Monday, September 03, 2007

Proffer on Vinegar Hill to fund redevelopment of seized properties

301 West Main, built 1957 as Mooney Oldsmobile Showroom with service bays in basement level

315 West Main, buit 1936

Lewis and Clark stautue, Midway Manor to right, Lewis and Clark condo tower to left

Greyhound bus station across from RSC, formerly Trailways

Charlottesville, Va.- There will be a public hearing 7 p.m. Tuesday in City Hall Council Chambers regarding the proffers needed to allow a developer to ignore zoning laws in the redevelopment of Mooney Oldsmobile / RSC construction rental into a 9-story mixed used condo complex. This articles follows up on "Proffer bribes on Vinegar Hill to fund urban renewal", Aug. 22.

City Council Agenda for Sep. 4, 2007

Agenda Date: September 4, 2007
Action Required: Approval of a Rezoning Petition (A Public Hearing by City Council)
Presenter: Ebony Walden, Neighborhood Planner
Staff Contacts: Ebony Walden, Neighborhood Planner & Jim Tolbert, NDS Director
Title: Ridge/Main/McIntire Rezoning (301 W Main Street)


The applicant, Bob Englander of the Cathford Group is petitioning on behalf of property owner Mooney West Main Street LLC to rezone 301 & 315 West Main Street and adjacent property located on 4th street from West Main North Corridor to Downtown Corridor. This rezoning would allow for additional height and density of 87 dwelling units per acre and a 101 feet building height on this property. The current zoning allows 4 stories and 21 dwelling units per acre.

The applicant proposes to build a 9 story mixed-use building (3-story façade on Main and McIntire, stepped back to a 6 story residential tower) with approximately 18,000 square feet of retail space and structured parking on the lower level. This development would likely yield 79 condo units, 4 retail establishments and 180+ parking spaces.

The applicant initially submitted preliminary proffers to limit the access points to 4th Street and McIntire Road, provide streetscape improvements adjacent to the ROW, two affordable units and to condition the rezoning on sufficient sewer capacity. Before the August 14th public hearing the petitioner changed the affordable housing proffer to a $200,000 donation to PHA and clarified that they would implement the streetscape improvements in the West Main Streetscape plan adopted in 2004. The access and sewer capacity proffers were rejected by the Planning Commission during the August 14th meeting. This application was recommended for denial by the planning commission on August 14, 2007 (4-2).

The applicant recently submitted revised final proffers dated August 21, 2007 (attached) to provide streetscape improvements outlined in the West Main Streetscape plan, $300,000 to Charlottesville Redevelopment and Housing Authority for public housing redevelopment and a traffic study and pedestrian analysis at the Ridge/McIntire intersection to be conducted during the site plan process. These modifications to the applicant’s proffer statement require an additional public hearing by City Council.


The Planning Commission had lengthy discussion regarding this application. The access and sewer capacity proffers did not meet the definition of proffers and were not accepted. The commissioners agreed that a Downtown Corridor zoning designation would best suit this property, this corner needed a signature building and that this was an impressive project that would benefit the city. They wanted clarity on which streetscape improvements would be implemented and how wide sidewalks would be on the north side of Main and who would own them. The applicant clarified that he would install sidewalks well over 12’ on this portion of W Main and streetscapes improvements would include those outlined in the West Main Streetscape plan. The city would own the portion of the sidewalk in the ROW, a portion would be reserved for a public easement and the developers would own the rest.

The other major points of discussion centered on sewer capacity and the affordable housing proffers. Though there are not current problems in this sewer line, the impact of this development on the sewer line was uncertain. The applicant submitted analysis from his engineer to state that there was capacity, but the planning commission wanted more concrete verification. Confirmation on this issue would require a sewer study. The applicant suggested that the sewage flow for this project be split between the 8” line on McIntire and the 10” line on 4th and that would provide more than enough capacity. Therefore, Neighborhood Development Services found that sewer capacity is not an issue in this rezoning application.

Several commissioners thought that 2.5 percent of affordable housing in this project (the equivalent of 2 units) or $200,000 to affordable housing to be donated to PHA (a proffer change submitted at the August 14th pre-meeting) was not acceptable. Commissioners suggested 15% as their affordable housing goal for new projects. The applicant’s final statement proffers $300,000 to be paid to CHRA for the redevelopment of public housing in the City of Charlottesville.

