Albemarle County Planning Commission
March 6, 2007
ZMA 2007-00001, Hollymead Town Center - Area A2 (Signs #93, 94)
PROPOSAL: Rezone 47 acres from RA zoning district which allows agricultural, forestal, and fishery uses; residential density (0.5 unit/acre) to NMD Neighborhood Model District zoning district which allows residential (3 - 34 units/acre) mixed with commercial, service and industrial uses. The application proposes up to 1,228 dwelling units.
EXISTING COMPREHENSIVE PLAN LAND USE/DENSITY: Town Center -- Compact, higher density area containing a mixture of businesses, services, public facilities, residential areas and public spaces, attracting activities of all kinds. (6.01-34 dwelling units per acre).
ENTRANCE CORRIDOR: Yes
LOCATION: West and adjacent to the Hollymead Town Center Area B, which contains Target and Harris Teeter, east of the Deerwood Subdivision.
TAX MAP/PARCEL Tax Map 32, Parcels 44 (portion), 45 (portion), and 50
MAGISTERIAL DISTRICT: Rio
STAFF: Sean Dougherty
Mr. Dougherty summarized the staff report and gave a power point presentation.
Ms. Joseph invited comment from the applicant.
J. P. Williamson, representative for the applicant, HM Acquisition Group, pointed out that there were two other changes to the plan that were worth noting. In the redesign of Meeting Street another change they made was the pedestrian plaza at the corner. That was a change as it relates to pedestrian orientation. The other change is the treatment of what was not subject to their application, but a parking deck that also abuts Abbington. There is a different type of massing they have created as a town house look along Abbington. They have been working with the adjacent property owner in conjunction to solve what seemed to be a sensitive issue. Those are the two other changes that were worth noting. There is another round of comments that seem to focus on transportation, which is an area that they felt that they had addressed previously. As it relates to our goals tonight these are questions they would like to have answered tonight. Some are troublesome because they felt they had already reached a level of understanding.
Ms, Joseph invited public comment.
Morgan Butler, attorney with the Southern Environmental Law Center, agreed with staff that Area 2 is improving. But, they should take a step back tonight and look at this proposal for Area 2 in a larger context into which it fits the Hollymead Town Center. The Hollymead chapter of the county’s land use plan makes clear that “significant residential component should be located within the designated town center area.” Indeed the residential component is key to the town center functioning properly with a healthy mix of uses. Unfortunately, the town center that is emerging from the rezonings approved to date is taking more the shape of a massive new shopping complex. The residential component is largely missing. As such the 78 acres of the town center site that have yet to be rezoned are vital to creating a true mixed use town center in this location. The applicant has broken the 78 acres into 2 pieces. The piece they are discussing tonight, Area A 2 contains the missing residential component. The 1,200 dwelling units proposed in A2 represents more than 75 percent of the residential units proposed for the entire town center. These are the dwelling units needed to balance the 1.25 million square feet of non-residential uses proposed for the town center over one-half of which has already been approved. The second piece of the remaining 78 acres, Area A1 proposes 300,000 square feet of new commercial space in the form of another shopping area. It would not contain another single residential unit. Significantly it was also scheduled to come before the Commission tonight not for a work session but for a public hearing and a vote. At the applicant’s request the public hearing was deferred a month. They will see it again on April 3. They therefore find themselves in the untenable situation of which a rezoning request for another 300,000 square foot shopping center at this site is on a faster track than the rezoning request for the section that will contain the primary residential component. They are slipping even closer towards creating a little more than a massive shopping complex here. As a result the rezoning request for Area 1 should be put on hold until the residential component of this project embodied by Area A2 is significantly built out. This strategy would also allow a decision on Area 1 to be informed by the soon to be completed Places29 Master Plan, which would give an idea of how much new retail, if any, can still be absorbed along this corridor over the next 20 years. Notably, the completed Places29 Study will also indicate the transportation and transit infrastructure necessary to deal with future traffic along this corridor. Those findings are highly relevant to the request at hand and what they should hope to see in the proffers. It would, therefore, make sense to postpone further action on both requests A-1 and A2 until the master plan is complete. Finally, in light of the water quality disaster that recently occurred near this site they think it very important that storm water management be made a strong focus of both requests. Any additional rezonings to the Town Center site present an opportunity not only to make sure that no such disasters recur, but to also help prepare the recent damage to the water shed. He appreciated the Commission’s considerations of these comments.
There being no further public comments, the Commission reviewed the questions posed by staff and made comments as noted in the following summary.
In summary, the Planning Commission held a work session on ZMA-2007-00001, Hollymead Town Center – Area A2 to review and provide comment on the applicant’s changes to the plan, which seem to focus on transportation. The Commission received the applicant’s presentation, took public comment and answered staff’s questions outlined in the staff report. No formal action was taken by the Planning Commission.
Staff feels that the proffers can be resolved at staff level. The realignment of roads is more troublesome and staff asks for the Commission’s guidance and input.
Staff also needs guidance on what level of infrastructure is desired by the Planning Commission for the applicant to provide the ARB in an effort to make them comfortable with the plan.
1. Are staff’s comments noted in bold in the Neighborhood Model Analysis relevant and appropriate direction to the applicant?
The Planning Commission agreed that staff’s comments noted in bold in the Neighborhood Model Analysis were relevant and appropriate direction to the applicant. Parks and Recreation suggest that the applicant provide a contribution towards Chris Green Lake to accommodate additional residents. Mr. Strucko noted that he would prefer that this need be met on site. The applicant was willing to work with staff to look at other ways to meet this need on site.
2. Should the applicant redesign the plan proposed to include the Lockwood Connector alignment?
The majority of the Commissioners would like to stay with the plan as it is. Staff needs to work with the applicant on what the road design needs to be going south based on the assumption that will be part of Berkmar Drive Extended. Mr. Edgerton and Mr. Strucko disagreed. Mr. Strucko noted that the traffic circle would be a choke point.
3. If the Commission feels that Blocks B1 and B2 should be redesigned, should the applicant be using the cross sections the Places 29 study is recommending for roads impacted by regional traffic?
The Planning Commission did not favor a redesign.
4. Given the intensity of residential development anticipated in the Town Center, how should the County’s affordable housing goal be accommodated?
The Planning Commission favorably received the applicant’s proposal to provide more than 15 percent of affordable housing, but that a minimum of 15 percent affordable housing needs to be provided according to the adopted policy. The Commission sees the applicant’s proposal for additional affordable and moderate priced housing above the 15 percent as a favorable aspect.
5. Should the applicant work with the Area B owner to improve the sub-standard and unsafe stairs that were constructed as part of the Linear Park in Area B?
The Planning Commission encouraged the applicant to work with the Area B owner to improve the sub-standard and unsafe stairs that were constructed as part of the Linear Park in Area B. Staff will check with zoning staff on whether there is a potential violation with the current stairs and will also try to arrange a meeting between the two developers to try to remedy the situation.
6. Does the Commission recommend that the applicant add language to the Code of Development to address the urban heat island effect and sustainability generally?
The Planning Commission supported staff’s recommendation that the applicant add language to the Code of Development to address the urban heat island effect and sustainability generally.
7. Considering the scale of the applicant’s proposal, should the applicant provide this additional information to facilitate ARB recommendation?
Ms. Joseph disagreed with what the ARB is asking for since it was excessive given the applicant’s willingness to keep down the massing of the buildings on the eastern side of Meeting Street to limit visibility. The Commission felt that it was a lot of information given the distance it was located from Route 29. The applicant committed to address what a 100’ building would like, but not to actually build it that high. If the applicant could not reach an agreement with the ARB they would come back to the Planning Commission.
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