COUNTY OF ALBEMARLE
SUB 2008-100 (Wyant) – Subdivision Appeal
Appeal of disapproval of Wyant Family Subdivision Plat
Messrs. Tucker, Foley, Davis, Kamptner, Graham, Fritz, and Lawrence
LEGAL REVIEW: Yes
August 5, 2009
ACTION: X INFORMATION:
Timothy Wyant proposed to subdivide Tax Map and Parcel Number 02600-00-00-04200 (the “parcel”) into two lots as a family subdivision (see Attachment A). The parcel is 5.2347 acres and is zoned Rural Areas. If subdivided, the resulting lots would be 2.7018 and 2.5329 acres. There are currently two houses on the parcel. The building permit for the second house on the parcel was issued by the Building Official in 2004. The parcel fronts on and obtains its access from Old Breakheart Road, a road that is neither a public street nor an approved private street under the Subdivision and Zoning Ordinances. The subdivision agent disapproved the plat on May 12, 2009 (see Attachment B), and Mr. Wyant appealed the decision to the Board of Supervisors on May 19, 2009 (see Attachment C).
Goal 1: Enhance quality of life for all citizens
Goal 4: Effectively manage growth and development
VDOT Approval is Required
The County’s approval of the Wyant family subdivision plat is contingent, in part, upon VDOT’s approval of the point at which Old Breakheart Road intersects with Slam Gate Road, a public street, under County Code §§ 14-212(C) and 14-316. County Code § 14-212(C) provides:
Each approval of a plat for a family subdivision shall be subject to the following conditions:
. . .
C. The entrance of the principal means of access for each lot onto any public street shall comply with Virginia Department of Transportation standards and be approved by the Virginia Department of Transportation.
County Code § 14-316 provides:
The subdivider shall submit, prior to or with the final plat, evidence satisfactory to the agent that the entrance of the principal means of access for each lot onto any existing or proposed public street complies with Virginia Department of Transportation standards.
These regulations have been consistently applied to require VDOT approval of the intersection at which the travelway provides access from the proposed subdivision lots (Old Breakheart Road) to the public street (Slam Gate Road).
County Code §§ 14-212(C) and 14-316 facilitate VDOT’s required review to determine compliance with applicable State regulations. VDOT did not approve the intersection because the sight distance criteria under 24 VAC 30-71-130 were not satisfied and, related thereto, because the criteria for a commercial entrance under 24 VAC 30-71-140 were not met because a sight distance easement was required. Both of these regulations are part of VDOT’s minimum standards for entrances for state highways.
Because the applicant was unable to obtain the required VDOT approval, the family subdivision plat was disapproved by staff because the applicant failed to satisfy County Code §§ 14-212(C) and 14-316.
Consent to Approval of Old Breakheart Road as a Private Street is Required
As explained below, new lots must have frontage on an approved public or private street. In the past, staff has approved pre-existing roads as private streets in conjunction with the approval of a family subdivision. Though this situation appears to be rare, staff’s practice has not required the consent of the owners of the other parcels along the pre-existing road. In this case, the Wyant family subdivision plat is unclear as to who owns and controls Old Breakheart Road, or whether it exists as a separate parcel or is an easement across several parcels. Because approval of Old Breakheart Road as a private street requires that it be part of the proposed family subdivision (for example, County Code § 14-232(C)(1) provides that the agent may authorize family “subdivisions to be developed with one (1) or more new private streets or shared driveways”), it is the County Attorney’s opinion that the consent and signatures of those persons having an ownership interest in Old Breakheart Road is required.
Without the required signatures, Old Breakheart Road cannot be approved as a private street. If Old Breakheart Road is not approved as a private street, the family subdivision plat cannot be approved because the proposed lots would fail to satisfy other requirements. County Code § 14-211(C) provides that a “family subdivision shall be approved only if, in addition to satisfying all other applicable requirements of this chapter, the agent is satisfied that . . . [e]ach lot proposed to be created complies with all applicable requirements of the zoning ordinance.” County Code § 14-400, applicable to family subdivisions under County Code § 14-208(D), provides that “[e]ach lot within a subdivision shall satisfy the minimum lot requirements established in the zoning ordinance.” In this case, the proposed lots would not comply with the Zoning Ordinance’s requirement that each lot front on an existing or proposed public street or a private street approved under the Subdivision Ordinance. County Code § 18-4.6.1(a). County Code § 14-403, also applicable to family subdivisions under County Code § 14-208(D), provides that “[e]ach lot within a subdivision shall have frontage on an existing or proposed street.” “Frontage” means “the continuous uninterrupted distance along which a parcel abuts an adjacent street.” County Code § 14-106. The term “street,” when not preceded by either “public” or “private,” means either a public street or a private street. County Code § 14-105(E).
When the applicant obtains the consent and signatures of the other owners, Old Breakheart Road can be approved as a private street under County Code § 14-232(B)(1) (authority for the agent to approve a private street for a family subdivision) because it meets the requirements of County Code § 14-234(C), including the requirement that the street be adequate to carry the traffic volume that may be reasonably expected to be generated by the subdivision. However, VDOT’s approval of the intersection of Old Breakheart Road and Slam Gate Road under County Code §§ 14-212(C) and 14-316 remains a separate requirement for approval of the family subdivision plat.
The Wyant family subdivision plat was disapproved because the applicant failed to satisfy the requirements of County Code §§ 14-212(C) and 14-316 because he has not obtained VDOT’s approval of the intersection of Old Breakheart Road and Slam Gate Road. In addition, Old Breakheart Road must be approved as a private street in order for the proposed lots to comply with the lot frontage requirements of the Subdivision and Zoning Ordinances. One of the prerequisites for that approval is the consent of the owners of Old Breakheart Road.
For the foregoing reasons, staff recommends that the Board affirm the decision of the subdivision agent disapproving the Wyant family subdivision plat, and that it adopt the proposed resolution stating the reasons for the disapproval included as Attachment D.
A – Subdivision Plat
B – Letter of Denial
C – Applicant’s Appeal
D - Resolution
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