Minutes - March 14, 2006

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TUESDAY, MARCH 14, 2006 -- 6:30 P.M.


The Regular Meeting of the Planning Commission was held on this date with the following members present:

Mr. Jon Fink (Vice-Chairman) ABSENT:

Mr. Craig Barton Ms. Karen Firehock (Chairman)

Mr. Michael Farruggio Mr. David Neuman (ex-officio, UVA)

Ms. Cheri Lewis


Mr. Kevin O'Halloran Mr. Jim Tolbert, AICP, Director of NDS

Mr. Ron Higgins, AICP, Planning Manager/Zoning Admin.

City Council Members Present: Ms. Missy Creasy, AICP, Neighborhood Planner

Mr. David Brown, Mayor Ms. Ashley Cooper, Neighborhood Planner

Mr. Kevin Lynch, Vice Mayor Ms. Amy Kilroy, Grants Coordinator

Mr. Blake Caravati Mr. Brian Haluska, Neighborhood Planner

Ms. Kendra Hamilton Ms. Lisa R. Kelley, Deputy City Attorney

Mr. Rob Schilling


Mr. Fink called the meeting to order at 6:30 p.m.


Mr. Fink called for matters from the public not on the agenda. There were none; however, Mr. Tolbert stated he had expected someone to be present and asked the Board to reopen this item if there was time before the public hearings.


February 14, 2006 -- Regular Meeting

Ms. Lewis stated that the applicant of the Moore's Creek PUD who spoke was Mr. Rampini; she asked that this be corrected.

Ms. Lewis, citing the fourth paragraph of page 12, stated Mr. Don Franco's name had been misspelled.

Mr. Farruggio, citing the fifth paragraph of page 7, asked that the record reflect he had stated at that time that he also had met with the applicant.

Mr. Farruggio sought clarification of the third paragraph from the bottom of page 12. Mr. Tolbert and Ms. Lewis clarified it should read berming and silt fencing.

Mr. Farruggio asked that the record reflect he had asked if the matter was strictly administerial, and when told it was, he stated it did comply with the law.

Mr. Barton moved to accept the minutes as amended. Mr. Lucy seconded the motion. The motion carried



Ms. Lewis sought clarification of what had been amended on the Chipotle's Restaurant. Ms. Creasy stated there had been a minor change in the rear of the building; the footprint increased by a 2x2 foot square.

Mr. Farruggio sought clarification of the change to the Barracks Road Kroger. Ms. Creasy stated it had expanded into the old ABC Store portion of Barracks Road and there had been a small increase in the building in the rear as well as doing a different facade.

Mr. Farruggio sought clarification of the Hope Community Center amendment. Ms. Cooper stated they had gained an easement so they could have a second egress from their parking lot.

Ms. Lewis moved to approve the list of site plans approved administratively, February 1st through March 1st of '06. Mr. Barton seconded the motion. The motion carried unanimously.


2/1/06 TO 3/1/06

1. File No. Kroger Store/Site Amendment 1904 Emmet Street

T-05-000017 Signed by: Missy Creasy

2. File No. Chipotle Restaurant 953 Emmet Street @

T-01-000009 Amendment – Minor Barracks Road S.C.

Signed by: Missy Creasy

3. File No. Hope Community Center Amendment 341 11th Street, NW

T-04-000018 Signed by: Ashley Cooper


Ms. Lewis had attended the Thomas Jefferson Planning District Commission meeting. She had also

attended the UVA Master Planning Council meeting.

Mr. Farruggio had attended the 250 Interchange Committee meeting at which they discussed the upcoming public meeting on March 23 at the Senior Center. Mr. Farruggio had not been able to attend the Parks and Recreation Committee meeting due to illness. He stated the Federation of Neighborhoods had not met.

Mr. Lucy stated the Board of Architectural Review had met. He stated work was being done on the addition to and partial replacement of the four buildings adjacent to the Wachovia building; there would be one level of retail space, one level for offices, and several levels of residential with 160 underground parking spaces. He stated discussions were also beginning on a proposal for an eight-or nine-story building on Water Street.

Mr. O'Halloran stated he had not been able to attend the February Board of Zoning Appeals meeting.

