Planning Commission Work Session 1.21.09


Wednesday, January 21, 2009

PRESENT: Ms. Philippa Proulx, Ms. Emily Hunt, Mr. Mike Harman,
Ms. Linda Russell, Mr. Mike Tapager and Mr. Tommy Bruguiere (Board Liaison)

Commissioners discussed whether an inventory of county buildings currently,
or at some point in the past, used as country stores would be needed. Ms.
Proulx questioned whether the intent of the amendments is to deal with
stores that are in operation or have been with only a short gap in
operation. She asked whether the amendments will deal with stores that have
been converted to homes or any building that was once a store. Mr. Tapager
said that it was his feeling that the proposed amendments are a way to
preserve old buildings so that would include stores converted to other uses.
He questioned what the Supervisors’ intent was when they referred the issue
to the Commission. Ms. Proulx said that she though the intent was to ease
restrictions on old stores. Mr. Boger agreed, noting that the buildings
could then be converted back to commercial use. Ms. Proulx noted that
Albemarle County did an inventory prior to adoption of their ordinance and
said that we do not know what we are dealing with. Mr. Boger said that it
would be up to the person wanting to do this to prove the previous use.

Ms. Russell asked whether this is an issue in the county. Mr. Bruguiere
said that this is a way to allow an owner to bring in a lot of different
uses as long as 51% of the use is a country store. Ms. Proulx asked whether
there is a simple way of allowing “grandfathered” stores to reopen after the
time has elapsed. Ms. Russell noted that the draft amendment does not allow
a country store to reopen as an antique shop for example. Mr. Boger agreed,
but said that an antique shop could be an accessory use to a country store.

Ms. Russell said that there should be a way to say that non-conforming
neighborhood stores will be exempt from setbacks and subject to Special Use
Permits with conditions. Ms. Proulx suggested they should be exempt from
setbacks and site plans. She said that if they sold gas at some point, she
would not have an issue with gas sales as long as they did not install
canopies. Mr. Bruguiere said that the purpose of the amendment is to make
the process easier without a Special Use Permit. Ms. Proulx suggested that
the amendment should say that the use cannot become more non-conforming.

Ms. Proulx noted that if a business is going to be viable, it cannot
necessarily devote half the floor space to food. Mr. Tapager agreed, noting
that the point is to preserve county store buildings and allow for a viable
business. Ms. Proulx said that she also wants the ordinance to be clear
that expansion of the building would require that the owner meet setback and
parking requirements. She suggested requiring a Conditional Use Permit if
the building is expanded to include retail and service uses, noting that
many of these old stores are now in residential areas where neighbors might
object to many of the higher traffic uses. Ms. Proulx said that the county
really does not know how many of these stores there are, where they are and
in what zoning districts they are located. She said that she does not know
how to gather the information, but that the county needs to know.

Commissioners agreed to make the following changes to the draft:

2-73 Neighborhood Retail Store, Class B: A single store, the total floor
area of which is four thousand (4,000) square or less and which offers for
sale most of the following articles: bread, milk, cheese, meat, produce,
canned and bottled foods and drinks, tobacco products, candy, papers and
magazines, and general hardware articles. Gasoline may also be offered for
sale but only as a secondary activity.

2-73a Neighborhood Retail Store, Class A: A building whose primary use is to
offer for sale a wide variety of retail merchandise and whose primary use at
any time on or prior to January 11, 1977 was a neighborhood retail store. A
neighborhood retail store may include those accessory uses expressly
authorized in Article 12, General Provision, Section 12-13*.

Article 4, Agricultural District A-1

4-1 Uses-Permitted by right

4-1-26 Neighborhood Retail Store, Class A without gasoline sales

4-1a Uses-Permitted by a Conditional Use Permit only.

4-1-25a Sale of gasoline and other fuels as an accessory use to a Class A
neighborhood retail store.

4-1-25b Uses as defined under Section 2-72**.

*NOTE: Section 12-13 reads: 12-13-1 “Primary Use. At least fifty-one percent
(51%) of the gross floor area of a neighborhood retail store building shall
be used as a neighborhood retail store as provided in Section 12-13-2.
12-13-2 Accessory uses. The following uses are permitted as accessory uses:
a. Accessory food sales. Accessory food sales, which may include, but are
not limited to, luncheonettes, snack bars, refreshment stands, and other
restaurant uses. Interior seating for the above accessory uses shall not
exceed twenty percent (20%) of the total gross floor area of the
neighborhood retail store.
b. Single family dwelling and offices. Up to forty-nine percent (49%) of
the gross floor area of a neighborhood retail store may be used for one
single family dwelling and/or one or more offices.

**NOTE: Under Article 2 Definitions, Section 2-72 reads: “Retail stores and
services: Buildings for display and sale of merchandise at retail or for the
rendering of business and personal services (but specifically exclusive of
coal, wood and lumber yards) such as the following which will serve as
illustration: bank, drugstore, Laundromat, newsstand, food store, candy
shop, milk dispensary, drygoods and notions store, antique store and gift
shop, hardware store, household appliance store, furniture store, florist,
optician, music and radio store, tailor shop, barbershop and beauty parlor.”

Commissioners directed staff to prepare the draft with the changes noted
above for further review at the next meeting.

ORDINANCE – Commissioners agreed to review, for the next meeting, Mr.
Boger’s proposed amendments to Article 20. In addition, Commissioners will
review the County Attorney’s comments and comments from several cell

Meeting adjourned.

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