Board of Supervisors Meeting Date:

Jean E. Cheatham, William W. Goulding, Estate of Robert H. Hodgson, James F. Steffey and Gary W. Weaver (Owners)

Centex Homes (Applicant)


April 13, 2006

Staff Lead:

Melissa Dargis, Assistant Chief of Planning


Community Development


Magisterial District: Lee

Service District: Bealeton


6889-89-6214-000, 6899-18-3742-000 &  6899-05-7716-000


Freedom Place Rezoning (REZN05-LE-001), Special Exceptions (SPEX05-LE-008) and (SPEX06-LE-021), Lee District


Topic Description: 

Freedom Place had the following three companion applications for consideration:

1.      Freedom Place Rezoning Request (REZN05-LE-001) from Rural Agricultural (RA) to Planned Residential Development (PRD) and Modifications to the Zoning and Subdivision Ordinance and Rural Residential (RR-2);

2.      Freedom Place Special Exception (SPEX05-LE-008) for Floodplain Crossing; and a

3.      Freedom Place Special Exception (SPEX06-LE-021) for Reduction of Non-Common Open Space for the Balance of PIN # 6889-89-6214-000.

The applicant wishes to rezone approximately 219 acres from Rural Agricultural (RA) to Planned Residential Development (PRD) and Rural Residential-2 (RR-2).  Approval would allow a mixed use neo-traditional development with approximately 176 single-family detached dwelling units (includes 17 RR-2 units) and 182 single-family attached units.  This equates to four (4) dwelling units per acre. 

As part of the PRD rezoning request, the applicant is requesting modifications to the Zoning and Subdivision Ordinances pursuant to Zoning Ordinance Section 4-112.  In addition, the applicant wishes to obtain Special Exception approval under Category 23, which would allow for multiple crossings of a floodplain on the site and approval under Category 26 to allow for a non-common open space reduction on the balance of PIN 6889-89-6214-000.  This open space reduction is needed to facilitate the land dedication requested by the County on the RA portion of the property.

The project includes: (a) a total of 36 workforce housing units - 10% of the overall units will be work-force housing (single-family attached units); (b) 4.5 proposed acres for dedication as a fire/rescue site; (c) 26 proposed acres for dedication to the County for a recreation center; and (d) an additional transportation contribution of $4,500 per market rate unit for the Bealeton Connector.



Land Area, Location and Zoning:    

The three (3) properties, which are in the Bealeton Service District, are located in the northwest quadrant of the intersection of Marsh Road (Route 17) and Catlett Road (Route 28).  The parcels are zoned Rural Agricultural (RA).  A map of the properties is shown below outlined in orange and 100-year floodplain shows in dark blue. 




Neighboring Zoning/Land Use:

The three (3) parcels, which constitute the proposed project boundary are surrounded by Rural Agricultural (RA) zoned land to the north; Residential (R-1) and RA to the east; RA and Residential (R-4) to the south; and RA and R-2 to the west.



Action Requested of the Board of Supervisors:

Conduct a public hearing, leave the hearing open, and consider postponing action on the Freedom Place applications.  Reasons are cited (below) in the Overall Summary and Recommendation Section.



Overall Summary and Recommendations:

On March 30, 2006, the Planning Commission unanimously forwarded the three Freedom Place applications with the following recommendations:

1.      Denial of the applicant’s drainage modification request titled, “Request for Modification of Certain Zoning Ordinance, Subdivision Ordinance and Design Standards Manual Requirements”  The modification request would have modified Zoning Ordinance Sections 12-609, 12-610, and 12-702(1) and Subdivision Ordinance Sections 9-5(A) (16) and (28).

2.      Approval of the applicant’s submittal for:

a)      Freedom Place Rezoning Request (REZN05-LE-001) from Rural Agricultural (RA) to Planned Residential Development (PRD) with modifications to the Zoning Ordinance and Subdivision Ordinance (as outlined in the Freedom Place Design Guidelines) and Rural Residential (RR-2), and to request that the applicant modify the Proffer Statement to add “natural drainage ways” to Proffer 1.1 and to include the proffer language proposed in the Drainage Modification related to foundation drainage design; and

b)      Freedom Place Special Exception (SPEX05-LE-008) for Floodplain Crossings; and

c)      Freedom Place Special Exception (SPEX06-LE-021) for Reduction of Non-Common Open Space for the Balance of PIN # 6889-89-6214-000.

It should be noted that the redesign of Freedom Place rezoning application is generally consistent with the Bealeton Service District Land Use Plan and the Goals and Policies of Chapter 6 of the Comprehensive Plan although further refinements are still essential.

Staff recommends:

1.      The public hearing be left open; and

2.      Action on the Freedom Place applications be postponed at the applicant’s request.  The time frame between the Planning Commission and Board of Supervisors public hearing dates was too short for the applicant to complete all essential staff, referral agencies and Planning Commission recommended refinements upon which agreement was reached.  The added time provides the applicant the necessary time to update the Concept Development Plan, Proffer Statement and associated documents to reflect those changes.

The recommended postponement would allow the applicant to continue to work with staff and VDOT on project refinements including:

1.      Project commitments to address the Zoning Office comments including:

a.                  Porches and other design elements will be a required component of the houses;

b.                  Garage setbacks will be required or only a limited number of units may have a forward facing garage as the dominate feature; and

c.                  Significant variety in housing elements will be required.

