STAFF PERSONS BOARD OF SUPERVISORS
MARK B. GRAHAM, PE JUNE 2, 2004
Request for Modification to Commercial District Standards
On October 14, 2003, the Planning Commission held its final public hearing on North Pointe and on November 18, 2003 recommended disapproval of the rezoning to the Board of Supervisors. The Board of Supervisors held a worksession on December 3, 2003 and sent the project to a committee made up of two Board Members and two Planning Commissioners. The Board asked the Committee to see if they could work out design issues related to the Application Plan. The Committee met several times and the plan was modified. After viewing a redesign of the commercial area, the Committee generally sent a positive recommendation on the design back to the Board. There were a few items related to the plan for which the Committee desired changes. The Board accepted the recommendation of the Committee regarding the desired changes to the plan. Since that time, the Board has held three worksessions to discuss the other outstanding issues on the project.
Purpose Of This Worksession
The purpose of this worksession is to review the outstanding issues related to the project and come to agreement, if possible, on the next steps for the applicant. This report is offered as the framework for the Board’s discussion
There are four petitions associated with North Pointe. The first petition is a rezoning from RA Rural Areas to PD-MC Planned Development Mixed Commercial for 676,000 square feet of commercial and office space. The second petition is for a Special Use Permit to allow a maximum of 893 residential units. The third petition is for a critical slopes waiver for the area to be rezoned. The fourth petition is for a waiver of the commercial setback requirements from Section 21 of the Zoning Ordinance for the perimeter of the property.
The properties under consideration for the rezoning are described as Tax Map 32 Parcels 20, 20a, 20a1, 20a2, 20a3, 22h 22k, 23, 23a, 23b, 23c, 23d, 23e, 23 f, 23g, 23h, 23j and 29I. They are located in the Rivanna Magisterial District north of Proffit Road, east of Route 29 North, west of Pritchett Lane and south of the Rivanna River. The Comprehensive Plan designates this property as Regional Service, Office Service, Urban Density (6 - 34 dwelling units per acre) and Neighborhood Density (3 - 6 dwelling units per acre) in the Hollymead Community. The property is located within the Entrance Corridor (EC) zone.
Staff has reviewed the proposals and associated proffers for conformity with the Comprehensive Plan and the Zoning Ordinance and cannot recommend approval at this time based on the extent to which issues identified by the staff and the Planning Commission and more recently by the Board of Supervisors, have been satisfied by the applicant.
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The current Application Plan is dated April 16, 2004 and is included as Attachment A. Outstanding technical issues related to the Application Plan are included as Attachment B. Design issues include the ARB recommendations as well as the need for redesign of the library area. These items will be discussed in the “Outstanding Issues” below.
The ARB cannot support the request for the rezoning and the special use permit based on the plan submitted. However, if the Board of Supervisors chooses to approve the plan, it is recommended that the plan not be approved until all of the changes listed below are made, because this proposal will have a significant impact on the County image, and because the preference for development in the Entrance Corridors is appropriately designed buildings enhanced by landscaping. Expansive buildings with box footprints are overtly inconsistent with the character of the significant historic buildings of Albemarle County.
Regarding phasing of improvements to Rt. 29, the applicant has not adequately addressed staff’s previous comments. While he has proffered completion of improvements based on levels of project completion, there is no assurance that those improvements will be in place within a known period of time. It is possible that some of these improvements might never be completed or might not be completed in time to address the need. It may even be possible that the property owner could find it advantageous to withhold certain project phases until the road improvements are completed by others. In addition, in the last proffers submitted, the applicant has modified the size of the commercial area allowed with initial Rt. 29 improvements from 290,000 square feet (SF) to 331,696 SF. That is inconsistent with prior agreements made with the County and VDOT regarding the maximum commercial area before subsequent Rt. 29 improvements are required. No explanation has been provided as to why this was increased.
Issues of stormwater management and off-site parking have not been resolved. The proffers only provide for mains for an underground irrigation system. There is still no commitment to complete necessary access and stormwater improvements for use of this site by the County within a fixed timeframe. Without these improvements, it is possible the school site could not be available when needed, which greatly diminishes the value of the site.
