PUBLIC HEARING AGENDA REQUEST

Owners/Applicants:
David L. Hodgson; Terry L. Hodgson; Jean Elizabeth Cheatham; William Wirt Goulding (Owners)

Douglas E. Darling (Applicant) 

Board of Supervisors Meeting Date:
May 14, 2009

 

 

Staff Lead:
Melissa Dargis, Assistant Chief of Planning

Department:
Community Development

 

Magisterial District:
Lee

Service District:

Bealeton

 

PIN:
                              6899-18-3742-000
                             6889-89-6214-000

 

Topic:

CPAM09-LE-001 – Mintbrook/Cheatham Farm (Bealeton Gateway, LLC): A Comprehensive Plan Amendment to Expand the Bealeton Service District by Approximately 125 Acres to the North and to Allow for a Change in Land Use Designation from Medium Density Residential, Residential/No Sewer or Water, Rural (Outside of Service District), Park/Open Space and SCFRR (School/Church/Fire/Rescue/Recreation) to Institutional/Office/Mixed Use, Medium Density Residential, Park/Open Space and SCFRR (School/Church/Fire/Rescue/Recreation).  The Applicant is also Proposing Text Changes to the Bealeton Service District Plan and Inclusion in the Bealeton Service District Plan of an Illustrative Development Plan.

Staff would note that this application does not include the Starr Mawyer property (PIN 6899-17-4995), which is already designated Institutional/Office/Mixed Use in the Comprehensive Plan.  The applicant has indicated that he has a contract to purchase this property and intends to include it in his future rezoning to the new Mixed Use Bealeton Zoning District.

Topic Description:

The applicant is seeking to expand the Bealeton Service District by approximately 125 acres (Attachment 1).  The applicant is proposing that 99 acres of this area be designated Medium Density Residential: 4-6 Units Per Acre, and that three acres along Route 17, east of the floodplain, be designated Institutional/Office/Mixed Use.  Areas in the floodplain would be designated Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) Floodplain. 

Approximately 208 acres of the site are already within the Bealeton Service District. The applicant is proposing that the existing Institutional/Office/Mixed Use area be expanded northward and westward to include a total of 110 acres (Attachment 2).  This land is currently designated a combination of Medium Density Residential 4-6 units per acre, Residential/No Sewer or Water, Park/Open Space and SCFRR (School/Church/Fire/Rescue/Recreation).  The applicant is proposing a designation of Medium Density Residential: 4-6 Units Per Acre for 34 acres currently designated as Residential/No Sewer or Water.  Finally, the applicant is proposing two new sites, totaling 17 acres, to be designated Park/Open Space, and five acres to be designated SCFRR (School/Church/Fire/Rescue/Recreation).

The Concept Plan (Attachment 3) more clearly portrays the applicant’s intentions for the site.  It includes Mixed Use Core and Mixed Use General areas along the Route 17 frontage and the southern portion of the project.  The Concept Plan shows the western and northern part of the project, including the 125 acres proposed to be added to the service district, as Mixed Use Residential.  It is important to note that these are sub-areas contained in the new Mixed Use Bealeton Zoning District, and the applicant would be setting the stage with this Concept Plan for the future rezoning.

In general, the intent of each sub-area (as contained in the MU-Bealeton Zoning District) is that Mixed Use-Core would function as the center and major focal point for a service district and could include multi-family housing; Mixed Use-General would provide for a mix of office, retail and other commercial and residential uses; and Mixed Use-Residential is designated for residential development and intended to be integrated with adjacent mixed use sub-districts.

The project contains three principal internal roads – a north/south collector road, the east/west collector road included in the Comprehensive Plan, and Independence Avenue extended.  A grid layout extends from these three streets. The primary commercial entrance is along Route 17 across from Independence Avenue. The main residential entrance is the Comprehensive Plan Road, north on Route 17 across from Old Marsh Road.  Traffic roundabouts are tentatively shown on Route 17 at Old Marsh Road and the intersection of Route 17 and Route 28.  Roundabouts are also shown on a number of internal roads.

While this is a Comprehensive Plan Amendment, the applicant has indicated in the Statement of Justification (Attachment 7) many concepts that will be included in a future rezoning.  The applicant intends to incorporate traditional neighborhood development principles throughout the development.   The entire community will be walkable.  The Mixed Use Core and General areas will offer a full range of commercial, office, recreational, civic, and residential uses. The core area will include a pedestrian-scaled environment with a range of civic spaces designed to establish a “sense of place.”  The proposed residential density for the project will be three dwelling units per acre, which equates to approximately 1,000 residential units. 

