Board of Supervisors Meeting Date:

Catlett Volunteer Fire Department, Owner

Catlett Volunteer Fire Company, Inc., Applicant

May 11, 2006

Staff Lead:

Melissa Dargis, Assistant Chief of Planning



Community Development

Magisterial District:  Cedar Run 


Service District: Catlett




 A Resolution to Approve SPEX06-CR-019: Request to Build a Fire and Rescue Station


Topic Description:

The applicant seeks approval under Category 11 to build a combined fire and rescue station in the Village of Catlett.  The site is currently being used as the Department’s Fire Hall.  It has been used as a venue for fund raising events for the Fire Department such as bingo or spaghetti dinners, as well as for community events in Catlett.  The applicant indicates that the location of the site is ideal as it has direct access to Route 28 and is adequately sized to accommodate the proposed new buildings and parking.  

Project Update:

On April 27, 2006, the Planning Commission unanimously recommended approval of this item to the Board of Supervisors.

Project Information:

The site receives public water but sewer service is not available at the present time.  In the future, the site should have access to public sewer when it is made available in the Village.  The site, fortunately, does have a drainfield with capacity to serve the project requirements.  The Health Department permit will reflect any special conditions or limitations.

The proposed Fire and Rescue station will house the Catlett Volunteer Fire Department’s Company 7 and the Cedar Run Volunteer Rescue Department’s Company 12 response personnel, equipment, and vehicles.  The current station used by Catlett, is too small to meet the needs of its service area.  The Catlett response area is one of the largest within the County.  The applicant notes in the last five (5) years that the number of emergency response incidents has nearly doubled within the County.

Because the two companies are located in separate locations, delays in response time are currently a problem in Catlett.  In addition, the “response time” may also be effected as there is no room for personnel to stay at the Fire and Rescue facilities.  By bringing the two companies together and providing a facility which is more conducive to volunteers readiness for calls, turnout times and response times will be improved and this will enhance public safety.

The station will operate as a 24-hour facility.  There will be two (2) full time employees present Monday through Friday from 6:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m.  The majority of the personnel are volunteers.  On a regular day/night shift, generally 3 to 4 people wait for calls.  On a busy day/night, the highest estimate of employees would be approximately twenty (20) according to the Catlett Fire Chief.  This type of situation would likely involve a storm event or other natural or man-made disaster scenario.

The station, at capacity, can house up to ten (10) apparatus for Fire and Rescue teams.  The new station would no longer be used for social events or bingo.  It is probable that local school groups may want to schedule visits/tours or that an occasional community open house would be hosted.  Fire and Rescue indicate that they have other buildings that can be utilized for social gatherings.

The proposed new station will have five (5) bunkrooms with 3 to 5 beds in each room.  It will also contain men’s and women’s locker rooms and restrooms, a kitchen, dining room, lounge, recreation and exercise rooms, offices and ample storage for gear, equipment, hoses, a communications room, as well as five (5) double-load apparatus bays.

The proposed structure will be a single story design with apparatus bays on one side and the residential/office areas on the other.  The architecture will be attractive and blend in with the local area.  In particular, the bay doors will feature wood panels with a stone arch. 

Land, Area, Location & Zoning:

The property is located at the intersection of Catlett Road (Route 28) and Gaskins Lane (Route 796).  A map of the property is shown below.  The FEMA 100-year floodplain is cross-hatched.





Neighboring Zoning/Land Use:

The property is zoned Commercial-1 (C-1).  It is surrounded by Industrial-1 (I-1) to the north; Residential-1 (R-1) to the east; C-1 and I-1 to the south; and C-1 to the west.


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. Staff and referral agency findings, comments, and recommendations are summarized below. The actual responses from referral agencies are available upon request.

Since the March 30, 2006 Planning Commission meeting, no new referral agency comments have been received. 

Action Requested of the Board of Supervisors: 

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


Summary and Recommendation:

The Planning Commission unanimously forwarded this item with a recommendation of approval to the Board of Supervisors, subject to conditions.  Those conditions for approval are reflected in the resolution for Board consideration.

In order to meet Site Plan requirements, a text amendment to Zoning Ordinance Section 2-410 is appropriate because the current section of the Ordinance prohibits a commercial corner lot from having vehicular access on the “larger” street unless certain standards are met.  The amended Zoning Ordinance text language makes a provision for limited access for certain uses, such as for a Fire & Rescue facility.  The Planning Commission conducted a public hearing on the text amendment on April 27th, and has forwarded it to the Board with a unanimous recommendation that it be adopted.  The text amendment is scheduled for Board of Supervisors public hearing on June 8th.  Alternatively, the Zoning Administrator now may waive the requirements for entrance on a corner lot, pursuant to the new authority given.   Both Zoning Ordinance text changes will all for the Fire and Rescue station to be located on this site.

Staff notes that the FEMA 100-year floodplain mapping on the site seems very inaccurate since it does not follow the creek bed.  More accurate information should be provided at the Site Plan stage to demonstrate that the proposed emergency access will not be in a location that floods.  Engineering staff envisions submittal of a more accurate elevation of flooding.

Per Section 5-1101 of the Zoning Ordinance, the applicant is required to submit “a statement by an official or officer of the governmental body who shall be present giving the exact reasons for selecting the particular site as the location for the proposed facility, including any alternatives considered.”  This directive has been met.

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

Community Development
Fire & Emergency Services


Department of Fire & Emergency Services Letter

Special Exception Plat


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