PUBLIC HEARING AGENDA REQUEST

Sponsor: 

Board of Supervisors Meeting Date:

Planning Commission

May 8, 2008

Staff Lead:

Department: 

Susan Eddy, Chief of Planning

 

Community Development

 

Topic:

Zoning Ordinance Text Amendment to Sections 5-011, 12-502 and 13-202, a Subdivision Ordinance Text Amendment to Section 9-5, and creation of a new Chapter 3: Transportation in the Design Standards Manual (DSM), to establish requirements for Traffic Impact Analysis (TIA).

 

Topic Description:

On January 1, 2008, the Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT) requirements for Traffic Impact Analysis came into effect in the Culpeper District.  VDOT now requires a Traffic Impact Analysis for Comprehensive Plans and Plan Amendments, Rezonings, Special Exceptions, Special Permits, Subdivision Plats, and Site Plans that will substantially affect transportation on state controlled highways.  The proposed text amendments would codify these VDOT requirements into County Ordinances.

Project Update:

The Board of Supervisors held a Public Hearing on this item on April 10, 2008.  Supervisors asked for clarification from staff on the differences between what is required by VDOT and what is proposed for Fauquier County.  This is summarized below. 

VDOT Requirement

Proposed Fauquier County Requirement

TIA required for rezonings, special exceptions, special permits, preliminary subdivision plats and site plans that will substantially affect state-controlled highways as defined by VDOT.

TIA required for rezonings, special exceptions, special permits, preliminary subdivision plats and site plans that will substantially affect state-controlled highways as defined by VDOT or 80% of the VDOT criteria if a safety issue is present.  (See threshold rationale below this table.)

Required elements of a TIA

Same as VDOT

Appropriate software

Same as VDOT

Methodology and Assumptions

Same as VDOT

Analysis

Same as VDOT

Scoping meeting required for projects generating over 1,000 trips per hour

Same as VDOT

Scoping meeting for projects generating less than 1,000 trips per hour if requested by applicant or locality. Encouraged by VDOT in all cases.

Scoping meeting required (See scoping meeting rationale below this table.)

Comprehensive Plan Package for Comprehensive Plan Amendments

Same as VDOT

For applications not requiring a TIA, VDOT requests very basic information such as volume of traffic on adjacent streets and projected traffic from the proposed development.

County seeks the same basic information and this will be codified in the DSM.

 

TIA Threshold:

VDOT requirements for a TIA are based on trip generation.  Examples of the types of development that would require a TIA are included in Attachment 4.  These include 100 single family homes, a 60,000 square foot home improvement store or a 4,000 square foot fast food restaurant with drive-through.  County staff has proposed adding language to the Design Standards Manual (DSM) that requires a TIA if a proposed project meets the thresholds per the VDOT regulations, or if the proposed project meets 80% of the thresholds of VDOT regulations and any of the affected roads have safety issues as determined by the Director of Community Development, upon recommendation from the Virginia Department of Transportation.  Safety issues could for example include accident records, congestion, level of service or link-node connectivity (i.e. a high number of trips entering the road at one point). 

Staff has suggested this variation to the VDOT requirement based on recent applications for which a TIA could not be specifically required.  One application was for 98 single family houses.  This dwelling unit total is less than the 100 unit VDOT threshold.  In this case, all of the proposed houses along with hundreds of other houses from another subdivision would have access at only one point onto a through street.  In another case, a 3,754 square foot fast food restaurant with drive-through was proposed. This floor space is less than the 4,000 square foot VDOT threshold.  In this case, the site was located at the intersection of two arterial roads which had a high accident rate. 

Staff has prepared a resolution (Attachment 3a) incorporating the 80% threshold.  Should the Board of Supervisors prefer to use only the VDOT criteria, an alternate resolution (Attachment 3b) has also been prepared.   

Scoping Meeting:

Scoping meetings between an applicant, VDOT and the County are required by VDOT for projects generating over 1,000 trips per hour.  VDOT recommends scoping meetings in all other cases where a TIA is required, and the County or an applicant can request such a meeting.  Staff is recommending that scoping meetings be required and codified in the DSM.  Agreeing on the study parameters and the study area at a scoping meeting significantly cuts down on the work, time and expense required in a TIA. Since the inception of the VDOT TIA requirements, all applicants in Fauquier County have requested a scoping meeting.  

