ZTA 2006-01 Country Stores




Public hearing to consider zoning text amendment pertaining to country store uses in the Rural Areas zoning district




Messrs. Tucker, Foley, Davis, Kamptner, Cilimberg, Benish, and Ms. McDowell






November 12, 2008


ACTION:     X          INFORMATION:   



  ACTION:              INFORMATION:   










In response to concerns that many country stores are struggling to survive and that many of the remaining historic stores are threatened by neglect or demolition, the Board of Supervisors directed staff to propose ways to improve and preserve Albemarle’s country stores.  A proposed zoning text amendment (ZTA) was developed.  After several Planning Commission work sessions where the Commission discussed aspects of the ZTA, it unanimously recommended approval of ZTA 2006-01. 


The Board of Supervisors held a work session on the proposed ZTA at its September 3, 2008 meeting and directed staff to add provisions to address canopies over gasoline pumps.  The Supervisors indicated a concern that canopies could be constructed that may not be consistent with Albemarle’s historic rural character.  In addition to addressing canopies, the draft ordinance has been amended to change the reference date to November 12, 2008 (which is the anticipated date of adoption) and to clarify language in the grandfathering provisions (§ Pre-existing country stores) (Attachment A). 


Goal 1:  “Enhance Quality of Life for all Citizens.”

Goal 2:  “Protect the County’s Natural Resources.” 

Goal 4:  “Effectively Manage Growth and Development.”



Draft Ordinance Overview:

With the underlying principle that country stores are an integral part of rural communities, the country stores zoning text amendment is intended to provide the flexibility needed to encourage country stores to remain in business, to reopen, or to be established.  Compliance with current regulations has been difficult or impossible for historic stores, as they are often located on very small parcels and are nearly always located close to the road.  The importance of protecting the remaining historic/older county stores (50 years and older) led to the separation of country stores into two classes: Class A (historic) and Class B (non-historic), with additional measures that recognize the existing circumstances of historic country stores. Historic country stores would be a by-right use and all others, including new stores, would require a special use permit. Gasoline sales would also require a special use permit.  However, all country stores, regardless of age, would be allowed to have mixed uses, including food service.  Alternative septic systems would be allowed only for Class A country stores and only in certain delineated circumstances. Provisions that would allow multiple uses within both Class A and Class B country store buildings were considered by country store owners to be essential for their businesses to survive.  


Changes to the Ordinance for Gas Pump Canopies:

Provisions to restrict canopies have been added (§ 5.1.45.f).   Canopies existing on the date of the ordinance adoption would be permitted to remain or have the canopy size reduced.  New and enlarged canopies would require a special use permit.



This ordinance amendment would encourage the rehabilitation and reuse of country store buildings. Of the total 83 country stores that have been surveyed by staff, 49 country store buildings are located on Entrance Corridors. Since the intent of this ordinance is to support and promote country stores in the Rural Areas, it is anticipated that additional applications, both administrative reviews and special use permits, would result from this text amendment.  Although additional special use permit and site plan applications will impact staff work load in the Community Development Department, the greatest impact would be for the review of the architecture, site design and signs on Entrance Corridors for both Class A and Class B country stores.   Review times for an ARB application vary from 2 hours to 20 hours, including time to prepare for a pre-application meeting and verifying Class A or Class B status.   However, staff does not believe that there will be a significant enough number of new applications generated from these amendments to create critical staffing issues.




After conducting a public hearing, staff and the Planning Commission recommends that the Board adopt  ZTA 2006-01 Country Stores Attachment A).




A - ZTA 2006-01 Country Stores Ordinance                                                                                                                            

B - ZTA 2006-01 Country Stores BoS Work Session 9-3-08 report

View PC minutes of March 20 and June 26, 2007; and May 20 and July 22, 2008

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