Albemarle County Planning Commission

November 28, 2006


The Albemarle County Planning Commission held a meeting and a public hearing on Tuesday, November 28, 2006, at 6:00 p.m., at the County Office Building, Second Floor, Auditorium, Second Floor, 401 McIntire Road, Charlottesville, Virginia. Members attending were Eric Strucko, Jon Cannon, Duane Zobrist, Pete Craddock, Marcia Joseph, Chairman and Bill Edgerton.  Absent was Calvin Morris, Vice-Chairman.  Julia Monteith, Senior Land Use Planner for the University of Virginia, representative for David J. Neuman, FAIA, Architect for University of Virginia was present. 


Other officials present were Wayne Cilimberg, Planning Director; David Benish, Chief of Planning; Bill Fritz, Chief of Current Development; Scott Clark, Senior Planner; Rebecca Ragsdale, Senior Planner; David E. Pennock, Principal Planner and Greg Kamptner, Deputy County Attorney.


Call to Order and Establish Quorum:


Ms. Joseph called the regular meeting to order at 6:03 p.m. and established a quorum.


            Public Hearing:


SP 2006-020 First Christian Church (Signs #74, 77)

PROPOSED: New church on 15-acre parcel with seating for 306 persons, rooms for youth/community events, church office, and outdoor pavilions for church activities.

ZONING CATEGORY/GENERAL USAGE: RA -- Rural Areas: agricultural, forestal, and fishery uses; residential density (0.5 unit/acre); EC Entrance Corridor - Overlay to protect properties of historic, architectural or cultural significance from visual impacts of development along routes of tourist access

SECTION: Church building and adjunct cemetery.

COMPREHENSIVE PLAN LAND USE/DENSITY:  Rural Areas - preserve and protect agricultural, forestal, open space, and natural, historic and scenic resources/ density (.5 unit/ acre)


LOCATION: Northeast corner of Richmond Road (US 250) and Keswick Road (Route 731).



STAFF:  Scott Clark


Mr. Clark summarized the staff report.


Scott Clark presented a power point presentation and summarized the staff report.


o    Staff has identified the following factors favorable to this application:

·        VDOT and the County Engineer are satisfied that the entrance design is adequate to accommodate the traffic generated by the proposal.

·        A church on this parcel would provide a community meeting place and opportunities for residents to take part in local community life.


o    Staff has identified the following factors unfavorable to this application:

·        Construction of the church would require clearing of parts of this wooded site. Recommended conditions are intended to reduce the visual and environmental impacts of this clearing by controlling its extent and location.


o       One small detail mentioned in the staff report is that in September this project went before the Architectural Review Board because it is in the Entrance Corridor.  The ARB basically approved the layout as proposed with a couple of small changes.  One was to clarify the location of the non-disturbance area and that has been done.  There was an area shown on the plan for the septic fields for the use.  That was shown on the earlier plan when the building was in a different location.  Staff realized that the septic fields could not be located in the non-disturbance area.  So in order to resolve the conflict the applicant has revised the boundary of the non-disturbance area to the west in order to have options for the septic field in order to be an acceptable distance from the existing well.  He discussed this with the Design Planner and the visibility of the building will not change greatly.  But, because the line has moved there may be some additional consideration on the actual design of the building.  When this comes back for a site plan there will be a more detailed review by the ARB at that point. 

o       Staff recommends approval of the request subject to the nine conditions recommended in the staff report.


Ms. Joseph asked if there were any questions for staff.


Mr. Edgerton asked if there was public water and sewer available in this area.


Mr. Clark replied that public sewer was not available in this area.


Mr. Craddock noted that only public water was available.


Mr. Edgerton said that he questions on two of the conditions.  It says all parking setbacks, undisturbed buffers required by the zoning ordinance section 21.7, minimum yard requirements, shall apply if this use is developed.  He asked staff to explain what that says.


Mr. Clark replied that the setbacks to the eastern edge of the property shall be 20’ and along the edge of Keswick Road and Route 250 technically will be 10’.  Actually what is shown on the plan is more restricted and the locations are farther in than those setbacks.  This is just to ensure that it is clear during the development of the site plan that the scope or general accord of the plan is not to include variations beyond that point. 


Mr. Edgerton said that condition #7 says that the prescriptive right-of-way along this parcel on Keswick Road shall be replaced with a public right-of-way at least 25’ wide.  He asked staff to show him that area.


Mr. Clark pointed out the area in the entire frontage along Keswick Road, which is the northern boundary of the property. 


Mr. Edgerton asked if that was just to widen the right-of-way there.


Mr. Scott replied that was correct in order to address the concerns in the vehicular plan to widen that road.


There being no further questions for staff, Ms. Joseph opened the public hearing and invited the applicant to address the Commission.


Barry Creasy, a member of First Christian Church, said that he was a member of the team working on the church relocation.  He noted that Mr. Clark has more than adequately covered the actual site.  Under #2 of the favorable factors is the community’s advantage of a church in this particular location.  The area around it has many houses and a lot of subdivisions.  Churches do add a community value as far a being there.  This request has been labeled as a new church, but the church is definitely not a new church.  Currently they are located in Charlottesville, Virginia at 112 West Market Street.  The church has been in existence for 170 years.  They are seeking to move the church because they are out of parking.  All of the development downtown has cut them off from being able to park cars on Sunday mornings. Therefore, they are looking to move this church.  They have a track record of being a very community friendly church.  They have done many things in Charlottesville from running soup kitchens to doing plays for the community.  Their activities may change on Route 250, but they still plan to be active in that community also by opening up the church to be used for various community activities.


Ms. Joseph asked if there were any questions for Mr. Creasy.


Mr. Craddock asked if they had sold the old church, and Mr. Creasy replied that they have a contract pending.


Ms. Joseph invited public comment.  There being none, the public hearing was closed and the matter before the Commission.


Motion: Mr. Zobrist moved, Mr. Edgerton seconded, to approve SP-2006-020, First Christian Church, subject to staff’s recommended conditions:  


1)     The church’s improvements and the scale and location of the improvements shall be developed in general accord with the conceptual plan entitled “First Christian Church,” prepared by McKee Carson, and dated 11-14-2006.

2)     The area of assembly shall be limited to a maximum 306-seat sanctuary.

3)     No grading or tree removal shall take place within the area marked "area not to be disturbed" on the conceptual plan or within the 75-foot setback adjacent to Route 250 East.

4)     No erosion and sedimentation control plan nor building permit shall be approved for the area marked "area not to be disturbed" without prior approval of a tree conservation plan complying with section of the Zoning Ordinance.

5)     All parking setbacks and undisturbed buffers required by Zoning Ordinance section 21.7, Minimum Yard Requirements, shall apply if this use is developed.

6)     All outdoor lighting shall be arranged or shielded to reflect light away from the abutting properties.

7)     The existing prescriptive right-of-way along this parcel’s Keswick Road (Rte. 731) frontage shall be replaced with a public right-of-way at least 25 ft wide and dedicated to public use.

8)     There shall be no day care center or private school on site without approval of a separate special use permit;

9)     If the use, structure, or activity for which this special use permit is issued is not commenced within sixty (60) months after the permit is issued, the permit shall be deemed abandoned and the authority granted thereunder shall thereupon terminate.


The motion passed by a vote of 6:0.    (Commissioner Morris was absent.)


Ms. Joseph stated that SP-2006-020, First Christian Church will go to the Board of Supervisors on January 10, 2007 with a recommendation for approval.


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