Albemarle County Planning Commission

August 18, 2009


The Albemarle County Planning Commission held a public hearing and meeting on Tuesday, August 18, 2009, at 6:00 p.m., at the County Office Building, Lane Auditorium, Second Floor, 401 McIntire Road, Charlottesville, Virginia.


Members attending were Don Franco, Linda Porterfield Marcia Joseph, Calvin Morris, Bill Edgerton, Thomas Loach, Vice Chair and Eric Strucko, Chairman. Julia Monteith, AICP, non-voting representative for the University of Virginia was present. 


Other officials present were Rebecca Ragsdale, Senior Planner; David Benish, Chief of Planning; Eryn Brennan, Senior Planner; Wayne Cilimberg, Director of Planning; Elizabeth Moratta, Senior Planner; Glenn Brooks, County Engineer; Ron Higgins, Chief of Zoning; Scott Clark, Senior Planner; Bill Fritz, Director of Current Development and Greg Kamptner, Deputy County Attorney. 


Call to Order and Establish Quorum:


Mr. Strucko called the regular meeting to order at 6:00 p.m. and established a quorum.


SP-2008-00009 Animal Wellness Center

PROPOSED: Veterinary Clinic for small animals. ZONING CATEGORY/GENERAL USAGE: DCD Downtown Crozet District-variety of commercial uses including office, retail, service, and civic uses; residential uses if mixed use (up to 36 units/acre); light industrial uses by special use permit. SECTION: 20B.2.E.17 Veterinary offices and animal hospitals. Veterinary office and hospital;  5.1.11 Commercial Kennel, Veterinary Service, Office Or Hospital, Animal. Hospital, Animal Shelter. COMPREHENSIVE PLAN LAND USE/DENSITY: Community of Crozet, CT5 Neighborhood Center in the Crozet Master Plan which allows for a mix of uses and residential types at net densities of up to 12 units per acre; up to 18 units per acre if in a mixed use setting and CT 1 Development Area Preserve. ENTRANCE CORRIDOR: Yes. LOCATION: 1100 Crozet Avenue/Route 240, approx. 400 feet south of the intersection of Jarmans Gap Road and Crozet Avenue. TAX MAP/PARCEL: 056A2-01-00-00700. MAGISTERIAL DISTRICT:  White Hall                  (Rebecca Ragsdale)


Ms. Ragsdale presented a PowerPoint presentation and summarized the staff report. 


This is a request in Downtown Crozet for a veterinary clinic on a site that was rezoned to Downtown Crozet District.  There is some existing vegetation along Route 240.  The existing building proposed to be used for the reuse of the vet is setback from the road.  There is an existing driveway. 


Staff found that this use was consistent with the CT-5 Urban Center Designation in Downtown.  Powell Creek and storm water easements are located to the rear of the property.


The entrance will be relocated to meet safety and sight distance requirements for VDOT.  There will be some parking for the vet use, which is required to be relegated.  There are provision the Commission to waive or modify that requirement.  In this case because of the existing building and features on the site staff supports that modification.


There is another modification that goes along with this special use permit under Section 5.0 Supplemental Regulations for Veterinary Uses in the Zoning Ordinance.  Because of the proximity of the existing building to the residential zoned property line there is a modification to the setback requirement that is requested.  The applicant provided a sound test that demonstrates that the sound proofing requirements in the ordinance can be met.  Staff supports that request.


This property is located in the Entrance Corridor.  The Design Planner has reviewed it for impacts to the Entrance Corridor.  This property is also located in the potential Crozet Historic District.  Based on that perspective it was preferable not to provide the new entrance and disturb it, but that was necessary for VDOT approval and access to the site.  So there are recommendations for mitigating those impacts with a landscaping plan.  The applicant will have to meet the site plan requirements and landscaping requirements of the Architectural Review Board. 


In summary, staff found that this was consistent with the Crozet Master Plan and Land Use Plan and was a business that would be a new business in Downtown Crozet supporting the goal for Downtown as the commercial center in Crozet.  There would be no detrimental impacts to adjoining property owners. 


Staff did not find any unfavorable factors and recommended approval of the special use permit SP-2008-00009 Animal Wellness Center with the conditions outlined in the staff report along with the approval of the two modifications with regard to Section 5.0 and allowing the alternative parking location provided that landscaping screening requirements are met. 


Mr. Strucko invited questions for staff.  He asked if staff received comments from the adjacent property owners.


Ms. Ragsdale replied that she had not.


Mr. Cilimberg noted that the adjacent owner letter was sent to all adjoining property owners. 


Mr. Loach asked if the easements been worked out for the storm water project. He noted that the staff report said that the county has not begun discussions with the applicant regarding the future greenways as an emphasis and focus on working with the county storm water project.   He asked what the status of the easements is.


Ms. Ragsdale replied that the county does not have signed easements regarding the storm water project.  But the project managers have been in discussion and going over the design of the project so that it met the property owners concerns.  Those easements would be for the drainage channel that runs along the northern property line and then the drainage channel in back for channel improvements to the adjoining what will hopefully be the county owned property for the storm water project.  So the easements were not in place yet.


