STAFF PERSON:                                                                           Rebecca Ragsdale

PLANNING COMMISSION WORK SESSION:                          January 17, 2006



ZMA 2005-0005 Liberty Hall Work Session




The area to be rezoned is located in Crozet, near Radford Lane and Route 250, adjacent to Clover Lawn and behind the Masonic Lodge. (Attachments A and B) The applicant is requesting to rezone 8.01 acres from R-1 Residential to the Neighborhood Model Zoning District to allow for an office building and 46 residential units comprised of 15 condominiums, 21 townhouses, and 10 single family detached units



PROJECT: ZMA 2005-0005 Liberty Hall (Cross Property)

PROPOSAL:  Rezone 8.01 acres from R1 (1 unit/acre) Residential to to NMD Neighborhood Model District - residential (3 – 34 units/acre) mixed with commercial, service and industrial uses for up to 10,000 square feet of office use and up to 53 residential units (10 single family, 21 townhouses, 15 condominiums)


EXISTING COMPREHENSIVE PLAN LAND USE/DENSITY:  Crozet Master Plan designates the property CT3 Urban Edge: single family residential (3.5-6.5 units/acre) supporting uses such as religious institutions and schools and other small-scale non-residential uses, and CT4 Urban General: residential (4.5 units/acre single family, 12 units/acre townhouses/apartments, 18 units/acre mixed use) with supporting uses such as religious institutions and schools and mixed uses including retail/office


LOCATION: Tax Map 56, Parcels 97A, 97A1, and 97 (portion of) at the intersection of Radford Lane/Rockfish Gap Turnpike (Rt. 250 W)



Purpose of Work Session:

A tiered rezoning review process is recommended by the Crozet Master Plan to provide developers with guidance and feedback from the Planning Commission earlier in the rezoning process. In the initial review step of this process, which is this work session, an overall finding of consistency (or inconsistency) with the Crozet Master Plan would be made. The consistency finding should be based on the consideration of the land use program, densities and intensities, as well as general site layout. In this case, staff has suggested ten topics of discussion with questions for the Commission to answer in order to provide guidance to the applicant on their proposal. These topic areas include: Design and layout, Residential density, Amenities and green space, Mixture of uses, Mixture of housing types, Interconnections, Affordable housing, and Off-site impacts/Proffers.






There is no planning or zoning history for the properties proposed for rezoning. Records indicate they were zoned Agricultural prior to 1980 and were rezoned to R1 with the Zoning Map adopted December 1980.


Clover Lawn Village (ZMA 1999-11 & SP 2001-006), nearest Liberty Hall to the southeast was approved in December 2001 as a PD-MC (Planned Development-Mixed Commercial) with a special use permit allowing up to 29 residential units, including 24 townhouses and up to 5 units over the commercial space. As part of that rezoning, several proffers regarding Radford Lane were accepted that are relevant to the Liberty Hall rezoning request: a required connection to Radford Lane if it is improved, a dedication of right-of-way for Radford Lane, and a contribution to a traffic signal when warranted.


Existing Conditions/Character of Area:

The site is approximately 8 acres and is currently comprised of a combination of open meadow, grassed lawn, woodland, and garden.  There is an existing house, outbuildings, and tennis court located on the site, dating to ca. 1950.


Adjoining the property to the south is the Masonic Lodge, southeast is the Clover Lawn Village development, to the west is Cory Farm consisting of single family residential uses on one-third acre lots.  Radford Lane is currently a private road serving several houses which would be upgraded with the Liberty Hall proposal. Across Route 250 from Radford Lane is a proposed commercial center, including a grocery store and the Blue Ridge Builder’s Supply located beside it to the east.



By-Right Use of the Property:  

The current zoning of the property is R-1 which would potentially allow 8 dwellings based on the density allowed in R1 of 1 dwelling unit per acre and possibly up to 12 units with density bonuses.  There is one existing dwelling on the property.



Specifics of Proposal:

The applicant proposes a Neighborhood Model development organized into 6 blocks as shown and described in the code of development and on the general development plan. (Attachments D & E) Block 1 is mixed use with a proposed office building and two rows of residential units oriented to the streets in the northeast corner of the block. Each row will consist of 7 townhouses and 2 condo units on the end of each row. A shared parking lot is provided for these uses and some on-street parking. Seven of the condo units will be provided as affordable housing. Green space/Amenities are provided between the townhouses and the office building. Blocks 2, 5, and 6 are on the perimeter of the project area and consist of residential uses oriented towards the street. An amenity is located at the end of Blocks 5 and 6. Blocks 3 and 4 are central to the project area and consist of the existing residence in Block 3 and a row of 7 townhouses in Block 4, and two amenity/greenspace areas.


