The Albemarle County Planning Commission held a public hearing and meeting on Tuesday, September 22, 2009, at 6:00 p.m., at the County Office Building, Lane Auditorium, Second Floor, 401 McIntire Road, Charlottesville, Virginia.
Members attending were Marcia Joseph, Calvin Morris, Bill Edgerton, Don Franco, Thomas Loach, Vice Chair and Eric Strucko, Chairman. Absent was Linda Porterfield. Julia Monteith, AICP, non-voting representative for the University of Virginia was present.
Other officials present were Megan Yaniglos, Senior Planner; Wayne Cilimberg, Director of Planning; Scott Clark, Senior Planner; David Benish, Chief of Planning; Bill Fritz, Chief of Current Development and Greg Kamptner, Deputy County Attorney.
Call to Order and Establish Quorum:
Mr. Strucko called the regular meeting to order at 6:00 p.m. and established a quorum.
Public Hearing Items:
SP-2008-00031 Old Dominion Equine
PROJECT: SP2000800031 Old Dominion Equine Barn & Riding Ring
PROPOSED: Relocation of barn and addition of riding ring for existing veterinary practice.
ZONING CATEGORY/GENERAL USAGE: RA - Rural Areas: agricultural, forestal, and fishery uses; residential density (0.5 unit/acre in development lots); EC Entrance Corridor - Overlay to protect properties of historic, architectural or cultural significance from visual impacts of development along routes of tourist access
SECTION: 10.2.2.18, veterinary services, animal hospital (reference 5.1.11 and subject to performance standards in 4.14)
COMPREHENSIVE PLAN LAND USE/DENSITY: Rural Areas - preserve and protect agricultural, forestal, open space, and natural, historic and scenic resources/ density (.5 unit/ acre in development lots)
ENTRANCE CORRIDOR: Yes (Scott Clark)
SDP-2008-00149 Old Dominion Barn & Riding Ring - Waiver
The request is for a site plan waiver to allow an equine veterinary practice. The property, described as Tax Map 50 Parcels 20C and 20D, contains 1.704 acres, and is zoned RA Rural Areas and EC Entrance Corridor. The proposal is located on Route 231 at the intersection of Route 640, in the Rivanna Magisterial District. The Comprehensive Plan designates this property as Rural Areas in Rural Area 2.
Scott Clark presented a PowerPoint presentation and summarized the staff report. (See Staff Report)
Mr. Clark presented a PowerPoint presentation and summarized the staff report.
This request is for an amendment of an earlier special use permit for veterinary services in the Rural Areas zoning district. The area is largely made up of large farms, with large open pasture areas and extensive hardwood forests (especially at higher elevations). However, the veterinary office is located within an area of small residential lots. The property is included in the Southwest Mountains Rural Historic District. Many of the surrounding and nearby properties are under conservation easements held by the Virginia Outdoors Foundation. The property is with 1,500 feet of the Blue Run Agricultural & Forestal District and 2,750 feet of the Kinloch Agricultural & Forestal District. Gordonsville Road is an Entrance Corridor.
On April 14, 2004, the Board of Supervisors approved SP-200300082, which permitted the current equine veterinary practice, with the following conditions:
1. The site shall be developed in general accord with the conceptual plan titled Old Dominion Equine Associates Concept Plan, revised 2/16/04, and prepared by Muncaster Engineering;
2. The applicants shall provide a preliminary landscape plan that reflects the surrounding rural landscape to the satisfaction of the Architectural Review Board;
3. The applicants shall provide landscaping along all parking areas to the satisfaction of the Architectural Review Board;
4. Any outdoor lighting shall be designed to be appropriate to the rural environment to the satisfaction of the Architectural Review Board; and
5. The applicants shall grant sight-distance easements on Route 640 to the satisfaction of the Virginia Department of Transportation.
The conceptual plan for that showed the office located in a former corner-store building along Gordonsville Road, an entrance on St. John Road, and a 20 by 40-foot barn. Following the approval of the special use permit, the applicants obtained the Architectural Review Board and VDOT approvals required in conditions two through five, so those conditions have been previously satisfied.
On May 11, 2004, the Planning Commission approved a site plan waiver, SDP-2004-00020, for this use.
