Board of Supervisors

 Meeting Date: 

Richard W. Robison, Center District Supervisor

January 20, 2004

Staff Lead:


Kimberley Johnson, Zoning Administrator

Community Development


Topic:     An Ordinance Adopting Text Amendments to Sections 3-301.1 and  5-103 of the Fauquier County Zoning Ordinance Affecting the C-1 Zoning District


Topic Description:


The proposed text amendment changes Sections 3-301 and 5-103 of the Zoning Ordinance in order to (1) reduce the ability to develop single family homes; (2) eliminate townhouses and freestanding multi-family units; and to (3) authorize residential uses located over first-floor commercial uses with special exception approval in the C-1 (Commercial Neighborhood) zoning district.  The proposed special exception requirement and standards allow flexibility in lot size, width, frontage, yards, open space and parking requirements for such mixed use buildings.


Planning Commission Action:  

The Planning Commission initiated this text amendment, and held two public hearings on November 20, 2003 and December 20, 2003.  At the December 20, 2003 meeting, the Planning Commission voted to forward the Zoning Ordinance text amendment to the Board of Supervisors for public hearing and adoption.


Staff Analysis:


Eight of Fauquier County’s Service District Comprehensive Plans envision the creation of mixed-use development, incorporating a mix of retail and service businesses, offices and apartments concentrated at the core of these neighborhoods in a pattern modeled on Main Street in Marshall, Remington and Warrenton and their immediate environs.  These mixed use areas are designated within the associated land use plan for each service district. 


The C-1 zoning district dominates the areas marked for mixed use in these service districts.  Although C-1 zoning allows both commercial and residential uses, it does not actually require or even promote mixed use development, allowing for entirely commercial developments or for entirely residential developments.  In addition, the C-1 district does not provide the flexibility or the geometrical rules needed to develop mixed use projects in a form consistent with the Comprehensive Plan.   For example, the Marshall Plan recommended such district revisions provide setback and use flexibility, pedestrian amenities, opportunity for new buildings to be constructed to the sidewalks, and parking lots to the rear or side of the retail areas fronting the streets.



While two other special districts exist in the Zoning Ordinance for mixed use development---the Planned Residential Development (PRD) and the Planned Development Mixed Use (PDMU)---these two districts require an applicant to initiate a rezoning.  These special districts also assume that a developer controls 25 or more acres, and that the project is predominately residential, with the non-residential component of the proposal nestled within a larger residential context.  These characteristics do not pertain in the core of the county Service Districts, where the land has been long divided into smaller parcels and lots of a few acres or less.  In certain other instances, although the parcels are larger, their position in the Town Center Core of the Service District makes the dominant residential component envisioned by the PRD and PDMU zoning districts inappropriate.


The proposed zoning text amendments herein are designed to address these issues by:


1)         reducing the ability to develop residential units except in the context of a mixed use development; and


2)         creating flexibility in the C-1 zone that will allow compatible development, design, scale and use mixes within existing and historic town and village areas.


Ability to Develop Residential Units


The C-1 zoning district currently allows residential single family detached, single family attached and multi-family uses with approval of a special permit, creating the possibility that large scale residential development could occur within the C-1 areas targeted for mixed use development.  The proposed text amendment reduces the type of residential development and density allowed. The amendment eliminates the ability to construct townhomes or freestanding apartments within the C-1 district, unless the first floor is occupied by commercial space, creating a true mixed use type of development.  The amendment also diminishes the ability to develop single family homes.  As structured, any existing lot could be developed with one single family unit; however, parcels could not be subdivided for more extensive single family development, contrary to the mixed use goals. 


The text amendment would require special permit approval by the Board of Zoning Appeals for the construction of an individual single family dwelling or an addition.  The residential apartment option requires special exception approval through the Board of Supervisors.


Flexibility in the C-1 Zoning District


Standards for residential uses in the C-1 zone are currently provided in Section 5-103 of the Zoning Ordinance.  The proposed amendment maintains the existing requirement that residential uses be of such a scale as to avoid conflict with existing and potential commercial uses, and also maintains the R-4 regulations as the basis for a single family home constructed on an existing lot in the C-1 zoning district.  The amendment introduces new standards for the development of residential uses over commercial uses, providing flexibility in minimum lot size, minimum lot frontage, minimum lot width, minimum yards, open space and parking, and establishing basic design standards to create a character of development consistent with a town center. The existing residential density maximum threshold of 13 units per acre, the GA district maximum, is reduced to 8 units per acre for residential apartments over first floor commercial space.  Again, that type of residential development would be allowed only with approval of a Special Exception by the Board of Supervisors.


Requested Action of the Board of Supervisors: 


Hold a public hearing on the proposed text amendment and consider adoption of the attached Ordinance.

Financial Impacts Analysis:


No analysis was conducted for this proposed amendment.


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


Board of Supervisors

Economic Development Office