The project’s main access will be from Radford Lane, currently a private right-of-way off of Route 250, which will be relocated and improved as a public street. The location of improvements and location of Radford Lane have been reviewed and approved by VDOT. Three other streets will be built as public roads to an urban standard that could provide future interconnections to adjoining properties. Two sections of the proposed streets would vary from the County’s standard street section on Radford Lane from Route 250 to the proposed Road B and the southern side of Road B, east of Radford Lane.  Two existing ponds will be used for stormwater management, one in Clover Lawn Village, adjacent to Radford Lane and Route 250, and the other in the northwest corner of the project site. The applicant is still in the process of addressing engineering comments.


Comprehensive Plan:

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


Crozet Master Plan

The property is designated both CT 4 and CT 3 in Neighborhood 4 of the Crozet Master Plan. Based on the block layout proposed by the applicant, Block 1 is the area of the site designated CT 4, adjacent to the CT 5 area, and the majority of Blocks 2-6 are designated CT 3. CT 4 areas for Neighborhoods and Villages are described as the general area based on the transect of the neighborhood in the Master Plan, with the CT 5 area acting as the center and CT 3 areas as the edges of the neighborhood.  CT 5 borders this property and includes the Masonic Lodge property and half of the Clover Lawn development from Route 250. CT 4 areas are intended to support centers with a variety of residential types and mixture of uses. Recommended net densities for CT 4 areas are 4.5 d.u./ac. for single family, up to 12 d.u./ac. for townhouses and apartments, and up to 18 d.u./ac. in a mixed use setting.  Live-work units, home offices and commercial first floor with residential over are suggested as office/commercial use.  CT 3 areas are intended to be primarily residential at net densities between 3.5-4.5 units/acre, with up to 6.5 units/acre if accessory apartments added for 50 % of the residential housing stock. The total number of residential units based on acreage of the site and net densities would be 63.7 units and the applicant is proposing a total of 46 units. Three east to west road connections are shown on the Master Plan within the project area, including one from Cory Farm to Clover Lawn. The master Plan suggests one north-south connection within the project area in addition to the one already provided by Radford Lane. (see Master Plan inset below; page 7 Code of Development, Attachment E)


Text Box: Radford Lane
Text Box: Liberty Hall

Crozet Master Plan Place-Type and Built Infrastructure Map

Neighborhood 4 Liberty Hall area


Neighborhood Model

Staff has found that this proposal is in general conformity with the master plan based on analysis of the proposal against the 12 principles of the Neighborhood Model in the table below. Staff has particular aspects of the project to discuss with the Commission as to their level of conformity with the Master Plan and Neighborhood Model in the discussion section of this report.


Pedestrian Orientation

Sidewalks and paths are provided throughout the development and a sidewalk is proposed on one side of  Radford Lane from Clover Lawn to Route 250.  There are no other pedestrian improvements on Route 250 or crossings provided, should the shopping center across the road develop in the future. A crossing would be expected if this intersection is signalized in the future. Staff believes this principle is met except for where the sidewalk is not on both sides of Radford Lane.

Neighborhood Friendly Streets and Paths

Low speed limits, and sidewalks buffered with street trees will help create a safe environment throughout the new streets within Liberty Hall. Radford Lane to Route 250 will be improved to include sidewalks on both sides but street trees between the road and sidewalk are not proposed at the entrance.

Interconnected Streets and Transportation Networks

There is a street pattern in the development that will eventually connect into the adjacent property Clover Lawn Village, and provide the potential for an east-west interconnection with Road B. Proffers with Clover Lawn Village require that development to connect to Radford Lane when it is improved. North-south connections are provided with the new Road D and with the improvement and relocation of Radford Lane from Route 250 to the boundary of the property, Road A on the plan.  This principle is discussed further below.

Parks and Open Space


The applicant is proposing to provide almost 2 acres in open space and 1.65 acres in parks/amenities for residents. These amenities include the plaza area in Block 1, the park adjacent to Blocks 3 and 4, the pond at the end of Blocks 5 and 6, and several other pocket parks. Further discussion on this principle is included below.

