Albemarle County Planning Commission

January 22, 2008


The Albemarle County Planning Commission held a meeting, work session and a public hearing on Tuesday, January 22, 2008, at 6:00 p.m., at the County Office Building, Lane Auditorium, Second Floor, 401 McIntire Road, Charlottesville, Virginia.


Members attending were Marcia Joseph, Thomas Loach, Jon Cannon, Vice Chairman; Linda Porterfield; Eric Strucko and Calvin Morris, Chairman. Bill Edgerton was absent.  Julia Monteith, AICP, Senior Land Use Planner for the University of Virginia was absent. 


Other officials present were Bill Fritz, Chief of Community Development; Megan Yaniglos, Planner; Jack Kelsey, Transportation Engineer, Wayne Cilimberg, Director of Planning; Rebecca Ragsdale, Senior Planner and Greg Kamptner, Deputy County Attorney. 


Call to Order and Establish Quorum:


Mr. Morris called the regular meeting to order at 6:00 p.m. and established a quorum.


ZMA-2007-00016 Watkins Route 250 Rezoning (Sign # 95)

PROPOSAL:  Rezone 3.0 acres from R1 - Residential (1 unit/acre)

to HC Highway Commercial which allows commercial and service uses; and residential use by special use permit (15 units/ acre) for a Landscape Contracting business


EXISTING COMPREHENSIVE PLAN LAND USE/DENSITY:  Community of Crozet; CT-3 Urban Edge: single family residential (net 3.5-6.5 units/acre) supporting uses such as religious institutions and schools and other small-scale non-residential uses


LOCATION: 5168 Rockfish Gap Turnpike/Route 250 West, east of Radford Lane & adjacent to Clover Lawn

TAX MAP/PARCEL: Tax Map 56, Parcels 107C & 98D


(Rebecca Ragsdale)





SP-2007-00060 Watkins 250 Outdoor Storage (Sign # 95)

PROPOSAL: Request to allow outdoor storage of nursery stock and plant materials associated with a landscape contracting business in the Entrance Corridor.

EXISTING COMPREHENSIVE PLAN LAND USE/DENSITY:  Community of Crozet; CT-3 Urban Edge: single family residential (net 3.5-6.5 units/acre) supporting uses such as religious institutions and schools and other small-scale non-residential uses

SECTION:  Section Outdoor storage, display and/or sales serving or associated with permitted uses, any portion of which would be visible from an EC street

ZONING:  Proposed rezoning from R1 - Residential (1 unit/acre) to HC Highway Commercial which allows commercial and service uses; and residential use by special use permit (15 units/ acre)


LOCATION: 5168 Rockfish Gap Turnpike/Route 250 West, east of Radford Lane & adjacent to Clover Lawn

TAX MAP/PARCEL: Tax Map 56, Parcels 107C & 98D


(Rebecca Ragsdale)


Mr. Morris noted that the Commission would hear both items at one time, but take separate actions.


Mr. Ragsdale presented a power point presentation and summarized that staff report.  (See Staff Report)


·         The applicant is requesting to rezone 3 acres for a landscape contracting business.  Along with the rezoning is a request for a waiver of the buffer/screening requirements and a site plan waiver request. 

·         This item has been before the Commission twice.  First, it was before the Commission for a work session in October and then a public hearing on the rezoning was held in December.  At that time they did not have the special use permit application before them properly advertised for a public hearing to be held on that.  This is a public hearing on both items this evening and requested action on all of the waivers.  Then this item would go on to the Board for March 12.

·         This is a proposal for a landscape contracting business located in the Crozet development area. The property is located on the edge of the development area and the rural areas designated CT-3 in the Master Plan, but within a Neighborhood.  It is zoned R-1, Residential.  In order for the landscaping business to be permitted the applicant is requesting to rezone to Highway Commercial with proffers to restrict the uses other than the landscaping business.  It is located along the Entrance Corridor.  Since the applicant stores plants and mulch and related items outside along the Entrance Corridor as proposed would require a special use permit within the Entrance Corridor. 

·         She presented photographs of the existing business.  The applicant has conducted the business in a location in the rural areas on Route 20 South towards Scottsville.  But this is not a use that is allowed in the rural areas zoning district.  So the applicant is seeking a site that is properly zoned. 

