Board of Supervisors Meeting Date:


Rodney I. Smith and Hazel D. Smith, Owners

Rodney I. Smith, Applicant


March 10, 2005


Staff Lead:


Melissa Dargis, Assistant Chief of Planning



Community Development


Magisterial District:


Cedar Run







A Resolution to Approve SPEX05-CR-006, A Category 26 Special Exception to Allow for a Decrease in the Non-Common Open Space Requirement, Cedar Run District


Topic Description: 


The applicant wishes to obtain Special Exception approval under Category 26, which would allow for a decrease in the non-common open space requirement.  The ±139.12-acre parcel is zoned Rural Agricultural (RA).  Deed research for the parcel shows that it has the remaining subdivision potential to be divided into a maximum of six (6) lots based on the current acreage.  The Fauquier County Zoning Ordinance regulations state that one of these 6 lots must contain 85% of the total site acreage or ±134.34 acres.  These parcel sizes are based on the applicant’s Special Exception Plat; once the property is surveyed the numbers may change.


Initially, the applicant was seeking to create five (5) lots, plus a residue of approximately 60 acres which results in an open space reduction of approximately 37%.  Based on discussions with the Planning Commission, the applicant now seeks to create four (4) lots via the family transfer subdivision process with the remaining acreage left in the residue parcel.  The proposed family lots range in size from four (4) to five (5) acres.  In order to create these lots in the manner requested by the applicant, a Special Exception for a decrease in non-common open space is still required.


The original parcel was ±158.05 acres when the 85% rule was enacted in 1986; subsequent divisions reduced it to its current size of ±139.12 acres.  The remaining five (5) divisions would then have to be clustered on the remainder of the 15% of the property or ±4.78 acres, which is not feasible.  The applicant has refined the request to now ask for a reduction of non-common open space to ±120 acres, which is equivalent to approximately 75% open space.  The remaining acreage then would become the residue and should be deed restricted to limit future development and to maintain the agricultural and forestal character of the property;  however, the applicant would like to maintain the option to further divide the residue parcel if a future Special Exception to further waive the open space requirement were granted.


Project History:


At the January 27, 2005, and February 17, 2005, Planning Commission work sessions, the applicant worked out project refinements with staff and the Planning Commission to reflect a new project description.  As now proposed, the applicant requests to forgo the further division of the 120-acre residue lot at this time; however, as noted above, he does not want to forgo his remaining division on the residue.


As proposed, the four (4) family division lots would be located along the back edge of the property.  These lots would have access via a private street which connects to Route 745.  The additional lots require the private road and entrance to be improved due to the increased use.  The applicant has worked diligently with staff and Virginia Department of Transportation to meet the required standards.  The applicant agrees to upgrade the entrance to the Private Subdivision Street Entrance standards to access the four (4) new lots.  The entrance has adequate sight distance, but will require clearing of vegetation and additional pipe (culvert).  Documentation regarding the deed of ownership on the 50 foot roadway from Route 745 will also be provided to VDOT.  These items must be complied with prior to issuance of the VDOT entrance permit.


Requested Action of the Board of Supervisors:


Conduct a public hearing and consider postponing action on the Special Exception until a survey of the property is completed.  Two resolutions are included for the Board of Supervisors consideration.  The first reflects the Planning Commission’s recommendationThe second, at the request of Chairman Graham, is an alternative resolution that does not require deed restriction of the residue parcel and permits the creation of the four (4) family divisions without limiting the open space reduction to 75%, if the parcel’s surveyed acreage is determined to be less than 134.34 acres.


Planning Commission Recommendation:


On February 17, 2005, the Planning Commission recommended approval of this item, subject to a series of development conditions.


Financial Impact Analysis:




Land Area, Location and Zoning:    

The property is located on the south side of Balls Mill Road (Route 663).  It is zoned Rural Agricultural (RA).  A map of the property is shown below.  Note that the property boundary is highlighted in red and green to display the proposed lots related to the non-common open space reduction request.





Neighboring Zoning/Land Use:


The property is currently zoned RA (Rural Agricultural) and is bound on all sides by RA land.  Consistent with this zoning category, this property is located in a district that contains the areas where agriculture and forestry are the predominant uses.  The property is also within close proximity to the Village of Liberty.


Staff Analysis:

Staff and the appropriate referral agencies have reviewed this request for conformance with the Comprehensive Plan, the Zoning Ordinance, and other relevant policies and regulations.  Findings, comments, and recommendations are summarized below. The actual responses from referral agencies are available by request.  A summary of the January 2005 comments are included below.


Zoning Comments:


The proposed road will reduce the parcel size as well and must be taken into consideration when calculating the acreage.


Planning Comments:


Without a survey of the entire property, it is not clear what the exact open space reduction would be.  Based on the Special Exception Plat notes, the most recent survey may be from the 1800’s.  Staff has requested that a revised Special Exception Plat be submitted to reflect the surveyed acreage to reduce the need for a future Special Exception amendment if the family division plat indicates a different acreage for the residue parcel.




VDOT Comments:

The applicant will need to upgrade the entrance to the Private Subdivision Street Entrance standard (24 feet wide paved 25 feet from edge of pavement) to access all of the lots.  The entrance has good sight distance, but will require some clearing.  The applicant will also need to provide documentation before VDOT issues any permits for this entrance to show that additional easement has been obtained.  The plat indicates a 20-foot easement which will not be wide enough to accommodate the entrance.  The applicant noted that he has gotten the additional easement.  VDOT will require that documentation prior to issuing a permit.

When three or more lots access the property at the proposed location, the entrance must be constructed according to the Department’s standards for a Private Subdivision Road / Street Entrance.  In order to obtain a building permit from Fauquier County, the County will require a VDOT permit be obtained.  The permit can be applied for after the division has been approved and recorded, the permit will be issued at the location where the easement ties into Route 745.  At that time the applicant will have to install additional pipe and cut trees and brush to improve the line of sight.


Summary and Recommendations:


Staff recommends that the Board of Supervisors approve SPEX05-CR-006 subject to the series of development conditions recommended by the Planning Commission.  The four (4) clustered lots along the back of the property reduce the non-common open space to approximately 75%.  These lots are proposed as family divisions, which seems reasonable and consistent with similar open space reductions.


Staff highlights Condition number 2 for the Board of Supervisors.  It pertains to deed restricting the residue of the subdivision and placing a non-common open space easement agreement on the residue.  In addition, it requires a survey for an accurate Special Exception Plat, prior to Board action on this request.  Staff recommends the applicant comply with this condition prior to the Board approval of this item.


Although the applicant does not intend to exercise his fifth division right at this time, he has indicated that it is his intent to do so in the future.  This information is provided to the Board of Supervisors as guidance for its decision.  Because with the conditions as recommended by the Planning Commission, the residue will be recorded as non-common open space and deed restricted from future development.  The only way to maintain that division right would be via a change to the Special Exception conditions.  Staff has included an alternative resolution at the request of Chairman Graham to permit a future Special Exception to reduce the open space requirement for the residue parcel, and to not require a survey at this time. 


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

Fauquier County Department of Community Development




   Special Exception Plat