STAFF PERSONS:                         Amelia McCulley and Bill Fritz        

PLANNING COMMISSION:           August 26, 2008



STA:              2008-001 Rural Area Streets



ORIGIN:         Board of Supervisors Resolution of Intent on February 6, 2008 (Attachment A)  


PROPOSAL:  This Subdivision Text Amendment proposes two changes: 

1.      To require that all subdivision of property (from the effective date forward) share the same access road / entrance onto any public street. AND

2.      To establish a road standard for a private road serving two (2) lots.  This shall be the same as the existing standard for a private road serving 3 to 5 lots.  Therefore, the new road standard would become a 2 to 5 lot private road standard.



PUBLIC PURPOSE TO BE SERVED:  The proposed amendments provide for the orderly subdivision and development of land.  The current Subdivision regulations allow for these purposes to be circumvented in several ways, such as through the creation of multiple entrances with separate subdivision plats done in a series.  (For further discussion of the “Albemarle two-step” please refer to point #1 in Attachment B.)


The purposes served by the proposed amendments are as follows:


1.      Reducing the number of entrances onto a public road

Each entrance onto a public road is a conflict point and an opportunity for accidents for the traveling public.  It is common for local zoning and subdivision regulation to reduce and limit the numbers of entrances available to property.


The current Albemarle Subdivision regulations allow multiple entrances to be established if sufficient public road frontage exists such that the establishment of an internal road is not necessary to meet lot frontage requirements.


Attachment B describes an example of the “Albemarle two-step. “ The first step is an administrative Rural Division creating a lot which meets minimum public road frontage (250 feet) and acreage (5 acres or more).  This step can create one or several new lots (shown as Parcels A and B in the attachment B).   The next step is a subdivision plat that establishes a shared driveway to serve two lots (A1 and A2, B1 and B2), creating one new lot from each of the Rural Division lots created in the first step.  The result of the current Subdivision regulations is two separate entrances and two separate two-lot roads.  The proposed Subdivision Text Amendment would require all the property to use one street/entrance.  This reduces the number of entrances and roads from two (2) to one (1).


2.      Establishing a road standard for a private street serving two (2) lots

The current Albemarle Subdivision regulations do not have a specific construction standard for a private street serving two lots.  It only requires a “travelway passable by ordinary passenger vehicles in all but temporary extreme weather conditions.” 


Establishing a road standard for these streets will establish and effectively increase the minimum design and construction standards for private streets serving two lots.  In addition, it will result in improved emergency access to these properties.        




This issue was brought to the January 9th Board meeting at their request.  The memorandum (Attachment B) for their information on the consent agenda was discussed.  On February 6th, they adopted the resolution of intent to amend the Subdivision Ordinance.




Staff has provided information about the standard considerations for an ordinance amendment in the proceeding.  While there are some increased staff time and costs to the public associated with this amendment, this is more than justified by the public purposes which are served.  Many have seen the current regulations as having a “loophole” which would be closed by the draft amendment.  Family divisions are exempt from both of these changes.


Administration / Review Process:  The proposed Ordinance amendment will result in some increased administration and review.  Two-lot subdivisions will require the submittal, review, bonding and inspection of a road plan.  This will result in increased applicant costs and increased application review timelines.  The more likely result is that more subdivided properties will be sharing a road subject to County standards and approval.


Housing Affordability:  It is difficult to estimate how this Amendment would impact housing affordability.  The cost of road construction is typically the highest cost for a rural subdivision.        


Implications to Staffing / Staffing Costs:  The proposed STA is not expected to generate the need for additional staff.  Once adopted, the new Subdivision Ordinance fees will recover staff costs. 


STAFF RECOMMENDATION:  Staff recommends adoption of the draft ordinance found in Attachment C.



Attachment A:            Resolution of Intent

Attachment B:            Memo to Board dated December 13, 2007 from Amelia McCulley re:  Rural Area Subdivisions

Attachment C:            Draft Subdivision Text Amendment

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