·         At the October work session there was a mixed opinion at that time as to whether the use was appropriate for the site.  But, the majority of the Commission agreed that the applicant should continue the review process and refine their concept to address buffering along Route 250 and against adjoining properties and to restrict allowable land uses and to provide more information regarding traffic impacts and public concerns.   

·         There was some confusion at the public hearing in December as to whether the applicant wanted to defer or not.  So staff did not have the opportunity to provide a full staff report.  There was a discussion at that meeting where the applicant asked the Commission to defer the item so that the outstanding items that lead to staff not recommending approval could be addressed.  There was the public hearing that was held.  The letters and emails were all forwarded to the Commission in advance and some provided at that meeting.  The applicant requested that the new Commissioners get copies of those.  So that is what the Commission received in advance of the meeting, which was the packet of the particular letters. At that meeting staff noted that the special use permit application for outdoor storage had just been filed and it was necessary for the Architectural Review Board to review that and provide comments and recommendations.  For advertising, the waiver had not been submitted for the buffer and the screening requirements of the Zoning Ordinance.  They needed documentation from the adjacent property owner to demonstrate that the off-site landscaping shown on the Clover Lawn property could be achieved.  Then there were some application revisions and notes needed to the plan.  The proffers had not been received in time for the review for that December public hearing. 

·         Staff reviewed the concept plan and explained the proposal.  Staff feels that it was an appropriate use for that parcel on the edge given the landscaping and the green characteristics of it.  In the staff report were some important goals related to downtown Crozet with that being the primary center and focus for the County efforts.  As mentioned in the report, staff felt that this was a more land intensive use that would not be considered as a primary use in an urbanized town center because of its land intensiveness and its single story use.

·         The applicant has provided some of the notes and comments on the revised concept plan that were received prior including additional landscaping, which has been reviewed by the Architectural Review Board.  There are recommended conditions related to the special use permit.  The ARB noted that it was an appropriate transitional use between the development area and the rural areas.  The applicant provides the 250 right-of-way so that they know that the entrance improvements required by VDOT can be achieved within the VDOT right-of-way.  The waiver has been requested to allow supplemental planting along the woodland edge.  The outdoor storage areas are defined.  The applicant intends for an area to be used as overnight parking for vehicles related to the business and the employee parking would be in the rear.  The existing house would remain and be used for office.  The applicant would like to rent the remainder of the house not used for the business as a dwelling.  Those are the revisions to the application plan.

·         The applicant has proffered the concept application plan.  The proffers, as submitted, would allow by right uses and home and business services, such as grounds care cleaning, exterminating, landscaping and other repair and maintenance services as the use that is necessary for the landscaping business.  The other uses are those that are required to be part of every zoning district.  Then the applicant included 2 special use permit uses.  The applicant asked staff for guidance in terms of special use permit uses.  This was not discussed specifically in the Commission’s public hearing in December.  She recalled answering the question that in order for these uses to actually be achieved on the property the applicant would have to come back through the rezoning process to revise the application plan that would be proffered and go through the special use permit process at the same time to allow the R-15 uses.  The Zoning Ordinance references R-15 as the zoning district regulations, but through the special use permit process the Crozet Master Plan recommendations would determine density on the property in the future at some point if it was considered for another use through those 2 processes.

·         There was a question regarding some of the information that was provided in the staff report that outlined the applicant’s current operation to give a sense of the traffic flow on the site, which indicated hours of operation and number of employees.  These items have not been proffered in any way or conditioned as part of the rezoning.  This application plan demonstrates the maximum development achievable for this use on the property.  In order for the applicant to expand the business beyond what is shown here they would have to figure out a way to get more parking spaces on the site and that sort of thing.  So the site itself and the application plan lend itself to limiting the use in some respects. 

·         Staff recommends approval of the rezoning with the minor corrections to the proffers and the application plan.  Staff also recommends approval subject to the notes and conditions of the application plan and the ARB’s special use permit approval for landscaping.  The site plan waiver, which the applicant requested, is not recommended because of the level of the site improvements that are needed including the entrance upgrades, parking improvements, the driveway and all of the significant landscaping that requires ARB, the assurance of the off-site easements and providing for the storm water facilities on the site.  So staff cannot recommend approval of that waiver. 

