Greene County PC Discusses Comp Plan, Signs and more

Greene County Planning Commission

Greene County Administration Building

Kara L. Reese, Greene County Field Officer

September 17, 2008

 

Executive Summary:

SUP#08-003: Grant Ave. Development/Gateway Market Center, LLC request for a special use permit allowing an electronic message center on a 0.741 acre tract which is zoned B-3 and located on Seminole Trail – Approved

Adoption of Proposed Planning Commission By-laws – Deferred

 

Work Session – 6:30 pm:

            A work session was held to continue work on the County’s business district zoning. It was determined that many of the business categories still needed to be more clearly defined before they could be placed in a district. Another work session will likely take place in December.

 

Regular Meeting – Call to order 7:31 pm

 

1. Introduction of Bill Martin

            Bill Martin is replacing Phyllis Woodfolk on the Planning Commission. Bill Martin and his family have resided in Ruckersville for two years. He is a Realtor with Charlottesville Country Properties.

 

2. Presentation Regarding the Comprehensive Plan and Multimodal Corridor by Thomas Jefferson Planning District Commission.

 

Multimodal Corridor Study

            This is a study of the urban areas along 29 North and Route 33 in Greene County. Renaissance Planning Group, Thomas Jefferson Planning District Commission (TJPDC) and W & W Associates will all be a part of the Multimodal Study Team. The goals of the project include to improve transportation within Greene County and to coordinate with the Greene County Comprehensive Plan. Public input on this project will be sought in connection with the public meetings for the Comprehensive Plan.  The project will use scenario planning which utilizes computer modeling to project the impact of the allocation of differing configuration of future jobs and residences on the transportation network.

 

Comprehensive Plan

            Thomas Jefferson Planning District Commission will be coordinating the Greene County Comprehensive Plan as well as developing a final written plan. The Comprehensive Plan is intended to be a guiding tool to frame future decision-making in Greene County. TJPDC stated that they wish for this to be a community process. There are three Focus Groups scheduled for October and a Scenario Planning Workshop in November. The dates and times are:

·        Dyke Focus Group – October 4, 2008, 9am-12pm at Dyke Fire Hall

·        Ruckersville Focus Group – October 18, 2008, 9am-12pm at Best Western

·        Stanardsville Focus Group – October 23, 2008, 6pm-9pm at the County Administrative Building

·        Scenario Planning Workshop – November 15, 2008, 9am-12pm, Location TBD

The projected timeline is to present the Multimodal Scenarios in March of 2009. The Comprehensive Plan will be presented to the Planning Commission in June 2009. The projected completion of the plan is December 2009.

 

Comments from the Planning Commission:

D. Lamb noted that he feels that inner cities often die because people don’t want to fight the traffic. He asked VDOT, whose representative was present, whether there was a plan for the 29/33 intersection. The response was no.

 

J. Frydl commented that since the State has no statewide transportation plan or funding available for transportation there is a risk that we will end up with roads to nowhere because there is no guarantee that other Counties will be willing or able to connect to our secondary roads.

 

B. Martin asked for advice on maximizing citizen participation. TJPDC responded by stating that moving the focus groups around will help with this. He noted that the focus groups will be hands on around a worktable.

 

3. Public Hearing regarding Grant Ave. Development/Gateway Market Center, LLC request for a special use permit allowing an electronic message center on a 0.741 acre tract which is zoned B-3 and located on Seminole Trail

 

Staff Report:

            This is a request for a special use permit to allow an electronic messaging center on an Arby’s sign. This is only the second application for an electronic messaging center the county has received. The other sign is at the high school. The BZA has already approved a variance for this particular sign. Applicant would have been able to have two 100’ signs on his property. Instead applicant will now have one sign that is 85’ tall  (see comment below). The electronic messaging portion of the sign will be 20’ and a part of the total allowable 85’. Staff recommends approval of the request with the conditions that it not be neon lights; that it does not flash or move and that the 20’ will be a part of the aggregate 85’.

 

Applicant:

            Applicant introduced himself but didn’t have much comment on the actual sign.

 

Public Comment:

            Andrea Wilkinson spoke in opposition to the sign. She is worried that all of the stores at Gateway will want one if it is approved. She also stated that it could create an opportunity for injury if people are distracted by the sign. She noted that the original reason that electronic message centers were included in the ordinance was to allow for public service messages.

 

Planning Commission Comments:

 

N. Slezak asked the applicant whether the shopping center will have a large sign that lists all the stores in the center and whether Arby’s would be on that sign. Applicant responded that the shopping center will have a large general sign but that Arby’s will not be listed. N. Slezak was also concerned that if approved there will be more applications for these types of signs.  Applicant responded that banks have been using these signs for a long time to display time, temperature and advertising. This will be more attractive than the old fashioned manual message board where letters often fall off.

 

A. Herring wanted to know where the height of the sign was measured from. Staff answered that it will be from the ground to the top of the sign.

 

            B. Martin asked the applicant whether the message board was intended for marketing or public service. Applicant responded that is a marketing tool but might be used for public service in emergency situations.

 

            There was also discussion regarding whether the sign flashed. Applicant stated that it would change messages about every 5 seconds, but does not flash. Staff also noted there is pending litigation in the county over limitations on things that visually move and we might want to look at that before putting more limitations on the sign. Staff also noted that applicant would be bound by some state regulations on sign movement as well.    

 

Vote:

            J. Frydl moved to recommend approval with the conditions recommended by staff. The motion passed 4 to 1, with N. Slezak voting against the special use permit.

 

4.  Proposed Planning Commission By-law

            B. Martin raised two issues with the by-laws. First, he was concerned that a reference to a 2/3 vote might not be relevant to a group of five members and that language should be clarified. Second, he wondered if the by-laws should discuss conflicts of interests. After some discussion it was determined that the language about conflicts of interests may not be necessary but the 2/3 vote should be addressed. Staff will bring revisions back to the Planning Commission.

 

5. Minutes of May Meeting – Approved

 

Meeting adjourned

 

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2 responses

  1. The Arby sign will have a maximum of 85 square ft., not 85 ft. tall.

  2. Thank you for the clarification. I appreciate the feedback.

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