Neighborhood Centers

A center for this development is provided by the centrally located park adjacent to Blocks 3 and 4and the centrally located plaza in Block 1. The CT 5 areas of Neighborhoods in Crozet are intended to function as central focal points. In this case, Clover Lawn and the shopping area across Route 250 will serve as the focal points in this Neighborhood. Sidewalk connections are provided, with the exception of a pedestrian crossing of Route 250, which will help make these neighborhood centers relatively easy to get to for the residents of Liberty Hall. Staff believes this principle is met.

Buildings and Spaces of Human Scale

This development with its single-family, townhouse residences, condos and office building 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.  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. There is one shared parking lot in Block 1 for the office building/townhouse condo units. The the parking lot is relegated to the side of the townhouses and office building. There will also be some on-street parking available. This principle is met.

Mixture of Uses


There is a mixture of office and residential uses provided on-site with retail uses and civic uses within close proximity. This principle is discussed below.

Mixture of Housing Types and Affordability

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


This project is an example of a greenfield infill project.

Site Planning that Respects Terrain

The applicant has indicated that streets and proposed lots have been designed to follow the contours of the land. Figure 7 of the proposed plan shows conceptual grading and the location of critical slopes. This issue is still under review in relation to stormwater management.

Clear Boundaries with the Rural Areas

The project site is entirely within the Crozet Development Area boundaries. The southern Rural Area boundary for the Neighborhood is across Route 250 and is just beyond Clover Lawn to the east and Cory Farm to the west. Neighborhood 4 from the Crozet Master Plan represents the only neighborhood in Crozet where the Development Area extends across Route 250, In the rest of Crozet Route 250 is the Development Area boundary with a buffer shown along the road.


Discussion topics and questions for the Planning Commission:


  1. Design and layout


Does the Planning Commission support the general layout proposed?

The layout proposed divides the project area into 6 blocks with interspersed with green space and amenities: Three blocks consisting of rows of residential units are proposed around the perimeter and three internal blocks are proposed which include central features. Streets are laid out to form a grid pattern stemming from Radford Lane. (Attachment D & E)


Staff believes the block pattern and street layout is consistent with that suggested by the Master Plan and Neighborhood Model and is appropriate.


  1. Residential Density


Does the Planning Commission find the proposal consistent with the Crozet Master Plan with regard to residential densities?

Staff finds that overall the proposal is consistent with the land use designations and recommendations within the Crozet Master Plan. Overall density for the entire project, including CT 3 and CT 4 areas is 7 dwelling units per acre and for the entire project the applicant is proposing 10 fewer units than the Plan maximum densities would theoretically allow in the portion of Crozet. Theoretically densities would allow 63.7 units and the applicant proposes 53.

Areas for discussion are the densities in Blocks 4 and 6. In Block 4 the Master Plan suggests 5.9 units and 7 are proposed. In Block 6, the Master Plan suggests 7 units and the applicant is proposing 14.  In Block 1, the Master Plan suggests 37 units and the applicant is proposing 22. The result is 10 fewer units overall than the maximum densities in the Master Plan suggest.


Staff believes the density blocks 4 and 6 are appropriate as they are not utilizing full density in Block 1 and are providing the recommended number of affordable units to meet the 15% goal in Block 1.



3.         Amenities and green space


Are the amenities and green space the applicant is providing sufficient for the residential units proposed?

The Neighborhood Model proposes making open space integral to overall community design and should result in residents having convenient access to parks, public gathering places, and natural views whether they are at home, work, or play. The applicant has provided details regarding proposed green space and amenities planned for Liberty Hall. (Figure 5 and figure L1 of the application plan-Attachment D pages 20 and 21 in the Code of Development-Attachment E) The proposal includes 24.5 percent green space and 20.6 percent of the project areas would be dedicated to amenities. The majority of the green space areas are proposed as amenities, which is allowable in the Zoning Ordinance. In this proposal amenities would be provided in the form of several “pocket amenities” and a park in Block 2. Specifically, the amenities would include a seating wall and pedestrian plaza for Block 1 between the residential units and office building; the pond would be enhanced at the end of blocks 5 and 6 to include a walking trail and covered deck; central to the development in Blocks 3 and 4 would be the park with a fountain, seating, and play ground. Two other smaller passive amenity areas are proposed for the green space between within Block 4 adjacent to unit 7 and within Block 2 adjacent to unit 3. In addition to the amenities that would be provided within Liberty Hall, residents would be within walking distance of the planned greenway along Lickinghole Creek just north of the project area.  (inset below)


