PUBLIC HEARING AGENDA REQUEST

Owners/Applicants:

Board of Supervisors Meeting Date:

Fauquier County Board of Supervisors

 

June 11, 2009

 

Staff Lead:

Holly Meade, Senior Planner

Department:
Community Development 

Magisterial District:
Cedar Run

Service District: 
Midland

PIN:
7900-51-6351-000
7809-78-6301-000

 

Topic: 

A Resolution to Approve SEAM09-CR-001 to Allow the Applicant to Amend the Conditions of a Previously Approved Special Exception Which Allowed for the Construction and Operation of a Wastewater Treatment Disposal System

Topic Description:

On May 19, 2003 the Board of Supervisors approved a Special Exception permit for the operation of a wastewater treatment and disposal system located at the Warrenton-Fauquier Airport.  The 2003 staff report is included as Attachment 1.  The wastewater facility has been constructed and is now operational.  The system includes a central drip disposal drainfield and a wastewater treatment facility consisting of underground settling tanks, secondary wastewater treatment units and a central pump station to “dose” the drainfields.  The system serves a portion of the Midland Service District comprised of the airport and surrounding industrially zoned properties. 

As originally planned, the system was designed with a capacity of 8,800 gallons per day (gpd).  The 2003 Special Exception limited capacity in Phase I to 4,400 gallons per day and required the balance of the drainfield capacity to serve as a reserve.  (The County has currently sold taps for the 4,400 gallons with approximately 1,500 gallons actually being used.)  Any increase in capacity associated with Phase II will be available for purchase to those located within the Comprehensive Plan Midland Sewer Priority Area (Map 6.6H, Attachment 7).  While the 2002 Comprehensive Plan for Midland and the 2008 update currently in draft form state priority should be given to those users with failing drainfields, the 2003 Special Exception conditions listed the airport and adjacent industrial properties as the intended users.

Expansion beyond Phase I was tied to the development of a discharge permit that would allow the balance of the drainfield to be utilized and provide for a direct discharge to serve as a reserve in the event the drainfield was to fail. 

In order to serve customers with Phase II, the County contracted with Whitman, Requardt and Associates, LLP to assess the possibility of a direct discharge permit that in effect would have removed the requirement for a 100% reserve drainfield.  The results of this investigation (Attachment 9) identified costs and requirements that were not financially feasible.  Therefore, expansion to Phase II is not achievable by establishing a direct discharge capability. 

Subsequently, the County acquired additional property near the existing drainfield.  The services of a soil scientist were engaged to explore the identification of another area to meet the reserve drainfield requirements.  This effort was successful and the Health Department has certified sufficient capacity on the 18.79-acre parcel for a reserve drainfield.  In light of this and a number of other circumstances outlined in the applicant’s Statement of Justification (Attachment 2), the applicant is requesting several of the previously approved conditions be amended to reflect the current situation.  The 2003 Special Exception Conditions are listed below with an explanation of the requested changes noted in italics after each condition:

