Board of Supervisors Meeting Date:

R. Holder Trumbo, Jr., Scott District Supervisor

February 18, 2010

Staff Lead:


Frederick P.D. Carr, Director


Community Development


A Resolution to Adopt CPAM10-XX-003A Comprehensive Plan Amendment to Chapter 6 – Service Districts and Chapter 10 – Transportation to Designate Land Within its Service District Boundaries to be Subject to the “Compact or Suburban Area” Requirements of the Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT) Secondary Street Acceptance Regulations


Topic Description:

Adoption of “Compact and Suburban Area” designations for specific Service Districts in Chapters 6 and 10 of the Comprehensive Plan as outlined herein and pursuant to §15.2-2223 of the Virginia Code will ensure that the recently implemented VDOT Secondary Street Acceptance Regulations (Virginia Administrative Code 24VAC30-92-10-140) for land development application review and other associated design aspects are applied consistently in these areas where growth and traditional forms of development are encouraged.

Background Information: 

On October 8, 2009, staff provided a work session briefing regarding the VDOT Secondary Street Acceptance Requirements (SSAR), and the Board of Supervisors initiated the requested amendment and transmitted it to the Planning Commission for public hearing and recommendations (Refer to Attachment 1).

The effective date for Secondary Street Acceptance Regulations (SSAR) for statewide implementation was July 1, 2009.  Two of the enabling legislation’s primary goals that served as the foundation for these new regulations were: (a) ensuring the connectivity of road and pedestrian networks with the existing and future transportation network; and (b) minimizing stormwater run-off and impervious surface area.

Regarding public streets designed, constructed and accepted for state maintenance under these new provisions, VDOT has stated consistently through its educational forums that the enacted regulations will have the following benefits at the local levels:

v  Reduce future construction needs and operational costs;

v  Improve emergency response times;

v  Improve safety and access for pedestrians and bicyclists;

v  Create a more efficient transportation network;

v  Design local streets to encourage appropriate vehicle speeds; and

v  Reduce stormwater run-off.

Secondary Street Acceptance Regulation Area Types:

The SSAR also established three area classifications for secondary streets in Virginia.  Within each category, streets must meet the applicable design and public benefit requirements to be eligible for acceptance into the secondary system of state highways. Those categories are:  Compact, Suburban and Rural Areas. Their definitions are provided in Attachment 2. 

Designated Area Types Already Existing:

Both New Baltimore and Warrenton already have tripped the “Compact Area” threshold having an established population falling within the 2,500 - 49,999 people range (2000 census tract information) of the regulation’s “smoothed urban cluster boundary.”  Therefore, the regulation already has resulted in an official VDOT “Compact Area” delineation around that referenced “cluster” boundary for both New Baltimore and Warrenton.  In addition, the regulation also requires and resulted in a “Suburban Area” to be designated within a 2-mile radius of that “smoothed urban cluster boundary.”  Therefore, those designated areas in New Baltimore and Warrenton are currently subject to the VDOT regulatory connectivity and design requirements for those “Area Types.”

Recommended Area Type Threshold For Fauquier County:

Fauquier County Board of Supervisors have historically and consistently expressed through the Comprehensive Plan that the Service Districts will be where our more compact and traditional town or village scale residential densities and business development will occur. Here such future growth can be more effectively served through public facilities, services and utilities, be provided an interconnected public street network (including multi-purpose paths and sidewalks), and be more effectively connected to open spaces, parks and schools.

The County has also recently completed transportation impact studies for New Baltimore, as well as the Bealeton-Opal-Remington Service District areas. These analyses included existing conditions to theoretical build-out. Both studies clearly demonstrate the need for safety improvements, traffic calming and added connections throughout these Service Districts to effectively meet current and future expectations. These communities will need a far more enhanced and linked street network to provide the balanced distribution of vehicle trips, options for future public transit, and pedestrian accommodation expected.

Based on Board direction to initiate this Comprehensive Plan Amendment, staff and Planning Commission recommend that the Bealeton, Marshall, New Baltimore, Opal, Remington and Warrenton Service Districts be designated for the “Compact Area” classification, since their adopted land use plans meet the minimum median density threshold of 2 units per acre; while Calverton, Catlett, and Midland be designated as “Suburban Area,” since their land use plans meet the minimum median threshold of 1 unit per 2 acres.  New Baltimore and Warrenton have already been officially designated by VDOT; however, the regulations allow Fauquier County to expand existing designations or add other areas to the VDOT Statewide Area Type Thresholds List through the Comprehensive Plan process.

