Albemarle County Planning Commission

December 18, 2007


The Albemarle County Planning Commission held a meeting and a public hearing on Tuesday, December 18, 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; Pete Craddock; Eric Strucko and Calvin Morris, Vice-Chairman. Julia Monteith, AICP, Senior Land Use Planner for the University of Virginia was present. 


Other officials present were David Benish, Chief of Planning; Glenn Brooks, County Engineer; Bill Fritz, Chief of Community Development; Joan McDowell, Principal Planner; Wayne Cilimberg, Director of Planning; Judith Wiegand, Senior Planner; Tamara Ambler, Water Resources Manager; Rebecca Ragsdale, Senior Planner and Greg Kamptner, Deputy County Attorney. 


Call to Order and Establish Quorum:


Ms. Joseph called the meeting to order at 6:02 p.m. and established a quorum.


Public Hearing Items:


SP-2007-00048 Mt. Alto Baptist Church (Sign # 63)

PROJECT: SP 2007-48 Mt. Alto Baptist Church Building Addition

PROPOSED: Amend SP 2007-16 to allow additional square footage of an approved expansion of church alter area, additional choir space

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

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: 4330 Mt. Alto Road, off Howardsville Turnpike, Esmont

TAX MAP/PARCEL: Tax Map 133, Parcel 16


(Joan McDowell)


Ms. McDowell presented a power point presentation and summarized the staff report.  (See Staff Report)



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


Mr. Edgerton asked about condition 5, and Ms. McDowell agreed that it needs to be changed.


Ms. Monteith asked if the planned addition would be visible from the front of the building.  She asked if the building would become wider.


Ms. McDowell said that the expansion is at the back of the church.  The church is on a gravel road miles from the main highway and it was up on a rise and would be difficult to be seen from the road.


Ms. Monteith said that she was just interested in the historic character of the building.


Mr. Morris said that prior to this the church had a specific square footage stipulation.  His understanding from the staff report was that they were just leaving that wide open.  He asked why not have a specific no greater than 600 or 700 square feet so that they have something to go on.


Ms. McDowell noted that the zoning administrator and she felt that in these circumstances they are not going to let any expansion go too far beyond.  In some cases they would want to tie it down to what they ask for or some other particular number and be very specific with it.  But, staff is finding recently that the applicants are back again asking for another special use permit when they do that.  That requires the applicant to go through the process the second time to change that square footage.  She agreed that they could come up with a random number that they felt comfortable with, but staff felt very comfortable with in general accord.  It does not change the seating in the sanctuary.  It is a very small church.  There is already a condition that states the number of seats.


Ms. Joseph asked which drawing it needs to be in general accord with since there were 2 drawings in the packet.


Ms. Joseph asked which drawing she was referring to.  She asked if it was the drawing with the dimensions on it.


Ms. McDowell noted that the applicant gave 2 drawings. One says addition and that is the one she was talking about.


Ms. Joseph asked staff to make it clear which drawing they were talking about.  She felt that it would be a shame for the church to have to put another driveway around the building if the addition gets too big.

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


Lawrence Randall, Trustee of Mt. Alto Church, said that previously they put in an application for an addition.  They were working with Craft Tech and somehow they put the wrong dimensions on the plan.  They noticed that when they received the building permit.  They want an amendment to make the corrections on the dimensions.  It was 320 and Craft Tech asked that it be changed to 448 square feet.  They had been approved before and just want to make an amendment to the previous approval for the enlargement of the project. 


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


Mr. Edgerton agreed with Mr. Morris’ suggestion particularly with the confusion with the 2 separate drawings.  He suggested that the addition can be no larger than 500 square feet.


Mr. Strucko agreed.


Mr. Morris said that it gives what the applicant what they want plus a little extra.


Ms. Joseph invited the applicant to come forward and address the issue about the square footage condition.


.Mr. Randall said that 500 square feet would be acceptable.


Mr. Cilimberg said that the general accord aspect of the conditions and making sure that it refers to the right plan won’t catch them if it turns up being 502 square feet.  If it ends up being 502 square feet they would have a zoning violation.  That is why for something like this in consulting with the zoning administrator it is felt that general accord would be sufficient.


Mr. Edgerton asked that they identify which drawing they will be in general accord with. 


Mr. Cilimberg agreed that the correct drawing needed to be referenced.  They could keep it at 500 square feet and then if there is anything that needs to be modified before the Board they can do it.    They don’t want to catch people with small additions with a 2’, 4’ or 5’ problem and then have to come back and ask for another amendment.


Ms. Joseph agreed if it was the plan without dimensions and the driveway.  That plan was not showing any parking or any travel way going around the other side of that 20’ X 30’ building.  In general accord means that addition can’t get but so close to the 20’ X 30’ building and still keep that travel way there or comply with the building.


Mr. Cilimberg said that if it was this plan the addition comes out at 448 square feet.  So in general accord means that they would need to be in that area of 448 square feet.  He felt that they were okay with the 500, but just wanted to point out what could be a problem sometimes when they put specific numbers in.


Motion:  Mr. Edgerton moved, Mr. Morris seconded, for approval of SP-2007-00048, Mt. Alto Baptist Church, with the conditions recommended in the staff report, as amended, as follows: 


1.      Special Use Permit 2007-48 shall be developed in general accord with the concept application plan, provided by the applicant and received February 26, 2007.  However, the Zoning Administrator may approve revisions to the concept application plan to allow compliance with the Zoning Ordinance. 

2.      The addition shall be limited to a maximum of not more than 500 square feet.

3.      The area of assembly shall be limited to a maximum 175 seat sanctuary; occasional church gatherings beyond the normal capacity of the sanctuary shall be permitted.

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

5.      Construction of the addition shall commence within 5 years from the approval by the Board of Supervisors of SP 2007-48 or this special use permit shall expire.


The motion for approval passed by a vote of 7:0.


Ms. Joseph stated that SP-2007-00048, Mt. Alto Baptist Church, would go before the Board of Supervisors on January 9, 2008 with a recommendation for approval.




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