·         Staff noted the items that are needed for correction to the proffers.  There are some minor changes that include changing some of the wording to meet the County Attorney’s requirements and signatures.  Also noted was that the special use permit that would be approved needs to be listed as a permitted use under the special use permit uses that would allow the outdoor storage as shown on the plan in the Entrance Corridor.  In order to allow any rental of the house the applicant could provide this section of the ordinance, which limits dwellings in the supplemental regulations that allows rental of the house to an employee, night watchman or somebody associated with the business itself.  The application plan has 2 notes related to the vehicle parking and clarifying outdoor storage area so it is clear what is intended with the application plan that would be proffered.

·         Staff reviewed the Architectural Review Board conditions that referenced the concept plan.  There is one condition that has been deleted regarding lighting that zoning requested, which would be a condition of the ARB’s approval of the preliminary site plan for the project.  These conditions of approval are related to landscaping and parking of vehicles that are intended to address impacts to the Entrance Corridor of Route 250.

·         Another issue raised in the report by the applicant is whether or not it would be a mandatory condition of the applicant having to connect water and sewer with this rezoning.  There is the County Policy that all properties in the development area should be served by water and sewer.  While there may be ordinance requirements that regulate it this is something that can be reviewed and addressed during the rezoning process.  The applicant’s primary concern was expense and having the ability with the site plan process or later on when he had better information to demonstrate that the existing well and septic, which currently serves the existing house on the property, would be adequate for the use.  The applicant has not provided staff some calculations in terms of projected water demands, but has not demonstrated the greater public need or justification for not connecting to public water and sewer.  Staff has not been able to determine the adequacy of the well and septic for the proposed use.  Staff recommends connection to public water and sewer. 

·         This is related to the uses regarding something that came up at the last meeting.  There is a provision under the special use permit uses for Highway Commercial that indicates that uses that use more than 400 gallons of water per day per acre would be required to have special use permit approval not to have to connect to public water.  So that under the current proffers is not a use that is actually allowed based on what the applicant has proposed with the proffers.  If the applicant exceeds 400 gallons per day per acre, which would be determined during the site plan process, the connection would essentially be mandatory without an additional proffer or anything that specifies connection.  That would be under the ordinance requirements.  Staff noted that the applicant had provided information today regarding the water uses estimated based on his current operation and some research that he did.  The applicant does not have the need for watering in the late fall, winter or early spring.  Primarily the water consumption is during the months of April through October.  The projections are given based on how much water is needed for the plants.  The water and sewer lines are located and serve the adjoining property of Clover Lawn.    


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


Mr. Strucko asked where they were on the proffer restrictions on the use of the parcel.  He asked if that was Attachment F of the staff report.


Ms. Ragsdale replied yes, that it was the proffer statement that staff has received and reviewed to date.


Mr. Strucko said that if this rezoning was granted as it was presented the land is restricted for a home business use such as ground care, cleaning, extermination, landscaping, etc.   He asked if it was not just for the landscaping business, but for other potential future uses.


Ms. Ragsdale replied yes, that it leaves all of those uses available if the applicant comes back and revises the application plan as it would be needed for those uses. 


Mr. Cannon asked if some of the uses were mandatory as part of the zoning.


Ms. Ragsdale referred the question to Mr. Kamptner.


Mr. Kamptner said that the electric, gas, oil and the public uses; buildings in the next paragraph and the storm water management facilities and personal wireless facilities are uses that they would expect someone not to proffer away in the most restricted conditions.  Subsection 35 essentially is allowing utilities to go across the property.  There are 36 public uses for other than utilities, which they expect. 


Mr. Cilimberg noted that in other words 35, 36, 44 and 45 are fairly common among all zoning districts.


Mr. Kamptner agreed.


Mr. Cannon said that the focus was really


Mr. Cilimberg said that he was gathering from what he heard that there has been question of whether that particular provision could be restricted only landscaping.  All of the other possibilities would be taken out.  He deferred to Mr. Kamptner because he had never seen them break down a particular category of use and pull out subcategories before.  That is a question that has been asked as to whether this could be proffered to only landscaping without the rest of 17.


