ZMA-2006-00014 Professional Office Building at Hydraulic & Georgetown Rds. (Signs # 58 & 65)

PROPOSAL:  Rezone 1.051      acres from C-1 Commercial zoning district which allows retail sales and service uses; and residential use by special use permit (15 units/ acre) to NMD Neighborhood Model District zoning district which allows residential (3 - 34 units/acre) mixed with commercial, service and industrial uses. Approx. 20,000 sq. ft. building.


EXISTING 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: Southwest corner of Georgetown/Hydraulic Roads intersection.



(Claudette Grant)


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


Since the work session the applicant has completed the following in reference to the issues that were discussed at the work session:


·         They have provided street trees and sidewalks in front of the building.

·         They have provided setbacks that vary from 9.6’ and 13.5’ at the building corners to a little over 21’ at the center of the building.

·         They have provided parking in the rear of the building and under the building.

·         They have delineated a portion of the rear of the site as preservation area.

·         They have provided a parking modification request, which was approved by zoning staff, which describes the square footage of the proposed building and its use.

·         They have provided parking for the adjacent property not in the forested area, but incorporated within the on site parking


The applicant has requested several waivers.


The Planning Commission and Board of Supervisors will need to act on the following waivers:


Staff has identified the following factors, which are favorable to this rezoning request:


Staff has identified the following factors, which are unfavorable to this rezoning request:



Provided that the areas of conservation and preservation are delineated on the plan and technical provisions to the Code of Development and proffers are completed prior to the Board of Supervisors’ meeting, staff recommends approval of ZMA 2006-000014 Professional Office Building at Georgetown and Hydraulic Roads, inclusive of revised proffers, code of development and general development plan.  Staff also recommends approval of the four waivers which are a waiver to Section 8.4, the rear setback waiver, critical slopes waiver, and waiver of Section 20A.8 relating to a mixture of uses and housing types including the additional waiver described this evening.


Mr. Morris asked if there were any questions for staff.


Ms. Joseph pointed out that this is not just an office building that they are proposing here.  In the Code of Development it says that they can also do retail and are listing all of the C-1 uses.  Several uses were deleted such as the service station.  But, it is not just offices that they are limited to according to their Code of Development.


Ms. Grant replied that was correct.


Ms. Joseph said that they are assuming that parking regulations will limit intensive retail uses.


Ms. Grant replied that was correct.


Mr. Edgerton said that he was concerned with the original plan at the work session in trying to figure out how to get street trees consistent with what they propose with the Neighborhood Model with the sidewalk being separated from the vehicular lanes.  It does not appear that this plan responds to that request.  They have just widened the sidewalk all the way along the street.  He asked if there is no way for them to do that.  He asked it that was pursued.


Ms. Grant said that the issues as recalled from the work session had to do with the utility easement. They pursued and had lots of conversations with Rivanna Water and Sewer. This was the best they could provide.


There being no further questions for staff, Mr. Morris opened the public hearing and invited the applicant to address the Commission.


William Keith Woodard said that he owned property at 1747 Earlysville Road, which was just across the road from the Ivy Creek Nature Area.  He and his partners are requesting that the small parcel of land at the corner of Georgetown and Hydraulic Roads be rezoned from Rural Areas Commercial to Neighborhood Model for office use.  They feel that this use is more desirable than the convenience store and gas pumps of which the property is currently zoned.  They have been working with the Commission, staff, the ARB, VDOT and all of the utilities in order to develop a project that meets the particular challenges of this specific property.  They have accomplished a lot.  They are keeping over one-half of the land as preservation, conservation and amenity areas.  The parking is to the rear and beneath the building.  The streetscape will be very attractive and pedestrian friendly.  The facility will be both environmentally and energy efficient and LEED Certified.  The building should be quite an enhancement at this intersection.  They worked with the Rivanna folks and attempted to put trees along the street not too far back from the curb.  VDOT had no problem with that, but the  Rivanna folks require a certain distance of the trees from their pipe or 12” main.  That 12’ main starts 8’ from the curve at one end of the property and goes outside of their easement several feet to the point that they are giving them additional easement.  So they could not line the trees up.  So the trees are lined up just off the expanded pavement in front of the building.  At one of the last meetings there was mention by one of the Planning Commissioners being proud that they were able to get a widened sidewalks in there due to the fact that it is next door to Albemarle High School and the fact that it helped in that fashion.