The proposal includes the relocation of the original proposed barn (which has not yet been built) to allow for easier horse-trailer turns, increase of the proposed barn from 20 by 40 feet to 40 by 60 feet for an additional examination room (to reduce waiting times, so that horses and trailers will spend less time on the site), and the addition of a 50-foot diameter covered riding ring for the examination of horses’ gaits. The hours of operation would not change. Nighttime uses would only include occasionally keeping horses in the paddocks when needed.
The proposed concept plan relates to the building layout and not the character or the intensity of the use. Facilities are being added in this case to have examination rooms rather than one and the new enclosed ring.
The Comprehensive Plan designates this property as Rural Area. Large-animal veterinary services, such as this equine facility, are supportive of the County’s goals for maintaining the viability of agriculture and open-space uses in the Rural Areas.
Staff has identified the following factors favorable to this application:
1. This equine veterinary use supports agriculture in the Rural Areas.
2. The proposed amendment would meet the applicants’ needs without significantly increasing impacts on the area.
Staff has identified no factors unfavorable to this application.
The Planning Commission is being requested to take the following three actions, as follows:
Based on the findings contained in this staff report, staff recommends approval of SP 03-082 with the following conditions. There is a change suggested in condition 1 regarding the title and date of the plan for the current proposal; also adding a condition for lighting to prevent light spill on neighboring properties; and deleting the four conditions 3-6 since all of these conditions have been met in previous reviews and the process of the previous application.:
The site shall be developed in
general accord with the conceptual plan titled
Old Dominion Equine Associates
Concept Plan, revised 2/16/04, and prepared by Muncaster Engineering “Tax
Map 50 Parcel D Proposed Improvements”, revised April 2, 2009, and prepared by
Roudabush, Gale & Associates, Inc.
2. All outdoor lighting shall be only full cut-off fixtures and shielded to reflect light away from all abutting properties. A lighting plan limiting light levels at all property lines to no greater than 0.3 foot candles shall be submitted to the Zoning Administrator or their designee for approval.
The applicants shall provide a
preliminary landscape plan that reflects the surrounding rural landscape to the
satisfaction of the Architectural Review Board; 4.
The applicants shall provide
landscaping along all parking areas to the satisfaction of the Architectural
Review Board; 5.
Any outdoor lighting shall be
designed to be appropriate to the rural environment to the satisfaction of the
Architectural Review Board; and 6.
The applicants shall grant
sight-distance easements on Route 640 to the satisfaction of the Virginia
Department of Transportation.
Staff also recommends that the Commission approve the requested waiver of section 5.1.11 of the Zoning Ordinance. This is supplemental regulations for veterinary offices all of which relate to soundproofing and setbacks for essentially barking dogs. That does not apply in this case.
Staff also recommends approval of the site plan waiver, SDP 2008-00149, with the following conditions that are based on using this conceptual plan for the special use permit in place of the site plan:
1. Architectural Review Board issuance of a Certificate of Appropriateness for the two new structures.
2. Approval of WPO application, to include Erosion and Sediment Control Plan and Stormwater Management.
3. Health Department approval of the use.
Mr. Strucko asked if there were any questions for staff. There being none, he opened the public hearing and asked if the applicant would like to address the Commission.
Mr. Edgerton asked to see a copy of the plan previously approved.
Mr. Clark displayed a copy of the previously approved plan on the document camera.
Mr. Edgerton noted that would help him take into consideration some of the comments made in the letter that arrived via email this afternoon from Ms. Schurecht.
Ms. Joseph questioned how staff would enforce the conditions if something changes if they remove the conditions.
Mr. Kamptner replied said that in this particular case in looking at condition 3, which essentially requires ARB approval under the ARB and Entrance Corridor regulations would be enforceable through section 30.6.
Mr. Cilimberg pointed out that the site plan waiver actually has the Certificate of Appropriateness requirement as a condition.
Mr. Kamptner noted that condition 4 and 5 would be the same and number 6 is a State requirement. The applicant would always have to be in compliance with VDOT’s regulations. In this case the conditions are addressed by other regulations.
Ms. Joseph questioned what was different in the new plan.
