COUNTY OF FAUQUIER

DEPARTMENT OF COMMUNITY DEVELOPMENT

BOARD OF SUPERVISORS

PUBLIC HEARING

STAFF REPORT

MAY 20, 2002

AMEND SECTION 3-401 (MAXIMUM DENSITY) OF THE FAUQUIER COUNTY ZONING ORDINANCE TO CHANGE THE MAXIMUM PERMITTED DENSITY IN THE RESIDENTIAL-1 (R-1) ZONING DISTRICT FROM 0.9 DWELLING UNITS PER ACRE TO 1.0 DWELLING UNITS PER ACRE

APPLICANT:             Fauquier County Planning Commission

PROPOSAL:                          To amend Section 3-401 of the Zoning Ordinance with regard to the maximum permitted density in the Residential-1 (R-1) zoning district.  The amendment would change the maximum density from 0.9 dwelling units per acre to 1.0.

                                               

STAFF PLANNER:                Rick Carr, Director of Community Development

BACKGROUND:

The Planning Commission voted at its February 28, 2002 meeting to initiate this text amendment.  The amendment would change the maximum number of dwellings per acre permitted in the Residential-1 (R-1) zoning district from 0.9 to 1.0.

The Commission held a public hearing March 28, 2002 and tabled the matter for further consideration.  The Commission then voted 4-1 to forward the amendment proposal to the Board of Supervisors with a recommendation for denial.

The original intent of the Zoning Ordinance for R-1 density was one dwelling unit per acre.  The Residential-2 (R-2) zoning district has a maximum density of two (2) dwelling units per acre, a Residential-3 (R-3) zoning district may have up to three (3) dwelling units per acre, with the Residential-4 (R-4) zoning district possessing a density of four (4) dwelling units per acre.

The 0.9 density means a property owner now must have more than one acre per proposed lot to be able to subdivide.  For example, a property zoned R-1 must have at least 2.223 acres to permit subdivision into two lots, as 2.223 acres times 0.9 density (dwelling units/acre) equals 2.007 dwelling units.  When determining maximum density, staff rounds downward, so a density of 1.9998 (2.222 acres) would yield one dwelling unit, while the aforementioned 2.007 would provide density for two dwellings.

By contrast, the Zoning Ordinance allows lots of a minimum of 40,000 square feet (approximately 0.918 acres) in conventional R-1 developments.  A subdivision design could have two lots totaling 80,000 square feet, but a person could not subdivide two acres (87,120 square feet) in the R-1 district.

The current density designation was in affect before the Board of Supervisors added several ordinances in response to House Bill 2324.  Developments of 25 lots or greater in the R-1 district now must include 25 percent open space (50 percent in clustered developments), and tree canopy and landscaping requirements now apply in subdivisions to help buffer effects of a development upon neighborhood properties.

THE PROPOSED AMENDMENT:

This amendment would: 

        change the maximum density in the Residential-1 zoning district from 0.9 dwelling units per acre to 1.0.

        bring the Residential-1 district into alignment with other residential districts with regard to calculation of maximum permitted density.  The new ratio would be 1:1 of permitted dwellings to acres, such as the R-2 district (2:1) or R-4 (4:1) instead of the .9 dwellings currently permitted when doing density calculations.

STAFF RECOMMENDATION

Staff recommends the Board of Supervisors conduct a public hearing and consider the text amendments at its May 20, 2002 meeting.  A copy of the text amendment to Section 3-401 is Attachment A.

ATTACHMENTS:

A.                 Copy of proposed text amendment to Section 3-401