Albemarle County Planning Commission

November 13, 2007


The Albemarle County Planning Commission held a meeting and a public hearing on Tuesday, November 13, 2007, at 6:00 p.m., at the County Office Building, Lane Auditorium, Second Floor, 401 McIntire Road, Charlottesville, Virginia.


Members attending were Marcia Joseph, Chairman; Duane Zobrist, Jon Cannon; Bill Edgerton and Pete Craddock. Absent was Eric Strucko and Calvin Morris, Vice-Chairman. Julia Monteith, AICP, Senior Land Use Planner for the University of Virginia was absent. 


Other officials present were David E. Pennock, Senior Planner; Joan McDowell, Principal Planner; John Shepherd, Manager of Current Development & Zoning; Wayne Cilimberg, Director of Planning; Summer Frederick, Planner; Scott Clark, Senior Planner; Amelia McCulley, Director of Current Development & Zoning; Judith Wiegand, Senior Planner; Allan Schuck, Senior Engineer; Gerald Gatobu, Planner; Glenn Brooks, County Engineer; Elaine Echols, Principal Planner; and Greg Kamptner, Deputy County Attorney. 


Call to Order and Establish Quorum:


Ms. Joseph called the meeting to order at 6:05 p.m. and established a quorum.


            Public Hearing Items:


SP-2007-00021 Beth Goldstein (Yoga Meditation Studio) – (Sign # 46)

PROPOSED: Private school for yoga instruction with classes up to 20 days per month, up to 20 students per class.

ZONING CATEGORY/GENERAL USAGE: RA -- Rural Areas: agricultural, forestal, and fishery uses; residential density (0.5 unit/acre)

SECTION:, Private Schools

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: 6482 Dick Woods Road (Route 637), approximately one-half mile west of the intersection with Burch's Creek Road (Route 689).

TAX MAP/PARCEL: Tax Map 71 Parcel 21


(Scott Clark)


Mr. Clark summarized the staff report.  (See Staff Report)


The proposal is for a private school for yoga instruction with classes up to 20 days per month, up to 20 students per class.  One of the main issues with this as far as public safety is the need for proper sight distance for the entrance to the parking area.  A new 24’ entrance would be created.  The Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT) has stated that the proposed 24-foot entrance is acceptable for this use and location. In order to provide sufficient sight distance from this entrance, VDOT will need sight-distance easements (to the west on Tax Map 71 Parcel 21B, and to the east on Tax Map 71 Parcel 29D). This will require removal of trees in the sight lines from the entrance, which will extend 280 feet in each direction. The owners of these parcels have stated that they will grant those easements (See Attachment E in Staff Report)


The Virginia Department of Health has stated that the existing septic system for the converted barn is sufficient for up to 18 people per day. Therefore staff has included a recommended condition of approval below that would limit attendance to 18, rather than 20 as proposed by the applicant.


Staff has received 19 letters from citizens regarding this proposal, all of which are in support of the school use on this site (See Attachment F in staff report).


Site Plan Waiver


In conjunction with the Special Permit request, the applicant has also submitted an application for site plan waiver approval.  These requests are reviewed in accord with Chapter 18, Section 32.2.2 of the County Code


Factors Favorable:

1.        No new structures or public facilities would be required for the use.

2.       The scale of the use would be limited to the capacity of the existing building and septic system.


Factors Unfavorable:

1.       The use would require the creation of a parking area. However, the impacts of the new parking would be mitigated by the recommended condition regarding landscaping. The parking area would be surfaced with gravel, in keeping with the gravel roads in the area.

2.       Trees on adjacent properties would need to be cleared to provide sight-distance easements recommended by VDOT to make the entrance safe.


RECOMMENDATION: Staff recommends approval of SP 2007-00021 (with conditions) and SDP 2007-00095 (with conditions).


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


Beth Goldstein, applicant, asked to address the trees that need to be taken down to meet VDOT’s sight distance requirements.  She has lived on the property for 6 years. There have been 4 or 5 accidents on the corner.  She actually feels that the trees to be taken down will improve the road.  She has talked with the neighbors and they agree. She has written permission from both neighbors to take the trees down.  She has a lot of support from the neighbors and feels that the project would improve the Batesville community.


Ms. Joseph asked how many students she had.


Ms. Goldstein replied that it was an occasional thing for 2 or 3 weekends a month and a yoga class once or twice a week.  She has asked for 5 days per week.  There are stipulations on how many students would be allowed at one time and a limitation on the parking.  She would have as few as 6 students with a maximum of 20 students at one time.  There would not be a lot of traffic coming in and out of the property.  She would like to have the option of 5 days per week and up to 20 persons a day.  There are many people present in support of the request.