Recommendation: Staff recommends that the applicant resolve issues related to stormwater management, provide complete irrigation of the ball fields, ensure street design allows for on-street parking on both sides of street in front of school and remove the building and parking lot layout from the Application Plan. Staff recommends that the Board not accept the Application Plan until these items are resolved satisfactorily.
A CDA is proposed as a proffer to be used as a funding mechanism to provide several of the improvements identified in the proffers. Because the approval of the CDA is a separate and distinct legislative act from the zoning decision, the zoning decision cannot be dependent in any way upon the future approval of the CDA.
Recommendation: This type of CDA should not be included as a proffer. If the applicant’s CDA application is considered in the future by the Board of Supervisors, the Board can consider the projects that are appropriate for the CDA to fund and how the CDA will be obligated to do so.
The applicant now has demonstrated the proposed stormwater management could satisfy ordinance requirements with no modifications. He will be expected to comply fully with ordinance requirements at time of site plan or subdivision plat. Two issues remain that the applicant has not adequately addressed. First, staff has repeatedly requested that grading for stormwater management facilities not extend into conservation areas. Two facilities continue to show grading in the conservation areas despite repeated requests to modify the shown facilities such that grading does not require clearing and grading of conservation areas. Second, staff has requested a firm commitment to construction of the street and associated storm drainage in front of the school site. Without completion of this infrastructure, the school will need to complete the storm sewer for the street in order to use the proposed basin.
Recommendation: Staff recommends the applicant revise the application plan to remove all stormwater facility grading from the conservation area. Additionally, staff recommends the applicant provide a firm commitment to the timely completion of the necessary infrastructure to allow the school site to use the stormwater management facility.
Recommendation: If the Board chooses to approve the rezoning, staff recommends that the critical slopes waiver for the single-family residential areas be approved. Staff recommends that the critical slope waiver for the areas other than that covered by the overlot grading proffer not be approved and be considered as part of the site plan submittal.
If the Board wishes to grant a critical slope waiver for the entire site, staff would recommend the critical slope waiver be conditioned on these items:
1. All proposed grading shall be shown with contour intervals not greater than 2 feet and all drainage swales shall be clearly indicated
2. Graded slopes of more than 5 feet elevation change shall not be steeper than 3:1 (horizontal distance: vertical distance) , except the Agent may allow grades up to 2:1 when satisfied the landscaping will assure the slope is acceptably vegetated and the size of the slope is not considered a barrier to use of the property
3. Retaining walls must be no higher than ten feet (10’) and provide safety rails if any part is over four feet tall.
North Pointe originally was submitted in August of 2000. After the first set of review comments, the applicant deferred indefinitely. He submitted a traffic study in late 2001, which was reviewed by VDOT and the County. By mid-summer of 2002, the applicant had satisfied all of VDOT’s issues regarding the traffic study and in September of 2002, the applicant resubmitted an application plan and proffers. Since that time, the Planning Commission held four worksessions on the application, held two public hearings, and met two additional times to take action. Twice the Planning Commission recommended denial of this application. The Board of Supervisors has held two worksessions on this project and a Committee appointed by the Board worked met three times on the project in an attempt to see if the design issues could be answered.
The committee found a compromise design but advised staff to seek ARB comments on this design. The compromise design and ARB comments are now before the Board. Staff has also reviewed three versions of the proffers since this application came before the Board in December 2003 and many of staff’s concerns, including those of the County Attorney, Engineering, Planning, and Zoning, remain unaddressed. With the current plan and proffers, staff would recommend denial of this application.
At this juncture, staff’s recommendations for changes to the plan and proffers have been provided several times to the applicant, but many remain substantially unaddressed. Thus, it appears further applicant requests to address staff’s recommendations will be fruitless. Therefore, once the Board provides guidance to staff on any changes the Board believes are appropriate, it appears this application is ready to be scheduled for a public hearing. If a July 14 public hearing is desired, staff would need the application plan and proffers no later than June 11 in order to complete the review and staff report. If a later date is preferred to provide the applicant time to address those recommendations, staff would need to have the application plan and proffers no later than four weeks before the public hearing.
Attachment A – Application Plan Received April 16, 2004