ZMA 00-009 North Pointe Update

SP 02-72 Residential Uses at North Pointe



Worksession on outstanding issues




Tucker, Foley, Davis, Kamptner, Graham, Cilimberg, Echols







February 8, 2006


ACTION:                                INFORMATION:    X



  ACTION:                              INFORMATION: 











For the Board of Supervisor’s meeting on January 4, 2006, staff provided a summary of progress for the North Pointe project and asked the Board to provide additional direction prior to an upcoming public hearing.  The current application plan is Attachment A and dated November 21, 2005.  The Board reviewed the issues raised by the staff and asked that the staff provide the following additional information for the next worksession:


1.       Copy of current proffers and October 2004 proffers.  (Attachments B & C)

2.       Recommended Special Use Permit conditions (Attachment D)

3.       Analysis of proffers citing agreements and disagreements remaining from Nov ’04 proffers. (Attachment E)

4.       Fiscal impact reports, including the Integra report and retail absorption reports, including ZHA’s current materials. (Attachment F)

5.       Discussion of the phasing provided in the SP conditions, with emphasis on how it will assure the residential component can be built out.  (see discussion below)

6.       Description of the impacts on Places 29 in delaying a decision on North Pointe.  (see discussion below)

7.       Library block designs, applicant’s and Senior Planner Sean Dougherty’s early design, with discussion on why staff believes this is important (Attachment G)

8.       Overlot grading SP condition, what applicant agrees to provide versus what staff expects, with discussion on why staff believes this is important (see discussion below)

9.       Analysis of current affordable housing proffer. (see discussion below)

10.   Analysis of proffers in comparison to other developments. (Attachment H)


In addition, the Board asked for a guarantee that residential development be concurrent with commercial development.



3.3  Develop and implement policies that address the county's growth and urbanization while continuing to enhance the factors that contribute to the quality of life in the county.



Phasing of residential units to commercial, office, and hotel construction – The applicant has requested that the special use permit conditions allow for more than 290,000 square feet of commercial, office, and hotel construction before more than 116 units are constructed.  The figure of 290,000 square feet is roughly half of the total square footage allowed.  Staff believes that at least 224 units should be constructed before more than 290,000 square feet of commercial type space is allowed.  The 224 units equate to 25% of the total units. The 116 units equate to 13% of the total number of units. This issue may be moot since it is more likely that residential demand will be greater than commercial demand. Should the housing market change and more units be constructed elsewhere in the County, though, without the restriction, the mix could contain much more nonresidential use for some time. Staff recommends that the special use permit conditions require at least 224 (one-fourth) of the total units be built prior to more than 290,000 square feet (approximately half) of the commercial, office, and hotel is constructed.


Impacts on Places 29 in delaying a decision on North Pointe – The County’s master planning consultants are developing scenarios for future land use for all of the development areas north of the City.  It is likely that their recommendations will contain a different land use mix than currently appears on the County’s Land Use Plan if North Pointe is not approved.  If North Pointe is approved, the consultants may need or want to design around the approved plan rather than recommend a change to the Land Use Plan for this large acreage.  Lack of knowledge of how to treat this property is affecting the transportation modeling at present as well as knowing how to propose land use surrounding the approximately 270 acre project.  Action on the proposal would resolve these conflicts with the Places 29 work.


Library block design – The only truly “mixed use” portion of the development occurs in the library block and the block east of the library.  While single-use residential areas will have good pedestrian access via a sidewalk system, the non-residential areas are characterized as having large expanses of parking lots surrounded by single use or almost single use buildings.  The only opportunity to create a mixed-use “place” with the pedestrian orientation of a downtown is in the mixed use part of the development. 


The applicant and staff have agreed that the library provides a “center” for this part of the development.  Attachment G illustrates the applicant’s and the County’s proposal side-by-side.  For the applicant’s proposal, the location of parking surrounding the library and across the street from the library dilutes the look and feel of that area as a comfortable pedestrian-oriented shopping area with a public park.  The applicant, however, believes that parking in front of all the buildings is essential.  He also believes that, in the block east of the park, the grades cannot sustain a building and instead support a parking lot.  Staff disagrees because using the existing grades requires extensive retaining walls for the parking lot.  Staff acknowledges that additional grading is likely needed to create the design shown by the County on the attachment; but, staff finds that preferable to 6’ and 8’ retaining walls along the street.  Staff also believes that a redesign of the block east of the park could better utilize grades and potentially not require as extensive grading.  The applicant is unwilling to redesign the library block or nearby areas to eliminate parking lots in front of the buildings.


