ZTA 2007-05 and ZMA 2008-002 Downtown Crozet Zoning District



Joint Board and Planning Commission Public Hearing - New zoning regulations for Downtown Crozet and County-initiated rezoning to implement new regulations.



Messrs. Tucker, Foley, Davis, Kamptner, Graham, Cilimberg, and

Ms. Ragsdale





June 4, 2008


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The Crozet Master Plan identifies the need for zoning changes in order to fully implement the Plan’s land use recommendations and goal of economic vitality for downtown Crozet.  After numerous Crozet community meetings and County Planning Commission work sessions, the Planning Commission forwarded its recommendations to the Board of Supervisors regarding the draft outline of zoning regulations for a new zoning district for downtown Crozet, as well as the boundaries for the proposed County-initiated zoning map amendment. On March 17, 2008, the Board held a work session on the draft ordinance and map amendment, provided feedback to staff regarding the zoning provisions, and directed staff to draft the zoning text amendment for the Downtown Crozet District (DCD) and to schedule a joint public hearing of the Board and the Planning Commission to receive public comment on the proposed zoning text amendment and zoning map amendment. The draft outline of zoning regulations discussed by the Board at its March 17 work session is provided as Attachment A.  Please see background information provided to the Board at its March 5, 2008, March 17, 2008, and April 9, 2008 meetings at these website links: and and


03/17/08 Power Point Presentation and



Goal 1.  Enhance the Quality of Life for all Albemarle County Residents 

Objective 1.3  By June 30, 2010, the County will maintain a strong and sustainable economy, increase the economic vitality of the County’s Development Area, and increase the ability of individuals and families who are living at lower income households to become self-sufficient.

Goal 4.  Effectively Manage the County’s Growth and Development.



The Planning Commission’s recommended zoning regulations for the new DCD, along with boundaries for a potential County-initiated rezoning, were supported by the Board with several modifications discussed. (Attachments A and C)  At the March 17, 2008 work session the Board discussed public comments that had been received that supported allowing the broadest range of commercial and residential uses within the downtown district to promote a locally oriented and sustainable economy. Specifically, requests had been made that research & development uses and veterinary offices be allowed by-right rather than require a special use permit, as recommended by the Planning Commission in a work session. Also, based on information received from a historic resources survey currently underway, staff recommended that the ordinance include language that ensures that there is flexibility in the setback regulations to allow the reuse of existing historically important residential structures for commercial uses.


Zoning Text Amendment

The Board directed staff to include the following modifications to the ordinance, which have been provided:


·   Provide for pedestrian access and vehicular access provisions in the requirement for a façade break every 200 feet in the façade break regulations. This is provided for in the ZTA under Minimum Standards for a Building Façade Break. (Attachment B; page 8; § 20B.3(B))

·      During discussion of by-right uses that should be permitted in the district, the Board directed staff to include research and development uses and multi-plex movie theaters as by-right uses. Research and development, subject to the performance standards of Section 4.14 of the Zoning Ordinance, is a permitted by-right use. (Attachment B; page 3; § 20B.2(A)(33)) Theaters, live and movie, including multi-screen theaters are permitted under by-right public and civic uses.  (See Attachment B; page 3; § 20.B.2(C)(15))

·      Provide for flexibility in setbacks and relegated parking provisions to allow reuse of historic structures. This is provided for in the attached ZTA under Area and bulk regulations, pre-existing buildings, structures and improvements.  (Attachment B; page 8; § 20.B.3(B))


In addition, staff has made one other change to the proposed DCD regulations. The draft outline considered by the Planning Commission and Board, required that if a wall was used to provide parking lot screening, public seating be provided on the outside of the wall to break up the visual appearance of screening walls.  After deliberation, staff recommends this not be included as a requirement. The public seating would be located on the landowner’s property outside of the public right-of-way. (Refer to Attachment A; page 4) Although a landowner may voluntarily provide this seating, staff had concerns as to whether a public purpose existed to require the seating in conjunction with the approval of a site plan or subdivision plat.  In addition, staff anticipates that landowners may have security and liability concerns about providing seating on their property that would be used by persons who were not necessarily customers of the landowner’s business, but pedestrians using a nearby sidewalk.


Following is a summary of the key elements of each section:


Section 3.1, Definitions: This section adds definitions of three new use classifications: “cultural arts centers,” “outdoor performance areas” and “research and development.”  This section would also amend the definition of “story” and define “stepback,” a planning concept being introduced in the Downtown Crozet District, which will require that the portion of a building above the third story or 40 feet “step back” a minimum of 15 feet.


