Board of Supervisors Meeting Date:

Planning Commission


January 10, 2008

Staff Lead:


Kimberley Johnson, Zoning Administrator


Community Development



A Zoning Ordinance Text Amendment to Sections 5-006.5, 12-610 and 15-300 Related to Utilization of Low Impact Development Techniques with Site Development


Topic Description:

This proposed text amendment seeks to add language to the ordinance promoting Low Impact Development as a standard for Special Exception, Special Permit and Site Plan approval.


Requested Action of the Board of Supervisors:

 Conduct a public hearing and consider adoption of the attached Ordinance.


Financial Impact Analysis:

No financial impact analysis has been conducted.


Summary Staff Report: 

The Fauquier County Zoning Ordinance contains standards for the approval of special permit/exceptions (Section 5-006) and Site Plans (12-600).  These standards require adequate drainage, stormwater, and other utility facilities be provided for proposed development.   The proposed amendment adds language to the standards requiring that applicants incorporate Low Impact Development (LID) site and facility design to meet these requirements, where appropriate.   The authority for evaluating whether or not the proposal meets the standard will rest with the approval authority in each case (i.e., the Director for Site Plans, the BZA for Special Permits and the Board of Supervisors for Special Exceptions).   The text amendment also adds a definition for LID to the Zoning Ordinance; the proposed definition was first based on a definition of LID promulgated by the Low Impact Development Center, a non-profit organization which seeks to balance growth and environmental integrity (Attachment 1).

County Engineering staff has recommended that the definition be modified to acknowledge that preservation of natural features is a critical element of LID, as reflected in the following description from the Virginia Department of Environmental Quality:

“Site planning with low impact development (LID) techniques begins with

developing strategies to conserve the natural hydrologic assets and functions of

a site. LID site conservation techniques include (but are not limited to) directing development away from sensitive environmental areas, preserving native vegetation and soils, maintaining existing drainage courses, and minimizing the extent of impervious areas.”

Therefore, an alternative LID definition was been provided which is more general in nature and which specifically acknowledges hydrology preservation as an element of LID.  This alternative definition is from the Virginia Valley Conservation Council, which published a technical bulletin on LID practices in 2005 (Attachment 2).  The Planning Commission recommendation incorporated the alternative definition.

It is intended that this proposed amendment provide a beginning step toward raising awareness and promoting use of LID techniques within development, by providing the approval authority the basis for considering and/or requiring LID techniques in conjunction with specific proposals.  If and when the County develops clearer, more specific policies related to LID and Green Building techniques, it is anticipated that more precise standards would be developed and incorporated into the Zoning Ordinance regulations.

The Planning Commission initiated this proposed text amendment on October 25, 2007 and unanimously recommended approval on November 29, 2007 after conducting a public hearing.


Identify any other Departments, Organizations or Individuals that would be affected by this request:

Department of Economic Development


1.         Low Impact Development Center Website Information

2.         Valley Conservation Council Technical Bulletin on LID

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