  1. Prior to beginning operation of the system, there shall be an operating agreement with WSA.   (An agreement was negotiated with the Fauquier County Water and Sanitation Authority (WSA) [Attachment 3].  However, after considering the costs of the agreement it was determined that it was far more cost effective for the County to obtain other professional services to assist with the operation of the plant.  An annual contract with Dominion Septic, Inc. has been established to maintain and monitor the treatment system [Attachment 4].  A new condition has been proposed that requires a qualified service provider to be responsible for maintenance and operation of the system in a manner consistent with the requirements of the Health Department.)
  2. Upon the issuance of a discharge permit, the ownership of the system shall be transferred to WSA.  (The discharge option is no longer being sought by the applicant.)
  3. No expansion beyond the proposed Phase I operation (served by the primary drainfield with a capacity of 4,400 gpd) shall be allowed without an approved discharge capacity being in place, including the permit and the infrastructure needed to utilize a discharge permit. (As noted above, reserve area has been found for the 8,800 gpd system and the discharge option is no longer sought by the applicant.)
  4. The initial discharge capacity of the system shall be limited to the 8,800 gpd and will serve only as a 100% back-up to the drainfield system.  (The applicant has requested this condition be replaced with a requirement that a reserve drainfield area be certified by the Health Department to achieve the 100% requirement of the Service District.  This has been included as a recommended condition as requested by the applicant, although the Health Department has provided comments stating the drainfield sites have already been certified.)
  5. The discharge capacity of the system shall not be increased until a plan for allocating additional capacity (i.e., adding users) has been approved by the Board of Supervisors.  The Planning Commission shall review any such plan prior to the Board of Supervisors’ consideration. (This amendment does not increase the capacity beyond 8,800 gpd.  If the capacity is increased beyond 8,800 gpd, the Board of Supervisors would have to approve a plan for allocating the additional capacity.)
  6. An on-site back-up energy supply shall be provided to protect the plant and related automated controls from operational lapses due to power outages.  (This condition pertains to the facility that contemplated the issuance of a discharge permit; however, a new condition has been proposed requiring a generator to be on-site within four hours of a power outage as recommended by Health Department requirements.)
  7. The system shall include monitoring equipment and related alarm systems to assure the detection of and response to any malfunction.  (This is not a Health Department requirement.  The design and storage capacity in the system will allow the system to be safely operated without power for an extended period.  However, a condition has been proposed requiring a generator to be on-site within four hours of a power outage as recommended by Health Department requirements.)

8.      The service area of the system shall be limited as set forth in Option 3 of the Comprehensive Plan for the Midland Service District (i.e., the County Airport and adjacent industrial properties).  (It is unclear what “Option 3” of the Comprehensive Plan is referring to in this original condition; staff can find no such option in the plan.  This condition has been revised to reflect the service area of the system be limited to the “Sewer Service Priority Area, Map 6.6H.”  Planning Commissioners discussed at the October 2008 Planning Commission meeting limiting service to industrially zoned properties in the Sewer Service Priority Area, as was done with the original conditions.)  The Planning Commission took no specific action on this topic.  Should the Board of Supervisors choose to limit service to industrially zoned properties in the Sewer Service Priority Area then proposed Condition #9 will need to be modified

The Planning Commission expressed concern that the system had not been turned over to WSA as required by previous conditions of approval.  The applicant has stated that an agreement was negotiated with WSA; however, after considering the costs of the agreement, it was determined that it would be far more cost effective for the County to obtain other professional services to assist with the operation of the plant.  The system has been constructed and permitted in accord with Virginia Department of Health regulations.  

All wastewater treatment systems managed by WSA are discharge systems, with the exception of two that will use drainfields – Warrenton Chase and Raymond Farm.  The differences between these systems and the one proposed at the airport are the size, the complexity/level of treatment, and the fact that the airport system is owned by a public entity.

Other concerns were raised by some Commissioners and the WSA regarding groundwater monitoring, plant performance, lack of monitoring, and possible nitrate contamination.  There is concern that the system could contaminate drinking water with nitrates as well as other contaminants.  The proposed conditions of development require the applicant to conduct a groundwater study.  If the results of the study show contamination, or if any of the quarterly testing provided to the Health Department shows contamination, a nitrate feasibility study will be required.

The conditions recommended by the Planning Commission also require the applicant to obtain a discharge permit from the Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ). The applicant continues to oppose this condition and has stated that if the system were to fail, there is 100% reserve drainfield site at the airport, which has already been approved by the Health Department.  Another condition recommended by the Planning Commission is to require ownership of the Wastewater Treatment Plant (WWTP) to be transferred to the WSA once the required monitoring systems and Operations and Maintenance manual are in effect.

WSA also forwarded proposed conditions for Planning Commission consideration (Attachment 10).  These are included in the Planning Commission’s recommended conditions.  The applicant has provided a summary of their concerns as it relates to many of these proposed conditions (Attachment 11).

Project Update:

On April 9, 2009, the Board of Supervisors held a public hearing on the item and postponed action for up to ninety days to allow time to modify the proposed conditions of development.  Since that time staff has met with the Virginia Department of Health and the Deputy County Administrator to finalize the conditions of development.