Section 20B.1, Purpose and intent: This section states the purpose and intent of the DCD, which is to establish a district in which traditional downtown development, as described for the CT6 Urban Core and CT5 Urban Center transects in the Crozet master plan, will occur. 


Section 20B.2, Permitted uses: This section identifies the uses permitted in the district.  The DCD would be a mixed-use district that would allow a wide variety of retail, service, office, public and civic uses, along with light industrial and residential uses.  The May 19, 2008 draft of the zoning text amendment posted on the County’s website has since been revised by moving the use classification that allows dwellings to be occupied by the owner or employee of a commercial use from subsection 20B.2(C) (public and civic uses) to subsection 20B.2(D) (residential uses).  This use was moved so that it was correctly placed with other residential uses.  The May 19, 2008 draft was also revised to provide that the use classification in subsection 20B.2(D) that allows multiple-family dwellings such as apartments would allow apartments as either single-family dwellings or multiple-family dwellings.  This classification was changed to allow a single apartment unit as a permitted use.  These revisions are incorporated into the May 29, 2008 draft ordinance (Attachment A).


Section 20B.3, Area and bulk regulations: This section establishes area and bulk regulations for the DCD, including minimum and maximum building and parking setbacks, minimum stepbacks for buildings above the third story or 40 feet in height, and building façade breaks every 200 feet.  This section also establishes a minimum lot size of 1500 square feet, a maximum residential density of 36 dwelling units per acre, a minimum building height of 30 feet or 2 stories (1 story by special use permit) and a maximum building height of 50 feet or 4 stories (70 feet or 6 stories by special use permit).  Lastly, this section establishes area and bulk regulations for certain pre-existing buildings and structures; minimum standards for pedestrian and vehicular travelways at building façade breaks; standards for buildings entrances and stories; regulations prohibiting the establishment of structures within easements that are located within setbacks; and substantive and procedural requirements for waivers from front building setback requirements and the location of parking areas.  The rear building setbacks and the rear parking setbacks in the May 19, 2008 draft of the zoning text amendment posted on the County’s website have been revised to clarify that the respective setbacks stated were “minimum” setbacks.  These revisions are incorporated into the May 29, 2008 draft ordinance (Attachment A).


Section 20B.4, Parking: To increase flexibility in off-street parking within the DCD, this section modifies certain parking regulations established in Section 4.12 of the Zoning Ordinance.  The modifications include reducing the minimum

number of parking spaces required and increasing the amount of parking spaces that can be provided by shared parking.  This section also establishes screening and landscaping requirements for parking areas unique to the DCD.


Section 20B.5, Landscaping: This section imposes commercial use landscaping requirements on developments requiring a site plan, but would exempt developments from the tree canopy requirements of Section of the Zoning Ordinance.  The screening requirements in the May 19, 2008 draft of the zoning text amendment posted on the County’s website have since been revised in two ways.  First, rather than cross-reference the requirements of section, the screening requirements are now stated in section 20B.5(A).  Second, the screening requirements were modified to require screening only from the rear of the lot, to require screening from not only adjoining residential or the rural areas zoning districts, but also from existing single family detached or attached dwellings within the DCD, and to reduce the minimum height of a screening wall or fence from 6 feet to 4 feet.  These standards were included in the proposed district regulations outline dated March 5, 2008 (Attachment C) and considered at prior Planning Commission and Board work sessions.  These revisions are incorporated into the May 29, 2008 draft ordinance (Attachment A).


Section 20B.6, Outdoor lighting: This section modifies Section 4.17.4(b)(1) of the Zoning Ordinance to allow lighting from first-story lights for non-residential uses to spill over onto public streets and other non-residential uses.  VDOT approval of spillover onto a public street would be required.   


Section 20B.7, Sidewalks and street trees: This section establishes design requirements for sidewalks and requires street trees for developments requiring a site plan.  This section also allows a landowner to request a waiver from sidewalk requirements in specified circumstances. 


Figures: Nine figures are included with the district regulations to illustrate various concepts.


Zoning Map Amendment-Downtown Crozet District Rezoning Boundaries

The approximately 54 acres within the proposed district boundaries are presently zoned C-1, Commercial, CO, Commercial Office, PD-SC, Planned Development-Shopping Center, R-2, Residential, and Rural Areas, RA.


Throughout the course of the Downtown Crozet Zoning study process, potential boundaries were discussed for a rezoning by the County to implement the Downtown District. The consultants and Downtown Crozet Association (DCA) both suggested boundaries for a central Downtown zoning district.  However, the consultant also recommended the creation of two Transition Zoning districts adjoining Downtown and a Downtown 2 district on a portion of the lumber yard property. 


