Albemarle County Planning Commission
October 25, 2005
The Albemarle County Planning Commission held a work session and meeting on Tuesday, October 25, 2005 at 4:00 p.m., at the County Office Building, Room 235, Second Floor, 401 McIntire Road, Charlottesville, Virginia. Members attending were William Rieley, Rodney Thomas, Jo Higgins, Calvin Morris and Marcia Joseph, Vice-Chair. Absent was Pete Craddock, Bill Edgerton, Chairman and David J. Neuman, FAIA, Architect for University of Virginia. Jo Higgins arrived at 4:15 p.m.
Other officials present were Joan McDowell, Principal Planner; Lee Catlin, Community Relations Manager; Wayne Cilimberg, Director of Planning; David Benish, Chief of Planning & Community Development; Scott Clark, Senior Planner and Greg Kamptner, Deputy County Attorney. Greg Kamptner arrived at 4:35 p.m.
Call to Order and Establish Quorum:
Ms. Joseph called the meeting to order at 4:08 p.m. and established that a quorum was present.
Rural Areas Comprehensive Plan Implementation: Second work session to discuss and receive input on Phasing of Rural Area subdivisions, clustering of subdivisions, family divisions, and the public input process. (Joan McDowell)
In summary, Lee Catlin facilitated the Planning Commission’s work session to discuss the Board’s Key Implementation Categories – Rural Areas Comprehensive Plan dated 5/02/2005. The discussion was focused on the following topics:
The Commission, in general consensus, made the following comments and suggestions:
o That the 2 per 10 was a rate that the majority of Commissioners felt would achieve their goal to slow down the growth rate in the Rural Areas.
o In looking at the exemptions regarding family divisions, the Commission wanted to make sure that there is some sort of reasonable enforcement and that there was some way that could be tracked.
o It was important to look further at the lead time of ownership of land to be subdivided into family divisions. It was the general consensus that the family divisions should be required to be owned by family members for no less than five-years following the division.
o Explore the options regarding exempting properties from phasing that are in permanent conservation easements.
o Discussion held on the potential for impact on conservation easements. The Commission requested more information regarding tax implications on easements if phasing is put into place.
o The Commission requested additional information regarding the exemption of larger lots.
o The Commission discussed public input options. Open houses, roundtable discussion, and public hearings for the public to provide input on a draft framework were discussed. Staff was requested to provide a list of established groups and other public outreach ideas at the next work session.
Asked staff to continue exploration of these issues and provide a product outline for the concept, but not the finished crafted ordinance product. The Commission asked staff to take the items and questions discussed and produce some firm options. The firm options should be brought back to the Commission for further discussion and agreement before taking them to the public for comment.
A third work session will be scheduled by staff at a later date to bring back the requested information. No formal action was taken.
The Planning Commission recessed at 5:50 p.m. for a dinner break and reconvened at 6:00 p.m. in Meeting Room 241.
The Albemarle County Planning Commission held a meeting and a public hearing on Tuesday, October 18, 2005, at 6:00 p.m., at the County Office Building, Room 241, Second Floor, 401 McIntire Road, Charlottesville, Virginia. Members attending were William Rieley, Rodney Thomas, Jo Higgins, Calvin Morris and Marcia Joseph, Vice-Chair. Absent was Pete Craddock, Bill Edgerton, Chairman and David J. Neuman, FAIA, Architect for University of Virginia.
Other officials present were Wayne Cilimberg, Planning Director; David Benish, Chief of Planning; Judith Wiegand, Senior Planner; Claudette Grant, Senior Planner; Sean Dougherty, Senior Planner; Bill Fritz, Chief of Current Development and Greg Kamptner, Assistant County Attorney.
Call to Order and Establish Quorum:
Ms. Joseph called the regular meeting to order at 6:10 p.m. and established a quorum.
Other Matters Not Listed on the Agenda from the Public:
Ms. Joseph invited comment from the public on other matters not listed on the agenda. There being none, the meeting proceeded to the review of the consent agenda.
a. SUB 2005-0258 Country Green Cottages Preliminary Subdivision Plat – Open Space Approval Request.
b. SDP 2005-059 Town and Country Commercial, Phase I, Preliminary Site Plan - Critical slopes waiver request. (Bill Fritz)
c. CPA 2005-001 Land Use Plan Transportation Update - For action to recommend approval to the Board of Supervisors. (Juan Wade).
Ms. Joseph asked if any Commissioner would like to pull an item off of the consent agenda for discussion. She requested that SDP-2005-059, Town and Country Commercial, Phase I, Preliminary Site Plan, be pulled for discussion.
Mr. Fritz stated that a four lane entrance is proposed. It is presumed that the rear of this property, which is also zoned commercial, is going to develop and they wanted to design the entrance adequate for future development that would come at the rear of this site in the future. It is also likely as more development comes that this property will be subdivided. Actually late yesterday the County received a subdivision plat for this property on which they will require as part of the Subdivision Ordinance inter-parcel connections. Therefore, staff wanted to ensure that the entrance was of adequate dimensions, which was why it is shown as a four lane.