2.      Proffer edits to address the Zoning Office comments as noted in the staff report;

3.      Alley modification clarifications on dead end alleys to indicate that no more than three (3) lots will be served by a dead end alley as noted in the March 10th comment/response letter;

4.      Limit corner lots where the side of one home will face the front of another and consider increasing the setback for these lots to 15 feet;

5.       Alter the parking reduction request, so that the Director of Community Development or the Zoning Administrator has the approval authority to reduce the number of required parking spaces when there is a specific commercial project proposed;

6.       Formalize the street tree options, if VDOT does not permit planting in the right-of-way;

7.       Include more pocket parks in the townhouse portion of the project;

8.       Continue work with Parks and Recreation on the trail plan;

9.       Continue work with VDOT on traffic study details;

10.   Submit Church Street plan including enhanced crosswalk and median designs, parking striping, landscaping, and possible round about location; and

11.   Submit revised plan/proffers to reflect above referenced refinements and items addressed in the March 10 response letter and the Planning Commission recommendation.



Project Highlights:

The following section presents proffered highlights and specific refinements upon which the applicant is finalizing for consideration.  Staff and the applicant continue to work to further refine project details.

A.     Proposed Proffer Statement:

1.      At the sole discretion of the applicant, a maximum of twenty percent of the total number of single family attached units (for a total of 36 units) may be constructed as single-family detached.

2.      Ten percent of the total number of dwelling units (for a total of 36) shall be designated as workforce housing.

3.      The proposed RR-2 portion of the project has proffered out large scale farming operations and telecommunications facilities due to the lot sizes.

4.      A list of prohibited uses for the neighborhood commercial center is indicated including the more noxious uses that, in general, would not be suitable adjacent to residential property.

5.      The 4.5-acre lot provided to the Board of Supervisors for the Fire & Rescue facility will include a stormwater management facility.  This lot would be dedicated upon the first recorded subdivision plat.

6.      A phasing plan over an eight (8) year period for 37 to 50 market rate units per year.  Two (2) workforce housing units shall be constructed in each of years two (2) through eight (8).

7.      The applicant shall create an architectural review board for the residential portion of the PRD district, which shall have responsibility of assuring compliance with the Design Guidelines.

8.      The HOA responsibilities include maintenance of trees in common open space areas and any street trees located within street tree easements.

9.      The applicant shall dedicate 26 acres of land on the north side of the East-West Connector to the Board of Supervisors for park and recreation purposes.

10.  A trail easement shall be dedicated to the Board of Supervisors and the applicant will construct an asphalt trail in areas designated on the Concept Plan.  (At the time of preparation of this report, refinements to this item are in progress).

11.  Workforce housing unit shall be defined as a 16-foot wide single-family attached housing unit with a one-car garage as shown on the Concept Plan. 

B.     Transportation:

The applicant has proposed a design concept for Church Street.  In particular, it will include two (2) through lanes with turn lanes and on-street parking and 4-lanes at the segment connection to Route 28.  Based on discussion with the applicant, staff anticipates the concept design for the road to include stamped pavement crosswalks, painted parallel parking spaces and potential raised medians at the turn lanes.  These elements will serve to introduce “traffic calming” design for this key street.  The project’s traffic consultant continues to address VDOT comments about turn lane improvements at the intersections of Route 17 and Route 28 as well as traffic counts.

C.     Trails

The applicant has proposed a refined concept to address the Parks & Recreation Department’s request to have the entire trail installed by the builder during the residential construction period.  It will provide connectors to the main trail for better access to the community center.  Additional easement dedication alongside the designated trail is also requested.

D.     Workforce Housing

Financial arrangements for purchase of the dwelling units will entail a “soft second” mortgage, held by Fauquier Housing Corporation or other such entity as may be designated by Fauquier Housing Corporation.  Eligibility for these units shall be determined by Fauquier Housing Corporation.  The applicant notes in its proffers that the units are intended to be for Fauquier County Sheriffs’ deputies, Fauquier County public school teachers, and any other Fauquier County employee who has been employed for not less than three (3) years.  The workforce housing deeds of trust, mortgage terms and provisions for sale of the units is also outlined in the proposed proffers.

E.      Design Guidelines

The applicant indicated that staff comments on the Design Guidelines have been incorporated into the revised Design Guidelines.  They note that the Design Guidelines, proposed proffers and Concept Plan uniformly reflect these changes.  In particular, the earlier Zoning Office comments have been incorporated into the proposed modifications and waivers section.  It should be noted that the new Drainage Waivers/Modifications are a standalone document (addendum) and are not contained within the Design Guidelines manual.

F.      Drainage Waiver/Modifications

This addendum to the original modifications package was a result of meetings with County staff to address potential engineering limitations at the site.  The project site contains four (4) swales and a potential spring.  The County’s Design Standards Manual and Zoning Ordinance require that these areas be maintained in their natural state.  Because these swales and potential spring are located within the proposed PRD portion of the project, the applicant is able to request modifications to the guidelines.  The specific request and its justification are included in this report.

The Planning Commission recommended denial of the Drainage Waivers/Modifications.

