Board of Supervisors Meeting Date:


Planning Commission


January 13, 2005

Staff Lead:



W. Todd Benson, Assistant Zoning Administrator


Community Development



A Zoning Ordinance Text Amendment to Section 2-308.4 to Eliminate Density Credit for Floodplain


Topic Description:


Section 2-308.4 of the Fauquier County Zoning Ordinance allows a fifty percent density credit for land located within the 100-year floodplain for residential zoning districts.  The proposed amendment eliminates all density credit for floodplain in the residential zoning districts.


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:


Through time, the Service District Citizen Planning Committees and the Planning Commission have questioned allowing residential density credit for land located within the designated 100 year floodplain.  Such areas need to be protected and used as open space.  The Service District Plans mark these as primary open space/environmental resource areas.  Development within floodplains is exceptionally restricted, with no residential units allowed to be constructed within or within 25 feet of the floodplain.  Many question the rationale for providing residential density credit for floodplain which is going to be preserved, just to increase the number of homes placed on the floodplains developable uplands.


It is recommended that Section 2-308.4 of the Zoning Ordinance, which addresses density calculations, be revised.  The proposed revision would affect density calculation in all residential districts.   Density calculations in the rural districts (RA and RC) would not change and would continue to have full density credit for land in floodplain.  


The proposed revision is:


4.   In all other zoning district categories, the maximum density shall be calculated on the gross area of the lot except that:


A.  Only fifty (50) percent No density allowance shall be calculated on that area of a lot comprised of floodplain, quarries or existing water bodies.


B.   Only thirty (30) percent density allowance shall be calculated on that area of a lot comprised of slopes in excess of twenty-five (25) percent grade.


C.     Only fifty (50) percent density allowance shall be calculated on that area of a lot comprised of slopes in excess of fourteen (14) percent but equal to or less than twenty-five (25) percent grade.


D.     No density allowance shall be calculated for any area of a lot in an existing street right-of-way.


This ordinance has no impact of allowed uses of land.


This ordinance will not affect a lot which is otherwise buildable today; buildable lots are  grandfathered by § 2-403.


At the Planning Commission’s public hearing, the question was raised about the fairness of removing floodplain density in residential districts but not from conservation and agricultural districts; a lack of uniformity was suggested.


The uniformity requirement is found in Virginia Code § 15.2-2282 (emphasis added):  “All zoning regulations shall be uniform for each class or kind of buildings and uses throughout each district, but regulations in one district may differ from those in other districts.”


For example, there is no requirement in the law for the regulations in an Agriculture (RA) or Conservation (RC) zones to be the same as a Residential (R-1) zone.  The RA and RC zones are designed in the Code and Comprehensive Plan to protect open space, agriculture, silviculture, and conservation uses.  There is nothing discriminatory in having one set of regulations for such purposes and another set of regulations for concentrated residential development which is principally in service districts. 


On August 26, 2004, the Planning Commission voted to initiate the text amendment and schedule a public hearing.  On December 8, 2004, the Planning Commission unanimously voted to forward the text amendment to the Board of Supervisors with the recommendation that it be adopted.




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


Department of Community Development

Development Community

Property Owners



1.       Proposed Text Amendment