STAFF CONTACT: David E. Pennock, AICP
PLANNING COMMISSION: May 30, 2006
PROPERTY OWNER: Glenmore Associates Limited Partnership
APPLICANT: KG Associates
An application is under review for preliminary subdivision plat approval to create 19 lots (18 development lots and one (1) preservation lot) as a Rural Preservation Development on 305 acres, as well as 11 lots (5 approximately two (2) acres in size and 6 approximately 21 acres in size) through a by-right division on 136 acres. The property, described as Tax Map 94, Parcels 15, 16, and 16A, is located in the Scottsville Magisterial District at the terminus of Running Deer Road [Rte. 808], approximately 1.14 miles from its intersection with Route 250. This property is adjacent to the existing Glenmore Subdivision.
This area is shown as Rural Areas in RA-4.
PLANNING AND ZONING HISTORY:
SUB 01-202, SP 01-043, and SP 01-42: A previous application for a proposal for a Rural Preservation Development (RPD) subdivision was submitted in 2001, concurrent with application for two Special Permits – one to allow fill in the floodplain for a stream crossing, and one to exceed the maximum of 20 lots allowed in a RPD subdivision. This project was deferred and eventually suspended. Many of the recommendations made by staff at that time have been taken into account for this submittal (see “Review for Request for Rural Preservation Development Option” below).
This project is planned as the first step in a larger development that is ultimately planned to tie in to the existing Glenmore Subdivision. However, no plan has been submitted for the remainder of the development at this time. Thus, this project has been redesigned and is being reviewed as a stand-alone application, which must thus meet all requirements of the Albemarle County Ordinance on its own merits.
REASON FOR PLANNING COMMISSION REVIEW:
Approval of the 19 lot Rural Preservation Development application requires Planning Commission approval, in accordance with Section 10.3.3 of the Zoning Ordinance. The 11 lot by-right subdivision proposal is also subject to Planning Commission review, as a neighbor has requested the review in accordance with Section 14-218(B) of the Subdivision Ordinance (Attachment C).
REVIEW OF REQUEST FOR RURAL PRESERVATION DEVELOPMENT OPTION:
Discussion – Rural Preservation Criteria:
Staff has included the provisions of Section 10.3.3.2 (in italics), along with Rural Areas Senior Planner Scott Clark’s comment on the various provisions:
The rural preservation development option is intended to encourage more effective land usage in terms of the goals and objectives for the rural areas as set forth in the comprehensive plan than can be achieved under conventional development. To this end, application for rural preservation development shall be reviewed for:
a. Preservation of agricultural and forestal lands and activities;
b. Water supply protection; and/or
c. Conservation of natural, scenic or historic resources.
More specifically, in accordance with design standards of the comprehensive plan and where deemed reasonably practical by the commission:
d. Development lots shall not encroach into prime, important or unique agricultural or forestall soils as the same shall be shown on the most recent published maps of the United States Department of Agricultural Soil Conservation Service or other source deemed of equivalent reliability by the Soil Conservation Service;
Prime and locally-important soils are located throughout the property. The proposed preservation tract would protect the majority of the soils while also protecting other important areas that are ideal for agricultural and forestry production.
e. Development lots shall not encroach into areas of critical slope or flood plain and shall be situated as far as possible from public drinking water supply tributaries and public drinking water supply impoundments;
Some critical slopes are located on the development lots. However, the largest areas of critical slopes are located on the preservation tract, where their protection will benefit Limestone Creek (and a significant area of wetlands) and the Rivanna River.
The proposed preservation tract would protect all of the property’s large areas of floodplain.
This property is not in a water-supply watershed.
f. Development lots shall be so situated and arranged as to preserve historic and scenic settings deemed to be of importance to the general public and natural resource areas whether such features are on the parcel to be developed or adjacent to such parcel;
The development lots are located to be adjacent to other existing and proposed development, thus helping to avoid the fragmentation of natural resource areas. The preservation tract would protect a large area of woods, floodplain, and wetlands, as well as riparian habitat for wildlife, including federally threatened Bald Eagles, which have been observed nearby.
g. Development lots shall be confined to one area of the parcel and shall be situated so that no portion of the rural preservation tract shall intrude between any development lots;
The proposal meets this standard.
h. All development lots shall have access restricted to an internal street in accordance with Chapter 14 of the Code of Albemarle;
The proposal meets this standard.
i. Nothing stated herein shall be deemed to obligate the commission to approve a rural preservation development upon finding in a particular case that such proposal does not forward the purposes of rural preservation development as set forth herein above and that the public purpose to be served would be equally or better served by conventional development.
Protection of many significant resources located on or near this site would not be better achieved through conventional development. In general, this proposal accords with rural planning staff’s recommendations for the design of this RPD and is a significant improvement over the original proposal received some years ago.
In addition to the requirements of Section 10.3.3.2, Special Provisions listed in Section 10.3.3.3 also apply to all Rural Preservation Development proposals. Current Development Planning and Zoning staff have reviewed the criteria listed therein, and have concluded that this development proposal meets the Special Provision requirements.
Discussion – Groundwater:
Many of the adjacent property owners on Running Deer Road have expressed concerns over the availability of groundwater in the area. Multiple letters and e-mails have been submitted, and are most clearly summarized in a letter co-signed by 12 property owners (Attachment C). Based on the requirements of the Water Protection Ordinance (Chapter 17, Article IV of the Albemarle County Ordinance), this development proposal was subject to a Tier 3 groundwater review. As part of this requirement, the applicant submitted a preliminary hydrogeological assessment using the draft guidelines developed by the Albemarle County Groundwater Committee (Attachment D). This report was analyzed by the Groundwater Manager for Albemarle County, David Swales, who provides the following comments:
“I have reviewed the Groundwater Assessment reports dated January 23, 2006 and May 22, 2003 prepared by True North Environmental, LLC and submitted as required by the Groundwater Ordinance. With reference to the submitted reports, I have the following comments prior to the Site Review Committee meeting on February 9, 2006.
