistent with the existing infrastructure and character of [a] crossroads community…without any requirement for upgrade or expansion of infrastructure” (24). The proposed private school does constitute a small-scale use in keeping with a traditional rural scale since a 40 student maximum is proposed. Furthermore, the private school would be utilizing an existing building, and therefore would not require an upgrade of the existing infrastructure. Five private schools in the Rural Areas have been approved since 1998. Of those private school approvals, approximately half were for 50 students or more (see Attachment G).

 

Staff Comment:

This application is subject to the First Amendment's Establishment and Free Exercise Clauses and the Religious Land Use and Institutionalized Persons Act of 2000 ("RLUIPA").  One key provision of RLUIPA states:

 

No government shall impose or implement a land use regulation in a manner that imposes a substantial burden on the religious exercise of a person, including a religious assembly or institution, unless the government demonstrates that imposition of the burden on that person, assembly, or institution – (A) is in furtherance of a compelling governmental interest; and (B) is the least restrictive means of furthering that compelling governmental interest. (italics added) 

 

42 U.S.C. § 2000cc(a)(1). RLUIPA also requires that land use regulations: (1) treat a religious assembly or institution on equal terms with nonreligious assemblies and institutions; (2) not discriminate against any assembly or institution on the basis of religion or religious denomination; and (3) not totally exclude religious assemblies, or unreasonably limit religious assemblies, institutions or structures, from the locality. 42 U.S.C. § 2000cc(b).

 

Staff will address each provision of Section 31.2.4.1 of the Zoning Ordinance as follows:

 

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,

Staff does not anticipate any detrimental impacts to adjacent property. The school would utilize existing facilities and would not interfere with the functions of the church. VDOT has confirmed that the proposed school will not significantly impact traffic on Hydraulic Road, as the school will be limited in size to 40 students and 5 staff. The activities of the school will also not impact residential properties given the distance of the school from neighboring residences.

 

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

There will be no site development changes or new construction on the property. The proposed private school will make use of the existing community building, which has always been available for use during the daytime hours that the school proposes to use the building.

 

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

The purpose of the Rural Areas Zoning District is the preservation of agricultural and forestal lands and activities; water supply protection; limited service delivery to the rural areas; and conservation of natural, scenic, and historic resources. Since the school will be using an existing building, the use is not in conflict with Rural Areas zoning.

 

with uses permitted by right in the district,

The subject property and the adjacent properties to the north, east, and west are zoned Rural Areas.  The uses permitted by right under RA zoning directly support agriculture, forestry, and conservation of rural land.  The private school would not adversely affect the permitted by right uses in the Rural Area zoning district. The private school would not negatively impact the R-6 residential zoning district located south of the parcel, as private schools are allowed by special use permit in this zoning district.

 

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

There are no regulations in Section 5.0 of the Zoning Ordinance that apply to private schools.

 

and with the public health, safety and general welfare.

The public health, safety, and general welfare of the community are protected through the special use permit process which assures that the proposed uses are appropriate in the location requested. The Building Official has offered no concerns about the proposal.

 

The Albemarle County Service Authority (ACSA) has indicated that the site is not on public utilities and is served by a well and septic system. The Health Department has stated that the current well and sewage disposal system is sufficient for the proposed school with 40 students and 5 teaching staff.

 

The proposed development of a private school with forty (40) students and five(5) staff would generate 36 trips during the morning (7:00 – 9:00) and 24 trips during the evening (2:00 – 4:00) on Hydraulic Road. The most current traffic count for Hydraulic Road is 22,000 (2007 VDOT traffic count). There are currently three public schools to the south of the proposed development. The traffic generation from the proposed school (as well as the public school complex) impacts the morning peak traffic period for Hydraulic Road but does not impact the evening peak (4:00 – 6:00).  Trip origin information is not known; therefore, it is possible that some of the trips to and from the proposed school could already be traveling on Hydraulic Road.   Based on a preliminary evaluation/modeling of turning movements, VDOT staff determined that there would be a minor delay for vehicle departing Roslyn Ridge Road onto Hydraulic Road (an additional 5 seconds for a total delay of approximately 40 seconds).

