PUBLIC HEARING AGENDA REQUEST

Owners/Applicants:

Board of Supervisors Meeting Date:

Jesse Jones Jr. and Beverly J. Grantham Jones, Trustees, Owners/Jeffrey Wickert, Applicant 

March 12, 2009

Staff Lead:
Melissa Dargis, Assistant Chief of Planning

Department:
Community Development

 

Magisterial District:
Cedar Run

Service District:
None

 

PIN:
7900-02-6993-000

Topic:

A Resolution to Approve Fauquier Christian Church: SEAM09-CR-003 & SPPT09-CR-014 – Applicant Wishes to Amend a Previously Approved Special Exception for an Open Space Reduction to Change the Authorized Use and Obtain a Special Permit for the Construction of a Place of Worship

 

Topic Description: 

The applicant requests a Special Exception Amendment, Category 6 (SEAM09-CR-003), to add a Church to the Special Exception Plat and remove the Jones Retreat Center, and requests a Special Permit, Category 6 (SPPT09-CR-014), for a Place of Worship.

The applicant wishes to construct a place of worship on approximately 4 acres of a 32.5-acre site.  The previously approved Special Exception (SEA98-CR-01) included a condition restricting the use to the Jones Retreat Center as shown on an earlier plat.  The Jones Retreat Center would have been located at the rear of the site using existing buildings.  This Special Exception Amendment is required in order to remove the previously approved use, add a new place of worship as an allowed use and allow construction of a place of worship as shown on the proposed plat.

The applicant intends to buy the 32.5 acres of land.  The church currently meets in the National Guard Armory in Warrenton, but that facility has very limited space and times available.  The congregation currently consists of 50 people.  The proposed new facility will be a 100’ x 100’ building that will seat up to 225 people.  It will be located central to the property.  Unlike the retreat center, the church will be highly visible from Route 28.  There will be 75 parking spaces, plus 6 handicapped spaces. 

Church services generally take place on Sunday morning and evening and on Wednesday evening.  The minister will maintain regular office hours on-site during the week.  The existing house on the site will be used as a parsonage.  The existing barn will also remain in place.

Another place of worship, the Dayspring Mennonite Church, is located on the adjacent property.  The Special Permit for the Mennonite Church does not specify typical hours for services.  The Special Exception plat shows ingress/egress via an existing easement that is shared with the Dayspring Mennonite Church.  According to the applicant, the traffic impact on Route 28 will not interfere with peak commuting times, as the bulk of church services are on Sunday or Wednesday evening.

 

Location, Zoning, and Current Land Use:

The property is located at 5524 Catlett Road (Route 28), Midland.  It is zoned Rural Agricultural (RA) and contains a residential structure and outbuildings.  

 

 

Surrounding Zoning and Current Land Use:

Surrounding parcels are zoned RA. Across Route 28, to the south, the property corner does touch some land zoned I-2.  There is another church on the adjacent RA zoned land, Dayspring Mennonite Church.

Site History:

The chronology of the site is as follows:

·         1997 Special Exception Approval for Spectator and Non-Spectator Field Events;

·         1997 Special Exception Approval for Jones Retreat Center;

·         1998 Special Exception Amendment Approval Jones Retreat Center (reduction of project footprint on parcel);

·         2000 Approval of Planning Commission Determination to Reduce open space to zero to allow division into 2 parcels with a residue less than 85% of the site.

Staff reviewed the staff report for the 2000 Planning Commission determination granting the reduction in non-common open space, and the minutes for that Planning Commission meeting.  Staff was unable to ascertain specific reasons for the reduction in open space.

 

Staff Review Agency Comments:

Staff and 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. Following each comment is a staff note in italics stating how the comment has been addressed.

Community Development Project Background Information

  1. Site plan regulations will require landscaping in conjunction with the building of the church. Additional screening between the parking area and the access way and between the proposed church and the property boundaries would help create a visual buffer between the parking areas and the neighboring Mennonite Church and help soften the hardscape, complementing the rural character of surrounding development.

A Special Exception condition has been drafted to address this issue.

  1. New drainfields will be required. The location of these drainfields could affect the ability to appropriately screen the use from adjoining properties and/or Route 28. The current permit serving the three bedroom house was issued in 1971 and a repair to that system was issued in 1997 limiting use to 300 gallons per day. The Health Department previously indicated that the applicants will need to contact an AOSE (soil consultant) to establish a proposed drainfield/reserve area and well site to serve a church. The drainfield/reserve area would be sized according to the number of church members and the gallons used per day per member.

