Albemarle County Planning Commission

December 12, 2006


The Albemarle County Planning Commission held a meeting and a public hearing on Tuesday, December 12, 2006, at 6:00 p.m., at the County Office Building Auditorium, Second Floor, 401 McIntire Road, Charlottesville, Virginia. Members attending were Eric Strucko, Calvin Morris, Vice-Chairman; Jon Cannon, Marcia Joseph, Chairman; Bill Edgerton; Duane Zobrist and Pete Craddock.  Julia Monteith, Senior Land Use Planner for the University of Virginia, representative for David J. Neuman, FAIA, Architect for University of Virginia was present.  (She left the meeting at 8:16 p.m.)


Other officials present were Wayne Cilimberg, Planning Director; Gerald Gatobu, Senior Planner; David E. Pennock, Principal Planner; Judy Wiegand, Senior Planner; Scott Clark, Senior Planner; Sean Dougherty, Senior Planner; Elaine Echols, Senior Planner; Bill Fritz, Chief of Current Development; Amelia McCulley, Director of Zoning & Current Development/Zoning Administrator; Glenn Brooks, Senior Engineer; Jack Kelsey, Transportation Planner and Greg Kamptner, Deputy County Attorney.


Call to Order and Establish Quorum:


Ms. Joseph called the regular meeting to order at 6:06 p.m. and established a quorum.


Ms. Monteith left the meeting at 8:16 p.m.


       Public Hearing Items:                                                             


ZMA 2006-018 Forest Ridge (Lots 1 & 22) – Signs #81, 82:

PROPOSAL:  Rezone 9.9 acres from property zoned R-10 (10 units/acre) with proffers to reduce reserved right-of-way, provide utility easement, and allow building setbacks. Currently has 38 duplex units, rezoning would permit 4 more.


EXISTING COMPREHENSIVE PLAN LAND USE/DENSITY:  Property designated Urban Density Residential (6.01-34 units/acre) and supporting uses such as religious institutions, schools, commercial, office and service uses in Development Area.


LOCATION: Property is located on southeast and southwest corners of Proffit Road/Moubry Lane intersection, approximately 1800 feet east of US 29 in Hollymead Development Area.

TAX MAP/PARCEL: TMP 46B4-03, Parcels 1, 22, B, and C.


STAFF:  Judy Wiegand


Ms. Wiegand presented a power point presentation and summarized the staff report.


o       The purpose of this zoning map amendment is to change two of the proffers from the previous rezoning to enable the developer to complete the residential neighborhood as allowed under the original rezoning in the same spirit and character as the existing units.  The owners of the development are Craig Builders of Albemarle.  The applicant is represented by Rob Cummings and Kurt Hughes.  This is tax map 46B4, Parcels 1, 22, B and C.  The land use designation is Urban Density Residential.  The current zoning is R-10 and it would stay R-10 under this proposal.  The development area is Hollymead.  The magisterial district is Rivanna.


o       The four parcels are located at the end of Mulberry Lane right where it joins Proffit Road.  One of the reasons they are here is that there are presently plans to improve Proffit Road in three segments basically running from Route 29 to Worth Crossing.  That section is intended to eventually be 4 lanes.  From Worth Crossing into this area is to be a 3 lane section.  Then as one goes around the curve towards Baker School that would be a 2 lane section. 


o       It is basically a duplex residential development.  There are duplexes either under construction or built on all of these parcels along both sides of Mulberry Lane except for lots 1 and 22.  There are 19 buildings and 36 units. There is open space at the southern end.  There are connections to property on both the east and west side. 


o       This is a zoning map amendment to adjust two of the four proffers from an earlier zoning map amendment that was approved in early 1992.  They are referring to proffers #3 and #4, which are given in the staff report.  Proffer #3 said that the applicant would agree to dedicate a 30’ strip across the Proffit Road frontage and then to reserve a second or additional 30’ strip for future road improvements by the County of Albemarle or the Virginia Department of Transportation.  They also agreed at that time that the 30’ dedication would take place at such time as this site plan or subdivision was submitted to the County.  In addition to the dedication and the reservation Proffer #4 covers 9’ beyond both of those for construction of a bike path.  They are talking here about the total of 69’. 


