Board of Supervisors Meeting Date:

Terrence L. Nyhous, Chairman, Center District Supervisor

April 8, 2010

Staff Lead:


Andrew Hushour, Assistant Zoning Administrator


Community Development



A Resolution Initiating a Zoning Ordinance Text Amendment to Sections 3-309 and 15-300 to

Require Special Exception Approval for a Recreational Firing Range, Skeet or Trap Shooting Facilities (Indoor or Outdoor) in the RC, RA, C-2 and I-1 Districts; and to Amend the Definition of Technical School to Allow Incidental Technical Training and/or Instruction as an Accessory Use for other Category Uses


Topic Description: 

This proposed text amendment proposes to change the approval process for a recreational firing range, skeet or trap shooting facility from a special permit to a special exception.  An outdoor firing range already requires special exception approval today if it is a training facility, whereas a firing range for recreational purposes only requires special permit approval. The change is proposed given the potentially far reaching land use impacts that such facilities have in the area where they may be located, regardless of whether they are recreational or training in nature.

In addition, this text amendment proposes to allow some level of incidental training activity and/or instruction as part of the approval of other uses. The Zoning Ordinance categorizes training and instruction activities as a Technical School under Category 5, Educational Uses.   Recently, conflicts have arisen related to the proper classification of training and instruction activities when they occur accessory to another primary land use, such as recreation or retail.  Therefore, this text amendment seeks to establish as a permitted accessory use, an incidental level of training and instruction that may be approved as part of another primary use without requiring separate approval for a Technical School special permit or special exception.


Requested Action of the Board of Supervisors:

For purposes of good zoning practice, convenience, and general welfare, consider initiation of the proposed text amendment through adoption of the attached resolution.


Staff Report:

The proposed text amendment will change the approval process for a recreational firing range, skeet or trap shooting facility by requiring special exception approval from the Board of Supervisors rather than special permit approval from the Board of Zoning Appeals (BZA). In addition, the amendment creates a provision allowing accessory training and/or instruction for all other category uses.

Currently, the existing Zoning Ordinance regulations allow a firing range, skeet or trap shooting facility, indoor or outdoor, in the RC, RA, C-2 and I-1 Districts with special permit approval by the BZA. As set forth in the Zoning Ordinance, the issues considered by the BZA when granting a special permit involve primarily the immediate neighborhood to be affected. However, the issues considered by the Board of Supervisors when granting a special exception involve issues concerning not just the neighborhood but potential impacts on the general area, the Comprehensive Plan and, in some cases, the County as a whole. It is staff’s opinion that firing ranges, skeet, or trap shooting facilities, whether indoor or outdoor, are clearly more intensive land uses that should require more extensive review in the public process. This is based on the far reaching impacts of such facilities with respect to noise generation, safety concerns and the negative impact, whether real or perceptual, that these facilities often have on adjacent properties and the general vicinity in which they are located. For this reason, staff believes it is appropriate to amend Section 3-309 of the existing Ordinance provisions to require special exception approval for these facilities by the Board of Supervisors rather than special permit approval from the BZA.

In addition, the existing Ordinance does not currently allow training and/or instruction activity as an accessory activity to other uses which might typically have some level of accessory training, such as Category 9 and 10 recreation uses or Category 12 retail uses. Therefore, if a non-technical school use includes any element, however small, of training or instruction, then a separate special permit or special exception for a Category 5, Technical School use is required. Many recreational uses include ancillary activities that constitute technical training and/or instruction. For example, the teaching of swimming lessons is a customary activity associated with many swim clubs. Other non-recreational uses may also have such accessory instruction activities; for example, a bead shop, a retail use, might offer classes in jewelry making, or a hardware store might offer classes or seminars for home improvement projects.  Although it may be appropriate to evaluate such activity as a special exception when it is a unique use in and of itself, staff believes it is appropriate to allow these kinds of activities by-right for other uses when they truly are accessory in nature. The proposed text amendment seeks to establish this philosophy by clarifying the definition of technical schools in Section 15-300. Furthermore, in doing so, staff is also proposing to eliminate Section 3-309.1, which identifies a Golf Practice Facility as an allowable Category 9 use, since this activity would clearly be categorized as a Category 5, Technical School under the proposed Ordinance amendment.


Financial Impact Analysis:

No financial impact analysis has been conducted.

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

Economic Development

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