Board of Supervisors Meeting Date:

General Lee White, Jr., Owner/Applicant


April 12, 2007


Staff Lead:
Melissa Dargis, Assistant Chief of Planning

Community Development


Magisterial District:
Cedar Run




A Resolution to Approve SPEX05-CR-025: A Category 20 Special Exception to Allow for the Construction of an Experimental Drainfield for a Single-Family Dwelling Unit on an Existing Lot 


Topic Description:   

The applicant wishes to obtain Special Exception approval under Category 20 to allow for a sewage treatment system, disposal and/or water purification system.  This request is for a 4-bedroom single family dwelling with an Aquarobic Filterbed designed for 600 gallons per day.  The parcel in this proposal is an existing lot that is approximately 1.86 acres in size.

Project Information:

Due to limitations of soil conditions at the site and with consultation with the Health Department, the applicant has selected the Aquarobic Filterbed system for sewage disposal.  This type of system is not approved through the conventional process and until recently, had been classified in the experimental testing stage statewide by the Health Department.  As a result, this system requires a Special Exception.  Staff notes, that in February 2007, the Health Department rescinded approval of the Aquarobic Filterbed system.  While no new permits will be issued, the applicantís permit had already been approved and issued, so he is not subject to that notice. 

Nokesville Design, PLC, the applicantís engineering firm, proposes a system with 200% reserve, as required by the Fauquier County Sewer Code (since the parcel is outside of a service district).  Planning staff has met with the applicant and the County Soil Scientist has reviewed the site and provided comments. 

The application does not include a maintenance and monitoring regime for the proposed Aquarobic Filterbed system.  If this Special Exception were to be approved, its conditions, per Health Department request, should require a lifetime (of the home) maintenance and monitoring agreement of the entire Aquarobic Filterbed system.


Land Area, Location and Zoning:    

The property is located on Midland Road (Route 610) north of its intersection with Elk Run Road (Route 806).  It is zoned Residential (R-1).  A map of the property is shown below.                        




Neighboring Zoning/Land Use: 

The subject property is currently zoned R-1 and is bounded on all sides by R-1 zoned land.


Action Requested of the Board of Supervisors: 

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


Planning Commission Recommendation: 

On February 15, 2007, the Planning Commission unanimously recommended approval of this item, subject to a series of development conditions.


Staff Analysis

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.  Findings, comments, and recommendations are summarized below. The actual responses from referral agencies are available upon request.


The Zoning Office has provided the following comment: 

The proposed drainfield is located within the front yard setback area.  The drainfield can be located within the required yard; however, if there are any above-ground structures associated with the type of unit proposed, it must be located outside the yard or meet the maximum height limits.  Any such structures should be identified and made part of the Special Exception Plat.


The Soil Scientist conducted a site visit to determine if it was possible to locate a mini-mound (administratively approved system) on the parcel.  It was determined that there was not adequate space for that type of system. 

Health Department 

At some point, the Aquarobic Filterbed system may have its experimental classification removed.  Its manufacturer does have an application in with the Commonwealth of Virginia for this request.  However, there is no anticipated timeframe or guarantee of this action. 

As noted previously, subsequent to the Health Departmentís comments, approval of this system has been withdrawn; however, as the applicantís system had Health Department approval prior to the cut-off date, its permit remains.   


The Engineering Department has reviewed the above referenced plan and expressed concern that it is not clear who will inspect and maintain this system to ensure it remains within the guidelines of the Health Department.


The Warrenton Residency staff reviewed the above referenced Special Exception for an Aquarobic Filter Bed system.  Due to the proximity of the proposed system to the road, VDOT requests that right-of-way be dedicated 25 feet from the centerline of the road to ensure that the system is outside of any area that may be needed for future improvements to the road.  VDOT also reviewed the location of the driveway to ensure this was the safest location.  There are trees to the left that will need to be removed to improve sight distance, but locating the entrance as far north on the property as possible is the safest location.


Summary and Recommendations:

Staff recommends that the Board of Supervisors consider the Planning Commissionís recommendation of approval for this item.  Approval of this item will allow the applicant to build his house on this parcel and remain in the county.  In addition, the applicantís soil scientist indicates that there are no other systems available for this property.

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

Fauquier County Department of Community Development
Virginia Department of Health


  1. Special Exception Plat

  2. Statement of Justification

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