STAFF PERSON:                                                                      CLAUDETTE GRANT

PLANNING COMMISSION:                                            JULY 19, 2005

BOARD OF SUPERVISORS:                                          AUGUST 10, 2005

 

ZMA 2004-017: Wickham Pond 

 

Petition:  The petition is a request to rezone 20.52 acres from R-A, Rural Area to NMD, Neighborhood Model District to allow single-family detached, and townhouse units with a density of approximately 5 dwellings per acre. The property described as Tax Map 56 Parcel(s) 92 is located in the White Hall Magisterial District. The Crozet Master Plan of the Comprehensive Plan designates this property as Development Area Preserve [CT-1], Urban General [CT-4], and Urban Edge [CT-3]. The density allowed in a CT-4 area is 4.5 dwelling units per acre for single family detached, single family attached and duplexes; up to 12 dwelling units per acre for townhouses and apartments and up to 18 dwelling units per acre in a mixed use setting. The CT-3 area allows a density of 3.5 – 4.5 units per acre and 6.5 units per acre, if accessory apartments are added for 50% of the residential stock.

 

Character of the Area: The properties adjoining the parcel vary in their level and type of development.  Across the street and to the north of the property, the character of the area is very rural in nature. It contains single family residences and a mobile home development. The Highlands residential subdivision development is located to the east of the property and the property located to the west of the subject site is currently a fairly large wooded undeveloped property which has the same land use designations as the Wickham Pond property in the Crozet Master Plan of the Comprehensive Plan. The C & O Railroad is located to the south of the site.   

 

RECOMMENDATION:  Staff has reviewed the proposal and associated proffers for conformity with the Comprehensive Plan and the Zoning Ordinance and recommends approval.

 

Planning and Zoning History: The parcel has no planning or zoning history. The existing house was built on the site around 1932.

 

Specifics on the ProposalThe layout of the development is shown in Attachment A as the “Rezoning Application Plan”.  The residential development requested would allow for the development of 107 units in this area of Crozet.  The design and form of the complex allows a variety of housing types mixed with some recreational features.  There are a variety of active and passive recreational features which meander through the site, at the front, center and rear of the property. The plan preserves portions of the natural environment as well as the main existing farm house and the smoke house. The farm house will become a meeting house for this community and the smoke house will be incorporated into the play area for children.

 

Proffers are provided to help mitigate impacts of the development on County facilities and services. The applicant has proffered $1,000 per unit for the non-affordable units to address capital facility needs and has proffered 14 affordable units.

 

Staff believes that through action on recent residential rezonings, the Board has set an expectation for offsets to impacts caused by residential developments.  Stillfried Lane Townhouses (ZMA 03-12) and Avon Park (ZMA 04-03) proffered $1000 per unit to be used for capital improvements.   These developments provided 26 and 61 new residential new units, respectively.  Other developments have proffered the equivalent of $3000 per unit (ZMA 02-02 Hollymead Town Center Area C and ZMA 01-07 Albemarle Place).  Briarwood (ZMA 04-14) added four units to the development and changed housing types.  No cash proffer was made; however, a proffer to provide 25 new units in the overall development as affordable units was made and accepted.  This development is proffering $1000 per unit for the market rate units and provision of 14 affordable units.

 

As stated in staff reports on other rezonings, staff believes that further guidance from the Board on expectations for proffers and affordability is needed in order for staff to effectively convey these expectations to applicants.  For the time being, however, staff can only rely on previous actions of the Board as guidance to applicants on expectations for off-sets to impacts of new development.

 

Applicant’s Justification for the Request:  The key points are that the applicant believes this project is in keeping with the Crozet Master Plan and the Principles of the Neighborhood Model. This development will primarily be a residential community consisting of a mix of both multi- and single-family residential units.  This development will not provide a neighborhood center or convenient shopping, but these characteristics are in close proximity to downtown Crozet. Pedestrian friendly, this development provides both formal and informal walking paths, which will allow residents to enjoy the various recreation opportunities available on the site.

 

By-right Use of the Property: If developed under the current RA zoning, the by-right use would result in 5 single family residential lots. 

 

Comprehensive Plan and The Neighborhood Model:  Requests for rezonings in the Development Areas are assessed for conformity with the Neighborhood Model and the Land Use Plan. 

 

The Crozet Master Plan shows this area as Corridor, which should:

 

·         Follow a linear pattern along an important thoroughfare and the continuum is inverted, which means instead of the least intense development occurring on the edge or fringe, adjacent to the thoroughfare, the most intense pattern has developed over time to take advantage of visibility and easy access from the road. In other words the intense development moves from the center of the project to the edge adjacent to the thoroughfare.

·         The “building” of the corridor-type incorporates what has already occurred along major thoroughfares and seeks to use it to create a distinct character for the place.

 

The Crozet Master Plan designates the front portion of this site adjacent to Route 240 as Development Area Preserve or CT1. The Master Plan describes the preserve as a public space providing an area for unstructured recreation and gatherings while preserving the natural state of an undisturbed (relatively speaking) area. This space allows for the natural succession of native Piedmont plant species and protects the habitat of local wildlife. It might also serve as a large-scale stormwater retention area, providing habitat for native wetland plant and animal species.