The applicant believes that the location of its assemblage of properties is suited for a retail center at the intersection of Route 17 and Route 28.  This area could have a combination of larger stores and smaller in-line stores serving the nearby residents as well as the entire southern half of the county.  The interior portion of the project would contain a main street retail component easily accessible to nearby residents. 

The applicant is proposing that regional stormwater management be encouraged in the Bealeton Service District. Four locations are identified on the Concept Plan for potential facilities.  The applicant believes that regional stormwater management, along with low impact development and on-site stormwater management, has a role to play in this area. The applicant is seeking county support to further this concept by including it in the Comprehensive Plan.

Location, Zoning and Current Land Use:

The properties are located at 6331 Mintbrook Lane and 10633 Bowers Run Drive.  The properties are zoned Rural Agricultural (RA), Rural Residential (RR-2), and Planned Residential District (PRD).  The site is in agricultural use.

Mintbrook Zoning

Surrounding Zoning and Current Land Use:

Surrounding parcels are zoned RA to the north.  East of Route 17 is Village (V), Residential-4 (R-4), RA, and Commercial-Neighborhood (C-1) Zoning.  The parcels to the south are zoned RA, PRD, and Residential-2 (R-2).  The parcels to the west are zoned Residential-1 (R-1), R-2, RR-2, and RA. 

Land to the north is in agricultural use.  To the east is the Village of Liberty and Liberty High School.  Land immediately adjacent to the south is vacant, with commercial properties south of Route 28.  Land to the west is residential, the Meadowbrooke Subdivision, and agricultural.   

Adopted Bealeton Service District Plan

The Bealeton Service District Plan was amended by the Board of Supervisors on November 13, 2008 and again on January 8, 2009 (Attachment 8).  The principle change was that areas planned for commercial land uses were re-evaluated for a mix of uses, including residential development.  Of particular relevance to this application, the area formerly designated for Institutional/Office was changed to Institutional/Office/Mixed Use.  The plan states “The land use categories identified on the Bealeton Service District Land Use Plan as Commercial Office/Mixed Use (#1) and Institutional/Office/Mixed Use (#4) should emerge as the new, traditional downtown of Bealeton with a dominant presence of commercial uses, both office and retail.  Institutional uses are specifically sought in land use category #4.  Residential uses within this area should include a combination of residential units over commercial uses, live-work units, townhouses or multi-family units, with small lot single homes at the outer edges.  It is anticipated that these areas will be linked to each other for both pedestrian and vehicular activity via public streets, sidewalks, and crosswalks across Route 17 and throughout the anticipated street grid.” 

The recently amended plan seeks the inclusion of “main street specialty” uses and “destination retail” in the Bealeton Town Center.  Traditional neighborhood development principles have also been added to the Comprehensive Plan for the center of Bealeton.  These include a mix of uses within buildings, two and three story buildings, buildings and building entrances placed directly behind the sidewalks, and sidewalks of adequate widths to accommodate comfortable pedestrian movement and facilitate walkable shopping, including activities such as outdoor dining and cafes.

The recently amended plan also advocates Route 17 becoming the Main Street of Bealeton in the form of an attractive and walkable boulevard that knits the town together, while still respecting the need for regional through traffic. 

Staff Analysis:

Eleven key issues are highlighted in this staff report:

  1. Expansion of the Service District;
  2. Changes to the Land Use Designations;
  3. Total Residential Units;
  4. Public Utilities;
  5. Public Facilities;
  6. Roads;
  7. Retaining a Hard Edge to the Service District;
  8. Stormwater Management;
  9. Floodplain;
  10. Traditional Neighborhood Development; and
  11. Text Changes.

1. Expansion of the Service District

Chapter 6, Page 6 of the Comprehensive Plan states that “Any proposed additions to a service district shall require a Comprehensive Plan Amendment.  In considering such amendments, the Planning Commission and Board of Supervisors should examine such factors as: a) the justification for the proposed expansion of the community; b) the availability of water and sewer and other infrastructure such as fire and rescue facilities, schools, and roads; c) the fiscal and community-wide impacts of the addition; and d) the consistency of the proposed expansion with the orderly development of the service district.” 

The applicant contends that leaving the 125-acre portion of the existing Cheatham Farm out of the service district was an oversight.  However, the service district boundary has been in this location for many years.  Service district boundaries have been studied by the County a number of times, and the boundaries vetted through Citizen Committees, the Planning Commission, and the Board of Supervisors.   The portion of the Cheatham Farm in the Service District that is west of the floodplain is currently designated Residential/No Sewer or Water. The Comprehensive Plan established this area as the Service District Buffer, with only very large lots allowed.  In addition, the Cheatham Farm has been a longstanding feature that marks the gateway to the Bealeton Service District.

