STAFF PERSON:                                                                  JACK KELSEY, PE  

PLANNING COMMISSION:                                              DECEMBER 7, 2004

BOARD OF SUPERVISORS:                                              JANUARY 5, 2005


ZTA 2004-008 and ZMA 2004-00019  Flood Hazard Overlay District


Origin and Description of Request 


The Albemarle County flood insurance study was adopted 16 December 1980.  It was later updated in 1990 to include the changes resulting from the Scottsville levee.  Due to their age, our maps had become severely outdated, especially within the “urban ring” where significant land changes and development activity had occurred.  There has also been a need for more detailed flood elevation information along the major streams in our development areas.  Since September 2002, staff have been working with FEMA, Dewberry & Davis (FEMA mapping consultant), and the US Army Corp of Engineers to update the Flood Insurance Rate Maps for the County and expand the “detailed study” areas, where the 100-year flood or base flood elevations (BFE’s) are determined.  


On 27 January 2004, FEMA and US Army Corps representatives met with staff to present the preliminary study and flood maps.  A number of improvements had been made to the study and the maps.  The most noticeable improvement was that the study and maps for Albemarle County, City of Charlottesville, and Town of Scottsville had been consolidated into one set.  Other significant improvements are described below.


•     Report expanded and updated the community description and flood history.


•     Maps reflected the “Letters of Map Revision” FEMA had issued since 1980.


•     Maps were based on the topographic mapping provided by the County, City and ACSA and reflected the changes in topography and land development activity since 1980.


•     Map scales were improved.  The earlier map scale was 1 inch to 2000 feet.  The new map scales are 1” = 500’ within the urban ring, Crozet Development Area, and Scottsville.  The map scales are 1” = 1000’ for the remaining maps, except for the few maps along the edges of the outer perimeter of the County where the scales are 1 in. to 2000 feet.


•     The “detailed study” areas were expanded along the Rivanna River and North Fork Rivanna River.  New “detailed study” areas were added in the Crozet Development Area (Lickinghole Creek, Powells Creek, Slabtown Branch), in Urban Neighborhood 4 (Cows Branch), and in the Hollymead/Piney Mountain Community (Herring Branch, Flat Branch and Tributary to Flat branch).


FEMA published public notifications of the proposed BFE’s in the Daily Progress on 26 February 2004 and 4 March 2004.  This notice initiated their 90-day appeal process.  The County received notification from FEMA on 4 August 2004 that the 90-day appeal period had been completed, no appeals were received by FEMA, that the BFE’s were considered final, and that the flood study and maps would become effective on 4 February 2005.     

The Flood Hazard Overlay District (FHOD) is defined in Code Section 18-30.3 as all areas inundated by the one hundred year flood, as delineated by the flood insurance study for the County of Albemarle, dated 16 June 1980.  Therefore the adoption of a ZTA to reference the new flood insurance study and a ZMA to adopt the FHOD map changes is necessary.  Staff’s request is for the Planning Commission to adopt a Resolution of Intent (Attachment A) to hold a public hearing and make its recommendations to the Board of Supervisors.


Justification of the Request


As mentioned above the new flood study and maps become effective on 4 February 2005.  FEMA has notified the County that prior to 4 February 2005 the County is required, as a condition of continued eligibility in the National Flood Insurance Program, to show evidence of adoption of the FEMA floodplain regulations.  This includes the adoption of the effective flood maps and study report to which the regulations apply and the modifications made by this map revision.


Text Modifications


At the November 16, 2004 work session, staff described the text amendments that would be necessary to assure continued eligibility in the National Flood Insurance Program and to provide the clarity needed for implementation of these regulations.  The Commission concurred with staff and the text amendments have been included in the attached ordinance.


Staff also presented additional text modifications for consideration.  The Commission expressed their opinion that the suggested modifications should be developed through a process of “public involvement”, such as roundtable discussions, input from the development community, or other means used in the past amendments.  However, it was noted by Mr. Wayne Cilimberg that during the special use permit hearing for the Old Mills Trail (Rivanna River Greenway) the Board of Supervisors had instructed staff to pursue the by-right construction of trails within the Floodway Fringe.  The Commission agreed to include the recommended amendment as provided in Appendix C of the November 16, 2004 Staff Report. 


To supplement this text amendment, the Commission requested that the County Engineer include information on the design standards for pedestrian and multi-use trails.  These documents are included as Attachments B, C and D.  Attachment B summarizes the result of staff’s research of existing sidewalk, pedestrian path, bike trail and multi-use path standards.  Attachment C is a worksheet used for developing County standards.  Attachment D is the Design Manual section providing the County pedestrian and multi-use facility criteria




Staff recommends the approval of the ordinance amendment provided as Attachment A and the associated zoning map amendments. 




Attachment A:   Ordinance No. 05-  Amendment to Section 30.3 Flood Hazard Overlay District

Attachment B:    Research Summary Table of Existing Standards for Sidewalks, Pedestrian Paths, Bike Trails and Multi-use Paths

Attachment C:    Worksheet for County Sidewalk, Pedestrian Path, Bike Trail and Multi-use Path Criteria

Attachment D:   Design Manual Section 610 - Pedestrian & Multi-use Facilities

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