WHEREAS, Section 7-603 of the Fauquier County Zoning Ordinance regulates tree canopy requirements in Fauquier County; and 

WHEREAS, the current ordinances require tree canopy calculations to be based on a 10-year maturity; and  

WHEREAS, the Code of Virginia requires such calculations to be based on a 20-year maturity; and 

WHEREAS, the Code of Virginia also requires ordinances contain reasonable exceptions to tree canopy requirements; and 

WHEREAS, the Zoning Ordinance currently does not have a specific waiver procedure; and 

WHEREAS, the Zoning Administrator currently is empowered to grant waivers of landscape and buffer ordinances; and 

WHEREAS, these amendments would extend that power to waivers of tree canopy requirements; and 

WHEREAS, the Planning Commission held a public hearing March 28, 2002 and voted April 25, 2002 to forward a recommendation of approval to the Board of Supervisors; and 

WHEREAS, the Fauquier County Board of Supervisors held a public hearing on May 20, 2002; and 

WHEREAS, the Board of Supervisors determined the proposed amendments will be in the spirit of the Zoning Ordinance and bring the Ordinance into accord with the Code of Virginia; now, therefore, be it  

ORDAINED by the Fauquier County Board of Supervisors this 20th day of May 2002, That Section 7-603 of the Fauquier County Zoning Ordinance be amended to change tree canopy calculations from a 10-year to a 20-year maturity and empower the Zoning Administrator to grant waivers of tree canopy requirements.  The section will be amended as follows:                        


7-603                        Tree Canopy Requirements  

1.      Site Planning.  Clearcutting of trees for non-residential and residential projects requiring site plans shall be limited to only those essential areas necessary for required loading, parking, public and private streets, stormwater management facilities, and buildings.  Preservation of existing tree stands is a priority, with planting credits provided herein.  All Major and Minor site plans shall include the planting and replacement of trees to the extent that, at maturity of ten (10) twenty (20) years, a minimum tree canopy shall be provided as follows:  

a.            Ten (10) percent tree canopy for properties zoned commercial or industrial in the C-1, C-2, C-3, CV, I-1, I-2, PCID, PRD, PDMU or any subsequent zoning district established with these associated use categories.  

b.      Fifteen (15) percent tree canopy for nonresidential uses allowable in RC, RA, RR-2, V, R-1, R-2, R-3, R-4, TH, GA and MDP districts, as well as for garden apartments (GA), townhouses (TH), manufactured dwelling park (MDP), PRD, PDMU or any other planned unit development including these latter use categories.  

2.      Residential Subdivision.  Clearcutting of existing trees for parcels planned for residential development shall be limited to those areas necessary for the planned house pad, yard, drainfields, if applicable, new streets, stormwater management facilities, and recreation areas and associated facilities.  The requirements contained herein apply to residential subdivision proposals not requiring site plans in any zoning district, excluding Administrative and Family Subdivisions.  

Unless the property is excluded per Section C.3  as described in Paragraph c. below, then a landscape plan shall be included at the Record Plat or construction drawings phase, whichever occurs first.  The landscape plan shall provide for the planting or replacement of trees on site to the extent that, at maturity of ten  20 years, a minimum tree canopy will be provided as follows:  

a.            The plan shall provide for the preservation, or planting and replacement of trees on site to result in a tree canopy of at least 15%, calculated at 10 years 20 years maturity.

b.      Special attention is encouraged for plantings at the project entry points and street tree plantings along areas abutting and planned for public street dedication or as private streets.  Trees shall be planted at a density of one tree per 50 linear feet along all areas dedicated for use for vehicular access.  Such trees shall have a minimum 2 inch caliper at planting and a height at maturity of 15 feet or more.  Such trees shall be counted toward meeting the minimum canopy requirements.

c.       The Zoning Administrator may grant a waiver or modification for those parcels eligible under Section 15.2-961 of the Code of Virginia for reasonable exceptions or deviations for reasonable development of farm land or other areas devoid of woody material, preservation of wetlands or when the strict application of the requirements would result in unnecessary or unreasonable hardship to the developer. The Zoning Administrator may attach conditions to any waiver or modification to assure the results of the waiver or modification will be in accord with the intent of this ordinance.  

3.      Calculation Exclusions.  In calculating the area of a site for the purpose of determining tree canopy coverage requirements, the following areas shall be excluded: areas reserved or dedicated for future street construction or other public improvements; ponds and wetlands which are not wooded; properties reserved or dedicated for schools, playing fields and other non-wooded recreation areas, and other facilities and areas similar in nature.  

4.      Credits for Existing Conditions.  Existing trees can be counted as part of the tree canopy calculation under specific conditions.  The number, type and location of trees to be preserved are identified in the landscape plan.  The site plan or construction plans also identify the tree to be preserved on site and the methods of protection to be used during site development to assure survival.  If the protected trees are part of a wooded preserve, then an easement must be provided with the applicable record plan and/or site plan.  Note that trees planted pursuant to the Landscape and Buffering Requirements also qualify toward meeting the tree canopy coverage standards.