Another goal of the Comprehensive Plan is to “Maintain the unique, visual identity of Fauquier County’s villages and incorporate new development in a way that complements existing communities.”  The proposed expansion of the service district would be directly across Route 17 from the Village of Liberty.  Intense development so close to the Village of Liberty would compromise its integrity. The village would cease to be a unique location and would visually be absorbed into the Bealeton Service District.  The applicant’s Concept Plan (Attachment 3) includes a large open area with a pond across from the Village of Liberty.  This open area, depending on how it is developed, could serve as a buffer between an expanded service district and the Village of Liberty.  Should this expansion be approved, a large buffer area should be required in this location.

The fiscal impacts of the service district expansion have not been fully evaluated by staff. The applicant submitted a Market Research Analysis, a Local Economy and Economic Impact Analysis and a Fiscal Impact Analysis. These were all incomplete, and the applicant has indicated that his consultants are in the process of completing the studies.  In their absence, staff cannot truly evaluate the economic benefits or potential impacts associated with this project. 

 

2. Changes to the Land Use Designations

As noted in the descriptions above, the applicant is proposing that 99 acres outside of the service district be designated Medium Density Residential: 4-6 Units Per Acre, and that three acres along Route 17 be designated Institutional/Office/Mixed Use.  For the portions of the site already within the Bealeton Service District, the applicant is proposing that the area designated Institutional/Office/Mixed Use be expanded northward and westward to include a total of 110 acres.  This land is currently designated a combination of Medium Density Residential 4-6 units per acre, Residential/No Sewer or Water, Park/Open Space and SCFRR (School/Church/Fire/Rescue/Recreation).  The applicant is also proposing a designation of Medium Density Residential: 4-6 Units Per Acre for 34 acres currently designated as Residential/No Sewer or Water.  Finally, the applicant is proposing two new sites, totaling 17 acres, to be designated Park/Open Space, and five acres to be designated SCFRR (School/Church/Fire/Rescue/Recreation).  In all cases, areas in the floodplain would be designated FEMA Floodplain. 

Many of the proposed uses are clearly more intense than the adopted plan currently envisions for Bealeton.  The expansion of the Institutional/Office/Mixed Use area north to the area currently designated Medium Density Residential is not too radical a change in intensity.  Extending the Institutional/Office/Mixed Use area up to the adjacent Meadowbrooke Subdivision, a development of single family detached homes, is a more significant change.  It should be noted, however, that the Meadowbrooke Subdivision already has a buffer, generally 100 feet wide, on its perimeter.

 

The current Bealeton Plan clearly promotes mixed-use development in Bealeton, particularly in the area currently designated Institutional/Office/Mixed Use. The Board of Supervisors will need to consider the requested locations of Mixed Use Core, Mixed Use General, and Mixed Use Residential on the Concept Plan. 

The Board of Supervisors is reminded that in the standards of the new Mixed Use Bealeton Zoning District, residential density is based on the Comprehensive Plan Land Use Designations. While this is not a rezoning, the Land Use Plan sets the stage for any future rezoning.  Details are included below.

A.   Mixed Use – Core: No limit on the number of units that may be requested as Live/Work units or in buildings with ground floor commercial.  Other types of residential units are achievable utilizing the density provisions set forth below.

B.    Mixed Use – General:  No limit on the number of units that may be requested as Live/Work units or in buildings with ground floor commercial. Other types of residential units are achievable utilizing the density provisions set forth below.

C.    Mixed Use – Residential:  Maximum starting density for residential units is the bottom of the range specified in the Comprehensive Plan for the area, with additional density achievable through use of the bonus provisions set forth below.

Increases in residential densities as referenced above are encouraged in order to help focus residential growth in the Service Districts.  Such density increases shall be allowed consistent with the policies set forth in the Comprehensive Plan as approved by the Board in exchange for Transfer of Development Rights, affordable housing, and traditional neighborhood design.   Density increases awarded through Transfer of Development Rights shall be allowed only to the extent an equal amount thereof is retired from an area within five miles of the Bealeton Service District, and such Transfer of Development Rights shall be accomplished by acquiring and proffering easements on qualifying land or through other mechanisms acceptable to the Board of Supervisors and permitted under the laws of the Commonwealth of Virginia.  

The applicant plans to address the project’s density in the details of a companion rezoning application (to be submitted at a future date), including the provision of 1) affordable housing; 2) purchase of rural area development rights; 3) implementation of unique, town-scaled designs, and 4) voluntary proffers and conditions of rezoning approval.

