COUNTY OF FAUQUIER
PLANNING COMMISSION STAFF REPORT
FEBRUARY 28, 2002
PLAN AMENDMENT #CPA02-S-04, AND SPECIAL EXCEPTION CASES #SE 02-S-13 and SE
02-S-14, SUFFIELD MEADOWS CONTINUING CARE FACILITY
recommends deferral of these combined applications to allow Planning
Commission consideration of the comments received at public hearing and to
allow the applicant to address the issues identified in the Staff Analysis
section of this report.
Exception to Permit a Continuing Care Facility
applicant is proposing to construct a continuing care facility on the
subject property, which consists of approximately 120 acres of land with
frontage on the west side Lee Highway (U.S. Routes 15/29) at its
intersection with Fosters Fork Road (State Route 673).
The property is bounded to the north and east by the New Baltimore
Service District boundary and is approximately 4 miles northeast of the
Town of Warrenton. A total of
152 varied living units are proposed.
The proposed facility would consist of the following components in
an age-restricted community:
assisted living facility with a 40-bed capacity,
condominium buildings with a total of 32 individual units,
detached cottage units, and
assisted living facility would offer 24-hour assistance to residents.
According to the applicant, this facility would be licensed by the
Virginia Department of Social Services and an independent operator would
be selected for facility management.
Approximately 30 full time equivalent employees are proposed.
A clubhouse, fitness center and swimming pool are also planned as
community features. The
community is also proposed to include a bank facility, gift and
convenience shop, pharmacy delivery service and dining room.
There are also walking trails, a wetlands boardwalk and other open
space/garden features proposed for use by the community’s residents.
The 120-acre parcel would remain intact under one common ownership,
so there would be no subdivision of the land into individual lots.
Rather, each individual unit would be independently owned on land
that would be owned and maintained by the Homeowner’s Association.
main entrance to the site is proposed from Lee Highway, aligned with the
crossover for Baldwin Street (Route 673.)
The existing farm entrance on Route 29 would be closed.
There are also two (2) proposed entrances from Fosters Fork Road,
one secondary in nature and the other as an unpaved emergency access.
A majority of the development is proposed to be clustered roughly
in the center portion of the property, with the exception of the assisted
living facility, which is proposed along the Route 29 frontage near
Fosters Fork Road. The community would be served by a private road network, with
a 24-hour security gate at the main entrance.
The community would operate as an age-restricted facility under an
exemption from the Fair Housing Amendments Act of 1988.
This allows housing intended and operated for occupancy by persons
of a minimum age of 55 years. In
addition, this proposed community would not permit children under the age
of 19 to live on the premises.
Plan Amendment to Extend Water Beyond Service District Boundary
applicant is proposing to serve this community with a centralized water
system that would be an extension of the Fauquier County Water and
Sanitation Authority’s (WSA) New Baltimore system.
Because this property is not located within the Service District
boundary, a comprehensive plan amendment is required to extend public
water services beyond the Service District boundary.
The applicant states that the property provides an opportunity for
the WSA to complete a regional water loop between Snow Hill and the
Jamison tract, while also allowing access to the well on the subject
property as a backup water supply for future needs in the New Baltimore
area. The applicant maintains
that this regional looping, which would be created through the approval of
this request, would enhance water pressure and fire protection reliability
for the Service District.
Exception to Allow Construction of Private Wastewater System
applicant is also proposing the construction of a privately owned and
operated central wastewater system, due to the property location beyond
the Service District boundary. The
proposed system would include gravity sewers and single pump station. The treatment process proposed by the applicant involves the
application of treated water to a closed, subsurface drip/drainfield
system that would eliminate contact to open air and minimize odor
potential when combined with minimized flow retention times in the
conveyance hydraulics. The
proposed wastewater treatment building would be located in a screened area
near the western property boundary. The
primary drainfied areas are concentrated in a rectangular area extending
from the southern property boundary towards the center of the property.
