With few people in the audience and while practicing social distancing, the Albemarle County Board of Supervisors approved a coffee shop and street parking regulations, among other things, Wednesday evening.
The county earlier this week announced that the supervisors’ regular meeting was starting at 5 p.m. instead of the normal 1 p.m. and items that did not have a required timeline were removed in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Gov. Ralph Northam on Tuesday told state residents to avoid non-essential gatherings of more than 10 people, citing federal guidelines. On Wednesday, county staff had covered a majority of the seats in Lane Auditorium with black trash bags, leaving 10 seats per seating area available for the public.
At the meeting, the board approved new regulations to ban parking of commercial, recreational and other large vehicles on secondary streets in residential zoned areas.
The ability to regulate parking was granted to the county by the state legislature in 2018 after the board made it one of its legislative priorities.
Richard A. DeLoria, a senior assistant county attorney said the restrictions are necessary because older neighborhoods that don’t have homeowners associations were having issues with street parking.
“It had come to our attention that in neighborhoods that don’t have a benefit of that, that people involved in business who store their equipment on neighborhood streets because there weren’t any regulations or any prohibitions, they came from outside the area, outside the county or outside the neighborhood, and find that they’re doing most of the work in our county, so it’s easier to leave their trailers with their box trailers or their equipment are on the streets.”
The changes ban vehicles based on size and categories, such as trailers, construction equipment, motor homes, and vehicles for hire.
According to a staff report, the Albemarle County Police Department plans to enforce the ordinance by first educating residents about the parking restrictions and providing warnings.
Fines range from $71 to $81, with a fine of $201 for a handicap parking violation.
The board also approved a special use permit for a 700 square-foot coffee shop at the intersection of Hunters Way and U.S. 250. The planning commission had recommended approval in January.
Early last year, the Board of Supervisors approved a change to zoning regulations for certain types of commercially zoned properties in the rural area. Now, owners who want to have eating establishments, fast-food restaurants, service stations and convenience stores on those properties need a special-use permit if the property is not served by public water or a central water system.
The coffee shop would not have seating and would be attached to a proposed hardware store on the property, which does not need a special use permit. The coffee shop may have a drive-thru, which Mariah Gleason, a county senior planner, said needs a special exception. The exemption is scheduled to come before the board in May.
The coffee shop cannot exceed 700 gross square feet, cannot provide indoor seating and cannot provide public restrooms, if approved, as part of proposed conditions.
Some board members had concerns that the owners would put seating outside and that patrons of the coffee shop would use other restrooms on the property, but ultimately unanimously approved the permit.
The board also approved special exception requests for three homestays — for residents Courtney and Ryan Smith, Karen Pape and Collette Bahn — which all asked for reduced setback requirements.
Multiple special exception requests have been submitted, and some have already received approval, under the homestay regulations that were approved in August.