The Albemarle County Planning Commission reluctantly approved the creation of a new lot in the Bellair Neighborhood subdividing a 2.4 acre parcel at the request of developer Lane Bonner.  The preliminary plat for this project was approved unanimously by the Commission in February 2008 with the condition that it return for review of the final plat.  The County’s R1 zoning allows Bonner to build a home by right on parcels that are at least 0.97 acres and meet other County zoning requirements.

Podcast produced by Charlottesville Tomorrow * Player by Odeo

Listen using player above or download the podcast:

Download 20090106 -BellairSub

Bonner owns other nearby lots in Bellair including one that was sub-divided by the Board of Supervisors in June 2008.  Bonner said in February that he plans to develop what had been 3 parcels in Bellair into 5 lots on a total of 7.3 acres.

Several neighborhood residents and community members spoke in opposition to the project, as they have at past public hearings.  Last year residents expressed concern that the increased number of homes would not be in keeping with the style of the neighborhood.  Commissioners Bill Edgerton (Jack Jouett), Eric Strucko (Samuel Miller) and Linda Porterfield (Scottsville) initially voted to deny its approval.  However, with only three of six votes, and more importantly because the Commission could not articulate an unsatisfied condition, they did not have sound legal footing to deny the project.

Planning Commissioner Marcia Joseph (At-Large) expressed concern regarding the size and location of septic drainfields on the site.  Due to the small lot sizes, topography and location of wetlands, non-traditional septic systems might need to be installed and the health department’s requirements for these systems were unclear to the Commission.

Albemarle County Planning Commissioners

Bellair resident Ellen Holmes told the Planning Commission that she did not believe the delineation of wetlands on the site plan was accurate.  Senior Engineer for Albemarle County, Glenn Brooks, told the Commission he was confident that the plans are accurate and that from an engineering standpoint, the site meets the criteria for septic systems.  In response to concerns regarding the non-traditional septic systems, Environmental Health Manager, Jeff McDaniel told the Commission that these types of systems have been approved and used in many other subdivisions throughout the County.

Joel Loving, a Bellair resident, expressed concern that the site is not an adequate size for two new homes and said that the developer, Lane Bonner, had not adequately communicated with neighbors during the site planning process.  “There’s barely enough room for one home much less the two that are proposed,” he said.  “The developer has gone to ridiculous extremes to put a large square peg into a very small round hole.”

Commissioner Porterfield asked planning staff if Bonner has more proposed subdivisions in the area that will be coming before the Planning Commission.  Staff responded that there is one more that has been approved by staff.

The Planning Commission approved the final site plan for subdivision of the property in the Bellair neighborhood with a vote of 5 to 1 with Commissioner Edgerton opposing.  Commissioner Jon Cannon (Rio) was not present.

Brian Wheeler and Fania Gordon


A "T" on a purple circle

Charlottesville Tomorrow

Interested in what we're working on next? Sign up for our weekly newsletter and never miss a story.