The required 200% reserve areas are scattered throughout the
property. It is noted that
all collection, conveyance and treatment for the wastewater system would
be underground or in building designed to a residential character.
applicant has submitted a letter requesting concurrent processing of these
combined applications. As
such, the Planning Commission has 90 days from the date of its public
hearing to make a recommendation to the Board of Supervisors on the
comprehensive plan amendment and the two (2) special exception
Analysis of the Applications
of the Continuing Care Facility – Special Exception, Category 6
proposed, the continuing care facility would include a total of 152 living
units, dispersed among a 40-bed assisted living facility, 32 individual
condominium units, 50 cottages and 30 duplex (villa) units.
Also proposed are numerous accessory uses such as a banking
facility, salon, gift/convenience shop, pharmacy delivery, transportation
service, clubhouse and dining room facilities, recreational trails,
community gardens, a swimming pool and pool house. The Zoning
Administrator has issued a written determination that the intent of the
Continuing Care Facility use was to allow cottages or single family units
as independent structures and/or condominium buildings as part of the
facility, which appears to support the mixture of uses proposed in this
concentration of mixed uses is planned for a 120-acre parcel adjacent to
the New Baltimore Service District on Lee Highway (Routes 15/29).
Under existing RA (Rural Agricultural) zoning regulations, the
parcel has the ability to be divided into a maximum of six (6) residential
lots, one of which would be required to comprise 85% of the acreage, or
102 acres. While staff agrees
that the proposed use is beneficial to the County, there is concern that
the overall density of 112 cottages and condominium units (excluding the
40-bed assisted living facility) is equivalent to the density of a
conventional R-1 subdivision in a Comprehensive Plan designated rural
area. (Comparison made by
factoring the property size of 120 acres and multiplying the R-1 density
rate of 0.9 dwelling units per acre).
Additionally, the scale and bulk of two (2) condominium buildings
combined with an assisted living facility is not consistent with the
existing patterns of development in the area.
Staff is of the opinion that there should be some consideration to reducing the overall effective density in this
proposal to mitigate both land use and transportation impacts.
Additionally, the current plan design includes the placement of the
assisted living facility in close proximity to the highway, separated from
the remainder of the planned residential units, both in distance and
further segregated by a gate. Consideration should be given to a redesigned community that
provides all of the combined components within a cohesive, inter-connected
design that is more in the intent of the continuing care “facility”
use category, and also demonstrates the applicant’s stated intent to
provide a community for individuals to “age in place.”
Trip Generation - Using standard traffic count information, a residential development
on the subject property under the existing zoning would generate 60
vehicle trips per day. The
applicant has submitted revised traffic count information indicating an
estimated trip generation of 500 vehicle trips per day using a combination
of elderly housing and congregate care categories.
When applying actual traffic counts from a similar development in
New Jersey, the applicant’s figures drop the estimated trip generation
to 359 vehicle trips per day. The
applicant estimates it would take 36-50 conventional single family lots to
generate an equivalent amount of traffic.
Because it would not be possible to locate 36-50 single family lots
on this parcel without a Comprehensive Plan amendment and rezoning, staff
questions the value of this comparison.
Rather, staff is of the opinion that it is more practical to focus
on the trips that could be generated by this proposed use in conjunction
with its location on the County’s major arterial highway, Route 29,
which by the applicant’s own traffic count information carries as much
as 25,000 vehicle trips in a 24 hour period, with a peak of 2,725 vehicles
in a peak morning hour. (Figures from an actual count on Wednesday,
January 23, 2002). While the
applicant contends that an age-restricted community does not generate the
traffic of a conventional residential development, the age restriction of
one owner being at least 55 years in age does not preclude one or both
members of the household from working full-time, or other family members
over the age of 19 from living in the community.
Additionally, the employees of the community and its service
features (i.e. bank, salon, etc.) will also generate traffic during peak
hours, as well as delivery traffic.
