Community Development  |  Architectural Review Board
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The Albemarle County Architectural Review Board (ARB) is appointed by the Board of Supervisors and is charged with the responsibility of regulating the design of development within the County's Entrance Corridors. Entrance Corridors are streets that provide routes of tourist access to the County and to historic landmarks, structures, and districts. The goal of this regulation is to ensure that new development in these corridors reflects the traditional architecture of the area and that development within the corridors is orderly and attractive.

For ARB contact information please click here

  • Click here for the Entrance Corridor Design Guidelines and the Sign Guidelines.
  • Click here for information on county-wide Certificates of Appropriateness, or scroll down to the bottom of this page.
  • Click here for ARB Agendas, Action & Minutes.
  • Click here for a brochure that summarizes the County's architectural review process.
  • Click here for a brochure that provides an introduction to the Architectural Review Board's sign guidelines.
  • Click here for the ARBs Comprehensive Sign Criteria.
  • Click here for the Sign Forms Center.
  • Click here to access the ARB application, checklists, and other documents related to the ARB and Entrance Corridors.
  • Click here to view the ARB submittal deadline and meeting schedule.
  • Click here to access Zoning Ordinance section 30.6: Entrance corridor overlay district - EC
  • Click here for the Entrance Corridor Map

WHICH STREETS ARE ENTRANCE CORRIDORS? WHAT ARE THE BOUNDARIES OF THE ENTRANCE CORRIDOR OVERLAY DISTRICT? For each parcel that shared a boundary with the right-of-way of the following Entrance Corridor (EC) streets on October 3, 1990, the full depth of that parcel is included in the district. If the parcel did not share a boundary with the right-of-way on that date, the district extends to a depth of 500' from the right-of-way.

1. U.S. Route 250 East (Richmond Road).

2. U.S. Route 29 North (Seminole Trail).

3. U.S. Route 29 South (Monacan Trail).

4. Virginia Route 20 South (Monticello Avenue and Scottsville Road).

5. Virginia Route 631 (5th Street and Old Lynchburg Road) from Charlottesville City limits to Route 708 (Red Hill Road) and Virginia Route 631 (Rio Road West) from U.S. Route 29 North (Seminole Trail) to Route 743 (Earlysville Road).

6. U.S. Route 250 West (Ivy Road and Rockfish Gap Turnpike).

7. Virginia Route 6 (Irish Road).

8. Virginia Route 151 (Critzers Shop Road).

9. Interstate Route 64

10. Virginia Route 20 North (Stony Point Road).

11. Virginia Route 22 (Louisa Road).

12. Virginia Route 53 (Thomas Jefferson Parkway).

13. Virginia Route 231 (Gordonsville Road).

14. Virginia Route 240 (Three Notch'd Road).

15. U.S. Route 29 Business (Fontaine Avenue).

16. U.S. Route 29/250 Bypass.

For each parcel that shared a boundary with the right-of-way of the following Entrance Corridor (EC) streets on November 14, 1990, the full depth of that parcel is included in the district. If the parcel did not share a boundary with the right-of-way on that date, the district extends to a depth of 500' from the right-of-way.

17. VA Route 654 (Barracks Road)

18. VA Route 742 (Avon Street Extended)

For each parcel that shared a boundary with the right-of-way of the following Entrance Corridor (EC) streets on April 12, 2000, the full depth of the parcel is included in the district. If the parcel did not share a boundary with the right-of-way on that date, the district extends to a depth of 500' from the right-of-way.

19. VA Route 649 (Airport Road) from U.S. Route 29 North (Seminole Trail) to VA Route 606 (Dickerson Road).

20. VA Route 743 (Hydraulic Road and Earlysville Road) from U.S. Route 29 North (Seminole Trail) to VA Route 676 (Woodlands Road).

For each parcel that shared a boundary with the right-of-way of the following Entrance Corridor (EC) street on November 2, 2005, the full depth of the parcel is included in the district. If the parcel did not share a boundary with the right-of-way on that date, the district extends to a depth of 500' from the right-of-way.

21. VA Route 631 (Rio Road) from U.S. Route 29 North (Seminole Trail) easterly to the Norfolk Southern Railway tracks.

The county's Entrance Corridors are identified on the Entrance Corridor Map Adobe Acrobat PDF

WHAT IS A CERTIFICATE OF APPROPRIATENESS?

Developments proposed on properties that are located within an Entrance Corridor overlay district require a Certificate of Appropriateness. A Certificate of Appropriateness (CofA) is an approval, usually taking the form of a letter, for a proposed development in the Entrance Corridors. It may be granted by the ARB or by ARB staff, depending on the proposal.

