Board of Supervisors Meeting Date:

Michael and Heather Hawkins


January 11, 2007


Staff Lead:
Melissa Dargis, Assistant Chief of Planning

Community Development


Magisterial District:
Cedar Run




A Resolution to Deny SPEX07-CR-005: A Category 29 Special Exception to Waive Public Street Requirements


Topic Description:   

The applicants wish to obtain Special Exception approval under Category 29, which would allow for a waiver of public street requirements for access to this property.  If approved, this Special Exception would provide the required road frontage and provide access for up to five (5) lots.  Today there are two parcels accessing this private street, an existing administrative subdivision, and the parent parcel where the new subdivision is proposed. 

Project Update:

The applicant’s amended Statement of Justification states that the proposed road will serve a total of four (4) houses.  It estimates the total daily traffic generated to be forty (40) trips per day.  The applicant indicates that converting the existing road to a public street would require significant land disturbance such as off-site grading and slope easements and further, states that a homeowners association (HOA) for the subdivision would provide perpetual maintenance of the road.

The Special Exception is required because the applicant has requested a waiver of the required public street to accommodate a proposed subdivision that is not located on a State-maintained road.

The applicant will also have to request a separate application with the proposed preliminary plat for a cul-de-sac waiver since the proposed private street contains a cul-de-sac greater than 700 feet in length.  The cul-de-sac is approximately 2,500 feet in length. 


Land Area, Location and Zoning:      

The property is located at 2020 Hawkins Lane.  A map of the property is shown below.





Neighboring Zoning/Land Use: 

The property is currently zoned RA (Rural Agricultural) and is bound by RA properties.  Consistent with this zoning category, the property is located in a district that contains areas where agriculture and forestry are the predominant uses.


Action Requested of the Board of Supervisors: 

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


Planning Commission Recommendation: 

On November 30, 2006, the Planning Commission held a public hearing on this item and unanimously recommended denial.


Staff Analysis:

Staff and the appropriate referral agencies have reviewed this request for conformance with the Comprehensive Plan, the Zoning Ordinance, and other relevant policies and regulations.  Staff or referral agency findings, comments, and recommendations are available upon request.

Requirements of the Zoning Ordinance

Section 7-301 of the Zoning Ordinance provides that private streets are prohibited for all subdivisions in RA, RC and residential zones unless a Special Exception is obtained in accordance with the requirements of Section 5-2800 or 5-2900.

Section 5-2900 further provides that, in residential, RA and RC zones, the Board of Supervisors may grant a Special Exception to permit the construction of private streets within a subdivision where the following standards are met:

1.      The requirements of the Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT) necessary for the dedication of public streets will not permit the development of the proposed subdivision in a manner, which is in harmony with the surrounding character of the neighborhood or the proposed development scheme.


2.      The proposed private streets, based upon anticipated traffic generation volume, would adequately serve the lots to be developed and provide sufficient emergency vehicle access to the subdivision, and demonstration that adequate provisions will be made to provide for continuing maintenance and repair of the streets by a homeowners association.  For any subdivision with 80 lots or more, a traffic impact analysis must be provided to establish the justification of the request.

Planning Office

The Planning Office typically discourages the use of private streets, in part, due to the long-term maintenance issues to the future residents.  In addition, private streets are frequently extended to serve additional parcels that are further divided, thus increasing the traffic impacts on these roads with no design or construction requirements. 

During its review of this request the Board of Supervisors should consider the following items:

  1. Whether or not the proposed private street would be in harmony with the surrounding character of the neighborhood.


  1. The development scheme of the subject property and the adjoining developments, and how a private street would fit in with these designs.


  1. The requirement for continuing maintenance of the private street by the homeowners.


  1. The traffic impacts of the development on a private street.


  1. Whether or not the proposed private street would align with the County’s goals of protecting open space and discouraging non-essential alternations to scenic, agricultural, and historic areas.


  1. The ability for any further development along this road or the possibility of a future extension to serve other parcels.


The Engineering office has reviewed the above referenced plan and has the following comments:

1.      The proposed road location crosses soils that are characterized as being hydric or having hydric soils inclusions, which indicate the possibility of wetlands.  Wetlands permits may be required from the Virginia Department of Environmental Quality and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.  Both DEQ and USACOE are currently investigating possible wetlands disturbance violations on this site.

2.      The lots that will utilize this road will generate 40 vehicles per day.  The road width should accommodate two-way traffic.  A typical section of 18 foot width and 4 foot shoulders is considered the minimum for this traffic count.

3.      All culverts will be required to pass the 10 year storm and velocities will have to be non-erosive for the 2-year storm.


After reviewing the above stated Special Exception, the soils office has the following comments.

  1. State source of the soil map as “Preliminary soils information provided by Fauquier County Soil Scientist Office via Type 1 Soil Report (mapped at 1”=400’) dated July 25, 2005.” 


  1. Include soil map units 480C and 480D in soil interpretive information. State source as “Interpretive Guide to the Soils of Fauquier County, Virginia, Fifth Edition, 2004.”


  1. Due to the presence of soils with a low bearing capacity (soil map unit 14B), soils with a high seasonal water table (14B, 480C and 480D), steep slopes (77D and 480D), soils that are shallow to bedrock (77C and 77D), and multiple drainageway and swale crossings, extensive design work will be required to construct a stable, serviceable road that does not impede water flow or cause erosion, regardless of whether it is a private road or a public road.




The Warrenton Residency reviewed the above referenced Special Exception for a waiver of public street requirements, and has no comments.  The entrance will need to be constructed in accordance with VDOT Private Subdivision/Street Entrance standards, and will need to demonstrate that it meets sight distance requirements since it will be serving three (3) or more lots. 

Summary and Recommendations:

Staff recommends that the Board hold a public hearing on this item and consider that input as well as the Planning Commission’s recommendation.

Staff has several concerns with the applicant’s proposal:

  1. The width of the road will not accommodate two-way traffic;
  2. It is not clear if an emergency vehicle access and turnaround has been accommodated;
  3. The cul-de-sac length waiver request is nearly double the by-right length;
  4. The road maintenance for approximately 2400 linear feet of road is a rather large financial obligation for an HOA of 4 (four) homes;
  5. There are pending DEQ and USCOE violations for possible wetland disturbance related to the proposed road, which has already been constructed;
  6. The soils at the road location have high shrink swell potential and require significant design work; and
  7. It is not clear whether any of the neighboring parcels may want (or need) to utilize this proposed road in the future.

In addition, the applicant has not submitted a Preliminary Plat for the project.  It is recommended that the Preliminary Plat be submitted with this companion Special Exception so that the Board of Supervisors may make its decision based on complete information.  Based on the concerns noted above, staff would recommend that the Board either deny this item or consider a 90-day deferral period for this application, in order for the applicant to work out some refinements.


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

Fauquier County Department of Community Development


1.                  Statement of Justification

2.                  Special Exception Plat

3.                  DEQ December 15, 2006 Letter

4.         Deferral Letter


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