Ms. Joseph asked if the subdivision plat showed the road going back through the site.
Mr. Fritz replied that it does not now, but it will need to be amended to make that change. Right now it just shows this small lot, which the Commission has a site plan before them tonight on. The applicant will need to show a reasonable alignment for inter-parcel connections.
Ms. Joseph stated that staff did not have any problem with that inter-parcel connection, which was why they saw the four lane entrance.
Mr. Fritz stated that was correct that staff did not have any problems with the road coming through the property.
Ms. Joseph stated that Mr. Fritz’s explanation satisfied her concern about the four lane entrance.
In summary, the Commission held a discussion on SDP-2005-059 with Bill Fritz, Chief of Current Development, concerning the proposal, which satisfied Ms. Joseph’s concern about the four lane entrance that looked just like one commercial site.
Motion: Mr. Thomas moved, Mr. Morris seconded, that the consent agenda be approved.
The motion that the consent agenda be approved passed by a vote of 5:0. (Commissioners Edgerton and Craddock were absent.)
Items Requesting Deferral:
ZMA-2004-011 Charlottesville Power Equipment (Sign #37) - Request to rezone 2.142 acres from C-1 (Commercial) to HC (Highway Commercial) to allow 12,000 square feet of commercial use in two buildings with proffered plan. The proposal also includes requests for outdoor sales and display and fill in the floodplain (see SP-04-36 and SP-04-37).
SP-2004-036 Charlottesville Power Equipment (Sign #37) - Request for a special use permit to allow fill in the floodplain in accordance with Section 30.3.05.2.2(3) of the Zoning Ordinance which allows for filling of land.
SP-2004-037 Charlottesville Power Equipment (Sign #37) - Request for a special use permit to allow outdoor sales and display associated with permitted uses, which would be visible from an Entrance Corridor Street in accordance with Section 188.8.131.52(b) of the Zoning Ordinance. The property, described as Tax Map 78, Parcels 4A1 and 4B, is located in the Rivanna Magisterial District on the northwest corner of the intersection of Route 20 and Route 250 East behind McDonald's Restaurant. The Comprehensive Plan designates this property as Regional Service, in Neighborhood Three. (Judy Wiegand)
STAFF REQUESTS DEFERRAL TO NOVEMBER 15, 2005 DUE TO AN ADVERTISING ERROR.
Ms. Joseph pointed out that staff has requested deferral to November 15 due to an advertising error. Since the item is on the agenda she opened the item for public comment. There being no public comment, she closed the public hearing to bring the matter back before the Commission for an action.
Motion: Mr. Morris moved, Mr. Rieley seconded, that ZMA-2004-011, SP-2004-036 and SP-2004-037, Charlottesville Power Equipment, be deferred to November 15, 2005 as per the staff’s request.
The motion that ZMA-2004-011, SP-2004-036 and SP-2004-037 be deferred to November 15, 2005 passed by a vote of 5:0. (Commissioners Edgerton and Craddock were absent.)
Public Hearing Item:
SP 2005-011 Rio East Commercial Area (Signs #45, 49) - Request for a minor amendment to a special use permit to allow a slightly larger veterinary office and hospital than what was shown on the "sketch" plan that was part of the previously approved SP-2003-58 in accordance with Section 25A.2.2 of the Zoning Ordinance which allows for uses by special use permit in the C-1, CO, and HC districts, which a veterinary office and hospital is one of those uses. The property, described as Tax Map 61 Parcel 124A, contains approximately 2.137 acres, and is zoned PDMC - Planned Development Mixed Commercial. The proposal is located on Rio East Ct (private), approximately .1 miles from the intersection of Rio East Ct and Rio Road East (Route 631), in the Rio Magisterial District. The Comprehensive Plan designates this property as Office Service in Neighborhood 2. (Claudette Grant)
Ms. Higgins read the Transactional Disclosure Statement for SP-2005-11, Rio East Commercial Area, dated 10-25-05 into the record as follows: I will not be participating in this item to avoid any perception of conflict of interest arising from providing services by my company “Project Development Limited LC” to the contract purchaser, although not the applicant, of this property. I am disqualifying myself from participating in this transaction and request that this fact be recorded in the appropriate public records for a period of five years.” She gave her statement to Mr. Kamptner and left the meeting room at 6:15 p.m. (See Attachment Transactional Disclosure Statement)
Ms. Grant summarized the staff report.
· The request is to modify the Rio East Commercial Area special use permit to allow a larger veterinary office and hospital than previously approved with SP-2003-58.
· On April 17, 2004 SP-2003-58, Rio East Commercial Park, was approved with conditions. One of the conditions related to enlargement or expansion of the veterinary office and hospital use, which would require an amendment to the special use permit.
· The veterinary office hospital was 3,500 square feet, which was approved. The applicant recently submitted a request to enlarge the veterinary office and hospital to 7,500 square feet. The purpose of the expansion is that the original local veterinary office and hospital that was moving into this location has recent combined with another veterinary office and due to the growth of the business they need a larger facility. The site can accommodate the larger building. Staff has no objections. There are outstanding issues that can be resolved during the site plan process.
