COUNTY OF ALBEMARLE

PLANNING STAFF REPORT SUMMARY

 

 

Project Name:  SP 2008-009 Animal Wellness

 

Staff: Rebecca Ragsdale

 

Planning Commission Public Hearing:  August 18, 2009

 

Board of Supervisors Public Hearing: Not yet scheduled

 

Owners:  1100 Crozet Avenue, LLC (Gwendolyn/Henry Smith)

Applicant:  Animal Wellness

 Acreage:  3.45 acres

Special Use Permit: Veterinary Hospital

TMP: 56A2-1-07,

Location: 1100 Crozet Avenue

Existing Zoning and By-right use:  

Downtown Crozet District (DCD)

 Magisterial District: White Hall

Conditions: Yes

 Proposal:  Reuse of an existing building for a veterinary clinic

Requested # of Dwelling Units:  NA                           

DA: Community of Crozet

 

Comprehensive Plan Designation: CT 5 Urban Center & CT 1 Preservation

Character of Property:

Previously residential, now vacant/storage use

Use of Surrounding Properties:

office, residential, and undeveloped

Factors Favorable:

 

1.      The Land Use Plan is supportive of the vet use.

2.      The vet will be a new business located in Downtown Crozet adaptively reusing a currently vacant building.

3.      There will be no detrimental impacts on surrounding properties.

Factors Unfavorable:

 

There are no unfavorable factors.

 

RECOMMENDATION: Staff recommends approval with conditions of the special use permit request. Modifications to regulations to minimum setbacks for veterinary clinics of Section 5.1.11 and waiver of parking location requirements of the Downtown Crozet District are also requested and recommended for approval.

 

 

            STAFF PERSON:                                                                                      Rebecca Ragsdale

            PLANNING COMMISSION DATE:                                                               August 18, 2009

            BOARD OF SUPERVISORS DATE:                                                             Not yet scheduled

 

 

      SP 2008-009 Animal Wellness

 

PETITION:

PROJECT:  SP 2008-009 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

 

 

CHARACTER OF THE AREA

The veterinary hospital is proposed within an existing one-story building, previously used as apartments, that dates to 1950. The parcel is about 3.4 acres, is zoned Downtown Crozet District (DCD) and is designated CT 5 and CT 1 in the Crozet Master Plan on the edge of Downtown. The building is set back from Crozet Avenue with driveway, parking, and trees in front. The back half of the property is mostly undevelopable. Powell’s Creek forms the western boundary of the property with stream buffers and there is also a drainage way that runs behind the existing building, which is included in the County’s stormwater project for Downtown. The adjoining property to the north is also zoned DCD and house on that property is used for as offices. The properties adjoining to the south, east and west are zoned R2 Residential. The property to the south will be purchased and used for the County’s stormwater project. Properties to the east and west are used for residences. (Attachments A-Aerial, Attachment B-Zoning, Attachment C-Crozet Master Plan)

 

SPECIFICS OF THE PROPOSAL

The applicant is proposing a veterinary clinic within the existing 24’x100’ structure.  The applicant has indicated that there will be minimal outdoor activity, with occasional dog walking but no other outdoor activities or kennels. There will be no boarding services provided, except for those animals at the vet for treatment. The expected number of employees will be 6-8, and there may be additional interns or summer employees. A proposed floor plan is provided as Attachment D. With reuse of the property, VDOT requires a relocated entrance and parking is needed which necessitates a site plan. The applicant is also requesting a modification from the DCD requirements for the location of parking, since it will not be relegated. Since this is reuse of an exiting building with limited site improvements, the special use permit review is limited to impacts of the veterinary clinics land use, which is only permitted by special use permit in the DCD district (Concept Plan is provided as Attachment E)

 

      PLANNING AND ZONING HISTORY

The property was zoned R2 Residential prior to 1980 when it was zoned C-1 Commercial. The property was rezoned to Downtown Crozet District (DCD) by the County on June 11, 2008. The property could develop by-right with a range of commercial uses or mixed use under the DCD district.

