Tag Archives: rezoning

Preddy Gables Seek Proffer Amendment from GC PC

By. Brent Wilson, Field Officer

Preddy Gables, LLC came before the Greene County Planning Commission at their September meeting (9/20/17) to file a rezoning application to amend the proffers approved on July 13, 2004 (RZ#04-152). The goal of the proffer amendment is to remove the proffer regarding tying the number of apartments to be developed to the development of retail space.

Currently the property located on Terrace Greene Drive / Seminole Trail, due to the ratio in the existing proffer, can only develop 276 units of which there currently are 260 units in existence. Under the new proffer, the total number of units would remain unchanged but the development of those units would no longer be tied to the construction of additional commercial space.  In addition, the proffer amendment increases the amenities and restricts the size of units in the last phase to be no larger than two bedroom. units.

This would be the last phase of the development and was displayed to develop the property that is lower in elevation and closer to Route 29.

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Terrace Greene Apartments- Phase II

Zoning Administrator Bart Svoboda presented the project to the Planning Commission (less Chairman Jay Willer who was absent from the meeting). Svoboda indicated that there were no concerns from any of the agencies reporting and that all of the infrastructure was done originally to accommodate the full development.

Chris Gordon, a representative of the management firm working of the project, reviewed a conceptual rendering of the project. It showed the new section would be below the existing section and he also indicated that the existing structures are fully occupied.

Gordon continued on to explain that the new structure would have several different features – parking would be underneath the structure rather than surface parking, this would require elevators to be used rather than staircases. While not specifically built for older populations, it would be more convenient and easier to access the units in the new structure.

In addition a new pool, work out room and – something that existing renters have requested – a dog run to allow tenants to let their dogs “off-leash” to exercise are all part of the proposal. Gordon stated that the developer has not contacted adjoining landowners yet, as they wanted the feedback from the Planning Commission before taking their idea to the “neighbors”.

As a public hearing, the meeting was opened to the public and there was no one to comment.

In conjunction with this public hearing there was a second public hearing to address revising the height limit in Residential District (R-2) in Article 6 from 40 feet to 50 feet.

County Zoning Ordinance – Article 6, Residential District, R-2, 6-7 HEIGHT REGULATIONS Buildings may be erected up to forty (40) feet in height

This change would allow the new structure to raise up the 42 feet planned (2 feet in excess of the current height allowed).

The height discussion among the commissioners was mixed. While the feeling was that this particular project would use this higher limit to benefit a hillside, however other future projects may not have this topography and therefore it would actually rise 50 feet up from the sight line.

The Planning Commission approved the request to amend the proffers 5-0 and approved the change to the Residential District height by a vote of 4-1 with Commissioner Frank Morris voting against the change in height.

Based on the change in State law, the commissioners completely ignored the issue of the original proffer ratio of residential vs. commercial property. They did not ask the developer about any future plans for commercial development. The law, known as Senate Bill 549, was signed by Governor McAuliffe in March, 2016.  It restricts both the subject matter and manner in which localities may accept proffers in residential zoning actions.

Instead, the commissioners discussed the existing units being “sold out” and that this would bring more additional housing to Greene County. By itself that is good, but that opens the question of the increased  demand of infrastructure on the county, especially schools.

In their letter supporting the rezoning the applicant provided evidence of limited impact on schools:

The existing apartment units at Terrace Greene are home to school teachers, policemen and countless other residents who contribute to the local community. Terrace Greene’s 260 apartments currently have only twenty (20) children residing there, and developing the last 90 units within an elevator building having no three-bedroom units is less likely to appeal to families with small children than the existing 90-unit plan being amended–meaning that these amended proffers are likely to reduce school impacts.  Given that, the economic development and other benefits, this new concept for the final project phase will, like the existing units at Terrace Greene, have a net positive impact–fiscally and more generally –for Greene County.

Balancing the need for housing in Greene and the cost of providing government service to the new housing is an important consideration; as is protecting property rights.

