COUNTY OF FAUQUIER

DEPARTMENT OF COMMUNITY DEVELOPMENT

BOARD OF SUPERVISORS

PUBLIC HEARING

STAFF REPORT

MAY 20, 2002

AMEND SECTIONS 7-603.1 AND SECTION 7-603.2 (TREE CANOPY REQUIREMENTS) OF THE FAUQUIER COUNTY ZONING ORDINANCE REGARDING THE CALCULATION OF THE REQUIRED TREE CANOPY

APPLICANT:             Fauquier County Planning Commission

PROPOSAL:                          To amend Sections 7-603.1 and 7-603.2 of the Zoning Ordinance with regards to tree canopy requirements for site plans and residential subdivisions.

                                               

STAFF PLANNER:                Rick Carr, Director of Community Development

BACKGROUND:

The Planning Commission voted at its February 28, 2002 meeting to initiate these amendments to bring the portions of the Zoning Ordinance regarding tree canopy calculations and requirements into conformance with the Code of Virginia.  The Commission held a public hearing on March 28, 2002 and voted April 25, 2002 to forward the amendments to the Board of Supervisors with a recommendation for approval.

Section 7-603 of the Zoning Ordinance contains several references to tree canopy calculations based on the canopy at 10 years of maturity.  The Code of Virginia states tree canopy calculations are based on maturity at 20 years, so these references in of the Zoning Ordinance needs to be amended to be in conformance with state regulations.

The Code of Virginia also requires “the ordinance shall provide for reasonable exceptions to or deviations from these requirements to allow for the reasonable development of farm land or other areas devoid of woody materials, for the preservation of wetlands, or otherwise when the strict application of the requirements would result in unnecessary or unreasonable hardship to the  developer.”  The Zoning Administrator now is empowered to grant waivers to landscape and buffer ordinances, so the proposed amendment extends that authority to tree canopy requirements.

Staff recommends the Board hold a public hearing on May 20, 2002 regarding the proposed amendments to change the tree canopy maturity from 10 to 20 years and making the Zoning Administrator responsible for waivers to tree canopy requirements.

THE PROPOSED AMENDMENTS:

These amendments would: 

·        bring the Zoning Ordinance into conformance with the Code of Virginia by changing the pertinent tree canopy age from 10 to 20 years.

·        make the Zoning Administrator responsible to grant waivers to tree canopy requirements.

STAFF RECOMMENDATION

Staff recommends the Board conduct a public hearing and consider the text amendments at its May 20, 2002 meeting.