The applicant’s request for Medium Density Residential: 4-6 Units Per Acre warrants caution.  While the applicant is seeking a density between 4 and 5 units per acre, the Medium Density Residential category allows up to 6 units per acre; 4 is the base level, and 6 is the level that can be earned. Should this application be approved, staff would strongly suggest that text be added to clarify the County’s position, which is perhaps a hybrid such as a maximum of three units per acre with a density of 4.5 to be earned via the bonuses noted above.  Without such text, the stage would be set for a density of 6 units per acre. 

The Board of Supervisors and the applicant should be aware that designating land for Park/Open Space and SCFRR (School/Church/Fire/Rescue/Recreation) does not release the applicant from providing institutional uses in the area designated Institutional/Office/Mixed Use.  The recently adopted Bealeton Plan clearly states “The land use categories identified on the Bealeton Service District Land Use Plan as Commercial Office/Mixed Use (#1) and Institutional/Office/Mixed Use (#4) should emerge as the new, traditional downtown of Bealeton with a dominant presence of commercial uses, both office and retail.  Institutional uses are specifically sought in land use category #4.” 

The Cheatham Farm House is a key landmark in this part of the County.  The area on the Concept Plan incorporating the house should be discussed in greater detail.  The mass and scale of the surrounding open space and landscaping should be proportionate to a farm house in order to maintain the visual aesthetic of this landmark rural structure.

3. Total Residential Units

The applicant seeks recognition that its aggregate proposed residential density of three homes per acre (approximately 1,000 units) satisfies the county’s vision for the service district. 

For purposes of comparison, staff has estimated the residential units that would have been generated given the current Land Use Plan.  The 55 acres currently designated Medium Density Residential: 4-6 units per acre could have generated between 220 and 330 residential units.  The Institutional/Office/Mixed Use area (including the  Starr Mawyer property) could have generated another 150 residential units plus commercial and institutional uses.  The land currently designated Residential/No Sewer or Water could only have generated about six residential units.  Based on the figures above, the adopted Comprehensive Plan would have allowed between 376 and 486 residential units inside the Service District on the applicant’s property plus the Starr Mawyer property.

In summary, while the current Land Use Plan would have generated up to 486 residential units, the applicant is seeking approximately 1,000 units. For further comparison, the Freedom Place development included 358 residential units.  

According to the Comprehensive Plan, the Bealeton Service District had 900 homes and 1,900 residents in 2000.  The applicant provided data to indicate that in 2008 there were 1,577 residential units in Bealeton.  The applicant provided further data to indicate that the remainder of the Bealeton Service District (excluding Mintbrook) at build-out could include an additional 822 - 1,085 residential units.  These figures do not include residential units in the Town Center or the Commercial/Office/Mixed Use area, nor do they include intensification of properties that have existing development but could have more intense development based on the Comprehensive Plan. 

 

Development

Residential Units

Existing (Year 2008)

1,577

Increase to build-out (excluding Mintbrook)

822-1,085

Mintbrook

1,000

Total at build-out*

3,399-3,662

 

*Total excludes residential units in Town Center and Commercial/Office/Mixed Use areas and intensification based on the Comprehensive Plan

The Bealeton Plan has a projected build-out size of 3,300 dwellings with 9,000 people.  The Board of Supervisors will need to seriously consider the implications of allocating the Service District residential build-out to the Mintbrook development.  This is particularly important as Supervisors indicated in the recently approved Bealeton Service District Plan that they are seeking residential development in the Town Center and the Commercial/Office/Mixed Use areas.

 

4. Public Utilities 

The Bealeton, Opal, and Remington Service Districts are all served by the Remington Wastewater Treatment Plant (WWTP).  The Business Development Strategies Report (March 2, 2007) (BDSR) documents the limited availability of sewer.  If fully built-out, the land already planned for these utilities in the three service districts would consume approximately 2,276,000 gallons per day (gpd) of sewer and over 2.0 million gallons per day (mgpd) for water.  The table below estimates the demand for public utilities.

 

Business Development Strategies Report (March 2, 2007)

The Remington WWTP is not yet fully operational to its maximum permitted capacity of 2.5 mgpd.  Rather than expand the treatment facility to treat 2.5 mgpd, the Board of Supervisors asked the WSA to make mandatory upgrades to the WWTP by 2010 for an anticipated total treatment capacity of between 1.8 and 2.0 mgpd. 

The Village Service District of Midland might also be a contender for this public utility.  It is estimated that Midland could require at least 100,000 gpd.  One option outlined in the Draft Midland Plan (2008) is to run sewer lines from the Remington WWTP to Midland. 