 

Location, Zoning and Current Land Use:

The properties are located north and south of Midland Road and zoned a combination of Industrial (I -1 and I-2), Residential (R-1) and Agricultural (RA).  The larger parcel is the site of the Warrenton-Fauquier Airport and the smaller, 18.79 acres are vacant. The Airport is also within the Airport Safety and Impact Overlay District (APSID) as identified in the Zoning Ordinance.  Land within this area is subject to regular zoning regulations as well as additional regulations and restrictions related to the APSID.             

 

airportzoning                                     

Surrounding Zoning and Current Land Use: 

Property to the north is zoned a combination of Industrial (I-1) and Residential (R-1) and is a mixture of vacant and residential.  Property to the south is zoned Agricultural (RA) and is a combination of vacant and residential, to the east is zoned Industrial (I-1 and I-2) and Agricultural (RA) and is mostly vacant, with some small businesses.  Property to the west is zoned a combination of Agricultural (RA) and Residential (R-1) and is mostly vacant. 

Comprehensive Plan/Land Use: 

These properties are located within the Midland Service District and are planned for industrial purposes.  The Fauquier County Comprehensive Plan recognizes the airport “as an asset to the Service District as air passenger and cargo services grow in importance.”  The airport is an important economic development tool that requires continual planning, improvement and development in order for its full benefit to be realized.  Midland has been planned for a significant amount of industrial and warehouse use.  The area is currently more industrial than residential in terms of land use activity.  Since the County has acquired the airport, its refurbishment has heightened the interest in industrial growth for Midland.  The vision for the area surrounding the airport is focused on commercial/industrial uses.  The plan indicates the following goals:  achieve the development of clean industries near the airport; provide buffers between industrial uses and other uses; and concentrate industrial uses in appropriate locations.   

The existing 2002 Midland Village Service District Plan outlines how Midland faces severe growth constraints due to the lack of public sewer and growing health problems caused by failing drainfields and the general unsuitability of the soils to support such systems.  The 2002 plan outlines a Midland Sewer Priority Area (See Attachment 7, Map 6.6H) that includes the 2002 airport boundaries as well as the historical core of the Midland Community.  (Staff estimates that there are approximately 31 structures, including both residential and commercial buildings located within the sewer priority area.) 

The Midland Village Service District Plan is currently being updated.  The draft plan recommended by the Planning Commission slightly reduces the 2002 Midland Sewer Priority Area map.  These two parcels are still within the draft sewer Priority Area.  The successful implementation of the sewer prioritization plan is premised on the previous Special Exception condition requiring the Board of Supervisors to develop an allocation plan prior to an increase in capacity beyond the 8,800 gallons per day. 

Land Use Map

airportcp

 

Special Exception Analysis:

5-006 General Standards

General standards seek to ensure that the requested use does not adversely affect neighboring properties.  This proposal does not appear to adversely affect neighboring properties.

5-2001 Additional Submission Requirements (for Category 20 Uses)

In addition to the submission requirements set forth in Section 011 above, all applications for Category 20 uses shall be accompanied by the following:

1.                  Four (4) copies of a map showing the utility system of which the proposed use will be an integral part, together with a written statement outlining the functional relationship of the proposed use to the utility system.  This was provided with the original Special Exception and has been included as Attachment 8.  The system’s increased capacity will allow the option for others to connect if they are in the Sewer Service Priority Area previously referenced (Map 6.6H in the Comprehensive Plan).

2.         Four (4) copies of a statement, prepared by a certified engineer, giving the basic reasons for selecting the particular site as the location for the proposed facility and certifying that the proposed use will meet the performance standards of the district in which located.  This was provided with the original Special Exception.

5-2002 Standards for All Category 20 Uses

In addition to the general standards set forth in Section 006 above, all Category 20 special permit and special exception uses shall satisfy the following standards:

1.         Category 20 special permit and special exception uses shall not be required to comply with the lot size requirements or the bulk regulations set forth for the zoning district in which located in Part 4 of Article 3.  However, such requirements may be established in the conditions under which such a special permit or special exception is granted.  Meets lot size requirements and bulk regulations.

2.         No land or building in any district other than the Industrial Districts shall be used for the storage of materials or equipment, or for the repair or servicing of vehicles or equipment or for the parking of vehicles, except those needed by employees connected with the operation of the immediate facility.  None of the uses above are part of this application.