o       The current proposal is to change this. There would be the same 30’ dedication, but they want to take 6’ along here out of the 30’ reserved originally and add it to that 9’ bike path and then call that a 15’ bike path and landscape easement or open space that would be owned by the homeowner’s association and would be maintained by them.  It would become part of the neighborhood’s property.  The reason that they would like to do that is if they had that 15’ the current building both on lot 22 and the same is true on lot 1, which would give them a 10’ setback that is required from the building to the side property line.  It would also give them a 25’ setback from that building to the edge of the right-of-way.  So they need that 15’ in order to get that 25’ setback. 


o       The issue that staff has with this is that they would be taking 6’ out of that reserved right-of-way.  This could have a potentially significant impact on Proffit Road.  She was referring to what the County Engineer has said that the Proffit Road improvements that they are designing in here have not been designed or been subject to public comment and they have not yet been reviewed by the County and approved by the Board of Supervisors, which is the normal course for a road design like this.  In fact, the final design of the street cross section won’t be fixed until after the Virginia Department of Transportation holds a location and design public hearing.  So the status of those improvements is it is a 3 lane section right now, which is one lane in each direction and a turn lane in the middle is adjacent to the Forest Ridge Development.  These improvements are not in the current six-year plan.  They have several projects such as the Meadow Creek Parkway, Jarman’s Gap Road and Georgetown Road improvements that according to Juan Wade are ahead of the Proffit Road improvements.  So there is no date yet set for the VDOT public hearing.


o       In summary, factors favorable to this zoning map amendment:

·        It would enable the developer to complete this development as allowed under the original rezoning in the same spirit or character as the existing units.  This means that he would be able to build a duplex on each of those lots with the proper setbacks. 


o       Factors unfavorable are: 

·        Deleting 6’ from the reserved right-of-way for Proffit Road reduces the flexibility that the County and VDOT may need to ensure a good design for the widening of Proffit Road in the future.  There is a lot of uncertainty about the amount of traffic and the number of cars that will be going in the proximity of different intersections.  For example, Spring Field Road is about 200’ away and they are going to need right hand lanes and tapers eventually.

·        A potential bike path is more appropriately located in a Proffit Road right-of-way than in an open space or in an easement on private property. 


o       Staff does not recommend approval of this rezoning to change the proffers because of the need noted by the County Engineer to preserve the flexibility on Proffer Road and because they think the bike path should be as a potential public facility would be more appropriate in the Proffit Road right-of-way.


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


Mr. Edgerton asked if the current setback for the two lots next to the road could be honored leaving the easements the way they were now if they had a narrower duplex unit.


Ms. Wiegand replied that staff asked the applicant if they would consider making a smaller duplex and they said that they were already using their smallest model.


Mr. Edgerton said that they were being asked to conform to a stocked plan that they want to use, but physically they would be able to get a duplex on this new site with the existing right-of-way.


Ms. Wiegand replied that was something that the applicant should answer, but that was the answer that they were given.


Mr. Cannon asked if the issue here is whether the bike path should go on public property or on an easement on private property.


Ms. Wiegand replied that was one of the two considerations.  The other one is the need for the width to ensure the flexibility for the Proffit Road improvements, which would be lane width, number of lanes and things like that.


Mr. Cannon said that if they took this 6’ and put it on their property effectively as an easement on their property would that action affect the amount of space available to deal with the Proffit Road situation.


Ms. Wiegand replied that they need the whole 15’ so that they can put in the bike path.  In order to get the 15’ they need to have both what would be the 9’ bike path and the 6’ in ownership as part of the neighborhood property rather than in the right-of-way.