Using the BDSR estimates, the portion of the Mintbrook property already in the service district (including the Starr Mawyer property) would use approximately 222,000 gpd based on the current Bealeton Plan.  (78,000 gpd for 52 acres of office/institutional use and 144,000 gpd for as many as 480 residential units.)  WSA confirmed on March 18, 2009 that 300 gpd/EMU (equivalent metered units) is used for the Remington Treatment Plant.  260 gpd/EMU is used for the newer Vint Hill Plant.  Rough assumptions can be made about the sewer demand for the applicant’s proposal. 1,000 residential units would generate 300,000 gallon per day.  Approximately 160 acres of Mixed Use Core and General would generate about 240,000 gpd for the commercial uses. 

The applicant provided data on current sewage treatment at the Remington Treatment Plant.  These figures, validated by the WSA, show that the Mean Flow (GPD) is 782,024, with the Median Flow 653,500 GPD.  At the present time, 63% of the total is used in Bealeton, 33% in Remington and 5% in Opal.  Given a future treatment capacity of 2.0 MGPD, the applicant has estimated that 7,692 EMUs can be treated in the three service districts.  Using WSA’s figure of 300 gpd/EMU, staff estimates this at 6,667 EMUs.  Using the assumption that Bealeton will continue to receive 63% of the plant’s capacity, 2,700 EMUs can be added in the Bealeton Service District (4,200 future total minus 1,500 current usage).  One EMU corresponds to one single family unit or one townhouse.  Apartments and condominiums are calculated differently and use less than one EMU each.  Commercial, office and institutional uses are calculated independently, dependent on water usage.

Other than the work done for the BDSR, it is difficult to estimate the future commercial, office, and institutional usage at build-out of the service district. Such users in recent times have been striving to reduce sewage usage to reduce costs.  Assumptions can be made about the residential build-out.  The applicant’s study entitled “Sanitary Sewer Capacity Demand Analysis Bealeton Service District & Remington Sewer Treatment Facility” indicates that the build-out of Bealeton (excluding Mintbrook) adds up to 1,085 residential units to the service district.  Mintbrook would add another 1,000 residential units.  If all were single family units or townhouses the combination would need 2,085 EMUs.  If Bealeton will only have 2,700 EMUs available, the Board of Supervisors will need to think carefully about how these are allocated.  Commercial, office and institutional uses, including those on the Cheatham and Mawyer properties, will need some of those EMUs.  The applicant’s study showed only 18 acres of new commercial development, not including Mintbrook.  This is too low.  The study also did not show any residential development in areas planned for Mixed Use, so additional residential units, not reflected in the applicant’s study, are likely.  However, multi-family units would lower the residential allocation considerably.  The applicant used a figure of 1 EMU per 4 multi-family units.  WSA does not use such a precise figure, as this varies with the number of fixtures.  In addition, if some of the Remington Treatment Plant capacity is needed in Midland or more is needed for Opal and Remington, allocations would shift.    

The proposed Service District expansion and land use proposals will require public water.  The WSA has opined that there is an adequate water supply source to service this project.

5. Public Facilities

Comprehensive Plan Amendments must include an analysis of infrastructure such as fire and rescue facilities and schools and the fiscal and community-wide impacts.  While rezoning applications typically use the proffer model to determine impacts, with a Comprehensive Plan Amendment, a more holistic view is needed as the proposed uses have not previously been taken into account in county plans.  The community facility needs generated by the proposed development and the community facility needs of the service district need to both be considered.

The adopted Future Land Use Plan for Bealeton designates three sites on the Cheatham Farm for SCFRR (School/Church/Fire/Rescue/Recreation) and one site for park/open space.  The Introduction Chapter of the Bealeton, Opal, and Remington Plan calls for neighborhoods of 80 to 160 acres with identifiable community focal points such as a park, elementary school, or recreational center.  Given that this proposal is for over 300 acres and will include a number of neighborhoods, the expectation would be that parks, an elementary school, and a community center should all be provided as focal points for neighborhoods.  The application states that sites will be reserved for a town park, an open space system, a site for a church and neighborhood chapel, a site for a community center, and a site for a major recreational facility such as a YMCA.  Staff would suggest that given the magnitude of this proposal, the applicant work with the School Division and the Fire Rescue and Emergency Services Departments to evaluate sites for their facilities as well.

The five acres on the west side of the floodplain designated for SCFRR (School/Church/Fire/Rescue/Recreation) are not adequate for a typical County elementary or middle school.  It may be appropriate for a Fire/Rescue station or Recreation area.  However, this project generates the need for at least one elementary school and possibly a middle school.  Land needs to be designated to accommodate those facilities.  In addition, Recreation or Park/Open Space should also be a key component of the entire project and the Comprehensive Plan calls for its inclusion in the areas designated Institutional/Office/Mixed Use.

More detailed information on school impacts is provided later in this report in the comments from the School Division.