Interestingly, many potential business expansions use the number of “rooftops” in determining the viability of new locations.  One need only look to the recently released Sales Tax data from the Charlottesville Regional Chamber of Commerce to see how the commercial landscape of  Greene County has changed.   In 2006, the total sales tax revenue was $867,433. In 2017 (January-June) the amount was $934,396 in just six months.

Brent Wilson is the Greene County Field Officer for the Free Enterprise Forum a privately funded public policy organization.  The Free Enterprise Forum Field Officer program is funded by a generous grant from the Charlottesville Area Association of REALTORS® (CAAR) and by readers like you.  To support this important work please donate online at www.freeenterpriseforum.org

Photo Credit: http://terracegreene.com/photos.html

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Ruckersville Rezoning

By. Brent Wilson, Field Officer

Virginia Code requires, absent a proactive rezoning by a locality, property owners must ask for permission (and pay an application fee) to have their property’s zoning changed to match the community vetted Comprehensive Plan.  Last night (4/19) such a request came before the Greene County Planning Commission for a public hearing and recommendation.  After the planning commission recommendation the application then must go to the Board of Supervisors for a public hearing and final zoning determination.

ARA Properties owns two adjoining parcels, each about ¾ of an acre nearclip_image002 Ruckersville behind CVS on Moore Road.

One is currently zones B-2, Business while the other is zoned R-1, Residential (60-(10)-2 – three parcels north of Route 33 east of Ruckersville.

A representative of ARA Properties addressed the Planning Commission at their April meeting and explained that they are requesting the rezoning clip_image004to have both parcels zoned the same – B-2, Business so that they can are more apt to be used for commercial uses.

Chairman Jay Willer opened the hearing to the public but there were no speakers signed up for the hearing. Planning Director Bart Svoboda  advised Willer that no comments were received from the adjoining land owners. In addition, Svoboda went on to explain that the parcel is in a growth area of Greene County which is designated to encourage a mix of commercial, office and residential uses.

Willer stated that he felt this is an appropriate use given the Comprehensive Plan of Greene County and the goal is to have commercial activity in that part of the county. Commissioner John McCloskey added that he was glad to see that the owner came forward to request the rezoning.

The Planning Commission unanimously recommended approval of the rezoning and it will now be forwarded to the Board of Supervisors for their public hearing and final zoning decision.

The April Planning Commission meeting was the first meeting for Commissioner Steven Kruskamp, Jr., taking the place of former Commissioner Vic Schaff.

Upgrade to Southeast Corner in Ruckersville Approved

By. Brent Wilson, Field Officer

The Greene County Board of Supervisors took the first step toward upgrading the intersection of Routes 29 and 33 in Ruckersville on Wednesday, November 12th. Bart Svoboda, Greene’s Zoning Administrator/Planning Director,  outlined the request of Milestone Investment Group, LLC  and George and Suzanne Haney, Jr. who was represented by L J Lopez from Milestone for the public hearing requesting a rezoning of 1.16 acres of the 3.62 acres the two owners have from B-2 to B-3. Parcel 29 and part of parcel 25 are the southern part of the property that borders Route 29 northbound.

Svoboda stated that the property is in an area identified as mixed use per the Comprehensive Plan. B-3 will allow for more options to be considered by the developers. He further explained that the development will allow for the closing of Jennings Loop Road where it intersects Route 33 just east of Route 29. The entry onto Route 33 will be farther east which will eliminate trouble traffic has making a left hand turn onto Route 33. Staff supported the rezoning request and the Planning Commission recommended approval with proffers to close Jennings Loop Road.

Lopez explained that a gas station would be part of the development. He further explained that the B-3 rezoning was requested on the southern part of the property along Route 29 where there is more traffic. B-3 zoning adds the by right use of a Convenient Store and a special use permit option of a Fuel Distribution Center. The hearing then turned to comments from the public. The silence was heard loud and clear – no one asked to speak on the rezoning application.

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The four supervisors (Supervisor Eddie Deane was absent) were all supportive of the application and anxious for the development to occur. Supervisor Davis Lamb, Ruckersville District, clarified that the current access to Route 33 will move east. Chairman Jim Frydl, Midway District, felt the development fits the Comprehensive Plan and it would also take care of an unsafe entry on to Route 33.