In respect to the preserve area, the Architectural Review Board has requested that both the application plan and the master plan show the proposed planting of the new hedgerow along Route 240 at the north edge of the site, all proposed planting associated with the hammerhead, and all proposed plantings and existing plants to remain 500’ into the site (minimum). All of these plantings are currently included on the illustrative in the front of the Code of Development, and notes are included on these same drawings referring to the Code of Development for further information on the planting of the new hedgerow (Route 240, north edge of the site).

 

The density of the proposed project is relatively consistent with the density classifications in the Crozet Master Plan with the exception of Block 5, which is designated CT3 in the Crozet Master Plan and allows 4.5 dwelling units per acre and 6.5 units per acre, if accessory apartments are added for 50% of the residential stock. With the addition of the 14 affordable housing units in this block, the density is 9 dwelling units per acre. Block 7 is also designated CT3 in the Crozet Master Plan, and allows the same dwelling units per acre as mentioned above. If the townhouse option is used there are 7.2 dwelling units per acre in this block. However, if the single family option is used the density complies with the master Plan. The staff recommends the slightly higher than allowed density within these two blocks because it allows for a better designed community, which includes affordable housing options. Based on the Crozet Master Plan, the applicant could develop a total of 128 units. However, the applicant is proposing a total of 107 units.    

 

The Open Space Plan shows this area to have wooded area around the pond which is a non -tidal wetland. The 100 foot stream buffer will help to preserve the wooded area around the pond.

 

The ways in which the proposed project meets the twelve principles for development in accordance with the Neighborhood Model are provided below.

 

Pedestrian Orientation

Sidewalks and paths are provided throughout the site along with a sidewalk along Route 240, which will eventually tie into a sidewalk leading to downtown Crozet. Staff believes this principle is met.

Neighborhood Friendly Streets and Paths

The Crozet Master Plan shows two road connections between this site and the adjacent undeveloped site located to the west of this property. Due to environmental concerns and protection of the stream buffer area only one street connection to the western undeveloped site could be incorporated into the Wickham Pond development. The applicant has included a section within the Code of Development that addresses curb, gutter, sidewalk, and street trees, which meet the Neighborhood Model District classification. Low speed limits, and sidewalks buffered with street trees will help create a safe environment. Landscape in the street island will also help to create neighborhood friendly streets. This principle is met.

Interconnected Streets and Transportation Networks

There is a street pattern in the development that will eventually connect to the adjacent property on the east with a road. There were limited opportunities for interconnection due to environmental factors to the east of the property and the Highlands community to the west is already developed with individual lots. This principle is met.

Parks and Open Space

 

At the front of the site, adjacent to Route 240 is a large park set for passive and active recreation. The existing farmhouse is included in a portion of this area. There will also be a tot lot and gardens in this vicinity. There will be a park in the center of the development equipped with a bandstand. A third park area will be towards the rear of the site near the existing pond and a small pocket park will be located across from the larger park area with the pond. This principle is met.

Neighborhood Centers

Outside of the meeting house, which is the existing farm house, there are no true neighborhood centers within this development. However, proximity to downtown Crozet and the Con-Agra development, along with future sidewalk connections, will help make these neighborhood centers relatively easy to get to for the residents of Wickham Pond. Staff believes this principle is met.

Buildings and Spaces of Human Scale

This development with its single-family and townhouse residences will not exceed three stories in height. The proposed size of the lots and yards will also help to keep the community on a human scale. The proposed hedgerow along Route 240 at the north edge of the site and the hedgerow adjacent to the Highland properties will help to keep the space of this development on a human scale. All of these elements are included in the Code of Development. This principle is met.

Relegated Parking

A majority of the residences will have garages. The area at the rear of the site with the parking lot is relegated to the side of the townhouses it will serve. There will be some on street parking available. This principle is met.

Mixture of Uses

 

There is not a mixture of uses on this site. It is a relatively small to medium sized residential development that will offer the opportunity for some home–based occupations. The proximity to centers such as Con Agra and downtown Crozet helps to provide other uses close to this community.

Mixture of Housing Types and Affordability

There are a variety of housing types within this development including single-family and townhouses. The developer is providing fourteen affordable units which will be developed as secondary dwellings within a townhouse setting.

Redevelopment

Wickham Pond is formerly known as “Last Nickel Farm”. It is an example of an infill project.

Site Planning that Respects Terrain

The following critical slope areas will be impacted: A small area of critical slopes in Block 1 adjacent to the existing barn and tenant house. Small pockets of critical slopes upstream of the pond from the existing Spring House up the swale to the southern property line will be impacted by the road construction, grading for Block 3 and perimeter erosion control measures. Critical slopes area at the rear of the property and adjacent to a culvert under the railroad tracks will be impacted by the construction of Block 4 and the necessary erosion control measures. Critical slopes along the east side of the pond are proposed to be regraded in order to construct an aquatic bench as part of the strategy for managing stormwater quality. The largest area of critical slopes which is along the west side of the pond is not to be disturbed. The developer has kept the residential lots outside of the natural stream buffers protecting the natural environment.

