Albemarle County Planning Commission

April 8, 2008



The Albemarle County Planning Commission held a meeting and public hearing on Tuesday, April 8, 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, Bill Edgerton, Eric Strucko, Thomas Loach, Linda Porterfield and Calvin Morris, Chairman.  Commissioners absent was Jon Cannon, Vice-Chairman. Julia Monteith, AICP, non-voting representative for the University of Virginia was present. 


Other officials present were Wayne Cilimberg, Planning Director; Joan McDowell, Principal Planner; Tamara Ambler, Natural Resources Manager; Judy Wiegand, Senior Planner; Claudette Grant, Senior Planner; Megan Yaniglos, Planner;  Bill Fritz, Chief of Current Development; Patrick Lawrence, Planner; Amelia McCulley, Director of Current Development & Zoning 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-2007-23 Montalto (Sign # 87 & 90)

PROPOSAL:  Rezone 329.68 acres from RA Rural Areas zoning district which allows RA -- Rural Areas: agricultural, forestal, and fishery uses; residential density (0.5 unit/acre) to MHD Monticello Historic District zoning district, a planned historic district to permit the restoration, preservation, education, programs, research and business activities related to the operation of a historic house museum and historic site at Monticello; residential density (1 unit / 21 acres)


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: 1400 Montalto Loop Road, Route 53 at the entrance to Monticello

TAX MAP/PARCEL: TMP 77-31; TMP 77-31B; TMP 78-25A





ZTA-2007-06 - Monticello Historic District (MHD) - Monticello Scholar Residence

Zoning text amendment to amend the MHD regulations by adding Section 11.3.1(24) to allow "Monticello Scholar Residence" as a use permitted by right.  The existing density for new residential development authorized in the MHD is one dwelling unit per twenty-one acres, and the proposed zoning text amendment would not change that density.  (Joan McDowell)


Ms. McDowell presented a power-point presentation and summarized the staff report for both items.  Separate actions will be taken.  (See Staff Report)


The proposal is for a zoning map amendment and zoning text amendment for Montalto. The proposal is to rezone 329 acres for Montalto from Rural Areas to the Monticello Historic District and add in the zoning text amendment a Monticello Scholar Residences to the by-right uses in the MHD.  Montalto is determined to create a center for Jefferson studies, to renovate the three existing buildings and the grounds on top of Montalto, create 15 residences, create offices for scholars, have seminars, conferences, lectures and other special programs, have outdoor events, gatherings, meetings, offices, teleconference center and dining for scholars and guests. 


The issues are the Rural Areas District has 29 potential residences in the Monticello Historic District, which as a benefit has 15 potential development rights. Shared parking with Monticello has been established along with controlled access at Monticello.  A conservation easement has been approved and recorded for 150 acres. 


The applicant has offered to give the county three proffers as the results of the previous work session discussions with the Planning Commission.


The proffers read as follows:


“This Proffer Statement shall relate to the two-page application plan entitled “Application Plan - Montalto Zoning Map Amendment,” prepared by Draper Aden Associates, dated March 27, 2008 (the “Application Plan”).


1.  All outdoor lighting shall be arranged or shielded to reflect light away from the abutting properties. 


2.  Vehicular access to the Property shall be controlled during peak events that require off-site parking.


3.  No more than three (3) Monticello Scholar Residences shall be occupied as an accessory use at one time, except during the semi-annual meetings of the Board of Directors of the Thomas Jefferson Foundation, Inc.”


To further address concerns regarding vehicular access and shared parking with Monticello, the applicant has submitted the following comments:

“Most of the guests who will attend events at Montalto will be transported to the property by shuttle bus. These guests would park their personal vehicles in the Monticello Visitors Center lot and catch the shuttle bus there. This is how guest transportation has been efficiently handled at Monticello for many years, including transportation of guests for evening events at Monticello. There are approximately 400 parking spaces at the visitor's center lot.

The larger events, such as those involving the Monticello Cabinet, will nearly always take place in the evening when the visitor's center lot is essentially empty. In the unlikely event that additional spaces were needed, the Foundation would utilize parking areas at Kenwood and Tufton Farm, other nearby Foundation properties.