Mr. Barton stated, as the newly appointed Planning Commission member to the School Board CIP, he had

met with City Staff and was brought up to date on the CIP process; there would be a meeting in September when the projects were brought for review. Mr. Barton wanted to note a successful Black History Month presentation at the Jefferson School.


Mr. Fink stated the MPO Tech Committee had met and discussed the future of ingress and egress off

Route 29 from Target to the 29/250 Bypass. Mr. Fink stated there had also been a meeting of the Albemarle Planning Commission which had been attended by three members of the Charlottesville Planning Commission and Neighborhood Development Staff to discuss Biscuit Run, a proposal for

development of 907 acres with almost 5,000 units.

Mr. Fink stated he and Mr. Farruggio had started their certification training in Richmond.


The Neighborhood of the Year was awarded to Tenth and Page; the award was accepted by Gate Pratt, Acting President of the Tenth and Page Neighborhood Association.

The Outstanding Plan of the Year was awarded to Union Bank and Trust at Barracks Road and Cedar

Court; the award was accepted by Rob Gentry.

The Citizen Planner of the Year was awarded to Mr. Wayne Cabell.

The Herman Key, Jr., Access for the Disabled Award was awarded to the Music Resource Center. Mr. Fink called upon Mr. Barton to say a few words about Herman Key. Mr. Barton stated Mr. Key came to every Planning Commission meeting able to open the Commission's eyes to issues that may not have been part of their daily life. Mr. Key had reminded the Commissioners their planning decisions had to be broadly and fairly meted out so every citizen benefited from thoughtful planning for years to come. The award was accepted by Mr. Fritz Berry.

The Eldon Wood Award was awarded in absentia to Millie Ann VanDevender; Ms. Ashley Cooper accepted the award on her behalf.


Mr. Fink called again for matters from the public.

Mr. Jeff Dreyfus, a partner in 820, LLC, asked that the Commission consider a Zoning Ordinance text

amendment for the North Downtown Corridor to allow higher density by Special Use Permit. He stated

the current 43 dwelling units per acre would cause residential units to be unusually large -- in the current market, larger than can be easily marketed. The partnership was not asking for more buildings, but for more units within the building.

Ms. Lewis asked for the square footage of units proposed at 822 East High. Mr. Dreyfuss stated by right there would be 11 units with approximately 2000 square feet per unit; at 820 East High Street the units ranged from 575 square feet to 1262 square feet. Mr. Fink sought clarification of the demand for units of the size at 820. Mr. Dreyfuss stated the units had sold out before the project was completed.

Ms. Lewis stated that smaller units may help affordable housing by increasing density. She thought they should consider the matter. Mr. O'Halloran suggested they discuss it at a work session. Mr. Barton invited Mr. Dreyfuss to attend the work session to address the challenges the Commission faced, especially that of putting affordable housing in multi-family dwellings.

Mr. Farruggio asked if Mr. Dreyfuss would be interested in adding two more stories to the building. Mr. Dreyfuss stated that, as an architect, he would have to think seriously about that. Mr. Farruggio, stating the smaller sizes seemed more like studio apartments while the 300-1400 square feet would allow family housing, asked if the larger sizes would be considered. Mr. Dreyfuss stated he foresaw a mix of sizes.

Mr. Tolbert stated a letter had been received asking that a Planning Commissioner be appointed to the

Martha Jefferson Hospital Task Force to help develop the process for the reuse of the hospital properties.



1. Community Development Block Grant and HOME/ADDI Funding-3rd Year Action Plan, '06-'07: The Planning Commission and City Council are considering the 3rd year Action Plan of the multi-year Consolidated Plan which sets forth projects to be undertaken utilizing CDBG and HOME/ADDI funds for the City of Charlottesville. In fiscal year '06-'07, it is expected that the City of Charlottesville will receive approximately $538,861 for Housing and Community Development needs and $117,007 in HOME/ADDI funds for affordable housing from HUD. CDBG funds will be used in the City to conduct housing rehabilitation, assist low and moderate income home buyers, and improve access and housing for persons with disabilities, as well as to fund several programs that benefit low and moderate income citizens and the homeless population. HOME/ADDI funds will be used to assist first time home buyers and rehabilitate housing.

