PUBLIC HEARING AGENDA REQUEST

Owners/Applicants:

Board of Supervisors Meeting Date: 

CBCAM, LLC (Owner)
Cecil and Rebecca Campbell (Applicants)

April 8, 2010

 

Staff Lead:

 

Department: 

Holly Meade, Senior Planner

Community Development

Magisterial District:
Marshall

Service District:
None

PIN:
6982-10-4663-000

Topic:  

A Resolution to Approve SPEX10-MA-008, SPEX10-MA-009, and SPPT10-MA-012 – Lee Highway Nursery – Applicants Wish to Obtain a Category 18 Special Exception to Allow for a Farmer’s Market and a Category 9 Special Exception to Allow for Class “C” Events.  Applicants are also Requesting an Amendment to an Existing Special Permit 

 

Topic Description:

The applicants are requesting Special Exception approval for a both a farmer’s market and Class “C” events.  In addition, the applicants are requesting to amend their existing Special Permit.

Special Permit Amendment

The existing Special Permit (SPPT08-MA-021), allowing for a plant nursery/greenhouse with retail sales and farm equipment sales, rental and service, was approved by the Board of Zoning Appeals on December 6, 2007.  With this application, the owners are now requesting to remove the farm equipment sales, rental and service.

The existing plant nursery/greenhouse on the property occupies a 3,220 square foot building and roughly the front one-third of the lot, with eighteen (18) parking spaces and one (1) loading space.  A plant nursery has been operating at this site, under various owners, since 1979.

Class “C” Events

The Campbell’s purchased the existing nursery at the end of 2007.  They have stated that one of the activities occurring at the nursery when they purchased it was a fall festival being held on weekends during the month of October.    The Campbell’s continued this festival for the past two years, only to find out a Special Exception had never been granted for the use, which is considered a Class “C” event.  The owners are now requesting Special Exception approval for the fall festival.

According to the Statement of Justification (Attachment 2), the festival will be held during the five weekends in October between the hours of noon to 5:00 p.m.  The festival includes two moon bounces, hayrides and pumpkin patch.  The Special Exception exhibit (Attachment 3) shows the area where the moon bounce and pumpkin patch will be located.

Class “C” events require that sites for such a use contain a minimum of fifty acres, and have a minimum of 300 feet of frontage on a road designated as a major collector (or higher), unless it is found that the amount of traffic generated by the facility is such that it will not cause an undue impact on the neighbors and adversely affect safety of road usage.  Lee Highway Nursery has approximately 275 feet of frontage on Route 29, which is designated as a major arterial.  There is a deceleration and turning lane on Route 29, providing access to Burke Lane which provides access to the market.  Staff notes that additional traffic is not anticipated with the Special Exception and Special Permit requests because the applications are made to correct existing zoning violations.  The uses are already occurring on the property.  The Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT) stated they had no comment on the applications.

Farmer’s Market

Lee Highway Nursery began selling items such as baked goods, fresh vegetables, fruit, cheese, meat, honey, eggs and wine (including wine-tastings) in March of 2008.  This type of retail is not allowed under a plant nursery/greenhouse with retail sales.  It is classified in the Zoning Ordinance as a farmer’s market.  A farmer’s market is defined in the Zoning Ordinance as “the use of any tract of land in a rural zoning district for the retail sales of agriculture products, horticultural products, aquicultural products and handmade crafts.” 

Zoning staff met with the owner who described his intention to operate a farmer’s market as part of the business.  However, the owner could not apply for such use under existing regulations because the standards for a farmer’s market require the proprietor to live on-site and the Campbell’s did not live on the property. 

A text amendment was initiated in order to provide the opportunity for the Campbell’s to apply for a farmer’s market selling predominately local products, despite not living on the property.  The text amendment approved by the Board of Supervisors allows the on-site residency requirement for a farmer’s market to be waived in conjunction with Special Exception approval.  The Board of Supervisors will have to waive this requirement in order for the Special Exception to be approved.

The standards for a farmer’s market allow only retail sales that are accessory to the farmer’s market.  Permitted accessory products include pottery, baskets, garden accessories, baked goods, floral supplies and other similar type items directly related to the culture care, use of, or processing of the principal use.