The applicant is working with an AOSE who has determined that there is adequate septic capacity on the site for the place of worship use and the existing house, which will ultimately be used as a parsonage.   

  1. Gravel parking spaces require approval of a dustless surface waiver, since gravel is considered a dust creating material. This can be addressed at the time of site plan review. The Applicant will be required to adequately demonstrate that traffic is of either a low volume or is infrequent to the site.

Information for the applicant.

Zoning

1.      A site plan is required for the proposed church use pursuant to Zoning Ordinance Section 3-306.

Information for the applicant.

2.      This application was originally submitted for BZA consideration. However; staff found that an approval of a reduction in open space to zero was approved on May 25, 2000, tying permitted uses on the property to that shown on a Special Exception Plat prepared by D. Thomas Basham dated 6-9-1998 (SEA98-CR-01). Therefore, the use requires a special exception amendment and special permit. This application is being processed concurrently with Special Permit # SPPT09-CR-014 in order to amend the plat to remove the Retreat Center use and to add the proposed Church use. Therefore, if this Special Exception is approved, uses on the property will be limited to that shown on this amended plat, namely, a church and parsonage.

Important background information.

3.      The condition that the property be deed restricted to prevent further subdivision is not affected by this amendment.

Background information.

4.      A Major Site Plan is required for this use pursuant to Zoning Ordinance Section 3-306.

Information for the applicant.

5.      This Special Permit being processed concurrently with Special Exception Amendment # SEAM09-CR-003.

Background information.

6.      This application was originally submitted for BZA consideration. However; staff found that an approval of a reduction in open space to zero was approved on May 25, 2000 tying permitted uses on the property to that shown on a Special Exception Plat prepared by D. Thomas Basham dated 6-9-1998. Therefore; the use requires a Special Exception Amendment and Special Permit.

Background information.

7.      The following zoning ordinance standards are applicable:

a.       5-006, General Standards;     

b.      5-601 Standards for All Category 6 Uses;

c.       5-602 Additional Standards for Places of Worship.

  1. Zoning staff defers to Planning staff for evaluation of the standards.

The proposed building on the site will be visible from the road whereas the previous use was to be located in existing buildings in the back of the property.  The capacity of the proposed building is similar to the previously approved use on the site (Jones Retreat Center), but, in addition, the house will be used as a parsonage.

 The Dayspring Mennonite Church is located on the adjacent property, so on Sundays both sites could have their peak traffic movements at the same time.

The applicant’s AOSE has demonstrated that it has adequate septic capacity and water supply.    

Technical Division

The Technical Division has reviewed the plans for the above special exception amendment (Category 6), letter signed by Jeffery D. Wickert dated October 29, 2008, and has the following comments:

Soils

Code Compliance:

Applicant shall provide soil information/analysis that indicates the feasibility of drainfields on parcel (Zoning Ordinance 5-011).

A Special Exception condition has been drafted to this effect.

Findings:

1.      18 percent of the site is mapped as soils with a marginal potential for development using conventional septic tanks and drainfields; 12 percent, poor; 70 percent not suited.  The major limitations are depth to bedrock, depth to watertable and shrink – swell potential.

Information for the applicant.

2.      28 percent of the site is mapped as hydric soils and 42 percent as map units with the potential for hydric soil inclusions.  The presence of hydric soils indicates the possible presence of jurisdictional wetlands, which are protected under federal law.  If there are jurisdictional wetlands present, they can reduce the area available for development.  Also, during the site plan process a jurisdictional determination by the Corps of Engineers, which legally identifies the presence and limits of jurisdictional wetlands, will be required.

Information for the applicant.

3.      70 percent of the site is mapped as soils with a high shrink-swell potential.  Due to the ability of shrink-swell soils to damage foundations and structures, a geotechnical study will be required prior to issuance of a building permit.  The geotechnical study will evaluate the soil’s ability to support a building foundation and propose any necessary modifications to the foundations.

Information for the applicant.

4.      26 percent of the site is mapped as FEMA 100-year floodplain.  When siting the well, bear in mind that wells cannot be located in the floodplain (Fauquier County Code 19-11).  Locating drainfields (primary or reserve) in floodplains is not recommended.

Information for the applicant.

5.      The parcel is not located in a service district so a 200 percent drainfield reserve shall be required.

Information for the applicant.