G.     Non-Common Open Space Reduction

The request for reduction in non-common open space for PIN 6889-89-6214-000 is tied directly to the County’s request for additional land to be dedicated north of the East-West Connector.  As proposed, the residue RA parcel will be 118.7 acres; 27 acres of this will be dedicated to the County for its use as a recreational facility.  The remainder of the acreage will be subject to an open space easement and retain only two (2) subdivision rights.

After the deduction of the 26-acre piece and right-of-way of approximately 5.4 acres, the parcel will not contain more than 87 acres.  Its requirement for 85% for non-common open space is 100.9 acres.  As currently proffered, the reduction would bring the parcel to 62.5% open space pursuant to Zoning Ordinance Section 5-2601.



Staff Summary Report:

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 actual responses from referral agencies are available upon request.

A.     Zoning Office:

The Zoning Office provided the following comments:

1.      The density is calculated incorrectly for the RR-2 zoning district.  Zero credit is given for the area in floodplain.  With the corrected calculation, sufficient density will exist to support the proposed lots, but the Concept Plan should be corrected to accurately reflect the Zoning Ordinance provisions.


2.   There is nothing in the Design Guidelines that commits the developer to certain elements that continue to be promoted in the overall guidelines/proffers Concept Plan and which were noted in prior comments as issues.  Language is needed to:


    a.  Assure that features such as porches and other elements are provided in exchange for the reduction in front yards (the justification for the reduction notes it allows such features to be provided).


    b.  Require the garages to be set back further than the main building face, diminishing the dominance of garages along what are supposed to be pedestrian oriented spaces.  (The diagrams on page 13 of the Guidelines have been changed to show such setbacks for garages on all but one housing type, but no language ties the development to such pedestrian-oriented designs and other diagrams throughout the guidelines continue to show models where the garages are the dominant feature of the house).


    c.  Commit to significant variety in housing.   On page 13 of the Guidelines, a standard is established that no adjoining homes will have the same "facade design”.  What was discussed at the prior meetings was committing to not just variety in styles, but also in rooflines, heights, building sizes, major elements and well as style and details.  Such a variety is a hallmark of traditional development.


3.   The language as currently proposed (modifications on page 26/27) would allow dead-end alleys up to 1200 feet in length.  Dead ends should be limited to minor alley stubs serving no more than 2-3 homes.


4.   Staff continues to have concerns about the proposed reduction in front yards on corner lots. Reducing the second front on the corner lot to 5-10 feet might be appropriate along block faces where no homes face (i.e. side streets).  But on the many block sides where the side of one home is adjacent to the front of an adjoining home, the narrower setback will disrupt the consistent street pattern being established.  In such cases, a minimum 15- foot setback should be maintained. 


5.   The Guidelines continue to request approval of a parking reduction for the commercial area without providing any information about the types and mixes of uses.  Staff believes that a parking reduction may ultimately be appropriate, but that such approval should not be granted at this time without additional information being provided about the mix of uses.  Perhaps the guidelines could allow such a reduction subject to administrative approval by the Director or Zoning Administrator that parking is sufficient for the specific uses proposed.


6.   The landscaping issues raised in the previous comments do not appear to have been entirely resolved.  Staff is strongly supportive of the proposed sections showing street trees in planting strips within the right-of-way easement, but it is not clear that such trees have been authorized by VDOT and the language on page 42 under justification also creates ambiguity.  If the trees are not allowed within the right-of-way, the proposed minimal setbacks for homes should not be approved or streets will be without landscaping.


7.   In proffer 1.2.1, "shall be zoned" would be clearer if it stated "shall be located within the area zoned".


8.   In proffer 1.8., the applicant shall dedicate "up to 4 and one-half (4.5) acres of land" would allow the applicant to donate no land, or .5 acres, at the discretion of the applicant.  Unless the Board does not wish the county to determine how much of the 4.5 acres it needs for the facility, the proffer language should not be approved as written.  The proffer should state that the applicant "shall dedicate 4.5 acres of land," with lesser acreage allowed if approved by the Board.


9.   In proffer 1.8.2.,  "As soon as possible after dedication" is vague language inappropriate for a proffer statement as it cannot be administered or enforced.  If the Board does not care when the land is prepared, the language could remain (or be deleted and have the same affect).  If the Board wants to assure the land is prepared by a certain timeframe, staff would suggest adding more specific language tying the land preparation to a certain timeframe or prior to a certain stage of development.


10. Proffer 2.1 seems to disallow approval of any house permits prior to 18 months after rezoning approvals.  While such a target date is unlikely to be achievable, it is not clear if this is intended.


11. Proffer 5.1.2 states that the HOA is responsible for "the maintenance of any street trees located in common open space areas" and "maintenance of any street trees located within the street tree easement(s)."   The documents should also include requirement for maintenance of street trees in the VDOT right-of-way, where most street trees are proposed to be located per the concept.  In addition, the Zoning Ordinance requires the maintenance of all required landscaping, in open spaces and common areas, not just the street trees.  This language should not conflict with the more stringent Zoning Ordinance requirements (and it cannot release the applicant from the Zoning Ordinance requirement, so simply creates confusion). 


12.  Open spaces have improved significantly, with meaningful breaks/connections to the floodplain open space along the western edge of the PRD development, and the addition of the large open space for public use on the northern tract.  However, individual blocks continue to have extraordinary density with no relief.   The proposed blocks are large (i.e. 600 -700 feet long).  In traditional development forms, small pocket parks would be provided within each block to provide relief, particularly on the townhouse blocks where units will have zero personal open space.

