COUNTY OF ALBEMARLE
ZMA 00-009 North Pointe Update
SP 02-72 Residential Uses at North Pointe
Tucker, Foley, Davis, Kamptner, Graham, Echols, White
LEGAL REVIEW: Yes
August 2, 2006
ACTION: X INFORMATION:
On May 10, 2006 the Board of Supervisors held a public hearing on North Pointe, at which staff noted issues that prevented staff from recommending approval. On June 7, 2006, the Board of Supervisors held a worksession on the North Pointe project where the unresolved issues, except for staff’s concerns with regional transportation impacts and retail absorption, were discussed. The attached table (Exhibit A) shows the issues that were discussed, staff’s understanding of the Board of Supervisor’s direction, and how the applicant has responded to each issue.
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.
Proffers – Exhibit B contains the signed proffers and Exhibit C is the application plan. Concerns of the Board of Supervisors that were raised at the June 7 meeting appear to have been addressed with two possible exceptions. First, staff believes the Board indicated a desire to see completion of proffered transportation improvements within five years of the project start while the applicant has tied those to a stage of development. Second, staff is uncertain as to whether the affordable housing proffer adequately addresses the Board’s expectations with respect to how “workforce” or “moderately-priced units” are treated and whether the cash contribution is appropriate to account for the difference between 15% of housing and the affordable units provided.
With respect to the completion of the proffered transportation improvements, staff notes the applicant has provided all of the requested changes from the June 7th worksession except for questions on the timing of improvements associated with the Route 29 middle entrance. Those improvements are listed as “Phase II Road Improvements” in Proffer 5.3.1. (b). The applicant is proffering to complete all of the middle entrance improvements when more than 290,000 square feet (SF) of commercial development occurs while staff understood the Board wanted to see all of these transportation improvements within five years of the project start. Staff notes that the applicant has committed to construct the southern entrance improvements with the initial commercial development, which satisfactorily addressed staff’s public safety concern with oscillating number of traffic lanes. The timing question relates to the question of retail absorption. If North Pointe does not build out beyond 290,000 SF before the need for those improvements is generated outside of North Pointe, other, as yet unidentified, funding sources will be required for completion of these improvements.
With respect to the affordable housing question, staff notes the applicant proffers to provide 16 “moderately-price units” as a substitution for 8 affordable units. Affordable units are defined in the County’s Affordable Housing Policy and moderately-priced units were discussed during the June 7th worksession, but moderately-priced units are currently outside of the affordable housing policy. Following the existing policy, the County would seek 15% affordable housing, which equals 134 residential units, or some combination of units and cash contributions equivalent to 134 units, with the North Pointe application. The applicant proposes 94 affordable units and 16 moderately-priced units, which are given 50% credit, to yield an equivalent of 102 units, plus $300,000 in cash to satisfy the policy expectation of 15% affordable housing. Staff recognizes the moderately-priced units are outside of existing County policy, which leads to some uncertainty as to whether the Board considers it acceptable to
substitute moderately-priced units for affordable units using a 2:1 ratio. The Housing Division plans to bring the concept of moderately-priced units to the Planning Commission in the near future to gain their perspective
The cash contribution to the housing fund in the amount of $300,000 is proposed to be tendered within 60 days of the approval of the rezoning. Due to the early lump-sum pay-in, the contribution could be valued at $527,990 over an eleven-year period, which represents an anticipated mid-point of a twenty-year build-out and an additional year for the early pay-in. This cash contribution equates to $528,000 in expected contributions calculated at an amount of $16,500 for each of 32 units not produced.
At the Board’s June 7th worksession, the Housing Director provided a report entitled, “Affordable and Moderately-Priced Housing” dated May 22, 2006 that provides a strategy for giving “credit” for affordable and moderately priced units. The strategy does not require that the County’s housing policy relative to providing housing for households with 80% of the median income be strictly adhered to. Staff notes that this policy has not been reviewed in depth by the Housing Committee or the Planning Commission nor does it have standing as an adopted policy.
With regard to remaining issues discussed at the June 7th worksession, staff notes the transportation proffers have been reorganized and are easier to understand. It is also staff’s opinion the issue of assuring completion of the Leake Road / Proffit Road improvements has been satisfactorily addressed. Staff also believes the proffers have addressed the Board’s expectations with the landscape buffer and maximum size building footprint.
Finally, with respect to the dispensation of unused cash in Proffer 5.3.2 ($35,000 for cable or wireless radio system), Proffer 5.3.4 ($100,000 for regional transportation study), and Proffer 8.2 (h), the Board has requested that unused cash proffers be applied to a specific purpose such as to fund a project identified in the County’s Capital Improvement Program, rather than be refunded to the owner. It is the owner’s understanding that, based on the discussion at the June 7, 2006 Board work session regarding the certainty that these funds would be expended, the Board is willing to accept the owner’s disposition language. While staff did not share this understanding and believes this is contrary to previously stated expectations, staff does agree that there is a very high level of certainty the funds will be expended within the stated timeframe .
Special Use Permit Conditions – The recommended special use permit conditions are Exhibit D. Except for condition 2, these conditions have been agreed upon with the applicant. With respect to condition 2, the applicant believes this requirement is too aggressive and indicates they would find a condition that required 20 single family detached (SFD) units acceptable. Staff is concerned a requirement for only 20 SFDs may not adequately address the Board’s interest in assuring North Pointe reduces demand for Rural Area homes. If 20 SFDs is considered acceptable, staff believes North Pointe will probably accomplish this without a special use permit condition and the condition may be eliminated.
Waivers – Two waivers have been requested by the applicant in conjunction with this rezoning. The first waiver is to Section 21.7 Minimum Yard Requirements. This section of the Zoning Ordinance requires a 30-foot setback from the public street for all buildings, a 50-foot setback between the PD-MC zoning district and adjacent RA zoned properties, and a 20-foot undisturbed buffer zone between the PD-MC district and adjacent RA and residentially zoned properties. The second waiver is to Section 4.2 of the Zoning Ordinance related to critical slopes. The Planning Commission did not recommend approval of these waivers because it did not recommend approval of the plan and because there were so many outstanding issues at the time of their review. Staff believes that if the Board of Supervisors approves the rezoning, approval should be given to both waivers in accordance with the application plan which provides for alternate setbacks and also which shows areas of critical slopes disturbance
To date, it has been staff’s opinion this application should not be approved because of concerns over stale zoning with respect to retail absorption and this project exacerbating regional transportation problems prior to identifying solutions. For those reasons, staff continues to recommend this application should be denied or withdrawn and resubmitted only after the Places 29 master plan has provided answers to those issues. However, if the Board of Supervisors believes that the timing of the transportation improvements and affordable housing are appropriately provided, it is staff’s opinion that the applicant has adequately addressed the outstanding issues from the June 7th worksession and the application can be approved with proffers in Exhibit B.
If the Board of Supervisors approves the rezoning, then staff recommends approval of the special use permit with the conditions in Exhibit D, subject to the Board’s consideration of condition 2.
If the Board of Supervisors approves the rezoning, staff also recommends approval of the waivers to Section 21.7 and 4.2 of the Zoning Ordinance in accordance with the application plan which provides for alternate setbacks and also which shows areas of critical slopes disturbance.
A - June 7, 2006 Board Comments and Current Proffers
B - Proffers dated July 20, 2006
B1- Exhibit B for Proffer 5.3.
C - Application Plan dated June 13, 2006
D - Recommended Special Use Permit Conditions
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