The Crozet Master Plan, part of the County’s Comprehensive Plan, designates approximately 9 of the 54 acres subject to this rezoning as “CT 1 Development Area Preserve & CT2 Development Area Reserve,” which recommends a general usage of open space preserve or reserve with very low residential density permitted of no greater than 1 unit per 20 acres.  The remaining lands subject to this rezoning are designated as either “CT 4 Urban General in Downtown,” which recommends a general usage that is primarily mixed residential and commercial uses at densities up to 4.5 units per acre for single family detached dwellings, single family attached dwellings, densities of up to 12 units per acre for townhouses and apartments, and densities up to 18 units per acre in a mixed use setting, “CT 5 Urban Center in Downtown,” which recommends a general usage that is a mix of uses and residential types at densities of up to 12 units per acre, and up to 18 units per acre if in a mixed use setting, or “CT 6 Urban Core in Downtown,” which recommends a general usage that is a very open mix of commercial, office, retail, and other uses along with residential uses at densities of up to 18 units an acre and up to 36 units an acre in a mixed use setting.  The general usage within the proposed DCD would include retail, service, office, public and civic uses, along with light industrial and residential uses.  The density range would allow up to 36 dwelling units per acre.  


The Planning Commission discussed the boundaries for a rezoning in work sessions on November 27, 2007 and January 29, 2008. Staff provided reports with analysis on boundaries for those work sessions, the most detailed of which was the January 29 report, which was provided to the board for its work session on March 17, 2008. The Planning Commission recommended boundaries for the district, which the Board discussed in its work session and agreed would be the boundaries advertised for public hearing. (Attachment C) 


The proposed Downtown Zoning District boundaries are concentrated around areas of public investment by the County, including the Phase I and II Streetscape projects, the new library, and areas covered by the stormwater master plan for Downtown. In addition, the boundaries take into consideration the underlying zoning of parcels and impacts to adjoining residential areas, some of which are not yet ready to transition to commercial uses. The boundaries are also focused on areas already zoned commercial and the block south of New Main Street, north of

Tabor Street, and west of High Street. Due to the underlying Heavy Industrial Zoning, which emphasizes the current lumber yard use which is not a permitted use in the new Downtown Zoning District regulations, the J. Bruce Barnes Lumber Yard is not included for rezoning at this time.


Staff and the Planning Commission are recommending that to most effectively achieve the intent of the Downtown Zoning District, the County amend the zoning map to establish the district within the proposed boundaries, rather than waiting for landowner-initiated rezonings. While this has some financial implications to the County as it removes the possibilities for receipt of proffers to off-set impacts, it implements a key element of the Crozet Master Plan and takes a step and cost out of the development process for landowners, which better enables them to develop to the intent of the district.



The Board approved $75,000 for consultant fees for the project on September 6, 2006. The Fiscal Impact Planners’ analysis concluded that the County-initiated zoning text and zoning map amendments for the Crozet Downtown Zoning District would have a positive impact to County revenues over a 20-year time frame in the amount of $11,900,200. (The Board received additional budget impact information as part of its March 17, 2008 staff report linked above.) There is no need for additional staff to implement adoption of both the ZTA and ZMA, which will forgo the need for future applicant initiated re-zonings that would otherwise be necessary without the ZMA.  However, as the new zoning will enable by-right development under the DCD, there is the potential for increased site plan activity which could increase the project review workload of Current Development staff.



Staff recommends that, after the Planning Commission and the Board of Supervisors hold joint public hearings on ZTA 2007-005 and ZMA 2008-002, the Planning Commission recommend approval of ZTA 2007-005 as set forth in Attachment A, and ZMA 2008-002 as set forth in Attachment B.  After the Planning Commission has made its recommendations, staff recommends that the Board of Supervisors adopt ZTA 2007-005 as set forth in Attachment A, and adopt ZMA 2008-002 as set forth in Attachment B.




A - ZTA 2007-0005 Downtown Crozet District Ordinance 08-18( ), dated May 29, 2008

B - Resolution adopting ZMA 2008-0002

C - ZMA 2008-0002 Boundary of Downtown Crozet rezoning, titled ”Crozet Downtown Zoning *Recommended Boundary”, prepared by Albemarle County GDS January 2008

D - Downtown Crozet Zoning District Regulations Draft outline, dated March 5, 2008

PC minutes:  May 1, September 18, October 2, October 30 and November 27, 2007 and January 29, 2008

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