The traffic impact of this development also came up and improvements were discussed. Some commissioners thought a traffic study should be done before the site plan process. The applicants final revised proffer statement dated August 21, 2007 indicates the inclusion of a “traffic study and analysis of the pedestrian needs at the Ridge/McIntire intersection.

Special attention will be paid to pedestrian connection to the Downtown
Mall.” Commissioners also thought LEED certification would be a good addition to the project. The applicant confirmed that this project would have LEED components, but did not offer that as a proffer.

One member of the public representing the West Main Restaurant requested that the Planning Commission recommend approval to City Council.


An applicant can add to, expand, clarify or modify the proffers acted upon by the planning commission prior to the city council meeting at which the application and proffers will be considered. The applicant has modified the proffers acted upon by the planning commission and has submitted the modifications that are outlined in this document (final proffer statement attached). Council shall take one (1) of the following actions:

1) Council may decline to consider the modifications, and may proceed to consider the rezoning application and final proffer statement, as acted upon by the planning commission;

2) Council may continue the application to a subsequent meeting date, in which case council shall conduct an additional public hearing on the application (including the final proffer statement and all proposed modifications thereof), following advertisement and notice as required by law; or

3) Council may refer the modified application to the planning commission for review and recommendation, upon an additional public hearing of the modification (including the final proffer statement and all proposed modifications thereof), following advertisement and notice as required by law. Council shall re-refer the modified application to the planning commission if the proposed modification is to delete any substantive provision from any proffer that was reviewed and acted upon by the commission.

Staff recommends option 2. This application has been advertised (as required by law) for a public hearing at the September 4th, 2007 City Council meeting. Therefore Council can consider this rezoning application including the final proffer statement and all proposed modifications on September 4th. Ordinances require 2 readings by City Council; therefore this application can be approved or denied at the September 17th meeting.

Budgetary Impact

No budgetary impact is associated with approval of this application.

Staff Recommendation

This intersection has conditions that are distinctly different from the rest of the West Main Corridor and should be treated as such. A Downtown zoning district designation would better suit this property and would be in keeping with the mixture of uses and intensity. This is a quality development that will benefit the city in a variety of ways and make this corner a powerful gateway and pedestrian friendly environment. The applicant has sufficiently responded to the concerns of the Commissioners through the amendment of proffers for this project. Any utility upgrades and traffic improvements will be addressed in site plan process. Staff recommends approval of this rezoning application and acceptance of the proffers

-providing streetscape improvements outlined in the West Main Open Space Concept and Streetscape Schematics Plan dated November of 2004,
-the provision of $300,000 to CHRA for public housing redevelopment and
-completing a traffic study and pedestrian needs analysis at the Ridge/McIntire intersection during the site plan process.

Planning Commission Recommendation

The Planning Commission considered this application in a joint public hearing held on August 14, 2007. Their specific action was as follows: “Mr. Farrugio moved to recommend denial of the application to rezone Tax Map 32, parcels 197, 198 and 199 from West Main North Corridor to Downtown Corridor for the following reasons: this application does not serve the interests of the general public welfare and good zoning practice.”

Mr. Mitchell seconded the motion. The Planning Commission recommended (4-2) to City Council to deny this rezoning application.


Staff Report, Supporting Documentation and Final Proffer Statement

More Background

City of Charlottesville, Board of Architectural Review, October 18, 2005, Minutes

Fred Wolf, Vice Chair Joe Atkins, Chair
Wade Tremblay
Preston Coiner
Amy Gardner Also Present:
Lynne Heetderks Mary Joy Scala
Syd Knight
Bill Lucy
Kate Swenson
Mr. Wolf convened the meeting at 5:02 p.m.

D. Certificate of Appropriateness Application

BAR 05-10-05
315 and 313-317 West Main Street
Tax Map 32 Parcel 198 and 197
Demolish two buildings
Kimley-Horn and Associates, Applicant
Mooney West Main Street, LLC, Owner

Ms. Scala gave the staff report. Staff had consulted the criteria in the Standards and Guidelines for Demolitions. Real estate records show the properties having been built in 1936 and 1957. Based on all the criteria and Standards, 315 West Main was altered enough and is not distinguished enough that it could be demolished. She stated 313-317 should not be demolished. Staff recommended 313-317 be incorporated into a redevelopment plan.

Mr. Kurt Cooper with Kimley-Horn stated the owner's grandfather built the building in 1938. He stated they concur that the corner building was built in 1957. Significant remodeling had been done over the years.