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Supervisor David Cox

Supervisor David Cox’s, Monroe District, only concern was how traffic entering onto Route 29 would be able to get over to be able to make a left hand turn onto Route 33 West. Svoboda assured Cox that the design was within VDOT’s standards.

Supervisor Bill Martin, Stanardsville District, asked about connectivity with parcels to the south. Svoboda said there have been discussions with the owners which Lopez confirmed.

Frydl noted that this project moves Ruckersville toward the current Comprehensive Plan.

Martin stated that this development begins the new “town center” concept in Ruckersville and looks forward to the getting to work. The rezoning application was unanimously approved.

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The Free Enterprise Forum’s coverage of Greene County is provided by a grant from the Charlottesville Area Association of REALTORS® and by the support of readers like you.

Brent Wilson is the Greene County Field Officer for the Free Enterprise Forum a privately funded public policy organization.

Photo Credit: Greene County

Greene BOS Considers US29 Business Uses

By. Brent Wilson, Field Officer

Tuesday, October 8th the Greene County Board of Supervisors heard a request to rezone from B-2 to B-3 for 3 acres just north of Food Lion on the southbound side of US29 – expand the options for business to more intense uses. Many see  US29 as the business corridor into Ruckersville.  The intersection with Carpenter Mills Road includes Sheetz on the north East Corner, Food Lion on the northwest corner, an undeveloped PUD on the southwest corner, and the partially developed Fried property on the southeast corner.  The proposal to increase the number of uses on a parcel just north of the Food Lion made good sense to some. But not to the residents of Deer Lake that sit behind the 3 acres with a lovely lake in between.

This application first came forward, per Greene’s procedure, to the Greene County Planning Commission on August 21st  and the Commission unanimously denied the request.  Procedure dictates, all requests, regardless whether they are approved or disapproved, move to the BOS for final review. 

Bart Svoboda, Planning Director/Zoning Administrator, outlined the request (RZ#13-002) of CRBFAB,LLC/EARS I LLC for the parcel on the County Tax Maps as 60E-(A)-6B. The current structures on the property were model homes and there were no red flags by any of the agencies. The Comprehensive Plan defines this area as a mixed used area. The Planning Commission’s report their denial was due to the buffer between this property, the residential area to the west would be impacted and there are many other parcels in the Ruckersville area already zoned B-3 (see page 33 of the Greene County Zoning Ordinance).  Mr. Svoboda mentioned that the request made to the BOS offered a buffer area of cypress trees to be planted to block the view of the lot from the residential area to the west and that several by right uses of B-3 zoning would be excluded – dance hall, hotel/motel, night club and non-accessory structures.

The applicant was represented by Attorney Craig Johnson and manager of EARS and Bill Gentry, realtor for the property. They indicated  only 1 of the 3 acres was usable for development. The property may be sold in the future and the property just south of the lot owned by Kinvara (the Food Lion shopping center) is currently zoned B-3. Across the street from the entrance there is an auto repair shop on another B-3 parcel. A rezoning to B-3 would make this property compliment the Kinvara property and add to the tax base along with employing more residents of Greene County. The increased traffic by Home Paramount Pest Control, the current tenant, would be minimal.

Home Paramount was represented by Dale Trumbly and told the BOS that the business is a clean industry and has existed since 1939.  Small quantities of pesticides are kept on site and they are under lock and key. Vehicles are periodically inspected, the staff is highly trained and they all are subjected to background checks.