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


Mr. Edgerton said that the area that is shown as being preserved to the west he was having a little trouble because it appears that with all of the grading that is required to build those retaining walls that it might be hard to preserve some of those trees. He asked if they have a clear delineation of where the grading impacts will stop.  He asked how much of that would be preserved.


Mr. Woodard replied that they want to keep as many of those trees behind the building that they can.  But, once they clean up all of the trash and debris accumulated over the years they will build this readi-rock type of retaining wall from the inside.  He did not plan on taking down any trees on the other side of that or certainly no more than they have to.  He felt that they can build the site from the inside.


Mr. Edgerton pointed out that the Code of Development drawing or plan showed a 20’ buffer, which made him a little nervous. 


Mr. Woodard said that the 20’ buffer was where the Albemarle County water line traverses.  There are not nice trees in that area. He presented photographs of the site.  They will actually be planting some trees along the retaining wall subject to what the county and utility folks will allow. There is a water line on the front of the property.   Those folks strayed outside of their easement as the other folks did.  They were as much as 4’ outside of their easement.


Mr. Edgerton said that he was trying to figure out what they would be approving as far as the clearing of that buffer.  From the drawings he was seeing he did not see any more assurance than the 20’ buffer.  There is going to be a considerable amount of grading required in what is called the preservation area.  He was concerned about that.


Mr. Woodard said that the preservation area is at the bottom of that slope.  He did not anticipate getting to the bottom of that slope except on the extreme left hand end where they have a 6’ retaining.  It is a maximum height of 6’ at that corner.   


Mr. Cilimberg noted that one of the unfavorable factors included in the recommendation was that those areas of conservation and preservation are to be delineated on the plan before any action by the Board.  He thought that the question for staff was somewhat the same, which is what is going to be truly preserved.  What is being conserved might be replanting. Conservation is not under their previsions the same as preservation.  Preservation leaves what is there.  Conservation is an area that may be disturbed and replanted.  They need to have that delineated on the plan before the Board’s action.


Mr. Woodard noted that they had agreed to do that.


Mr. Edgerton asked if they have an actually grading plan or what will be required to be cleared.  That is what he was trying to figure out.


Mr. Woodard replied that at this point no.


Ms. Joseph asked if he had received the response from Jack Kelsey.  He asked about the trees to be removed boundary.  One of the things that they had done on the church was to show where they thought that silt traps would have to be for erosion control.  So Mr. Kelsey does say that there may have to be some disturbance in this area depending upon sort of erosion and sediment control measures they use.  They may be losing some of the trees as a result of erosion and sediment control.


Mr. Edgerton asked if Mr. Cilimberg’s thought was assuming that they send this on to the Board that before this goes to the Board this will be clarified.


Mr. Cilimberg said that based on staff’s recommendation it will need to be clarified.


Mr. Edgerton asked if it was something that the Commission would not see.


Mr. Cilimberg replied that if they are uncomfortable with that, then that needs to be factored into the decision.


Mr. Cannon asked if this was something that just needed to be worked out at the margin.


Ms. Grant said that based on what Mr. Kelsey has mentioned in the email it looks like there will be some disturbance in there. She talked to Mr. Kelsey about it, but it is hard for staff to know how much disturbance. Mr. Kelsey seemed to feel that at the site plan stage that is when the actual details would be taken care of.  She noted that he seemed fairly comfortable with that.  But, it is up to the Commission to decide.


Mr. Cannon said that one of the conditions was the lack of committed delineation for conservation and preservation areas on the plan.  The condition suggested for this concern would be great.  The question is does staff feel comfortable that could be done with the applicant and come to a result that would be appropriate to take to the Board.   He asked how much work is there in refining the delineation.


Ms. Grant felt that what he was asking was how much more detail will they have to provide to show this information.


Mr. Cannon asked how far is it from what they might reasonably expect based on the materials they now have. 


Mr. Grant suggested that the question be deferred to the applicant.


Mr. Woodard displayed a drawing on the document camera and explained what parts he would be cutting.


Mr. Edgerton noted that there was a commitment on the drawing for a 20’ buffer in the area colored in green that says preservation.  There is a 20’ buffer along the back line that could all be cleared in the worse case scenario.  He thought that they need to acknowledge that. 


Ms. Joseph noted that the 20’ buffer was an ordinance requirement.


Mr. Edgerton noted that there is no commitment from what they are looking at tonight that this beautiful clump of mature trees will be there to protect the neighborhood property.