Mr. Russell Mooney stated the corner building, which he called the showroom, was built in 1957. Mr. Mooney also stated the buildings were not numbered correctly; 315 West Main Street was the older building. He stated 313-317 was actually considered to be 301 West Main. Mr. Mooney stated the older building was called the shop building. An addition was put on the rear of the shop building in 1947. In 1951, two bays were added to the west as well as a parts room to the rear. The front of the building was changed in 1961. He stated the building was in very bad condition with cracks in the wall from the expansion and contraction of the footings. To build the building back to what it was originally would cost hundreds of thousands of dollars.

Mr. Wolf called for questions from the public and then the Board.

Mr. Tremblay reiterated for clarification that the building was expanded to the rear and then to the west and that a variety of changes were made to windows and doors during the '50s and '60s. Mr. Mooney concurred.

Mr. Tremblay stated it was a building that had been in transition since its construction.

Mr. Wolf called for comments from the public and then the Board.

Mr. Coiner stated his disappointment that the application did not make arguments for all the points of demolition. Mr. Coiner stated a structural report would help him in making a decision.

Mr. Tremblay stated addressing the various aspects of demolition would have helped.

Mr. Lucy did not believe either building was a contributing structure. Mr. Lucy was unaware the Downtown District boundary went that far and felt it should not. He felt the layout of the building was inappropriate to the way the street should develop. He stated the building did not meet any of the criteria for the way Downtown functions and it was not appropriate.

Ms. Heetderks disagreed with Mr. Lucy. She felt the building was in keeping with West Main. She did want to see a structural report.

Mr. Knight agreed that it did not make sense that this was considered part of the Downtown District. However, the shop building was part of West Main and was in character with the historic automotive 1950s character of that strip. Mr. Knight felt there was an appropriate and possible adaptive reuse of the structure. He also expressed a desire to see a structural report for the shop building.

Mr. Wolf concurred with Mr. Knight. He also wanted to see a structural report.

Mr. Tremblay asked if they could put forth a motion on the showroom and have further discussion on the shop building. Mr. Wolf concurred.

Mr. Tremblay moved that they approve the demolition of the showroom building, known in this application as 315 West Main Street, noting that it is of such recent vintage that it does not meet the criteria of the historic structure and is appropriate for removal. Mr. Knight seconded the motion and asked that they clarify that 315 is the way it is listed in the application and that was the way it was discussed. The motion carried unanimously.

Mr. Tremblay suggested the applicant withdraw the second part of the application to give them flexibility on timing to choose whatever course of action they choose to pursue whether that be developing the engineering report or considering other options. The applicant requested deferral of the second portion of the application. Ms. Swenson felt more attention to ways to think about the project in the application would be appropriate. She wanted not only something that would speak to the structural analysis but also something that would speak to the other Guidelines for Demolition. Ms. Heetderks and Mr. Coiner concurred with Ms. Swenson that there are many criteria to consider beyond the building being in bad shape.

City of Charlottesville, Board of Architectural Review, November 15, 2005, Minutes

D. Certificate of Appropriateness Application

(Deferred from October 18, 2005)
BAR 05-10-05
315 and 313-317 West Main Street
Tax Map 32 Parcel 198 and 197
Demolish two buildings
Kimley-Horn and Associates, Applicant
Mooney West Main Street, LLC, Owner

Ms. Scala gave the staff report. At the October meeting, the Board voted 8-0 to allow demolition of the corner building and then the applicant requested deferral of the demolition request for the building on the left. Since that meeting, the applicant has submitted a structural report. The building was built in 1938 with additions in 1947 and 1951. The structural report concludes that the building is in poor condition and its findings support the proposed demolition.

Mr. Russell Mooney was present. He stated his representative, Mr. Eddie Bane, was unable to attend; Mr. Bane had prepared the structural report.

Mr. Steve Barber, project engineer, stated many conditions with the potential to be unsafe had been noted. He stated it would cost more to rehabilitate the structure than it would to demolish.

Mr. Atkins called for questions from the public. There were none. Mr. Atkins then called for questions from the Board.

Ms. Heetderks sought clarification that the building had been in the same family since it was built. Mr. Mooney concurred. He explained the corner building had been rented out but the other building had not been rented for the last ten years.

Ms. Swenson wanted to know about the last major repair to the building. Mr. Mooney stated the last repair was in 1963 when it was changed from an automobile showroom to office space.

Ms. Swenson asked if the north addition could be separated from the building. Mr. Barber stated all or any part of the building could be demolished, but the unsafe conditions were throughout the entire building.