B.      Parks & Recreation:

The Parks and Recreation Department submits its comments on the aforementioned proposal as follows:

1.      Trail Easements: Stream Valley would like 50 to 75 feet, but that could be reduced to 30 to 35 feet if a minimum of 20 to 25 feet of conservation easement is provided on either side. Trail would be located out of the 2-year storm and be field located by Parks & Recreation. East/West Connector trail could be on either side of the road within a 50 to 75 feet easement. Both easements need to run from boundary to boundary.

2.      As per discussions on March 2, 2006 concerning trails in the stream valley below commercial area along Route 17, the requested changes include:

a.       Connectors to main county trail could be relocated as to provide better access to Community Center.

b.      Would like entire trail connector installed during construction of homes and businesses, while the equipment and materials are on site and site is disturbed for development.

3.      HOA documents need to be reviewed by Parks & Recreation and County Attorney.

4.      Comments will be made once Parks and Recreation can view more detailed recreation areas, but nice to see they are planned.

C.     VDOT:

Subsequent to the VDOT comments noted below, the applicant has met with VDOT and staff to address the outstanding issues.  Staff anticipates resolution to these comments in the near term.

The Warrenton Residency and Culpeper District staff reviewed the above referenced rezoning dated December 20, 2005, and has the following comments:

1.      After further review of the internal capture rates used in the TIA and the Land Development Manual, VDOT policy indicates in Chapter 6-4 that shopping centers, and general office building, with support services already have allowed for internal capture in their traffic distributions and should not include any additional internal capture.  Therefore, the use of ITE codes 710 and 820 as used in this TIA should not allow for any additional capture, and those trips should be added to the total trips on Exhibit 8B on page 23.  The comment response indicates that the Land Development Manual recommends using the most up-to-date and reliable information, but this is only for trip generation not internal capture.  Internal capture was also applied to the residential units which also appears inconsistent with VDOT policy.  Chapter 6-5, Item 3, indicates that further reductions can be taken on a case-by-case basis, but only with evidence of a bonafide traffic study of a similar development.

2.      VDOT has also looked at whether taking passby trips is appropriate based on the location of the commercial site within the development and the method of access.

3.      On page 84 of the TIA the queue lengths for the intersection of Route 17 and 28 are indicating that the 95th percentile volume exceeds capacity and the queues may be longer.  The queue indicated is 1101 feet, but it appears it may be longer.  Animation of the intersection through Synchro may be helpful in demonstrating the impact on this intersection.

4.      The revised TIA and Concept Development Plan are indicating a combined thru and right turn lane on Route 28, but the Department would not support the elimination of the existing right turn lanes on Route 28 and combining them with the thru movement.


5.      Page 30 of the TIA demonstrates that the following:

    1. Route 17 and 28 WB approach is deteriorating from an LOS of E to LOS F, but even with the mitigation measures has not been mitigated to meet background traffic conditions;
    2. Route 28 and SW Access are deteriorating from an LOS C to LOS F with the development, but no mitigation measures have been provided.  An asterisk is shown for the delay on the northbound approach.  This is a new intersection being created by the subdivision, and needs to meet a minimum level of service of C;
    3. Route 28 and Oak Shade Road (Rte 661) is shown with a level of service F at background and for total with the development, but the delay increases from 176.9 to 249.6 and no mitigation measures have been indicated.  The improved results is incorrectly indicating a LOS of E rather than F.  VDOT is evaluating a project at this intersection to construct a left turn lane, and the intersection could be evaluated with and without the turn lane.

6.      No resolution has been reached as to the proposed location of the Church Street and Route 28 intersection and its proximity to the intersection of Route 17.

7.      Comments 14 and 15 from VDOT’s November 16, 2005 letter are indicated as being acknowledged, but do not appear to have been revised on the TIA.

8.      Sheet 7 of the Concept Development Plan does not indicate which of the streets will be constructed with each of the typical sections.  Street widths will need to be determined based on anticipated traffic counts, and will not necessarily be the same width for all state maintained roads.  Streets that are intended to be state maintained will need to be in conformance with the 2005 Subdivision Street Requirement Manual and Road Design Manual.  Right-of-way widths should be even.

9.      VDOT recommends a four-lane divided road section for Church Street rather than a four-lane undivided road.

10.  Planning and Design Guidelines were only received in our office on January 10, 2006 and VDOT has not had sufficient time to review them.

D.     Engineering:

The Engineering Department has reviewed the above referenced plan and provided the applicant the comments noted below.  In response, the applicant has provided a comment/response letter and requested additional modifications.

Engineering has outlined three significant issues of concern:

1.      Low Impact Development (LID) – the first and probably most important aspect of LID is to preserve natural drainage areas in their natural state.  The applicant has done a good job of preserving the Bowens Run corridor; however, there are four significant drainage swales and a spring within the densely developed areas that should be preserved in their natural state.  These were discussed previously with the engineer but are not preserved in this plan.

2.      SWM/BMP’s should be provided for by the applicant for the entire proposed parcel identified as “community use” (possible fire department).  The SWM/BMP Facility must be provided along with the first development plan associated with this parcel.