3.         In all zoning districts, other than the I-2 District, all equipment, machinery, and facilities not located within an enclosed building shall be effectively screened.  The application does not include equipment or machinery, only drainfields.

4.        If the proposed location of a Category 20 use is in a Residential  District there shall be a finding that there is no more suitable site available for such use in a Commercial or Industrial District, except that in the case of electric transformer stations and telephone and telegraph exchanges or dial centers, there shall be a finding that there is no alternative site available in a Commercial or Industrial District within distance of one mile, unless there is a substantial showing that it is impractical for satisfactory service to be rendered from an available location in such Commercial or Industrial District.  This is the only site where drainfields could be located by a Professional Soil Scientist, certified by the Health Department, and function in conjunction with the current system located at the airport.

5.        A special exception for a private individual sewage treatment system which discharges into an open ditch or water, shall be allowed only to replace an existing sewage system which is presently serving an existing use.  That existing sewage system must have failed and have been certified by the Virginia Department of Health to pose a real or potential health threat and a discharging sewage treatment system is the only alternative for the repair.  In approving such a system the Board may establish conditions including but not limited to use, maintenance, and testing.  No discharge proposed by the applicant.

6.        Notwithstanding 5-2002.5, above, a private individual sewage treatment system which discharges into an open ditch or water may be approved in the RA/Rural Agriculture zoning district for a farm supply establishment where the standards listed below are met:

a.         The system is operated under the control of a Class III, or higher, wastewater operator which holds a current permit licensed in the State of Virginia.

b.                  The system processes less than 1,000 gallons per day.

c.                   The Board finds such system to be the only viable option for the particular site.

d.                  In approving such a system, the Board may establish conditions including but not limited to use, maintenance, testing, and reporting.

e.                   The system has a permanent maintenance and monitoring agreement from a state licensed laboratory, company, or business to do maintenance and monitoring in the state and county.

No discharge proposed by applicant.

Staff and Review Agency Comments:

Zoning

1.                  A site plan is required for this use per Zoning Ordinance Section 3-320.7.  The applicant will follow through with the Zoning Office following approval of the Special Exception amendment to see what type of site plan would be required.

2.                  The following Zoning Ordinance standards are applicable:

·         5-006 General Standards;

·         5-2001 Additional Submission Requirements (for Category 20 Uses);

·         5-2002 Standards for All Category 20 Uses.

Zoning Staff defers to Planning Staff the assessment of standard compliance.  These standards are met (see earlier analysis).

3.                  Staff would recommend that the amended special exception clearly indicate the properties eligible for service by the proposed facility expansion, as this is not clearly defined in the existing permit.  The applicant has provided a list of current users (Attachment 5).  Any new users will have to be part of the Service Priority Area outlined in the Comprehensive Plan (Map 6.6H) as required by a proposed Special Exception condition.

Health Department

The new reserve areas on PIN #7900-51-6351 were approved by the Health Department on September 9, 2008 and thereby relieve the owner of the previous conditions pertaining to the issuance of a discharge permit in order to meet the 100% reserve requirement. 

1.      A responsible operator on-site daily and available to evaluate the system periodically throughout the day and make minor adjustments as needed could be considered in lieu of a Class IV Operator on-site four hours per day.  The operator should possess the knowledge to recognize significant maintenance issues that warrant contacting a Class IV Operator for emergency assistance (i.e., the Service Provider).

2.      The number of hours per day the system requires monitoring may be tailored according to the reliability of the system.

3.      Quarterly effluent samples should be collected for Total Nitrogen, BOD, and TSS, and the results submitted to the Health Department as they become available.

4.      Effluent flow should be estimated monthly and submitted quarterly for review.  If an actual meter is not in place, flow may be estimated using the control panel to determine the number of pumping events and then calculating based on the dosing gallons.  The design flow should be amended from 4,350 to 8,800 gallons per day. 

