John W. Gouldthorpe, Laura K. Gouldthorpe, Annie K. Jenkins, and Raymond F. Kline

Board of Supervisors Meeting Date:
March 12 , 2009

 Staff Lead:

Holly Meade, Senior Planner

Community Development


Magisterial District: 

Service District:  




A Resolution to Approve SPEX08-LE-010: a Category 26 Special Exception to Allow for a Reduction in the Non-Common Open Space Requirement

Topic Description: 

The applicant wishes to obtain Special Exception approval under Category 26, which would allow a decrease in the non-common open space requirement. 

The parcel is currently 35.96 acres.  The required 85% non-common open space for the property would be 30.53 acres.  The applicants are seeking to create three lots of 8.98, 8.98, and 17.95 acres.  The 17.95-acre lot represents a 41% reduction in non-common open space and would result in a 50% non-common space parcel.  The parcel has the potential to be divided into four lots; the applicants are willing to deed restrict all lots from future subdivision, eliminating the one remaining subdivision right.

The lot configuration requested may change slightly during the subdivision process if necessary to meet local, state, or federal regulations.  The applicants are intending to create the lots through the Administrative and Family subdivision processes.  Drainfields have been located for the proposed three lots by Dominion Septic, Inc. and submitted to the Health Department for approval. 

The proposed reduction can be allowed as per Zoning Ordinance Section 5-2601.  (See staff analysis.) 

The applicants state their parents were life-long owners of several parcels of land off Morgansburg Road until their father’s death in 2001 and their mother’s in 2004.  They are requesting a reduction in the required open space in order to settle the Kline estate as their parents intended. 


Location, Zoning and Current Land Use: 

The property is located on the east site of Morgansburg Road, Route 653, near Liberty Community Church south of Bealeton and is vacant.  The property is zoned Rural Agricultural (RA).

Zoning Map 




Surrounding Zoning and Current Land Use:

All surrounding property is zoned Rural Agricultural (RA) and is the site of various dwellings, farms and a community church. 

Site Suitability/Environment:

The property contains a 150’ wide Transcontinental Gas easement across the rear of the property containing approximately 2.79 acres.  In addition, the rear of the property also contains an area of 0.76 acres within the floodplain.  This small area of natural resource will not be disturbed, and no structures will be permitted within twenty-five feet of the floodplain, nor will any structures be permitted within the gas easement.

Special Exception Analysis:

Zoning Ordinance Section 5-006 General Standards

General standards seek to ensure that the requested use does not adversely affect neighboring properties.  This proposal does not appear to adversely affect neighboring properties.

Zoning Ordinance Section 5-2600 Standards for Approving a Decrease in the Open Space Requirement

For lots of 30 acres or greater in the RA and RC zoning district, the Board may approve a reduction in the 85 percent open space requirement if the Board finds that a lesser amount would accomplish the purposes of Zoning Ordinance Section 2-406.5.

Zoning Ordinance Section 5-2601 Standards for Reduction of Non-Common Open Space Required by Paragraph 2-406

The percentage of gross site area required as non-common open space may be reduced by the Board upon a determination that:

  1. The required amount is not necessary in order to protect the scenic, natural or historic resources contained on the site, in which case the open space may be reduced to that amount necessary.  (See paragraph 2-406)
  2. The predominance of the character of the area, particularly adjacent parcels is large lot (10 to 25 acres per lot) and the site resources determined in 1 above would require less than 25 acres of open space, in which case open space may be reduced to zero.  If more than 25 acres of open space is required in 1 above then that amount shall be required unless it is determined that the location of the resultant lot layout is in conflict with adjacent uses because of lot size or use incompatibility.

[Note:  Article 2-406.5 generally states that “the proposed development shall not result in the unnecessary loss or degradation of natural resources, including prime agricultural and forestal lands, environmentally sensitive areas such as floodplains, steep slopes, rock outcrops and seasonally wet areas, predominant or unusual geologic features such as mountain peaks, caverns, gorges; areas critical to the existence of important types of flora and/or fauna.”  The article discusses preservation of any scenic and/or historic resources and states that the proposed development shall be compatible in character and intensity with the existing uses and will not jeopardize or infringe upon the continuation of existing uses.]

The subject property does not contain any scenic or historic resources that need to be preserved.  The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) floodplain is being preserved.  Additionally, the site has a 150-foot wide gas line easement that runs through the property.  The majority of the surrounding property is owned by the family.  There are a variety of lot sizes in the area and the majority of lots in the area are larger than 25 acres; the proposal appears to be compatible with its neighbors.