· The reports include the required maps and narrative sections as required by the Design Manual, Chapter 2, although some revisions will be necessary.
· The reports suggest the central and southern portions of the property are more appropriate than the northern area for the siting of future water wells.
· The 2003 report states “The subdivision of 26 lots is slated to occur in an area of the site where constraints to groundwater development would appear, in a relative sense, to be higher than those in other areas of the property. Consequently, the development does not match the area of the site where groundwater opportunities are maximized.” (p.8)
· The 2006 report states “While rocks within the fault zone, in particular the Everona limestone, are very favorable in terms of groundwater productivity, these rocks occur only in the eastern portion on the Properties, in the proposed rural preservation tracts. The proposed rural residential lots are underlain by Candler phyllite, which is much less favorable for groundwater productivity.” (p. 4)
· The 2006 report states “Adding these additional wells to this area is not likely to have any impact on existing residential wells on nearby parcels”. (p.5)
· Data indicates the area proposed for the majority of the 30 new lots and thus wells, is characterized by low-yielding wells in the Candler Formation.
· Based on hydrogeology, a central well system may be a viable option to supply water for 30 residences. (paraphrased; 2003 report, pp. 7-8)
Following my review of the subdivision plat and submitted reports, it is clear that the subdivision plan does not demonstrate that the site’s groundwater conditions have been considered with the division’s layout and design. While it cannot be definitively determined based on current data whether the groundwater resources are adequate for the proposed subdivision, there appears to be some risk of sufficient groundwater to support the lots as planned.”
Discussion – Greenway:
Chapter 2 of the Comprehensive Plan discusses Open Space Planning in Albemarle County. Among the objectives is a recommendation for provision of greenways. One of the priority locations for greenways in the Rural Areas is the “Rivanna River from the eastern portion of the Rivanna Village to Fluvanna County”, with the possibility of a Class B trail along the northern bank (Attachment F). The greenway is currently in place through the boundary of the existing Glenmore Subdivision. Rural Area Planning and Parks and Recreation staff have discussed with the applicant the possibility of dedication of land for the greenway to be extended through this project. The applicant is amenable to this possibility, and has expressed a willingness to dedicate land for this use. However, dedication could result in the reduction of possible achievable lots in the proposed subdivision by one lot in each piece (total of two lots). Staff is continuing to work with the applicant on possible methods to address this concern.
Discussion – Traffic:
An extension of Running Deer Road is proposed and is preliminarily supported by the Engineering Department and VDOT. VDOT preliminary comments for the proposal are as follows:
The neighbors on Running Deer Road have expressed concern over the possible problems created by additional traffic and/or construction traffic (Attachment C). At this time, preliminary subdivision approval does not address the details of road construction. However, both the comments from VDOT and the Current Development Engineers indicate that the road must be constructed to State standards. The details of this construction will be reviewed after preliminary subdivision approval, but must be resolved prior to final plat approval.
RECOMMENDATION – RURAL PRESERVATION DEVELOPMENT OPTION:
Staff has reviewed this request with consideration for the required criteria. The review has resulted in mixed findings for and against approval of the Rural Preservation Development option:
Factors favorable to approval:
1. This proposal generally addresses all of the concerns of Sections 10.3.3.2 and 10.3.3.3 of the Zoning Ordinance, which pertain to the design standards of Rural Preservation Development proposals.
Factors unfavorable to approval of a modification:
1. Construction of the plan as shown will cluster the bulk of the lots in an area closest to the existing lots on Running Deer Road. While such a development pattern is typically preferable for Rural Preservation Developments, it also has the potential of exacerbating a demonstrated groundwater problem in the vicinity of the development area.
Generally staff finds that the request, based on the plan as shown, is consistent with the criteria of Section 10.3.3 for granting approval of the Rural Preservation Development. Therefore, staff is able to recommend approval to the Commission. If the Planning Commission approves the request, conditions are recommended, as listed following the recommendation for the by-right subdivision proposal below.
RECOMMENDATION – BY-RIGHT PROPOSAL:
The Preliminary Plat has been reviewed by the Site Review Committee and was found to comply with Chapter 14, the Subdivision Ordinance, and Chapter 18, the Zoning Ordinance, subject to conditions. All building sites are shown to be outside critical slopes.
Staff recommends approval of the by-right portion of the Glenoaks preliminary subdivision plat, subject to the conditions listed below.
CONDITIONS RECOMMENDED FOR BOTH PROPOSALS:
1. Engineering has reviewed the conceptual stormwater management plan proposed for this subdivision. The following items need to be adequately addressed with the SWM plan: [14-302A13, 14-305]
(a) The proposed stream buffers need to be 100’ on each side of the stream, not 50’ as shown on the conceptual SWM plan.
(b) The pipe outfalls for the road drainage need to provide SWM detention for the 2-year storms and address MS-19 concerns at each location to protect the proposed stream buffers.
(c) The steam buffer locations will be shown outside of the limits of disturbance.
2. Road name approval by E-911 review for all proposed roads.
3. VDOT approval for all public roads and entrances.
4. Development of a groundwater plan, in accordance with Chapter 17, Article IV.
5. Health Department approval for all drainfields.
6. Public Recreational Facilities Authority acceptance of easement for preservation lot.
A - Location Map
B - Preliminary Subdivision Plat Reduction
C - Adjacent Property Owner Request for Review by Planning Commission
D - Groundwater Assessment prepared by True North Environmental, LLC
E - Comprehensive Plan, Chapter 2, Appendix A – Map 5 Greenway Trail – Village of Rivanna
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