SPCA to get fences for walking trails

SPCA Executive Director Susanne Kogut


Albemarle County Planning Commission Commission

has approved two waiver requests from the

Charlottesville Albemarle SPCA

that will allow the organization to
build a fenced-in exercise area for dogs held at the facility. The
County usually requires structures that hold animals to have solid
fencing, as well as a 500-foot setback from the property line.
Additionally, the County requires structures built along land zoned
residential to be built at least 20 feet away from the property line.

SPCA Executive Director Susanne Kogut said the fenced areas would
allow would-be adopters to visit with dogs before deciding to go ahead
with the adoption. She said using solid-fencing would be prohibitively
expensive, and would not allow volunteers to monitor the initial
interactions. The SPCA has occupied the facility since 2005, but a
donor came forward with the funding to make the improvements. The
SPCA’s previous property was taken by the Virginia Department of
Transportation as part of the right of way purchase for the proposed
Western Bypass.

Staff found no factors against approval and set several conditions
for granting the permit, including times when the new exercise areas
could be used.

“The proposed exercise areas will provide a safer and
more comfortable environment for staff, volunteers and potential
adopters to take care of and interact with the dogs,” said Senior
Planner Judy Weigand.

Kogut said she felt the additional facilities would improve the
overall noise situation at the SPCA because dogs that get the chance to
exercise are less likely to bark for human attention.


Eric Strucko

(Samuel Miller) said he was concerned
about the possibility of extra noise at the location, especially if
surrounding properties are eventually developed as residential
properties. Wiegand said she felt that commercial uses were more likely
as the area develops and redevelops. Deputy County Attorney Greg
Kamptner said that barking dogs are exempt from the County’s noise

But Commissioner

Jon Cannon (Rio)

called the SPCA facility “a fact”
and that anyone who chooses to develop surrounding lots would have to
factor in its existence as they make their plans. With that, the
Commission voted unanimously to grant the waivers. Chairman


(At-Large) told Wiegand to make sure she can show examples of what fencing
material will be used when the SPCA’s request goes before the Board of
Supervisors on January 9, 2008.

Crozet Gateway Center plan denied

The location of the proposed Crozet Gateway Center is marked in red

The owner of the proposed Crozet Gateway Center has been told by the

Planning Commission

that when he builds a combination retail-office facility on his property, he’ll have to build all of the parking spaces required by County ordinances.

Adnan Yousef plans to build two buildings in the northeast corner of the intersection of Route 240 and U.S. Route 250 (Brownsville Road and Rockfish Gap Turnpike), on two acres property zoned Highway Commercial and Entrance Corridor. The buildings will house a mixture of office and retail space at just under 30,000 square feet. An existing gas station will be torn down to make room.

In his site plan, Yousef had asked for a waiver to allow him to create fewer parking spaces than required by the County’s zoning ordinance, claiming that the combination of two uses would allow for shared parking. Staff had recommended denial of the waiver out of a concern that if the available spaces fill up, shoppers or office workers would “get creative” with parking, causing potential safety hazards.

During the Commission’s discussion, Chairman

Marcia Joseph

(At-Large) said she thought the idea of having few parking spaces would help promote a walkable Crozet. But staff pointed out that there are few other developments within walking distance of the proposed Center.

The Commission voted 5-2 to recommend denial of the site plan application. Yousef now has until December 21 to decide whether he will appeal the Commission’s decision to the Board of Supervisors.

Violin crafter gets tentative approval to use home to make instruments

The Albemarle County Planning Commission has recommended approval of a special use permit for a violin maker to craft the instruments at his home in rural Albemarle County near Covesville.  Colin Gallahue says he’ll make about six instruments a year, and that sales will primarily be via mail order.

Violin maker Colin Gallahue

Gallahue requested a special use permit to allow him to make violins, as well as to sell the instruments on-site. Staff recommended approval because the building in which the violins will be made is already standing, and is not visible by surrounding properties, the violins will be made by hand rather than by machines, and because the requested use is consistent with the area’s cultural tradition. Staff did not find any unfavorable factors associated with the request. Gallahue won’t be able to hire anyone without going back for another special use permit.

Landscape architect and former Planning Commissioner Will Reilly spoke in favor of the approval, saying that Gallahue’s business is exactly the type of small business required in the rural areas.

The item goes before the Board of Supervisors on January 9, 2008.

Sean Tubbs


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