Planning Commission Summary for October 30, 2007
Albemarle County Planning Commission
has voted 5-2 to recommend rejection of a rezoning that would further expand the Glenmore community. The applicant has requested several parcels of land southeast of the existing Glenmore development be rezoned as Planned Residential Development. KG Associates seeks to build an additional 110 homes on the property.
The item was first reviewed at a public hearing on August 21, 2007.
While the Commission recommended approval at that meeting, a second hearing had to be held because a discrepancy was found in the legal advertisement. One of the tax parcel numbers had been omitted from the ad, and others were incorrect.
After the first public hearing, the Planning Commission made three specific recommendations:
County Planner Elaine Echols said the recommendation of staff was to approve the rezoning if the developer met those recommendations. But, at the October 30 public hearing, the applicant had not made the first two changes, though Echols said she had been talking to the developer’s representative, Don Franco, about the cash proffers.
“There were changes to the proffers, but there were not changes to the plan,” Echols told the Commission. “But the proffers were just changed in some ways to make it clear what they were proffering and certainly to provide the greenway information.”
The applicant’s representative, Don Franco, told the Commission that the requested changes to the plan were graphical in nature, and that he would be taking up the affordable housing proffers issue when the item goes before the Board of Supervisors on November 14. The developer wants to base the affordable housing contribution on 76 units, and feels that a credit should be granted for environmentally-sensitive design.
Planning Commissioner Eric Strucko (Samuel Miller) said he could not support the rezoning because he was concerned about the extra density in the location, which is within the County’s growth area. “Given the fact that we don’t have rural preservation policies in place, I cannot support this,” he said. He also said he was opposed to the applicant’s request for any credits.
Commission Chair Marcia Joseph (At-Large) said she was disappointed that nothing was changed on the plan. “I feel as if it doesn’t really matter what we say or what kind of approval or what kind of recommendations we give to the Board,” she said. “We needed all 110 units within the proffers.”
Assistant County Attorney Greg Kamptner said the applicant wants the chance to explain why they feel they need a credit to the Board, and that’s why they’ve not made the change.
Commissioners Cal Morris (Rivanna) and Duane Zobrist (White Hall) voted for approval, while Commissioners Joseph, Strucko, Bill Edgerton (Jack Jouett), Pete Craddock (Scottsville) and Jon Cannon (Rio) voted against.
Another expansion at Glenmore, the Livengood parcel, was approved earlier this month.
The Commission also recommended rejection of a rezoning of acres of land off of West Rio Road from R-6 the Neighborhood Model District. The owner of the property, George Ray, wants to build a mixed-use community called Oakleigh Farm that would feature 109 housing units arranged as well as 28,000 square feet of commercial retail space.
Two of the buildings fronting Rio Road would have the commercial space on the first level, with residences located on upper floors. Behind that, the development would open up into a series of multi-family units arranged around a grove of trees, as well as two single family cottages. The property is bordered by the Berkmar Crossing, Heritage Hall and a business called the Garden Spot. Fifty-three percent of the project would be either open space or some other amenity, according to the applicant’s attorney, Valerie Long.
County Planner Claudette Grant told the Commission the proposal meets with most of the principles of the Neighborhood Model, and that the applicant will preserve 39 existing mature trees. However, she also listed several factors that are unfavorable to rezoning. For instance, she said the impacts on public facilities are not appropriately offset through proffers, a buffer with Heritage Hall has not been finalized, as well as several issues with the plan identified by the Architectural Review Board. Grant said the applicant has agreed to resolve the issues and is working with staff.
There are no affordable housing provisions in the plan, but Grant said the developer may change this before it goes to the Board. If not, Oakleigh may pay an additional cash proffer to meet the County’s affordable housing.
Long said the applicant is requesting proffer credits based on two provisions in the County’s recently adopted cash proffer policy. First, she said the policy allows states that the Board of Supervisors “has the discretion to give credit for existing lot yields if the application provides substantial upgrade over current design development standards.” Second, she says the policy allows for credit to be given “if there are unique circumstances about a project that mitigates the development’s impact on public facilities.”
Long said Oakleigh qualifies for both of those credits because it would build a mixed-use community in Neighborhood Model, and because the County will receive tax revenue as a result of the commercial space. The developer could build between 52 and 78 residences by-right, and Long estimates that the project will generate $ 65,000 per year in tax revenues. She asked the Commission to consider granting a proffer credit of $325,000 based on five years.
Commissioner Pete Craddock said he thought it was up to the Supervisors to answer the proffer question. Commissioner Cannon lauded the project for taking tree preservation seriously, but said he did not feel it’s the Commission’s role to make exceptions to the “strict terms” of the proffer policy.
“I don’t understand how they expect us to exercise their discretion,” Cannon said.
Commissioner Edgerton said he could not support the project because not enough had been done to push for a buffer between Oakleigh and Heritage Hall. He also said he felt it was not appropriate for the Commission to weigh in on cash proffer credits.
The Commission voted unanimously to recommend rejection. The item will go before the Board of Supervisors on December 12, 2007.
The Planning Commission voted unanimously to amend a previous rezoning of the Liberty Hall project, acres that were rezoned in June 2006 to Neighborhood Model District. The change allows for construction of a total of 51 residential units off of Radford Lane in the Crozet area. The language in the original rezoning did not include language that would have allowed the developer, Weatherhill Development, to rent out the 8 proffered affordable housing units. The amendment now includes that language. No other changes were made to the rezoning, and the project is nearing final site plan approval. Valerie Long, who represents the developer, says the amendment was requested to provide flexibility once the units are built. The item goes before the Board of Supervisors on December 12
OTHER COMMISSION ITEMS
The Commission also held a work-session on the rezoning of Downtown Crozet, as well as a work-session on a proposal to rezone a parcel of land to the south of Liberty Hall to Highway Commercial to accommodate a landscaping business. Charlottesville Tomorrow will publish stories on those topics in the near future.