· Staff recommends approval of this request with conditions.
Ms. Joseph asked if there were any questions for staff.
Mr. Rieley asked Ms. Grant to discuss the outstanding issues that she thinks can be resolved during the site plan process.
Ms. Grant stated that one of the issues has to do with the fact that they do have adequate parking spaces as shown for the use. However, the plan as proposed would require that landowner agreements be in place for cross access easements. They may require the zoning administrator to approved shared parking. It is really not clear on the plan. But, there clearly are some property lines that would cross the parking lot. That is one issue. The second issue has to do with the fact that one of the lots as it is proposed has no building site and it would be in the critical slope. Section 4.2 of the zoning ordinance does require that there be some building lot area. So the zoning reviewer brought that to staff’s attention, although they feel that could be resolved during the site plan process. The third issue that came from VDOT was that the existing entrance to the proposed site is going to go onto the future state road and the entrance radius does not appear to have handicapped map, which is a requirement. Staff also feels that this issue can be taken care of at the site plan stage.
Mr. Rieley stated that since all of those issues were dealt with either by ordinance or VDOT requirements does staff feel that it is necessary to add anything to the conditions to cover those.
Ms. Grant stated that they do not.
Mr. Cilimberg stated that the first of the conditions where it says that a site plan shall be submitted for approval will develop those things.
There being no further questions for staff, Ms. Joseph opened the public hearing and asked if the applicant would like to address the Commission. Since there was no one present to speak for the applicant, public comment was invited. There being none, the public hearing was closed and the matter brought before the Commission for action.
Motion: Mr. Thomas moved, Mr. Morris seconded, that SP-2005-011, Rio East Commercial Area, be approved with the following conditions.
1. A site plan shall be submitted for approval that shall be in general accord with the sketch plan prepared by Keeney & Co., Architects dated August 29, 2005, revised October 13, 2005.
2. The sketch plan shows the building to be 7,500 square feet. Any additional square footage of the veterinary office and hospital use will require an amendment to this Special Use Permit (SP-2005-00011).
3. No overnight boarding use other than for those animals under medical care shall take place at the veterinary hospital.
4. The outside area for walking of animals shall be separated from access by the public by fencing.
5. The building shall be sound-proofed and air-conditioned.
The motion passed by a vote of 4:0. (Commissioner Higgins abstained.) (Commissioners Edgerton and Craddock were absent.)
Ms. Joseph stated that SP-2005-011, Rio East Commercial Area Amendment, will go to the Board of Supervisors on December 7, 2005 with a recommendation for approval.
ZMA 2005-003 UVA Research Park at Airport (Sign #18) - Request to rezone approximately 30.56 acres from RA Rural Area to PDIP Planned Development Industrial Park for 500,000 square feet of office and research use. The property, described as Tax Map 32 Parcels 18, 18a, and a portion of 6A is located in the Rio Magisterial District on the north side of Airport Road (Route 649) approximately one third of a mile from the intersection of Airport Road and Route 29 North. The property is located in the Entrance Corridor (EC) Overlay District. The Comprehensive Plan designates these lands as Industrial Service in the Hollymead Community. General usage for Industrial Service is warehousing, light industry, research, heavy industry, office parks, supportive commercial and service and residential if compatible (density is not specified) General usage within the PDIP zoning district permits industrial and ancillary commercial and service uses. No residential uses are allowed. (Elaine Echols)
Ms. Joseph stated that the applicant has requested deferral of the work session for ZMA-2005-003, UVA Research Park at Airport Road, to a later date to be determined. No formal action was taken by the Planning Commission.
Mr. Cilimberg stated that if there were any questions, the Commissioners should call Ms. Echols.
Ms. Higgins returned to the meeting at 6:30 p.m.
ZMA 2005-015 Hollymead Town Center Area A (Signs #15,51,53,73) - Request to rezone 78 acres from RA (Rural Areas) to PDMC (Planned District Mixed Commercial) to allow for 418,476 square feet of retail, 109,500 square feet of office, and 352 dwelling units in a planned development. The properties, described as Tax Map 32, parcels 42A, 42C, 44, 45, 50 and Tax Map 46, parcel 5 are located in the EC Entrance Corridor Overlay District and the Rio Magisterial District to the south of the southern entrance to the Hollymead Town Center along Route 29 North. The general usage allowed in the PDMC zoning district is large-scale commercial with a broad range of commercial uses under a unified planned approach; the PDMC zoning district does not have a density range. The Comprehensive Plan designates this property as Town Center and that it be developed in general accord with the "Conceptual Master Plan & Design Guidelines for the Hollymead Town Center. The recommended density range is 6-34 dwelling units per acre in the Hollymead Community. (Sean Dougherty)
In summary, the Planning Commission held a work session on ZMA-2005-015, Hollymead Town Center Area A. Staff presented a power point presentation, reviewed and discussed several potential development scenarios and posed specific questions about key issues. The Commission held a discussion and received comments from the applicant and staff on the various site layout proposals. The Commission provided feedback and guidance to the staff and applicant on the appropriate design for the development so that an acceptable proposal for the entire area can be composed.
