The Botetourt Planning Commission got its first look at how actual zoning and land use patterns could be established around Exit 150 and through Daleville during its October meeting.

Consultant Katharine Ange of Renaissance Planning in Charlottesville gave a presentation on how the Planning Commission and Board of Supervisors could use an “overlay district,” “sub-districts” and voluntary design guidelines to direct the development patterns.

The supervisors have already established how and what expected growth should occur by adopting the Gateway Crossing Area Plan and including it in the county’s Comprehensive Plan two years ago. At the same time, the board designated the Gateway Crossing and Daleville Town Center areas as separate Urban Development Areas (UDA).

Ange’s charge is to help the county establish zoning criteria to facilitate the kind of commercial development, mixed use development, walkability and street connectivity the plan and UDAs are supposed to promote.

Ange told the Planning Commission overlay districts would support the UDA goals and Gateway Crossing Plan implementation in designated areas, enable implementations of regulations of select elements, and create more flexibility for developments.

Ange’s report notes that an overlay district is a type of zoning district that is applied over one or more previously established zoning districts. An overlay district establishes additional standards and criteria as part of the overlay, and those standards apply to covered properties in addition to those of the underlying zoning district.

The overlay districts would be part of the Gateway Small Area Plan she presented to the commission.

She suggested a Gateway Crossing Overlay District with three different overlay sub-districts— Residential, Community Business and Interstate Business.

The Gateway Crossing Overlay District would cover the area east of I-81 and north and south of Cloverdale Road that’s in the Gateway Crossing Area Plan. It would stretch along the US 220 corridor north from I-81 and include Botetourt Commons, Daleville Town Center and Orchard Marketplace.

She said having Voluntary Design Guidelines would provide design directions to developers and businesses in the corridor. She also said the guidelines would establish distinct character and strengthen the community’s sense of place.

Her presentation noted that establishing a Gateway Crossing Overlay District and its sub-districts would “provide additional standards for development and redevelopment in the Gateway Crossing Area to create a walkable, mixed-use district that is an economic hub and an attractive gateway for the county.

It would do this by:

  • Maintaining rural areas of the county by encouraging growth in the UDAs
  • Encouraging efficient use of land and public services.
  • Creating a walkable, human-scaled sense of place through the compact placement and configuration of buildings, streets, and open spaces.
  • Encouraging the development of a bike and pedestrian-supportive community by building a network of streets, providing sidewalks and trails, and creating an active building face along the streets.
  • Creating a network of connected streets to provide an alternative to US 220 for local travel within the overlay area and to reduce the number of access points needed on state highways.
  • Encouraging higher density development in areas surrounding the Exit 150 interchange of Interstate 81, where services and infrastructure are available to support it.
  • Encouraging the construction of housing near employment opportunities and community services.
  • Encouraging a mix of land uses that offers opportunity for people to work, shop, and use services near their homes.
  • Creating opportunities for selective integration of large footprint commercial and/or employment centers in locations that are compatible with the scale and mix of uses.

The commissioners had a number of questions about the concept and asked for time to digest its contents.

— Ed McCoy