Mr. Cannon noted that they would be taking 6’ away from what would otherwise be available for Proffit Road right-of-way notwithstanding their willingness to move the bike path onto their property. 


Ms. Wiegand replied that was correct, but the bike path actually stays in the same place.


Ms. Joseph opened the public hearing and invited the applicant to address the Commission.


Kurt Hughes, representative for the applicant, said that the original proffers on this were done with kind of the same concept they were struggling with on the Eastern Connector Road.  It is something that has not been designed yet.  It has been talked about since back in 1991 during the first time that this proposal was before the Commission.  In this case in 1991 he felt that they gave a very generous amount of land when they dedicated the 30’ right-of-way, but they also proffered an additional 30’ for a future right-of-way without a design.  Then there was another 9’ for the bike path, which gave a total of 69’ from the existing center line of the road.  Now since then the project has developed out except for the last two lots, which are before the Commission tonight.  The developer assumed wrongly that the side setback line for that lot would be 10’ instead of a front setback of 25’. 


Mr. Hughes noted that in the original proposal lots 22 and 1 were both on a double fronting lot, but the frontage had not been dedicated yet and was only reserved.  Speaking with the original applicant for that proffer they thought that was going to be a 10’ side setback.  When it came time for a building permit the County imposed a 25’ setback.  He reminded them that parcel A and parcel B have been reserved and have not been dedicated.  There is a note on the plat that area will become dedicated to the County upon their demand.  So ultimately whatever the design of that road comes out to be is how much land that incorporates in that design they have 39’ to work with as far as dedicate. They might not dedicate all of that property.  Some of that property may not be required for right-of-way.  He did not think that was something that they had thought about because they don’t have a design. 


Mr. Hughes asked if staff has the exhibit of the overall of what everything looks like along here with all the other properties.   He asked staff to go back to that slide.  He questioned if the Commission received that exhibit in their packet because it would give them more insight into what has happened.  Since their project that was done in 1991 there have been two other plans on Proffit Road with one on the west side of their project for the church and another on the east side for Forest Lakes Block P.  In those cases the amount of right-of-way that was proffered and dedicated was far less than what was across this property.  For instance, in the Forest Lake Subdivision they dedicated 30’ from the existing center line of the road and then put a 9’ future bike path across those two lots.  Whereas on the property to the west on the site plan that was approved just a couple of years ago there was a 30’ dedication prior from the center line of Proffit Road and the Planning Commission required another 18’.  So coming down Proffit Road past the church they are accommodated for a total width of 48’ to our property, but across our property they accommodate 69’. Something does not make sense as far as what the plan is going to be here.  The owner of the property asks that the Commission rethink this.  What they are proposing is to reduce the future reservation by 6’.  That is giving a total of 54’, which is far greater than any other section that they have through there.  That would allow under this proposal by moving that potential right-of-way away 6’ further would allow the County to use a 25’ side setback, which they could meet for the plan.  The homeowner’s association would also proffer and maintain the open space until such time that the County demanded it for the bike path if that was truly where the bike path needed to be located.  The Highway Department reviewed this proposal and supported it.  There should be a letter from the Highway Department in the Commission’s packet. 


Mr. Hughes felt that the ultimate design for Proffit Road is in three different phases.  These phases are not more than a pencil sketch.  He felt that they have adequate enough room to accommodate a reasonable alignment in there.  If the alignment that goes through here is a 3 lane section that would be 36’ wide.  If that is centered on the existing Proffer Road, which would most likely be one of the most preferred alignments because of the church and cemetery to the west. There would be adequate enough right-of-way left here to accommodate this. 


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


Mr. Zobrist asked if he was referring to the letter from VDOT where they recommended that the easement be changed to a 15’ bike path.  But, he does not address the 6’ give back or is that what he is doing by adding the 6’ on to it.


Mr. Hughes replied that what he was saying here was that he feels as though 30’ plus 24’, or 54’ is adequate enough.  The only thing that he is asking is that they also allow for a utility easement to be within that if they need that additional for a utility easement to be able to place it in that bike path. 