It is important to note that sales have occurred on the Campbell property that go beyond what is allowed by the Zoning Ordinance.  The farmer’s market designation does allow a small percentage (20%) of the overall products to be from outside Fauquier County.  While focusing on the sale of locally produced products as they are available in season, the Campbell’s were previously obtaining and selling inventory from a broad range of producers and vendors outside of Fauquier County and the state to satisfy customers during the off growing season.  

Staff has worked closely with the Campbell’s to explain what the Ordinance would permit if the farmer’s market were to be approved.  The Statement of Justification explains that the owners have been working with the Fauquier County Agriculture Department to identify local, Fauquier County, sources for produce items and have been replacing outside sources with local ones.  The owners now state that they can commit to the requirement that at least 80% of all agricultural products, horticultural products and handmade crafts will be grown or produced within Fauquier County.   Given the history of previous zoning violations, the Planning Commission proposed that the owners be required to administratively renew the permits every year for five years.  After that time, the permits would have to be renewed by the Board of Supervisors.

Site History:

The original permit for a plant nursery/greenhouse with retail sales at this location was granted by the Board of Supervisors in 1979 to Francis Palo.  In 1991, Mr. Palo received Special Permit approval to expand the nursery, which at that time was operating as Living Acres Nursery.  Living Acres Nursery continued to operate under various owners until 2007 when the Campbell’s purchased the property and received Special Permit approval to amend the existing Special Permit to add farm equipment sales, rental, and service.

Over the past two years, activities have occurred on the property in violation of the Zoning Ordinance.  These violations include unpermitted signage, display in the front setback, outdoor activities including moon bounce, pumpkin patch and hayrides, and the operation of a farmer’s market.  With these applications, the owners are attempting to correct all violations and bring their business operations into conformance with the Zoning Ordinance.

 

Location,  Zoning and Current Land Use:

The property is located on the east side of James Madison Highway (Route 29), immediately south of Burke Lane (private street) and zoned Rural Agricultural (RA).  The property is the site of Lee Highway Nursery. 

Zoning Map

campbell.jpg

 

Surrounding Zoning and Current Land Use:

All of the surrounding property is zoned Rural Agricultural.  Properties to the south and east are vacant and properties to the north and west contain single-family dwellings. 

Comprehensive Plan/Land Use:

The site is outside the Service District in an area designated for rural/agricultural uses. 

Special Exception/Special Permit Analysis:

Article 5-006, General Standards

General standards seek to ensure that the requested use is consistent with the Comprehensive Plan and does not adversely affect neighboring properties.  A nursery has been operating on-site for over thirty years. The uses do not appear to adversely affect neighboring properties.  The Planning Commission and Board of Supervisors will need to determine if the additional uses will satisfy these same General Standards and remain within the scope of what is appropriate development in a rural area (Section 5-006).

5-1804       Additional Standards for Plant Nursery/Greenhouse, Retail Sales, in Rural Zoning Districts

1.   The minimum lot size requirement shall be five (5) acres.

The site contains 6.6 acres.

2.   No building, structure, outdoor storage, parking or loading area used for or in conjunction with such use shall be located within fifty (50) feet of any lot line.

None of these items are proposed within fifty feet of any lot line.

3.   Off-street parking, loading and outdoor storage areas shall be effectively screened.

There appears to be adequate screening on-site.  This will be addressed with the amended site plan if the applications are approved.

4.   No sales of power tools, garden vehicles or machinery shall be conducted on the premises.

This is included as a proposed condition of development, although these types of sales are not proposed.

5-916         Additional Standards for Class C Spectator and Non-Spectator Field Events and Activities

1.      No Class C field event or activity shall have more than 1,000 cumulative attendees per event and no Class C event shall exceed three (3) days in length.  Class C events that have more than 1,000 attendees or last more than three days shall require special permit approval for each event.

The owner is requesting to hold five events a year occurring each weekend in October.  Each event would last two days and have no more than 100 attendees, with a maximum of 50 attendees at any one time.  A condition of development has been proposed placing a threshold on the numbers.

2.      Sites eligible for Class C events and activities shall contain a minimum of 50 acres and have a minimum of 300 feet of frontage on a road designated by the County as a major collector (or higher) in the Comprehensive Plan unless the Board of Supervisors finds that the type and amount of traffic generated by the facility is such that it will not cause an undue impact on the neighbors or adversely affect safety of road usage.  Notwithstanding anything to the contrary contained in this paragraph, the Board of Supervisors may approve a special exception on a site of less than 50 acres or less than 300 feet of frontage upon findings that less restrictive standards do not negatively impact any other general or specific standard contained in Article 5 for this use and will serve the purposes of promoting public health, safety, and welfare to an equivalent degree.

