The Albemarle County Board of Supervisors denied a Crozet gas station’s plan to build additional office space, a drive-thru doughnut restaurant and an auto retail business and repair shop on its 4-acre lot.
Crozet Re-Store ’N Station, located at the intersection of Rockfish Gap Turnpike and Freetown Road near Western Albemarle High School, currently consists of 2,775 square feet of retail space, with an additional 1,000 square feet of office space on the second floor.
The owner proposed amendments to its special-use permit in December that would have cleared the way for a 20,000-square-foot addition. The board rejected the amendments by a unanimous vote Wednesday, bringing an end to a tumultuous review process.
Supervisor Ann H. Mallek recalled that Re-Store ’N Station’s original proposal for a larger building was denied by the Board of Supervisors in 2010.
“It should stay denied today,” Mallek said. “The developer has failed to make the case … that [this addition] is compelling or even warranted.”
In February, the Crozet Community Advisory Committee recommended that the county reject the proposal, arguing that it would contradict what the owner and the community agreed upon when the gas station was approved in 2010.
The Albemarle County Planning Commission voted, 6-0, against the amendments to the special-use permit in June on the grounds that the water-usage limit enforced by the permit — 1,625 gallons per day— would not be enough for the additional buildings. But county planning staff recommended the project for approval.
Supervisor Liz Palmer said that in her review of Re-Store ’N Station’s year-round water usage, she found that it consumed about 400 gallons on peak days. She said she shared the Planning Commission’s concern that the new facilities could consume more than 1,625 gallons per day.
“I am concerned that applicants could come back to future boards, asking for expanded water use,” Palmer said.
Mallek and Supervisor Rick Randolph have said that the addition would negatively impact the quality of life in Freetown, a historic neighborhood located behind the Re-Store ’N Station. The gas station has already drawn complaints about light and noise from trucks.
“They’re not operating appropriately or efficiently. That’s not our problem,” Freetown resident Jason Crutchfield told the board. “By approving this project, we are setting ourselves up for more potential failures ... that will reach out for assistance from this body.”
The board’s initial vote on the proposal in September resulted in a 3-3 tie. The developer was granted a deferral and revised some of the amendments to the special-use permit before Wednesday’s meeting.
The new conditions would have prohibited the convenience store from operating between 12:30 a.m. and 4:30 a.m. each day, and the repair shop from 10:00 p.m. to 4:30 a.m. The original amendments would have eliminated all restrictions on hours of business activity.
The developer also proposed additional measures to mitigate light and noise issues, including limiting the height of light poles behind the stores to 16 feet and replacing an existing board-on-board fence with a solid privacy fence.
Jo Higgins, representing Re-Store ’N Station owner Jeff Sprouse, asked the board to consider eliminating ordinances that restrict development outside designated growth areas. She also presented the supervisors with a petition in support of the addition that had more than 400 signatures.
“The landowner is at risk to lose his investment because the rules are being applied differently to people in different locations,” Higgins said.