Ms. Joseph noted that often times on site plans they have to disturb areas to put in silt traps.


Mr. Edgerton agreed.  He was struggling with the drawing’s approved limits of disturbance.


Mr. Woodworth said that their intent is to only clear the amount of trees they have to and preserve as many of those beautiful trees as possible.


Mr. Edgerton said that as rendered it is one of the nicest things about the plan.  But, if that is not going to really happen because of the amount of grading involved and the amount of soil erosion protection, then they need to be honest about that.  He did not think that they had before them an accurate representation of what is going to be left.


Ms. Porterfield asked if they could require if they take a tree out that if they take a tree out that they put a tree back in.


Ms. Joseph replied yes.


Mr. Woodard said that they certainly can within that area. 


Ms. Porterfield asked if they would be willing to do that.


Mr. Woodard replied absolutely. 


Ms. Porterfield said that she would guess that it would be the size of the tree.


Mr. Woodard said that the trees that are there are very nice from 8’ to 12’.  There is a whole variety of trees both desirable and undesirable.  They plan to keep everything to the back of this line.  He said that they will be doing infill trees in areas where there are no trees.


Ms. Porterfield asked if they could put the condition in there that if it was not in this upper area where they have already said they will be doing the plantings that if they have to take out any other trees they have to replace with a specific caliper.


Mr. Woodard noted that there was a change in slopes on this plan.  They have gone from 1900’ to less than 1400’ by responding to pushing the building back.  The building is about 25’ to 30’ from the curve at any point along here.  That is due to the utilities and the trees.  They were able to push the parking underneath the building.


Ms. Porterfield asked about the signage, and Mr. Cilimberg noted that all signage would be subject to review by the Architectural Review Board.


Ms. Porterfield asked if he would be willing to proffer that it will not be retail.


Mr. Woodard said that he would hate to say no just across the board for retail because there may be some little shop that will want a little piece of that.  They have the capability of splitting up the spaces into a little less than 2,000 square foot pieces.


Ms. Porterfield asked if he was not putting in the amount of parking as would normally be required for retail.


Mr. Woodard said that he did not believe that they are.  That would probably prohibit them from doing retail.


Ms. Porterfield said that she would like to see him prohibit himself from doing retail because of the parking.


Mr. Edgerton said that the rezoning request would allow any activity allowed in the current ordinance under Neighborhood Model, which includes retail and a lot of other things.  If he was not interested in anything other than office why wouldn’t he be willing to proffer out all of those other uses.


Mr. Woodard replied that he did not know what the market is right now. 


Mr. Strucko noted that the parking requirements would be the prohibiting item.


Mr. Woodard noted that each tenant build out of a space would be reviewed.


There being no further questions for the applicant, Mr. Morris invited public comment.  There being none, the public hearing was closed and the matter before the Commission.


Mr. Cilimberg noted that as shown on the camera view of their rendering they have a large area that they call preservation.  Under our requirements that cannot be delineated as preservation if there is going to be disturbance in that area.  So that is one of the things that has to be brought to staff so they can determine what is being truly preserved and what is being disturbed and would be replanted.  He heard tonight that if there were any trees taken that there would be a desire on the Commission’s part that there be replacement of that tree.  That would be laid out as part of the Code of Development regarding the conservation area on the plan.  It may very well be that there will end up being no preservation area on this plan.  It might all be preservation just based on what they need to do in terms of building the wall or putting in erosion control measures.  They don’t know, but that is what the applicant needs to figure out so that it can be shown on the plan and described in the Code of Development.  If the Commission is not comfortable with knowing what that is and is not here, then that may affect what they decide tonight.  But, that is where staff wants to go before the Board hearing.


Mr. Edgerton asked if typically don’t they have that information before being asked to make the rezoning decision.


Mr. Strucko asked what the Neighborhood Model District requires.


Mr. Kamptner replied that it all fall under the umbrella of green space and preservation and conservation areas are included.


Mr. Cilimberg noted that preservation areas per say are not a requirement.  Regarding uses and parking he noted that each use that would come in to occupy space in this building would have to receive a zoning clearance.  Part of that zoning clearance is based on the adequacy of parking.  It is somewhat self regulating in that regard. The Commission has to decide whether they feel that any of the uses spelled out in the Code of Development are not appropriate. 


Ms. Grant added that the number of spaces that they are providing is 51.  So they are not going to be able to do a large retail with only 51 spaces.