Chairman Jim Frydl (Midway) opened the hearing to the public and many residents of Deer Lake were in attendance to speak out – just as they had been at the Planning Commission hearing. The issues brought up by the residents included being concerned about the B-3 zoning that would allow different businesses other than Home Paramount, why is this lot needed to be rezoned to B-3 with plenty of B-3 properties already available in the Ruckersville area, and in 2010 the property was requested to be rezoned from B-1 to B-3 and a compromise of rezoning it to B-2 was adopted – why change? Other residents brought up concerns that their property value may decline if some of the B-3 uses were developed on the property , the 6’ trees being offered to be planted would need to be 40’ in order to block the view from Deer Lake and in 2003 a VDOT study said that the intersection into Deer Lake was near capacity – there have been over 2 dozen homes built since then. With the majority of the property draining toward the lake, there is fear of a chemical leak into the lake. One resident of Deer Lake suggested that the owners of the property have their own access off Route 29 instead of using the turn into Deer Lake. The last speaker was David Holtzman of the Piedmont Environmental Council who stated that this area is what drivers see coming south on Route 29 as the gateway to the Corner Store/Food Lion commercial area. He suggested that design guidelines for this area be developed to enhance this commercial area.

After the close of the comments from the public, Mr. Gentry asked to speak to the BOS. He believed that the cypress plantings would grow quickly and in a few years would block most of the views from Deer Lake.  He felt that the owners of the property have tried to address the concerns of the Planning Commission with the proffers they have offered and this rezone would be good for the residents of Greene County.

Vice Chair Davis Lamb (Ruckersville) asked about the specific chemicals being used and was assured that solid chemicals are used on site but that liquid chemicals are not stored locally or used in Ruckersville. Supervisor Clarence “Buggs” Peyton (Stanardsville) listed several questions/concerns that he had – there is already an adequate supply of B-3 in the Ruckersville area and what was the basis of the PC’s denial?

Supervisor Eddie Deane (At-Large) thanked the large turnout – “this is democracy in action”. While he said he is normally pro-business he expressed concerns about the topography of the land requesting the rezone. Supervisor David Cox (Monroe) concurred with Mr. Peyton and Mr. Deane. Finally Chairman Frydl’s comment was that the fact that uses within B-3 are being offered to be eliminated usually means that the parcel doesn’t fit the B-3 category. He had concerns about safety issues and would appreciate the applicant addressing them and then noted that the BOS could approve, deny or defer. At this point Attorney Craig Johnson requested that the BOS defer the request and that the issue be brought back to the Planning Commission in order to address all of the issues brought up. The BOS approved the deferral unanimously.

After the meeting, Mr. Gentry and Mr. Johnson explained that they wanted to ensure what the county would require to have the rezoning approved and felt the deferral back to the Planning Commission was the best way to go forward.

It was clear, had the vote been taken, the application would have been denied by the Board of Supervisors.  The application  has valid points by both sides.  the applicant now will further modify the proposal to determine if after they answer the BOS concerns there is still enough value created to justify moving forward with the modified  B-3 rezoning request.

One other item of note, the BOS welcomed Alan Yost who recently joined County staff as the Economic Development Coordinator.

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Brent Wilson is the Greene County Field Officer for the Free Enterprise Forum a privately funded public policy organization.

The Free Enterprise Forum Field Officer program is funded by a generous grant from the Charlottesville Area Association of REALTORS® (CAAR) and by readers like you.

Greene PC Considers US29 Rezoning Request –Residential or Commercial ?

By Brent Wilson, Greene County Field Officer

The Greene County Planning Commission was requested to change a zoning from B-2 to B-3 on Wednesday, August 21st by CRBFAV, LLC/EARR I, LLC. The specific location is on the west side of US29, just north of the Food Lion shopping center below Ruckersville. Zoning Administrator/Planning Director Bart Svoboda  gave an overview of request RZ#13-002  stating that the Comprehensive Plan identifies this area as a mixed use of office and residential and that no red flags were presented by all of the agencies that review rezoning requests.Document1

Bill Gentry  represented the applicant – a local property manager and realtor – in this rezoning request. The request to change the property to B-3 (see page 33 of Greene County Zoning Ordinance ) is to allow for greater economic development in an area where many parcels are already classified as B-3. The specific rental tenant that the owner has been negotiating with has service vehicles which would only be allowed by a rezoning to B-3.