6. Roads

The application addresses many aspects of the transportation plans included in the Bealeton Plan.  The Plan includes the east/west collector road on the northern portion of the site, and the applicant’s plans show this road extending beyond the site to Weaversville Road (Route 662).   (No evidence of the applicant’s ability to extend this road off-site has yet been provided.)  The proposal includes the extension of Church Road, the parallel road to Route 17.  The applicant has expressed a willingness to work with the County to develop further details of the “Bealeton Boulevard” called for in the recently approved Comprehensive Plan Amendment.  This boulevard concept might include roundabouts.

The applicant’s Concept Plan (Attachment 3) includes a complete road network not yet evaluated by the County since a full TIA is not required with a Comprehensive Plan application.  The Concept Plan also includes roundabouts on Route 17.  While both of these features may prove to be desirable to the County in the future, at this point in time, they should not be included in any Concept Plan adopted as part of the Comprehensive Plan, as they have not been fully vetted.

It is critical to point out that the applicant’s plans call for a generally rectilinear grid of streets and alleys.  This is a key component of traditional neighborhood development as called for in the current Bealeton Plan, but to date, has been sorely lacking in Bealeton.

7. Retaining a Hard Edge to the Service District

The adopted Comprehensive Plan contains multiple references to the premier County goal of preserving the rural areas and channeling growth to the Service Districts.  A key strategy to achieve this goal is to maintain a hard open space edge around the service district boundaries.  The Bealeton Plan states “The community will be surrounded by large lot rural housing along the perimeter.”  In the Bealeton Plan, the designation of Residential/No Sewer of Water formed the large lot area.  At this time, much of the Cheatham Farm inside of the service district is part of this hard edge for the Bealeton Service District.

The applicant has suggested that the rural areas north of the Cheatham Farm could serve as the rural hard edge for Bealeton.  The applicant provided information documenting the existing parcels and their development potential.  The 642 acres north of the Cheatham Farm contain 30 lots today.   Based on the applicant’s research, the potential exists for 17 more lots in that area.  The Board of Supervisors will need to consider whether they consider 47 lots on 642 acres (average lot size 13.6 acres) to be an adequate rural hard edge for the service district. 

The applicant has indicated that he intends to employ the purchase of rural area development rights to enhance the hard edge to an expanded service district.  To date, details have not been provided.

8. Stormwater Management

The application discusses creative approaches to address and implement stormwater management. A variety of approaches including regional stormwater management, on-site stormwater management, and LID are advocated.   The text calls for a County stormwater management master plan.  The text changes state that “these facilities should be designed to reduce peak flows and existing storm drainage problems within the developed downstream areas… funding for such facilities and related feasibility studies should be principally borne by the private sector in conjunction with new and redevelopment projects.”  It is not clear how these costs would be allocated or how the master plan would be funded.

The applicant seeks Comprehensive Plan recognition that its stormwater management approach, as shown on its Concept Plan, is a desirable approach to address storm drainage problems within the Bealeton Service District.  Should the regional stormwater management strategy be a component that the Board of Supervisors wishes to investigate and pursue, there is a significant amount of up-front work that will be necessary on behalf of the County to establish such a plan.  The Engineering Office has been advised by the Virginia Department of Conservation and Recreation that in order to pursue such an undertaking, Fauquier County would need a Regional (Watershed-wide) Stormwater Plan in place in order to utilize a regional facility per 4 VAC50-60-90.  It would also require facilities outside of the applicant’s site at a future date.  Greater details are contained in the comment letter from the County Engineer (Attachment 6). 

In light of the County’s still developing understanding of Regional Stormwater Management, it would be imprudent to include the applicant’s Regional Stormwater Management ponds on any Concept Plan adopted as part of the Comprehensive Plan.  In addition, the proposed Stormwater Management facilities at the confluence of the two branches of Bowers Run could require the replacement of WSA owned community wells by the applicant.

9. Floodplain

The applicant’s Concept Plan shows approximately 42 acres of floodplain within the current service district and an additional 23 acres in the proposed expansion area. 

 Mintbrook Floodplain 

A floodplain study was submitted by the applicant and approved by the County on November 26, 2008.  The floodplain study only revised the existing Zone A floodplain within the project site.  The study provided a more detailed analysis, which resulted in minor revisions to the floodplain boundary.  The study is currently being processed by FEMA to revise the effective Flood Insurance Rate Maps (FIRM) in the County.  Please be advised that the study modeled existing conditions only and did not include any proposed fill in the floodplain associated with the contemplated Mintbrook plan.  The applicant will have to perform another floodplain study to model the floodplain reflecting the proposed project. 