Mr. Edgerton asked  how tied the applicant would be to the plan they are looking at now as opposed to coming in with something entirely different.  The rezoning is taking this from the specific rezoning granted 27 years ago and taking it to the Neighborhood Model.  He asked if it was conceivable that once the rezoning is granted that they could come back in with a site plan that was entirely different.


Mr. Cilimberg said that it would be tied to the application plan.  That is why it is important that they know the area of delineations.  Things can move somewhat.  The Neighborhood Model District does not actually have a set of uses prescribed.  What the Neighborhood Model District does is incorporate potential uses that can be in the district and then the Code of Development spells out what uses will be actually allowed on the site.  The area where parking is being provided will be set by the application plan.  If they figure out a way to provide more parking within that area, then they could do that.  The plan tries to specify the limits of development and the limits of the areas to be left undeveloped.


Mr. Morris invited the applicant to address the Commission.


Mr. Woodard said that in regards to the parking and the building they can proffer that the size of the structure and the impervious area of the parking and design of the site stays just as it is.  They have worked for 1 ½ years to develop this.  They can’t change it to come back with additional structured parking or anything else because it would just ruin the project.  As far as retail if it did take them proffering no retail, although he felt it was unreasonable, he was not looking to do retail in the building per say. They are looking for professional office uses.


Mr. Cilimberg noted that one of the waivers is to remove residential.  So the only mixed use possibility in the Neighborhood Model District they would end up having is office with retail.   In that area if a retailer that could provide support to a lot of office uses might end up being appropriate.  The Neighborhood Model is about trying to provide some things that support other uses, such as a coffee shop.  It is not necessarily a bad thing.  The Commission has been concerned about over parking sites.  In the past the Commission has tended to move in the other direction.  He felt that they have somewhat limited parking based on an anticipated use that will essentially govern what they can do down the road.


Mr. Cannon said that there are still some questions here.  They have been working on this for some time. This design is a great improvement over what would otherwise be there allowed by right.  He drives by this corner everyday and would much prefer to see this development over a vacant lot.  It seems to be a good faith effort in which the applicant has put a lot of thought. He favored approval with condition of delineation of conservation and preservation areas before presentation to the Board subject to the standard that the conservation and preservation areas be maximized to the extent feasible given this specific site plan.  With some assurance from the applicant he would assume that it would pan out that there would be a minimal disturbance with the further provision that there be a replacement of any trees that are required to be removed with like kind plantings, but he did not know what the caliper is.


Mr. Kamptner noted that staff has language for that.


Mr. Cannon asked that the technical revisions that are required to the Code of Development be added.


Mr. Strucko said that if that was a motion that he would second it.


The Planning Commission took the following action on ZMA-2006-00014 and the associated waivers.


Motion on ZMA-2006-00014:


Motion:  Mr. Cannon moved, Mr. Strucko seconded to approve ZMA-2006-00014, Professional Office Building at Hydraulic & Georgetown Roads with the following conditions:


1.      Conservation and preservation areas shall be delineated on the general development plan before this rezoning is presented to the Board of Supervisors. The conservation and preservation areas shall be maximized to the extent feasible given this specific plan.

2.      The applicant shall demonstrate that there will be a minimal disturbance in the conservation areas.

3.      Any trees in the conservation areas that are required to be removed shall be replaced with like kind of plantings.  (Condition to be worked on regarding the caliper of tree).

4.      The applicant shall address the technical revisions required for the proffers and the Code of Development. 


The motion passed by a vote of 7:0. 


Mr. Morris noted that ZMA-2006-00014, Professional Office Building at Hydraulic & Georgetown Roads would go to the Board of Supervisors on March 19, 2008 with a recommendation for approval.


Motion on the Waivers:


Motion:  Mr. Cannon moved, Mr. Strucko seconded for approval of five (5) waivers, which include the waiver to Section 8.4, the rear setback waiver, the critical slopes waiver, and the waiver of Section 20A.8 relating to a mixture of uses and housing types, all set forth in the staff report, as well as the waiver to Section 20A.9.b as described by staff at the meeting for ZMA-2006-00014, Professional Office Building at Hydraulic & Georgetown Roads..


The motion passed by a vote of 7:0. 


Mr. Edgerton asked if they have any idea how many critical slopes they would be allowing to be disturbed.


Mr. Kamptner replied that it was .14 acres.


Mr. Morris noted that the five waivers for ZMA-2006-00014 were approved.


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