ZMA 2005-00008: Pantops Park

SP 2005-0015: Drive-up Facility for a Bank.



A rezoning is requested from Highway Commercial to Neighborhood Model District.






Sean Dougherty




December 13, 2005 and

December 20, 2005



January 11, 2005



OWNER/APPLICANT: Pantops Park, LLC, represented by Frank Cox.




This request is to rezone 4.87 acres from Highway Commercial to Neighborhood Model District to allow for construction of three buildings in a planned development. The property being considered is the former Moores Lumber property on Richmond Road. Each building will have a mix of uses. Building 1-A will contain a banking facility and three levels of offices not associated with the bank. Buildings 1-B and 1-C will contain retail and office space. Retail space, allowed in building 1-B and 1-C, will be limited to 11,000 square feet. The request also includes a special use permit for the drive-up window for a banking facility.



The Planning Commission reviewed this proposal on November 22, 2005. However, due to an advertising error, it had to be re advertised.  The Commission used the meeting as a work session to review the project and advise the applicant on any needed changes. Appendix I is the staff report prepared for the November 22, 2005 work session. During the work session, the Planning Commission discussed the applicant’s proposed private driveway interconnection from Route 250 to South Pantops Drive and his inability to provide for a public connection without cooperation from neighbors. The Commission also discussed the appropriateness of the variety of uses requested by the applicant in the Code of development and how parking would be addressed at the site plan stage.  Other topics included changes to parking if the initial uses changed and if allowed by the Code of Development, maintenance and enforcement issues along Spotnap Road raised by the Albemarle County Service Authority (ACSA), and the appropriateness of the proffers versus the development’s constraints and impacts. The Commission also discussed the proposed changes to the ACSA lower parking lot and the applicant’s failure to address the impacts a new connector road would have on the ACSA.




The re-advertisement period has allowed the applicant to continue to work on his proposal and proffers.  Unfortunately, the advertisement for the public hearing for December 13, 2005 did not include the special use permit request.  The special use permit request will need to be heard on December 20, 2005.  The Commission is asked to hold the public hearing on December 13th for the rezoning, but defer action on both items until December 20, 2005.  The Board of Supervisor’s public hearing date (January 11, 2005) will not be affected by the deferral of action, provided proffers are in a legally acceptable form for the Commission’s potential action on December 20. As to issues discussed at the November 22, 2005 meeting, staff offers the following:



Spotnap Connection Public Right-of-Way Framework


The applicant has submitted revised proffers and a document indicating a “commitment to dedicate” (Appendix II) that establishes a mechanism to address the issue of the connection between Route 250 and Spotnap Road. The applicant’s cooperation with the owner of Spotnap Road reflected in the commitment to dedicate would establish a plan for making the new connection and the existing Spotnap Road to be a complete public right-of-way. However, it is unknown at this time whether the owner of Spotnap Road will sign the commitment to dedicate. Amended proffers (Appendix III) were received on November 30, 2005 and the County Attorney did not have an opportunity to comment on the proffers or the “commitment to dedicate” prior to submission of this summary for distribution. However, the proffers and the “commitment to dedicate” together could allow for the interconnection to be public, thereby eliminating a majority of the ACSA’s concerns about the proposed connection. The applicant has said he will have an update or a signed “commitment to dedicate” prepared by the applicant and signed by C.W. Hurt, the owner of Spotnap Road, prior to the December 13, 2005 public hearing. 


Spotnap Road Maintenance and Enforcement Issues


The applicant has not proffered a maintenance agreement; instead the “commitment to dedicate” and the revisions to the proffers would allow for Spotnap to be a complete public connection between Route 250 and South Pantops Drive. Should the applicant gain the commitment to dedicate, the proffers to improve the road to public standards for acceptance by VDOT would eliminate maintenance and enforcement issues.


Impacts to ACSA Parking Lot Access


The revised proffers address the proposed changes to the ACSA lower parking lot access by proffering to design and construct a new access drive from the new connection to the parking lot.