Ms. Joseph noted that she had a question about the entrance.  The concern was that they have an historic district and it would be better to keep the entrance where it was. If this was not a special use permit and someone came in and wanted to use this property under the existing zoning category would they require them to move that entrance?


Mr. Cilimberg replied that if a site plan was involved yes.


Ms. Joseph said if they were able to meet the parking requirements, etc. would they need a site plan.  If someone has been using the property as a commercial use and someone else came in to use it as another commercial use that did not require a site plan they would not need a site plan. She was amazed that they needed sight distance because this is an urban area.  She was trying to figure out what is the speed limit out there that they need to move this entrance to get the sight distance.


Mr. Cilimberg noted that there are certain elements of site development that kick the requirement for a site plan in. The establishment of parking is one of those. Once a site plan would be required then they are dealing with construction that is not permitted by for adequate sight distance and such for entrances. 


Ms. Joseph said that they are not dealing with a recommendation, but a requirement from VDOT.


Ms. Ragsdale replied yes.  VDOT reviewed the concept plan and provided those comments, which would be their requirements as part of the special use permit review.  The property was previously used for residential as apartment buildings.  Although the property has been zoned commercially, C-1, for some time she did not know that there has use of that building commercially to date.  It may not have come up before.


Mr. Strucko opened the public hearing and invited the applicant to address the Commission.


Dr. Hillary Cook, representative for the request, offered to answer any questions.


Mr. Loach noted that the operating hours was listed as 7:30 a.m. to 6:00 p.m.  He questioned if they would want any emergency hours.


Dr. Cook replied no, that there were veterinary emergency clinics in town.  She would probably carry a pager for her clients.


Mr. Strucko invited public comment.


Joan Meyer, a Crozet resident, supported the practice being moved to Crozet.  She has kept animals as part of her family for about 25 years.  She is the first vet who has ever heard her concerns about how her animals are taken care of. Rather than just throwing drugs at a condition she has successfully determined what the root cause of a problem may be.  She noted that after eight months of pain and infection she has a dog that is happy and healthy. She will look forward to visiting the veterinary clinic with the rest of her family in Crozet if this request is approved.


Anne Dagner, resident of 1122 Crozet Avenue which three doors down from the proposed site, spoke in support of the proposal. She agreed with staff’s recommendation that the veterinary use is a business that fits with the Crozet Downtown District Development Plan.  As a side she and her husband were both veterinarians and would be happy to have a veterinary office down the road and don’t see any problems with that at all. 


There being no further public comment, the public hearing was closed and the matter before the Planning Commission.


Motion on Special Use Permit:


Motion:  Mr. Loach moved and Mr. Morris seconded for approval of SP-2008-00009, Animal Wellness Center with staff’s recommended conditions. 


  1. Development of the use shall be in accord with the concept plan, entitled “Animal Wellness” prepared by TCS Engineering Co., LLC and last revised July 14, 2009, as determined by the Director of Planning and the Zoning Administrator.  To be in conformity with the plan, development shall reflect the following elements only and all other elements of the plan may be modified during site plan review and approval: entrance relocation, general location of parking areas, and outside area for walking animals. Minor modifications to the plan which do not conflict with the elements above may be made to ensure compliance with the Zoning Ordinance.
  2. This special use permit applies to the existing building and any new buildings for the veterinary use will require a new special use permit.
  3. No overnight boarding use, other than for those animals under medical care shall take place at the veterinary hospital.
  4. The building shall be sound-proofed in accordance with Section 5.1.11(b) and air-conditioned.
  5. No outdoor exercise area shall be permitted. However, walking of animals is permitted and shall be separated from access by the public and limited to the area behind the building as identified in Attachment D.
  6. Use shall not commence until the building is served by public sewer.


The motion carried by a vote of 7:0.


Mr. Loach pointed out that this is another success story of the Crozet Master Plan.    


Mr. Strucko noted that SP-2008-00009 would go before the Board of Supervisors with a recommendation for approval on a date to be determined.


Motion on Two Modifications:


Motion:  Mr. Loach moved and Mr. Morris seconded for approval of the two recommended modifications of Section 5.1.11.b and the critical slopes waiver as recommended by staff.


The motion carried by a vote of 7:0.


Mr. Strucko noted that the modifications were approved as noted below and did not go to the Board of Supervisors. 


Request for modification of Section 5.1.11.b - Approval

         By a vote of 7:0, the Planning Commission approved the modification of the minimum 200 foot setback requirements with the condition that additional soundproofing around the existing windows be provided or for new windows they provide for adequate sound dampening. (Condition #4 above)


Waiver to allow alternative location of parking area - Approval

         By a vote of 7:0, the Planning Commission approved the waiver to allow alternative location of parking area, provided that the parking is screened in accordance with the DCD requirements and recommendations of the ARB.


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