Mr. Edgerton noted that the riding ring was much different from just a pasture. There is also a shed that is not on the original plan. The barn is about 1 ½ times bigger than what was originally proposed. The riding ring and the covered pen are all new additions.
Mr. Clark noted that the riding ring shown is an open fenced area and not a structure.
Mr. Edgerton noted that the use is the issue. He felt that the letter made a good point. If it is actually going to be used as a riding ring on a regular basis it is going to kick up a lot of dust as opposed to a pasture. It looks like a bit more intense than what was originally proposed. He would certainly want to hear from the applicant on this.
There being no further questions for staff, Mr. Strucko opened the public hearing and invited the applicant to address the Commission.
Keith Brady, representative of Old Dominion Equine, said that he was an Equine Veterinarian and had been practicing in Albemarle County for 15 years. He made the following comments.
· His partner Jeffrey Beshear had been here for 9 years. They started in practice together in 2002 and then bought this property in 2004. Their initial special use permit allowed them to modify the abandoned store. They modified it by renovating the inside and putting in a second floor. They took away the off road parking and put the parking lot behind the building. As they have gotten to the point of being able to afford to build the barn it has occurred that after having lived in the facility that there is no way that a horse trailer is going to be able to get turned around with the other cars already there.
· After looking at this and realizing that they had to come back in front of the Commission and Board they noted that their application needed revamping in order to get it right this time. That is why there is a fair amount of change from the previous request. In the previous diagram the grassy area in the center of the parking area was where the initial barn was located. They are simply moving the barn over some. That is the real thrust of what they are doing here.
· The covered round pen is secondary in importance. Their intent is to treat the horses on the barn. They try to keep their practice style very simple. They don’t want to have a hospital facility on site. They are going to continue to treat the horses on the farm, but what will occasionally happen is that they will have a client locally who is considering purchasing a horse from out of town where they will need to bring the horse in. Currently they have to figure out an arrangement to meet them at another stable that is a safe enclosure to bring a horse in to do their examination. This is definitely not going to be any kind of a boarding facility where horses are going to be living day in and day out. The horses will not be turned out on the paddock overnight. The paddock will be useful because some of the younger horses are not yet trained to be ridden and nobody can get on them. Therefore, they could not look at those horses in the riding ring.
· They would put those horses in the paddock to move them around to see the way that they move in looking for lameness and that kind of thing. They have enhanced the property greatly with landscaping. They are very committed an aesthetic environment. Therefore, they are not going to allow the horses to damage the trees and the other foliage that is out there. The riding ring is going to be used occasionally for examinations. It is going to be a very limited use. In his last practice this type of riding ring was used 2 to 3 times per week.
· He wanted to address the water consumption issue. Currently being that they travel around the country side they are really not there all day. They have two staff members that work in the office that use the restroom. They have some equipment that has to be cleaned. There is not much water usage. Having horses there will require some drinking water. There is no plumbing planned for the inside of the barn. So there won’t be any increase in water. Horses drink from 6 to 10 gallons in a 24 hour period if there all day. Typically the waste water from that will be used to water the landscape. The water buckets will be thrown outside the barn to water the landscaping.
· The visual impact is minimal since the barn should not be very visible from the Entrance Corridor. The existing building that is fairly close to the road is going to shield the barn. There are also some mature trees along the Entrance Corridor. From the other side of the property they have an existing row of Leyland Cyprus trees, which are about 6’ tall. Another row of trees have been planted on the inside of that, which will be staggered. Once those trees reach mature height there should be very little visual impact. As far as any type of dust from the riding ring each tree will probably be 6‘ to 8’ in diameter. There will be about 6’ to 8’ of dense foliage, which will prevent any type of dust from carrying over. Again, this riding ring will be used very minimally.
· They don’t plan any additional signage. As far as disposal of solid waste, as they perform procedures and they have any additional trash accumulation, they have a recycling bin and a dumpster. He did not expect that they would need anything more than that. They don’t use the existing dumpster and recycling bin to capacity as is. The horses will obviously have some manure, which they plan to take that off-site. They will be keeping the manure in a waste bin and then will be having it hauled off to be composed.
Mr. Strucko invited questions for the applicant.
Mr. Loach assumed that the riding ring was really being used for diagnostic purposes to put the horse there and to watch their gait, etc. It is not riding just for riding.