Mr. Atkins called for comments from the public and then the Board.

Ms. Heetderks was distressed about what appeared to be demolition by neglect. The property has been owned by the family since it was built and has been ignored in terms of maintenance. She felt this building was an infrequent example due to some of the detailing. She felt it had potential.

Mr. Tremblay stated that, as the building had evolved, its ability to earn or return had diminished or largely evaporated. He stated a lot of the uniqueness had disappeared. He expressed support for demolition.

Mr. Lucy had been surprised to find this was in the Downtown District. He had researched the property and had discovered it was in the district due to its location based on the zoning ordinance and not due to any characteristics of the structure.

Mr. Coiner stated he had been waiting several years for someone to come up with an adaptive reuse of the building. Prior to receiving the structural report, he had been prepared to deny demolition.

Ms. Heetderks stated the structural report was one of 14 criteria to be considered. She stated the report did not seem to say the building was beyond repair; it just said it could cost more to repair than to replace.
Mr. Wolf found the report compelling. He also stated he did not find the characteristics of the building to be particularly special.

Mr. Knight did not find the building to be a good enough of the architectural style.
Ms. Swenson, citing the adaptive reuse of the Belmont building, expressed concern about the proposed demolition.

Mr. Atkins felt the building had many negatives in the criteria for demolition.

Ms. Heetderks, having considered the standards set forth within the City Code including the City Design Guidelines for Demolitions, moved to deny the request for demolition at 313-317 West Main finding it does not satisfy the BAR's criteria -- she noted the demolition of 315 West Main had been approved at the October meeting -- this motion is made considering specifically that the building represents a unique example of the automotive culture of West Main and one of the few areas remaining from the Vinegar Hill Neighborhood. Ms. Swenson seconded the motion. Mr. Atkins called the question. The motion failed.

Mr. Tremblay, having considered the standards set forth within the City Code including the City Design Guidelines for Demolitions about which they had spoken extensively, moved to approve the request for demolition of 315 West Main Street, earlier described as Tax Map 32 Parcel 197, finding that it does satisfy the BAR's criteria to allow demolition. Mr. Wolf seconded the motion. Mr. Atkins called the question. The motion carried, 7-2.

Mr. Lucy left the meeting at 6:15 p.m. to attend the CPC meeting.

City of Charlottesville, Board of Architectural Review, November 28, 2006, Minutes

G. Certificate of Appropriateness Application

BAR 06-04-05
310 West Main Street
Tax Map 32 Parcels 197, 1998, 199
The Rebkee Co., Owner/Carter & Burgess, Applicant
CVS Mixed-Use Project

Ms. Scala gave the staff report. This is the third design for this site. Preliminary discussions were held in April and July. The applicant is requesting a Certificate of Appropriateness for a proposed design for a CVS drugstore at the corner of Ridge Street-McIntire Road and West Main Street. The proposed 13,000 square foot building appears two-story, but is a single story drug store with a 1,924 square foot mezzanine proposed. The stepped roof is mainly flat, with two end gable projections and a corner tower. The proposed building materials are mainly brick veneer with fiberglass reinforced polymer pilasters and trim, a cast stone base, asphalt shingled roof, striped fabric awnings, aluminum storefront windows with translucent glass or with solid panels, and decorative metal panels and canopy. A site design concept plan has been submitted. Vehicles access the rear surface parking area and drive-through window from Ridge Street-McIntire Road or Fourth Street entrances, and may exit only via Fourth. Wider brick sidewalks with street trees are proposed along both frontages, leading to a single corner entrance. Along Ridge-McIntire a cast stone retaining wall borders the sidewalk street. This is a very important corner in downtown Charlottesville, and this site deserves a significant building. Building to the property line, massing and height of the entire building are important, as well as how this large building is articulated in a way that reflects the significant architecture in downtown Charlottesville and West Main Street. Traditional Charlottesville materials, such as brick and cast stone, are appropriate in this location. The metal panels and canopy are appropriate. The unpainted fiberglass columns and trim are not appropriate. None of the windows appear to be functional; fake windows are not appropriate, nor is the use of glass that is not clear. The two-story glass panels that cut into the frieze are not appropriate. Blank walls along street frontages are not appropriate. The seventy-foot gap in building to the west of the drugstore is not appropriate. More details are needed for the building elevations, including door and window details. The site plan lacks topography and detail. There are not enough details on the loading/trash area or on the masonry wall along the west property line. Lighting, signage and colors also need discussion. The applicant has made some positive changes, but the submittal still does not respond to major concerns discussed at the last meeting. The applicant does not want to consider this submittal as a preliminary. The BAR may partially approve the concept and massing if the Board determines that it meets the guidelines and is appropriate to the setting. The BAR may wish to offer additional comments or recommendations for future submittals. The BAR could ask for changes and defer for one month, or could deny the application.