 

VDOT has reviewed the crash data for the intersection of Roslyn Ridge Road at Hydraulic Road and determined that the crash rate is very low. Based on the crash data staff evaluated from 2005 to August 31, 2008 for this intersection, there was one crash in 2006 and there were no fatalities or injuries  For the Hydraulic Road corridor between (and including) the Hydraulic Road/Rio Road intersection and the Lambs Road/Whitewood Road intersection for the same period of time, there was an average of 18 accidents per year (over one-half of which were rear-end accidents).  This accident information is a tabulation of police accident report data.  The data has not been analyzed by VDOT (to confirm type, determine cause, trends, etc.).  There were no fatal crashes or fatalities in this time period.

 

There is currently a left turn decision lane (center turn lane) on Hydraulic Road that serves Roslyn Ridge Road and Garden Court, which are directly across Hydraulic Road from one another. VDOT has indicated that this left turn lane is an acceptable design at this location to serve the proposed use.

 

In summary, the proposed school will have the most significant traffic impact to Hydraulic Road during the AM peak period by adding an estimated 36 additional vehicle trips.  VDOT is of the opinion that this level of impact is acceptable at this location, causing only minor additional delays for turning movements out of Roslyn Ridge Road. However, further school expansion beyond this proposal could prove problematic from a traffic standpoint, given the existing level of traffic on Hydraulic Road.  Therefore, any future expansion that increases the number of students or staff will require a traffic impact analysis as part of the special use permit review. Additionally, staff recommends that the applicant contact the Thomas Jefferson Planning District Commission RideShare Office to determine if their services could benefit the applicant in reducing the number of vehicles trips generated per day.

 

 

SUMMARY:

 

Staff has identified the following factors favorable to this application:

1.      The private school would provide expanded educational opportunities to the community and nearby residential areas.

2.      There are no anticipated detrimental impacts on adjacent property resulting from the proposed use.

3.      The proposed use would minimally impact the existing character of the church building.            

 

Staff has identified one factor unfavorable to this application:

1.      An increase in vehicle trips on Hydraulic Road during peak morning hours.

 

 

RECOMMENDED ACTION: 

Based on the findings contained in this staff report, staff recommends approval of Special Use Permit 2008-060 Albemarle Baptist Christian School, subject to the following conditions of approval. The conditions approved with SP 2001-49 are included below. Conditions that no longer apply have been struck through and new conditions are indicated in italics.

 

1.      The school is limited to the existing building and grounds, as indicated on the concept plan (Attachment A). Any additional building or site changes beyond those shown on the approved site plan for SP 2001-47, prepared by Dex A. Sanders and dated November 28, 2007, will require an amendment to this Special Use Permit.

2.      Maximum enrollment of students and staff shall be limited to forty (40) students and five (5) staff. Any increase in enrollment and/or staff shall require an amendment to this Special Use Permit (SP 2009-60) and a traffic study shall be required to be submitted with the amendment. 

3.      Hours of operation for the school shall be from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., Monday through Friday, from September to June; and days of operation shall not exceed 336, excluding special school events.

4.      No additional outdoor lighting shall be allowed without an amendment to this Special Use Permit.

5.      Food preparation for the private school use shall not be conducted without an amendment to this Special Use Permit.

6.      All requirements of the Architectural Review Board of Supervisors shall be met, including the site plan indicating the existing tree line and specific trees of six (6) inches or greater and retaining significant trees.

7.      The area of assembly shall be limited to a maximum four-hundred-thirty-five (435) seat sanctuary.

8.      Health Department approval of well and septic systems prior to final site plan approval.

9.      Commercial setback standards, as set forth in Chapter 18, 21.7.2 of the Albemarle County Zoning Ordinance, shall be maintained adjacent to residential uses or residentially zoned properties.

10.  Any number of parking spaces in excess of the required minimum shall not be paved.

11.  There shall be no day care center or private school on-site without the approval of a separate special use permit.

12.  Construction of Phase 1 [6,800 sq. ft. sanctuary] shall commence within forty-eight (48) months or this special use permit shall expire.

13.  All requirements of VDOT shall be met prior to final site plan approval, including approval of one entrance from Roselyn Ridge Road, with a one-hundred (100)-foot-right-turn lane and one-hundred (100)-foot taper lane.

 

 

ATTACHMENTS

 

Attachment A – Concept Plan

Attachment B – Aerial Map

Attachment C – Zoning Map

Attachment D – Floor Plan

Attachment E – SP 2001-47 Staff Report

Attachment F – Board of Supervisors Action Letter and Conditions for SP 2001-47

Attachment G – List and map of special use permit approvals for private schools in Albemarle County since 1998

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