Clear Boundaries with the Rural Areas

The property abuts Three Notch’d Road which is a development area boundary. The proposed hedgerow and open space at the entrance to the development will help maintain the rural development area boundary on the development area side.

 

STAFF COMMENT

 

Relationship between the application and the purpose and intent of the requested zoning district The  purpose and intent of the Neighborhood Model (NMD) district is to establish a planned development district in which traditional neighborhood development, as established in the County’s Neighborhood Model, will occur. The NMD provides for compact, mixed-use developments with an urban scale, massing, density and an infrastructure configuration that integrates diversified uses within close proximity to each other within the development areas identified in the comprehensive plan. The existing Rural Area (RA) zoning district provides for preservation of agricultural and forestal lands and activities, water supply protection, limited service delivery to the rural areas, and conservation of natural, scenic, and historic resources.

 

The application is for a dense residential use in the development. The existing RA zoning would not permit this level of residential development on the site.  The NMD will allow the dense residential uses proposed. The densities proposed in the Wickham Pond development are relatively consistent with the CT 3 and 4 as described in the Crozet Master Plan.   

 

Public need and justification for the change The County’s policy for encouraging development at higher densities within the Development Areas provides a public need and justification for the request.  Form and design are as important to a successful project, though, as the density.

 

Anticipated impact on public facilities and services

 

Transportation –Approximately, an additional 636.55 vehicle trips per day are expected from this development. Route 240 is capable of absorbing this additional traffic with minimal impact.

 

Water and Sewer - Water and sewer are available to serve the site.  

 

Schools - Children from this development would attend Crozet Elementary School, Middle School and High School. Using the County’s multipliers for townhouse development, a total of 14 children are anticipated with the 72 units. Using the County’s multipliers for single family detached residences, a total of 12 children are anticipated with the 35 units.    

 

Stormwater Management – A stormwater facility is shown on the pond located partially on the subject site and on the adjacent property. The applicant has noted a verbal agreement with the adjacent property owner regarding the use of the pond for stormwater management. Because the design of this development is dependent on the stormwater management shown, staff is requesting a written agreement between both property owners regarding the use of the pond for stormwater management purposes for the Wickham Pond development prior to approval of the rezoning by the Board of Supervisors.  

 

Fiscal impact to public facilities – A fiscal impact analysis is provided as Attachment D. The fiscal impact analysis was based on an earlier plan. Staff feels the additional number of units proposed is minimal and would not be a major impact on the original numbers. As with all residential rezonings, the fiscal impact is greater than the revenue generated to pay for services.

 

Anticipated impact on natural, cultural, and historic resources – This site is largely undeveloped. Some of the natural resources located on this site are a pond, a stream and a spring house. The developer has worked diligently with staff to keep development out of the stream buffer, which is partially located, adjacent to an undeveloped site. It is anticipated that the pond will be used for Wickham Pond’s stormwater management. The existing farmhouse and smokehouse are historic resources, the developer plans to retain. The farmhouse will be a meeting house and the smokehouse will be relocated in the children’s play area. Preservation of the stream buffer, pond, existing farmhouse and smokehouse will help maintain the rural character of this site, and result in low impact to these resources.

 

SUMMARY

 

Staff has identified the following factors, which are favorable to the rezoning request:

1.                   The rezoning is primarily in keeping with the Crozet Master Plan.

2.                   The proposed use provides for a “mixture of housing types in this part of Crozet.

3.                   Residential uses are supported by a pedestrian network, public services (schools, fire, and rescue services) and close proximity to shopping and employment.

4.                   Historic resources (the existing house and smokehouse) are being preserved.

5.                   The stream buffer is being preserved.

6.                   The applicant is proposing some affordable housing opportunities.

7.                   There will be a green buffer/hedgerow at the front of the site adjacent to Route 240 and on the eastern side of the site adjacent to the Highlands development.

 

Staff has identified the following factors which are unfavorable to this request:

1.         Applicant has not fully resolved stormwater management with the adjacent property owner.

2.         Two blocks of the development have slightly higher density than what the Crozet Master Plan calls for.

3.         Some areas of critical slope will be impacted.

 

RECOMMENDED ACTION: Staff recommends approval of the rezoning and proffers with the condition that:   

  1. A written agreement between the applicant/developer and the adjacent property owner regarding the stormwater management use of the pond is submitted prior to the Board of Supervisors public hearing and final wording of the proffers will be worked out between the Planning Commission and the Board of Supervisors meeting.
  2. Staff notes that critical slope impacts will need to be formally resolved with engineering and current development staff during the site plan stage.

 

ATTACHMENTS:

 

Attachment A – Application Plan and Code of Development dated May 2, 2005 with July 8, 2005 Revisions and Proffers dated July 11, 2005.

Attachment B – Tax Map

Attachment C – Vicinity Map

Attachment D – Fiscal Impact Analysis dated May 6, 2005
Return to PC actions letter