The project is providing the minimum percentage of project area in amenities Staff believes, that while well thought out, some of the amenities are too small to meet the goals for amenities in the Neighborhood Model. Specifically, the two passive pocket parks proposed are relatively small at .04 acres and .25 acres with grading and critical slopes on the majority of the area.  (refer to Figure 5 and L1 of Attachment D)



Crozet Master Green Infrastructure Map

Neighborhood 4 Liberty Hall area



  1. Mixture of uses


Does the Planning Commission find the mix of uses proposed in Liberty Hall appropriate?

The Neighborhood Model allows and encourages compatible land uses side by side. This mixture is the key to the walkability of the neighborhood and to achieving the desired densities. Complementary uses, such as those that have staggered hours of operation, can make shared parking possible. The Neighborhood Model plans for compatible uses to be side by side. It is beneficial to be able to live in close proximity to work and to be able to walk to a store for a loaf of bread, a cup of coffee or a video.


The Crozet Master Plan builds on this Neighborhood Model concept and provides general guidance as to appropriate uses by CT type. For neighborhoods, CT 3 areas are intended to have a limited mix of uses with residential as the primary use and uses supportive of residential such as child care centers and neighborhood convenient stores at corners. The applicant has provided only residential uses in the CT3 areas of the project (Blocks 2-6) which is consistent with the Master Plan.


The applicant proposes Block 1 as a mixed use block with an office building and residential units adjacent. The language in the Master Plan for CT 4 areas suggests that the uses would be more integrated with live/work units. (see inset below) Office buildings are mentioned in particular as a use for the CT 5 land use areas, which is immediately adjacent to the office uses proposed. The applicant has established allowable uses for Liberty Hall in Table 1, page 12 of the Code of Development. Commercial uses are limited to office for the project and only permitted in Block 1.


Crozet Master Plan recommended Office Uses

CT5                                                      CT4                                                      CT3

Office Building, Live-work unit, Commercial first floor w/apartments over.

Live-work Unit/Home office, Commercial first floor w/residential over

Live-work Unit/Home office


Staff believes that the office use is appropriate in Block 1 because of its limited size and adjacency to the CT5 area of the neighborhood. Retail/commercial uses are also planned in the Clover Lawn Development and across Route 250 at the Blue Ridge Shopping Center site.  


  1. Mixture of housing types


Is the mixture of housing types proposed by the applicant for Liberty Hall appropriate?

The Neighborhood Model proposes mixed housing types and incorporating affordable units within the Development Areas. The Crozet Master Plan further specifies what housing types are fitting for each Crozet Transect for within the Master Plan neighborhoods. Below is a comparison of the Master Plan recommendations and what the applicant is providing in Liberty Hall based on CT type.


Crozet Master Plan recommended Residential Building Types

CT5                                                                  CT4                                          CT3

Apartment building, Row house, Duplex, House, Accessory unit, Live work unit, residential over retail/commercial.

Apartment building, Row House, Duplex, Cottage, House, Accessory unit, Live work unit

Cottage, House, Accessory unit, Live work unit


Residential Building Types Proposed in Liberty Hall

CT5                                                                  CT4                                          CT3

CT5 is adjacent but not in project area.

Town houses and condominiums

Single family detached and townhouses functioning as single family attached



The Master Plan is a guide that the applicant has followed and is making substitutions for the housing types suggested based on what is desirable by the housing market. There is no guidance in the Neighborhood Model or Crozet Master Plan as to the specific number of each type of units that would be appropriate but the goal is to provide a range of types and levels of affordability.  In this case there are three housing types proposed by the applicant: 15 condominiums of two types in Block 1 with 7 affordable units, the townhouses and the end unit condos, 21 townhouses, and 10 single-family detached.


Staff believes that the mix of housing types is appropriate.  



  1. Interconnections


Are the interconnections proposed by the applicant appropriate and do they meet the intent of the Crozet Master Plan?