Mr. Kamptner replied that it could be.  There is not reason why it could not be.


Mr. Cannon said that the applicant might want to speak to this.  But, that was his understanding of how they were intending to proceed.  He did not know how narrow it had to be for grounds care, landscaping, but not exterminators or other repair maintenance services without limitations.


Mr. Strucko asked if the proposal before them was not to hook up to public water and sewer.


Ms. Ragsdale replied that the applicant would like to keep that option open should they be able to demonstrate that the existing well and septic is adequate for the water needs for the business.


Mr. Strucko said that issue was dependent on strictly the landscaping use of this parcel.


Ms. Ragsdale said that is expected to be the majority of the water consumption.  Then the house would have a small office for the business and then as indicated the potential of allowing the dwelling limited to those restrictions in the ordinance for dwellings in commercial districts.


Mr. Loach said it had been said that they could proffer down to the single use.  He asked if that means that when they sell the property they can only sell it for that single use.  Or can somebody come back and because it is now Highway Commercial ask for a different use for the property.


Mr. Kamptner replied that the proffers will run with the land.  If the property is sold the restriction, assuming it is reduced to just landscaping, that will continue.  The new owner can always come in and ask the Board of Supervisors to rezone the property either to a different zoning designation or by amending these proffers to make them more restrictive or to relax them in some way.  But, it would have to come back to the Board of Supervisors to make that change coming up through the Planning Commission. 


Mr. Loach asked if it would be a similar process as is happening now.


Mr. Kamptner replied that was correct.


Mr. Morris opened the public comment and invited the applicant to address the Commission.


Will Rieley, landscape architect, said that he had been working Mr. Watson on this project.  He thanked the Commission for their thoughtful review of this application.  For the benefit of the new Commissioners he gave a brief overview of the project in a Power Point presentation to review the existing conditions of the site. 






Scott Watkins, applicant, said that he would like to talk about the water.  From November to April they use zero water outdoors for their business.  They have virtually no plant material on the site.  That plant material does not require watering.  It is usually covered up.  But, during the peak months of June, July and August they may water plants once to 3 times per week maximum.  It is not an everyday thing.  So their water usage, based on his current estimations, would under the 400 gallons per day if this were looked at on a weekly basis.  He would like the opportunity to investigate this a little further.  He has not spent the money to test the well on this property yet because he did not know if they were going forward with this rezoning or not.  Once he knows then he would be willing to test the well.  As far as the sewer hook up, he thought they would be using the sewer system far less than it has been used in its current residential use.  So he does not see the benefit of hooking up to sewer.  He would be more amendable to hooking up to water eventually if need be than sewer.  He thought that they would be able to stay within the water requirements that the County has.  He met with the Waffs on site and they have walked the property together.  He thought that they feel fairly well satisfied with the screening.  The portion of the property where most of the activities will take place cannot be seen easily from their property.  They have agreed to add to the existing screening.  There is a power light on the back side of the property that goes on at night.  They would be willing to either cut it off or provide a shield.  He did not think they would need to use it unless they determine that they are having security problems.  He thought that would be the main thing that was objectionable to them along with the R-15 issue.  He pointed out that Ms. Ragsdale has been to his shop and he thought that she could attest to the scale and footprint.  Again, they have been on well and septic at that site for 18 years.  They do not have a decal lane at their current property.  They have had no traffic problems or any accidents there.  They have demonstrated a history of wise use of their facility.  A comment that he wanted to pass on from the Chair of the Architectural Review Board was that she could not think of a better use of the site from what they have proposed. 


Mr. Morris asked if there were any questions for the applicant.


Mr. Strucko asked how much it costs to hook up water and sewer.


Mr. Watkins replied that was 2 separate figures from the County.  It is over $10,000 just for the water.  As Mr. Rieley pointed out the sewer would be an enormous expense because it is buried in the asphalt in the middle of the Clover Lawn parking lot.  That cost would be just to connect to the public line and not for the lines to the house. 


Mr. Morris invited public comment.