3.      The alleys are shown in such a way that they will become stormwater collection areas.  (Page 18 Planning and Design Guidelines)  The alleys should be crowned and ditches or storm sewer pipes should be provided.  Significant icing and flooding could occur with the design presented.

The following details specific concerns:

1.      Under no circumstances shall any use, activity, fill, and/or development within the floodplain adversely affect the capacity of the channels or floodways of any watercourse, drainage ditch or any other drainage facility or system which would increase flood heights and/or velocities on adjacent or downstream properties.

2.      A detailed hydrologic and hydraulic flood analysis should be required for the Bowens Run flood corridor extending from the upper property limits, downstream to the roadway crossing of Route 656, Remington Road.   This study must compare the pre-developed (existing) condition to the post-developed (rezoned) condition and must demonstrate that downstream properties will not be subject to greater flooding potential.

3.      The proposed connections to Route 28 is to line up with the road connections on the south side of Route 28 as depicted on the final construction of Wexford Mews.  These connections need to line up to facilitate traffic movement across Route 28.

4.      The following conditions should be required for the special exception for fill in the floodplain:

a.       The crossing shall be designed to accommodate all Federal, State, and Local requirements and shall incorporate river-training and counter-sinking techniques.

b.      The crossing shall not be sized any larger than necessary to convey the applicable design storms for the relevant category of roadway (based on traffic estimates) unless mutually agreed to and requested by the Fauquier County Engineering Office and VDOT.

c.       In all cases, proposed crossings of the FEMA floodplain shall be aligned and designed to traverse floodplains and the natural stream in locations where disturbance to the floodplain is minimized.  (i.e. – in areas where floodplain top widths are the smallest and where the natural stream can be crossed perpendicularly without requiring natural stream channel relocation unless otherwise directed by the County Engineer.)

d.      Should multiple structures be required to accommodate the projected discharges, the primary cell of the crossing shall be sized to conform to the natural stream characteristics (as defined by stream width, existing bed & banks, invert elevations, etc.)  These characteristics must be field surveyed and be included with final plan submittal.  The primary cell shall be located in the actual location of the incised streambed.  Additional cells of the crossing must be designed to only be activated at such time as the overbank region would normally be activated with higher volumes of stormwater runoff (as determined by the County Engineer).  Invert elevations of the additional cells shall be established no lower than the natural overbank elevation where they will be placed.  Should the cells be constructed as a single structure, the crown elevation of all cells must be designed to match each other.  Depending on the individual site conditions, the additional cells may be constructed separately from the primary cells but must meet Fauquier County and VDOT requirements at the time of final design review.

e.       A detailed flood study must be prepared to County Specifications and submitted to FEMA for CLOMR/LOMR processing.  These items must be completed or bonded with Fauquier County until complete.

f.        Proper permits are to be obtained from DEQ, DOE, and/or VMRC for any work in waters of the US and/or the state.

g.       The CLOMR must be approved through FEMA prior to the approval of the final construction plans.

5.      Stormwater management pond embankments are not to be in the floodplain.

6.      Evidence of all applicable State and Federal permits are to be submitted with the first submission of the Final construction Plans.  This includes but is not limited to the COE/DEQ wetlands permit.

7.      The County recommends that no below grade basements be constructed on soils with high water table due to wetness unless the foundation drainage system of the structure is designed by a licensed professional engineer to assure a dry basement and preclude wet yards and recirculation of pumped or collected water.  Unless, in the opinion of the County Engineer, the topography of the lot in relation to the overlot-grading plan precludes grading the site to drain the basement to daylight, all basements shall be designed to gravity daylight without assistance from mechanical means.  All discharged water (mechanical or gravity) must be conveyed to the subdivision stormwater collection system and discharged though the stormwater management faculties.  Drainage easements, where necessary, shall be placed on the final plat.  A note shall be placed on the final plat stating that “Basements are not recommended in mapping units 5A, 14B, 74B, 78A, and 79A.  Basements in these mapping units are subject to flooding due to high seasonal water tables.  Sump systems may run continuously, leading to possible premature pump failure.”

8.      Applicant should provide 100 year detention and 100 year overland relief to help mitigate against downstream flooding.

9.      No stormwater runoff generated from new development shall be discharged into jurisdictional wetland without adequate treatment.

10.  An overlot grading plan is to be provided as part of the Final Construction Plans.  It is to show reasonable accommodations for downspout discharges and sump pump discharges into adequate surface drainage facilities.

11.  A second access point should be provided prior to the 100th lot being recorded.

12.  Proof of provisions for adequate fire flow as outlined by the Office of Emergency Services will be required with the first submission of the Final Construction Plans.

13.  Houses are not to be located in existing swales or streams.  These areas shall be preserved to the maximum extent practicable.

14.  It appears that almost all of the area east of Bowen’s Run has soils characterized as having a high water table.  The area west of Bowen’s Run has roughly 50% of the soils that are characterized as having a high water table.

15.  Site distance is to be provided for alley/street connections.  Site distance will also be necessary when entering alley from the garages.  Garages should be set back away from the alley so a driver can see when backing out of a garage before entering alley.

16.  If the alley does not have an outlet, some type of turn around is to be provided.

17.  Infiltration trenches are not allowed for SWM/BMP facilities in residential subdivisions.

18.  WSA’s permission will be required to relocate their access roads.

19.  Each phase of the subdivision must meet the minimum requirements of the SWM Ordinance as well as the overall project.