 

       CONFORMITY WITH THE COMPREHENSIVE PLAN

 

Crozet Master Plan

Staff believes that this proposal is in keeping with the master plan goals for Downtown. The property is designated CT 5 Urban Center and CT1 Development Area Preserve. The range of land uses recommended for CT 5 is open, including retail, services, office, and residential uses, so veterinary clinics would be a commercial use consistent with that land use designation.  The Master Plan also recommends Development Area Preserve CT1 (natural area greenway) on the parcel. (see insets below) The CT1 (green) area running through the middle of the property is intended to represent preservation of the drainage channel that runs behind the building proposed for redevelopment. The Green Infrastructure Plan also suggests a future greenway connection (white line on Green Infrastructure map below) running along the rear property line. The County has not begun discussions with the applicant regarding the future greenway as efforts have been focused on working with the applicant to accomplish the County Stormwater project, which would impact portions of the front of this property, as well as along the drainage channel behind the building, with needed easements.

Text Box: SITE

 

 

 


 

Text Box: SITE

 

 

 

Text Box: SITE

 

               Crozet Master Plan Place-Type & Built Infrastructure Map                   Green Infrastructure Map

 

 

 

Neighborhood Model-

A full analysis of the Neighborhood Model has not been done because of the low level of change proposed for the site. The relevant principles are redevelopment, relegated parking and pedestrian orientation. The special use permit request is for a veterinary use within an existing building and site development changes to accommodate reuse of the building include relocation of the entrance drive, parking, and landscaping. The existing building pre-dates zoning and the neighborhood model. Until or unless a new building is constructed which would be closer to Crozet Avenue and given the environmental features on the site, it is not possible to relegate parking. This is discussed further under the DCD waiver request for parking location below. The Downtown Crozet District also requires a sidewalk and street tress, which would provide for pedestrian orientation/neighborhood friendly streets and paths. Staff notes that this proposal will provide redevelopment in Downtown Crozet.

 

   STAFF COMMENT

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,

 

There is no expected detriment to adjoining properties. The supplemental regulations in Section 5.1.11 of the Zoning Ordinance discussed below address potential impacts unique to a veterinary use, such as noise affecting nearby residential properties or compatibility with other adjacent commercial uses.

 

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

This proposal is for reuse of an existing structure and a relocation of a new driveway to meet VDOT standards. The property is located along an Entrance Corridor (Route 240/Crozet Avenue) and within the potential Crozet Historic District. Advisory staff comments have been provided regarding the proposal from ARB staff. This property forms a portion of the southern boundary of the potential Crozet Historic District. As such it forms the entrance to the historic district from the south on Crozet Avenue. The district has been determined eligible for listing in the National Register of Historic Places, and this property is considered a contributing resource to that district. The one-story masonry structure was constructed as an apartment building ca. 1950. The property currently retains a residential character. Retaining the existing drive would have less impact on the site in general and on the wooded area in particular and was recommended instead of creating a new drive to reduce impacts to the Entrance Corridor and the historic district. However, the relocated driveway is needed to meet sight distance and provide for a safe entrance /exit to the property. To mitigate impacts to the Entrance Corridor from the new drive, new planting will be required along the frontage and in the disturbed areas. Entrance Corridor guidelines and recommendations from the Crozet Historic Resources study will be considered during the review of the planting proposal, at the time a site plan is submitted. The planting will be expected to maintain the residential character of the site and to screen the view of the parking from the road.

 

 

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

The DCD Zoning District was established to facilitate traditional downtown development, as described for the CT6 Urban Core and CT5 Urban Center transects in the Crozet master plan. To these ends, the DCD provides for flexibility and variety of development for retail, service, and civic uses with light industrial and residential uses as secondary uses. The regulations for the DCD are intended to promote a development form and character that is different from typical suburban development allowed by conventional zoning, and are also intended to: (i) promote the economic and social vitality and diversity of downtown Crozet; (ii) implement the Crozet master plan for the downtown area of Crozet so that it may serve as the commercial hub of Crozet and its environs; (iii) provide a greater mix of uses in downtown Crozet, including increased employment; (iv) facilitate infill and redevelopment; (v) increase the utility of the land; (vi) retain the uniquely diverse character of Crozet; and (vii) promote a pedestrian-friendly environment.