Ms. Kilroy gave the staff report. Approximately $500,000 of the budget comes from entitlement funds from HUD. Approximately $250,000 comes from program income and reprogramming of old funds. The housing programs are similar to those recommended in prior years. Members' packets had included a full list of the applications received as well as proposed allocations. Staff asks for a recommendation from the Planning Commission to City Council for the proposed allocations.

Mr. Fink opened the public hearing. With no one wishing to speak to the matter, Mr. Fink closed the public hearing. Mr. Fink called for comments and questions from the Commissioners.

Ms. Lewis commended Staff and the Task Force for the time spent on this. Ms. Lewis requested that, in the future, the spreadsheet contain the original request amount.

Mr. Lucy noted that the Planning Commission was currently working on the affordable housing section of the Comprehensive Plan. He felt there was much useful information to summarize in the report.

Mr. Barton, while applauding the weatherization, wondered whether it should be expanded so homes would not only be weatherized but also providing funds to buy down the homes.

Mr. O'Halloran also commended Staff and the members of the Committee. Mr. O'Halloran asked that future spread sheets also include highlights of previous awards given to organizations over the past three years.

Ms. Lewis moved that they recommend the CDBG and home budget allocation that are outlined in the

staff report, to council. Mr. Barton seconded the motion. Mr. Higgins called the question. The motion carried unanimously.

2. SP-06-1-1: An application for an amended special use permit to expand the Martha Jefferson House Nursing Home complex at 1600 Gordon Avenue (at the end of Ackley Lane) to add a wing that will include 12 new apartment units. This property is further identified on City Real Property Tax Map Number 9 as parcel 16, having approximately 164 feet of frontage on Ackley Lane (Sixteenth Street, Northwest), 210 feet of frontage on Fifteenth Street, Northwest and containing approximately 109,531 square feet of land or 2.51 acres. The general uses called for in the Land Use Plan of the Comprehensive Plan are for Public or Semi-Public institutional uses, surrounded by higher density residential uses. Report prepared by: Ashley Cooper, Neighborhood Planner.

Ms. Cooper gave the staff report. The Martha Jefferson House has been a nursing home since 1956. A portion of the site is covered by the newly created Rugby Road/University Circle/Venable local historic district. The home is of historic note. The project has had a preliminary discussion with the BAR and will go back before that Board for final approval of the Certificate of Occupancy. Ms. Cooper stated her written report erroneously lists the proposal as 12 assisted living apartment units on page 2; they are independent living units. The proposed use is less than allowed by right. There is more parking on site because of the usage on site. However, there is also much more landscaping proposed. The original Special Use Permit for nursing home use was granted in April, 1979. Staff recommends approval. No public comment had been received from the neighborhood.

Mr. Fink called for questions of Ms. Cooper.

Mr. Barton sought clarification of the square footage of the addition. Ms. Cooper stated it was approximately 20,000 square feet.

Mr. Farruggio asked if a tree loss inventory had been done. Ms. Cooper stated that site plan sheet C1.0 showed which trees remain, so the rest of the trees noted in that vicinity would be removed. Mr. Farruggio noted that the losses include: a 36-inch oak; a 36-inch ash; and two 12-inch hemlocks.

Mr. Farruggio asked if there had been any talk about affordable units. Ms. Cooper stated there had not


Mr. Fink asked if trees were being replaced. Ms. Cooper stated the Board of Architectural Review had felt too many of the proposed trees were of ornamental size and had recommended other species.

Mr. Fink recognized the applicant.

Mr. Clark Gathright and Ms. Andrea Gross, of Daggett & Grigg Architects, and Tom Bernier, President of

Martha Jefferson House, were present to answer questions.

Mr. Farruggio asked if the applicant had considered making at least one of the 12 units affordable housing. Mr. Bernier explained that Martha Jefferson House has a scholarship program for current and potential residents. He stated approximately 15 percent of the residents use scholarship support.

Mr. Lucy sought clarification that the landscape plan before the Commission was the same plan presented to the BAR and had not been changed to accommodate the suggestions of the Board. Mr. Gathright stated he had no objection to revising the plan.

Mr. Caravati asked that, when the matter came before City Council, more detail on the scholarship program be included, particularly how it affects the citizens of the City. He also asked for detail on the origins of the clientele.