While Mr. Dougherty set up the power point presentation, Mr. Thomas asked why the rock house was still standing.
Mr. Dougherty stated that he could not answer that question, except that the materials might be salvaged. He suggested that the applicant could answer that question.
Mr. Dougherty summarized the executive summary for ZMA-2005-15, Hollymead Town Center Area A.
Ms. Higgins assumed from reading from the ARB’s items that it does accomplish the goal of screening the parking using buildings from the Entrance Corridor. Therefore, they were weighing whether they should screen the parking with buildings and make the buildings less accessible from a pedestrian network. She asked if that was correct.
Mr. Thomas stated that in the ad-hoc committee that worked on Target the idea was to orient it so that it was away from the highway or Route 29. He felt that this does a good job and sort of duplicates what they started trying to get out of the Target site. There is a lot of parking, but it still has the open area running down through the middle that he thinks breaches that walkway.
Ms. Higgins noted that it has the U shape.
Mr. Rieley asked staff to talk about his concerns about the pedestrian connections on the inside and what staff is suggesting to be modified.
Mr. Dougherty stated that starting with Kohl’s, the closest that any retail is located to the entrance to Kohl’s is 120 feet. The majority of the retail is located an average of 300 feet away from the Kohl’s. The concern is that with this as an anchor, staff feels that the applicant is locating things too far away from it. The density of residential is also being located far away from it. He felt that it would be more successful to have a closer relationship between the retail buildings. As it relates to the site as a whole with the other blocks it seems that it is a peculiar area to locate things. The guidelines essentially say that it should be located in this general area. Staff’s suggestion is that if this was rotated at least they would get one entrance closer to the rest of this and begin to get a better engagement with the other retail. In general, some of the largest location of retail is about as far away as it can be from the residential. Then just within this block with the location of the other retail to this, which was the catalyst for coming to this area, it has the largest offering. When you look at it everything else is at least 120 feet away if not 300 feet away. That is the basic issue.
Ms. Joseph asked if there were pedestrian connections that were proposed throughout that.
Mr. Dougherty stated that the application was looking for feedback from the Commission. This application plan is not offered as anything that could be accepted. The applicant is fairly comfortable with this block, but the other block was just shown to illustrate what could happen based on the Comprehensive Plan. It was more of a schematic approach. But, there are no pedestrian facilities on the plan and the applicant is aware of this.
Ms. Higgins stated that she did not disagree with staff about the orientation, but again looking at Target’s and the ARB’s concerns weighed with the Entrance Corridor, the mass of that building starts to have a better perspective to the Entrance Corridor if its long side is not towards the road.
Ms. Joseph noted that the difficulty was also the service entrance because when they start flipping the building it exposes the back end to everything else that is out there. It is going to be the same as Target. But, the way it is set up here the back end is on the Entrance Corridor, too.
Ms. Higgins noted that the grade difference in that area helps, too.
Mr. Dougherty stated that if it were rotated you still would not be able to access the road back here, which was where the loading was proposed.
Ms. Higgins asked about the other buildings that front on Meeting Street and if the back sides would be exposed also.
Mr. Dougherty felt that they could put a service alley in there and front it with retail and obscure the back of Kohl’s with a shared access alley. It would work to do some of it in front of the Entrance Corridor, which the ARB feels could be mitigated. The ARB said that they could work with that, but they were very concerned about the loading areas. They want to talk about the times during which deliveries could be made and those sorts of things. Staff feels that if they did have the rear of Kohl’s facing this area you could actually incorporate a service alley and back retail up to that and avoid some of the service that is required for some of these buildings. These buildings have no service alley in the back, but he would propose the same for them because there may be some opportunity for that sort of retail here as well.
Ms. Higgins asked if they were only talking about A-1 and that the others were just conceptual.
Mr. Doughtery stated that A-1 was something that the applicant was fairly comfortable with. They have brought in to staff some variations of this. He felt that they could potentially look at those. They have brought some things today that might allow us to discuss some other options or at least have more of a dialogue.
Ms. Higgins asked if they are supposed to talk about A-2 and A3.
Mr. Dougherty stated yes, they were supposed to talk about all of it. The applicant was fairly comfortable with part of the plan, and the other they were simply seeking guidance from the Commission. He pointed out that the residential was generally depicted as lining the edge of the site, but there was a category that could include residential, which is areas shown as mixed use commercial service.
Ms. Higgins asked if A-2 had mixed use community service, and Mr. Dougherty replied yes with residential lining the edges.
Ms. Higgins asked if for total number of units if they were close to it or under.
Mr. Dougherty stated that they were in a fine range of what the Comprehensive Plan and guidelines say.
Ms. Higgins asked if they were going in a direction to decrease or increase the number of units. She asked that it be put in some type of perspective.