 

The proposed vet at this location is consistent with this district in that it provides for reuse of the site in a manner that adds to the mix of uses in Downtown and a contributing structure to the potential historic district is being adaptively reused.

 

 

with uses permitted by-right in the district,

Veterinary uses are by special use permit so that any conflicts with other uses in the district can be considered. Supplemental regulations ensure that noise and other potential impacts are addressed so there is on conflict with other by-right uses. The veterinary clinic will use the entire building on the property so there would be no conflicts with other by-right uses on the site.

 

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

 

Section 5.1.11 is applicable to the proposed vet use and each regulation is addressed below.

 

a. Except where animals are confined in soundproofed, air-conditioned buildings, no structure or area occupied by animals shall be closer than five hundred (500) feet to any agricultural or residential lot line. For non-soundproofed animal confinements, an external solid fence not less than six (6) feet in height shall be located within fifty (50) feet of the animal confinement and shall be composed of concrete block, brick, or other material approved by the zoning administrator; (Amended 11-15-89)

 

Animals will be confined to the building while receiving treatment at the veterinary clinic.

 

b. For soundproofed confinements, no such structure shall be located closer than two hundred (200) feet to any agricultural or residential lot line. For soundproofed confinements, noise measured at the nearest agricultural or residential property line shall not exceed fifty-five (55) decibels; (Amended 11-15-89; 6-14-00)

 

A request from the applicant has been made to modify this requirement.

 

The building in which the veterinary use would be located is less than 200 feet from the adjoining R1 Residential lot line to the south and is approximately 50’ from that property line. The County is under negotiations to purchase that property for the Crozet Stormwater Project and it is not anticipated to develop with residential uses. The applicant has also submitted an engineer’s report confirming that the building is soundproofed, but that if the room with a window is used for treatment, additional soundproofing may be needed as a precaution. Staff recommends approval of this modification, provided that additional soundproofing around the existing windows is provided, or for new window, adequate sound dampening is provided. The applicant has indicated they intend to replace all windows, which would provide additional sound dampening.

 

c. In all cases, animals shall be confined in an enclosed building from 10:00 p.m. to 6:00 a.m.

(Amended 11-15-89; 6-14-00)

 

The applicant has indicated that this requirement will be met based on proposed business hours, by appointment, between 7:30a.m. and 6:00p.m. There would be no outdoor activity outside these hours.

 

d. In areas where such uses may be in proximity to other uses involving intensive activity such as shopping centers or other urban density locations, special attention is required to protect the public health and welfare. To these ends the commission and board may require among other things: (Amended 11-15-89)

 

-Separate building entrance and exit to avoid animal conflicts;

(Added 11-15-89)

-Area for outside exercise to be exclusive from access by the public by fencing or other

means. (Added 11-15-89)

 

As mentioned above, the vet will be the sole occupant of the building on the property so there is not need to impose any additional requirements for a separate building entrance. The applicant has explained that there is not a need for the proposed vet business to have a defined fenced-in area as the only outdoor activity will be occasional walking of dogs. Nevertheless, staff feels that the area of outdoor activity should be specified with the special use permit and has recommended a condition of approval that separates this activity from public access.

 

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. Albemarle County Service Authority (ACSA) and the Rivanna Water and Sewer Authority (RWSA) have provided comments. (Attachment G and H) The site is currently served by public water but is not connected to sewer. The applicant intends to connect to sewer as part of this project and will connect to the ACSA line although there is also a RWSA sewer line near the site.

 

 

Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT) requires that the entrance to the site be relocated to the south to provide adequate site distance and that it be upgraded to VDOT standards for a commercial entrance. (Attachment I)The relocated entrance is provided on the applicant’s Concept Plan.

