5th Street Station

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5th Street Station
5th-and-avon.jpg
Fifth Street Station

Albemarle County
County Area Scottsville Magisterial District, Neighborhoods 4 & 5
Location Between 5th Street and Avon Street
Type Retail with residential by additional special use permit
Size 86.895
Non-Residential 470,000 commercial retail space
Development Firm River Bend Management
Developer Contact Alan Taylor

The 5th Street Station (originally the Fifth Street and Avon Center) was approved by the Albemarle County Board of Supervisors on March 12, 2008[1] The development will bring 470,000 square feet of retail space just south of the City of Charlottesville, in a configuration that will include at least two big-box retail stores, as well as a five-story parking structure to serve the site. The property is being developed by River Bend Management in collaboration with investors who include Coran Capshaw[2].


Tenants

  • Wegmans
  • Field & Stream
  • Dick’s Sporting Goods
  • Mattress Warehouse
  • Panera Bread
  • Lee Nails
  • PetSmart
  • Great Clips
  • Hair Cuttery
  • Jersey Mikes
  • Sprint
  • Virginia ABC
  • Haverty’s Furniture
  • AC Moore Arts & Crafts [3]
  • Timberwood Grill
  • Red Mango Frozen Yogurt
  • ComServe (a Verizon licensee)
  • GNC

Bent Creek Parkway

In addition to the site, the County will get a new road, the Bent Creek Parkway, that will connect Avon Street with Fifth Street on a route that runs the northern perimeter of the new development along Moores Creek. Part of the road will traverse the site of the former Avon Street Landfill.

History of the parcel

Some of the property is the former site of the city's Avon Street Landfill. The Board of Supervisors rezoned 9.25 acres from agricultural to industrial in September 1978. At the time, a businessman named Randell W. Barnett was seeking to purchase the property for a "farm implement" business. Supervisors F. Anthony Iachetta and C. Timothy Lindstrom had opposed the rezoning but were persuader to change their mind by county executive Guy B. Agnor, Jr.. [4]

The land was zoned light industrial. The Board approved the rezoning of 86.895 acres from LI - Light Industrial zoning district, which allows industrial, office, and limited commercial uses (no residential use) with proffers and RA - Rural Areas zoning district which allows agricultural, forestal, and fishery uses; residential density (0.5 unit/acre) to PD-SC - Planned Development Shopping Center zoning district which allows shopping centers, retail sales and service uses; and residential by special use permit (15 units/acre) Approx. 470,000 sq. ft. of commercial uses.[5]

In 1999, the firm Brass Inc. sought a rezoning for a big box retail development. [6] Charlottesville City Councilor Maurice Cox told the Albemarle County Planning Commission that the city might not approve the Meadowcreek Parkway if the rezoning were approved.

Conditions agreed to by the developer

Before the rezoning was approved by the Board of Supervisors, the developer agreed to several conditions:

  • The developer has guaranteed the shopping center will be built as one phase, though the site plan would include creation of pad sites for later use
  • Developer commits to using green roofing for at least 25% of project as well as rainfall harvesting
  • To allay concerns about the County being liable for any ruptures from the old landfill, the property owner will retain ownership of the section of the Bent Creek Parkway that crosses over the landfill – a permanent easement will be granted
  • The Department of Environmental Quality has approved the developer’s work plan for how to ensure the landfill does not rupture during construction or after
  • Developer proffered that Bent Creek Parkway must be complete before certificate of occupancy can be granted
  • County Transportation Planner Juandiego Wade issued a statement that the Bent Creek Parkway would not contribute to additional congestion at I-64 and Fifth Street, and would ease congestion at some intersections on Route 20. However, Wade’s report also mentions that VDOT will conduct a detailed study on the future capacity of the I-64/5th Street interchange "when their workload permits."

Comments from March 12, 2008 public hearing

Before Chairman Ken Boyd opened the public hearing, Supervisor Dennis Rooker asked if the public hearing would need to be delayed if a new proffer was suggested by developer in response to staff concerns. That prompted some discussion of whether the people who had signed up to speak should be heard, if the Board was forced to delay the public hearing to satisfy its policy. Boyd invited Stephen Blaine of LeClair Ryan, counsel for the developer, to the podium to discuss staff concerns before the public hearing was called.

