Board of Supervisors Meeting Date:

  Scott W. & Mary Ann Robertson


April 8, 2010


Staff Lead:
Melissa Dargis, Assistant Chief of Planning

Community Development


Magisterial District:
Cedar Run




A Resolution to Approve Liberty Hill Pet Resort, SEAM10-CR-002: An Amendment to a Previously Approved Category 13 Special Exception to Allow for Additional Activities


Topic Description: 

The purpose of this Special Exception Amendment is to obtain approval to add additional activities to the previously approved Special Exception (SPEX04-CR-015, approved on April 19, 2004), for Liberty Hill Pet Resort.  The original special exception allows for a boarding kennel for pets, grooming, indoor obedience training and doggy daycare.  Since its approval, based on market demand, some uses at the site have expanded.  A neighbor reported this violation of the Special Exception conditions to the Zoning Office.  This special exception amendment would allow the uses currently taking place on the property.  The applicants have been diligently working with staff to bring the use back into compliance.

As indicated in the original approval, the applicants do not intend to change the general appearance of the farm.  The kennel facility is located within the existing farm buildings on the site.  Interiors would be remodeled, but exteriors would remain agrarian.  The applicants do not occupy the existing house, although it is occupied by a tenant who works at the kennel.  This application seeks the addition of a pole barn to use for sheltered space, and mini dog-boarding cabins around the pond are requested.  Additional fencing in the exercise areas would also be added.  The pool has a dome over it in the winter so that it can be used year round.

The requested hours of operation are Monday through Sunday (i.e., 7 days per week) from 7:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m., with Sunday hours being mainly for pickup and delivery of dogs.  The maximum number of employees (for build-out scenario) would be 20 full-time/part-time employees (likely 2-4 people would be on-site daily).  The applicants propose a phasing plan of the business operations for the kennel to include: the kennel operating out of the existing farm house with 30 dogs and 5 cats; building cabins around the pond; remodeling the existing main barn to add 20 suites, 34 runs and 20 cat enclosures; and, remodeling existing Barn 2 to add 14 additional suites and 20 additional runs.  The applicants also request a 10-year permit renewal, with 5 additional one-year administrative renewals.

Liberty Hill Pet Resort would not exceed 130 dogs on the property, per Zoning Ordinance standards and requests the following activities: grooming, indoor/outdoor dog training classes, puppy training, private training, doggy daycare, dog swimming, dog play days, boarding (cats and dogs), and the sale of pet supplies/food.

Trip generation associated with this type of business is dependent on the number of clients, workers and other business or service trips.  The applicants originally estimated approximately 30 trips per day on average.  According to the applicants’ Addendum to the Statement of Justification (Attachment 2), the proposed uses would fit within Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT) parameters for Green Road.  Generally Saturday is the busiest day.  Sunday is normally for pickup and drop off. Weekdays are busiest in the morning and evening with minimal trips midday. 


Location,  Zoning and Current Land Use:

The 13-acre property is located in Bealeton at 10401 Green Road (Route 674) near the intersection of Old Marsh Road (Route 837).  It is zoned Rural Agricultural (RA).  A map of the property is shown below.




Surrounding Zoning and Current Land Use:

The property is generally surrounded by Rural Agricultural (RA) zoned land.  Consistent with the RA zoning category, this property is located in a district that contains the areas where agriculture and forestry are the predominant uses or where significant agricultural lands or large lot type residential development exists. The southern portion of the property borders the Village of Liberty and Village (V) zoned land.

Comprehensive Plan/Land Use:

This area is planned for rural agricultural uses.


