Board of Supervisors Meeting Date: 

Learning Tree Farms LLC, Applicant

March 18, 2002

Staff Lead:


Brian Davis

Community Development



The applicant is seeking Special Exception approval to operate a technical school with indoor and outdoor components on a 550-acre farm parcel.  The operation would primarily target Fauquier County Public Schools, and would provide students with enhanced learning experiences such as archaeological, environmental and historical matters in a “hands-on” environment that are then applied in a technical format through the use of computers. 

The school would primarily operate during the school year, with some summer activities scheduled for school-age children and teachers.  Existing farm structures would be utilized for the indoor classrooms and staff offices.

Requested Action of the Board of Supervisors: 

 Continue consideration of this request and take appropriate action.   

On January 22, 2002, the Board of Supervisors held a public hearing on this application.  Decision was deferred for thirty days to allow additional review time and deliberation of the development conditions forwarded by the Planning Commission.  After the public hearing, the applicant’s representatives met with Supervisor Atherton to review the proposed conditions and any remaining issues.  As a result of that meeting, changes to the Planning Commission’s original conditions are highlighted in bold below: 

1.      The special exception is granted for and runs with the land 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 dated October 2, 2001 and amended through March 5, 2002, as qualified by these development conditions. 

3.      This special exception is subject to the provisions of Article 12 of the Fauquier County Zoning Ordinance, Site Plans, as may be determined by the Fauquier County Department of Community Development.  Any site plan submitted pursuant to this special exception shall be in substantial conformance with the special exception plat dated October 2, 2001, and these conditions.

4.      This special exception shall be granted for a period of three years from the date of approval with an additional three year administrative approval period to be granted by the Zoning Administrator in accordance with the provisions of Section 5-012 of the Zoning Ordinance.

5.      There shall be no new structures constructed beyond the subject areas depicted on the revised special exception plat dated March 5, 2002 in association with this use without amendment to the special exception approval. 

6.       The proposed principal entrance to the site from Route 729 shall be upgraded to include a wider entrance to accommodate two-way traffic at the site entrance.  Such improvements shall be indicated on the site plan and constructed to VDOT standards. 

7.      Hours of operation for the school activities shall be limited as follows: 8:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. during the months of November, December and January and 8:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. during the months of June, July and August.  Hours at all other times shall be limited from 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.  Summer activities for students shall be limited to no more than eight weeks in total duration between June 15 and August 31 of each calendar year. 

8.      Summer events for teachers shall not exceed five in any week and shall be conducted Monday through Friday, no more than four weeks during the months of June, July and August.  Teacher attendance shall not exceed twelve per event within the hours provided for in Condition #7 above. 

9.      There shall be no more than sixty attendees on site at any one time.  This daily attendance limit does not apply to other private functions that may be held on the subject property.  Transportation for student and youth activities shall be coordinated through the use of multiple-passenger vehicles or school buses at all times to reduce vehicular traffic to and from the site.  Use of full-size school buses shall be limited to two per day (ingress and egress).

10.  The number of school employees on the property shall not exceed twelve. 

11.  The applicant shall submit to the Zoning Administrator, on a quarterly basis, a summary of attendance records for the events to ensure that attendance limitations are maintained.

12.  All school parking must be provided on site, and shall be located within one hundred feet of the structures used for school activities. 

13.  All grass areas used for parking shall be mowed and maintained so as to minimize the risk of vehicle and field fires

14.  Restroom facilities shall be provided in accordance with Health Department regulations.

15.  In no event shall fireworks, hot-air balloons or helicopters be used in association with this use.

16.  The applicant shall require its employees and all invitees to strictly comply with State burning laws and copies of such laws shall be posted on site. 

17.  During events associated to this use with outdoor music or amplified sound, the maximum permitted sound pressure noise levels shall not exceed forty db at the property line.

18.  All lighting shall be in conformance with the Fauquier County Zoning Ordinance and positioned downward, inward and shielded to eliminate glare from all adjacent properties.

19.  Fire extinguishers meeting State and Federal standards shall be provided at all events.

20.  The applicant shall obtain all necessary zoning and building permits and obtain any other applicable State and local approvals prior to commencement of operations.  All applicable rules and regulations governing this use shall be maintained by the applicant at all times.


Update Since February 19, 2002 Meeting


On February 19, 2002, the applicant requested an additional thirty-day deferral to further examine construction issues associated with the proposed office-use location.  The special exception plat has subsequently been amended to expand the depicted special exception subject area  to allow for the possible construction of a new office building should it be determined that the barn structure originally identified does not meet current Building Code requirements.  This delineated area is in the general vicinity of the barn structures and is still well removed from any adjacent property.  It is staff’s evaluation that the revision does not create any additional impacts.  Staff continues to recommend approval subject to the conditions contained within this report.


Financial Impacts Analysis:

 No analysis was required for this request.

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



1.      Resolution

2.      Staff Report