STAFF PERSON:                                                                              Rebecca Ragsdale

PLANNING COMMISSION:                                                              November 30, 2004

BOARD OF SUPERVISORS                                                            January 12, 2004



Applicant’s Proposal:


The applicant is seeking to downzone 14 acres of a 29-acre property from Planned Residential Development (PRD) to Rural Areas (RA) to allow that 14-acre portion of the property to be included in a residential subdivision. Approval of this rezoning would allow the 14-acres to be incorporated into the Mountain Valley Farm development as 2 lots (4 and 7 acres in size), a segment of Ambrose Commons Drive, and small portions of two other lots.  The remainder of the parcel is zoned RA. (Attachment C)   

Petition for Amendment:

Request to rezone 14.176 acres of a 29.75 acre parcel from the PRD (Planned Residential Development) Zoning District to RA (Rural Areas). The property is described as Tax Map 89, Parcel 73A, is located in the Samuel Miller Magisterial District, approximately half a mile north from the intersection of Rt. 631 (Old Lynchburg Road) and Rt. 706 (Dudley Mountain Road). The Comprehensive Plan designates this property as Rural Area 4.

Character of the Area:


The property proposed for rezoning, TMP 89-73A, is wooded and hilly. Immediately surrounding the property is the remainder of Mountain Valley Farm which is undeveloped. To the south of the property is the undeveloped Liberia PRD, also wooded. The general area surrounding Mountain Valley Farm includes the Mosby Mountain PRD to the south, Neighborhood 5 in the Development Area to the north and across Old Lynchburg Road, including Forest Lodge, and Redfields subdivision to the east. 


Applicant’s Justification for the Request:


The applicant has indicated in the ZMA application (Attachment A) that the parcel was rezoned without the owner’s consent and this application seeks to correct that. The applicant has also indicated that this application is in conformance with the Comprehensive Plan.


Zoning and Subdivision History: 

ZMA 77-18 In November 1977, the Board of Supervisors approved a rezoning of 214.5 acres from Agriculture-1 to Residential Planned Neighborhood (RPN)/RS-1, which included Tax Map 89, parcels 95, 95A, Tax Map 90, parcel 5 (part) and parcel 3. ZMA 77-18 was approved with a maximum of 104 lots each with a minimum lot size of 40,000 square feet.  The ZMA proposal included 28.5% open space and the average lot size was 1.22 acres with a net density of .83 dwelling units per acre.

ZMA 77-18 included TMP 89-95A, which is now TMP 89-73A, the subject parcel in this ZMA request. At the time, Liberia, the applicant of ZMA 77-18, thought they owned the property. (Attachment B) According to the County Attorney, in 1977 the Code of Virginia allowed any property owner to seek rezoning of property regardless of having ownership of the property. Therefore, ZMA 77-18 is still valid on TMP 89-73A.


ZMA 80-07 A condition of ZMA 77-18 was amended with regard to fire protection.


1980 Comprehensive Rezoning Properties that were zoned RPN were rezoned to PRD. This changed the standing of the application plan of ZMA 77-18 but the conditions and density remain the same.


SUB 01-293 Mountain Valley Farm Preliminary Plat was approved on February 11, 2002 and included TMP 89-73A. SUB 01-293 included 37 lots with a minimum lot size of 2.3 acres and a maximum lot size of 36.1 acres and a gross residential density of .065 dwelling units per acre. 


SUB 03-140 Mountain Valley Farm Final plat was submitted for approval and during the review it was discovered that a portion of TMP 89-73A was zoned PRD and the subdivision plat could not be approved until that property was rezoned to RA.

Comprehensive Plan:  


Rural Area


The primary goal of the current Rural Area Plan is to discourage rural residential development other than that related to agricultural and forestal activities.  All decisions concerning the RA should be made in relation to protection of agricultural and forestall resources, water supply protection,  limited service delivery, and conservation of natural, scenic and historic resources.  While this ZMA is proposed to facilitate a residential subdivision that is not in keeping with the goals of the Rural Area Plan, the proposed development would result in fewer lots than if developed as an RPD. There are no agricultural or forestal districts located near the parcel proposed for rezoning and it is not located within a water supply protection area.


 Historic Preservation Plan


The Historic Preservation planner has indicated that no surveyed historic architectural or archaeological sites have been identified within the project area (Tax Map 89, Parcel 73A).  