Joe Waff said that he lived in the rural area adjacent to Mr. Watkins property.  He liked Mr. Watkins a lot and felt that he had a very nice business.  He thinks that is probably more appropriate than a lot of things that could go there.  So he has no problem with that.  There are two concerns.  One is the matter of the decal lane that was suggested as a possibility at one time.  He would certainly like to see that struck.  The decal lane would actually cut across their property on 250. They have tried to maintain that as a nice natural area consistent with the Scenic Highway.   He counts some 5 decel lanes within less than a mile in that area.  That is certainly not appropriate for a scenic highway to put in another decal lane.  He would not like to see the decal since it is not necessary.  He was sure that Mr. Watkins does not want it.  The thought of the 15 residential units per acre, which would be 45 on this 3 acre piece of property, was rather overwhelming particularly because it is right on the edge.  Obviously he would like to see that proffered out.  Otherwise, they have no complaints.


There being no further public comment, Mr. Morris closed the public hearing to bring the matter back before the Commission.


Mr. Loach noted that the community has been against any additional commercial development on Route 250.  It basically fought the Blue Ridge development that is going into such as Clover Lawn, etc.    The communities were always against these.  Historically there was also one other proposal for rezoning from Rural Areas to Highway Commercial from the Moose Lodge.  That was turned down for the very reasons they have talked about before they were afraid of additional commercial development on 250.  He said that he had a question for Mr. Kamptner.  He was more worried that organizations like the Moose Lodge could come back and reapply for a rezoning based on the fact that this one was approved.  There are a number of areas from western Albemarle all the way down to the lumber yard where there are pockets of Rural Areas that exist.  The fear was always if that property went to Highway Commercial that it would be this huge contiguous piece of Highway Commercial that would bring a lot more development.  His decision would be based in part on the protection that the community would still have as far as protecting Route 250 from further rezoning. 


Mr. Kamptner pointed out that he felt that a case could be made that because this parcel is adjoining the Rural Area plan area that the potential uses allowed by special use permit, even though they have to go through a legislative process through the Commission and the Board may have impacts that they don’t support.  Therefore, they should ask the applicant to take away that reserved right to develop by special use permit those R-15 special use permit uses.  From the applicant’s perspective they probably see that those uses even though they are preserved in conjunction with this rezoning before any of those uses can take place they have to come through the Planning Commission and the Board to get approval of the special use permit.


Mr. Loach noted that he had some questions and potential problems with renting out part of the building. 

Mr. Kamptner said that Ms. Ragsdale had addressed the rental of the building previously.  He pointed out that zoning determined that the landscaping business would be entitled to have an on-site employee in the residence.


Ms. Ragsdale said that zoning allowed for the provision of dwellings where they could have the one employee.  There was also the question if they rented the house before the zoning change and then they were allowed under a legal nonconforming provisions to have the continued rental of the house anyway is also a scenario that is possible.


Mr. Loach agreed with the Waffs about the R-15 since that is a reasonable expectation from them for what they are accepting. He had no problem with the sewer and water. As the applicant has said it lends itself to the business he is providing.  He has no problem with that unless it can be shown that it is excessive or if there were problems in the past with the well that supplies the water.


Mr. Kamptner noted that under the County’s site plan regulations the determination as to whether or not the developer has to connect to public water and sewer is made by the Director of Community Development.  The ordinance lays out the standards that the Director has to apply in working with the Service Authority to determine whether or not the services are reasonably available. What Mark Graham will look at is the cost of providing the connection exclusive of the connection fees themselves and whether or not that cost is greater than the costs of creating a well or establishing a septic field.  He was not sure how that was applied where there is already a well and a drain field in place.


Mr. Cilimberg pointed out that they have had from time to time some urban area locations that have qualified for well and septic for existing facilities where there has been a change in use.  It is typically intensification that water and sewer would become necessary or if water and sewer were immediately available to the property and the cost was not that great.


Mr. Strucko said that if the applicant was attempting to retain the ability to sell this property for a future use, then he would say they were not exempt from water and sewer.  If they want to be exempt from water and sewer they would have to narrow down what that potential future use is.  He felt that it was a trade off.


Ms. Joseph asked staff if they got anything in writing from the Health Department about how many people that this septic site can serve.  Are there expectations that if it can’t serve the house and the employees then they get to expand the septic field.


Ms. Ragsdale replied no.


Ms. Joseph said that they don’t know how many people that this septic field can actually serve at this point in time.  If they find out that it can’t support the house and the employees are they allowed to expand the septic.