The Neighborhood Model calls for an interconnected network of streets within new developments, and connections with existing development. This network is essential to support the pedestrian environment, mixed use developments, and compact, livable neighborhoods envisioned for the Development Areas. The Crozet Master Plan (see inset page 9) suggests a system of three east-west connections in Neighborhood 4 that would extend to the future Eastern Avenue and one north-south future road in addition to Radford Lane.


The applicant is providing one east-west connection with Road B. Road D provides a connection to the adjoining property to the north and the applicant has shown on the application plan in Figure 2 how the road is designed to go between the two existing ponds. Road A, which is Radford Lane, will provide a north-south connections to Route 250. Radford Lane is located across from the entrance to the Blue Ridge Shopping Center site. During the review of the Clover Lawn Village rezoning, it was uncertain how Radford Lane would line up with the entrance to the shopping center or vice versa. Since the review of that rezoning, a major site plan amendment (SDP 2002-049) was approved for the shopping center site and the entrance was relocate on that plan to line up with Radford Lane.


Staff believes that the interconnections provided are consistent with those suggested by the Master Plan. With the upgrade of Radford Lane, the Clover Lawn Village connection will also be provided.


  1. Affordable housing


Is the applicant making appropriate provisions for affordable housing within the Liberty Hall development?


Affordable Housing is defined, in the Comprehensive Plan, as those houses affordable to the forty percent of the County population that have household incomes at or below 80% of the area median income. For 2003, the maximum affordable home for purchase (80% median income) would be $172,000 and maximum housing costs (rent and utilities) for tenants would be $787 (50% median income).


A strategy within the Comprehensive Plan is that at a minimum, 15% of all units developed under rezoning and special use permits should be affordable as defined by the County’s Office of Housing and Housing Committee or a comparable contribution should be made to achieve the affordable housing goals of the County. The Neighborhood Model speaks to the physical form affordable housing should take within neighborhoods. Rather than having affordable housing enclaves, it should blend into the neighborhood and not stand out, either for lack of quality or detail. Units should be scattered throughout the neighborhood rather than concentrated in one place.


The applicant is proposing a total of 46 residential units within the development and is providing 7 affordable condo units. Proffer #3 and the applicant’s proposal to provide affordable housing have been reviewed by the Director of Housing who supports the proffer.


Staff believes that the applicant is meeting affordable housing policy goals by providing 15% and has appropriately integrated the affordable units into the development. 



  1. Off-site impacts and Proffers


Are the proffers submitted adequate to meet the impacts generated by this development?


The applicant has submitted 4 proffers to address impacts of this rezoning. (Attachment C)These proffers have not been fully evaluated and staff comments are provided based on reviewer input received thus far. The first proffer ensures conformity of proposed buildings with the specific building elevations reviewed with this rezoning by the ARB. There is still some question as to whether this proffer is needed given that architectural information is required as part of the Code of Development.


The second proffer provides a cash contribution to the County’s capital improvements program in $1,000 increments per market rate unit for a total of $44,000 to off-set impacts of the development. Staff has not yet received the fiscal impact analysis typically prepared by the Fiscal Impact Planner for all rezonings. However, the cash contribution may be expected to increase. Based on what has been recently provided and accepted by the Board of Supervisors with the applicant’s other rezoning project in Crozet, Wickham Pond, $3,000 per market rate unit would be expected with this project as well.


The third proffer specifies the affordable housing provisions of the proposal.


The fourth proffer is consistent with a proffer accepted with the Clover Lawn rezoning to off-set traffic impacts. The applicant would provide a contribution to signalization at the intersection of Radford Lane and Route 250 when warranted. VDOT has reviewed this proffer and finds it acceptable. The applicant recently submitted a more detailed traffic impact analysis which was not available at the time of proffer review. Staff will be confirming that the proffer is still sufficient given the new traffic information.



Other items to note for the Planning Commission’s information that are still under review and will be addressed prior to public hearing:






Staff recommends that the Commission review the proposal and advise staff and the applicant on each topic highlighted in the report. The applicant intends to resubmit after direction from the Commission, for a February public hearing.



  1. Location Map-Aerial
  2. Location Map-Zoning
  3. Liberty Hall Proffers
  4. Liberty Hall Application Plan
  5. Liberty Hall Code of Development
  6. Architectural Review Board comments dated October 19, 2005

Return to Feb 21 staff report