A ZONING ORDINANCE TEXT AMENDMENT TO SECTION 13-406 TO GRANT EXEMPTIONS TO MINIMUM LOT WIDTH, MINIMUM LOT FRONTAGE, MINIMUM SETBACK REQUIREMENTS, AND CERTAIN RESIDENTIAL HEIGHT REQUIREMENTS, TO DELETE CERTAIN VARIANCE AUTHORITY DELEGATED TO THE ZONING ADMINISTRATOR AND THE BOARD OF ZONING APPEALS, AND TO AMEND SECTIONS 2-413, 2-505, AND 3-324 FOR CONSTANCY WITH THESE CHANGES
WHEREAS, on December 7, 2005, the Planning Commission initiated this text amendment; and
WHEREAS, on January 26, 2006, the Planning Commission held a public hearing on this issue and forwarded the proposed text amendment to the Board of Supervisors recommending its adoption; and
WHEREAS, on March 9, 2006, the Fauquier County Board of Supervisors held a public hearing on this amendment; and
WHEREAS, the adoption of this text amendment would be in the spirit of the Zoning Ordinance, consistent with public convenience, general welfare, and good zoning practices, consistent with the adopted Comprehensive Plan, and is in the best interest of the citizens of Fauquier County; now, therefore, be it
ORDAINED by the Fauquier County Board of Supervisors this 13th day of April 2006, That Sections 13-406, 2-413, 2-505, and 3-324 of the Fauquier County Zoning Ordinance be, and are hereby, amended as follows:
13-406 Authority of Zoning Administrator to Grant Exemptions
1. The Zoning Administrator is authorized to grant a modification from any provision contained in the Zoning Ordinance with respect to minimum lot width, minimum lot frontage, minimum setback requirements, and, in RA and RC Districts, height requirements for single family houses up to ten feet, provided extra living space is not added, if the Zoning Administrator finds in writing that: (a) the strict application of the ordinance would produce undue hardship; (b) such hardship is not shared generally by other properties in the same zoning district and the same vicinity; and (c) the authorization of the modification will not be of substantial detriment to adjacent property and the character of the zoning district will not be changed by the granting of the modification.
2. Prior to the granting of a modification, the Zoning Administrator shall give, or require the applicant to give, all adjoining property owners written notice of the request for modification, and an opportunity to respond to the request within 21 days of the date of the notice. The Zoning Administrator shall make a decision on the application for modification and issue a written decision, within 90 days of a request for a decision or determination on zoning matters within the scope of his authority unless the requester has agreed to a longer period, with a copy provided to the applicant and any adjoining landowner who responded in writing to the notice sent pursuant to this subsection.
3. The decision of the Zoning Administrator shall constitute a decision within the purview of Virginia Code § 15.2-2311, and may be appealed to the Board of Zoning Appeals.
2-413 Reduction in Front Yard Requirements
With respect to the one (1) or more lots lying between other lots (a) in
the same block, and (b) within a distance of 600 feet on each side, and
(c) there are existing buildings on the other lots with front yards less
than the front yard required for the district, the
2-505 Use Limitations on Corner Lots
§ 15.2-2286. Permitted provisions in zoning ordinances; amendments; applicant to pay delinquent taxes.
A. A zoning ordinance may include, among other things, reasonable regulations and provisions as to any or all of the following matters:
4. For the administration and enforcement of the ordinance including the appointment or designation of a zoning administrator who may also hold another office in the locality. The zoning administrator shall have all necessary authority on behalf of the governing body to administer and enforce the zoning ordinance. His authority shall include (i) ordering in writing the remedying of any condition found in violation of the ordinance; (ii) insuring compliance with the ordinance, bringing legal action, including injunction, abatement, or other appropriate action or proceeding subject to appeal pursuant to § 15.2-2311; and (iii) in specific cases, making findings of fact and, with concurrence of the attorney for the governing body, conclusions of law regarding determinations of rights accruing under § 15.2-2307. Notwithstanding the provisions of § 15.2-2311, a zoning ordinance may prescribe an appeal period of less than 30 days, but not less than 10 days, for a notice of violation involving temporary or seasonal commercial uses, parking of commercial trucks in residential zoning districts, or similar short-term, recurring violations.
Where provided by ordinance, the zoning administrator may be authorized to grant a modification from any provision contained in the zoning ordinance with respect to physical requirements on a lot or parcel of land, including but not limited to size, height, location or features of or related to any building, structure, or improvements, if the administrator finds in writing that: (i) the strict application of the ordinance would produce undue hardship; (ii) such hardship is not shared generally by other properties in the same zoning district and the same vicinity; and (iii) the authorization of the modification will not be of substantial detriment to adjacent property and the character of the zoning district will not be changed by the granting of the modification. Prior to the granting of a modification, the zoning administrator shall give, or require the applicant to give, all adjoining property owners written notice of the request for modification, and an opportunity to respond to the request within 21 days of the date of the notice. The zoning administrator shall make a decision on the application for modification and issue a written decision with a copy provided to the applicant and any adjoining landowner who responded in writing to the notice sent pursuant to this paragraph. The decision of the zoning administrator shall constitute a decision within the purview of § 15.2-2311, and may be appealed to the board of zoning appeals as provided by that section. Decisions of the board of zoning appeals may be appealed to the circuit court as provided by § 15.2-2314.
It has come to staff’s attention that a number of homes exceed the 35 foot height requirement. This problem principally has come about because of builders’ failure to account for the height of the building which takes into consideration exposed walls at walk-out basements; under the Zoning ordinance, height is measured from the lowest point of the exposed wall to the midpoint of the roof. This problem should be avoided in the future because the Building Inspector’s Office now requires submission of elevations as part of the building permit review process.
Nevertheless, a number of violations now exist. Should these few homes ever return for review by Community Development (i.e. alterations and repairs), the only way to make them legal would be to change the grade at the walk-out basement by adding fill; this is not a satisfying fix for anyone concerned.
The Board of Supervisors may want to consider extending the zoning administrator’s authority to grant height exemptions for all single family residences. The Planning Commission restricted such authority to single family residences in RA and RC Districts. By doing this, the County would have more flexibility is dealing with these few violations.