STA-01-08, Comprehensive Revision of the Subdivision Ordinance.


SUBJECT/PROPOSAL/REQUEST:– Amend Chapter 14, Subdivision of Land, of the Albemarle County Code, to comprehensively revise the subdivision regulations by amending most existing regulations, repealing or adding other regulations, and reorganizing Chapter 14 and renumbering many existing regulations. 



Tucker, Foley, Davis, Kamptner, Graham, Cilimberg, Echols


AGENDA DATE:                     

September 1, 2004


ACTION:        X                          INFORMATION:



     ACTION:                               INFORMATION:









At the August 4 Board meeting, the Board heard from representatives of interested organizations on the subject of urban street improvements.  The meeting included a presentation by the Blue Ridge Homebuilders on how open space and urban infrastructure impact density and the cost of development.  Several organizations provided comments to the Board.  The Board asked DISC II to discuss the issue of urban infrastructure and to make recommendations to the Board in September.  The Board also agreed that it should hear from DISC II before directing it to recommend specific changes to the proposed ordinance language.



2.1 Protect and/or preserve the County’s rural character

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.



DISC II met on August 10, August 17, and August 24.  Minutes of these meetings are attached.  Regarding curbs/gutters, DISC II recommends that waivers to the requirements for urban infrastructure should be available from the Planning Commission only.  This conclusion came after three meetings of trying to identify different instances in which an administrative waiver would be appropriate.  In its deliberations, DISC II acknowledged staff’s concerns related to difficulties in applying criteria implementing comprehensive plan goals, the fact that administrative waivers can easily become de facto “standards,” and the potential difficulty in providing consistent decisions with the number of reviewers able to grant waivers.  DISC II also concluded that it would be counterproductive to identify all of the possible exceptions to the rules.   Since decisions to waive the requirements are made on a case-by-case basis, they are best left to a single decision-maker to assure consistent application of the criteria.  DISC II recommends that the Planning Commission be the body that considers waiver requests.


Legally, waivers granted by the Planning Commission or by staff must be based on criteria that are as reasonably precise as the subject matter allows so they are not an improper delegation of legislative authority.  These criteria will need to be set forth in the ordinance. 


DISC II plans to discuss sidewalks and street trees at its August 31 and September 7 meetings.



Staff recommends that the Board provide direction to DISC II on whether it should proceed with recommending specific ordinance language related to Planning Commission waivers for curb/gutter.  This guidance will also help DISC II in developing recommendations for waivers for sidewalks and street trees.



ATTACHMENT A – DISC II Minutes from August 10, 2004 Meeting

ATTACHMENT B – DISC II Minutes from August 17, 2004 Meeting
ATTACHMENT C -  DISC II Draft Minutes from August 24,2004 Meeting
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