Mr. Brady replied that is correct. It is an important distinction because their lameness exams will typically lasts 15 minutes at the most as opposed to someone exercising a horse for 30 to 40 minutes. It is a much less amount of time that the ring is being in use.
Mr. Edgerton said that several structures are on the new plan. He asked what is going to happen in the barn and why do they need to make it so much bigger.
Mr. Brady replied that one of the realizations they had was with the smaller barn there would not be any additional room for the ancillary things such as hay storage, bedding storage, rakes and brooms. With the additional barn they are going to have more room for storage and prevent clutter outdoors.
Mr. Edgerton asked if the barn will have some horses in it without water.
Mr. Brady replied that was correct. The horses will have a bucket of water. He would need some type of hydrant outside or adjacent. The procedures need to be done in very clean sterile conditions in a treatment room. It is just basically a clean space with safe footing that the horse can be on out of the weather to receive treatment such as an injection.
Mr. Edgerton noted that there is a proposed paddock, riding ring and covered pen. He asked what the difference in the activities was from the original plan.
Mr. Brady replied that this being their third time amending the special use permit they were very motivated in putting everything down that they would ultimately want to do to with the property to get the maximum benefit. As they have taken this small cinder block building and slowly renovated the interior and added the second story it has been an expensive time consuming process to come back. They looked at the plan to see everything they would want to do with the property. That motivated them to put all of these things on the plan. The paddocks are where they would turn a horse out so that they can move around and graze, whereas, a riding ring is a place where they have good footing where the horse can be ridden on that would be completely level. A lay up paddock is small and would be used if you have a horse that perhaps has an injury and needs to be put out to get some sunshine and a little grass without exercise. The paddock on the southeast of the property does not have a lot of trees and he could see that being used less frequently. The other important design element is the perimeter fence because Route 231 is a fairly heavily traveled road. They need some kind of an enclosure so that when the horses come in as they are being loaded on and off the trailer in case if one should ever get away that it would be a safe environment for them. The shed would be intended for implements or just for a storage shed. The covered round pen would be another exercise area.
Mr. Edgerton asked if he got a copy of letter from his next door neighbor, Ms. Schurecht.
Mr. Brady replied no.
Mr. Edgerton asked if he had gone over his plans with Tia Schurecht. It appears in the photograph that her front door is focused right at the proposed riding ring and the paddock. She is concerned about that.
Mr. Brady noted that he was not sure it was relevant in the way this all unfolded. They bought their property in 2004 and then the 1.5 acre land L shaped land around it went on the market. It turns out there were 3 building lots there. So the 3 homes were built around them just afterwards. They obviously realized that would potentially create conflicts. Unfortunately they did not get the jump on the real estate deal. They did offer the man who had the contract or the developer to buy the contract from him. They were unsuccessful in doing that. That was the way things unfolded. They feel that their use of the land is more in line with rural area.
Mr. Edgerton said that she represents in her letter that the original special use permit had been based on a promise that this would primarily be an office space. Actually in the beginning of the presentation he had said that the primary use of the property they would be off the property. But it looks like they are planning on doing a lot more on the property now than what they were originally planning. He was just curious about that.
Mr. Clark noted that in the original approval that barn site was essentially the same on site examination use that they were seeing here, but obviously a lot smaller. But there were no restrictions.
Mr. Edgerton noted that he was surprised that the barn had increased in size, but the other activities such as the riding ring is a new one and the new covered pen.
Mr. Brady noted that the original plan had a riding ring on it as well.
Jeffrey Beshear, representative of Old Dominion Equine, noted that it was basically where the barn is now. When they redesigned this they planned to the design as a small farmette, which is similar to others in the area. They are not trying to stick out but actually to blend into the area.
Mr. Edgerton asked if the three surrounding houses were built after their original approval.
Mr. Beshear replied that was correct.
Mr. Morris asked if the plan reflects what they perceive to be their needs for the future.
Mr. Brady replied that was correct.
Mr. Strucko invited other public comment.