The site contains approximately 6.6 acres and contains 275 feet of road frontage along Route 29.  Access to the site is off Burke Lane (private road).  The fall festival has been occurring for the past two years without incident according to the owners. 

This stretch of Route 29 handles approximately 23,000 vehicles per day.  At the peak operating time (five weekends per year), it is anticipated the site will not generate more than 150 vehicles per day.  The Board of Supervisors will have to find that the amount of traffic generated by the facility will not cause an undue impact on the neighbors or adversely affect road safety or usage.

3.      No structure shall be located closer than 100 feet to any lot line.

The only structure associated with the festival is the moon bounce.  The area of the fall festival has been noted on the Special Exception exhibit and is not within 100 feet of any lot line.

4.      Field sports and those outdoor sports activities which may be conducted on or within open field areas without the use of an enclosed stadium or arena for spectators such as cross country running, track and field, soccer, football, Frisbee, kite flying, fly casting, field hockey, rugby, hot air ballooning, softball, golf ball driving, dog trials and the disciplines of Triathlon, Pentathlon and Decathlon.

Sports activities are not proposed.

5.      Deleted.

6.   The special exception holder shall provide adequate security, emergency, traffic control, sanitation and refreshment services at every Class C event or activity.  At least thirty (30) days prior to holding a Class C event the holder of the special exception for the property upon which a Class C event will be held shall provide to the Zoning Administrator written proof, including copies of any permits or licenses if required, from the following agencies that control traffic, security, emergency services and on-site sanitary and refreshment facilities are adequate for the size and the type of the event or activity to be held:

      Fauquier County Sheriff's Office

      Virginia Department of Transportation

      Fauquier County Emergency Services Coordinator

      Fauquier County Health Department

The owner will have to comply with this requirement prior to holding any event.  This has been pointed out to the owners.

7.   All requirements of the Fauquier County Code, including this Ordinance, which pertain to limitations and prohibitions on noise in the applicable zoning districts shall be complied with by the holder of the special exception.

Hours of operation for the festival are proposed from noon to 5:00 p.m.  No music or amplified noise is proposed; therefore, a condition has been proposed restricting the hours of operation for the festival and prohibiting amplified noise.

8.   Any retail sales conducted on the property shall either be (a) accessory and incidental to the permitted activity or (b) conducted by and for the benefit of a nonprofit, tax exempt organization.  At least thirty (30) days prior to holding a Class C event the holder of the special exception for the property upon which the event will be held shall provide to the Zoning Administrator the name, address and a contact person for each individual, group, association, partnership or corporation which is expected to conduct retail sales at the event.

There will not be any vendors at the fall festival; a condition has been proposed prohibiting such vendors.  The only retail sales occurring on the site will be what the owners are permitted under these applications, outlined in the proposed conditions of development.

5-1812        Additional Standards for a Farmer's Market           

1.       The minimum lot size shall be five (5) acres.

The site contains 6.6 acres.

2.       Such a use shall have frontage on a major collector (or higher) as designated in the Comprehensive Plan unless the Board of Zoning Appeals finds that the type and amount of traffic generated by the facility is such that frontage on a public road with a lesser designation will not cause an undue impact on the neighbors and adversely affect safety or road usage.

See earlier analysis.

3.       In addition to the allowed farm sign, one temporary, portable sign may be erected of up to 12 square feet in size and 6 feet in height to advertise products available.

A condition of development has been proposed addressing signage limitations.

4.       Any retail sales conducted on the property shall be accessory and incidental to the permitted activity.  Permitted accessory products include pottery, baskets, garden accessories, baked goods, floral supplies and other similar type items directly related to the culture care, use of, or processing of the principal use.  Products such as lawn mowers and tractors shall not be allowed.

A condition of development has been proposed addressing retail sales on the property.

5.       Highway entrance shall be approved by the Virginia Department of Transportation.

The Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT) has stated they have no comment on these applications.  If the applications are approved, VDOT will be a review agency for the amended site plan.

6.       Sanitary facilities shall be approved by the Fauquier County Health Department.

The Health Department has stated the facilities are adequate.