Mr. Russell Mooney, a lifelong resident of the area, is the owner of the property. He stated he did not want to use this as a residential property. He also did not want to rent the property to boutiques. He wanted a single tenant. West Main Street needed something that would bring traffic to it.

Mr. Rob Hargett, of The Rebkee Company, stated his company was the statewide developer for CVS. There was no national prototype for CVS. He stated they were making an effort to get this project done in a way that is satisfactory to the Board.

The project architect, who did not identify himself for the record, expressed his belief that this third application meets the submittal requirements in terms of level of detail. This third proposal is a combination of the previous proposals. He stated he did not like the wall and would prefer a curb cut to provide access to the service courtyard. However, City Planners and Zoning Administrators do not want a curb cut at that location.

Mr. Wolf called for questions from the public. There being none, he called for questions from the Board.

Ms. Heetderks asked if the applicants had read the Guidelines regarding materials. The architect replied in the affirmative. She asked if he was aware he was in pretty clear violation of: 3.15, Materials, 1, 5, and 9; 3.11, Windows, 1, 5, and 8; 3.13, Street level design, 1; 3.8, Scale, 1; 2.7, Site, (C)8 and (C)10. She asked if he was aware that he was not close to meeting any of those Guidelines. The applicant reiterated they were aware of the Guidelines. He stated several Commissioners had suggested the Guidelines were just that and were not a requirement.

Ms. Gardner wanted to know if creating a fill that allows the tractor trailers to come in was what necessitated a 12 foot wall. The applicant stated the wall was to screen the activity.

Mr. Wolf called for comments from the public and then the Board.

Ms. Heetderks stated they had spent an immense amount of time on this project and she did not know when they had had an applicant who was less responsive to basic elements in the Guidelines. Ms. Heetderks cited 3.11, Windows, 8: Avoid designing false windows in new construction, as one example of several Guidelines. The Guidelines on Materials make it clear you aren't to use fiberglass, but there was fiberglass all over the place. She did not see any alternative but to move to deny based on the Guidelines she previously mentioned.

Mr. Hogg stated the arrival of these national chain drugstores in historic districts has been a problem for a lot of historic district commissions. A fundamental quality of a retail building in an historic district is display windows, not translucent glass.

Mr. Osteen stated he had no problem with CVS on the site, it just needed more activity on the street. The site is zoned Mixed Use and this proposal is for one use. It is zoned two-stories minimum and this is a one-story building.

Mr. Knight stated this technically meets the City requirement according to the City Attorney. [See also January 16, 2007 minutes for clarification.] However, it still must meet the Guidelines. He stated the applicant was meeting the letter of the law but not the spirit or intent. This design tries to impose itself on the site rather then adapting to the site.

Mr. Wolf felt the project was being designed from the inside out. He stated the Board was charged with promoting what was best and coherent for the street.

Ms. Gardner having considered the standards set forth within the City Code including the City Design Guidelines for New Construction, moved to find that the proposed building and site plan do not satisfy the BAR's criteria and are not compatible with this property and other properties in this district, and that the BAR denies the application based on the Standards and Guidelines that were aired during the discussion, notable, Site Plan, Massing, Scale and Materials. Mr. Knight seconded the motion. Mr. Wolf called vote by affirmation. The motion carried unanimously.

Mr. Wolf called for a brief recess, whereupon the meeting stood recessed at 8:16 p.m.

Mr. Wolf reconvened the meeting at 8:36 p.m.

“City CVS design shot down: BAR doesn't like big box on West Main corner”, BY WILL GOLDSMITH, Issue #18.49 :: 12/05/2006 - 12/11/2006

“Tower plan could alter downtown”, By Seth Rosen , August 13, 2007, The Daily Progress

"ONARCHITECTURE- Squeeze play: Planners stymie West Main developer", Published August 23, 2007 in issue 0634 of the HooK. By DAVE MCNAIR

"Proffer bribes on Vinegar Hill to fund urban renewal", by Blair Hawkins, Aug. 22, 2007


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