Board of Supervisors Meeting Date: 

Dondoric Farm Limited Partnership, Owner
Summerplace Farm Horse Shows, LLC, Applicant

January 10, 2008

Staff Lead:


Kristen Slawter, Planner II

Community Development


Magisterial District:   Marshall                                                                       PIN: 6978-56-3909-000 

Service District: None 


A Resolution to Approve Special Exception #SPEX08-MA-004, Dondoric Farm  - Marshall District 

Topic Description:   

Summerplace Farm Horse Shows, LLC is seeking approval of a Special Exception to hold twenty-three (23) horse shows during a single year on a 65-acre parcel zoned Rural Agriculture. Applicant wishes to obtain a Category 9 Special Exception in order to run horse shows as part of the Virginia Horse Show Association.  The property is located west of the intersection of Dondoric Farm Road (Route 812) and Route 17, Marshall District.  (PIN 6978-56-3909-000).

More specifically, the Special Exception would allow ten (10) full-day shows, beginning at 8:00 a.m. and ending by 6:00 p.m. and thirteen (13) half-day shows, beginning at 4:00 p.m. and ending at 7:00 p.m.  The ten full-day shows will be held on either a Saturday or Sunday and the thirteen half-day shows on Thursdays.  The full-day, weekend horse shows will bring a maximum of 175 attendees and 50 horse trailers.  The half-day, Thursday horse shows will bring a maximum of 75 attendees and 15 trailers per event.  These conditions are reflected in Attachment 1. 

Location,  Zoning and Current Land Use:  

The subject property and surrounding parcels are zoned Rural Agriculture (RA) and are planned to remain Rural. 

Site History:   

On July 21, 2003, the Board of Supervisors approved Special Exception SE02-M-28 Category 9 (Class C) to hold twenty-four (24) horse shows.    The Special Exception expired one year later, and the applicant did not apply for an extension.  In 2007, the Zoning Office cited the applicant for a zoning violation for holding horse shows without a current Special Exception.  The applicant was notified to stop all horse shows and submit a new Special Exception application if they wished to resume holding horse shows on the property.  This Special Exception application is the first step towards bringing the events into compliance with the County Code and allowing the applicant to continue the business.




The subject parcel is located off of Route 17, a major arterial road in the County with high speeds and high volumes of traffic.  Vehicle access to the property is via a right-turn lane on Route 17 southbound or a left-turn land on Route 17 northbound, followed by a one-lane, narrow road called Dondoric Farm Road.  Dondoric Farm Road is the single entrance and exit to the site for these events, so it is critical that traffic be safely managed to and from the site.  A traffic control plan is required to be approved by VDOT prior to each event.  The site’s entrance and associated turn lanes were approved by the Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT) for the previous, similar Special Exception for horse shows in 2003.  The current Special Exception would bring the same volume of traffic to the site and have the same hours of operation as in 2003. 

Special Exception Analysis:  

Staff finds that the proposal meets the criteria listed in Section 5-910 of the Zoning Ordinance for equestrian facilities with spectator uses. If this application is approved, the applicants will work with the Zoning Office on a Minor Site Plan and a Dustless Surface Waiver to ensure that Sections 5-006 and 5-901 are met, including appropriate landscape buffering, adequate parking, signage, and the placement of structures and parking near lot lines. 

Site Suitability/Environment:

The parcel is mostly flat, with no floodplain shown on the County’s FEMA floodplain maps.  The horse shows will be held in an open ring, with parking at the rear of the property.   

The subject property is in a Virginia Outdoors Foundation easement, which would allow this use, with some limitations for signage size that is captured as a condition in Attachment 1. 

Staff and Review Agency Comments: 

Planning staff has incorporated agency comments into the recommended conditions.  For a complete summary of agency comments and how they have been addressed, see Attachment 4. 

Summary and Recommendation:  

The applicant has worked with staff and the Planning Commission on details regarding the scope of the operation and has agreed to the conditions in Attachment 3. They are aware that follow-up with the Zoning Office and other public agencies will be necessary prior to starting the horse shows.  Staff and the Planning Commission recommend that the Special Exception be approved for one year, followed by the option to seek a two-year approval administratively, subject to the attached conditions. 

Planning Commission Action:   

After two public hearings, the Planning Commission unanimously recommended approval to the Board of Supervisors with conditions on November 29, 2007.  The main concerns expressed by the Planning Commission were hours of operation, number of spectators, and a commitment to comply with local and state codes and expiration deadlines in the future.  The applicant and the Planning Commission resolved these issues and present conditions (Attachement 1).


Requested Action of the Board of Supervisors:   

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

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

Health Department
Emergency Services
Virginia Department of Transportation



1.      Resolution

2.      Statement of Justification (Revised October 26, 2007)

3.      Concept Development Plan/ Special Exception Plat (3 pages total, dated 8/13/2002, 4/10/03, 6/20/03)

4.      Agency Comments

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