By Julia Glendening

Charlottesville Tomorrow

Monday, June 15, 2009

On June 10, 2009, Ronald and Janie Matheny appeared before the

Albemarle County Board of Supervisors

to request an additional development right on their property in western Albemarle near the County’s border with Nelson County. The Mathenys hoped to divide their property to create a new family subdivision allowing for the construction of a new home for their grandson. The Planning Commission reviewed the request on April 21, 2009 and by a 4-2 vote recommended denial to the Board of Supervisors. The Board of Supervisors also denied the request because the majority determined it was not in accordance with the County’s

strategy to limit development in the rural area


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The Matheny’s current lot is 4.9 acres and they requested an additional development right to allow their grandson to build on 2.17 of the acres. Their property on Craigs Store Road was previously divided to create five small residential parcels, all of which are owned by the Mathenys. The land is part of the County’s Rural Areas and additional development rights, beyond what the family had already created, are not in compliance with the rural areas zoning.

In their discussion, the Board of Supervisors established that if the new building was an accessory apartment, new development rights would not have to be granted.

Amelia McCulley

the County’s Zoning Administrator, defined an accessory apartment as a neighboring dwelling that must be connected to the main building by a “conditioned space” and cannot exceed 35% of the total gross area of the main building. Since the Mathenys wanted to develop a separate dwelling, the Board was asked to consider a special circumstance for their family subdivision.

Director of Planning,

Wayne Cilimberg

, stated twenty requests for additional rural development rights, in excess of what is allowed by-right, have come before the board since 1981 and half were approved. Half of these approvals were for additional lots for family members.

Location map of the Matheny lot


Sally Thomas

(Samuel Miller) was opposed to granting the request and said she has never approved an increase of rural development rights. She said she could only remember one approval in the past 16 years she has been a member of the Board and the approval was for the development of the

North Garden fire station on December 5, 2007

. She also recognized the Mathenys reside in her district. “Although it hurts when it’s one family,” said Thomas, “I think we sitting up here have to think about hundreds of families and not just one.”


Ken Boyd

(Rivanna) was in favor of granting the development right and said he believed the Board should have “compassion.” “Sometimes we have to have a little common sense,” said Boyd, who commented on how he supported family subdivisions. The only Supervisor who agreed with Boyd was

Lindsay Dorrier

(Scottsville) who said he did not think this development would deviate greatly from their rural area protection strategies.

However, Supervisors

Dennis Rooker

(Jack Jouett),

Ann Mallek

(White Hall), and

David Slutzky

(Rio) all expressed their concern that if they approved this petition, it would set a precedent for the approval of future requests.

“I think we’ve put a lot of thought and effort into trying to encourage growth activities inside of our development areas, that’s what the

[Rural Areas] Comprehensive Plan

contemplates and I think that’s what we need to stick to,” said Slutzky.

The Board denied the development right by a vote of 4-2. Even though the request was for a family subdivision, the majority of the board decided it was not an extreme circumstance that justified approval of the special use permit.


01:10 Slutzky introduces topic

01:22 Cilimberg reviews staff report

10:10 Janie Matheny answers questions

18:22 Thomas states why she does not grant approval

19:35 Boyd explains his approval

20:55 Slutzky comments on the request

22:10 Dorrier gives his opinion

24:30 Rooker explains problems with approval

25:00 Mallek remarks on voting consistency

26:45 Motion to deny development right


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