Mr. Cilimberg noted that was when that judgment kicks in regarding whether or not they are required to hook to public sewer.


Ms. Joseph said that would be at the discretion of the Director of Community Development.


Mr. Kamptner replied yes, which was whether the existing drain field will support a certain number of people.  He would assume that usually the drain fields are sized to serve a certain number of bedrooms.  The standard is a 3, 4 or 5 bedroom house.  There must be a formula that the Health Department uses to determine the number of people who might be in a 3-bedroom house.


Ms. Joseph said that the Health Department has a formula that they at a commercial site for employees.  So the site itself limits one to the number of employees that they can have.   In this case they have the house and the number of employees.


Ms. Porterfield said that she was opposed to any commercial property that has water right there to not being required to hook up to the water.  Since 2002 they have been through 2 really bad summers, which was really hard on these types of businesses.  She could not support the application unless they do connect to the public water.  As far as hooking to public sewer, she would like to see them hook to that also.  She questioned whether they would have the capacity in the septic field to handle a commercial business.  She felt that was a key point.  She was also concerned because of these 2 things that if he would ever sell the property, even to another landscaping business, there may be a business that is much more location intensive than he was.  If somebody like that came in then it could become very critical and they would not be connected.


Mr. Cannon said that they have been working with the proposal for some time.  He felt that the proposal is in a good place.  He was more and more convinced, as proposed, this is a good use and perhaps one of the best uses for this particular piece of property.  It is important that the proffers limit that use.  He was in agreement that the R-15 opportunity for special use should be taken out.  Even though that requires another process it is important to make a statement about what they expect the property to be used for.  The renting is appropriate in the way it has been articulated.  It does not offend him at all as part of the use that is applied to this property.  He did not have a view about the water.  There should be some objective standard that is applied and if Mr. Watkins can meet that standard he ought to be entitled to proceed as using the water resources and septic on site.  If not, then he should have to hook up.  He did not think they had the information to make that determination now.  That is a determination that he would not want to make himself.


Mr. Kamptner noted that determination really is left to the Director of Community Development.  It is made at the site plan stage.  Even if Mr. Graham determines in this case that water and sewer is not required the use changes and a new site plan is required that analysis will take place again as part of the review of that site plan.


Ms. Joseph said that the use cannot change unless a rezoning occurs.


Mr. Kamptner noted that he was assuming that the rezoning takes place and someone else comes in with a change in use.  It triggers the need for a site plan for the new use.  That would trigger also a new analysis as to whether or not connection to public water and sewer is required.


Ms. Porterfield noted that he was speaking to another use coming in and not another landscape business.


Mr. Kamptner said that it was hard to say.  If they are more intensive or putting things in different places that triggers the need for a new site plan, which triggers the new analysis of the water and sewer.


Mr. Cilimberg said that if a more intensive landscape business would purchase the property they would more than likely going to need to come through a rezoning process to allow them to develop beyond what is there now.  That in turn would kick in the site plan amendment, which will then kick in a re-evaluation of the water and sewer requirement.


Ms. Porterfield felt that the applicant should at least have to hook up to public water.


Mr. Morris agreed with Mr. Cannon.  He supported Mr. Waff’s suggestion about the deletion of the deceleration lane.


Mr. Cilimberg asked to clarify the circumstance regarding water and sewer hook up in the ordinance.  If there was an expectation that the applicant is going to hook to public sewer and/or water they would need to proffer that.  Otherwise, it is left to a test of a site plan.


Mr. Kamptner agreed.


Mr. Cilimberg noted that if the Commission feels that they should hook to either public utility they need to establish that as an expectation for them to proffer before it gets to the Board.  They would have to decide that one way or the other.  That is the only way it can be required to happen.


Ms. Joseph questioned whether they can expand the septic system.


Mr. Cannon said that these issues can be dealt with in the site plan process.  The applicant has requested a site plan waiver.  He supported staff’s recommendation that these issues should be handled through the site plan process.