Judith Somme, resident across Gordonsville Road from Old Dominion Equine, said the store was closed when they bought the property. They have improved the appearance of the property and have kept it neat and tidy. Her concern with this configuration is that the size of the barn has tripled and she did not know what was inside it. Originally they were planning a three stall barn with two paddocks. That indicated five horses max on the property at any one time. Her concern about water usage has been allayed by Dr. Brady because he said they are not planning on having running water or additional bathroom facilities. It is not going to increase the water intensity. There is a water problem in the area. The Cash Corner Store was a gas station and there was a gasoline leak. She thought that it was discovered in the ‘90’s. The tanks were removed when Dr. Brady and his group bought the facility. But of the three houses that the county issued 3 building permits on an acre and a half. The minimum building lot in Albemarle County is supposed to be 2 acres. So of the 3 houses 2 of the 3 had gasoline in their water. The State is now in the process of remediation by digging new wells for 2. She did not have all of the details and was not an expert on this. But she was not sure that the problem has been completely addressed. She knew that the recharge rate there is low. If it is no worse with this change, then maybe it does not matter. She would like to know the number of stalls in the barn, the configuration of the interior and the elevation, is it going to be a one-story or two-story barn and what is the roof line going to look like. That is her primary concern at this point. The water issue she would leave to the neighbors and the Commission.
Tia Schurecht, an adjoining neighbor, noted that she wrote the letter about the water situation which is in a state of flux since nothing has been resolved. There might be a better time to make a decision and moving forward with this property after the other issues get resolved.
Jake Oldstein, a friend of Tia Schurecht, said that they can’t have horses without water. There is water being used. If have indoor round pen there has to be water or the horses will choke on whatever surface because it would get very dusty. As far as the outdoor ring with one horse at a time isn’t as big an issue, but there will be some dust from it especially in the summer. In the dry point of year the water table is lower and the water issue has not been resolved with DEQ. They think Tia’s well is alright, but not the other 2 wells. The water flow is very weak and additional water use, which there would have to be, could really be adverse.
Ms. Schurecht noted that there were 3 houses where they don’t have their water issues resolved. They may be resolved. Therefore, it seems that there would be a better time to make a decision about this area.
There being no further public comment, Mr. Strucko closed the public hearing to bring the matter before the Planning Commission.
Mr. Strucko invited the applicant to address a few issues.
Mr. Loach questioned the number of stalls and roofline.
Dr. Brady replied that the plan for the barn is to have four stalls. One end of the barn would be stalls and the other end would be two separated treatment rooms. The Architectural Review Board reviewed the barn. The vision is it to be a one-story barn structure, but because the pitch of the roof on the building is fairly steep they imagine having a center piece that would have a little more pitch to it so it would match. He assumed it could be called a story and a half. The middle of it would have a floor in it to store hay or anything else. Basically it is a one-story barn with a slightly raised middle portion.
Mr. Loach asked what the status of water is on the property. He asked if they had a problem with water.
Dr. Beshear said that they were familiar with the situation with the gasoline. The way that worked was that there was a known water contamination of the ground water in the 1970’s when the country store was operated. In the 80’s they removed the tanks. By the time they bought the property they did additional soil samples, which all came back clean. It was not until these new homes were built the two houses along Route 231 when they drilled their wells detected gasoline in the wells. They went back and determined that it was obviously from the previous contamination. So what they think is that the gasoline seeped down through the dirt into the aquifer. That is why when they sampled the dirt underneath where the tank was they did not find anything. What has happened in the meantime is that they have cooperated fully with the DEQ. They came onto their property and drilled five monitoring wells where they tapped to try to determine which direction the aquifer is flowing and determined where gas is and isn’t. Once that was done they gave permission to go across their land with additional well drilling rigs and they have now drilled two additional supply wells to replace the two contaminated wells on the additional properties. His last communication with John Pepper from Vista Environmental Services indicated that they did get a good clean water source on those two additional wells. He did think that there was additional testing going on and he was not sure of the exact status at this time.
Dr. Brady noted that their wells seem to be fine since they tested them as well.
Mr. Strucko asked if there are any other questions.
Mr. Franco asked if they water the covered ring.
