At its December 20 meeting, the Albemarle Architectural Review Board (ARB) discussed a proposed self-storage building to be located on the northeast corner of the intersection of Rt. 250 and Crozet Avenue, where Sabor Latino and Rocket Coffee recently operated businesses. The project, to be called Crozet Storage, had been reviewed by county staff, who recommended significant architectural changes before approval, and the ARB discussed possible modifications with the applicant, Andrew Lewis. Lewis is senior development director for Merchants Retail Partners, the developer, and the property is owned by Danny Yousef.
The plan calls for construction of a 90,000-square-foot, three-story self-storage facility along with associated site improvements to sit on two parcels that total 2.5 acres. The site will have an access driveway connection to Brownsville Road, and a small parking lot able to accommodate 12 cars. The ARB had considered the proposal at a meeting in September 2021 and had asked the applicant for several changes and responsive materials, such as architectural designs and perspective renderings that would show the building in its surrounding context, and the addition of landscaping, transparent glass, and mass-reducing features to the designs.
While the applicant did provide perspective images of the proposed building and surrounds at the December meeting, the ARB members were dissatisfied with the submissions. Board members asked for revisions that would reduce the “blankness” on all sides of the building, would incorporate features and materials that reflect the traditional architecture of the area, would reduce the building’s footprint and height, and would provide substantially more landscaping. Three members of the public commented on the proposal, including CCAC member Doug Bates, and all three raised concerns about the size and scale of the building in that location.
At the conclusion of the December meeting, the board voted to decline to approve the initial plan due to the scale and mass of the building and the lack of appropriate architectural elements, with a list of seventeen issues for the applicant to address in a final site plan. In January, the applicant submitted a revised site plan to the county that contained substantial revisions intended to address the ARB’s concerns. The plan now includes a below-grade basement level which reduces the building’s footprint, and the building has been redesigned to include a mansard roof and gables, which give the appearance of a two-story building.
The building elevation along Rt. 250 now includes trellises between the gables, which will be planted with vines to further break up the façade. The whole building has been moved 54 feet to the east to provide more of a landscape buffer along the intersection, and the plan now includes a sidewalk along Rt. 250 and a “community conference room” in the building’s southwest corner.
The applicant is currently working to complete a revised application by a February 7 deadline, and that application will be reviewed by the ARB again on March 21.