Special Exception Analysis:

On April 19, 2004, the Board of Supervisors approved SPEX04-CR-015, subject to a series of Special Exception conditions.  That action demonstrated that the applicants met all of the standards set forth in the Fauquier County Zoning Ordinance.  With this Special Exception Amendment, the applicants must also meet the requirements of the Zoning Ordinance Section 5-006, General Standards for Special Exception Uses.  General standards for all Special Exceptions require that the proposed use will not adversely affect the use or development of neighboring properties, will not conflict with existing traffic, and other such criteria to protect the surrounding environment.  In this case, the proposed addition of activities to the Liberty Hill Pet Resort will not cause degradation of the surrounding area, but as proposed, it could increase traffic on Green Road. 

At the time of the 2004 application, the limiting factor upon the applicants’ original proposal was the allowable increase to the daily trip capacity of Green Road as determined by VDOT. (The most recent traffic counts for Green Road were done in 2004; that data indicates 65 trips per day.)  With the 2004 approval, the increase in trips allowed was 27 additional trips per day and the use was then conditioned appropriately based on that allowable trip increase.  However, based on the most recent application, VDOT has indicated that as long as the use generates less than 40 trips per day, it will remain an acceptable level of activity.

The applicants’ Addendum to the Statement of Justification (Attachment 2) states that the new variety of amenities at the site will still fit into the original 27 additional trips per day, when averaged over the month.  For example, based on discussions with the applicants, the overall number of dogs in the kennel is not tied directly to trips per day, but rather prorated across a few days.  A dog may be dropped off on one day and picked up the next day or several days later.  This is based on business data generated from the past years the kennel has been in operation.

The following applicable standards were used to evaluate this project:

PART 13                   5-1300             CATEGORY 13 COMMERCIAL BUSINESS AND PERSONAL SERVICES

In addition to the general standards as set forth in Section 006 above, the following standards shall apply:

5-1301                         Additional Standards for Kennels

1.      The minimum lot size requirement shall be two (2) acres, except in the R-1 zoning district, where the minimum lot size shall be twenty (20) acres.

Applicants’ 13-acre parcel meets this standard.

2.   a.   In all zoning districts other than R-1/Residential, no structure for the confinement, care or breeding of dogs, and no associated structure shall be located closer than 75 feet to any lot line, except that this requirement shall not apply to structures which are completely enclosed, adequately soundproofed, constructed, and maintained so that there will be no emission of odor or noise detrimental to other properties in the area.

Application meets this standard.     

      b.   In the R-1/Residential zoning district, all dog confinement areas and dog runs shall be located within enclosed structures, adequately soundproofed, constructed, and maintained so that there will be no emission of odor or noise detrimental to other properties in the area,  and no such structure shall be located closer than 200 feet to any lot line.

Not applicable to this RA zoned property.

3.      All dogs shall be kept in pens designed and maintained for secure confinement.

Application meets this standard.

4.      In consideration of an application for a permit, the BZA shall take into account the numbers and kinds of dogs proposed to be kept and the characteristics thereof and may prescribe conditions with respect thereto.

Application meets this standard.

5.      Maximum of ten (10) dogs per acre.

Application meets this standard with its request to board up to 100 dogs on a 13-acre property.

6.      Waste from operations must be collected and contained so as not to pollute the environment.

Application meets this standard.


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.

Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT)

The Warrenton Residency staff reviewed the above referenced special exception amendment, and has the following comment:

It is our understanding that the daily trips from this facility for all uses are projected to be less than 40 per day. Based on that level of activity we do not have an issue with this project and believe that level of activity can be acceptable.

Environmental Division

The following issues are to be addressed prior to plan approval:

Code Compliance:

1.       Applicant shall provide a statement from the Fauquier County Office of the Virginia Department of Health indicating that existing septic tank and drainfield will support the proposed number of employees.  (Zoning Ordinance 5-011)

The applicants have added an effluent discharge filter to the septic system.  In addition, since the Planning Commission meeting the Health Department submitted comments (see below).  Based on these comments, a Special Exception condition has been added to ensure compliance with Health Department standards.