These scoping meetings occur well before an application is filed and result in mutual agreement of intersections to be analyzed, trip growth rates and other key factors which need to be integrated into the traffic study.  The applicant is able to gain early agreement with the County and VDOT on study assumptions and rates, rather than postponing these discussions to the application review process.   

 

Requested Action of the Board of Supervisors:

Conduct a public hearing and consider adoption of the attached Ordinances (Attachments 1-3a/3b).  Attachment 3a includes the requirement for a TIA if the project meets the VDOT threshold or 80% of the VDOT thresholds if safety issues are present.  Attachment 3b includes the requirement for a TIA only if the project meets the VDOT threshold.

 

Financial Impact Analysis:

No financial impact analysis has been conducted.

 

Summary Staff Report:

 

In 2006, the General Assembly approved legislation to enhance the coordination of land use and transportation planning.  §15.2-2222.1 was added to the Code of Virginia to expand VDOT’s role in the land planning and development review process.  Chapter 155, 24 VAC 30-155 “Traffic Impact Analysis Regulation” establishes the rules, procedures and deadlines for VDOT’s review.  VDOT will be requiring traffic impact analysis for several types of land development applications.

Rezonings, Special Exceptions, Special Permits, Preliminary Subdivision Plats and Site Plans

Any of these applications that will substantially affect traffic on state-controlled highways requires submittal of the application and a Traffic Impact Analysis to VDOT.  A substantial impact has been defined by VDOT as a change that would allow a generation of 100 vehicles per peak hour or more for residential uses, or 250 vehicles per peak hour or more (or 2,500 vehicles per day) for other land uses.  Examples of typical developments that would meet this threshold are included in Appendix 4.  In addition, 200 residential vehicles per day will trigger a TIA if this more than doubles current traffic volumes.  This second scenario is most likely to be triggered in rural areas.

The proposed changes to County Ordinances codify the VDOT requirements. The amendments also allow the County to require a TIA in certain cases due to safety issues (Attachment 3a).  Should the Board of Supervisors prefer to use only the VDOT threshold, Attachment 3b has been prepared.

The proposed changes to County Ordinances also require a TIA scoping meeting between the applicant, county staff and VDOT.  This is already common practice and has proven to be very valuable for all participants. 

Comprehensive Plans and Comprehensive Plan Amendments

Comprehensive Plans and Comprehensive Plan Amendments that have a substantial impact on state highways or a substantial change to transportation infrastructure require submittal of the application and comprehensive plan package of general transportation information to VDOT.  A substantial impact has been defined by VDOT as a change that would allow a generation of 5,000 additional vehicle trips per day.  The comprehensive plan package is not the same as the detailed TIA associated with other development proposals. 

The proposed changes to County Ordinances codify the VDOT requirements and also add a requirement that basic transportation information be provided with all Comprehensive Plan and Comprehensive Plan Amendment applications that do not trigger a VDOT review.

Timeline

VDOT is staging its requirements in the Culpeper District in two steps.  As of January 1, 2008, VDOT is requiring comprehensive plan packages for all Comprehensive Plan and Comprehensive Plan Amendment applications that meet its threshold.  VDOT is only requiring TIAs for Rezonings, Special Exceptions, Special Permits, Subdivision Plats and Site Plans for sites generating 500 vehicles per peak hour or more.  The requirement for other Rezonings, Special Exceptions, Special Permits, Subdivision Plats and Site Plans that meet the thresholds of Chapter 155, 24 VAC 30-155 comes into effect in the Culpeper District on July 1, 2008.

The proposed changes to County ordinances would come into effect upon adoption.  Thus, in some cases, the County requirements could come into effect two months sooner than the VDOT requirements. 

Planning Commission

The Planning Commission initiated these text amendments on January 31, 2008 and held a public hearing and unanimously recommended approval of the amendments on February 28, 2008.

 

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

Virginia Department of Transportation

 

ATTACHMENTS:

1.      Proposed Zoning Ordinance Revisions

2.      Proposed Subdivision Ordinance Revisions

3a Proposed Design Standards Manual (DSM) Chapter 3: Transportation

3b Proposed Design Standards Manual (DSM) Chapter 3: Transportation  

4.      Summary Table – Typical Developments That Would Trigger the Need for a TIA Under the VDOT Requirements

 

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