 

DCD Requirements- Waiver to allow alternative location of parking area

 

The DCD requires relegated parking and for that parking as an accessory use, that it be no closer to the right-of-way than any existing or proposed primary structure on a lot. Parking areas are required to be located to the rear/and or side of primary structures as viewed from the right-of-way. The ordinance makes no exception for existing parking areas but provides for a Planning Commission waiver to allow an alternate parking location. The waiver section and staff analysis are provided below.

 

Waiver to allow alternative location of parking area. The parking area setback requirements in subsection 20B.3(A) may be waived as follows:

 

1. Consideration by commission. The commission may waive the parking area setback requirements in subsection 20B.3(A) and allow a parking area to be located between a street and a primary structure, subject to reasonable conditions that it may impose, upon a finding that:

 

a. There are unusual physical conditions on the lot or an adjoining lot including, but not limited to, the location of existing structures and parking areas, steep topography or other environmental features, narrowness or shallowness or the size or shape of the lot that make it impossible or unfeasible to provide parking to the side or rear of a primary structure;

 

The waiver is requested and supported by staff based on this criteria of the ordinance. The applicant wishes to reuse an existing structure, which is permitted in the DCD district. However, due to the location of the existing structure and drainage channels on the site, and narrowness of the lot,  it is not possible to locate parking so that it is no closer to the street than the existing structure.

 

b. The potential safety of patrons and employees cannot be achieved with adequate lighting and other reasonable design solutions; or

               

There are no safety concerns and this is not an issue for consideration of the waiver.

               

c. The strict application of the applicable regulations in subsection 20B.3(A) would not further the purposes of this chapter or otherwise serve the public health, safety, or welfare or achieve the goals established in the comprehensive plan

 

The strict application of the parking setbacks can only be achieved if the site is completely redeveloped. There are no conflicts public safety issues or conflicts with the goals of the comprehensive plan with permitting this waiver. The project would meet the following goals for Downtown from the master plan and also stated in the intent of the DCD district:

o        Implement the Crozet master plan for the downtown area of Crozet so that it may serve as the commercial hub of Crozet and its environs;

o        Provide a greater mix of uses in downtown Crozet, including increased employment;

o        Facilitate infill and redevelopment

 

Staff recommends approval of the waiver, provided that the parking is screened in accordance with the DCD requirements and recommendations of the ARB.

               

 

SUMMARY

Staff has identified the following factors favorable to this application:

1.      The Land Use Plan is supportive of the vet use.

2.      The vet will be a new business located in Downtown Crozet adaptively reusing a currently vacant building.

3.      There will be no detrimental impacts on surrounding properties.

 

Staff has identified not identified unfavorable factors to this application.  

 

RECOMMENDED ACTION: 

 

SP 2009-008

Based on the findings contained in this staff report, staff recommends approval of Special Use Permit 2008-009 with the following 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 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.

Waiver and Modification Requests

 

Request for modification of Section 5.1.11.b

Staff recommends the modification of minimum 200 foot setback requirements be approved. Staff recommends approval of this modification, provided 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

Staff recommends approval of the waiver, provided that the parking is screened in accordance with the DCD requirements and recommendations of the ARB.

 

ATTACHMENTS

A.      Location Map-Aerial

B.     Location Map-Zoning

C.     Location Map-Crozet Master Plan

D.     Concept Plan

E.     Floor Plan of proposed veterinary hospital

F.      Engineers Report certifying soundproof building

G.    Albemarle County Service Authority comments, e-mail dated October 24, 2008 from Gary Whelan and memo dated March 12, 2008 from Gary Whelan

H.     Rivanna Water and Sewer Authority comments, e-mail dated July 14, 2009 from Justin Weiler, E.I.T.

I.        VDOT comments, e-mail correspondence last dated November 14, 2008 from Joel DeNunzio, P.E., Staff Engineer

 

 

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