AGENDA TITLE:  ZTA2009-00007   Temporary Construction Headquarters, Yards-  Section 5.1.18


SUBJECT/PROPOSAL/REQUEST: Amendment to delete of 18-month time limit for construction headquarters and add provisions for consistent administrative regulation of both temporary construction headquarters and temporary construction yards



STAFF:  John Shepherd and Sherri Proctor









BACKGROUND: Section allows construction headquarters, which are also known as mobile office trailers to be located on a site until 20 days after completion of the last building. Section restricts temporary construction yards to a period not to exceed eighteen months. The purpose of this amendment is to provide appropriate and consistent time limits and administrative permitting procedures for both of these uses.


The Planning Commission held a work session on this proposal on April 21, 2009. The Commission adopted the Resolution of Intent and discussed the utility of defining the terms “temporary construction yard,” temporary construction headquarters” and “active construction activity.” The proposal to approve these with zoning clearances rather than building permits was also discussed.


DISCUSSION: This amendment reorganizes sections 5.1.18, and into a single, well drafted section. The intent is to establish consistent regulation of temporary construction yards and temporary construction headquarters, to allow these uses by zoning clearance rather than temporary permit and to allow these uses to be located on the same site rather than the same parcel as the construction.


This ZTA includes the following changes to the permitting process for these headquarters and yards:


1. The eighteen month limit for temporary construction yards is deleted. The amendment requires that temporary construction yards, like temporary construction headquarters be terminated no later than thirty days after completion of the last building in the project. It is staff opinion that permits for both temporary construction headquarters and temporary construction yards should run with the life of a project.


It is also staff opinion that the 18-month time limit is too short for many projects. The construction of the new Martha Jefferson Hospital is a case in point. Without this amendment, the construction yard for that project will require a modification of this supplemental regulation from the Planning Commission.


2. The proposed amendment replaces “temporary permit” with “zoning clearance.”  Presently, these “temporary permits” are processed as building permits. It is appropriate that these be processed as zoning clearances because the supplemental regulations are in the zoning ordinance rather than the building code.  Zoning clearances can be approved with specific conditions that are appropriate to a site.


3. The term, “within the recorded subdivision or on the same lot” is replaced by the term, “site.” This is a minor change that allows these uses to be located on property that is subject to site development plans as well as recorded subdivisions.


It is staff opinion that the supplemental regulations provide sufficient definition of temporary construction headquarters and yards. These are clearly distinguished from “storage yard” and “heavy equipment and heavy vehicle parking and storage yard” because they are limited to the site and are temporary.


In response to the work session, modified language has been added to better define “discontinued construction.” The proposed ordinance now uses the same terms that are in the building code- “suspended or abandoned.” A clause has been added to allow the zoning administrator to extend the period of duration in the event of inclement weather.


PUBLIC PURPOSE TO BE SERVED:  The public is served when ordinance language is clear and the regulation of similar uses is consistent.


ADMINISTRATION/ REVIEW PROCESS: The administrative approval of temporary construction yards for periods longer than 18 months will eliminate the time and cost to process these modifications.


HOUSING AFFORDABILITY:  The reduction of time and cost necessary to process waivers for construction yards for residential projects operating for more than 18 months may have a positive impact on housing costs.



Staff recommends approval of the draft ordinance.  (See Attachment A) 



ATTACHMENT A:        Albemarle County Zoning Ordinance Section 5.1.18

ATTACHMENT B:       Resolution of Intent

ATTACHMENT C:      Mike Mathews’ letter of support

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