20.  The termination point of existing Bower’s Run Road should have a cul-de-sac.

21.  Credit for vegetative filter strips (buffers) are to meet the design guide lines in the Virginia Stormwater Management Handbook Minimum Standard 3.14.   The phosphorus removal credit is 10%.

22.  Engineering has also submitted Subdivision Ordinance and Design Standards Manual References for drainage preservation:”

Subdivision Ordinance Section 9-13(B) (2) - Adverse environmental impact of the development should be minimal.  The criteria for determination is as follows:

Lack of adequate drainage excessive environmental impact with respect to drainage, shall be deemed to exist if surface or subsurface water retention and/or runoff is such that it constitutes a danger to the structural security of proposed dwelling units or other on-site structures.

In addition, inadequate drainage shall be deemed to exist where proposed site grading and development creates harmful or damaging effects from erosion and siltation on downhill and/or downstream land and no adequate remedy is provided.

Subdivision Ordinance Section 9-13(B) (3) - Adverse environmental impact of the development should be minimal.  The criteria for determination is as follows:

Layout and Design - The development should be designed so as to provide a quality environment for residents by minimizing its adverse impact.  General considerations for minimal impact are as follows:

(1)        Road and street layout should utilize topography so that unnecessary cuts and fills are avoided.

(5)        All major streams and rivers, especially those upon which flood control, water impoundment, and recreation facilities are located or planned, should be left in the natural state where adequate or improved to provide for the maintenance of water quality standards.

DSM203.2 - The final stormwater management plan, in addition to the information from the Concept Plan, shall include all of the information required in the Major Site Plan or Construction Plan checklists. (Page D-14)  (Critical to have the Concept Plan reflected properly at Rezoning and Preliminary Plat Application stage)

DSM201.8.2 - Natural drainage/channel characteristics and drainage divides shall be preserved to the maximum extent practicable.  Drainage analyses shall be considered within each drainage area.  (Page D-6)

DSM201.8.6. Conveyance - All stormwater conveyance practices shall be designed to convey stormwater to allow for the maximum removal of pollutants and reduction in flow velocities. This shall include, but not be limited to:

A. Maximizing of flow paths from inflow points to outflow points;  (Page D-7)

DSM201.8.9 - In subdivisions, all SWM/BMP facilities shall be placed in a common area unless prior approval has been obtained from the program administrator.  Further, proposed or natural drainage ways shall not occur across or upon individual lots unless prior approval has been obtained from the program administrator.  Proposed lot lines shall observe natural drainage ways to the maximum extent practicable.  (Page D-7)

DSM203.2.1 - A stormwater management concept plan shall be required with all preliminary plan and rezoning applications, and will include all evaluate the environmental characteristics of the project site, the potential impacts of all proposed development of the site, both present and future, on the water resources, and the effectiveness and acceptability of the measures proposed for managing stormwater generated by the project site. (Page D-13)

DSM203.2.1.C - A written or graphic inventory of the natural resources at the site and surrounding area as it exists prior to the commencement of the project and a description of the watershed and its relation to the project site. This description should include a discussion of soil conditions, forest cover, topography, wetlands, and other native vegetative areas on the site. Particular attention should be paid to environmentally sensitive features that provide particular opportunities or constraints for development.  (Page D-14)


E.      Drainage Modification Summary:

Based on the Engineering Office’s comments, and to comply with the Bealeton Service District Plan, the applicant has requested modifications to Zoning Ordinance Sections 12-609, 12-610, and 12-702(1) and to Subdivision Ordinance Sections 9-5(A)(16) and (28) that require compliance with the Design Standards Manual and the Stormwater Management Ordinance.  Following is a portion of the applicant’s justification for the proposed modifications.

Pursuant to Sections 12-609, 12-610, and 12-702(1) of the Zoning Ordinance, all site plans must comply with Chapter 2 of the Design Standards Manual.  See Appendix A, of the applicant’s justification.  In addition, Sections 9-5(A) (16) and (28) of the Subdivision Ordinance require compliance with the Fauquier County Stormwater Management Ordinance, which has recently been incorporated into the new Design Standards Manual.  Again, see Appendix A.

In order to meet the Fauquier County Comprehensive Plan’s planning requirements for the Bealeton Service District, which are directly applicable to this property, the applicant requests the following modifications to the Design Standards Manual to accommodate the unique conditions that are found on the Freedom Place site.  The provisions of these modifications and the justifications provided thereto have been crafted in such a way as to insure that the purpose and intent of the County’s regulations are met and satisfied to an equivalent degree during the development of the property subject to this rezoning.  These modifications are merely providing flexibility in the provision of stormwater management for the subject property in order to accomplish the Comprehensive Plan’s goals and the combined vision for Freedom Place.  For the purposes of this application, and no other, the following modifications are requested and shall be deemed to apply to all future development at Freedom Place:     

Design Standards Manual

Section 202.  Definitions. 

“Channel" means a natural or artificial watercourse with a definite bed and banks that conducts continuously or periodically flowing water.