Regarding 2003 Condition #6, the requirement for an on-site back-up energy supply, our office would not object to the removal of this condition provided that a sufficient portable generator could be provided on-site within 4 hours of power failure.  This time period is based on the estimated storage volume available in the treatment unit dosing tank with the system operating at full capacity (8,800 gpd).  These items have been included in the recommended conditions of approval.  As originally planned, the system was designed with a capacity of 8,800 gpd although the Health Department has noted that the engineering specifications for the system reference 8,700 gpd.   The cap will be left at 8,800 gpd as requested by the applicant; staff feels confident that any required final engineering could easily accommodate an additional 100 gpd.

Other Agencies

The Engineering and Soil Scientist’s Office had no comment.  The Fauquier County Water and Sanitation Authority sent a list of proposed conditions dated January 21, 2009 (Attachment 10).

Planning Commission Summary and Action of October 30, 2008:

The Planning Commission discussed this item at its work session.  The Cedar Run Commissioner expressed concern that WSA had not taken over the system as required by the Board of Supervisors in 2003 when they approved the Special Exception allowing the wastewater treatment system. A public hearing was held and no one spoke other than the applicant.  The Planning Commission voted unanimously to postpone action on the item and leave the public hearing open.  Planning Commissioners stated that they would like to look at the system and would like to talk with the Fauquier County Water and Sanitation Authority (WSA) about the cost of bringing the system to WSA’s standards.

Planning Commission Summary and Action of December 10, 2008:

The Planning Commission discussed this item at its work session.  Many of the Commissioners expressed concern that the system had not been turned over to WSA as required by previous conditions of approval as well as concerns related to groundwater.  A public hearing was held at which one member of the public spoke.  Merle Fallon, Esq., stated that if the county chooses to modify this Special Exception then the county should allow others to do so as well.   The Planning Commission voted four to zero (Marshall Commissioner absent) to postpone action on this item and leave the public hearing open.

Planning Commission Summary and Action of January 29, 2009:

The Planning Commission discussed this item at its work session.  Many of the Commissioners expressed concerns related to ownership, groundwater, and monitoring.  A public hearing was held without any speakers.  The Planning Commission voted five to zero to postpone action on this item and leave the public hearing open. 

Planning Commission Summary and Action of February 26, 2009:

The Planning Commission discussed this item at its work session.  A public hearing was held without any speakers.  The Planning Commission unanimously voted to forward the application to the Board of Supervisors with a recommendation of approval, subject to conditions.

Summary and Recommendation:

If the Board of Supervisors wishes to approve the Special Exception Amendment, the Planning Commission’s recommended conditions of approval are included in Resolution 1.  The Planning Commission recommended conditions require a discharge permit, in addition to the reserve drainfield.  The Planning Commission recommended conditions also require that ownership of the WWTP be transferred to the WSA. 

An alternate set of conditions has been developed in conjunction with the Virginia Department of Health and these are included in Resolution 2.  The alternate conditions do not require the discharge permit.  The alternate conditions require the County to contract with the WSA for the operation and maintenance of the WWTP, but the conditions do not require the WSA to own the WWTP. 

Requested Action of the Board of Supervisors:

Conduct a public hearing and consider adoption of one of the attached resolutions.  Resolution 1 contains the Planning Commission’s recommended conditions of development.  Resolution 2 provides an alternate set of conditions that have been developed in conjunction with the Virginia Department of Health.

Identify any other Departments, Organizations or Individuals that would be affected by this request: 

Department of Economic Development
Warrenton–Fauquier Airport
Area Residents and Businesses

 

ATTACHMENTS:

  1. 2003 Board of Supervisors’ Staff Report and Resolution of Approval
  2. Statement of Justification
  3. Prior WSA Agreement
  4. Annual Contract with Dominion Septic, Inc.
  5. List of Current Users
  6. Plat Showing Drainfield Site
  7. Map 6.6H from 2002 Comprehensive Plan Showing Midland Service District Sewer Priority Area
  8. 2003 “Wastewater Collection, Treatment and Disposal Facilities Warrenton – Fauquier Airport” Plat Showing Utility System
  9. January 5, 2006 Report Prepared by Whitman, Requardt and Associates, LLP Summarizing the Key Permitting Issues Associated with Discharge Option
  10. WSA Recommended Conditions Dated January 21, 2009
  11. Applicant’s Concerns (E-mail Dated January 15, 2009)
 

Back to Agenda...