Dr. Brady pointed out there are a lot of footings that can be bought in a small area like that which require less. They have all sorts of synthetic footings that can be used to cut down on that. He thought that there would be no more watering than one would do for their garden. Again, being that they might use it once or twice a week it won’t be a lot. They need to have a hydrant near the barn, but it is not going to be plumbing inside the barn. There will be nothing different than watering flowers. It will happen occasionally, but once or twice a week probably at most.
Dr. Beshear reiterated that by time the foliage grows in they will have about 16’ deep and about 30’ high of dense foliage. So he would think there would be very little dust if any that can penetrate that thick foliage to get to the other side.
Mr. Loach asked if there is any formula or limitation they have to meet as criteria for a minimum amount of water that they can use.
Mr. Kamptner replied there is a limitation in certain districts where the by right uses in that district require a special use permit if they are going to consume more than 400 gallons per acre per day. That regulation does not exist in this district.
Mr. Cilimberg noted that it was in commercial districts where there is no public water. There is a limitation on how much ground water can be pulled for the commercial use before one would have to get a special use permit.
Ms. Joseph said that she was looking at all these uses and her neighbors has a riding ring and can put up a barn any size as long as they meet the required setbacks. They only need a zoning clearance to put in a barn in a rural area district. They can have the tallest manure pile in the world if they want it. With this special use permit they are getting more regulation than they would for a normal farm. If they sold this to someone who wanted to put horses on there they could put as many horses as they want to. They could do everything they are requesting to do here except practice veterinary medicine. They are putting a lot of regulations and requirements on this, which are normal activities that one would see within the rural areas except for the trailers coming on and the horses coming in and out a lot. There are horse traders that do a similar activity and there are no regulations on that. Therefore, she sees this as something that is supportive of agricultural uses. She was sorry about the water problem, but had been apprehensive knowing that those houses were going on such small lots in the rural area. Therefore, she did not have a problem supporting the request.
Mr. Loach agreed with Ms. Joseph in support of this request. The uses described are consistent with veterinary service and horse treatment purposes. He had not heard anything that indicated the water usage was going to larger than what they are using now.
Mr. Morris agreed. The applicant had taken an old country store which was an eyesore and turned it into something useful. It does concern him that they are putting so many restrictions on something that otherwise if it was for a private individual that they would not have those restrictions.
Mr. Strucko noted that there were three actions for the Planning Commission to consider.
Action on the Special Use Permit:
Mr. Morris moved and Mr. Franco seconded moved for approval of SP-2008-00031, Old Dominion Equine Barn & Riding Ring, subject to staff’s recommended conditions, as amended.
The motion carried by a vote of (6:0).
Mr. Kamptner asked a question about the waiver for Section 5.1.11. Since the use classification is broad enough to include any type of veterinary office should the waiver be conditioned to veterinary services for horses or something other than any veterinary service other than dogs.
Mr. Loach suggested equine veterinary services.
Mr. Clark noted that it was done when the waiver was issued last time. That would be a change.
Ms. Joseph noted that it was a waiver from 5.1.11. What they are doing is limiting this because they want it to be limited to equine services. She asked if that was correct.
Mr. Kamptner replied that either that or it applies to any animals other than dogs. He asked if the applicant treats any other types of animals.
Dr. Beshear replied no.
Dr. Brady said that equine would appropriate.
Mr. Kamptner noted that the condition would be that the waiver would be limited to veterinary services for equine.
Action on the Waiver of Section 5.1.11:
Motion: Ms. Joseph moved and Mr. Franco seconded for approval of a waiver of Section 5.1.11 with the following condition.
1. The waiver is limited to equine veterinary services.
The motion carried by a vote of (6:0).
Action on the Site Plan Waiver:
Motion: Mr. Morris moved and Mr. Franco seconded for approval of SP-2008-00149, Old Dominion Equine Barn & Riding Ring – site plan waiver subject to the following conditions:
1. Architectural Review Board issuance of a Certificate of Appropriateness.
2. Approval of WPO application, to include Erosion and Sediment Control Plan and Stormwater Management.
3. Health Department approval.
The motion carried by a vote of (6:0).
Mr. Strucko noted that SP-2008-0031 Old Dominion Equine will go to the Board of Supervisors on a date to be determined with a recommendation for approval. SDP-2009-00149 Old Dominion Barn & Riding Ring – Waiver was approved.
Return to PC actions letter