Route 29 Impacts – The Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT) has identified a
series of issues in relation to existing conditions on Route 29 and
recommended improvements that should be completed by the applicant in the
event that this application is improved.
Recommended VDOT improvements are as follows:
Future Route 673 Intersection Alignment –
There have been preliminary discussions between VDOT, the applicant and
County staff regarding the possibility of the applicant to relocate and
construct a new alignment for Fosters Fork Road (Route 673 on the north
side of Route 29) through the subject property so that it crosses over
Route 29 at Baldwin Street (Route 673 south of Route 29).
This would eliminate the existing offset intersection.
Such realignment would eliminate an existing access point to Route
29 and potentially assist in reducing turning movements on this heavily
traveled highway. The
applicant has agreed in concept to this issue and has provided alternative
drawings showing such an alignment. VDOT
supports the concept but does not want to commit to the applicant’s
proposed configuration as the ultimate design.
This matter should be debated by the Planning Commission and
considered through the public hearing process before a final
recommendation is made to the Board of Supervisors.
Zoning Ordinance Standards
applicant sets forth in their Statement of Justification (See Attachment
2) how the application satisfies both the general standards for a special
exception use and the additional standards for a continuing care facility.
Staff analysis of certain standards for the Planning Commission to
5-006, item 2. – The proposed use shall be such that pedestrian and
vehicular traffic generated will not be hazardous or conflict with the
existing and anticipated traffic in the neighborhood and on the streets
serving the site.
5-006, item 4. – Open space shall be provided in an amount at least
equal to that specified for the zoning district in which the proposed use
5-006, item 9. – Except as provided in this Article, all uses shall
comply with the lot size, bulk regulations and performance standards of
the zoning district in which located.
5-606, item 10 - The proposed use including all structures, roads and
landscaping shall be sited, designed and constructed in a manner which
minimizes the impact of the development on the neighborhood and the
County. The scale of the physical facilities shall be such that the
appearance of the project will be visually harmonious and appropriate to
the neighborhood and immediate area.
County Engineer recommends that the private street system proposed by the
applicant be dedicated to public use, with the roads designed and
constructed in accordance with VDOT standards within 50 foot
right-of-ways. The County
could make this a final condition of approval upon finding that such a
change is deemed necessary in the public interest.
The unpaved emergency access proposed from Fosters Fork Road should
be a minimum 15-foot width.
Emergency Services Coordinator has verbally indicated the need for at
least one additional ambulance for the New Baltimore Rescue Squad will be
generated by this proposed use. The
applicant has agreed to provide $50,000 towards the purchase of a new
ambulance, which can be incorporated into a final condition of approval. The Emergency Services Coordinator also indicated the
preference for a public water system in terms of providing more reliable
fire protection and recommended that the assisted living facility be
limited to the proposed 40 beds.
Chairman of the Library Board has noted that if the applicant’s
assertion that 70% of the residents will be existing County residents,
then the expected impact on library services would be minimal.
However, it is further noted that there is the potential for this
proposed use to rely on the Warrenton Library’s outreach services which
are already in heavy demand without adequate staff.
Other Environmental Concerns
Soil Scientist has noted that slope area in the 15-25% range should be
monitored and protected carefully during site development.
In addition, many of the soils on the property are highly erosive,
which will require filtration practices as opposed to standard
sedimentation. It is further
noted that roads on certain soil types will require special design to
overcome low bearing capacity.
of Public Water Beyond a Service District Boundary – Comprehensive Plan
extend public water lines for areas not included within one of the
County’s nine (9) service districts requires an amendment to the
Comprehensive Plan. Typically,
approval of these applications has been limited to health remediation
cases wherein the Health Department has opined that no other viable
options were immediately or realistically available.
