Board of Supervisors Meeting Date:

R. Holder Trumbo, Vice Chairman,
Scott District Supervisor


May 8, 2008

Staff Lead:


Andrew B. Hushour,
Assistant Zoning Administrator


Community Development


A Resolution Initiating a Zoning Ordinance Text Amendment to Article 4 of the Fauquier County Zoning Ordinance to Create a Ridgeline Protection Overlay District


Topic Description: 

The proposed text amendment establishes a Ridgeline Protection Overlay District to provide additional protection of environmental, cultural and visual resources within Fauquier County.


Requested Action of the Board of Supervisors:

For purposes of protecting critical environmental resources, consider approval of the attached resolution. This request to initiate such an ordinance will be transmitted to the Planning Commission for development, public hearing and eventual recommendation to the Board of Supervisors for action.


Financial Impact Analysis:

No financial impact analysis has been conducted.


Staff Report:

One of the stated goals of the Fauquier County Comprehensive Plan is to “protect critical environmental resources and to maintain renewable natural resources so that they are not degraded but remain viable for future generations.” To support this goal, one of the four key plan objectives identified in Chapter 8, Rural Land Use Plan, is to “protect environmental, culture and visual resources.” Visual resources, specifically, are those resources defined as being a “…seen, combination of both natural and cultural features,” including topographical resources such as slope, elevation and ridges.

The mountainous, ridgeline topography characteristic of the northwest portion of the County represents an important environmental and visual resource.  These relatively pristine, wooded areas of the County’s high elevations have significantly contributed to the rural ambience that most of the citizens of Fauquier County consider so aesthetically unique. However, the patterns of growth and development in the County since the 1940’s have seen the gradual erosion of the integrity of this resource, as well as others. In the case of areas of higher elevation, a panoramic view can be destroyed by even a minor amount of development above a ridgeline. In order to protect these resources, additional measures need to be undertaken by the County as identified in the Comprehensive Plan.

Among the tools available to protect these resources, the development of a special environmental overlay district to manage mountainside, i.e. ridgeline, resources may be appropriate. Such a district would be supplemental to the Rural Conservation (RC) District and appropriate portions of the Rural Agricultural (RA) District and could limit or prohibit development on slopes above certain elevations.  Albemarle and Clarke counties have such provisions in their ordinances.  Draft language has not yet been prepared by staff.  If the Board chooses to initiate the amendment, staff will work with the Planning Commission to draft appropriate language.


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

Fauquier County Citizens

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