Owner/Applicants:                                                   Board of Supervisors Meeting Date:


David C. Dillen, Owner                                                                                January 20, 2004

John C. and Patricia B. North, Applicants


Staff Lead:                                                                                                       Department:


Charles A. Floyd, Senior Planner                                                    Community Development


Magisterial District:                                                                                                     PIN:


Cedar Run                                                                                                  7902-89-5059-000


Topic:   A Resolution to Deny a Category 9 Special Exception to Allow for a Variety of Special Events to Include Weddings, Corporate Events and Retreats


Topic Description:


The applicants are seeking Special Exception approval for a variety of Class C events or activities on a ±50-acre parcel, in the Rural Agriculture zoning district.  As their place of residence, the applicants will be using the existing Melrose Castle for the events.  As proposed, many different types of special events, with a total of between forty (40) and sixty (60) events per year, would be held and would include:


·        Weddings

·        Birthday Parties and Gatherings

·        Corporate Events and Retreats

·        Meetings and Celebrations

·        Wedding and Baby Showers

·        Rehearsal Dinners

·        Family reunions


Events will be typically held on weekends, with Saturday being the focus, between April and October.  The applicants plan on having two (2) to four (4) events per calendar month.  These events will primarily occur between the hours of 3:00 P.M. and 11:00 P.M. with some additional time allocated for preparation.  All events will be held inside the castle, and there will be no outside amplification of music permitted, with all indoor music ceasing by 10:00 P.M.  Also, no additional outdoor lighting will be allowed, nor will tents or commercial vehicles.  A typical event will attract anywhere from 80 to 100 persons in attendance or being involved with the event, with the total cumulative persons being one hundred fifty (150).  See Attachment 1 for the applicants’ Statement of Justification.




As shown on the following location map, the subject property is located on the southeast side of Rogues Road (Route 602) north of its intersection with Weston Road (Route 747), north of the Village of Casanova.  The property is zoned Rural Agriculture (RA).  Adjacent properties to the north, south, east, and west are zoned Rural Agricultural (RA).  Spring Hill Farm, a major horse-breeding farm in both the County and the State of Virginia, surrounds Melrose Castle on all three sides.


Location Map






In October of 2002, Claire Lamborne, owner of Claire’s Catering, proposed an application for a Special Exception for a similar use of the property.  This application was quite different than the one before the Board of Supervisors today. However, it required the same Special Exception process.  This application was withdrawn.  The following chart describes the differences in the two applications, for the Board ’s information:


Claire Lamborne's Proposal

Jack & Patricia North’s Proposal

Limit 200 Persons with 1 annual event with 400

Limit 150 Persons

Events all year round

Events limited to April through November

Total events not limited

Total events limited to 40-60

Some outdoor signage and lighting

No outdoor signage or lighting

Hours of Operation between 10:00 A.M. and 11:00 P.M.

Hours of Operation between 1:00 P.M. and 11:00 P.M.

A Commercial Kitchen for Catering on the Property

All Catering will be brought in the day of the event, No cooking on the Premises

Events throughout the week

Events limited to Thursday through Sunday


Requested Action of the Board of Supervisors:


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


Planning Commission Action:


On December 18, 2003, the Planning Commission held a public hearing and recommended denial of SPEX04-CR-011.  The Planning Commission at its public hearing stated that Rogues Road, a Virginia State Scenic Byway, was not suitable to handle the amount of traffic generated by the proposed events.  The Commission also stipulated that the type of proposed business was not compatible with the surrounding agricultural and equestrian area, namely Spring Hill Farm.  The Commission indicated in its recommendation that the area residents would also be adversely impacted by the proposed business. 


Staff Analysis:


Staff and appropriate referral agencies have reviewed this request for conformance with the Comprehensive Plan, the Zoning Ordinance, and other relevant policies and regulations.  The actual comments from the appropriate agencies are available upon request.


Comprehensive Plan


The subject property is designated for rural agricultural uses in the Comprehensive Plan. Similar properties in size and land use designation surround the Dillen property.


Virginia Department of Transportation Considerations

·        The existing entrance location does not meet current sight distance requirements and would require relocation. The location that appears to offer satisfactory sight distance is approximately 265' south of the existing entrance. The entrance geometry should conform to the specifications outlined in VDOT's Minimum Standards Of Entrances To State Highways. The specific dimensions may be determined at site plan review.

·        The applicant indicated that traffic control would be provided at the entrance location during events on site. VDOT staff noticed that in the vicinity of Routes 616,747 & 602 intersection (Casanova) the railroad crossing does not have active gates/arms to notify motorist of impending train traffic. It is recommended this area be included in the traffic control plan to enhance safety at the Railroad crossing.

Engineering Considerations


The County Engineer’s Office has reviewed the Special Exception Plat and has the following comments:


  • VDOT may require frontage improvements based on increased traffic.


  • SWM/BMP requirements will need to be met based on the Fauquier County Stormwater Management Ordinance. If new impervious areas are less than 10,000 square feet (gravel is considered impervious), this project will be exempt from SWM/BMP requirements.


  • If it is desired not to pave travel ways or parking, a dustless surface waiver will be required.


  • A site plan should be required.


  • All travel ways and parking should be at least a gravel surface.


  • Health Department approval for the use of portable toilets as the primary facilities should be required.


Health Department Considerations


The Fauquier County Health Department has reviewed the Special Exception application and has provided the following comments:


·        A commercial proposal would require contacting a Soil Scientist, Soil Consultant and Engineer, and/or an authorized on-site evaluator to determine the proposed sewage flows and design a sewage disposal system to handle the proposed flows.


·        Secondly, a kitchen engineer would need to design a kitchen plan to handle the food preparation for whatever is proposed.


·        Depending on the proposal, the Division of Drinking Water Programs would need to be contacted to evaluate the water system to determine how much sampling would be required.



Zoning Considerations


The Zoning Office has reviewed the Special Exception application and has the following comments:


  • The proposed site will need a Minor Site plan for the increase in the intensity of the existing use, consistent with Article 12 of the Fauquier County Zoning Ordinance.


Planning Considerations


The Planning Office has reviewed the application and has the following comments:


·        Zoning Ordinance Article 5-916.2 states that sites eligible for Class C events must have a minimum of 300 feet of frontage on a road designated by the County as a major collector or higher.  Rogues Road is not a major collector.  The Board of Supervisors needs to make a determination whether the type and amount of traffic generated by the proposed events is such, that it will not cause an undue impact on the neighbors or adversely affect safety of road usage.

·        The Board of Zoning Appeals approved a Special Permit application for a bed and breakfast on the subject property in December 2003.




1.      Applicant’s Letter of Justification

2.      Special Exception Plat