Blaine waived the traditional presentation, and instead used his time to address the concerns. He told David Slutzky that the proffers require the landfill mitigation work to be conducted according to the DEQ work plan. He added that the development would meet or exceed the requirements of the Architectural Review Board (ARB), and that the ARB would have to approve each sign.

Eight people spoke during the public hearing. The first six all reside in the southern end of the County, and welcome the chance to have a grocery store and home improvement store closer to their home.

Morgan Butler of the Southern Environmental Law Center said his organization has been following the development closely, and could not recommend it unless the big-box stores were required to be two-story. He added the development would increase traffic, and that the developer should be required to contribute to a fund to pay for improvements elsewhere in the road network. Butler also said he was troubled by the Board’s practice of allowing proffers to be altered up until the public hearing is called.

Jeff Werner of the Piedmont Environmental Council said the project would end up impacting the County due to increased traffic, and could hurt the City as well.

"It’s frustrating as a City resident to watch Albemarle County just sort of slowly change the perimeter of the beautiful City of Charlottesville into a sort of Anywhere USA Big Box," Werner said, lamenting what he perceives as the region’s transformation into Northern Virginia.

After the public hearing, Supervisor Lindsay Dorrier (Scottsville) said he supported the project because it would mean more money would be spent in Albemarle County, rather than Augusta County. One speaker during the public hearing had mentioned her neighbor travels to Waynesboro rather than shopping along Route 29 in Albemarle.

Slutzky said he did not think the project would generate traffic, but instead would transfer traffic away from Route 29 by giving residents of southern Albemarle more choices. He praised the developer for proffering green roofing technologies, which was not required. "A particularly high quality project," he said.

Rooker said the project is consistent with the Comprehensive Plan, and took issue with Werner’s characterization of the project. "If you drive around Route 3 in Fredericksburg, you’re not going to see anything like this project, which is surrounded by a significant green buffer, is very sensitive to the streams, incorporates trails, has a good pedestrian plan within the project" Rooker said. He added that the site could allow multi-story buildings.

Supervisor Sally Thomas said she lost the battle with her fellow Supervisors when the County changed the Comprehensive Plan designation for the property in 2004 to allow for this use. "So, having lost it, I think I’m about to vote for my first big box, because I think the transit provisions, the pedestrian, the bike network, the other environmental aspects. Have we pushed as hard as we could? Could we have gotten something even more special? We’ll never know, but this is certainly the best that we’ve seen and I’m excited that it’s going to set a good standard."

Timeline for Project

  • October 10, 2006: Planning Commission public hearing. [7]
  • January 16, 2007: Architectural Review Board provides guidance at meeting. [8]
  • January 18, 2008: Board of Supervisors work session[9]
  • March 12, 2008: Board of Supervisors votes unanimously to approve rezoning
  • June 10,2012: Project renamed "Fifth Street Station"[2]
  • Summer 2013: Groundbreaking is scheduled [2]
  • November 6, 2016: Wegmans opens.

Map

Photo gallery

References

  1. Albemarle County Supervisors Minutes. 12 March 2008. County of Albemarle, Virginia. 2 March 2009. [1] http://www.albemarle.org/upload/images/Forms_Center/Departments/Board_of_Supervisors/Forms/Minutes/20080310minutes.pdf
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 'New road key to Fifth Street Station project', Nate Delesline III, Daily Progress. June 10, 2012.
  3. Web. A.C. Moore Opens Prototype Store in Albemarle County, Taylor Gleason, WVIR NBC29, November 5, 2016, retrieved November 7, 2016.
  4. Print: County Official Acts as Catalyst for Zoning Change, Peter Bacque, Daily Progress, Worrell Newspaper group September 7, 1978, Page B1.
  5. Countyview, accessed on March 2, 2009 - don't know how to site - ZMA20060009
  6. Print: Parkway-retail site link anything but sure thing, Courtney Miller, Daily Progress, Media General April 2, 1999, Page A1.
  7. Web. Big-box project deferred, Will Goldsmith, C-VILLE Weekly, Portico Publications, October 17, 2006, retrieved April 8, 2011. Print. October 17, 2006 .
  8. Web. ARB-2006-135: 5th Street-Avon Center - Advisory Review for a Rezoning, Margaret Maliszewski, County of Albemarle, retrieved April 8, 2011.
  9. 'Fifth and Avon Center developers receive more feedback; Slutzky raises landfill concerns', Charlottesville Tomorrow. 12 March 2008. Charlottesville Tomorrow. 2 March 2009.