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Albemarle planners OK school pavilion, Sleep Number store

A proposed pavilion at Tandem Friends School cleared its first hurdle Tuesday evening.

The Albemarle County Planning commission unanimously recommended approval of an amendment to a special use permit on the school’s property, which would allow for an approximately 4,500-square-foot pavilion to be constructed.

The private school, which is along Mill Creek Drive, said it will use the pavilion as dining and meeting space or as a rain location for outdoor activities, and that there will be no increase in student enrollment with the proposal.

“We anticipate having this space open for the majority of the time and really it would be locked down in the evenings to protect assets — chairs and tables and such that would be in the space — but the goal is to have it primarily open,” said Michelle Schlesinger, director of finance and operations for the school.

County staff suggested four conditions, which the commission also recommended for approval, including that amplified sound be prohibited between 10 p.m. and 7 a.m. Sunday through Thursday and between 11 p.m. and 7 a.m. on Friday and Saturday.

The proposed building would have garage doors on the sides to allow it to be open or enclosed, and it will include bathrooms and storage space. The school also intends to add a kitchen in a later phase of the project.

The proposal is scheduled to go before the Board of Supervisors for a public hearing on April 15.

A proposed Sleep Number mattress store along U.S. 29 also received unanimous recommended approval from the commission.

The 1.5-story store would be on the front half of an undeveloped almost one-acre parcel south of the entrance to Fashion Square mall. That land is currently zoned Planned Development Shopping Center, and an application plan is required for that specific zoning.

Scott Collins, the engineer on the project, said the property owners want to make the project meet current needs without negatively affecting what could be on the property later with a future redevelopment of Fashion Square mall.

A second, future phase would develop the back portion of the property in conjunction with the mall redevelopment.

Albemarle has a small-area plan for the land around the intersection of Rio Road and U.S. 29, which includes this property. County staff said the proposed application plan was “generally acceptable” because it would ultimately “not inhibit redevelopment consistent with the Rio29 Small Area Plan.” The plan shows a proposed road near the site.

Collins said the building could be built to support multiple additional stories in the future.

The project is scheduled to go before the Board of Supervisors for a public hearing on April 1.


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