COUNTY OF ALBEMARLE
SUB 08-022 – Bellair #5 - Preliminary Subdivision Plat
Request for preliminary subdivision plat approval to result in 2 lots on 2.066 acres.
Messrs. Tucker, Foley, Davis, Kamptner, Graham, Fritz
LEGAL REVIEW: Yes
June 4, 2008
ACTION: X INFORMATION:
Lane Bonner submitted a subdivision application to subdivide Tax Map 76, Section 2, Parcel 5 (“Parcel 5”) into two lots. Parcel 5 is located within the Bellair Subdivision. The Site Review Committee reviewed the preliminary plat for compliance with the Subdivision and Zoning Ordinances and recommended approval of the plat. At the request of several adjacent property owners, the preliminary plat was called up for review by the Planning Commission. The Commission reviewed the preliminary plat on April 22, 2008 and disapproved it by a vote of 6:0. The sole basis for the Planning Commission’s disapproval was that the preliminary plat did not show the location and dimensions of a proposed private easement (the “driveway easement”) as required by Albemarle County Code § 14-302(A)(4).
Goal 4: “Effectively Manage Growth and Development”.
Parcel 5 abuts Tax Map 76, Section 2, Parcel 4 (“Parcel 4”), which is also owned by Mr. Bonner. (See Attachment A, page 5, which shows Parcels 4 and 5) Parcel 4 is developed with a house. Although both Parcels 4 and 5 have frontage on Deer Path Road, the house on Parcel 4 has historically been served by an unrecorded driveway that crosses Parcel 5 from Edgemont Lane. Mr. Bonner is also in the process of subdividing Parcel 4, and this past year he began construction of a driveway from Deer Path Road to the house on Parcel 4. Because that driveway crossed critical slopes, a critical slopes waiver was required since the existing driveway from Edgemont Lane already provided access to the house. The Planning Commission denied the critical slopes waiver on March 11, 2008, and that decision is now final. The proposed driveway on Parcel 4 also had to cross a stream and wetlands, and neither the Army Corps of Engineers nor the Virginia Department of Environmental Quality had approved the driveway’s encroachment into those waters.
As part of the subdivision of Parcel 5, Mr. Bonner proposed to close the driveway serving the house on Parcel 5 and to provide access to the house on Parcel 4 by a driveway from Deer Path Road, across a portion of proposed Lot A of Parcel 5, to Parcel 4. Although final engineering for the driveway has not been completed, the intention is that the driveway will not have to cross critical slopes. Mr. Bonner’s representative told County staff that the driveway would be located within the driveway easement. The general location of the proposed easement was shown on a drawing presented at the Planning Commission’s April 22, 2008 meeting, but it was not shown on the preliminary plat. Because Albemarle County Code § 14-302(A)(4) requires that a preliminary plat show “[t]he location and dimensions of all existing and proposed private easements,” the Planning Commission disapproved the preliminary plat for Parcel 5.
In his May 1, 2008 appeal letter (Attachment C), Mr. Bonner argues that the Planning Commission’s action was in error because the “issue of driveway access to the adjacent parcel is not part of the required information to be shown on a preliminary subdivision plat. The adjacent parcel has frontage on a public road and can be accessed without an easement on [Parcel 5].” While it is true that the driveway easement is not required, Mr. Bonner proposed to establish a private easement and that was sufficient to require that it be shown on the plat as required by Albemarle County Code § 14-302(A)(4). In addition, since Mr. Bonner proposed the driveway easement, the fact that Parcel 4 has frontage on Deer Path Road is irrelevant to the application of Albemarle County Code § 14-302(A)(4). Although staff agrees that the Planning Commission properly disapproved the plat, staff believes that the failure to delineate the driveway easement on the preliminary plat did not materially affect the review of the plat and that the preliminary plat could be approved subject to a condition that the driveway easement be shown on the final plat. Staff has recommended a condition of approval to require that the driveway easement be shown on the final plat (Condition 4).
As an alternative resolution of this appeal, Mr. Bonner may withdraw his expressed intention to establish the driveway easement. Upon withdrawal of the proposed easement, the preliminary plat would comply with Albemarle County Code § 14-302(A)(4) and the Board could approve the preliminary plat subject to conditions 1 through 3 below. The Subdivision Ordinance does not impose an independent basis for requiring that the easement be shown.
Staff recommends approval of the subdivision plat subject to the following conditions:
In the alternative, if Mr. Bonner withdraws his proposal to establish the driveway easement, staff recommends approval of the subdivision plat subject to Conditions 1 through 3 as stated above.
A – Staff Report
B – Planning Commission Action Letter
C – Applicant’s Appeal of Planning Commission Action
View PC minutes
View May 28, 2008 letter from TJ Health District
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