 

Staff notes that the applicant conducted this study only for the Mintbrook Farm parcel from the northern property line downstream to Route 28.  The applicant opted to not follow the previous recommendation of the County Engineering staff associated with the former Freedom Place project to extend the analysis further downstream to Remington Road.  The purpose of this recommendation by staff was to accurately depict the floodplain along the existing Meadfield and Fox Meade subdivisions, which have a history of known flooding even though some houses are not reflected to be within the existing FEMA designated floodplain.  Extending the floodplain study within these subdivisions would determine whether or not the rezoning of the Mintbrook property upstream would result in further increases in flooding impacts to downstream properties.  The former Freedom Place project followed the above recommendation.   

County Engineering staff recommends a detailed hydrologic and hydraulic flood analysis for the Bowens Run flood corridor extending from the upper property limits, downstream to the roadway crossing of Route 656, Remington Road. This study must compare the pre-developed (existing) condition to the post-developed (rezoned) condition and must demonstrate that downstream properties will not be subject to greater flooding impacts.

If this study does not take place with the Comprehensive Plan Amendment, this analysis will be recommended by staff with any future rezoning application.  It is suggested that the applicant tie his data into the Luck Stone Quarry floodplain data at Remington Road to show downstream impacts.  Please be advised that the analysis will likely show changes to the existing floodplain and may result in houses/parcels within the FEMA 100-year floodplain that have never been shown in the floodplain before.  If the County wishes to achieve improvements to downstream flooding conditions, additional flood control measures would be required with the applicant’s project and should be considered as part of any future rezoning application.

10. Traditional Neighborhood Development

Traditional Neighborhood Development is called for in the adopted Bealeton Plan and was recently given greater emphasis in the amendment to the Bealeton Plan adopted by the Board of Supervisors on November 13, 2008 and further revised on January 8, 2009 (Attachment 8). Traditional neighborhood development is based on a generally rectilinear pattern of blocks and interconnecting streets and alleys.  It includes a mix of uses and a mix of housing types.  The applicant has stated the creative concepts for this project will include Traditional Neighborhood Development, a downtown core, a mix of uses and community civic space.  While the details of these elements will not be clear until the rezoning stage, given the recently adopted Comprehensive Plan Amendment, these would all be clear expectations of any future rezoning in this area.  This project could facilitate the type of development long sought in the Bealeton Plan.

11. Text Changes

The applicant has proposed a considerable number of text changes for the Bealeton Plan.  Many of these promote creative approaches to address stormwater management and drainage problems in the service district; this has been addressed elsewhere in this staff report. 

Other text amendments seek to bolster and lay the ground work for the applicant’s development proposal and future rezoning.  They are clearly self-serving.  However, should the County support the applicant’s Comprehensive Plan Amendment, these text changes could be appropriate. 

Comments on other text changes are noted below.

In Section 2b. of the Vision Statement, the applicant proposes text that moves the large lot hard edge from inside the service district to outside the service district.  This is a point clearly worthy of Board of Supervisors’ discussion, regardless of their view of this particular application.

In Section 3.c. Fire/Emergency Rescue/Police Center, the applicant will need to verify with Emergency Services the practicality of shared parking. 

In Section 4.e. Service District Buffer, the applicant proposes text concerning the rural hard edge north of his property.  Comments made earlier in the staff report under 7. Retaining a Hard Edge to the Service District are relevant here as well.

The applicant attempted to update Table BE-1 in the adopted Bealeton Plan to show the impact of his proposed land use designations.  However, Table BE-1 is no longer accurate.  Staff has prepared a new table (Attachment 5) to reflect existing land use designation as of February 2009.   This data represents actual measured acreages provided by the GIS Department.  The total acreage within the Bealeton Service District is 2307.16 acres.  Staff also provided figures in the last column to show the impact of the Mintbrook proposal on the land use designations.

 

Staff and Review Agency Comments: 

Staff and 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 provided in Attachment 6.

Planning Commission Summary and Action of March 26, 2009:

The Planning Commission discussed this item at their work session.  A public hearing was held at which seven members of the public spoke in opposition to the project.  Concerns included: adding 125 acres to the service district; the large size of the project; inconsistency with the Comprehensive Plan; floodplain concerns; overcrowded schools; no input from the Bealeton residents; and Meadowbrook Subdivision’s opposition to the proposal.

The Planning Commissioners expressed their views on the proposal.  Chairman Stone stated that a rezoning application was needed in tandem with the Comprehensive Plan Amendment, so that the County would be assured of the complete project.  Chairman Stone was less concerned with the number of residential units, but was opposed to expansion of the Service District.  Commissioner Meadows said he was not necessarily against moving the service district line, if there was sufficient green space preserved to the north of the new edge.  He was disappointed that the rezoning application did not accompany the Comprehensive Plan Amendment.  Commissioner Garreau said she would be opposed to this amendment even with a companion rezoning, as this application was not in compliance with the citizen-driven Comprehensive Plan.  Commissioner Alm noted the benefits of one developer rather than having piecemeal development; however, he wanted to respect the existing plan with its northern boundary.  He also expressed particular concern over the floodplain.  Commissioner McCarty stated that she was opposed to the expansion of the service district. 