Nonetheless, an applicant can request the extension of public water
beyond a service district boundary using one of the justifications
outlined in the Zoning Ordinance for amending the Comprehensive Plan:
creative concepts, oversights, change in circumstances, goals and/or
this particular case, the applicant argues as its justification that three
of these elements apply to this case:
The proposed use is a creative concept not contemplated in the
There have been changes in circumstance since the original plan
adoption, including the creation of the continuing care facility use in
rural agricultural zoning districts and the completion of a groudwater
study by Emery and Garett including the drilling of a well on the subject
property to determine the adequacy of groundwater available for the
The Comprehensive Plan goal of encouraging economic development
that will result in a net tax benefit, create job opportunities and
support other adopted goals would be better met by this application.
Specifically, by stating that the uses will generate approximately
$480,000 in property taxes for the County, have no impact on the school
system, contribute $50,000 for the purchase of an ambulance for New
Baltimore Fire and Rescue and provide certain transportation
applicant also states the following as reasons that a Comprehensive Plan
amendment should be considered favorably:
water supply well indicated in the Master Water and Sewer Plan is located
on the property,
line connection on this property would allow a looping of existing line
systems at Snow Hill and High Rock Farm,
property is adjacent to the Water and Sanitation Authority water system,
property is adjacent to the New Baltimore Service District boundary and to
parcels that have public water service,
use will allow for positive tax consequences if approved with the
provision of public water, and
property has significant frontage on a major highway collector.
requested amendment to the Comprehensive Plan is for provision of public
water beyond the service district boundary.
While this is related to the applicant’s plan for the proposed
use of a continuing care facility, the proposed use can be established
without the extension of a public water system.
Therefore, staff is of the opinion that the first and third
justifications listed above by the applicant are not applicable to the
request. In addition, the
proximity to the Service District boundary and adjacent parcels with
public water does not necessitate the need for expansion, because the
intent of service district boundaries is to provide maximum limits for
public service provision. Unless
properly justified, the expansion of services beyond the boundaries could
establish precedence for future extensions that could eventually render
the service district concept invalid.
However, staff does find that there is some merit to the
applicant’s statement that a change in circumstances after the original
plan adoption was established when the Master Water and Sewer Plan was
subsequently adopted showing the subject property as a water source for
the New Baltimore water system and the Emery and Garrett water study
showed this property as a viable indication that groundwater sources were
sufficient to serve the County’s development needs.
fact that there is no other public water well site outside of a service
district boundary indicated as a planned water source in the adopted
Master Water and Sewer Plan, this justification could be used as a change
in circumstances to merit the applicant’s request to extend public water
to this site while also setting a standard that could not be replicated at
of a Private Sewage Disposal System – Special Exception, Category 20
applicant is proposing to utilize a private community wastewater system to
serve the sewage disposal needs generated by this use.
The basic design of the system would include one pump station
structure combined with gravity sewers and a treatment plant, with “mass
drainfields” and delineated 200% reserve area for those drainfields.
The concentration of primary drainfield area are located in the
south central portion of the property near Foster’s Fork Road, in close
proximity to the planned Treatment Building which is proposed along the
western boundary in excess of 100 feet from the property line with
landscaped screening shown.
County Soil Scientist has noted that the predominant soil type in the
proposed disposal area is well drained for conventional drainfields and
that the 60 mpi (minutes per inch) rate used to determine the disposal
area is reasonable for the soil type.
However, it is recommended that saturated hydraulic conductivity
(K-sat) tests should be conducted to determine a permeability rate.
Also, the Soil Scientist questions the production amount of
bio-solids and what off-site disposal arrangements have been made.
Health Department has not yet approved the disposal system proposed by the
applicant, but has noted that the concept is viable if all state and
county regulations are applied. It
is noted that the success of such systems relies heavily upon good design
practice, adequate soils and continued maintenance and monitoring.
The Zoning Ordinance allows the approval of a private sewage treatment system provided that the system is operated by either the Fauquier County Water and Sanitation Authority or a Class III wastewater operator licensed by the State. (The applicant is proposing a licensed Class III operator). The County may condition approval subject to use, maintenance and testing. These items will be addressed in final conditions of approval.