Albemarle County Planning Commission

June 12, 2007


The Albemarle County Planning Commission held a meeting and public hearing on Tuesday, June 12, 2007, at 6:00 p.m., at the County Office Building, Auditorium, Second Floor, 401 McIntire Road, Charlottesville, Virginia. Members attending were Bill Edgerton, Jon Cannon, Eric Strucko, Pete Craddock, Calvin Morris, Vice-Chairman and Marcia Joseph, Chairman. Duane Zobrist was absent.  Julia Monteith, AICP, Senior Land Use Planner for the University of Virginia was absent. 


Other officials present were Wayne Cilimberg, Planning Director; Amy Arnold, Planner; Rebecca Ragsdale, Senior Planner, Elaine Echols, Principal Planner; Scott Clark, Senior Planner; and Greg Kamptner, Deputy County Attorney.


Call to Order and Establish Quorum:


Ms. Joseph called the meeting order at 6:01 p.m. and established a quorum.


Regular Items:


SP-2007-00008 Camp Watermarks Amendment (Sign #47)

PROPOSED: Amend existing Special Use Permit to allow maximum 75 campers, 20 staff, 20 x 40 accessory building, one additional cabin, and weekly food delivery

ZONING CATEGORY/GENERAL USAGE: RA -- Rural Areas: agricultural, forestal, and fishery uses; residential density (0.5 unit/acre)

SECTION:;; 5.1.05

COMPREHENSIVE PLAN LAND USE/DENSITY:  Rural Areas - preserve and protect agricultural, forestal, open space, and natural, historic and scenic resources/ density (.5 unit/ acre)


LOCATION: 1145 James River Drive, west of Route 726 and Hatton Ferry Road

TAX MAP/PARCEL: TM 136, Parcels 6B, 9, 9A2, 9D, 9D1, 9E


(Amy Arnold)


Ms. Arnold summarized the staff report.  (See Staff Report)


§         The applicant requests an amendment to an existing special use permit to extend the number of parcels involved in Camp Watermarks; increase the number of campers weekly to 75 and staff to 20; add a 20’ X 40’ Arts and Craft Building and one additional cabin; as well as request a weekly truck delivery for food.


Ms. Joseph asked if there were any questions for Ms. Arnold.  There being none, she asked to clarify the following:

§         The applicant is going from 9 cabins to 10 and just adding 1 cabin.

§         They are going from 45 to 75 campers.

§         They are going from 10 to 20 staff.

§         There will be one additional food delivery.


Ms. Arnold agreed that was correct with the addition of an Arts and Craft building and an additional parcel to the west of the original parcels and then a piece that runs down to James River across the railroad tracks.


Mr. Edgerton questioned if there was some concern about crossing the railroad tracks.


Ms. Arnold replied that the Critzers have been working with CSX Railroad and have come to an agreement about crossing the railroad.


Ms. Joseph opened the public hearing and invited the applicant to address the Commission.


Travis Critzer, owner of Camp Watermarks, noted that they have had a crossing at the railroad tracks for years.  They have changed their agreement with CSX now to a commercial crossing, which will allow it to be used for the camp.  For a commercial crossing they had to increase their insurance and agree to keep that insurance up in order to use the crossing for the camp.  If they decide not to use it as a camp anymore, it goes back to an original farm crossing.  No physical items change at the crossing.  They continue to want to hold on to their farm and share it with young people to make a difference. 


Mr. Morris asked if the additional parcels just made it simpler to get the children around the animals and so on.


Mr. Critzer replied that was correct.  Sometimes they have animals in the other field that they want the children to visit.  He did not know that they were not supposed to be doing that without adding these parcels.  They were not changing their building, but just wanted the ability to take the children over there if they want to.


Mr. Cannon noted that the change that is requested would increase the number of children by almost 75 percent and double the staff.  In most cases camps and churches grow.  He asked what was the optimal number by which he would not be interested in going.


Mr. Critzer replied no, he was not going to put a cap on it.  But, they are very comfortable with what they are asking for.  That is where they felt lead to go right now. But, if it continues to grow, then they will be back.  Right now the requested numbers would suffice everything that they plan on doing right now.


Mr. Edgerton noted that previously there was some concern about the lighting impact on the adjoining farms.  Previously the owner had asked to replace the nonconforming light fixtures over time, but at this time had chosen not to do so.  He asked if that was something that he cannot do at this time.


Mr. Critzer replied no, that they could not. He and his wife have taken their life savings to get the camp where it is.


Mr. Edgerton asked how many light fixtures were they talking about.


Mr. Critzer replied very few.  He noted that they don’t have any neighbors that can see them.  There is no neighbor anywhere around them that would have any problem with the lights.  The existing lights have been there for years for the farm operation.  They do plan to change the lights as they can afford to do so.  There are a lot of other safety issues that they want to work on for the children that will make a bigger difference in their summer.  The lights are only used in the summer from dark to around 11:00 to 11:30 p.m.


