Louisa County Seal, click for homepage Louisa County Seal, click for homepage
Contact    Sitemap    Search    

[an error occurred while processing this directive]
DECEMBER 19, 2006
5:00 P.M.

Board Present: Fitzgerald A. Barnes, Willie L. Gentry, Jr., Willie L. Harper, Richard A. Havasy, Allen B. Jennings, Eric F. Purcell, and Jack T. Wright
Others Present: C. Lee Lintecum, County Administrator; Ernie McLeod, Deputy County Administrator; Patrick Morgan, County Attorney; Darren Coffey, Director of Community Development; Will Cockrell, Senior Planner; Amanda Lloyd, Office Manager and Michele Doty, Deputy Clerk


On motion by Mr. Gentry, seconded by Mr. Purcell, Chairman Barnes called the December 19, 2006 meeting of the Louisa County Board of Supervisors to order at 6:00 p.m.  Mr. Harper led the invocation, followed by the Pledge of Allegiance.


Zoning and Subdivision Ordinance Changes, Mr. Darren Coffey, Director of Community Development, indicated that the Board requested to look at the A-1/A-2 zoning ordinance.  Mr. Coffey said that while looking at these ordinances, the Planning Commission came up with several changes in addition to what the Board had requested.  Mr. Coffey recommended that in the future staff or the County should okay an open house to give the public a chance to review proposed changes and ask questions.  Mr. Gentry stated that since this can be an overwhelming task, he recommended the Planning Commission members work with their individual Board members.  

Mr. Coffey indicated that the definitions of Parent Parcel and Family Subdivision were changed, with Parent Parcel changed to apply to all zoning districts rather than just A-2 and Family Subdivisions being limited to parcels zoned A-1 and A-2; however, they revised the right-of-way requirement to be, “not less than ten feet or more than 50 feet” (rather than 20 feet), and family divisions would count towards the total divisions allowed outside of the family division, as proposed.  Mr. Purcell questioned how this would affect a property owner, who had given two parcels to their children, how many divisions they would have.   Mr. Coffey said that if the total by-right division allowed on a parcel was set at seven, and a property owner had given two parcels to their children, then the property owner would only have five divisions remaining. Mr. Coffey also indicated that if the number of by-right divisions were set at seven, and the property owner had nine qualifying family members to give land to, then would be able to divide their property among those nine family members, but would not have any division rights remaining for non-family members. Mr. Coffey also clarified that if an individual purchased a piece of property that had no division rights remaining, they would still be able to divide the property among qualifying family members.  Mr. Gentry indicated that some people believe that the Family Subdivision should not be limited to A-1 and A-2, and he further questioned if changing the right-of-way was an issue, and if the County could legally make this change to the right-of-way issue.  Mr. Coffey indicated that he had discussed the right-of-way issue with the County Attorney.  Mr. Morgan stated the County is a high growth community and in the session of the Code that deals with high growth communities, it is stated that the County can require in a family division, restrictions on right-of-way.  Mr. Wright indicated that historically family subdivisions did not count towards by-right division.  Mr. Coffey indicated that traditionally in this county, the Planning Director set the division rights for Family Subdivisions, and that he felt such a policy should be set by the Board.  Mr. Wright voiced his concern about the Board not having requested any changes to be made to the Family Subdivision definition.  Mr. Barnes stated that Family Divisions are very important to people and changes will bring many people out if it is altered.  Mr. Jennings indicated that if someone has a rural or commercial lot and they want to give land to their family, they should be able to. Mr. Jennings also commented that he does not feel that Family Subdivisions should be limited to A1 and A2.  Mr. Wright indicated that he doesnt agree with the idea of Family Subdivisions being permitted with commercial property.  Mr. Jennings further explained that there could be special exceptions when the property is zoned commercial and the property homeowner has no intention of using it in a commercial manner.  

Mr. Coffey questioned whether they should allow citizens to come before the Board and ask for property to be rezoned.  Mr. Barnes questioned if the Board agreed that Family Subdivisions should be limited to A-1, A-2 and R-2.  Mr. Coffey indicated that there are instances when the owner of a property in a subdivision wants to do a family division.  It was a consensus of the Board that Family Subdivisions should include A-1, A-2 and R-2, but there should be language that indicates the exception of property in a subdivision.  

Mr. Coffey clarified that the number of divisions allowed in the ordinance does not restrict the number of Family divisions. Mr. Barnes questioned the Board on how they felt about the right-of-way requirement. Mr. Barnes asked if this was a problem with the right-of-way requirement and Mr. Coffey indicated that in order to get away from building state maintained roads, the requirement is being used as a loophole.  Mr. Purcell stated that when someone is doing a family division they are not trying to be profitable.  Mr. Jennings felt that it should not be counted in a family subdivision and this is a way to get affordable housing as well.  Mr. Gentry stated that if roads put in a family subdivision are not up to state specifications, would that affect the County later on by having to put in a rural addition road.

After discussion by the Board, it was agreed that issue to go to the public hearing would be that the number of family divisions would not impact the total number of by-right divisions allowed.