Mr. Zobrist asked if he was not opposed to that.


Mr. Hughes replied that the applicant is not.


There being no further questions for the applicant, Ms. Joseph invited public comment.


Forest Swope said that his main concern was if the road was widened that the school bus stops be assessed for potentially safety issues for the children waiting on the side of the road.


There being no further public comment, the public hearing was closed and the matter placed before the Commission.


Mr. Strucko asked if staff concurred with the picture on Attachment B.


Ms. Wiegand replied yes, that as accurate.


Mr. Edgerton noted that the letter from VDOT referred to option one.  He asked which plan that was.


Ms. Wiegand replied that the VDOT letter was on page 12 and option one was on page 13, which was labeled as Exhibit C1.


Mr. Edgerton asked if he just wanted the language of what can go in that easement changed.


Ms. Wiegand replied that she believed that was what Mr. Tomlinson was talking about.  He wants to make sure that he can get the utilities relocated in there so it is the utility easement as well. 


Mr. Edgerton said that in reading the letter it does not sound they will need more land.  He asked if staff has any more input on his opinion.


Ms. Wiegand asked Jack Kelsey to come up and address that issue.


Jack Kelsey, County Engineer, said that in the review of this particular application, of course, his recommendation was to leave what they have because of the uncertainties that they are dealing with.  Places 29 is looking at the various corridors and there is a lot of traffic forecasted and they were trying to determine how much traffic was going to be traveling through this area and what type of character this road should be. The Eastern Connector Study should be started this Friday.  Then within about a year they will have the final alternative report telling us where this Eastern Connector will tie in.  One of the concerns is if Proffit Road ends up being a connection for the Eastern Connector what type of traffic volume will be on this roadway.  That becomes really important because the traffic volume and speed of the roadway determines the trend movements and the length of the turn lanes.  As Ms. Wiegand mentioned, they propose a 3 lane section through here with the center lane serving as the turn lane.  But, it is not shown very clearly on the diagram where Mosby Lane intersects Proffit Road and then to the east about another 200’ down the road is Springfield Road.  So if they have left hand turn movements going in to Mosby Lane and Springfield Road and if they have a minimum 100’ turn lane for each one of those and then an 100’ taper to transition that into the turn lane, they don’t have 300’ between these two intersections.  Depending on the number of turning movements that will be made into these two streets and the amount of stacking that will be required to hold those there is a potential that this road section between these two intersections could end up being wider.  Even though there is additional right-of-way on the frontage of this particular property it may be needed.  They won’t know until they know where the Eastern Connector will be going and how much traffic is going to be forecasted for this particular roadway.  Then they can refine a little bit better what the design will be of this roadway, specifically between Mosby Lane and Springfield Road.  That is why his recommendation was to wait and see what goes on even if they came back within a year they would have a lot more information to make a better educational decision.  At this point in time he could not determine the exact amount of right-of-way needed.


Mr. Edgerton asked if the applicant could request a variance to reduce the setback, which would solve the problem.


Ms. Wiegand replied that she had discussed this with the Zoning Department today and they said that because this is basically a self-imposed hardship they would not qualify for a variance.


Mr. Edgerton felt that staff has made a convincing argument that they should not give up what they may need.  From a planning point of view the Commission has to listen to that.  If the Board considers the sort of justice factor, that would be for them to decide.  But, from a planning perspective he felt that they should consider staff’s recommendation very strongly.


Motion: Mr. Edgerton moved, Mr. Morris seconded, to deny the applicant’s request for ZMA-2006-018, Forest Ridge (Lots 1 & 22) as per staff’s recommendations as follows:



The motion carried unanimously (7:0).


Ms. Joseph stated that ZMA-2006-108, Forest Ridge (Lots 1 & 22), will be heard by the Board of Supervisors on January 10 with a recommendation for denial.


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