But for all events, although the vast majority of the guests will be brought by shuttle bus, there will be a need for some individuals to drive personal vehicles to the property. This would include catering staff (which could include 8-12 people for larger events), Foundation staff and some who are just not able to take the shuttle bus (such as those in wheelchairs and needing extra assistance). These personal vehicles would be accommodated by the approximately 37 spaces shown south of the main house on the Application Plan. Other parking spaces shown on the Plan would be used by visiting scholars and fellows and a caretaker.

The Foundation has significant experience handling parking for large events and with complicated logistics. Each year on the Fourth of July, an average of 2,000 visitors attend the Naturalization ceremony. In 1999 when Colin Powell was the featured speaker, they managed over 3,500 visitors. They have also handled the inauguration festivities for President Clinton in 1992, and President George Bush's Education Summit at UVA in 1989, the latter of which included the Governors from all 50 states, the President and the Cabinet all at once (plus each person's staff and security detail and the Secret Service!). The Foundation will be able to internally coordinate the logistics of all of its programming and parking using its experience and personnel.”

Staff believes the proffers addresses the issues discussed at the Planning Commission work session and recommends approval.


The zoning text amendment establishes the parameters for the Monticello scholar residences.


The applicant has also requested waivers of critical slopes next to the travel ways and courtyards.  The diagram is in the staff report in Attachment E.  The county engineer has determined that these are very minor disturbances and recommends approval without any conditions. 


Staff recommends approval of these applications based on the following findings.


1.       The Monticello Historic District is consistent with the Comprehensive Plan;

2.       The primary remodeling of the historic buildings will be on the interior;

3.       The exterior elevations will be maintained;

4.       The MHD would reduce the number of potential residential divisions; and

5.       Shared parking with Monticello will reduce the amount of vehicles on the mountaintop.


Based on the findings contained in this staff report:

1.       Staff recommends approval of ZMA 2007-23 Montalto, inclusive of the applicant’s proffers (Attachment D).

2.       Staff recommends approval of ZTA 2007-06 Monticello Historic District (Attachment B)

3.       Staff recommends approval of a Waiver of Section 4.2.5 Critical Slopes, with no conditions.


Mr. Morris asked if there were questions for staff.


Ms. Porterfield asked why they are they limiting them to only using three of the scholar residences at any one time except for the two big meetings.


Ms. McDowell replied that is what the applicant is asking for.  It was discussed at staff meetings and determined that looking at the intent of the Monticello Historic District and remembering establishing the intent that a lot of care was taken in making sure that what went on at Monticello supported that historic house.  It was not the intent that these units could be sublet as apartments or that just anyone could live up there.  It really has to be tied with the Monticello Historic District.


Ms. Porterfield said that they could fill the units if they had persons studying Jefferson or Monticello, and Ms. McDowell replied that was correct and they wanted the option to have some of the units available for visiting dignitaries, board members, etc.


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


Mike Mathews, with Mathews Development Company, introduced Anne Taylor, Executive Vice President of Monticello; Mike Merriam, Director of Facilities and Valerie Long.  He presented a power-point presentation and discussed the key points of change since they were last here. 



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


Mr. Cilimberg asked to speak to the issue regarding the central utilities for central sewer and central well. The normal process is a Board approval of any central utilities under one section of the ordinance.  What they have done in the past when that moves forward is that they also brought it through for a finding of compliance with the Comprehensive Plan.  Likely that will be the process that they would see in the future once the details are pinned down as to what is required and what they will be pursuing Board approval of is central utilities.


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


Motion on ZMA-2007-23 Montalto:


Motion: Mr. Strucko moved, Mr. Edgerton seconded to approve ZMA-2007-23, Montalto, with the proffers.


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


Motion on ZTA-2007-06 Monticello Historic District (MHD) – Monticello Scholar Residence:


Motion: Mr. Strucko moved, Ms. Porterfield seconded to approve ZTA-2007-06, Monticello Historic District – Monticello Scholar Residence.


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


Motion on Critical Slopes Waiver:


Motion: Mr. Edgerton moved, Mr. Strucko seconded to approve the critical slopes waiver.


Ms. Joseph noted that they have made an incredible attempt to minimize the impact and keep it as close to the disturbed area as they possible can.


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


Mr. Morris stated that all three items ZMA-2007-23 Montalto, the critical slopes waiver and ZTA-2007-06 Monticello Historic District (MHD) – Monticello Scholar Residence would go before the Board of Supervisors on May 7 with the recommendation for approval.



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