Proposed Amendments for A-1

Mr. Coffey indicated that the minimum lot width should require a 300-foot minimum lot frontage on existing state roads, rather than allowing two lots with a 200-foot frontage.  Mr. Coffey said this requirement would be consistent with the requirements in A-2.  Mr. Gentry questioned why the current ordinance was 200-200 and 300.  Mr. Coffey indicated that this could give more cuts on the road frontage.  Mr. Barnes asked if this was a problem and Mr. Coffey indicated that this is not a problem.  Mr. Barnes questioned why this was then brought up as a problem.  Mr. Harper stated that this was a compromise with builders. It was a consensus of the Board to continue to encourage off road development and they agreed to the changes recommended by the Planning Commission for a 300-foot lot frontage.  

Proposed Amendments for A-2

Mr. Coffey indicated that there have been concerns and comments from citizens about agricultural uses in the A-2 district and whether or not having livestock should be allowed in subdivisions. Mr. Coffey explained that the Planning Commission has proposed that the minimum lot size that would allow livestock within subdivisions should be 5 acres.  Mr. Wright indicated that he had concerns about not allowing 4-H projects within a subdivision on lots that are smaller than five acres for anyone who wants to learn about agriculture.  Mr. Coffey indicated that if you were on an existing lot, this restriction would not apply and that this is for new lots or subdivisions only.  Mr. Wright stated that when a third house is built within an area, that area then becomes a subdivision. Mr. Coffey stated that if the Board wanted to pursue this option then they could change the number of lots before it is considered a subdivision.  

Mr. Harper stated that this is in name only if a 1.5-acre of property is not agricultural.  Mr. Jennings indicated that he feels that the Board should leave this issue alone and leave it up to the Homeowners Associations to regulate.  Mr. Barnes stressed the fact that when someone moves into an agricultural area, they know the environment they are moving into, unless the property they purchase is in a subdivision with covenants.  Mr. Gentry indicated that when this issue is brought up in during the Boards public hearing, it needs to be very clear what areas and uses are grandfathered and what is not.    Mr. Barnes asked if the Board wanted to move ahead with the proposed changes or leave the issue as it is now.  The Board agreed to send the proposed changes to the minimum lot size for agricultural uses forward for public hearing with no change.  

Mr. Coffey indicated that the Planning Commission proposed that there should be a 300-foot lot width on lots adjacent to existing state roads. This would prevent builders from placing houses too close to areas where vegetative buffers have been built. Mr. Coffey stated that the 21-acre residue provision would be eliminated and the maximum division be returned to seven lots by-right, as opposed to the current 18 lots by-right. Mr. Jennings asked if affordable housing was involved with this proposal. Mr. Coffey explained that affordable housing could be done on 1.5-acre lots, but if the minimum lot size is increased, the affordability of the home decreases because of the high land value. Mr. Gentry stated that he was concerned if the 21-acre residue parcel would allow the seven lots to be subdivided. Mr. Purcell stated that the more divisions allowed to a parcel, more traffic is created. Mr. Purcell also stated that 21 acres being divided keeps development where it is and you get more state roads rather than private roads. Mr. Wright requested that the provision to allow 21-acre residual lots to be re-subdivided in subdivisions developed after December 17, 1997 be deleted as it was not the Boards intent to allow for developers to go back and re-subdivide these lots required by that ordinance.

Mr. Barnes stated that allowing three additional divisions if affordable homes are provided is something that he would like the Board to consider.  Mr. Coffey indicated that if the three additional divisions for affordable housing were added to the A-2 by-right division ordinance, then he thought it would have to go back to the Planning Commission. Mr. Purcell stated that the three additional divisions for affordable housing should be considered, even if it does need to go back.  Mr. Wright indicated that he feels these divisions should come, as they will from the Affordable Housing Committee. Mr. Gentry said that he feels it is important to let the public know what the proposed changes being sent back to the Planning Commission are during the public hearing.  Mr. Barnes asked what the consensus of the Board was and the Board agreed to the proposed changes. They also agreed to refer the affordable housing issue back to the Planning Commission for further consideration, specifically adding three lots in A-2 for affordable housing.

Proposed Rural Estate District

Mr. Coffey explained to the Board that the Rural Estate District is intended to be rural residential and would have one residential unit per 10 acres set density. Mr. Coffey explained that the Rural Estate district would have a six-acre minimum lot size with a possibility of a three-acre minimum lot size, if 50% of the original parent parcel were dedicated as open space. Mr. Coffey stated that the agricultural uses available would be limited to forestry and private stables with a 10-acre minimum lot area size, and specifically for the horse, only one animal per three acres being allowed. Mr. Purcell indicated that he doesnt feel there is a problem with having this on the books however; this will create a wealthy sector.  Mr. Coffey emphasized that these districts would not exist without being rezoned.  Mr. Gentry indicated that he likes this option.  Mr. Jennings questioned if this was considered spot zoning.  Mr. Coffey indicated that it is not spot zoning due to the density and conformity with the Comprehensive Plans future land use map and text.  Mr. Gentry questioned the legality in whether this is spot zoning.  Mr. Morgan indicated that this will become part of the regular zoning practice and would not be spot zoning in the low growth areas.  