1.      Based on the Fauquier County Soil Survey, 62% of the site is rated “Marginal” for general development using conventional septic tank and drainfield, 35% is rated “Not Suited” and 3% is water.  62% of the site is rated “Moderate” for shrink-swell potential and 35% of the site is rated “High” for shrink-swell potential.  Due to a shrink-swell rating of “Moderate” and “High,” a geotechnical investigation will be required prior to issuance of a building permit.  35% of the site has the potential for hydric soil inclusions.  Hydric soils indicate the possible presence of jurisdictional wetlands, which may reduce the area available for development.  If land disturbance is planned in areas mapped “78A,” a jurisdictional determination will be required prior to land disturbance.  97% of the site is rated as “Prime Farmland.”

Information for the applicants.

2.      Given the number of animals proposed, the applicant should discuss the method of animal waste disposal.

This is a Category 13 requirement.  The applicants meet this standard and have indicated that animal waste is appropriately disposed of at the landfill.

Future Actions:

§  Preliminary Soil Report will be required if a major site plan is required.

§  Geotechnical Investigation will be required prior to issuance of a building permit.

§  Jurisdictional Determination will be required if land disturbance is planned in areas mapped “78A.”

The future actions have been added to the Special Exception conditions.

Virginia Department of Health

The Department of Health provided the following comments: 

The applicant has requested to use the existing three bedroom house on the above referenced property to serve as a pet boarding and grooming facility.

A repair of the On-site Sewage Disposal System serving the existing three bedroom house was permitted by this office under the above Property Identification Number and as Health Department Identification Number SD-06-435A. The design is approved for a three bedroom house, or 450 gallons of waste water per day. The installation of that repair was done on October 16, 2006.

Due to the new proposal being a commercial proposal, this office would ask the applicant to engage an AOSE (Authorized On-site Soil Evaluator) to calculate the gallons of waste water use. The applicant did submit a list of employees to this office; however, a more specific schedule of waste water use should be used to calculate the actual waste water usage. The proposed waste water use cannot exceed the approved 450 gallons per day currently permitted without additional modification of the existing system.

Additional methods of filtering (such as a Zabell A-300 effluent filter) of the effluent prior to its leaving the septic tank should also be employed, due to the amount of animal hair that might be anticipated with this type of business.

It should be noted that any work performed on the On-site Sewage Disposal System must be performed by a person licensed to install, or make repairs to Sewage Disposal Systems. This licensure is regulated by the Department of Professional and Occupation and Regulation. They may be reached at 804-367-5000, or Homeowner self repairs and modifications are currently not allowed.

The applicants have added an effluent discharge filter to the septic system and a Special Exception condition has been added regarding compliance with Health Department standards.

Planning Commission Summary and Action of January 28, 2010:

On January 28, 2010, the Planning Commission held a work session and conducted a public hearing on the proposed Special Exception.  During the work session refinements were made to the Special Exception conditions to clarify the permit’s time limit and renewal process.  At the hearing, one member of the public spoke in favor of the project; one member spoke in opposition to the project; and, the applicant provided comments.

The Planning Commission closed the hearing and postponed action on this item for 30 days.

Planning Commission Summary and Action of February 25, 2010:

On February 25, 2010, the Planning Commission held a work session on this item.  During the work session additional refinements were made to the special exception conditions regarding the total number of dogs on the site.  Then at the regular meeting, the Planning Commission forwarded a unanimous recommendation of approval, subject to a series of Special Exception conditions, to the Board of Supervisors.

Summary and Recommendations:

The applicants have worked diligently to address the outstanding Zoning violation.  Staff would recommend that the Board of Supervisors consider the Planning Commission recommendation of approval so the applicants can continue to operate their business.

Requested Action of the Board of Supervisors:

Conduct a public hearing and consider adoption of the attached resolution.


Financial Impact Analysis:



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



  1. Not Used Due to Novus
  2. Statement of Justification
  3. Special Exception Plat
  4. Not Used Due to Novus

Back to Agenda...