Chairman Anthony Herring opened the public hearing, all of the speakers were residents of Deer Lake subdivision west of the property requesting the rezoning. Marianne Shepard spoke first and had three areas of concern. Traffic entering the subdivision of Deer Lake Estates is already a problem since the commercial lot uses the same entry on Buck Drive off US29 Southbound. She expresses concern over the environment – both noise and run off of oil and gas (Deer Lake has a lake to the east of the development and just west of the commercial property that fronts US29 South). And finally safety of the homeowners with increases traffic on Buck Drive.

Jeff Womack spoke of a rezoning hearing in 2010 where the same lot was requested to go from R-1 to R-3 and at that time the Planning Commission along with staff recommendations, compromised with the current R-2 zoning due to the high traffic. Logically he questioned why the zoning should now be changed to B-3 when, if anything, the amount of traffic has increased on Buck Drive due to more homes being built in Deer Lake. His other concern was that even though the company that would use the lot had some concerns, the rezoning to B-3 would allow a variety of uses including nightclub that would be very disruptive in front of a residential community at night.

Holly Boggs has just moved into the development in the past 6 months and has concern for the safety of her two children. Craig Herr expressed many of the same concerns and further complained that the entrance to the commercial property off Buck Drive wasn’t up to other commercial entrances with curb and guttering – a concern for the lake.

Herring closed the public hearing and asked for discussion among the commissioners. Vice-Chairman Jay Willer spoke first and expressed concern that he has already seen several service vehicles on site.  Svoboda stated that he had been to the property several weeks ago and not seen any service vehicles.  Willer asked for a clarification as to the statement in the Comprehensive Plan for this area.  Svoboda stated that the area is identified as business/general but that there is no specific intensity assigned, this hearing tonight is what determines the specific assignment.

Commissioner Norm Slezak reported that last week he and Svoboda had gone to the site and in the morning the service vehicles were not present, but they may have been out making calls. The residential area is well kept and from the commercial property in question, there is straight view across the lake to the residential area. He also complimented the residents in coming out and expressing their views  . From an environmental aspect he agreed with the concern about the chemical possibly leaking into the lake and also had concerns over increased traffic onto US29. His final comment was there is plenty of B-3 zoned property in the same general area and he was not in support of the rezoning.

Herring indicated that Greene County wants to be business friendly. He hoped that the business would have researched if service vehicles would be allowed in B-2 before entering into a lease. US29 will become more and more congested and allowing this lot to be B-3 would only accelerate this issue. With no other comment from the commissioners, a unanimous vote was recorded recommending denial of the rezoning request.

As with all planning commission rezoning recommendations, this issue will go to the Greene County Board of Supervisors for their decision with the information from the Planning Commission hearing for final action.

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Brent Wilson is the Greene County Field Officer for the Free Enterprise Forum a privately funded public policy organization.

The Free Enterprise Forum Field Officer program is funded by a generous grant from the Charlottesville Area Association of REALTORS® (CAAR) and by readers like you.

Fluvanna PC Considers Revamped Development Plan

By. Bryan Rothamel, Field Officer

PALMYRA — Debate swirls about the proposed Walker’s Ridge development at the old Rivanna Resort, the alternative is to keep what the Rivanna Resort had planned and approved.

At the May 22 Planning Commission meeting, Justin Shimp, representing the developer, did not add many new specifics of the Walker’s Ridge proposal.  In addition, he did not fully answer some of the questions  by the chairman Barry Bibb. Shimp did provide concepts, but no actuals.

The exchange brought a lot of emotion to the second public comment section.

“You are looking for a disaster,” said resident James Gibson.

Gibson wasn’t alone in those feelings. None of the residents in attendance spoke in support of the Walker’s Ridge plan after the informative meeting.

The development is a proposed rezoning of 232 acres from R-3 to Plan Urban Development. The current zoning allows over 230 units. The proposed zoning change would allow 1,180 residential units with 180,000 square feet of commercial space.

The proposed development would use a series of localized central water and sewer systems. The water would come from a well system with storage tanks, similar design to Fork Union Sanitary District. The sewer system would consist of a drip system to filtrate the used water back into the ground water supply.

“What we propose is to take the water out of the ground and put it back into the ground,” said Shimp, who serves as the civil engineer for the project.