Proposed Transitional Residential District

Mr. Coffey again pointed out that this is meant to be a very low-density residential district and not an agricultural district. Mr. Coffey stated that there is no minimum lot size and again there is very limited access for agricultural uses where there is a 10-acre minimum lot size where horses and forestry were permitted with one animal per three acres. Mr. Coffey described that for density, there would be a possibility of 20 lots with a baseline of 10 lots and also if you dedicated 50 percent open space you would get a 30 percent density bonus and if you dedicated 75 percent open space you would get a 50 percent density bonus. Mr. Coffey added that in addition to that if you dedicate three affordable housing lots you would get a 20 percent density bonus. Mr. Coffey indicated that this is all to encourage open space and is similar to what you can currently get by right however, it is rezoning and will be up to the Board for approval.  

Mr. Havasy questioned if this allowed mass drain fields.  Mr. Coffey indicated that the County would look for high quality permanent open space but theoretically you could, however, the Board has the final say.  Mr. Purcell stated that although we are pushing for open space it is difficult for builders to make money on these situations. Mr. Purcell indicated that he likes both of the districts that are being proposed however he questions the open space and does not feel it should be a requirement. Mr. Wright questioned the number of lots.  Mr. Coffey indicated that these lots could be linked.  Mr. Wright stated that previously they were grandfathered lots and they should no longer be grandfathered under the new district. Mr. Gentry asked Mr. Purcell what would reasonable as far as the correct number of lots.  Mr. Purcell stated that the way to make this work would be to increase the acreage on the lot and then offered an open space provision and then sold it at a much higher number, however, this would take us back to what we already have.  Mr. Gentry asked if this would be the same if the land were already owned. Mr. Purcell acknowledged that this would make it a totally different end result.  

Mr. Barnes was concerned about affordable housing in these types of areas.  Mr. Coffey indicated that the open space is an option and builders could chose to use the affordable housing bonus instead.  Mr. Harper asked what was the most that could be paid for affordable housing.  Mr. Coffey indicated that $200,000 is the typical number given for a family of four. Mr. Barnes indicated that he is still not seeing a way to do multi-family homes.  Mr. Coffey indicated that this could be added however they did not change any of the previously set definitions on uses.  Mr. Gentry agreed that this is not the solution to affordable housing however; this is just a different option for builders.  Mr. Wright indicated that there has been a problem with the mass drain fields and with the health department not liking any of the options for drainage questions.

Mr. Havasy noted that Louisa County has become desirable and if we dont have a balance and if we go in these other directions then the taxes will fall. Mr. Havasy noted that if you keep the County rural then you have the people outside that want to move into the County.  Mr. Jennings questioned the no minimum lot size.  Mr. Coffey stated that this depends on what the developer is intending to do and that the intent is to allow for the flexibility for smaller lots. Mr. Coffey referred to the design standards in the Comprehensive Plan and stated that these support the new zoning districts.  Mr. Coffey referred to an open space concept map that would be useful in the Comprehensive Plan to help show developers what the County is looking for.  The Planning Commission has not yet made a recommendation on this map.  Mr. Gentry posed the question that given the other information that is in the Comprehensive Plan, then why wouldnt this map also be included.  

Proposed Screening Section

Mr. Coffey stated that the purpose is to screen subdivisions from the existing state roads and to preserve the rural character of the County. Mr. Coffey also mentioned that the size of the buffer would be 125 feet in total width and that 65 feet of that would be for screening vegetation. Mr. Coffey stated that the reason for this would be to encourage preservation of existing screening and also diversify vegetative screening. Mr. Coffey referenced a graphic on the requirement and clarified where the houses would begin and where the buffer could be placed.  Mr. Purcell asked who would hold the bond and what are the logistics.  Mr. Coffey indicated that the County would hold the bond and that he thinks there should be some general language for the Landscape Manual to be used as a preference.  

Mr. Gentry asked why would there be the need for more than the 80 feet if a quality screening is to be used.  Mr. Coffey indicated that there was a lot of discussion in the Planning Commission and this was the number that was agreed upon.  Mr. Gentry stated that he feels that 125 feet is too much and Mr. Barnes agreed.  Mr. Havasy also agreed stating that a well thought out buffer is better than leaving what is already there.  Mr. Purcell questioned whether the code enforcement officers are willing to enforce this.  Mr. Coffey stated that this is only with new subdivisions and if the officers see a violation then they will take proper action.  Mr. Havasy questioned whether there is a problem with developers giving 125 feet and if not why would we want to change it. The Board agreed to leave these proposed changes until further public comment is received.  

Mr. Barnes questioned when the public hearing should be held. Mr. Lintecum indicated that they want to do this at the Middle School so he will contact them and have the dates sent.  Mr. Coffey asked about the frequency asked questions list and approval to post this on the Internet. The Board said was it was good and okay to do so. Mr. Wright indicated that if the buffer area was included in the open space calculations it would make it more acceptable to the developers.


On motion of Mr. Wright, seconded by Mr. Jennings, which carried by a vote of 7-0, the Board voted to adjourn the December 19, 2006 meeting at 8:02 p.m.