December 13 PC minutes

ZMA 2005-013 Inn at Monticello (Sign #78, 79)

PROPOSAL:  Rezone 4.6 acres from R-4 Residential (4 units per acre) to amend proffers to allow an additional dwelling unit & possible expansion of the existing inn. The property is also in the Entrance Corridor (EC) Overlay District and Flood Hazard Overlay District.


EXISTING COMPREHENSIVE PLAN LAND USE/DENSITY:   Neighborhood Density Residential-residential (3-6 units/acre) and supporting uses such as religious institutions and other small-scale non-residential uses.

LOCATION:  Tax Map 77E1, Section 1, Parcel 1; 1188 Scottsville Road (Rt. 20) & Willow Lake Drive (Rt. 1135)


STAFF PERSON:  Rebecca Ragsdale


Ms. Ragsdale summarized the staff report.


Mr. Edgerton asked if there were any questions for Ms. Ragsdale.


Mr. Craddock questioned why the ARB would not review the rezoning request.


Ms. Joseph pointed out that the ARB does not review single-family dwellings.


Ms. Ragsdale stated that it says prior to expanding accessory tourist lodging into any new dwelling that they build that they would go through all the site plan requirements specified in the site plan section of the ordinance, which would also include the Architectural Review Board.


Ms. Higgins asked for clarification in the staff report about the applicantís justification on page 3 that says this is a distinctly separate property and they no longer will be tied to the proffers made under the application in 1984, which was attached.  This land was open space in Willow Lake, and was deducted from their open space and will still meet the 25 percent requirement.  She asked if they could take a property that was covered under a rezoning and sell it off and then have somebody come in and say that they are no longer a part of that rezoning.


Mr. Cilimberg stated that they could say what they want, but they are still part of the rezoning until the Board changes it.


Ms. Higgins stated that it was possible to say that they are not tied to those proffers.  When you read through those proffers there are not specific proffers that affect it except for the plan that shows it as open space. 


Mr. Cilimberg stated that under the proffers of the approved rezoning they were part of until those get changed by an action of the Board.  That is essentially what they are doing here is asking for that part to be changed through the ultimate Board action.


Mr. Edgerton stated that if he was reading the 1984 site plan, it looks like unit 35 is the now what is now being treated as an inn.  So it was might have been part of it as a separate lot.


Ms. Higgins asked if the request was really just to go from R-4 to R-4 with just a change in the proffers.


Mr. Cilimberg stated that was correct.


Mr. Rieley questioned how the second dwelling could be an accessory tourist lodging.


Mr. Cilimberg stated that he had asked that question during staff review in how they could have a second tourist lodging when it is obvious that the owner canít live in both.  The answer to that is that the second unit can be occupied by the innkeeper.


Ms. Joseph asked if the innkeeper lived there and it was considered to be their residence, and Mr. Cilimberg replied that was correct.


Ms. Higgins asked if the site plan for the tourist lodging would include just the addition or would it include the existing house and the new house and the parking for both.


Ms. Ragsdale stated that the drainage calculations on the site plan would be for the disturbed areas, but she was assuming that in their calculations they would be taking into account the other areas of the site.  But, she was not familiar with the way engineering regulations are with storm water runoff on the way they would weigh in the effect of this property and all of the other ones.  But, they will be addressing whatever runoff would be generated from the paved parking area and the structure also if the site plan comes in for tourist lodging and they have to add parking spaces.  The site plan will cover all of the structures and impervious surfaces.


Mr. Cilimberg stated that when a site plan requirement applies to new development it applies to the site in total and not just the new development.


Ms. Joseph stated that the original rezoning allowed them to have 120 units. Did they build a120 units, and if so is this 121. 


Ms. Ragsdale noted that she did not have the number of units that got built in Willow Lake.  This property was not shown for any other units.


Ms. Joseph stated that it was on the original rezoning because they changed the way the road is coming in.  It looks like there were already two units on there and if the original rezoning was approved for only 120 units.  She asked if anybody ever figured out if they went over the total number of units allowed.


Ms. Higgins pointed out that there has to be another action on this since then because there are more units out there because she had lived there.  This plan is pretty out of date.


Ms. Ragsdale stated that zoning did evaluate it based on the rezoning action and what was in all of the approved plans and what the rezoning action specified for this property and they did decide that there was no approval for another dwelling unit.  That is why the applicant is here requesting the rezoning.  She pointed out that the plat was included because it had some topographic information on it and the actual location of existing road.


There being no further questions for staff, Mr. Edgerton opened the public hearing and invited the applicant to address the Commission.