The current zoning status was approved in 2009 for the once proposed ‘The Point at The Rivanna Resort’. The proffers included as a part of that rezoning include:

  • traffic improvements to the road as designated in the 2009 study
  • $50,000 for construction of traffic light at the main entrance if required by VDOT within five years of successful site plan approval
  • restriction of the golf course as a public golf course
  • $5,000 cash proffer per residential unit to be used for the new high school or development of the then-proposed Pleasant Grove Community Center
  • $1,000 cash proffer to the Fluvanna/Louisa Housing Foundation for emergency repairs to low income county residents’ houses
  • provision to provide water and sewer connection for the Palmyra Fire Station
  • provision to provide water and sewer connection for expansion of sewer services in the Fluvanna area
  • various exterior architectural guidelines for both residential and commercial buildings

The water and sewer connection provisions are nearly void because the Palmyra water system could only provide enough water for less than 75 more residential units, per a report by the public works director in the Walker’s Ridge planning documents.

Walker’s Ridge will not use the golf course but have building throughout the property. The plans call for fairways and golf cart paths to be used in calculating trail and open space in the PUD.

The PUD proposals divides the land into 47 percent open space, 35 percent residential and just six percent commercial. The proposed commercial space would be 180,000 square feet.

The proposed residential unit break down is 560 multifamily units, 318 townhomes, 205 single family detached homes and 97 single family attached homes. Proposed amenities include ponds, trails, playground, athletic facilities and possible swimming and fitness facilities.

If Walker’s Ridge does not get approval, the current zoning for what was the Point at The Rivanna Resort would still apply.

Walker’s Ridge could have the Planning Commission public hearing at the next meeting, June 26.

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The Free Enterprise Forum’s coverage of Fluvanna County is provided by a grant from the Charlottesville Area Association of REALTORS® and by the support of readers like you.

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Bryan Rothamel covers Fluvanna County for the Free Enterprise Forum.  He is the founder of the Fluco Blog.  Additional writings can be found at www.Flucoblog.com

Albemarle’s Rezoning Expiration Dates

FORUM WATCH EDITORIAL

On September 30th at 4:00 pm, the Albemarle County Planning Commission has scheduled a “worksession” where the development community will present their perspective on the changes to Planned Development review of site plans and subdivisions.  I fully anticipate the PC will get an earful about this overreaching concept.

Usually, I would steer clear of such a wonkish topic this early in the process but Albemarle County’s Planning Commission knee jerk over reaction is inappropriate and may be on questionable legal grounds. 

Today as an applicant works their way through the byzantine planned development rezoning process, Albemarle County requires a significant level of detail.  These details include open space requirements, stream buffers, common areas, grading, utility locations etc. Based on our cursory review of other localities, requiring such a high level of detail is unusual at the rezoning stage.  

Choices and decisions regarding the project must be made as these plans are moving forward.  Often there is little room for change once all the regulatory issues and proffered items are included in the plan. 

In drawing up the plans, designers work under the current development ordinances and ensure that all demands of these ordinances have been met or exceeded.  Albemarle County’s Planning Commission does not believe this is good enough.  They are seeking to have all planned development projects site plans and subdivisions reviewed under zoning regulations in effect at the time of submittal, unless the applicant can prove to staff that they have been in “diligent pursuit of the approval”.

The Free Enterprise Forum believes this violates a key conceptual element of zoning philosophy – that the zoning goes with the land.  Effectively it creates an expiration date on the application plan unless the applicant can prove otherwise. 

In evaluating any change in zoning the Planning Commission and the Board of Supervisors must review the proposed project in the context of the community and the location of the proposal, regardless of whether it is built next year or in ten years. 

If after the rezoning approval the government then conditions the approval to the “diligent pursuit” of the project, questions whether the governing body should have granted approval in the first place.  In addition by placing this burden of proof on the applicant, it will likely foster an unhealthy relationship between the regulatory staff and the applicant.

Clearly if it is in Albemarle County’s best interest to see highly detailed (and expensive) plans at the point of rezoning, it should drop this ill conceived concept of rezoning expiration dates.

Respectfully submitted,

Neil Williamson