Analysis of the Rezoning Request:


By-right Use of the Property


For the 14-acre portion of TMP 89-73A to be developed under its current PRD zoning, an application plan that meets the requirements of Section 8.5 (Procedures for Planned Development Applications) would have to be submitted and approved through the ZMA process.  The density and zoning would remain the same as that approved with ZMA 77-18, which would allow a minimum lot size of 40,000 square feet with 28% open space


If developed under the current PRD zoning, the 14-acre portion of TMP 89-73A could potentially be developed at the density allowed under the PRD, which is .83 dwelling units per acre. The application plan for ZMA 77-18 (this plan is no longer valid but provides an indication of the development potential) proposed 7-8 lots and open space for the 14-acres.  In addition to the potential lots from the 14-acres of PRD, the remaining RA portion of the property could utilize all five of its development rights. ZMA 04-13 would reduce the potential number of residential lots. The Mountain Valley Farm subdivision proposes to divide all of TMP 89-73A into five lots, including 2 on the 14-acre portion which is the subject of this rezoning request. The proposed subdivision maximizes the development potential of the entire acreage of TMP 89-73A, once the 14.176 acres are rezoned to RA. (Attachment C)


Relationship between the application and the purpose and intent of the requested zoning district


The applicant is proposing to downzone the property to allow a residential subdivision allowed by-right in the RA Zoning District.


Anticipated impact on public facilities and services


VDOT provided the following comments on this proposed rezoning:

Water and Sewer

This property is not located in the Albemarle County Service Authority’s Jurisdictional Area. All lots would be served with individual water and sewer systems.

Stormwater management

No comments were provided from Engineering and approval was recommended on 8/31/04.


Since the proposal is a downzoning, comments were not requested from the school system.

Fiscal Impact

A fiscal impact analysis was not requested.


Anticipated impact on cultural and historic resources


There is concern regarding the impacts of the residential subdivisions developing in this portion of the Rural Area and how the character has changed and will be further altered. Although no historic sites were identified on TMP 89-73A there are resources within a one mile radius of the project area: 002-0076 – Bally-Les-Braden (Tudor Grove), c. 1830 dwelling; 002-0794 –Forest Lodge, c. 1900 dwelling, outbuildings, and structures; 002-0811 – Matthews Chapel, c. 1900 archaeological site and three Terrestrial, open air archaeological sites. The following comments were offered by the Historic Preservation planner :


Based upon the information above, Mountain Valley Farm and future subdivisions in the vicinity could create a negative visual impact on the resources considered historic by DHR by changing the rural character of the area.


The following recommendations are offered in order to mitigate the potential adverse impact this subdivision may have on the historic, rural nature of the area:

Soften the visual impact of development within the rural area by designing new buildings that are compatible with the character of the historic area while maintaining a focus on landscape:

a.       For building siding and trim, use colors and materials that blend with the natural environment, do not use highly reflective colors or surfaces, or light colored roofs.

b.       Concrete driveways visible from off-site should be darkened to blend with the natural environment.

c.       Minimize clearing and grading by utilizing existing vegetation and natural contours of the land.

d.       Replant cleared and graded areas with informal plantings that at maturity will blend with natural vegetation.


These comments are directed toward development of the entire Mountain Valley Farm subdivision. This ZMA request only addresses TMP 89-73A or 14 acres of that subdivision. The applicant has indicated that once the lots have been created and are sold for construction of residences, a set of architectural and design guidelines will be implemented that will govern the construction of the residences. This set of guidelines has not yet been created.


Anticipated impact on nearby and surrounding properties


Properties surrounding TMP 89-73A are either included in the Mountain Valley Farm subdivision or Mosby Mountain, or are zoned PRD. The exception is the nearby RA zoned Warthen property, located northwest of TMP 89-73A. Mr. Warthen did provide a written comment to staff:  “This looks fine with me. Whatever the Jessups want is OK.”   


Public need and justification for the change


RA Zoning is consistent with the RA designation in Comprehensive Plan.



Staff has identified the following factors favorable to this rezoning request:

o        Rural Area zoning is consistent with the Comprehensive Plan.

o        The proposed development of parcel TMP 89-73A will result in less residential subdivision lots than if the property is developed under its current PRD zoning.




Staff recommends approval of ZMA 04-13 of 14.176 acres of TMP 89-73A from PRD to RA, labeled Parcel B on the plat prepared by R.O. Snow Land Surveyor (DB 498 Pg. 213) included with the application for ZMA 04-13. (Attachment1A).




A.      ZMA 04-13 Application

1A. Plat of property requested for rezoning

B.     ZMA 77-18 Map

C.     Zoning Exhibit of proposed Mountain Valley Subdivision

D.     Zoning Map of 89-73A

E.     Aerial of Mountain Valley Farm (PRD portion of TMP 89-73A in Pink)

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