Commissioner Meadows made the motion for a recommendation of denial.  The Planning Commissioners unanimously recommended denial to the Board of Supervisors.   

 

Planning Commission Summary and Action of February 26, 2009:

The Planning Commission discussed this item at their work session.  The applicant submitted a study entitled “Sanitary Sewer Capacity and Demand Analysis Bealeton Service District & Remington Sewer Treatment Facility.”  Commissioners discussed their reservations with this application.

A public hearing was held.  The applicant presented a PowerPoint overview of the project that included a “Southern Fauquier Regional Recreation Complex and Elementary School” on an adjacent property northwest of the Bealeton Service District.  The applicant indicated this was not part of his formal application.  Concerns have remained constant during hearings and included: opposition to adding 125 acres to the service district; preserving a green gateway to Bealeton; 1,000 residential units will generate too much traffic; sewer capacity; rezoning application needed in tandem with the Comprehensive Plan Amendment (CPAM); and overcrowded schools.

The public hearing was postponed until March 26, 2009.

 

Planning Commission Summary and Action of January 29, 2009:

The Planning Commission discussed this item at their work session.  A public hearing was held at which eight members of the public spoke against the project.  Concerns included: opposition to adding 125 acres to the service district; preserving a green gateway to Bealeton; 1,000 residential units will generate too much traffic; sewer capacity; rezoning application needed in tandem with the CPAM; and overcrowded schools.

The public hearing was postponed until February 26, 2009.

 

Planning Commission Summary and Action of December 10, 2008:

The Planning Commission discussed this item at their work session.  A public hearing was held at which five members of the public spoke against the project.  Concerns voiced were: increased flooding, lack of land designated for institutional uses, sewer capacity, density of development, uncertainty over regional stormwater  management, need for a companion rezoning application, increased taxes for school costs, overcrowded schools, potential for private wells to dry up, and general impacts to public facilities.

The public hearing was postponed until January 29, 2009.

Summary and Recommendation:

Section 13-202(4)(A)(c)(2) of the Zoning Ordinance lists considerations for evaluating Comprehensive Plan Amendments, all or some of which may be applicable:

  • Creative Concepts;
  • Oversights;
  • Change in Circumstances;
  • Goals; and
  • Hardship

The applicant has clearly demonstrated his intent to use creative concepts, particularly a downtown core, a grid street network, traditional neighborhood development, and creation of the Bealeton Boulevard.  Staff does not see that any oversights have occurred in the previous designations of the service district boundaries or land uses. There have been some significant changes in the surrounding land uses, especially the recently adopted amendment to the Bealeton Plan which clearly indicates the County’s desire for mixed use in the Office/Institutional/Mixed Use portion of this site.  Many of the goals of the Bealeton Plan, such as town center and neighborhood design principles would be met with this application.  However, the goal of a build-out size of only 3,300 dwellings with 9,000 people could be jeopardized by this proposal.  The applicant has not demonstrated any hardship. 

In summary, this application involves the balancing of competing issues.  The Board of Supervisors will need to carefully consider the advantages and disadvantages of adding 125 acres to the Bealeton Service District and changing the land use designations as proposed.  Input from the public at the public hearing must also be carefully considered. 

The applicant’s Concept Plan has much to recommend itself.  It establishes a mixed use vision for Bealeton in a neo-traditional pattern.  Staff would caution however against including the detailed road network and the regional stormwater management ponds at this time, as they have not been fully evaluated.  Staff also urges the inclusion of text clarifying the highest possible density, since 6 units per acre is likely unacceptable.

Numerous text changes are proposed by the applicant for the Bealeton Service District Plan.  Many of these promote regional stormwater management, which the county has yet to fully study or endorse.

 

Requested Action of the Board of Supervisors: 

Conduct a public hearing.

 

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

Department of Community Development
Fauquier County Water and Sanitation Authority
Department of Emergency Services
Sheriff’s Department
Fauquier County Public Schools
Area Residents and Businesses

Attachments:

1.       Proposed Service District Expansion

2.       Proposed Future Land Use Plan

3.       Proposed Concept Plan

4.       Proposed Text Amendment (February 5, 2009)

5.       Revised Table BE-1

6.       Referral Agency Comments

7.       Statement of Justification

8.       Bealeton Service District Plan Amendment & Future Land Use Plan (adopted by the Board of Supervisors on January 8, 2009)

 

Back to Agenda...