Board of Supervisors Meeting Date:

Raymond E. Graham, Vice-Chairman
Cedar Run District Supervisor 

February 18 , 2010


Staff Lead:


Kimberley Johnson, Zoning Administrator


Community Development



A Zoning Ordinance Text Amendment to Sections 3-317 and 5-1700 to Allow a General Industrial Use to Occur in the RA/Rural Agricultural District on More Than One Acre When Reusing Legally Existing Airport Facilities


Topic Description: 

The existing Zoning Ordinance regulations provide for a category of “General Industrial Use” which can be authorized in the RA/Rural Agricultural District with approval of a special exception.   However, the existing regulations limit the use in the RA district to a maximum of one acre in area, and require a minimum 200-acre lot.  The proposed text amendment allows for such industrial use to utilize more than one acre and does not require the minimum 200 acres, but only allows this alternative scenario for the reuse of legally existing airports.   The use would continue to require special exception approval.  


Requested Action of the Board of Supervisors:

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


Staff Report: 

This proposed text amendment allows increased flexibility in the RA zone in order to allow re-use of the Hartwood Airport.  Hartwood is located straddling the Fauquier/Stafford County line; the property is zoned RA/Rural Agriculture and contains approximately 130 acres; about 100 acres in Fauquier County and about 27 acres in Stafford.  Previously approved by special exception for airport use, Hartwood no longer functions as an airport.  In 2007, the County approved a text amendment to the Zoning Ordinance to allow accessory industrial use of the property for research and development related to transportation. Zoning approved an Administrative Permit to allow the accessory use in 2007, and that activity is ongoing today.   The property is utilized as a testing facility for technology utilized at border crossings; vehicles drive through simulated highway checkpoints, utilizing the existing linear-runways as the highway layout.    The project has been very successful, and the government now seeks to expand the testing facilities on the site by relocating the simulated set of checkpoints on the Fauquier portion of the airport to a runway within the Stafford County portion of the airport, and creating a larger test lane facility with associated improvements (paving, lighting, canopy, etc.).  Although a government funded project, the property would remain in private ownership.  This expanded use cannot be accommodated under the 2007 text amendment, as it can no longer be considered accessory to an airport, as the airport no longer functions. 

The proposed use at Hartwood would be categorized as General Industrial use under the Zoning Ordinance.  Existing Zoning Ordinance regulations only allow General Industrial uses in the RA district on parcels a minimum of 200 acres in size, and then only when they actually utilize one acre or less.   The Hartwood property is just over 100 acres in size (in Fauquier), and the proposed use will occupy more than one acre of the property; therefore, this classification does not work for the proposed list.   The existing Zoning Ordinance allows another category of industrial use, called Limited Industrial (research and development) in the RA district on parcels of 100 acres, but in this category all activities must occur indoors.   As the activities for the proposed use occur entirely outdoors; the Limited Industrial category therefore does not work for the proposed use. 

The proposed text amendment narrowly expands the opportunity for the General Industrial use on parcels less than 200 acres in size and to occupy more than one acre by limiting the use to properties formerly approved by the County as Airports.  There are only two such airports in the County: Hartwood and the Warrenton-Fauquier Airport (which is primarily zoned Industrial).   From a land use perspective, where a rural property was once developed as an airport and has infrastructure in place such as the runways and buildings that were associated with the airport use, providing additional flexibility to reuse these facilities for other uses may be appropriate.   As proposed, the use would require special exception approval, and several additional standards have been proposed for the text amendment to assure that such industrial re-use is compatible with surrounding rural properties. 

The Board of Supervisors initiated the text amendment at its December 10, 2009 meeting.  The Planning Commission held a public hearing on the proposed amendment on January 28, 2010 and unanimously recommended approval.


Financial Impact Analysis:

No financial impact analysis has been conducted.

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

Property Owners

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