Mr. Dougherty stated that the minimum in the guidelines say that it is 512 new dwelling units. The maximum is 1,680 units for the whole area. This is 43 percent of the site. Forty-three percent of the maximum would be roughly 700 – 800 units.
Ms. Higgins stated that was not the way that it was proportioned. It was not proportioned for a percentage because the whole Hollymead Town Center had a certain number of residential units that have already been approved.
Mr. Rieley pointed out that Area B does not have any.
Mr. Dougherty pointed out that the rezoning for Area D has been approved and the site plan is being reviewed. He estimated that it was roughly around 200 units for Area D.
Mr. Rieley felt it was quite low.
Ms. Higgins questioned how the numbers in the various sections compare in the table.
Mr. Dougherty stated that the minimum illustrated in the guidelines is 520 and the maximum is 1,680. As far as it breaks down in percentage, this is 43 percent of the total area of the Comprehensive Plan. It is 78 acres and the total area for the Comprehensive Plan Amendment was 180 acres. So they could figure out what the percentage of 520 and 1,680 is, but they are within that range for this portion.
Ms. Joseph stated that what she was hearing from Ms. Higgins was that she was concerned that they were not showing the land use that is in the Comprehensive Plan.
Ms. Higgins stated that this was like the last piece of that overall zoning. But, it looks different and she questioned if A-1 was what they were concentrating on. But, if they were looking at A-2 and A-3, she just wanted to see how that fit with what was approved before. She thought that it had more vertical residential and when they go to townhouses, which is probably a good fit for the area, 352 is what it shows. She was just asking the question of how it fits.
Mr. Dougherty pointed out that the orange buildings located on Meeting Street are proposed as four stories with residential above retail.
Ms. Higgins asked if they were included in the 352, and Mr. Dougherty replied yes.
Mr. Rieley asked what the low end for the entire total was, and Mr. Dougherty stated that it was 520 for a minimum.
Mr. Rieley stated that the range was 224 to 688. Therefore, they were somewhere in between those, but on the low end.
Mr. Dougherty agreed. But, also the applicant is willing to look at a higher number of dwelling units. Part of the issue is the parking for those units. What the applicant has demonstrated here is a realistic approach to parking. But, there are some issues in regards to the parking for what they have proposed. In general, they are in a range in which they can more or less park, and that is what is driving the number of units.
Mr. Rieley stated that for whatever it is worth, he shared their concerns. It seems that lining these buildings on the edge is creating problems with the servicing of those buildings. He thought that the ARB pointed out that it was going to be difficult to make those appear to be fronting on 29. The buildings in general seem to miss a couple of the things that are outlined in the guidelines in terms of utilizing the building to create spatial enclosure because they are spread out so much. This is essentially a strip development model and not a new urban model. Reconfiguration of that to make it more like the spatial relationship that they are showing along Meeting Street would be much more consistent with the design guidelines in his view.
Mr. Morris agreed that was a good point.
Ms. Higgins suggested that they ask the Commission to address this issue.
Mr. Thomas asked that the applicant also explain the other plan.
In consensus, the Commission agreed to invite the applicant to speak.
Ms. Joseph asked the applicant to come forward and discussion Area A.
J.P. Williamson, with HM Acquisition, stated that in Area A, as it relates to the building, they have tried to adhere to the ARB guidelines. They share some of the concerns in that area in creating a space that is both friendly to the shop and also creates a sense of space that is more appropriate for a town center. They have been trying to work through a couple of different alternative designs that may solve both of the concerns. One is to try to create a retail street or a main street feel on a portion of the property and still maintain the approach that the ARB wanted them to take to create a street aligned with buildings. The other design difficulty that they are having in the general commercial area is the idea that they wanted to have a streetscape on the Main Street side, which is on the top end of Area A. The elevation of that street creates a scenario where they line both sides, if you are building multiple story buildings, and that incorporating that parking into the interior of that creates just a bigger sea of parking. So it is something that they have been working with staff on and talking about some conceptual designs on A, which he could address specifically. But, generally within the whole area what is shown on there is what really can be surface parking. They would anticipate some higher densities than were shown on the traditional plan. What they have been working with their engineers on is the appropriate places to try to incorporate some structured parking and some other aspects that would allow them to create a more concentrated development. What they have done in terms of the Comprehensive Plan is in Block 2A they tried to create more of a residential urban focus along the Powell Creek stream bed and incorporate that into the walkway. That is the greenery shown on the plan. To proceed with the development, they need to know which road they are trying to connect through whether it is Abington or Gathering Place because that will create some spatial relationships as to which one of those becomes a travel lane and which will be for pedestrians. This is the type of things that as they get guidance on that they can address the issues that staff has with interconnectivity and mix of uses in trying to adhere more closely to the Comprehensive Plan and Master Plan for the entire center. The concept is that they want to create the space that everyone envisions and they want to adhere to the master plan. That is why they are trying to have discussions with the various entities within the County and try to resolve what sometimes appears to be conflicting roles.
