COUNTY OF ALBEMARLE
Certification of Consistency of Comprehensive Plan with Virginia Code § 15.2-2223.1
Resolution Certifying Consistency of Albemarle County Comprehensive Plan with Virginia Code § 15.2-2223.1
Messrs. Tucker, Foley, Davis, Kamptner, Graham, and Cilimberg
LEGAL REVIEW: Yes
December 9, 2009
ACTION: X INFORMATION:
Virginia Code § 15.2-2223.1 was enacted in 2007 as part of the massive transportation legislation (House Bill 3202) adopted by the General Assembly that year. Section 15.2-2223.1 requires certain high growth localities, including the County of Albemarle, to amend their comprehensive plans to incorporate one or more “urban development areas” (“UDA”), which is defined to be an “area designated by a locality that is appropriate for higher density development due to proximity to transportation facilities, the availability of a public or community water and sewer system, or proximity to a city, town, or other developed area.”
Section 15.2-2223.1 requires that a UDA must provide for commercial and residential densities that are appropriate for reasonably compact development. Residential densities must be at least four dwelling units per gross acre and commercial densities must have a minimum floor area ratio of 0.4 per gross acre. A UDA may provide for a mix of residential housing types, including affordable housing, to meet the projected family income distributions of future residential growth. At least one UDA must be designated as being sufficient to meet projected residential and commercial growth in the locality for an ensuing period of at least 10 but not more than 20 years. Principles of new urbanism and traditional neighborhood development must be incorporated into the comprehensive plan.
In lieu of amending the County’s Comprehensive Plan as set forth above, the Board of Supervisors is authorized by Virginia Code § 15.2-2223.1(E) to adopt a resolution certifying that the Comprehensive Plan accommodates growth in a manner consistent with the elements of a UDA and the principles of new urbanism and traditional neighborhood development.
Goal 4: Effectively manage growth and development.
The Comprehensive Plan’s Land Use Plan accommodates growth in a manner consistent with the elements of a UDA under Virginia Code § 15.2-2223.1, as follows:
Density: All residential land use designations (Neighborhood Density, Urban Density, Crozet Transects) in the Land Use Plan allow at least 4 dwelling units per gross acre with the exception of the Village of Rivanna. All commercial land use designations in the Land Use Plan (Neighborhood, Community and Regional Service, Crozet Transects) allow FARs of 0.4 per gross acre. The policy of the Comprehensive Plan is to provide a mixture of housing types, including affordable housing, in all Development Areas. The residential zoning districts encouraged within the Development Areas allow a mixture of housing types, and the Neighborhood Model District requires a mixture of housing types.
Availability of public or community water and sewer systems: The Development Areas are predominantly served by public water and sewer services and the Comprehensive Plan’s policy is to extend public water and sewer facilities to all lands within the Development Areas.
Proximity to transportation facilities: The Development Areas are located so that they are in close proximity to various transportation facilities including inter-county and major intra-county roadways such as Interstate 64, U.S. Route 29, and U.S. Route 250, as well as other transportation services such as public bus service, passenger rail service, and air service.
Proximity to a city, town or other developed areas: The Urban Area (Neighborhoods 1-7 including the Pantops Master Plan Area) surrounds the City of Charlottesville. The Communities of Hollymead and Piney Mountain along U.S. 29 North are continuing to develop, and extend north from the Urban Area. The Community of Crozet primarily consists of an area that has been developed for a long time. The Village of Rivanna primarily consists of the Glenmore and Running Deer subdivisions, which are developed.
The areas are sufficient to accommodate at least 10 years, but not more than 20 years, of development: The Development Areas will accommodate development for up to the next 20 years. While it may be possible that the Development Areas are sufficient to accommodate development beyond 20 years, it is staff’s opinion that the overarching elements of a UDA and the principles of new urbanism and traditional neighborhood development are better achieved by the current compact sizes of the Development Areas, their periodic review every 5 years, the County’s existing development policies, and the Neighborhood Model’s policy of establishing clear boundaries with the Rural Areas, rather than an arbitrary 20-year window.
The Comprehensive Plan’s Land Use Plan also accommodates growth in a manner consistent with the principles of new urbanism and traditional neighborhood development under Virginia Code § 15.2-2223.1. The Land Use Plan designates seven Urban Neighborhoods, three Communities and one Village that constitute the County's Development Areas. The Development Areas comprise 36 square miles or 5% of the County’s total land area and the form and characteristics of their development are guided by the Neighborhood Model. The Neighborhood Model promotes density through principles of pedestrian orientation, neighborhood friendly streets, street interconnections, parks and open space, neighborhood centers, buildings of human scale, relegated parking, mixture of uses, mixture of housing types and affordability, redevelopment, site development that respects terrain and clear boundaries with the Rural Areas. In addition, area master plans that reflect these principles were added to the Land Use Plan for the Community of Crozet in 2004 and the Pantops Urban Neighborhood in 2008. Two new area master plans have recently been recommended for approval to the Board of Supervisors by the Planning Commission: (1) Places29, which includes the area of two Urban Neighborhoods and two Communities; and (2) the Village of Rivanna.
It is staff’s opinion that these elements and principles in the Comprehensive Plan are consistent with the manner of growth sought by Virginia Code § 15.2-2223.1.
There is no immediate budget impact; however, certification shows an additional level of County consistency with state code provisions that could be helpful in pursuing an Urban Development Area Planning Grant from the state.
Staff recommends that the Board adopt the attached resolution certifying that the Albemarle County Comprehensive Plan accommodates growth in a manner consistent with Virginia Code § 15.2-2223.1.
A - Resolution
B – Virginia Code § 15.2-2223.1
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