“Natural Drainage/Channel” means any natural or existing channel, stream bed, or watercourse that carries surface or groundwater, but is not wholly dependent for its flow on surface drainage from its immediate area or from outfalls of man-made systems designed to handle stormwater runoff such as culverts, storm drain pipes, roadway drainage ditches or other manmade channels.  It further includes nontidal waterways that are part of the natural topography that usually maintains a continuous or seasonal flow during the year, and is characterized as being irregular in cross-section with a meandering course.  Constructed channels such as drainage ditches or swales shall not be considered natural.

“Watercourse” except as a natural drainage/channel is otherwise defined above, means a permanent or intermittent stream or other body of water, either natural or man-made, which gathers or carries surface water.

“Body of Water” means any significant natural pool of water with a normal water surface elevation, such as an ocean, a lake, a pond, or a stream.

“Streambed” means any natural or man-made channel in which a perennial or intermittent stream flows.

“Outfall” means the lower end of a watercourse; the open end of a drain, culvert, etc. where the discharge occurs.

Section  201.8.  General Drainage Requirements

(2)        Natural drainage/channel characteristics and drainage divides shall be preserved to the maximum extent practicable, provided that for purposes of REZNO5-LE-001 natural drainage/channel associated with the site shall be deemed to include only those areas identified on Exhibit A, attached hereto.  Drainage analyses shall be considered within each drainage area.

(9)        In subdivisions, all SWM/BMP facilities shall be placed in a common area unless prior approval has been obtained from the program administrator.  Further, proposed or natural drainage/channel shall not occur across or upon individual lots unless prior approval has been obtained from the program administrator; and provided further that the applicant shall be permitted to propose suitable means of accommodating surface and subsurface drainage in order to avoid any requirement that it be required to eliminate or relocate proposed residential lots on the property subject to this rezoning. 

Legal Justification

No Fauquier County Ordinance defines a “natural drainage /channel,” and there are a number of approaches to drainage channels that are acceptable in standard industry practice.  The applicant has based its proposed definition on prevailing definitions used in the industry, and the use of those terms found in the Virginia Administrative Code, specifically 4VAC 50-30-10, which provides definitions applicable to the Virginia Erosion and Sedimentation Control Act.  The close relationship of that Act to the issues involved here make the definitions in the state regulations of significant use.

Sansom v. Board of Supervisors, 257 Va. 589, 594-95, 514 S.E.2d 345 (1999) provides that “[w]hen . . . a statute contains no express definition of a term, the general rule of statutory construction is to infer the legislature's intent from the plain meaning of the language used.” Hubbard v. Henrico Ltd. Partnership, 255 Va. 335, 340, 497 S.E.2d 335, 338 (1998) (citing City of Virginia Beach v. Flippen, 251 Va. 358, 362, 467 S.E.2d 471, 473-74 (1996); Marsh v. City of Richmond, 234 Va. 4, 11, 360 S.E.2d 163, 167 (1987)).  An undefined term must be “given its ordinary meaning, given the context in which it is used.” Dep't of Taxation v. Orange-Madison Coop. Farm Serv., 220 Va. 655, 658, 261 S.E.2d 532, 533-34 (1980).  “The context may be examined by considering the other language used in the statute.” City of Virginia Beach v. Bd. of Supervisors of Mecklenburg County, 246 Va. 233, 236 -37, 435 S.E.2d 382, 384 (1993).

Although the Appendix to the DSM contains a definition that arguably applies to a natural channel, it does not apply in this case because it is part of Technical Bulletin Number 1 developed by the Virginia Department of Conservation and Recreation and was designed to address outfalls from a developed site.  That definition is insufficiently precise concerning the particulars of this application because it was not intended to be used for this purpose.  Thus, it is prudent in these circumstances to define essential terms clearly, so that there will not be disagreement in the future as to the intent of the language employed.

In the judgment of the applicant’s engineers, the only natural drainage/channel on site is Bowers Run.  Attached hereto and incorporated herein by reference is a depiction of the existing natural drainage/channel, entitled “Natural Drainage/Channel Exhibit” prepared by Bowman Consulting Group and dated March 2006.  The Bowers Run watercourse is defined as a special flood hazard area designated Zone A on the effective FIRM, by FEMA.  Bowers Run has a defined bed and bank system with a normal water surface elevation and thus qualifies as a channel, streambed and watercourse.  It is not wholly dependent on surface flows from the immediate area or the outfall of man-made stormwater runoff collection systems for flows, and as such qualifies as a natural drainage/channel. 

As opposed to the conditions described above for Bowers Run, those drainage areas served by an outfall for man-made roadway ditches or culverts, are not natural drainage/channels.  Further, a drainage area that has no defined bed and bank system, is not identified as a permanent or intermittent stream and is not a body of water with a normal water surface elevation is neither a channel, streambed or watercourse and, as such, is not a natural drainage/channel.  Finally, a drainage area with flows that are wholly dependent on surface flows from the immediate area is not a natural drainage/channel. 

Equivalent Alternative Proposed by the Applicant

The applicant proposes to address the conveyance of surface water present on the site using standard engineering practices in conformity with Federal, State and Local regulations.  The applicant agrees to implement the following construction measures in order to comply with the County’s Ordinances and Regulations to an equivalent degree (the “Engineering Solution”).  These measures are designed to ensure public safety and the protection of future homeowners from damage which could be caused by a 100-year storm event.

1.   The County’s Ordinances require overland relief for the 10-year storm event.  The applicant will provide overland relief onsite such that no habitable structures will be inundated by surface flows generated by the 100-year storm event.