WHICH PROJECTS REQUIRE A CERTIFICATE OF APPROPRIATENESS?

Development proposals require a Certificate of Appropriateness if they are located upon parcels within a designated Entrance Corridor (EC) and if:

The project requires county approval of a site plan or approval of an amendment to a site plan before development can begin (generally only commercial, industrial, or multi-family development projects are required to have a site plan),

OR

the project requires a building permit (for commercial, industrial, or multi-family developments), including a sign permit, before development can begin,

OR

the project requires a special use permit from the Albemarle County Board of Supervisors because it involves outdoor storage or display within an Entrance Corridor.

UNDER WHAT OTHER CIRCUMSTANCES IS ARB REVIEW REQUIRED?

Proposals for special use permits, rezonings, or comprehensive plan amendments may require ARB review if a request has been made for the ARB's advice.

WHAT ARE THE STEPS OF THE ENTRANCE CORRIDOR REVIEW PROCESS?

For those proposals that require a Certificate of Appropriateness (CofA), the proposals must be reviewed either by the Architectural Review Board or by ARB staff before the CofA can be issued. In both cases, applicants must submit an ARB application form accompanied by the appropriate checklists and submittal materials to begin the review process.

Staff Review

Most applications for county-wide Certificates of Appropriateness and most applications for signs can be reviewed by staff if the applications are complete and if they meet the applicable guidelines and criteria. If the applicant's submittal is incomplete, it will not be reviewed. During the review of a complete application, staff will contact the applicant if clarification, additional information, or revisions are required. If staff determines that a proposal under the county-wide Certificate of Appropriateness review does not meet the applicable guidelines and criteria, the applicant may appeal staff's decision to the ARB.

Review by the Architectural Review Board

1. Application and submittal.

Applications for proposals that are not signs and for proposals that do not qualify for county-wide Certificates of Appropriateness are forwarded to the Architectural Review Board for review if the applicant's submittal is complete.

2. Schedule the meeting date.

Complete submittals are placed on the agenda of the meeting date that corresponds to the submittal deadline in the published Submission and Review Schedule. Applicants receive a letter in the mail that confirms the meeting date.

3. Review period.

Staff reviews the proposal and prepares a staff report prior to the meeting date. Staff will likely contact the applicant during the review period to clarify various aspects of the proposal and possibly to ask for additional information. Staff will email the applicant a copy of the staff report when it is complete.

4. ARB meeting.

Typically, the ARB will not review an application unless someone is present to represent the project. Meetings are generally held on the first and third Monday of each month, beginning at 1:00 PM in Room 241 of the County Office Building at 401 McIntire Road. Applicants may present their projects to the ARB following a brief presentation by staff, and Board members may ask applicants to clarify various aspects of their proposals.

5. Board action.

Initial site plans for projects in the Entrance Corridors are forwarded to the ARB for review. As a member of the Site Review Commitee (SRC), the ARB comments on the Initial Plan and the ARB's comments are forwarded to the agent for the SRC. For preliminary reviews, the ARB will comment on the proposal and will make recommendations for final submittals. For final reviews, the ARB may choose to approve the application, deny the application, or approve the application with conditions. The ARB could require additional reviews, or could direct staff to work out final details with the applicant.

6. Action letter.

Staff prepares a letter to the applicant that summarizes the ARB's action and that outlines the required action by the applicant.

7. Additional submittals.

Most projects require both a preliminary review meeting with the ARB and a final review meeting with the ARB. The procedures listed here are followed for all reviews required by the ARB. All submittals are made according to the published Submission and Review Schedule.

8. Following final approval of a Certificate of Appropriateness.

Period of validity: Certificates of Appropriateness (final approval from the ARB) are valid for the same period that the corresponding site plan is valid. If there is no site plan required for the proposed work, the Certificate of Appropriateness is valid for 3 years. Applicants may request an extension of hte period of validity. the request is made in writing in the form of a letter to the Director of Planning. the letter must be received by the Director prior to the expiration date of the Certificate of Appropriateness.

Appeals: Any person aggrieved by a decision of the Architectural Review Board may demand a review of the application by the Board of Supervisors. The request is made in writing to the clerk of the Board of Supervisors and must be received by the Clerk within ten calendar days of the date of the ARB's decision.

