Board of Supervisors Meeting Date:


Rodney I. Smith, Owner/Applicant


April 14, 2005


Staff Lead:


Melissa Dargis, Assistant Chief of Planning



Community Development


Magisterial District:


Cedar Run







A Resolution to Approve SPEX05-CR-006, A Category 26 Special Exception to Allow for a Decrease in the Non-Common Open Space Requirement


Topic Description: 


The applicant wishes to obtain Special Exception approval under Category 26, which would allow for a decrease in the non-common open space requirement.  The ±139.12-acre parcel is zoned Rural Agricultural (RA).  Deed research for the parcel shows that it has the remaining subdivision potential to be divided into a maximum of six (6) lots.  The Fauquier County Zoning Ordinance regulations state that one of these 6 lots must contain 85% of the total site acreage or 134.34 acres.


The applicant seeks to create six (6) lots via family transfer.  As proposed, the smaller lots range in size from 4 to 5 acres and the two (2) larger lots would each be approximately 60 acres in size.  In order to create these lots in the manner requested by the applicant, a Special Exception for a decrease in non-common open space is required.


The original parcel was ±158.05 acres when the 85% rule was enacted; previous divisions reduced it to its current size of 139.12 acres.  The remaining five (5) lots would then have to be clustered on the remainder of the 15% of the property or 4.78 acres which is not feasible.  The applicant has refined the request to now ask for a reduction of non-common open space to ±60 acres, which is equivalent to approximately 38% open space. 


This Special Exception application would allow for the decrease in non-common open space.  In order to divide these lots, either via family transfer or the subdivision process, further approvals may be required, per the Fauquier County Zoning and Subdivision Ordinances or other local, state or federal agencies.


Project Update:


At the March 10, 2005 Board of Supervisors meeting, a public hearing was held on the aforementioned application.  The item was postponed, at the applicant’s request, to allow time for project refinements and the drafting of Special Exception conditions.


Project History:


In an e-mail statement (dated: January 6, 2005), the applicant clarifies the request for reduction of non-common open space.  The applicant’s parcel currently has the subdivision potential or density (five lots plus the residue), but does not have the acreage available to create those lots.  Four of the five lots to be created would be divided using the family transfer process.  The open space reduction is sought to allow the applicant to create four new clustered lots along the back of the property.  These lots would be four (4) to five (5) acres in size.  These lots would reduce the 85% open space requirement to approximately 75%.  Further, for the last lot, the applicant seeks to divide the remaining 120-acre piece in half to create two (2) 60-acre lots.  This division would reduce the non-common open space to approximately 38%.  This further reduction would not be consistent with the Fauquier County Zoning Ordinance requirement that the non-common open space be maintained as one parcel.  However, deed restricting all of the lots, including the final two ±60-acre lots is recommended if the Board of Supervisors chooses to approve this request.


The proposal does not include details of how the proposed two (2) 60-acre lots could be created and meet the Zoning and Subdivision Ordinance requirements.  Neither of them currently has adequate road frontage to permit the subdivision of the 120-acre parcel and a Special Exception waiving the public road requirement would be needed in the future.


Requested Action of the Board of Supervisors:


Consider adoption of the attached resolution.


Planning Commission Recommendation:


On February 17, 2005, the Planning Commission recommended approval of this item, subject to a series of development conditions.


Financial Impact Analysis:




Land Area, Location and Zoning:    


The property is located on the south side of Balls Mill Road (Route 663).  It is zoned Rural Agricultural (RA).  A map of the property is shown below.  Note that the property boundary is highlighted in red and green to display the proposed lots related to the non-common open space reduction request.





Neighboring Zoning/Land Use:


The property is currently zoned RA (Rural Agricultural) and is bound on all sides by RA land.  Consistent with this zoning category, this property is located in a district that contains the areas where agriculture and forestry are the predominant uses.  The property is also within close proximity to the Village of Liberty.


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 by request.  A summary of the January 2005 comments are included below.


Zoning Comments:


  1. The proposed road will reduce the parcel size as well and must be taken into consideration when calculating the acreage.



The applicant will need to upgrade the entrance to the Private Subdivision Street Entrance standard (24 feet wide paved 25 feet from edge of pavement) to access all of the four small lots.  The entrance has good sight distance, but will require some clearing.  The applicant will also need to provide documentation before VDOT issues any permits for this entrance to show that additional easement has been obtained.  The plat indicates a 20-foot easement which will not be wide enough to accommodate the entrance.  The applicant noted that he has gotten the additional easement.  VDOT required that documentation prior to issuing a permit.

When three or more lots access the property at the proposed location, the entrance must be constructed according to the Department’s standards for a Private Subdivision Road / Street Entrance.  In order to obtain a building permit from Fauquier County, the County will require a VDOT permit be obtained.  The permit can be applied for after the division has been approved and recorded, the permit will be issued at the location where the easement ties into Route 745.  At that time the applicant will have to install additional pipe and cut trees and brush to improve the line of sight.


The VDOT comments do not address access to the proposed ±60-acre parcels.  Any proposed subdivision of these lots will require VDOT review and approval.


Summary and Recommendations:


Staff recommends that if the Board of Supervisors wishes to approve SPEX05-CR-006 that such approval be subject to the proposed series of development conditions included in the resolution.  This approval would allow for the future division of four (4) clustered lots along the back of the property as well as the two (2) ±60-acre lots along the front of the property.  Creation of these lots would reduce the non-common open space to approximately 38%.  However, the applicant will deed restrict all of the parcels so two (2) ±60-acre lots in essence would function as non-common open space and no further division be permitted on any of the lots.  The four smaller lots are proposed as family divisions.  The lots would have to meet all Zoning and Subdivision Ordinance and other appropriate approvals prior to being divided.  This includes an accurate survey of the land to determine the actual acreage of the parcel and the specific reduction of non-common open space.


The Planning Commission recommendation forwarded this item to the Board with a recommendation of approval for the creation of the four (4) smaller lots along the back of the property.  The Commission did not include the two (2) ±60-acre lots in its recommendation.    


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

Fauquier County Department of Community Development