7.       A farmer's market shall be conducted on the same lot as contains the bona fide, primary residence of the property owner or lessee, or on an adjacent property under the same ownership or lease as the parcel containing the primary residence of the proprietor, unless otherwise waived by the Board of Supervisors by approval of a Special Exception.

The owner does not live on the property.  The Board of Supervisors will have to waive this requirement which was recently added to the Zoning Ordinance as part of a text amendment to address operations on this property.

8.       One structure shall be allowed, size not to exceed 2,500 square feet in size, and shall meet all location requirements for the RA zoning district.

The owner is proposing to use half of the existing 3,220 square foot building as shown on the Special Exception exhibit.

9.    At least 80% of all agriculture products, horticultural products, and hand made crafts shall be grown or produced on site or within Fauquier County.

The applicants have stated they have updated their suppliers to replace outside sources with local suppliers.  A condition of development has been proposed addressing this standard.  The owners are aware that they need to keep accurate records to ensure this standard is met.

Staff and Review Agency Comments: 

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.  Staff and referral agency findings, comments, and recommendations are summarized below.  The italicized language below the agency’s comments represents how the comments will be addressed.   

Planning

Planning analysis is provided within the staff report.

Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT)

The Warrenton residency staff has reviewed the special permit, and has no comments.

Comment noted, no action required.

Health Department

On May 13, 2005, this office issued a Sewage Disposal Operation Permit, for Health Department ID #SD-04-137. This Type 1 Sewage Disposal System has a design capacity of 300 gallons per day.

Based on the applicants’ proposal while having their Fall Special Event, they propose that there will be no more than sixty people at the facility at any one time. Using five gallons per person per bathroom use (this number is a high estimate with low flush toilets and flow limited faucets at the sinks), this system is designed to handle the applicant’s proposed use.

Comment noted, no action required.

Environmental

Code Compliance:

1.       Applicant shall provide a statement from the Fauquier County Office of the Virginia Department of Health indicating that existing septic drainfield is suitable for the proposed use (Zoning Ordinance 5-011).  The Health Department requires a minimum of 1 temporary privy per 100 persons at mass gatherings (12 VAC 5-610-980.C.3).  The privies should be cleaned daily, supplied with toilet tissue and pumped before the tank is two-thirds (2/3) full (Fauquier County Code 17-16).

Statement has been provided in Health Department comments.

Findings:

1.      Based on the Fauquier County Soil Survey, 4% of the site is mapped soil units rated “Not Suited” for general development using conventional septic and drainfield due to landscape position, 42%, “Marginal” due to slow percolation, and 54% as “Good.”

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

No action required at this time.  Additional action may be required during the site plan process.

Zoning

1.      In general, it is unclear whether the tractor sales associated with the original Special Permit Application #SPPT08-MA-021 has been, and will continue to be, operating on-site. The applicant must clearly state all proposed uses that will occur on-site as part of the application so that staff can better assess impacts such as traffic and parking. In addition, if the tractor sales component is not active, or will not be in the near future, on-site, then the development conditions associated with the Special Permit Amendment should reflect this change.

The applicants are requesting to amend their existing Special Permit to remove the tractor sales component.  This is proposed as a condition of development.

2.      Although the applicant states that the farmer’s market component will take up less than 2,500 square feet of floor area in the existing building, it is necessary to determine the actual locations and square footage that will be encumbered by the proposed use. Without this information, it will be difficult for staff to determine compliance should the use be approved.

The applicants have shown half of the 3,220 square foot building to be used as the farmer’s market on the Special Exception exhibit, and has stated the same in the Statement of Justification.  The site plan that is required if the applications are approved will clearly delineate the area as well.

3.      Similarly, a better accounting of the range of products to be sold on-site should be provided, especially for the off-season months while little or no local produce will be available.

The Statement of Justification provides a list of the range of products to be sold.  In addition to produce, the owners will be selling cheese, beef, sausage, honey, eggs, wine, chickens, and baked goods.  The owners have provided zoning and planning staff an extensive list in the past of products and suppliers.  Other items not specifically mentioned in the Statement of Justification include salsa and mustard made by The Remington Pepper Company in Remington, soap and shampoo made at Stoneleigh Farms in Warrenton and molasses made by Dale Grove in Somerville.