Mr. Barton asked if approval of the addition would require an increase in staff. Mr. Bernier stated it would not change care staff, but in terms of maintenance, housekeeping, and kitchen there would be some small increases.

Mr. Fink opened the public hearing. With no one wishing to speak to the matter, he closed the public hearing.

Mr. Lucy stated he would like some attention paid to the recommendation of the BAR for alteration of the landscaping.

Mr. O'Halloran thought this was a good proposal. He had no opposition to the plan.

Ms. Lewis stated the City of Charlottesville needed to find ways to house the aging population. She wanted to see the Commission target senior living or nursing home facilities in future development in the City.

Mr. Barton stated the proposal was a skillful melding of a new building with the existing with respect to the material palette. Mr. Barton stated the parking lot would be seen from Gordon Avenue; the recommendation for larger trees was a useful tool to provide some additional screening from Gordon. Mr. Barton stated his support for the project.

Mr. Barton moved to recommend approval of this application to amend the Special Use Permit in the R-UMD, Residential-University Medium Density District, for a nursing home at 1600 Gordon Avenue; the approval is based on the finding that the proposal meets the criteria for Special Use Permit and would serve the interest of the general public welfare and good zoning practice with the condition that the applicant visually screen the parking lot from Gordon Avenue. Mr. O'Halloran seconded the motion. Mr. Higgins called the question. The motion carried unanimously.

3. ZM-06-1-2: An ordinance to amend and re-ordain Section 34-1101 of the Code of the City of Charlottesville, 1990, as amended (Zoning Ordinance), to modify the appurtenance regulations allowing certain projections of balconies, decks, platforms and other features into required setbacks.

Mr. Tolbert gave the staff report. Mr. Tolbert, in a brief history, stated that, as a way to encourage more of the new urbanism type of development and some outdoor living, balconies, decks, and porches would be allowed to extend into required yards. While a great idea, putting it into writing has been difficult. Mr. Tolbert then read the proposed Item 4 which deals with unattached or attached decks, platforms or balconies which have a maximum floor height of three feet above the finish grade: They may extend into any required yard but not closer than five feet to any lot line and no more than ten feet into a required front yard. Section 5 deals with those having a floor height greater than three feet above finish grade; section (a) deals with single-family buildings -- they may be ten feet but no closer than five feet to a front lot line and must comply with the side yard setback. They cannot extend into a required side yard. For the rear yard they can extend ten feet but not closer than ten feet to the lot lines; the sum of the projections into a rear yard shall not exceed ten percent of the footprint of the primary structure to which they are attached. Section (b) deals with multi-family dwellings: Within all required yards there shall be a total of one porch, deck or balcony per dwelling unit and no porch or deck shall be more than ten feet wide; any porch, deck or balcony with any part of its floor higher than three feet above grade may extend into required yards as follows: front yard -- six feet but not closer than ten; side yard -- four feet but not closer than ten; rear yard -- four but not closer than ten to any lot line. The floor of any deck, platform or porch shall be attached to the building at a height not greater than the height of the floor of the unit to which it is attached. The height of any porch cover shall not exceed the height of the structure to which it is attached. An enclosed appurtenance shall not encroach into any required yard. Two definitions were added; one for balcony and one for finish grade. Public comments had brought to staff's attention that the wording in Section 5(b)(a) was confusing. There were additional concerns from the public about how high balconies could go. Mr. Tolbert, understanding the concern, suggested adding language for multi-family housing that no deck, platform or porch may be placed on any floor higher than the second floor; within the definitions, it would allow balconies from the third floor up but not decks, platforms, or porches.

Mr. Lucy expressed concern about limiting porches to two stories on the front of the building. Mr. Tolbert stated it may be possible to limit deck or platform.

Mr. Fink opened the public hearing.

Mr. Dan Ortiz, of 411 Altamont Circle, stated that, while this proposal was an improvement over the existing ordinance, there were still some problems in the proposal. He had written letters to the Commission to address his issues which included conflicting definitions.

Mr. Joe Platania, of Twelfth Street Northeast, spoke in favor of the proposal. He stated he and his wife were renovating their home and were interested in some outdoor living space. Mr. Platania felt the proposed amendment would allow for a front porch for his home.

