COUNTY OF ALBEMARLE
Request to rezone 9.35 acres from R-1 to PRD with proffers for property located on Avon Street Extended, south of Cale Elementary School.
LEGAL REVIEW: NO
April 11, 2007
ACTION: X INFORMATION:
On March 20, 2007, the Planning Commission held a public hearing on the request. The Architectural Review Board’s (ARB) recommendations for the rezoning were provided to the Commission. The ARB had no objection to the rezoning with conditions, some of which could be addressed at the rezoning stage and others at the site plan stage. The applicant said he would include in revisions to the application plan to address the issues that could be addressed at the rezoning stage.
The Commission discussed the proposal and recommended approval provided that the applicant commits to the following items before the Board of Supervisors public hearing:
§ At the site plan stage if there is no applicant identified for the affordable housing unit that, in lieu of the unit, the County is given $16,500 for the housing fund.
§ The proffers are corrected to satisfy wording concerns of the County Attorney’s Office including a correction to a cash proffer, which essentially states the same thing twice.
§ Screening will be provided at the back of the site to help mitigate the visual impact of the retaining wall.
The Commission approved the requested waivers with the condition that an easement for public access be provided for the private interconnection and that maintenance agreements be provided that meet County requirements.
The first bullet above regarding affordable housing was actually requested by the Commission and agreed to by the applicant. The approach would have given the Housing Director the option, at the site plan stage, to authorize acceptance of cash instead of having the applicant build the affordable unit. However, the Housing Director was not present at the hearing to advise the Commission on this approach.
Staff discussed the issue with the Housing Director after the Commission meeting and the Housing Director indicated he was not in support of such a proffer. He said that, in general, it is easier on an applicant to provide cash rather than units and that providing affordable units is the goal of the affordable housing policy. Providing cash in lieu is the exception. The Commission agrees with this goal, but is looking for a way to assure that if qualified purchasers cannot be found for the affordable units provided, the county will at least get cash rather than losing the affordable unit and getting nothing else. The Director indicated that if the proffer requested by the Commission is accepted as is, a precedent will be set and pressure will be placed on him to approve acceptance of cash before an affordable unit is built or before all efforts have been expended to find qualified purchasers. He recommended that the applicant not make the proffer.
Since the Planning Commission meeting, the applicant has been struggling to address both the Commission’s desires and the Housing Director’s concerns with a proffer. Because the Housing Director has been out of the office this past week, the process has been somewhat difficult. To try to address both concerns, though, the applicant has provided two different sets of proffers for the Board’s review and decision. Option A contains language which has been reviewed and is acceptable to staff, including the County Attorney’s office. Option B, provided the day this report was due to be distributed, contains language which has not been reviewed by the Housing Director or County Attorney’s office. The additional proffer is contained in the 13th line of Proffer 1 D which begins with, “If at any time prior to the County’s approval of any preliminary site plan or subdivision plat…” The County Attorney has indicated that the Board may legally consider both options at the public hearing. Until the Housing Director returns to the office on Monday, April 9, staff will not be able to assess whether the language is substantively acceptable. Staff, including the County Attorney’s office and Housing Director will review the Option B proffer to provide a recommendation to the Board on Wednesday, April 11, 2007.
Staff notes that affordable housing proffers that attempt to address the County’s Housing Policy do not seem to have “settled” yet into a standard form. Issues such as time frame to provide qualified buyers, phasing of affordable units and provision of moderate income housing (sometimes referred to as “workforce housing”) are in need of resolution so that expectations are understood by applicants, staff and the Planning Commission. These broader issues would most appropriately be addressed separate from this specific project, but nevertheless need attention in another venue.
With the exception of the Affordable Housing proffer, staff finds that the applicant has met the expectations of the Planning Commission in recommending approval of the project to the Board. Based on the input of the Housing Director, staff recommends approval of ZMA 06-05 with the Option A proffers (Exhibit C) and the amended application plan (Exhibit E).
EXHIBIT A: Planning Commission Action Letter for March 20, 2007
EXHIBIT B: Staff Report dated March 20, 2007 Revised from March 20, 2007 meeting
EXHIBIT C: Signed proffers dated April 5, 2007 – Option A
EXHIBIT D: Signed proffers dated April 5, 2007 – Option B
EXHIBIT E: Application Plan dated March 28, 2007
View PC minutes of April 18, 2006; December 19, 2006; and March 20, 2007
Return to regular agenda