Ms. Joseph asked that all persons in support of the request to stand. 


(Note:  At least 15+ people stood in support of the request.)


Ms. Joseph invited public comment.


Harold Blick, an adjacent property owner across the street, said that he was concerned with the parking.  This was the first time that he had seen the parking garage, which was a concern.  In 2000 he was hit by a drunk driver.  He has health issues that made him choose this rural area spot on a rural road that was quiet and private.  He was concerned that the road.  He has a son with Down’s syndrome.  He is loaded on a bus at the point where the trees will be cut.  The road is not adequate for the additional traffic.  He voiced concerns with the safety of the road with the additional traffic.  The parking lot is a concern from his driveway.


Loretta Yancey spoke in support of the request for both her husband and self.


Maggie McGinnus spoke in support of the request. Regarding the traffic she had not seen any reckless driving on the road except those who live along the road.  Most of the traffic for the barn comes from Miller School Road and turns into the driveway.  She did not think it would affect the driveway across the road.


Ian Miller, an area resident, spoke in support of the request since he felt it would be a benefit to the community.  His family enjoys the classes.  The majority of the people who live in the local area don’t have to use the extra gas to go into town for yoga/meditation classes.


Till Kiln said that he supported the request.  He was involved with the yoga classes and did not think the hours of the classes would interfere with the buses.  It is a beautiful facility that is already there that helps to create a great experience for a lot of people.


There being no further public comment, Ms. Joseph closed the public hearing to bring the matter before the Commission.


The Planning Commission discussed the issues and modified the conditions as noted in the action below.


Ms. Joseph felt that the use was too intense for the rural areas, and could not support the request.  Many of the letters of support came from people who lived out of the area.


Action on Special Use Permit:


Motion:  Mr. Zobrist moved, Mr. Craddock seconded, for approval of SP-2007-00021, Beth Goldstein (Yoga Meditation Studio), with the conditions recommended in the staff report and amended, as follows:


1)       The school use shall be limited to a school of yoga and meditation instruction, and the location and scale of improvements for that use shall be developed in general accord with the conceptual plan titled "Ms. Beth Goldstein/Yoga-Meditation Studio," prepared by Studio Elle, LLC, dated 8-2-07, and revised 10/3/07, provided that:

a)       Staff approval of a revised landscape plan shall be required. Plantings for screening of the parking lot, to consist of a naturalistic pattern of multi-species trees and shrubs, as listed in the brochure titled “Native Plants for Conservation, Restoration, and Landscaping: Piedmont Plateau,” published by the Virginia Department of Conservation and Recreation, are to extend along the northwest edge of the parking area from the property line to the existing framed shed shown on the conceptual plan. These plantings to be arranged in a density that would mitigate views of the parking area, with a spacing allowing the natural form/habit of the plant material to be recognized.

2)       Maximum attendance on any day shall be 18 students. C

3)       Classes shall take place on no more than 4 days per week.

4)       No outdoor amplified sound systems shall be operated for the school use.

5)       Classes shall take place on no more than 20 days per calendar month. Hours of      operation shall be no earlier than 8 am and no later than 8 p.m.

6)       The use shall not commence and the zoning clearance for the use shall not be issued until:

a)       The Virginia Department of Transportation approves the sight-distance easements and the construction of the entrance improvements

b)       The Virginia Department of Health approves well and septic systems

c)       Community Development staff approves a revised landscaping plan for

d)       SDP-2007-00095 that satisfies Condition 1(a).


The motion for approval passed by a vote of 4:1. (Ms. Joseph voted nay.)  (Mr. Morris and Mr. Strucko were absent.) 


Action on Site Plan Waiver:


Motion:  Mr. Zobrist moved, Mr. Cannon seconded, for approval of SDP-2007-00095, Beth Goldstein (Yoga Meditation Studio), with the conditions recommended in the staff report.


1.    Staff approval of a revised plan showing

a)       Landscaping consistent with condition 1(a) of SP 2007-00021

b)       Parking stops as approved by the County Engineer


The motion for approval passed by a vote of 5:0. (Mr. Morris and Mr. Strucko were absent.) 


Ms. Joseph stated that SDP-2007-00095 and SP-2007-00021, Beth Goldstein (Yoga Meditation Studio), would go before the Board of Supervisors on December 12, 2007 with a recommendation for approval.




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