Vito Cetta, a manager of Barracks Heights LLC, presented his initial site plans and elevations to the Albemarle Architectural Review Board to get feedback and suggestions before coming back and pursuing the board’s approval.
“These units could sell for up to $900,000,” Cetta said. “People love the idea of being close to town.”
In addition to the high-end homes, the site will eventually include some housing priced around $211,000.
To address concerns from neighboring property owners, Cetta and his team held several meetings to find agreeable solutions.
In addition to the development, the original house on the property will remain.
“The house cannot be commercial,” said Cetta. “It could be a club house, but we don’t know.”
The board made suggestions to Cetta to help their evaluation and possible approval of the property at a later meeting.
“Elevations would help with the evaluation,” said board member Bruce Wardell.
“I would encourage three-dimensional views if at all possible,” said board member John Quale.
The development of the project will be phased, but Cetta reassured the board that the site will stay in good condition.
“People are not going to spend that kind of money if it is not well built or landscaped,” he said. “We’re going to be removing the overhead lines, and we’ll heavily landscape the [front area facing Barracks Road].”
Another item discussed at the meeting was the recommendation for approval on a portion of the 21-acre New Hope Church property off Dickerson Road near Piney Mountain.
The board recommended approval of the final site plan that lies in the entrance corridor area after hearing a concern from Supervisor Ann H. Mallek.
The project’s developers hope to complete the work in two phases, which features a church able to seat about 400 people. Only a small portion of the property lies in the designated entrance corridor off U.S. Route 29, limiting the board’s review.
Last year, neighboring property owners appealed to the Board of Supervisors to reject the site plan. Complaints included the size of the church, disturbance of critical slopes and the lack of accommodation of neighbor concerns.
The Board of Supervisors rejected their appeal and approved the site plan.
During the meeting, Mallek raised concern that more trees were being cut down than had been authorized and a different site plan than what the supervisors approved was being used.
“There is a much more dramatic exposure [to U.S. Route 29] than was planned,” Mallek said. “There was an S-curve in the original drawing and that is all gone.”
Albemarle County staff recommended approval of the revised plan.
“We looked at [the changes] extensively, and we found that it matches the concept plan that was approved by the board,” said Albemarle senior planner Megan Yaniglos.
One recommendation was to steepen the slope of the road, which would allow fewer trees to be cut down.
The pastor of New Hope Church, Mike Henderson, also addressed the concerns about trees.
“From the outset, our goal was to retain as many trees as possible,” Henderson said. “We want to increase the trees in here. We want an attractive entrance to the property.”
Ultimately, Mallek’s concern with additional trees being cut down was outside of the entrance corridor, thus outside of the board’s review.
Although the board could not directly address the concern, they offered a suggestion for similar future situations.
“If people think it is important to look at the rest of the site, then the ordinance needs to change so the ARB can look at the rest of the site,” said board member Marcia Joseph.
The board unanimously voted to recommend the final site plan for approval.