Mr. Rieley stated that the construction on the right is miles ahead of the one shown on the left. But, he understood that it was a refinement.
Mr. Williamson stated that one was a civil engineer doing a yield study and one is a master plan design for creating a town center. Neither one of them is wrong, they are just different things.
Mr. Rieley stated that his question relative to the conceptual master plan is that the one on the right seems as if it could accommodate the two public spaces that were shown in the master plan.
Mr. Williamson stated that they can. The issue is that right now based on their understanding that they will be putting in a central park facility of approximately 10,000 square feet per the plan. Right now the location as per the master plan has that creating a dead end of what is really kind of Meeting Street. So they will accommodate that park based on understanding where the transportation network interconnects.
Mr. Rieley stated that it seemed that the place to put it now within this reconfigured arrangement would be at the end of the Gathering Place. He asked if that would be at the T intersection.
Mr. Williamson stated that was correct. But, where it showed it was actually on the other side of Town Center Drive from Gathering Place in the master plan, which is easy to accommodate. He questioned whether that was really the best place for it, which was what they were working through. That is why it is not shown on the design schedule.
Ms. Higgins stated that they have shown it on A-3.
Mr. Williamson stated that in theory they could put it on A-3, or they could put it on Block A-2. Again, it just depends on what is the most relevant. From the transportation standpoint, you want that connectivity between Gathering Place and Town Center Drive. What is showing in the master plan is the park on the other side of Town Center in Block A2. But, if it made more sense to move it over adjacent to that T-intersection or whatever it was, then they could do so.
Mr. Rieley stated that he did not think the master plan was done with that kind of specificity in mind. But, he did think that the prominence, the scale and the importance of that public space really should be foremost in our minds.
Mr. Williamson agreed and he thought even to the extent that it not be in the master plan. They have been working closely with staff to try to create a sense of place around the traffic interchange that becomes the intersection of Meeting and Town Center Drive to try to incorporate some type of town center feel whether it was done by coordinating a design element, interconnecting the plazas or what they were doing there. Because the roads are so wide and there is so much traffic it is a difficult task to try to create a space where you are telling the people the right way to get from point A to point B. That is something that they are working on.
Mr. Rieley felt that it was particularly difficult because it was a roundabout, which traffic virtues are not particularly friendly to pedestrians.
Mr. Williamson stated that they would agree, but were staying consistent.
Ms. Higgins asked if there was a particular road that staff was referring to in his question about the elimination of a road. She asked if there was a particular one that the Commission needs to give feedback on.
Mr. Williamson pointed out that they have been working with staff and have asked them which road they want it to be because that will affect the design of the entire site.
Mr. Dougherty stated that unfortunately the ZMA plan that was approved for Area D did not accommodate this partly because of the topography. Essentially, there was a road that kind of ringed the outside and led you down through this area and would provide a root for some of the residential density to get to 29 without having to go this way. It was shown as a master plan, but was not accommodated in Area D. Engineering’s review suggests that Gathering Place was extending through this area and would be the best surrogate road for that road that is shown in the guidelines. However, that necessarily would be conflicting with the ideal ultimate location of the public space. Part of what is different with what is in place versus the master plan is that Meeting Street is a little bit further away from Route 29 than it was shown conceptually. But, in any case Gathering Place sitting this way would provide some of the functionality that road was meant to create. There is some accommodation of that in this plan, except it really does not have a clear way other than through the parking to get down here. He noted that he did not think that was the intent. It was shown as a neighborhood street and not a travel way through a parking lot. Therefore, the next question about the public street is if it is appropriate for a street matching the guidelines to come down here and connect to 29. Or, can that not be accommodated as the plan illustrates. This does illustrate some kind of connection, but he did not think it really shows the sort of hierarchy that neighborhood street was meant to have and also the convenience.
Mr. Rieley stated that his inclination was to just keep looking at that. But, the advantage of the road that is shown is that it is higher topographically. He felt that the farther you push it to the upper left you would actually be pushing it down hill because that is where the Powell Creek drainage is. Then it begins to impact the stream and the relationship of those buildings to the walking path that is in there. He felt that has some potential, particularly if it would have a civilizing influence on the street as it goes in front of Kohl’s. He felt that a couple of turns in the area would be fine. For the people who live there it is going to be like a Kmart cut through. It is not going to take people long to get use to that.
Ms. Higgins pointed out that there is another opportunity at Tree Line Lane to come back out on to Town Center. If you come down in front of Kohl’s there is also a parallel road there that allows people to go in and come to the Kohl’s. She felt that would be a preferred one versus a straight shot road.
Mr. Rieley pointed out that those connections would take you by the service areas of the buildings, but the zigzags don’t bother him.
Mr. Thomas stated that he liked the conceptual design best in this area because it looks more finished.
Mr. Rieley pointed out that one of the biggest differences was the relationships between the buildings and the open space.
