PUBLIC HEARING AGENDA REQUEST

Sponsor:

BOS Meeting Date:

Planning Commission

 

May 10, 2007

Staff Lead:

Kimberly Abe, Senior Planner

Kristen Slawter, Planner II

 

Department:
Community Development

 

Magisterial District(s):
Marshall, Scott, Center, Lee, Cedar Run

 

 

Topic:

A Resolution Adopting the Revised Fauquier County Comprehensive Plan Chapter 7:  Village Plans

 

Topic Summary:

The update of Chapter 7-Village Plans has been a targeted Board of Supervisors and Department project for several years. As a result, the Planning Commission scheduled and initiated an update to Chapter 7 of the Comprehensive Plan in March 2006, to recognize changes in land use conditions and County polices since its adoption in 1977. The 1977 Plan has outdated policies, which need refinement or replacement in order to reflect current practices. The 1977 Plan also fails to recognize the need for community input in the development of village plans.

The Planning Commission held a series of work sessions and public hearings beginning in May 2006 through November 2006 to decide on the policy parameters of the update. The Commission approved a Draft that would accomplish two major objectives: 1) Bring the plan into conformance with other sections of the Comprehensive Plan by adopting more limited Village and Settlement growth boundaries than those set forth in the 1977 Plan; and 2) Establish a set of general guiding principles that can be used to shape community-initiated Village Land Use Plans in the future.  

This phased approach allows the update to proceed in a timely manner to address outstanding Countywide issues while at the same time it sets forth a policy framework for communities that request to move forward with more detailed plans in the future. Public input was favorable at two consecutive public hearings in February and March 2007. The Planning Commission recommended approval of the Draft and forwarded it to the Board of Supervisors for their review and consideration.

Topic Description:

On March 18, 2002, the Board of Supervisors adopted a resolution validating the boundaries of village and settlements as outlined on Comprehensive Plan Maps. The Board of Supervisors resolution was in response to widespread public concern that the 1977 Village and Settlement boundaries could be interpreted to include lands within “study” areas within a half-mile radius around each village and settlement. This interpretation would have allowed each village and settlement to be as large as 500 acres in size.

That same month, the County embarked on a multi-year program to document approximately twenty-one villages and towns that were deemed eligible for listing on the Virginia Landmarks and National Registers. Five years later, over half of these eligible areas are now listed on both registers, and include historic districts within the following communities with strong resident property owner support: Ashville, Atoka, Casanova, Delaplane, Markham, Marshall, Morgantown, New Baltimore, Paris, Rectortown, and the Town of Remington.  Architectural historian, Maral Kalbian is currently completing the nominations for Hume and Catlett.

In November 2002, Citizens for Fauquier County (CFFC) presented County officials with a report on Village and Settlement land use issues that included local histories, soil and water conditions, and an analysis of perceived threats to each village and settlement. That report formed the foundation for this draft Chapter 7 update, specifically for the neighborhood histories, and those volunteers are to be commended for their work.

Boundaries

In March 2006, the Planning Commission initiated the final steps for the Chapter 7 update. The planning process began with a review of the 1977 Comprehensive Plan Villages and Settlement Map boundaries per the 2002 Board of Supervisor Resolution.  Boundaries are as important to the villages as they are to the service districts because they implement the County’s policy to create and maintain “hard-edges” between growth management and rural areas.   

Staff analyzed the village and settlement boundary lines and determined that the boundaries generally approximate the limits of areas zoned for development, but not in all cases. Like most Comprehensive Plan maps that pre-date Geographic Information Systems (GIS), the 1977 hand-drawn maps were generalized and not-to-scale. The maps were intended to be representational, and they served their purpose well since most areas within those boundaries have been zoned to allow for development.

However, since the 1977 village and settlement boundary lines were representational, they did not match property lines. To avoid public confusion and contention about exact interpretations of the 1977 village and settlement boundaries, the Planning Commission decided to validate the extent of the village and settlement boundaries as those areas zoned Village Residential, Village Commercial, Residential-1, Commercial-1, Commercial-2, and Industrial. The 1977 Plan would have created a total of 21,500 acres designated for Village and Settlement development under a very liberal interpretation of the boundaries. In contrast, this Draft Plan designates 7,240 acres for village and settlement development.