Rebecca Lindway stated that this was a single unit dwelling that was operated as a bed and breakfast with five rooms.  The current information in the County is that you may in a single dwelling operate a bed and breakfast of no more than five rooms.  It does not have to have the owner in it. She could name one in particular, the Silver Thatch Inn, where the owner does not live in the unit at all and there are seven guest rooms there.  The owners live on the next street. So there are many applications to the bed and breakfast concept within the County of Albemarle. They know those applications and have taken them into consideration.  This property is historic and their decision very well might be part of the history of this particular house.  It was once 12,000 acres and wad divided when I-64 came through.  The owner then sold parts off to the Visitorís Center and Piedmont College.  The last parcel became Willow Lake when Ms. Shockley moved.  That property then underwent all of the litigation and rezoning that they are looking at.  However, one property known as number 1 and on your forms noted as 35, which is the Inn at Monticello.  That property was cut off and set free and nobody paid any attention to the proffers.  It was proffered as green space to the Willow Lake condominiums. They have no relationship to the condominiums.  They get no service. They get no snow removal.  They have no use of their non-swimming pool, which was noted in the original plan.  They have no use of their jogging trails, which never did get built.  Of all of the units that the Board could be built, they were not all built.  There is an empty lot directly behind their home, #16, which they have on occasion considered the purchase of.  They have decided not to purchase that lot because they have 4.6 acres, of which one-half is in the floodplain.  In reference to the site plan and to your comment about the storage units and visibility from the road, the proposed home would not be seen from Route 20.  It cannot be seen because they have maintained to great costs to themselves every tree on that property.  They have a 200 year old Linden tree that just had $2,000 worth of work done to it.  That is just the every other year process on trying to save a tree.  They feel that they are good neighbors.  They understand the historic value of the property.  That property was built in 1856 and it has its original roof and windows.  However, the tourist industry is changing.  Guests donít want a tourist home where you live in someoneís house and pay them a few dollars and get a cup of coffee and get to stay over.  They want amenities.  So every new property coming along in Albemarle County has the so called amenities such as fireplaces, Jacuzzis and other things.  The Inn in Monticello built in 1856 did not have running water until 1952.  There is no way that they can put in a Jacuzzis in any of those rooms.  But, yet they also feel that they own 4.6 beautiful acres and because this property was cut loose from Willow Lake many years ago and nobody recognized that they have no relationship to those people, except they were the original home on that huge piece of property.  They are being somewhat handicapped if they want to do anything else with their own property.  They have a son that really wants to move to Albemarle County, who always says mom youíve got this great piece of property, what do you mean I canít put a house over there.  And so they started looking at the idea of what do they do can they please have one more dwelling unit.  The reason they see some very amateur drawings with six bedrooms, six bathrooms and a hallway is because basically when they went to the planning committee original beginning structure of being here tonight, the concept was what if you go here, then you better cover all of those basis.  Therefore, we it was best to design this as if it were tourist lodging without calling in an architect and spending all of that money. Therefore, they went ahead and did the best they could in this situation and that is to be honest. She noted that they have been there ten years and have grown a great business, but donít expect to see her ten years from now doing the same things.  She thought she would retire before that.  So they donít know what will eventually happen to the property.  But, they do know that they ought to be able to increase the density by one dwelling unit.  It does not do anything to the plan that is already in existence because number one they never built all of the units that were approved.  The overall density of the Willow Lake property was never done.  If they look at green space, should she have to serve as someone elseís green space in this particular situation?  Should they not stand alone and be who they are.  They are the Inn at Monticello, which could be sold tomorrow and become a private home.  But, they have listened to all of the requirements of the County for tourist lodging and they meet every one of them.  She asked to be given the opportunity to grow their business if they so determine meeting all of the regulations of the tourist industry, of the health department, fire department and all of the departments that come to play when you have a property such as this.  As well as meet the requirements of a site plan.  If it were a single unit home, they donít have to do that.  If they open it up to Architectural Review they are not going to build something that is an eyesore on this marvelous historic property.  Therefore, whatever they would do architecturally would be well within the concept of the existing home.  They recognize that they would have to look at the bridge and floodplain.  It has not flooded yet during all of the recent hurricanes.  They are willing to meet all of the requirements put in front of them, but all they were requesting was to be allowed to have one more dwelling.


Mr. Edgerton asked if there were any questions for the applicant.


Ms. Joseph asked if they had ever been given access through Willow Lake Drive.


Ms. Lindway stated that there were separate spots on that particular drawing that they could access Willow Lake Drive along the upper north red lines. But, they have never had it.


Mr. Edgerton asked if there were other members of the public that would like to address this matter.


Peter Sherman stated that he was an innkeeping consultant and he had talked with the applicant for a long time about this.  He stated that he worked with inns and bed and breakfasts throughout the mid-Atlantic.  One of the beauties of the bed and breakfast business model is that it has afforded the economical resources to promote historical preservation of a lot of old buildings.  Looking at the Inn at Monticello as a bed and breakfast at five rooms at a location such as it is, he felt that it was about as close to anything that anybody asks for in a tourist lodging that is close to dining, activities and historic resources. In looking at what has happened around it and what is likely to happen down the road, the greatest contribution to preserving that property as is and of avoiding the possibility of that sometime 20 years from now when everything around the Inn at Monticello is so thoroughly developed that someone comes in wanting to fill in the property with dirt and build apartments to fill the high density needs of the County.  Therefore, the possibility of putting in one more dwelling with five more guest rooms on that site ensures the economic viability of that site preserved primarily as it is.  As Ms. Lindway said, it was imperative to keep whatever structure that goes on there compatible and handsome, which would be a necessity for anybody that wanted to expand the bed and breakfast.  He strongly recommended that the Commission approve the request.


Martha Garland, owner of the property directly across the street with her husband, stated that they were good neighbors.  She had no issue with what they were proposing.  Being ignorant of this process, she just wanted to ask the question if this is approved does it affects in any way the zoning of the Lakeside Subdivision or their property.  They have talked about the Willow Lake Subdivision.  But, Lakeside Subdivision is different because it has one house per acre, and her concern was that this not be a threat to the property across the street.  She asked if they would answer the question of whether it would affect her property.


Mr. Cilimberg stated that it would not.


There being no further public comment, Mr. Edgerton closed the public hearing to bring the matter back before the Commission.


Motion:  Mr. Thomas moved, Mr. Morris seconded, that ZMA-2005-013, Inn at Monticello, be approved with proffers.


Ms. Joseph asked that before this rezoning request goes to the Board that zoning clarify the following information:


The motion passed by a vote of 7:0.   


Mr. Edgerton stated that ZMA-2005-113, Inn at Monticello, will go to the Board with a recommendation for approval on January 11, 2006.


The Board took a five minute break at 8:42 p.m.


The meeting reconvened at 8:48 p.m.


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