With no one else wishing to speak to the matter, Mr. Fink closed the public hearing.

Mr. Lucy sought clarification of Mr. Ortiz's concerns. Mr. Tolbert stated the proposal was not a perfect solution to the problem but it was better than the existing situation with its loopholes.

Mr. Farruggio felt the definition of balcony should state it was a platform that projects from a wall and is supported by that wall.

Mr. Caravati asked for illustrations of "average yard," if the matter comes before City Council. Mr. Caravati also expressed concern that the wording seemed to eliminate porte-cocheres.

Mr. Barton stated there were some definitions which could be clarified; this was something that could be done relatively quickly and easily. Mr. Barton recognized that the Commission had worked hard on this amendment and it was very close to completion, but it would be a shame to push this forward with a minor correctible, but challenging, flaw to its basic language.

Mr. Tolbert suggested the Commission direct staff to provide Council with alternate definitions which

could address those issues.

Ms. Lewis agreed with Mr. Ortiz the definitions for balcony and platform conflicted. She stated this needed to be resolved. She was hesitant to send this to Council for them to have to wordsmith. Ms. Lewis felt they were 95 percent there, but that and the amendments to D so the words "platform," “porch," "balcony," and "deck" would be uniform rather than haphazard as they were.

Mr. Tolbert stated Ms. Lewis was right; the amendment should be cleaned up and brought back.

Ms. Lewis moved to defer just to do some more housekeeping and rewriting on this; this was only being done so because they generally support what's here and they are all in consent that this needs to be moved along and enacted. Mr. Barton seconded the motion. The motion carried unanimously.



1. Paton Street PUD (Habitat) -- Phase I – Moore Street between Paton and Hanover –

6 units

Mr. Haluska gave the staff report. Small items on the checklist are incomplete or not present on the plan at this time. Staff is trying to move this forward because Habitat for Humanity is attempting to do a builders' blitz -- building six houses in eight days -- in June. The items which are missing can be dealt with on the final site plan. The road plan, utility plan, and storm water plan have all been reviewed and approved. Items missing included: descriptions of revisions done because of staff comments, but the dates were present; residential density was not listed on the plan but had been included by staff; drainage channels were not indicated as clearly as they could be but the applicant will enhance the natural drainage; arrows indicating the flow in all pipes. Staff recommends approval.

Mr. Tolbert clarified that, while staff was saying this was an incomplete plan, many other site plans which did not come to this level of completion had been approved by the Commission.

Ms. Lewis sought clarification about the paving materials and that there would be no walks leading to the houses. Mr. Haluska was unsure if there was a small paving area leading to the houses. Ms. Lewis asked if they were required to show the five foot sidewalk on either side. Mr. Haluska stated the five foot sidewalk had been waived on one side of Moore Street. Ms. Lewis stated one was shown on the site plan. Mr. Haluska consulted with the applicant and stated they had opted to put one in.

Mr. Overton McGehee, Ms. Marcia Joseph, and Mr. Bruce Hogshead were present on behalf of Habitat

for Humanity.

Ms. Joseph stated some of the missing information was on the roads plan. She apologized for the work having been done backwards and explained it had been done in that manner to apply for funding. Ms. Joseph stated there would be sidewalks on both sides.

Mr. Barton asked if the road E&S plan went to the property line. Ms. Joseph stated it pretty much did.

Mr. Farruggio asked the applicant to address the longevity of the wooden bridges. Mr. McGehee stated there would be covenants governing the exterior appearance and exterior maintenance between the homeowners and Habitat.

Ms. Lewis stated she had concerns about the wood bridges as well. Mr. McGehee stated they would stipulate that they would use recycled plastic planking for the bridges. Mr. Barton stated there were generations of wooden structures in the City that had weathered and lasted. Mr. Barton further stated that the site plan did not provide an opportunity to identify materials.

Ms. Lewis sought clarification of "railing" as specified in front of one unit on the site plan. Ms. Joseph stated the railing would be constructed of whatever the ADA standards were.

