Project Name:  SP2008-65 Tandem Friends School Mobile Classroom Unit

Staff: Eryn Brennan

Planning Commission Public Hearing:

March 10, 2009

Board of Supervisors Public Hearing:

April 8, 2009

Owner: Tandem School

Applicant: Bill Vincent, Business Manager

Acreage:  24.508

Special Use Permit: Private Schools of the zoning ordinance applies to this proposal. Amendment to SP2007-53.

TMP:  91-2A

Location:  279 Tandem Lane, approx. 350 feet west of the intersection with Mill Creek Dr.

Existing Zoning and By-right use:   

R-1 Residential - 1 unit/acre



Magisterial District:  Scottsville

Conditions or Proffers: Yes

DA (Development Area):  Neighborhood 4

Requested # of Dwelling Units: N/A            

Proposal: Construct a temporary mobile classroom unit in the northeast corner of parcel.

Comprehensive Plan Designation:

Institutional schools, universities and colleges and ancillary facilities, and public facilities and utilities


Character of Property: The 24 acre property is largely undeveloped, but contains several school buildings and playing fields.

Use of Surrounding Properties: The property is surrounded by institutional uses to the north and west and residential uses to the east and south.

Factors Favorable:

1.        The addition will continue to provide expanded educational opportunities to the community.

2.        There will be no detrimental impacts to surrounding properties.

Factors Unfavorable:

1.      Staff has not identified any unfavorable factors.

RECOMMENDATION: Staff recommends approval of this Special Use Permit, with conditions.



STAFF PERSON:                                                                  ERYN BRENNAN

PRIVATE PLANNING COMMISSION:                                 March 10, 2009

BOARD OF SUPERVISORS:                                               April 8, 2009






PROJECT: SP 200800065 Tandem Friends School

PROPOSED: Temporary classroom trailer in northeast corner of parcel.

ZONING CATEGORY/GENERAL USAGE: R-1 Residential - 1 unit/acre.

SECTION: Private Schools.

COMPREHENSIVE PLAN LAND USE/DENSITY:  Institutional - schools, universities and colleges and ancillary facilities and public facilities and utilities in Neighborhood 4.


LOCATION: 279 Tandem Lane, approx. 350 feet west of the intersection with Mill Creek Dr. TAX MAP/PARCEL: 09100-00-00-002A0.




The school site is located on Tandem Lane near Monticello High School. It consists of 24.5 acres and the school is laid out in a campus-type setting. The Upper School building, Community Building, Middle School building, and Math and Science Building are clustered around a courtyard area in the northeast portion of the site. An outdoor and indoor basketball court and parking lot are located in the southern portion of the site, and two soccer fields are located along the west parcel boundary.


The area surrounding the site to the north and northeast is designated Institutional in the Land Use Plan.  Monticello High School and its subsequent parking lots, baseball field, and track are located north of the site, and to the west is the Monticello Fire Rescue Station. The area northeast and south of the site is zoned R-1 and designated Urban Density Residential in the Land Use Plan. Several attached single-family residential units are located northeast of the site. The land to the south is mostly undeveloped at this time, with the exception of a few single-family residences. Please refer to the attached location maps for more information (See Attachment A and Attachment B).



The Tandem Friends School is requesting a Special Use Permit to locate a temporary mobile classroom unit north of the existing Upper School in order to accommodate additional classroom space. The 20 x 64 classroom unit is being donated to Tandem Friends School. There are currently 5 buildings with 97 parking spaces on the site, and the mobile classroom unit is not intended to be a permanent structure.


The 1,280 square foot modular wood classroom unit has an occupant load of 194, and will sit on a concrete block foundation. The modular unit will be located approximately 30 northwest of the Upper School. Current Development has indicated that a walkway from the entrance of the unit to the path circumscribing the Upper School will be required. The modular unit will be used solely for additional classroom space during normal hours of operation. The school is not increasing the number of enrolled students.



The Tandem Friends School property is currently zoned R-1 Residential. The School moved into an existing 19th century farmhouse on their site in 1972. In 1996, SP 96-6 was approved to allow construction of a 10,000 square foot Community Hall building on the site. In that same year, SP 96-25 allowed an increase in the total enrollment and on-site staffing from 177 to 200 persons, and SP 96-49 allowed the construction of a 15,000 square foot Field House/Gymnasium. SP 97-53 was approved to allow the construction of a 14,000 square foot Math and Science Building, with the condition that enrollment and on-site staffing would be limited to 260 persons.