The owners are aware they need to keep accurate records proving at least 80% of all agriculture products, horticultural products, and handmade crafts shall be grown or produced on-site or within Fauquier County.  The owners are aware the burden is placed on them to keep accurate accounting records proving they are meeting this requirement. 

4.      The special events appear to be limited to weekends in October. It should be clear in any proposed development conditions that any events are limited to this month, and the condition should contain sufficient detail as to what will occur on-site (i.e., moon bounces, hayrides, etc. 

A condition has been proposed. 

5.      The applicant states that up to sixty (60) people could be on-site for attendance of the special events proposed for each October. However, the parking on-site is not adequate for this level of activity, nor has the applicant indicated an area for temporary overflow parking.

Since this comment by the Zoning Office, the applicants have indicated that the overflow parking is located to the rear of the property as shown on the Special Exception exhibit.  This area is ample for thirty-five plus vehicles and has been used in the past for the events.  Since the above comment was made by the Zoning Office, the owners have scaled back the number of patrons they are expecting at the events.  The current proposal includes no more than 100 attendees, with no more than 50 at any one time; parking is adequate.

6.      The site is currently in violation of several provisions of the Fauquier County Zoning Ordinance. Most significantly is the proliferation of the outdoor storage of goods offered for sale on-site for the retail greenhouse business. Such items are kept within the front setback area and within portions of the parking areas located at the front of the building and on the side to the north, and within the Route 29 right-of-way. While some outdoor storage is allowed, it cannot be located within the front setback area, designated parking areas, or within the right-of-way, and is limited to such an area as shown on an approved site plan. The approved site plan shows outdoor storage to the west behind the retail building.

The owners have verbally indicated their willingness to correct all violations.  If additional areas for storage are needed as allowed by the Ordinance, this can be corrected during the site plan process.  In addition, because of past performance, a time limit is proposed on the applications.

7.      In addition to the above violation, the applicant has also been in violation in the past of the current sign regulations. It is recommended that any development conditions clearly limit the amount of signage on site pursuant to Sections 5-1812.3 and 8-1401.3 of the Ordinance.

A condition has been proposed for consideration.

8.      Pursuant to Section 5-916.2 of the Ordinance, the Board must make a finding on the traffic impact since the minimum lot size and frontage requirements are less than what is required in the Zoning Ordinance.

Traffic has been analyzed above.  VDOT stated they had no comment on the proposed applications.

9.      The following Zoning Ordinance standards are applicable to the proposed application:

A.                Section 5-006, General Standards for all Special Exceptions and Special Permits;

B.                 Section 5-916, Additional Standards for Class C Non-Spectator Activities;

C.                 Section 5-1812, Additional Standards for a Farmer’s Market.

See earlier analysis.

 

Planning Commission Summary and Action of January 28, 2010:


The Planning Commission discussed this item at its work session. The Lee District Commissioner suggested condition number 2 be clarified to ensure the sale of hand tools and wheelbarrows would be allowed.  The Planning Commission also agreed to make a site visit to this property prior to the next public hearing.  No one spoke at the public hearing.

Planning Commission Summary and Action of February 25, 2010:

The Planning Commission discussed this item at its work session.  The Marshall District Commissioner asked that a condition be added which would prohibit vendors at the Class “C” events.  The owners had previously stated that vendors were not a part of their Class “C” event.  The Commission also discussed placing a tighter time limit on the permit, based on past performance at the site.  The Commission recommended the owners be required to administratively renew their permit every year for five years.  Renewal by the Board of Supervisors would be required following the five years. 

No one spoke at the public hearing.  Due to the closure of County Offices, based on inclement weather, the owners were not able to post their property as required by the Ordinance.  The public hearing was kept open and action on the applications was deferred until the March Planning Commission meeting. 

Planning Commission Summary and Action of March 25, 2010:

The Planning Commission discussed this item at its work session.  No one spoke at the public hearing.  The Planning Commission unanimously recommended approval of the applications subject to the proposed conditions.

Summary and Recommendation:

Staff has worked with Zoning Office staff to ensure that the conditions for the applications clearly address what uses and sales can occur on the property.

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
Economic Development

 

Attachments:

1.      Not Used Due to Novus Agenda

2.      Statement of Justification

3.      Special Exception Exhibit

4.      Not Used Due to Novus Agenda

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