Mr. Farruggio stated his concerns that some of the materials weren't listed and whether they would be an asset to the community. Mr. Barton expressed concern that Mr. Farruggio was attempting to design these things. Mr. Barton also expressed concern about whether concrete and metal were a more viable and valuable material choice than wood.

Mr. Fink called for comments from the Commissioners.

Mr. Barton sought clarification from Mr. Tolbert that the items that were not included were items that would normally be covered under administrative review. Mr. Tolbert confirmed that they were.

Ms. Lewis asked if the Commission could impose a time limit on the applicant to get those details to staff and if the Commission could condition approval on that. Ms. Lewis stated they could not cut corners because Habitat was having a builders' blitz.

Mr. O'Halloran stated they were not cutting corners. He stated his belief that the application was 97 percent done. He thought this was a strong project. Mr. O'Halloran stated he had no difficulty at all supporting this, with the understanding that they would "dot the Ts and cross the Is" in the fullness of time.

Mr. Fink felt the applicant had a self imposed time table which was tighter than anything the Commission could put on them. Mr. Fink stated, given the fact, these could be approved administratively, he could support this.

Mr. O'Halloran moved they approve this site plan. Mr. Lucy seconded the motion. Mr. Higgins called the question. The motion carried unanimously.


Mr. Tolbert asked Ms. Joseph what would be discussed at the March 21st Albemarle Planning Commission work session regarding Biscuit Run. Ms. Joseph stated they would be: discussing how it conforms to the Comprehensive Plan; looking at environmental factors on the site; the applicant would be providing a market study.

Mr. Tolbert stated the joint meeting with the Albemarle Planning Commission had been held the previous week. There would be at least four more work sessions to which Charlottesville Planning Commissioners were invited.

Mr. Tolbert explained that he had requested Mr. Haluska send an E-mail to the Commissioners about the Critical Slopes Waiver for a project on Quarry Road. In their haste to get it to the Commissioners, Mr. Tolbert felt they may not have gotten all the details to understand the situation. The project has been in review since May, 2005. A site plan was submitted May 25, 2005. The preliminary site plan conference was June 15, 5; preliminary approval has never been technically received. The Critical Slopes legislation was adopted in January. Per state code, if you do not have approval prior to the adoption of the regulation, the regulation applies. Mr. Tolbert stated this was essentially the only project affected in this manner. He stated the Commission had recommended to Council that any site plan that was in review prior to the recommendation be exempted from the ordinance; Council did not include that when they adopted the ordinance. Mr. Tolbert recommended approval of the waiver since the applicants had been working with the City engineers on dealing with everything that would be mitigating factors. Adherence would restrict their ability to use the property.

Mr. Fink stated the applicant and the City had been working together in good faith for a number of


Ms. Lewis stated the applicant met the final criterion: Granting the proposed modification waiver would serve a public purpose of greater import than would be served by the strict application of these requirements.

Mr. Farruggio moved they accept the language that granting the proposed modification waiver would serve a public purpose of greater import than would be served by the strict application of these requirements of the Critical Slope provisions.

Ms. Lewis seconded the motion. Mr. Farruggio noted they had specifically talked about this piece of property when they voted to allow this development to go forward, and the rationale for that was because it was submitted back in May of 2005, and this was more fair for this to go forward as they took up the Critical Slope Ordinance after that.

Mr. Barton stated he could support this specifically because of the rationale Ms. Lewis laid out that there was no greater purpose served by imposing this condition on this specific applicant because of the history of this application, but in general he supported this steep slope ordinance and in another context he would not be able to support this. Mr. Fink stated he could think of no other instance where he could support this waiver. Mr. Higgins called the question. The motion carried unanimously.

Ms. Lewis volunteered to serve on the Martha Jefferson Hospital Task Force. Mr. Barton stated he had been asked to serve on that committee and asked if Ms. Lewis would take his position on the Affordable Housing Task Force instead. Ms. Lewis stated she would take the position on the Affordable Housing Task Force.

Mr. Barton moved that they adjourn and reconvene on the second Tuesday in April, his birthday. Mr.

O'Halloran seconded the motion. The motion carried unanimously whereupon the meeting was adjourned at 9:19 p.m.

Respectfully submitted:


Mr. Jim Tolbert, Secretary



Mr. Jon Fink, Vice-Chair