COUNTY OF ALBEMARLE
North Pointe ZMA Update
Worksession to review status.
Tucker, Foley, Davis, Graham, Cilimberg, Echols
LEGAL REVIEW: Yes
September 1, 2004
ACTION: X INFORMATION:
The Board last held a worksession for this project at the June 2nd Board meeting. At that time, staff and the applicant had a large number of unresolved issues and the Board directed staff to work at resolving those differences before bringing this back to the Board. Since that time, staff and the applicant have spent a considerable amount of time working together in an attempt to resolve differences on the development layout and proffers. Through that work, the number of unresolved issues has been reduced. However, staff will need direction on the issues that remain unresolved. These items are discussed below and included in the attachment to this executive summary.
On the issue of the development layout, staff has worked with the compromise layout accepted by the Board’s committee and attempted to address the issues that remained with that layout. At this point, there are two major issues related to the design layout that staff and the applicant have been unable to resolve. Those issues are related to layout consistency with ARB recommendations and modifications to the mixed use part of the development referred to as the “library block.”
On the issue of the proffers, a decision on the proposed Community Development Authority (CDA) remains a critical factor. Without knowing if the CDA will be approved, the applicant has been unwilling to provide proffers that staff believes are critical to the consideration of this application.
3.3 Develop and implement policies that address the county's growth and urbanization while continuing to enhance the factors that contribute to the quality of life in the county.
In discussing a CDA policy with the Board, staff has recommended that a CDA be considered only with rezonings for projects that are developed under a master plan that is part of the Comprehensive Plan. For projects that are not developed as part of a master plan, staff recommends the rezoning or special use permit be considered without any reliance on a CDA. The plan and proffers would have no reliance on a CDA as part of the considered land use decision. In applying staff’s CDA recommendation to the North Pointe development, any proffers contingent on the CDA would need to be removed from the proffers. After the rezoning is approved, the Board would then consider what additional benefits are appropriate as part of the CDA petition.
Staff received revised proffers on August 20th that reflect the development with a CDA. Based on meetings with the applicant, staff had anticipated receiving proffers two weeks before this date and it was not possible to review the proffers in time for this executive summary or this Board meeting. This is also compounded by the fact that a second plan was submitted that does not have the elementary school or library sites. Staff understands this plan would be used if the CDA is not considered with the rezoning and a set of proffers related to this plan will still need to be submitted. Effectively, by considering two plans and two sets of proffers, with and without a CDA, staff is being asked to review two applications. This doubles the workload and assures that at least one review will be unnecessary. As such, staff hopes to delay additional review of the proffers until a decision is made on the CDA. This will allow staff to focus on the set of proffers that reflect the Board’s intentions on the CDA. Given the late date at which these proffers were received and the need for a decision on which set of proffers should be reviewed, staff does not believe it is possible to have the application ready for public hearing by October 13th. At best, staff will be in a position to provide a Board worksession for October 6th on the proffers that are reviewed. At that worksession, staff believes the Board could set a date for a public hearing.
Staff has reviewed the layout that includes a school site and library. The applicant has also submitted a plan that does not include a school site or library, but staff believes the layout issues with both plans are the same. With regard to the development layout, the Board’s committee made two recommendations that staff believes have not been adequately addressed. First, the applicant has not revised the layout to reflect the ARB’s recommendations. Second, staff has concerns regarding modifications to the library block, also known as the downtown block. As previously directed by the Board, staff has not focused on the “big box” issue, but has attempted to verify consistency with the remaining ARB recommendations. Staff’s remaining concerns with the layout have largely been satisfactorily addressed, though some minor modifications that should be easily accommodated are still needed.
Staff recognizes many of the ARB recommendations can be managed at the time of site plan, but staff believes certain recommendations must be addressed with the rezoning. Staff believes the following ARB recommendations (using ARB numbering of recommendations) related to the site and grading need to be addressed with the rezoning:
#10. Preserve some of the existing trees and terrain along the EC(Entrance Corridor) and revise the placement of structures accordingly to establish a more coordinated streetscape.
#16. In areas where existing wooded areas are not retained adjacent to the EC, provide a continuous planting area along the EC with a minimum width of 25”. Provide in the planting area a mix of shade, screening, and ornamental trees, and a mixed selection of shrubs with a planting height of 36”. The landscape area shall not be reduced to accommodate utilities (overhead or underground), future road widening, or other site elements.
#17. Delete all rows of parking adjacent to the EC (entrance corridor) right of way.
#19. Provide more substantial landscape buffers along the perimeters of parking areas visible from the EC.
#20. Provide a continuous planting bed no less than 7’ in width and free of utilities, along walls visible from the EC for Buildings #5, 10,14,19, 30, 31, 32, and 36 without reducing landscape area along the EC or in the parking lot travelways.
#21. The stormwater management facilities shall project the appearance of landscaped water features rather than maintenance areas. Such features shall be landscaped to achieve integration with the surrounding development.
With regard to the library block, staff’s main issue is whether relegated parking has been adequately achieved. Staff believes the development layout accepted by the Board’s committee was a compromise that balanced an acceptance of the applicant’s desire for “big box” development with parking in front, against the opportunity to have a Neighborhood Model friendly “downtown” mixed use area. This is the area surrounding the proposed library location and referred to as the “library block.” Staff direction to work on improving the library block came as part of the committee’s recommendation. This area includes a mixed use of retail, office, and residential uses, and is the part of the plan that best exemplifies features of the Neighborhood Model. In particular, staff believes the applicant’s layouts have not shown adequate consideration for the concept of relegated parking in this area. Staff continues to believe the compromise for the big boxes was based, at least in part, on the concept that this area could be designed to provide better consistency with the Neighborhood Model. Staff has shared with the applicant several alternative layouts that would provide for the same parking while better utilizing relegated parking. Those alternatives will be shown to the Board at the worksession to illustrate staff’s intent.
It should be noted that staff’s recommendation for denial of this rezoning has not changed and, based on what is currently being considered, is not anticipated to change. While the compromise satisfied concerns with the layout, staff noted other concerns that remain unresolved. Those include the likelihood of stale zoning for the commercial part of this development and consistency with the Comprehensive Plan, especially the Neighborhood Model. As such, staff does not anticipate changing its recommendation for this rezoning application.
Finally, it should be noted that the County is now starting the Northern Area Master Plan process, which includes this property. Given staff’s recommendation on a CDA policy, the applicant may wish to consider withdrawing the current application and participating in the Northern Area Master Plan process. Using the staff’s recommended CDA policy, it would then be possible to incorporate the CDA into the planned rezoning once the Northern Area Master Plan is completed. Also, for both staff and the developer, relying on a master plan would resolve many of the concerns that have made this a difficult process.
1) Staff requests that the Board concur with staff’s recommendation that the plan and proffers remove any reliance on a CDA. The Board could then consider a future CDA separately from the land use decision.
2) Staff requests that the Board delay setting a public hearing for this application and schedule an October worksession to review the proffers. A public hearing date could be set at that worksession.
3) Staff requests that the Board concur with staff’s recommendation that the applicant modify the library block to address the issue of relegated parking to staff’s satisfaction.
4) Staff requests that the Board concur with staff’s recommendation that the applicant modify the development layout to address the ARB recommendations, excluding the recommendation on limiting the size of the “big box.”
Return to regular agenda