The Commission’s decision to limit encroachment of village development into areas zoned Rural Agriculture or Rural Conservation is consistent with the Comprehensive Plan’s goals to preserve and protect agricultural land and open space uses. This position is also consistent with the Planning Commission’s and the Board of Supervisor’s recent action to create a “hard-edge” between the Marshall Service District and land zoned for agricultural uses.

Village and Settlement Land Use Designation

The 1977 Plan attempted to classify 43 unique communities into four categories (Village I, II, III, and Settlement) based on future growth predictions calculated from extrapolations from past growth trends. Since this philosophical underpinning in the 1977 Plan is not consistent with the Comprehensive Plan, the draft update for Chapter 7 classifies all the villages and settlements as “Villages.”

This update did not address all the County’s crossroad settlements and other old villages, such as; Auburn, Conde, and Little Georgetown because the update was intended to focus on villages with development potential under existing Village zoning specified in the 1977 Plan. Rural planning efforts throughout the County will continue to consider land use issues in the dozen or so old villages that did not obtain Village zoning by 1977.  The draft Introduction explains this issue and lists the towns, villages, and settlements with 20 or more inhabitants shown on the 1914 Map of Fauquier County Virginia.   

It should also be noted that the Village land use designations reflect the underlying zones. For instance Residential-1 zoned areas also have a Residential-1 land use designation. All existing zoning rights are retained by the new draft Village Plan.

Village-Style Economic Development

The Village of Paris still maintains a healthy balance of commercial and residential activity, and serves as a live example of what the Chapter 7 update envisions as village economic development. Most of the villages were once hubs of rural economic activity, yet due to changed life-styles many historic buildings have fallen into disuse. 

Limited and tempered amounts of commercial activity help to keep historic village buildings alive and in good condition. Commercial uses keep buildings viable and provide historic property owners with additional income they can use to maintain their historic properties.  Additionally, property owners of village buildings listed on the National Register can qualify for tax credits up to 45% of their rehabilitation dollars spent, if the building is income-producing. Residential historic properties are eligible for 25% tax credits if the project meets certain other qualifications. (The Architectural Review Board is hosting a historic Tax Credit Workshop on May 19th for property owners of historic buildings.)

Additionally, village-style economic development achieves a number of comprehensive planning goals to create good-paying jobs, create locally-owned businesses, preserve agricultural land, and facilitate low-impact heritage tourism opportunities.

Outline of Plan Contents

  1. Goals: Chapter 7 promotes two major goals: a) to maintain the unique, visual identity of Fauquier County’s villages and incorporate new development in a way that compliments existing communities; and b) to conserve, protect and, where possible, restore village cultural resources to maintain unique, livable communities while preserving these assets for future generations.
  2. Strategies: These goals can be achieved through the creation of community-initiated village plans. The Chapter 7 Introduction provides a list of strategies that might be used in these individual village plans, depending on each village’s specific needs or goals.
  3. Village Plans and Maps:  The villages are all significant features in the county landscape and warrant some analysis in this Plan for their distinctive features and histories. More thorough histories and overviews can be completed in conjunction with individual community-initiated plans.  This Plan contains Village Comprehensive Plan Maps depicting the zoning, land use boundaries, National Register District boundaries, floodplains, road networks, and the existing building layers. (These maps will be administratively updated with additional nominations to the National Register.)

Implementation

It is unknown at this time if there are villages that would wish to proceed to complete more refined village plans after the adoption of the updated Chapter 7.  Initial implementation efforts might first focus on Zoning Ordinance issues affecting all the villages in advance of any individual village plans.  This approach would obviate the need to refine all 43 Village Land Use Plans. The draft Introduction provides a preliminary list of Zoning Ordinance issues for consideration by the Planning Commission and Board of Supervisors.

 

Action Requested of the Planning Commission:

Conduct a public hearing and consider adoption of the attached resolution.

 

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

 None at this time.

 

Attachment:

Draft Comprehensive Plan Chapter 7: Village Plans[1]

[1] Due to the large size of the file, an electronic version is unavailable at this time.  A hard copy is available for review in the Department of Community Development.  

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