Mr. Strucko said that the case was made that this was an unusual circumstance in that this is a style of business that is actually fitting of this particular parcel given its particular limitations and location.  Over the course of the public hearings and work session that case was getting made in a stronger and stronger fashion to the point that they are here.  The point where they are now is how they guarantee that this particular parcel is limited to this particular use.  His concern is the proffer in that regard.  He was still looking at the language in the proffer statement.  He would be more comfortable if it just said “landscaping” and left the rest of the language out.  The other uses listed could potentially change the use on this particular parcel that could require infrastructure such as connection to utilities.  He heard the concerns about hooking up to public water and sewer.  He was warming to the notion that the landscaping use can be intense during the particular use, but was not sure that the $10,000 expense would be worth it for a use like this.  They are going to an extreme to accommodate this use.  Therefore, he felt that the applicant should meet them one half way.   He would like to see the proffer statement more restrictive explicitly stating landscaping only.  With respect to the water hook up he was not convinced. But, he was okay with not hooking up to public sewer if the use was restricted to this landscape use.  He agreed with the restrictions on R-15 proffered away.  If this was not done, then there would be future uses that would certainly require hook up to public utilities.


Ms. Joseph asked if they exceed the water usage the applicant does not have the ability to get a special use permit because they proffered that out.


Mr. Kamptner said that is a good point.  The way it is proffered that is correct they would not be allowed to exceed 400 gallons per acre per day.  They would have to come in and amend their proffers or hook up to public water and sewer.


Ms. Joseph said that the ordinance is limiting their usage.


Mr. Kamptner agreed without some other type of approval.


Ms. Joseph said that one of the details about what Mr. Watkins does is that he does not grow this stuff here.  The plants come in and he just waters them.  Because of the nature of his business that this stuff comes and goes that the water use is going to be hard to calculate. 


Mr. Morris noted that the Commission would like the applicant to address at least these 2 issues:  the R-15 issue and whether he would be willing to proffer that away as well as the use restriction narrowing that down.


Mr. Rieley said that on the R-15 concern the applicant is happy to remove that.  He did not think that makes much difference to him.  If he wanted to do a more intense use he would have to go through a rezoning.  He felt that in as much as this property that the number 1 use for CT-3 in the Comprehensive Plan is residential and there should be some residential allowed by special use permit.  He asked that they set the number.    But, from a planning perspective there should be with a special use permit some provision for residential use.  He felt that something less than R-15 would be fine. On the issue of the uses he thought that out of a misunderstanding that both staff’s interpretation of the comments that they got the last time they were here and their interpretation was that category stays.  That is what staff sent them.  They edited the special use permit uses down because they thought it was at odds from what they were hearing from the Commission.  If they would like to limit that further he thought that can be reasonably done.  But, saying just landscaping it leaves no potential for a resale of the property.  So it has to be reasonable.  If they took out cleaning and exterminators and said something like home and business services such as grounds care, landscaping and other repair and maintenance services that seems reasonable.  Then it is further restricted by the proffered development plan.  He felt that the combination of limiting it in that way in conjunction with the plan would be a reasonable way to do it. That would allow Mr. Watkins the flexibility to have a landscaping business.  For instance, if he had some modular retaining wall units that he wanted to put on somebody’s property and store there and not be able to do that without a rezoning does seem to be reasonable.  If they take out cleaning and exterminators what they are left with is essentially what Mr. Watkins will be doing.  So it does limit it in that way.  The applicant is open to editing the list, but there has to be some reasonable latitude.  He noted that the public water supply was limited during the drought. Therefore, they agree to limiting the R-15 uses and to eliminating “cleaning and exterminators” from the list.


Mr. Cannon suggested that the wording be changed to state repair and maintenance services related to the foregoing activities.


Mr. Rieley agreed to landscaping and other related repair and maintenance services.


Ms. Porterfield suggested that they extend the landscape barrier to the west at least back to the garage because of the residential units next door.  She wondered what the height was of the evergreen plants being planned along that side.  They already have a 6’ privacy fence, but not for the units back there.  She felt that they need something over the fence like 7’ or 8’ of planting to screen the shed and back parking area. 


Mr. Rieley said that was fine and that they would be happy to do that.


Mr. Watkins said that he was fine with that in general.  There are some large existing trees.  They will have to make it work with what is there.