Uses Requested By Applicant in Code of Development


Based on the Commission’s concern for the variety of uses requested in the Code of Development, the applicant has eliminated a significant number of uses previously requested. The permitted uses are located on Page 5 and 6 of the Code of Development as provided as part of the original staff report (Attachment C of Appendix I). Revisions to Page 5 and 6 of the Code are Attachment IV. Staff believes the reduction in the uses allowed in Pantops Park is appropriate. If acceptable to the Commission, these pages will be updated in the Code of Development prior to PC action on December 20, 2005.


The uses eliminated include:


            6. Clubs, lodges, civic, fraternal, patriotic

            9. Factory outlet sales – clothing and fabric

            10. Feed and seed stores

            21. Light warehousing

            26. New automotive parts sales

            33. Wayside stands – vegetables and agricultural produce

            34. Wholesale distribution

            38. Indoor theaters

            43. Farmers market



Application of Parking Standards and Reductions


The applicant has requested a reduction in required parking based on a shared parking strategy and Traffic Demand Management (TDM) Tools. The Commission expressed concern regarding the Chief of Zoning’s determination that the reduction could be granted. The Chief of Zoning has clarified that the reduction would be reviewed at the site plan stage and granted if the appropriate TDM tools are used at the site plan stage. The TDM tools encourage a form of development, particularly in the development areas, that facilitate alternatives to driving and car-centric development. If a change in use occurred that generated demand for parking in excess of what can be provided on the site, zoning has indicated they would not grant a clearance for that change in use. The Chief of Zoning also indicated that residential density in the area, the proximity to the City of Charlottesville, a growing number of private transportation systems that serve senior housing in Pantops (Westminster Canterbury, the Cottages at Jefferson Heights, and the new JABA facility under construction on South Pantops Drive) and the availability of public transportation, make Pantops Park a suitable candidate for such a reduction. Zoning is comfortable with the limiting of retail to 11,000 square feet, their ability to review the parking plan at the site plan stage, and their ability to review the parking at the time any change in use is requested.


Cost Estimate for Pedestrian Safety Improvements


The applicant has eliminated a proffer for general improvements for pedestrian and vehicular facilities.  Based on the Commission’s November 22, 2005 discussion, staff had requested an estimate from VDOT for these improvements. This estimate has not been received by staff from VDOT, though staff hopes to have an estimate by the December 13th hearing. Improvements for pedestrian safety are of concern to staff. However, the applicant’s proposal to improve and facilitate dedication of a public connection between Route 250 and South Pantops Drive is a significant contribution. If the applicant can implement the framework for dedicating this road as public (outlined in the “commitment to dedicate” and proffers), the improvements to pedestrian facilities identified by staff (crosswalk striping and a pedestrian signal) could be addressed by the County through its Capital Improvement Program.


Alternatively, the applicant has submitted revised proffers that continue to include a traffic signal in front of the project, despite VDOT’s standards for distances between existing traffic signals, among others. This money, if not used for a signal, could be used for pedestrian improvements. Regarding vehicular traffic, the proposal is estimated to generate 4,113 vehicle trips per day. VDOT has identified that a reconfiguration of the median in this area and narrowing of travel lanes would allow for a right hand turning lane onto Route 20 North from Route 250 West. This right hand turning lane would facilitate vehicle flow onto Route 20 from Route 250 that now requires the signal at that intersection to change. This would expand the capacity of the cueing area for the signal, increasing the functionality of left turns from the site onto Route 250 West. That is, by allowing vehicles turning onto Route 20 a way of doing so without the light at Route 250 and Route 20 changing, less vehicles will be cued at that intersection, allowing customers of Pantops Park to turn left out of the site (toward the City of Charlottesville). The signal proffer could be amended to address the site’s larger pedestrian and vehicular circulation issues identified by staff and VDOT.




Due to the incomplete nature of the proffers and the “commitment to dedicate” unsigned and in draft form, staff cannot recommend approval at this time.  Because action on the special use permit is not possible until December 20, 2006, sufficient time should exist for the applicant to finish revising the proffers so that they will be in an approvable format at the Commission’s meeting.






Appendix I: Staff report from November 22, 2005 Hearing (and attachments)

Appendix II: Commitment to Dedicate Letter

Appendix III: Revised Proffers

Appendix IV: Revised Code of Development, Page 5 and 6

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