COUNTY OF FAUQUIER
PLANNING COMMISSION STAFF REPORT
MARCH 28, 2002
EXCEPTION #SE 02-CR-18
PLANNER: Brian Davis
applicant, who is also the contract purchaser of the subject parcels in
this application, is requesting special exception approval to establish a
light industrial use in the Rural Agricultural zoning district.
applicant, Schiebel Technology, is the manufacturer of unmanned, remote
control aerial vehicle systems. The
company’s current location at Vint Hill does not allow for expansion, so
the County Economic Development Office has been working with the applicant
to find an alternative site within the County to re-locate the business.
keeping with the requirements of Article 3-317 of the Zoning Ordinance,
less than one acre (0.998 acres) is proposed to be used for the industrial
use. Within this area, there
would be an 8,300 square foot building with a height not to exceed 35
feet, 32 parking spaces, a test launch and landing area for the equipment
(approximately 60 feet by 60 feet), six light poles (14 feet in height)
and landscaping. The proposed
one-acre industrial site is located in the southwest corner of the
252-acre parcel, approximately 200 feet from the western property line.
The site would be accessed by an existing 30-foot easement, and is
approximately 2,000 feet from State Route 836.
The existing easement is proposed to be improved with a 16-foot
wide paved road. The new
structure would be approximately 200 feet from the nearest property line,
and landscaping would be planted along that property line to buffer
potential visual impacts. A
proposed drainfield area is delineated in the northeastern portion of the
252 acre parcel, approximately 2,400 feet from the proposed building
specifics of the business include Monday through Friday, single-shift
operations with hours from 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., and no more than 25
employees. The applicant
estimates that the use will generate approximately 62 vehicle trips per
day, primarily by employees and UPS/Federal Express-type delivery
vehicles. With regard to
outdoor activities, it is noted that the unmanned remote controlled aerial
vehicles would be tested occasionally, primarily for take-off and landing
tests. This area is
delineated on the special exception plat.
The applicant has noted that the vehicles can fly to a maximum
height of about 8,500 feet, but that typical operations are between 500
and 1,000 feet above ground level. There
is currently no Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) requirement for
licensing of or restriction to unmanned aerial vehicles, beyond a
prohibition from controlled airspace.
The applicant also states that sound impacts are similar to or less
than that of a chainsaw or remote controlled model airplane.
Analysis (See Attachment 2)
the incorporation of the proposed development conditions found in
Attachment 1, it is staff’s evaluation that the majority of this
application is in substantial conformance with the Comprehensive Plan and
the applicable Zoning Ordinance provisions.
Should the Planning Commission choose to forward this application
with a recommendation of approval, staff recommends that such action be
subject to the proposed conditions in Attachment 1.
following standards are set forth for an industrial use in the
agricultural zoning district:
1. Outdoor activities and storage in conjunction with such uses shall be effectively screened.
The remote location of the one-acre use site, combined with the proposed
landscaping, will screen outdoor activities. Clearly, the aerial aspects associated with the use cannot be
entirely screened, but a condition prohibits any aircraft from flying over
land other than that included in the application and should be less
intrusive than airplanes flying overhead.
2. No retail sales connected with such use shall be conducted on the premises.
3. Such a use shall not substantially reduce, impede or conflict with agricultural operations conducted in the vicinity.
It is staff’s evaluation that the proposed intensity of the use
(single shift operation, weekdays only) combined with the remote area and
with approximately 330 acres of open space with continued lease farming
will not substantially impact surrounding farm operations. As noted previously, there are already commercial and
industrial-type uses already established in this immediate vicinity.
4. Open space shall be provided for such uses in the amounts for the following zoning districts:
5. Such uses shall be separated from all property lines in distance of not less than one hundred (100) feet.
Such a use shall have direct access to a road designated as a major
collector (or higher) in the Comprehensive Plan unless the Board of
Supervisors or the Board of Zoning Appeals finds that the type and amount
of traffic generated by the facility is such that it will not cause an
undue impact on the neighbors or adversely affect safety of road usage.
Such alternative access shall be to a road designated in the
Comprehensive Plan no lower than rural minor collector or urban local.
The minimum lot size requirement shall be two hundred (200) acres.
structures shall be compatible with the character of the area.
conditioned that the building façade be similar to either a residential
structure or agricultural building. Additionally,
the building height will not exceed 35 feet, which is the permitted
building height for any structure in the agricultural zoning district.
The County Engineer has noted that commercial well
and septic drainfield requirements should be satisfied, along with
stormwater management and best management practices.
It is also noted that limits of disturbance should be restricted to
those areas shown on the special exception plat. These concerns have been incorporated into development
The County Soil Scientist has noted that there are shrink-swell clays on the property, so final site placement may be subject to special engineering and design. This concern has been incorporated into a development condition. Alternative drainfield systems are likely due to soil conditions.