There being no further questions for the applicant, Ms. Joseph invited other public comment.


Kevin Fletcher, resident of the Scottsville District, spoke in favor of Camp Watermarks.  They are an asset to the community and he was proud to have them in the area. 


There being no further public comment, the public hearing was closed and the matter placed before the Commission.


Mr. Craddock said that last time a letter was sent in by the adjoining neighbor.  He asked if staff has gotten anything in opposition to the project.


Ms. Arnold replied no, that staff has not received anything in opposition to the project. This week staff received a phone call from a neighbor in favor of the project.


Mr. Craddock said that this has been the second year that this camp has been in operation.  He asked staff if any complaints have been received.


Ms. Arnold replied no that there have been no complaints received.


Mr. Edgerton said that on page 7 of the staff report under item 4 says prior to issuance of a zoning compliance clearance compliance with the Virginia State Department of Health regarding kitchen and food service approval shall be verified.  He asked who would verify that.


Ms. Arnold replied it would be the Virginia State Department of Health.


Mr. Edgerton said that as a condition that would automatically require them to approve that.


Ms. Arnold replied that is correct.


Ms. Joseph asked regarding condition 9 how many delivery trucks are allowed for home occupations a week.


Ms. Arnold replied that typically the County allows 1 delivery per day, which usually involves a 5 day business.  Therefore, they are looking at 5 per week.


Ms. Joseph felt that the camp should have that same sort of lead way that a home occupation should have in being allowed to have more than 1 delivery per week.


Ms. Arnold offered to check on the number they typically allow for a home occupation and change the condition accordingly.


Mr. Cilimberg reiterated that the purpose of this recommendation for the motion was for approval and would be with the five food deliveries per truck.


The Planning Commission agreed with the amendment to the condition.


Motion:  Mr. Craddock moved, Mr. Morris seconded, to approve SP-2007-00008, Camp Watermarks Amendment with the conditions recommended by staff, as amended.  (Changes as compared to SP2006-37 are noted with strike through and in bold italics):


1.        The improvements, and the scale and location of the improvements authorized by Special Use Permit 2007-08 Camp Watermarks, shall be in general accord with the concept application plan dated February 22, 2006 May 29, 2007, prepared by Angela and Travis Critzer, and titled “Watermarks Christian Ministries Camp” (Attachment D) (Attachment A).  However, the Zoning Administrator may approve revisions to the concept application plan to allow compliance with the Zoning Ordinance. 

2.        Compliance with the Virginia Statewide Fire Prevention Code shall be verified by the Fire Marshall prior to issuance of a zoning compliance clearance and the commencement of the special use. 

3.        Prior to issuance of the zoning compliance clearance, compliance with the Virginia State Department of Health regarding minimum septic requirements shall be required. prior to the commencement of the special use.  The VDH shall re-review the status of septic standards within one year of the date of the approval of the special use permit.  At that time, and if necessary, systems shall be upgraded or enrolment reduced based on VDH recommendations.

4.        Prior to issuance of the zoning compliance clearance, compliance with the Virginia State Department of Health regarding kitchen and food service approvals shall be verified. by the Health Department prior to clearance and the commencement of the Special Use Permit.

5.        Total number of staff (in addition to the applicant and their family) on site at one time shall be limited to ten (10) twenty (20).  

6.        Camp sessions shall be limited to a maximum of sixteen (16), each one (1) week long, overnight sessions per year.

7.        The maximum number of children per session shall be limited to forty five (45) seventy five (75).

8.        The maximum number of bus or van trips (round trips) to and from the camp, each week long session shall be six (6).  Bus or van trips shall be the primary means of transportation for the children.

9.        Five (5) truck delivers shall be allowed per week.  One food delivery by truck shall be permitted per week long session.

10.     Camp activities are permitted on Tax Map 136, Parcels 6B, 9, 9A2, 9D, 9D1, 9E.

11.     Outdoor amplified sounds or bull horns shall be prohibited.

12.     Compliance with the Virginia State Department of Health regarding water supply shall be verified by the Health Department prior to issuance of a zoning compliance clearing and the commencement of the special use. The VDH shall re-review the status of water standards within one year of the date of the approval of the special use permit.  At that time, and if necessary, systems shall be upgraded or enrolment reduced based on VDH recommendations.

13.     This special use permit does not include approval for additional lighting subject to Chapter 18, Section 4.17 of the Zoning Ordinance.


The motion passed by a vote of 6:0.   (Mr. Zobrist was absent.)


Ms. Joseph stated that SP-2007-00008, Camp Watermarks Amendment will go to the Board of Supervisors with a recommendation for approval on August 1.



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