Staff and Review Agency Comments:


  1. There is an additional .89 +/- acre area that is not accounted for on the Special Exception Plat. The three proposed lots total 35.91 acres whereas the lot to be divided is 36.8 +/- acres.

The lot has been recently surveyed and the updated acreage is 36.8 acres.

  1. The following Zoning Ordinance standards are applicable:

·         5-006 General Standards;

·         5-2600 Standards for Approving a Decrease in the Open Space Requirement;

·         5-2601 Standards for Reduction of Non Common Open Space Required by Paragraph 2-406.

3.      Zoning Staff defers to Planning Staff the assessment of standard compliance.

The proposal appears to be in standard compliance with the Zoning Ordinance.  Staff analysis is provided throughout the staff report.


  1. There is Zone A FEMA floodplain on the back of this property.  It is shown on FIRM panel 450C that has an effective date of February 6, 2008.  Note #7 on the special exception plat is not correct.
  2. There is a Transcontinental Gas easement that is 150’ wide that runs through this property.

These have been addressed with the most recent plat.


Code Compliance:

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

The applicant hired Dominion Septic, Inc. to locate drainfields on two of the proposed three parcels.  The paperwork has been presented to the Health Department and a copy has been provided to the County’s Soil Scientist Office.  The County Soil Scientist has stated the paperwork indicates drainfields are feasible.


Based on the Fauquier County Soil Survey, 8% of the parcel is mapped as Prime Farmland. 8% of the parcel is mapped as Soils of Statewide Importance.  8% of the site is mapped as soil units that are hydric; 92% as soil map units with hydric soil inclusions.  Hydric soils indicate the possible presence of jurisdictional wetlands, which are protected by federal law from disturbance so may limit the area available for development.  92% of the site is mapped as soils with a very high shrink – swell potential.  Based on the Interpretive Guide to the Soils of Fauquier County, 100% of the parcel is mapped as soils that are not suited to general development using conventional drainfields. The major limitations are a high seasonal water table, shallowness to bedrock, very high shrink – swell potential and landscape position.

Virginia Department of Transportation

The Warrenton Residency staff reviewed the above referenced Special Exception for an open space reduction.  The Department has no comments pertaining to the open space, but does recommend that the three proposed lots be submitted to VDOT for review to determine if there is an adequate entrance(s) for the lots.  No entrances have been shown on the plan as to the location and number of entrances that are proposed.

The applicant will work with VDOT on the entrances prior to dividing the property.

Health Department

The Health Department has verbally indicated they have met with the applicant to review the drainfield certification plat prepared by Leonard Surveys, dated June 25, 2008.  A drainfield certification plat will not be approved by the Health Department until the Special Exception is granted.

Planning Commission Summary and Action of January 29, 2009:

The Planning Commission discussed this item at its work session.  The Planning Commission held a public hearing on this item.  One of the applicants spoke in favor of the request.  The Planning Commission voted unanimously to recommend approval subject to conditions.

Summary and Recommendation:

Should the Board of Supervisors approve this Special Exception, the Planning Commission recommended the conditions below: 

1.      Prior to scheduling this Special Exception for Board of Supervisors’ public hearing, revisions shall be made to the Special Exception Plat to include the following:  (a) correction to vicinity map, (b) correction of floodplain note, and (c) delineation of gas easement and floodplain.

2.      Prior to scheduling this Special Exception for Board of Supervisors’ public hearing the applicant shall provide evidence to the County Soil Scientist that the drainfields meet County standards.

These abovementioned items have been satisfied; therefore, they will not be included in the recommended conditions of approval.

1.      The Special Exception is granted for and runs with the land (PIN 6898-91-5914-000) indicated in this application and is not transferable to other land.

2.      This Special Exception is granted only for the purpose(s), structure(s) and/or uses indicated on the Special Exception Plat titled “Special Exception Plat Property of Laura V. Gouldthorpe, PIN #6898-91-5914-000” dated January 27, 2009, received in Community Development on February 2, 2009, approved with the application, as qualified by these development conditions.

3.      All three parcels created as a result of Special Exception approval shall be deed restricted from further subdivision.

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

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

Commissioner of the Revenue


  1. Statement of Justification
  2. Special Exception Plat Prepared by Leonard Surveys, Dated January 27, 2009
  3. Last Will and Testament of Madeline E. Kline, Signed August 29, 1997

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