Mr. Williamson pointed out that this plan was just one of ten designs and was just the one that he brought. They can notice that there is no theater on the plan, but he uses this more as an illustrative example for A-1 of what they are trying to work through and consider balancing the need to have buildings on 29, but also creating an environment internal to the shopping area that is more of a main street or a retail street scenario. It was more illustrative for that.
Ms. Joseph stated that it was more compelling to see less parking on there and more green space.
Ms. Higgins asked if there had been any thought given on putting the road in so that it bisected this parking.
Mr. Williamson stated that it could from a design standpoint, but it creates a real difficult space at the front of that intersection. That is really a constricting piece of property and that is kind of the prominent location.
Ms. Higgins stated that between those buildings and then separating these kinds of uses with the main street could create some potential pedestrian problems. Kroger is a good example in Barracks Road. They are putting the shopping carts in conflict with the people going in and out. But, from Kohl’s perspective it might not be as bad.
Mr. Williamson agreed that from a design standpoint there is some difficulty in trying to front Meeting Street with a building if you have a grade separation so that you can’t get the road in right there. But, by moving it down what they end up having to do is actually sacrificing a building on the site because they have to create grade change to accommodate the access to that center.
Ms. Higgins stated unless it is like a two-story building and the road sets up.
Mr. Williamson stated that even then you’ve got to get from the intersection with Meeting Street to the paved area that you are going to and it would really be steep. It would be the same situation that you have in Barracks Road. If you turn in off of the back of Barracks Road there are some hills, which is an element they are trying to avoid.
Mr. Cilimberg pointed out that one thing that might result there is that they may be getting that arch through road a little too close to the roundabout in terms of separation. Here that arch gives you more separation in the traffic movement.
Ms. Joseph asked Mr. Dougherty how he looks at this plan versus the other one and if there is something more that he was working towards.
Mr. Dougherty felt that was a better approach. But, his concern is that it was meant to break up this neighborhood and serve as circulation for that residential development. As such, if he lived there he would probably prefer that it go down towards Kohl and drive in front of it and then drive down to 29. He felt that they were serving some of that function, but at the expense of what he really thinks would be a conflict between that sea of parking and the entrance on that side and then all of the traffic going by it. He felt that it was an improvement.
Ms. Joseph stated that they all go back to the Kmart model and she did not know how many times she has gone down there and around to get where she needs to go.
Mr. Cilimberg stated that probably what would be the tell tale of what people choose on how that intersection with 29 at the cross over will work is how easy is it to get through the roundabout and get down to 29 and take your right. Because what people are avoiding in the Kmart situation is the 29/Hydraulic intersection. So they have several lanes of traffic coming out on what is Town Center Drive and how that functions at that light will probably be the determining factor in the choices people make to take the alternative that goes in front of Kohl’s. What people may end up doing very honestly is going through the roundabout coming down and taking a right along this Tree Line street and coming down in front of Kohl’s and out rather than going over and coming in front of Kohl’s on two sides.
Mr. Rieley felt that was very logical.
Mr. Thomas asked if this is the proposal for the road going out of the back over to Route 606.
Mr. Cilimberg stated that actually was part of the Area B proffer. So that is to be built within this next year if he was not mistaken.
Mr. Thomas stated that would be another exit rather than coming down to Route 29.
Mr. Cilimberg stated that there are going to be in the bigger scheme of things a road connecting to Dickerson Road and another road that connects up to Airport Road from Area C.
Ms. Higgins stated that would take some of the focus off of coming back to 29.
Mr. Cilimberg stated yes, there were going to be different routes to take. And in the future Meeting Place is actually part of what you might think of as Berkmar Drive Extended that goes all the way through Hollymead Town Center to Airport Road and then becomes part of the UREF property. So eventually where you see the big roundabout, the north/south road, which is Meeting Street, is really part of the street that starts at 29 and goes through UREF and goes across Airport Road through Hollymead Town Center and down south potentially across the river to Berkmar Drive.
Ms. Higgins noted that there were going to be some other alternatives.
Mr. Dougherty stated that the street as illustrated in the new plan by the applicant begins to accomplish what was intended. The only thing that he can add to that is that the definition for a neighborhood street is a neighborhood street or road is a local thoroughfare. A neighborhood street is urban in character and a road is rural in character. He felt that the applicant was accomplishing what the guidelines were that they were expecting in block A-2, but he was just not sure how it was met through A-1. But, maybe that is not necessary.
Mr. Williamson stated that where they were, too, was that in the master plan comp plan guidelines in figure 14A as it was amended as part of the proffers for Area B, it sort of shows that road in front of that big box retail. So again what you are looking at is our attempt to adhere what they believe is the starting point for the design.
Mr. Rieley stated that one of the things that make that a lot better than this is the thought that is not the big theater building and that in fact it is broken down in scale and it surrounds space and encloses the parking. From that perspective if the theater becomes a part of the program he felt that it would be a lot better both programmatically and from a scale perspective if it ends up closer down to 29. Then they
could let that be a part of the massing that fronts along 29 and let that sea of parking that is sort of in the big box have a similar function to the theater. It seems that a theater would have people coming in and out and does not have anything to do with the residential development that is just adjacent to it.