Mr. Loach said that if they reduce the R-15 uses, then he thought they need the public water and sewer because it is housing.  As long as the uses relate to the landscaping business he felt that would be acceptable.  But, he did not want to give any more latitude than that.


Mr. Cannon said that the concept plan that is identified as part of the rezoning acts as a further limitation on what can be done with this site without another rezoning.  That plus the limitation on the language makes him comfortable with the request.  The two of them together operate effectively to limit this site.


Mr. Kamptner suggested that they go through all of the R-15 uses and decide which ones work and don’t work.


Motion on ZMA-2007-00016 Watkins Route 250 Rezoning:


Motion:  Mr. Cannon moved, Mr. Strucko seconded, to recommend approval of ZMA-2007-00016, Watkins Route 250 Rezoning conditioned on the applicant addressing the outstanding technical issues listed in the staff presentation with the proffers and proffered concept plan with the further additions as follows:


  1. The language of the proffers describing the limitations on the development of the property, particularly Section be amended to read as follows:  “Home and business services such as grounds care, landscaping and other related repair and maintenance services.”
  2. The opportunity for R-15 special use permits be excluded as per the offer of the applicant. 


The motion did not recommend mandatory connection to water and sewer and acknowledged that issue would be determined at the site plan stage.


Regarding discussion the Commission had in previous work sessions on whether a right-turn lane would be required with the project, Mr. Cilimberg indicated that would also have to be addressed at site plan review, based on VDOT requirements.


The motion passed by a vote of 5:1.  (Ms. Porterfield voted nay because there was not an expectation that the project would hook to public water.) (Mr. Edgerton was absent.)


Mr. Morris noted that ZMA-2007-00016, Watkins Route 250 Rezoning, would go before the Board of Supervisors on March 12 with a recommendation for approval.


Motion on SP-2007-00060 Watkins 250 Outdoor Storage:


Motion:  Ms. Joseph moved, Mr. Strucko seconded, for approval of SP-2007-00060, Watkins 250 Outdoor Storage with the conditions as outlined by staff


  1. Products shall be stored only in the areas indicated for storage on the Watkins & Company Concept Plan sheet L-2 dated November 2007 and revised 1/2/08.
  2. All nursery stock shall be stored on the ground without use of racks, display stands or other similar items.
  3. Any structure required for separating the mulch, topsoil and compost shall not exceed 6’ in height. The design of such structure is subject to review/approval by the ARB during the site plan review.
  4. The site shall be landscaped according to the following criteria and ARB approval of landscape plan to include:

          A mixed planting of trees and shrubs, both evergreen and deciduous, shall be provided in the 30-foot planting strip along the south side of the site and along the west side of the site from the shed to the EC. The planting shall be continued westward to the retaining wall in all areas disturbed by grading.

         A mixed planting shall be provided along the east side of the site to provide screening for the storage areas and to blend with the surroundings.

5.   The parking of trucks for the business beyond the 9-space parking lot shown on the Concept Plan shall be limited as follows: A maximum of 5 trucks may be parked between the mulch/top soil storage area and the 5950 sf nursery stock storage area during the night hours.


The motion passed by a vote of 6:0.  (Mr. Edgerton was absent.)


Mr. Morris noted that SP-2007-00060, Watkins 250 Outdoor Storage, would go before the Board of Supervisors on March 12 with a recommendation for approval.


Motion on Waiver Requests for Buffer Screening Requirements and Site Plan Waiver:


Mr. Rieley pointed out that the applicant would like to withdraw his request for a site plan waiver.


Motion for Withdrawal of the Site Plan Waiver:


Motion:  Mr. Cannon moved, Mr. Strucko seconded, to accept the applicant’s offer to withdraw the site plan waiver request and recommended the preliminary site plan be reviewed by the Planning Commission.


The motion passed by a vote of 6:0.  (Mr. Edgerton was absent.)



Motion on the Waiver of Buffer/Screening Requirements:


Motion:  Mr. Cannon moved, Mr. Loach seconded, for approval of the applicant’s request for a waiver of the Section for the buffer and screening requirements subject to notes and conditions of the application plan and the Architectural Review Board and Special Use Permit approvals.


The motion passed by a vote of 6:0.  (Mr. Edgerton was absent.)


Mr. Morris noted that the waivers were approved. 


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