6.      Due to the proposed number of occupants, the well will have to meet the Virginia Department of Health’s requirements for a community water supply.  The Fauquier Office of the Virginia Department of Health can provide these requirements. When siting the utilities, bear in mind that Fauquier County Ordinance does not allow wells to be located in drainageways or swales.

A Special Exception condition has been drafted to this effect.

7.      20 percent of the site is mapped as Prime Farmland (soil map units 73B, 74B and 75B) and should be protected to the maximum extent possible.

A Special Exception condition has been drafted to this effect.

8.      Additional information (preliminary soil report, geotechnical investigation, etc.) may substantially change comments.

Information for the applicant.

Future Actions: (at site plan phase)

Preliminary Soil Report

Geotechnical Investigation

Jurisdictional Determination

Information for the applicant.

Conditions of Special Exception Approval:

1.  See code compliance.

2.  Drainfields shall not be located in FEMA 100-year floodplain.

3.  Prime Farmland shall be preserved to the maximum extent possible.

Special Exception conditions have been drafted to this effect.

Erosion & Sediment Control

No comments.

Engineering

Finding:

1.      FEMA floodplain is shown on the 32.5 acre parcel; however, no development is proposed within the floodplain based on the attached special exception plat.

Background information.

Future Actions: (Shall be addressed on the final site plan)

1.      Based on the proposed area of land conversion, the site plan will require stormwater management in accordance with the Northern Virginia BMP Handbook.  Water quality measures shall provide a minimum of 80% site coverage and 40% phosphorus removal using the Occoquan Method. (Fauquier County Design Standards Manual (FCDSM) 201.8 #1.A.2, 203.2 #2, 204.2 #2, and A204.2.2)

Information for the applicant for Final Site Plan phase.

2.      It appears that the land disturbance associated with this project will occur on soils that are hydric or may have hydric inclusions.  This will require a jurisdictional determination from the USACE to determine if the site has wetlands.  The applicant shall assure that all applicable environmental permits have been acquired for the project prior to approval of the final plan. (FCDSM 201.8 #4)

Information for the applicant for Final Site Plan phase.

3.      All receiving channels shall be checked for adequacy in accordance with the Virginia Erosion and Sediment Control Handbook Minimum Standard #19.  All culverts are to be designed to convey the 10-year storm event. (FCDSM 201.8 #3)

Information for the applicant for Final Site Plan phase.

VDOT

The Warrenton Residency reviewed the above referenced Special Exception Amendment/Special Permit to operate a 255 seat church.  Based on combined traffic generation information for the proposed 255 seat church and the existing 300 seat Mennonite church, our Commercial Entrance Worksheet indicates that both a left and right turn lane will be needed for the site.  The site plan for the Mennonite church only required a 150’ taper at the time this was approved, and would need to be upgraded.

The applicant will comply with VDOT requirements.  A Special Exception condition has been drafted to this effect. 

The applicant has met with VDOT staff.  VDOT has verbally agreed to have the church improve the right turning lane from a 150’ taper to a 200’ regular turning lane, and forgo the left turning lane at this time.  The applicant has submitted this formal proposal in writing to VDOT and anticipates formal comments on it as part of the Site Plan process.

Planning Commission Summary and Action of January 29, 2009

The Planning Commission discussed this item at its work session.  A public hearing was held at which two members of the public spoke in favor of the project.  The Commissioners agreed the use was appropriate at this site and unanimously recommended approval, subject to conditions.

 

Planning Commission Summary and Action of December 10, 2008

The Planning Commission discussed this item at its work session.  The Zoning Administrator provided background information and stated that the proposed use may not be appropriate because the reduction in open space was given based on the use being a retreat center, with much visible open space.  A public hearing was held at which one member of the public, an adjacent property owner, spoke in favor of the facility.  The public hearing was postponed until January 29, 2009. 

 

Summary and Recommendations:

The applicant has addressed the referral agency comments and Special Exception conditions have been drafted for the proposed use.  The applicant’s AOSE has provided calculations to demonstrate that they have adequate septic capacity on the site.

On May 25, 2000, this site had its non-common open space reduced to zero based on a plan for a retreat center at the rear of the site.  While this is not specifically an application for a reduction in non-common open space, the issues are much the same.  The Board of Supervisors will need to determine if the proposed church in this location will diminish the rural character of the area.

Requested Action of the Board of Supervisors:
Conduct a public hearing and consider the attached resolution.

 

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

Department of Community Development

ATTACHMENTS:

1.            Statement of Justification

2.            Special Exception Plat

 

 

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