Mr. Williamson stated that they feel comfortable that they can show them a concept that would work in either location, but that is the type of guidance they want because that then allows them to concentrate on other areas of the design.
Ms. Joseph asked and noted that the other Commissioners were in general agreement.
Ms. Higgins agreed that it appeared to answer all of the questions.
Mr. Williamson stated just as it relates to the rotating this that they have been around that three or four times with the ARB. And what they have felt they have done here is created a scenario where they have actually added two entrances to the building. That is a pretty big concession from a large retailer. They are trying to create loading into the building from two spots. The only way to really do that effectively was to put it where it was. So they have asked Kohl’s to come back with some modified back wall designs that create some type of break up to the monotony of that wall, which the ARB was comfortable with because it was 300 or 400 feet removed from 29. That is in essence is the front edge of Harris Teeter. The ARB asked that they limit it to 30 feet, which was fine because it was one story buildings. They were able to effectively screen the loading for Kohl’s and create a building that relates more to the site. Therefore, they hope they can create a design that both met with staff’s and the Commission’s approval that kept Kohl’s in its configuration. There is a lot of thought as to where it is and it is not arbitrary. That is something that they are working through.
Mr. Morris stated that he felt that it works.
Mr. Williamson stated that he thought that the ultimate plan for residential units will be in excess of what is represented on that plan.
Mr. Rieley stated that it would make him more comfortable if they were closer to the 688 than the 200 units.
Mr. Williamson stated that it would be a mix of type of uses with some multi-family rental types and some for sale. They want to incorporate a mixture of uses. The townhouse block is not really townhouses, but is contemplated as stacked units. So they will have vertical scale and still be getting density that would still achieve 24 to 26 units per acre. Overall, he felt that was what the plan wants.
Mr. Cilimberg stated what he heard was that from moving from the engineering phase to the planning phase the direction that this is headed is much more in keeping with what they were looking for.
Mr. Dougherty felt that this version shows at least a reaction to the master plan and provides what he thinks it was intended to do, which was to give that residential block A-2 some form of circulation other than the parking lot. He pointed out they can place the public space at the end of Gathering Place like it is intended for Meeting Street. He felt that this works towards accomplishing that. This shows a more broken up approach to it. Part of it was the conceptual nature of the proposal did not allow for that connection with the location of the building in the way. He felt those were things staff and the applicant can work on together.
Ms. Joseph asked if everybody was comfortable with where the green space was being placed.
Mr. Rieley stated that as long as there is an easy pedestrian connection through here he was not convinced that it has to be in a direct line to come all the way through. It might be nice to have this terminate in a street that does not have a way for it to slip through. But, that is just another opinion.
Ms. Higgins agreed.
Mr. Dougherty felt that one of those connections could be worked out, but it was good to note. There was a discussion that if the theater was involved in this application, there was a chance of moving it down here. One of the concerns was that these theaters are monolithic. He asked how tall it would be.
Mr. Williamson stated that it would be on a one story façade.
Mr. Dougherty stated that potentially that could be put underground a little bit. He felt that getting that outside of this residential area gives the residential area a lot more to work with. But, leaving it where it is could cause problems with the Entrance Corridor. And any building over 65,000 square feet is supposed to be oriented away from the corridor. But, that did not happen here for whatever reason. Maybe there are some issues with that, but they can work on it.
Mr. Williamson stated that the big box was less than 60,000 square feet.
Mr. Dougherty stated that what he was hearing was that the Commission was comfortable with this location as it is. He felt that gives staff and the applicant a lot to work with. He felt that this works well, particularly with the change in the residential.
Mr. Rieley pointed out that the ARB had done a good job of the back service side of Target.
Mr. Dougherty stated that he did not have any other questions.
Mr. Rieley stated that he did not expect the proposal for this site when it actually came before them to be as close to what was called for in the Master Plan as this is. He thanked both the staff and the applicant.
Mr. Thomas pointed out that it was very helpful to include the applicant’s dialogue in their work session discussion.
Mr. Cilimberg stated that generally speaking what he had heard was that moving from the engineering phase to the planning phase and the direction that this is taking is much more in keeping with what they are looking for.
Mr. Rieley stated that he would like to see the other nine plans.
Ms. Joseph asked if the applicant had any other questions now before the next work session.
Mr. Williamson stated that he did not have any further questions at this point.
Six Year Secondary Road Plan – Work session to review and comment on the proposed Priority List for Secondary Road Improvements in the County. (Juandiego Wade)
The work session was rescheduled to November 15, 2005.
Ms. Joseph asked if there was any old business.
Regarding Places29, Mr. Cilimberg encouraged the Commissioners to attend the following meetings:
Ms. Joseph asked if there was any further old business. There being none, the meeting proceeded.
Ms. Joseph asked if there was any new business.
There being no further new business, the meeting proceeded.
With no further items, the meeting adjourned at 7:25 p.m. to the Wednesday, November 2, 2005 meeting with the Board of Supervisors at 4:00 p.m.
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