HELP IN DETERMINING APPLICATION TYPE

There are two forms for ARB applications. One is the Combined Sign Application Form. The other form, the Architectural Review Board Application, covers all other types of ARB applications and it includes a series of boxes to be checked to indicate which type of review is being requested. (A separate ARB application is not needed for Initial Site Plans. The Initial Plan application indicates that 6 additional copies of the plan are needed if the site of the proposed development is in the Entrance Corridor.) The following information is provided to help you choose the appropriate ARB application type.

If you want to install a sign, click here for the Signs Forms Center and general sign information.

For projects other than signs, first determine if your proposal qualifies for a county-wide Certificate of Appropriateness (cwCofA). A cwCofA is a method of streamlined approval for certain categories of projects in the Entrance Corridors. The available categories of county-wide Certificates of Appropriateness are listed below. If your proposal falls under one of these categories, check the box next to that category.

If your project does not fall under one of the county-wide categories, choose one of the application types described here:

  • If your project requires a new site plan or an amendment to an existing site plan, and your proposed architectural design has not yet been reviewed by the ARB, check the box marked "Preliminary Review of a Site Development Plan." 
  • If your project requires a new site plan and your project has already had a preliminary review by the ARB, check the box marked "Final Review of a Site Development Plan."
  • If your project is a major amendment to an approved site plan, check the box marked "Amendment to a Site Development Plan."
  • If your project does not require a site plan or site plan amendment, but does require a building permit, check the box marked "Building Permit."
  • If your project requires a Special Use Permit for outdoor display and/or storage in the Entrance Corridor, check the box marked "Conceptual Plan/Advisory Review." 
  • If staff has directed you to submit an ARB application for review of a Special Use Permit or a Zoning Map Amendment, check the box marked "Conceptual Plan/Advisory Review."
  • If none of these options apply, call 434-296-5832 and ask for assistance.

ASSEMBLING YOUR SUBMITTAL PACKAGE

A submittal package for projects in the Entrance Corridors includes the following:

  • A completed Architectural Review Board Application form.
  • The appropriate fee.
  • A completed Checklist of Submittal Requirements.
    • Checklists are available for each application type.
  • Copies of the information outlined on the checklist. 
    • The checklist indicates the number of copies required.
    • The copies of the required drawings, attachments and other information must be folded and collated for submittal.
    • Application packages may be submitted at the Community Development reception desk, 401 McIntire Road, north wing. 

COUNTY-WIDE CERTIFICATES OF APPROPRIATENESS

A county-wide Certificate of Appropriateness (cwCofA) is a method of streamlined approval for certain types of projects in the Entrance Corridors. If an applicant's proposal falls within one of the available categories of county-wide Certificates, and if it also meets the established design criteria for that particular category, the proposal can be reviewed and approved by staff without being reviewed by the Architectural Review Board at a formal meeting.

CATEGORIES OF COUNTY-WIDE CERTIFICATES OF APPROPRIATENESS

There are ten different types of county-wide Certificates of Appropriateness. The categories are provided in the list below. Design criteria have been established for each category. The design of development proposed under the county-wide Certificate of Appropriateness review process must meet these criteria to receive approval. Click on the link after the category name to view the related criteria.

  • Structures located 750’ or more from an EC street that are not more than five (5) stories tall. (Criteria)
  • Structures that are proposed to be located behind another structure that fronts an EC street as viewed from the EC street, where the rear structure is no more than twice the height of the front structure. (Criteria)
  • Personal wireless service facilities. (Criteria)
  • Wall signs proposed for structures having a single occupant. (Criteria)
  • Safety fencing and screening fencing. (Criteria)
  • New or replacement rooftop-mounted or ground-mounted equipment. (Criteria)
  • Additions to structures or improvements for which a certificate of Appropriateness was issued, where the design of the addition to the structure or improvement is consistent with the architectural design approved with the Certificate of Appropriateness. (Criteria)
  • New structure or site lighting or changes to existing structure or site lighting. (Criteria)
  • Minor amendments to site plans and architectural plans. (Criteria)
  • Building permits for which the proposed change occupies fifty (50) percent or less of the altered elevation of an existing structure. (Criteria)

WHERE TO GET MORE HELP

The 
Albemarle County Design GuidelinesAdobe Acrobat PDF the Albemarle County Sign Guidelines Adobe Acrobat PDF and a map of the Albemarle County Entrance Corridors Adobe Acrobat PDF are available from the Albemarle County Department of Community Development. The guidelines are intended to provide assistance to applicants in designing projects that will meet the design requirements of the ARB. Applicants are encouraged to review the guidelines prior to designing their projects. For more information or assistance with the Architectural Review Board process, call or email Margaret Maliszewski at (434) 296-5832 ext 3276. 

 

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