Overlot grading SP condition – Staff has proposed grading conditions with the residential component that reflect the original subdivision text recommendation rather than relying on the compromise version discussed with the County Board in January.  Staff has recommended this higher level of protection due to the topographic conditions on the residential north end of this property and the anticipated mass grading of the southern end of the property.   In the northern end, the combination of critical slopes and environmentally sensitive streams leads to concern with assuring runoff from housing is being adequately managed.   On the south end of the site, the applicant has indicated that the entire property is anticipated to be mass graded, creating a land disturbance approximately 1 ˝ times the size of the disturbance that occurred with development of the Hollymead Town Center.  Staff believes the overlot grading condition is needed for the residential development in the southern part to avoid impacts to homeowners associated with this mass grading.      


Affordable housing – The affordable housing proffer contains the following provisions:           

1.                   12 single family detached units for sale for the workforce

2.                   12 townhouse units, condos in the commercial area, or duplexes for sale

3.                   12 apartment condos for sale

4.                   4 carriage house units for rent or sale as condos

5.                   40 rental units

6.                   $300,000 in cash (up-front) for the Housing Initiative fund for home ownership loan programs, with a sunset of 3 years if not used


The programmatic aspects are as follows: 

1.                   To qualify for the for-sale attached and condo affordable units, income limits could not exceed 80% of the area’s median family income

2.                   To qualify for the for-sale workforce units, income limits could not exceed 120% of the area’s median family income; this income level exceeds the Comprehensive Plan’s definition of affordable housing

3.                   To qualify for rental units, income must be less than 80% of the area’s median family income

4.                   For rental units, the owners of those units must report annually to the County on the incomes of the individuals renting those units

5.                   The carriage house units would not be able to be subdivided off from the lot with the main house

6.                   The for-sale units would be identified on subdivision plats and site plans, would have to be provided at a rate of 3 to 8 units per year until the obligation is exhausted, with a carryover potential of excess units to future subdivision plats and site plans.

7.                   The for-sale units would have a 90-day (previously recommended by staff) period in which the County would provide a qualified buyer to a builder.


The Housing Director believes that the unit and cash combination is sufficient to meet the policy of the County, with the exception of the short sunset date for the cash proffer.  If the applicant provided 15% of the units, which would be the same percentage proffered by most recently approved rezonings including Old Trail, up to 134 affordable units would be provided by this project.  There is value, however, in accepting cash in lieu of affordable units to provide loan assistance.


Programmatically, there are several problems with the way in which the applicant wishes to have the County administer the programs, including a non-standard way of determining which incomes qualify for affordable housing, higher income limits for the for-sale units than the County recognizes as affordable, and the way the units would be accounted for through the site plan/subdivision process. 



Staff and applicant fiscal impact reports are included in the attachments.  As discussed at the January worksession, the positive impact occurs with build out of the commercial development. Also as previously discussed with the  County Board, staff is concerned this project will not complete more than 290,000 square feet of commercial for an extended period of time.   If the residential part of the project is completed, but the commercial development does not build out past 290,000 square feet for an extended period of time, the fiscal impact will be negative for that same period of time.



For the reasons stated in the staff report for the January 4, 2006 meeting (Attachment I), staff cannot recommend approval.  These reasons are summarized as follows:

  1. The form and design overall does not adequately meet recommendations of the Neighborhood Model which is the preferred form of development identified in the Comprehensive Plan.  This is especially important given the size of the project (270 acres) on a greenfield site.
  2. The design of the library block area within the center of the development does not create a pedestrian-friendly environment or appropriately relegate parking.
  3. The County cannot reasonably absorb the additional commercial square footage within a ten year period.  The results would be either stale zoning or overdevelopment with high vacancies in existing shopping centers.
  4. The timing for the southbound improvements for Route 29 will result in a varying number of lanes and no correction of the vertical curvature, potentially for a long period of time.
  5. No commitment is made to obtain right-of-way which may be needed for Route 29 improvements.
  6. Affordable housing proffers are unworkable as written.


Because the prolonged consideration of North Pointe is adversely impacting the Places 29 Master Plan process, staff asks that the Board discuss the outstanding issues and provide clear direction to staff for final action on March 15, 2006.



Attachment A:   Application Plan dated 12-14-05

Attachment B:   Proffers dated December 9, 2005 with staff comments

Attachment C:   Proffers dated October 2004 with staff comments

Attachment D:   Proposed Special Use Permit conditions dated 1/24/06

Attachment E:   Comparison of 10/04 and 12/05 North Pointe Proffers

Attachment F:   Fiscal Impact Reports

Attachment G:   Library Block Designs

Attachment H:   Proffer Comparison with Hollymead Town Center and Albemarle Place updated 1-17-06

Attachment I:     Executive Summary staff report dated January 4, 2006

Return March 1 executive summary