2.   Construction within the 100-year floodplain of Bowers Run will be limited to trail and road crossings, and utility installation.  All required state and federal permits will be obtained prior to the start of construction.  The applicant reserves the right to plant within the 100-year floodplain of Bowers Run.

3.   Drainage systems are customarily designed for the 10-year storm event, but the applicant will design its system to handle 25-year storm flows in order to avoid overland flow in the event of such a storm.

4.   The applicant shall provide an enhanced extended detention facility, in lieu of extended detention otherwise required.

5.   Residential lots will be located outside the 100-year floodplain for Bowers Run.

6.   Stormwater runoff generated offsite that enters the site will be conveyed through the site pursuant to Section 4-7 of the Subdivision Ordinance, with easements placed over any channels or storm drain pipe systems engineered to handle said flows. 

7.   Single-family attached homes will be slab-on-grade with no basements.

8.   Single-family detached homes with basements shall be designed with subsurface drainage measures designed and certified by a geotechnical engineer licensed by the State of Virginia.  See the proposed additional proffer, below.

9.   Stormwater management ponds will be located outside the 100-year floodplain for Bowers Run. 

The engineering solution described above will be incorporated into all site and subdivision plans to be submitted to the County following the approval of this rezoning.  The employment of the engineering solution will be a correction of the existing problematic erosive flow present on the site, and a distribution of the stormwater entering onto the property in compliance with applicable County and State regulations.

Finally, in response to the County’s concerns regarding high water tables in areas where homes with basements are proposed on the applicant’s Development Plan, the applicant is proposing a proffer that directly discusses this issue, similar to that contained in other recently approved rezoning applications. 

“The Applicant will construct homes within the PRD district that will include basements, subject to the following conditions:

1.      No below grade basements shall be constructed on soils with high water tables, unless the building foundation drainage system of the structure is designed by licensed professional engineers to assure a dry basement and the site is graded so as to preclude standing water in yards and limit the recirculation of pumped or collected water, and approved by the County.


2.      Drainage easements, where required, shall be indicated on the final subdivision plat.


3.      The deeds conveying each unit with a basement shall include the following language:

      This house has been constructed on property that has been determined to possess a potentially high subsurface water table.  A foundation drainage system for this home has been designed and constructed according to standard engineering practices.  The property owner is advised that any disturbance or alteration of this foundation drainage system may result in excess water in the yard or basement of the home, and that any such disturbance is undertaken at the sole risk of the property owner.  The owner is advised to consult with a certified civil or geotechnical engineer prior to undertaking any land disturbance activity, which means any activity that changes the volume, velocity, or peak flow discharge rate of rainfall runoff from the land surface.  This may include the grading, digging, cutting, scraping, or excavating of soil, placement of fill materials, paving, construction, substantial removal of vegetation, or any activity that bares soil or rock or involves the diversion or piping of any natural or man-made watercourse that may affect the foundation drainage system.” 

F.      Planning Office Evaluation of the Drainage Waivers/Modifications Justification:

Although the proposed drainage waivers/modifications are not consistent with the Zoning Ordinance and Subdivision Ordinance, the applicant may request them as the proposed development is a Planned Residential District (PRD).  In addition, it seems reasonable to request these types of waivers/modifications in an area that the Comprehensive Plan clearly identifies as a more densely developed area; a town center. 

Preservation of environmental features is integral to the character of Fauquier County.  Natural drainageways would be considered within that category.  This review is done for all development projects.  Because this project is within the Bealeton Service District and within a PRD and the Comprehensive Plan envisions it to be developed at a higher density than parcels outside of the Service District, the request for waivers and modifications should be considered.  In some instances, due to the nature and layout of the development, although some of the site’s preexisting environmental features may not be preserved, the overall project benefits due to conceptual layout and dedicated open space may outweigh the loss of some of the those features.

The applicant has tried to fulfill the goals of the Comprehensive Plan with its neo-traditional design.  In keeping with this theme, it has produced Design Guidelines that include a variety of housing types.  The Concept Plan avoids the typical cul-de-sac style subdivision and shows a grid pattern layout with pedestrian walkways and linkages to open space areas.  Church Street, the spine road of the project, is a meandering collector roadway that provides project access and traffic flow as an alternative to Route 17.

The Comprehensive Plan envisions the Bealeton Town Center with a well defined edge of parks and natural areas.  The town center itself shall be designed in a generally rectilinear pattern of blocks and interconnecting streets and alleys, defined by buildings, street furniture and landscaping, a place to be shared equally by pedestrians, bicycles and cars.  An important feature is the town square and town park located in the core of the town center.  In order to maintain this theme, and allow for the density intended, it is reasonable to consider approval of the modifications requested.

For the Engineering Office analysis of the applicant’s Drainage Waiver/Modifications request, see Attachment 5.



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

Fauquier County Department of Community Development

Virginia Department of Transportation

Fauquier County Water and Sanitation Authority

Fauquier County School Board

Fauquier County Public Service Departments


1.      Comment/Response Letter

2.      Waiver/Modification Request and Exhibit

3.      Proffer Statement

4.      Concept Development Plan

5.      Engineering Office Review of Drainage Modification/Waiver Request

6.      Architectural Concept Photos


Back to Agenda...