Land Use Plan

The property is located in Neighborhood 4 of the Development Area and is designated Institutional in the Land Use Plan. As determined by previous land use applications (SP 96-06, SP 96-25, SP 96-49, and SP 97-53), use of the property for a private school is consistent with this institutional land use designation, which includes public and private schools. The addition would continue to provide expanded educational opportunities to the community and is appropriate in this location.


Neighborhood Model

The Neighborhood Model describes the more "urban" form of development desired for the Development Areas. This special use permit request is for a temporary classroom trailer addition to a private school, and staff has determined that of the 12 Principles of the Neighborhood Model, only two apply to this particular application:


Pedestrian Orientation - While sidewalks exist on Mill Creek Drive, there are no pedestrian facilities connecting Tandem Friends School to Mill Creek Drive. However, the proposed building will be required to connect via sidewalks to other buildings on the site, thus furthering pedestrian orientation within the school complex.


Redevelopment- This application constitutes further redevelopment of the site without intensifying the use of the site.



Staff will address each provision of Section of the Zoning Ordinance as follows: Special Use Permits provided for in this ordinance may be issued upon a finding by the Board of Supervisors that such use will not be of substantial detriment to adjacent property,

The 20 x 64 mobile classroom unit would serve to support existing activities more efficiently. Tandem Friends School and the parcels to the south are zoned R-1 Residential (See Attachment B).  To the north, the site is surrounded by R-15 Zoning, and the area to the east is zoned Planned Residential Development. The uses permitted by right under R-1 Residential include temporary or mobile facilities for public uses such as schools, offices, parks, and playgrounds. Therefore, the mobile classroom unit is not expected to have any impact on adjacent properties and the use is considered compatible with adjacent uses.


that the character of the district will not be changed thereby and

The proposed classroom unit would constitute only a minor site development change. The unit is covered with wood cladding and would be screened from public view by existing trees and vegetation. Therefore, the classroom unit is consistent with the character of the site and surrounding district.


that such use will be in harmony with the purpose and intent of this ordinance,

The classroom unit will support existing educational activities on the site, which is a use permitted in the zoning ordinance and previously granted on four different occasions by Special Use Permit.


with uses permitted by right in the district,

Private schools are permitted by Special Use Permit in areas zoned R-1 Residential, as they can provide support for by-right uses, most particularly residential. This mobile classroom addition to a previously approved private school is consistent with the uses permitted in this district.


with the additional regulations provided in section 5.0 of this ordinance,

There are no additional regulations in section 5.0 that address private schools.


and with the public health, safety and general welfare.

The public health, safety, and general welfare of the community are protected through the special use permit process which assures that the proposed uses are appropriate in the location requested. The Building Official has verified acceptability of the mobile unit for use as a classroom and the Fire Marshall offered no objection to the proposal.


In a memo dated January 9, 2009, the Albemarle County Service Authority (ACSA) indicated that the site is adequately served by water and sewer and that no plans are required.


No additional traffic is anticipated as this addition will not increase enrollment or staffing at the school.




Staff has identified the following factors favorable to this application:

1.      The addition will continue to provide expanded educational opportunities to the community.

2.      There will be no detrimental impacts to surrounding properties.

Staff has not identified any unfavorable factors to this application.



Based on the findings contained in this staff report, staff recommends approval of Special Use Permit 2008-65 Tandem Friends School Classroom Trailer Unit, with the following conditions:


1.     The development of the use shall be in conformity with the concept plan entitled, "Tandem Friends School Campus Plan Study Site Plan, prepared by VMDO Architects, and dated 12/4/08 as determined by the Director of Planning and the Zoning Administrator. To be in conformity with the plan, development shall reflect the following major elements within the development essential to the design of the development, including:

         Building Orientation

         Building Size

         Location of the Buildings

         Limits of Disturbance

   as shown on the plan. Minor modifications to the plan which do not conflict with the elements above may be made to ensure compliance with the Zoning Ordinance;

2.      Additional buildings or increase in total enrollment/staffing may only  be authorized by a new special use permit;

3.      Total school enrollment and on-site staffing shall be limited to 260 persons.






Attachment A Aerial Map

Attachment B Zoning Map
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