Benefits of the “Compact  or Suburban Area” designations for the nine Service Districts are that it establishes a higher level of VDOT review, better implements the Comprehensive Plan’s expected road network, is more compatible with the County’s Subdivision Ordinance and Facilities Standards Manual,  and requires that residential, business and mixed use projects:

·         Have sufficient street connections in multiple directions;

·         Provide pedestrian accommodation;

·         Incorporate context sensitive street design; and

·         Add streets as a project package and part of the overall community secondary street network.

At the moment, VDOT reviews for such rezoning applications as Cannon Ridge (Marshall), White Marsh and Mintbrook (Bealeton) are subject to the Rural Area category.  That category has no mandatory connectivity requirements and is meant for areas similar to those currently zoned RA/RC or other more rural zoning categories. (However, VDOT in this district does assist in recommending project improvements consistent with the transportation elements of the County’s Comprehensive Plan.) The “Compact Area” and “Suburban Area” designations as recommended herein would officially realign the VDOT Secondary Street Acceptance Regulations (SSAR) with Chapter 6 – Service Districts and Chapter 10 – Transportation of the Fauquier County Comprehensive Plan.


Text Amendment to the Comprehensive Plan:

The regulation is specific in terms of how a local government may officially add a “Compact” or “Suburban” Area that does not meet the other established Virginia Administrative Code thresholds (refer to Attachment 2).  It may be done by ordinance or by the comprehensive plan, pursuant to §15.2-2223 of the Virginia Code, in order to be subject to “Compact or Suburban Area Type” requirements of this Chapter provided that such an area has median lot sizes no greater than ˝ acre (e.g., 2 lots/acre) or 2 acres (e.g., 1 lot/2 acres) respectively.

Each of the Service Districts has been assigned, within this agenda item, the proposed “Area Type” under which median planning threshold it qualifies:

a.       Compact Area Designation:  Bealeton, Marshall, New Baltimore, Opal, Remington and Warrenton; and

b.      Suburban Area Designations:  Calverton, Catlett and Midland.

Chapter 6 – Service Districts and Chapter 10 – Transportation have been amended slightly as represented in Attachments 3 and 4.  The proposed amendment language in both chapters is underlined in red text and the “Compact or Suburban” area boundaries will coincide with the specified boundary of the adopted Service District or as periodically revised. 

Future Assignment:

The New Baltimore and Warrenton Service Districts are already VDOT classified as “Compact Areas” and have a 2-mile radius surrounding them that is currently designated as a “Suburban Area.” CPAM10-XX-003 would alter the Compact Area to fit service district limits for both New Baltimore and Warrenton. Anything previously designed “Compact Area” by VDOT that is not within the New Baltimore or Warrenton Service District will be designated “Suburban Area.”

The current 2-mile VDOT designated “Suburban Area” is far too extensive, does not reflect the County vision for those rural environs subject to Chapter 8 – Rural Areas Land Use Plan, and will need significant boundary adjustments.  It extends north of Pilgrims Rest, Pond Mountain and Hunton Woods and west of the Village of Auburn where rural roads are the norm and preferred option. 

VDOT regulation allows and welcomes reasoned modifications to these “state” delineated “Suburban Area” boundaries.  However, County effort will require study and significant justification for VDOT consideration and approval.  Such approvals are not guaranteed, and need proper analysis and validation that include, for example, existing zoning and development, easements, sites on the National Register, Civil War battlefield studies, agricultural/forestal districts and future development expectations represented in the Comprehensive Plan.

Once the Board of Supervisors adopts CPAM10-XX-003, staff will schedule a work program with the Planning Commission to review and propose a revised boundary for the residual “suburban area” designation.

Planning Commission Action:

The Planning Commission conducted a work session on October 29, 2009 and conducted its public hearing on January 28, 2010 for the Comprehensive Plan Amendment. No one spoke in opposition, and the Planning Commission unanimously forwarded the proposed CPAM10-XX-003 amendment to the Board of Supervisors with a recommendation that it be adopted.


Requested Action of the Board of Supervisors:

Conduct a public hearing and consider the attached resolution.

Financial Impact Analysis:

None is required.

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

Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT)
Department of Community Development
Development Community




1.      Board of Supervisors Resolution for Amendment Initiation

2.      Compact, Suburban and Rural Area Definitions (VDOT Secondary Street Acceptance Regulations Excerpts); VDOT Designated Compact & Suburban Areas Statewide

3.      Amendment to Chapter 6 – Service Districts

4.      Amendment to Chapter 10 – Transportation

Back to Agenda...