STAFF PERSON:                                                                  Rebecca Ragsdale

PLANNING COMMISSION:                                                  April 5, 2005

BOARD OF SUPERVISORS:                                               June 8, 2005 








This zoning text amendment is in response to concerns raised by the Planning Commission regarding the current definition of community center and its applicability to uses such as the proposed Lewis and Clark Exploratory Center, which is a land use the current Zoning Ordinance does not address. The Resolution of Intent (Attachment A) for this ZTA was passed by the PC in June 2004. 




·         Provide an improved definition of Community Center.

·         This ZTA would provide opportunities for interpretation of the County’s many historic resources (over 2000 buildings/structures and 400 archeological) which would provide increased awareness and educational opportunities for historic resources in Albemarle County.




This ZTA would amend the definition of Community Center and add the definition of Historical Center. Historical center would be added as a use permitted by special use permit in the Rural Areas and residential zoning districts in the Zoning Ordinance. Currently, the only opportunity for such a use is in the Commercial zoning districts as a museum. The primary change regarding the definition of community center is to clarify the extent of the geographic area which is served. The definition was also revised so that community centers are not limited to buildings only.





The Planning Commission passed a resolution of intent in June and held a work session in September 2004 and January 2005 to discuss proposed ordinance amendments to change the definition of community center and to add historical center as a use allowed by special use permit in the RA Zoning District with supplemental regulations. Since the initial work session was held, this ZTA has been thoroughly considered by the Historic Preservation Committee. The comments made by both the Planning Commission and the Historic Preservation Committee have been incorporated into the proposed ZTA.  


The proposed historical center is intended to define land uses such as the proposed Lewis and Clark Exploratory Center, historic homes that want to open for interpretation such as Pine Knot, and natural resource interpretation centers and to allow for them, by special use permit in the RA Zoning District and all Residential Zoning Districts (R-1, R-2, R-4, R-10, R-15). The supplemental regulations have incorporated both the Planning Commission and Historic Preservation Committee concerns.




Comprehensive Plan: Protection of the Rural Area’s historic, archeological, and cultural resources is identified as a Guiding Principal for policy development in the Rural Areas Plan. The majority of the historic resources listed in the Comprehensive Plan are located in the Rural Areas and the plan offers a specific strategy in support of this proposed ZTA:


Revise the Zoning Ordinance to permit tours of National or State registered historic sites or buildings and of contributing structures in historic districts by special use permit, as recommended in the Historic Preservation Plan, and consider performance standards for these uses to mitigate any impacts on the building, historic district, or Rural Areas.


The supplemental regulations proposed are intended to limit the scale and intensity of historical centers, such that increases in service delivery to the Rural Areas will not be required to support them nor will there be detrimental effects to agricultural or forestal activities. This amendment may help to further preserve unique natural, scenic, and historic resources by encouraging their preservation and furthering education by increasing the awareness of their importance, and value to Albemarle County. It would be possible for applicants to requests modifications to these supplemental regulations, which may be appropriate on sites located in the Development Area.


Historic Preservation Plan: The goals of protecting historic resources, recognizing their value, pursuit of additional protection measures and incentives to preserve Albemarle’s historic and archeological resources are all being achieved through this proposed amendment. This amendment would also help encourage heritage tourism in the County, which the Historic Preservation Plan recommends as a strategy that the Zoning Ordinance be amended to enable property owners of certain historic resources the opportunity to apply for a special use permit to allow public tours of the property.


Administration / Review Process:

Adoption of these regulations would allow an additional use by special use permit in Rural and residential zoning districts. The review process will be that of any other special use permit application with some additional input regarding historic resources.  


Housing Affordability:  The proposed amendment would not affect housing affordability.


Implications to Staffing / Staffing Costs: Additional Historic Preservation planner staff time may be necessary to ensure that there are no detrimental effects to sensitive historic sites with proposed historical centers. It is intended that all special use permits for historical centers will be reviewed by the agent or designee of the Historic Preservation Committee, who may seek comments from the committee regarding the proposed historical center. This review will address whether or not the historical center is interpreting a historic resource, as defined by the Historic Preservation Committee, and will include comments regarding whether or not the supplemental regulations for historical centers have been adequately addressed with regard to historic preservation.  



STAFF RECOMMENDATION:  Staff recommends adopting the regulations as provided in Attachment B.



Attachment A:  Resolution of Intent

Attachment B:  Draft Ordinance dated 3/17/05
Return to PC actions memo