Board of Supervisors Meeting Date: 


June 11, 2009

Staff Lead:


Bonnie Bogert, Planner II

Community Development

Magisterial District:   Center


Service District: None


An Ordinance to Approve a Comprehensive Plan Amendment (CPAM09-CT-006 – Cedar Mill) to Add Four Parcels Containing Approximately 80 Acres to the Warrenton Service District

Topic Description:

The applicant wishes to obtain a Comprehensive Plan Amendment to add four parcels containing approximately eighty (80) acres to the Warrenton Service District. These parcels were previously included within the boundaries of the Warrenton Service District, but were removed when the Warrenton Service District portion of the Comprehensive Plan was revised in 2003. It appears that at that time the land use designation for this area was low density residential. In 2005, a Comprehensive Plan Amendment request for these same parcels was reviewed and denied by the Board of Supervisors.

There is currently an active Preliminary Plat which was approved in July 2006 (Attachment 3). The properties are to be served by public water, per a Developer’s Agreement which states that in exchange for the parcels being served by the Fauquier County Water and Sanitation Authority (FCWSA) water service, the developer would bond and/or construct various road improvements near the subject parcels. The proposed lots would be served by drainfields.

Since the parcels are not currently in the Service District, there is a requirement that the drainfields have a 200% reserve, meaning two alternate drainfield sites per lot, should the original drainfield fail. By adding these parcels back into the Service District, the reserve requirement would drop to 100%, which the Applicant contends would allow them greater flexibility in drainfield design and would allow for an improved layout of the proposed lots, preferred home sites and the retention of more natural open space. The applicant has verbally stated that they are not seeking to increase the number of lots over the 43 lots shown on the approved preliminary plan. A copy of the applicant’s Statement of Justification is included as Attachment 1.


Location,  Zoning and Current Land Use:

The subject properties are located at the southwest corner of Atlee Road/Frytown Road (Route 674) and Cedar Run Drive (Route 1405) and are zoned Residential (R-1).

Zoning Map

 Surrounding Zoning and Current Land Use:

Adjoining parcels in all directions are also zoned Residential (R-1) and are in residential use or undeveloped. Adjoining parcels to the north are designated as Existing Residential in the Warrenton Service District Plan. Properties to the south are outside of the Service District and thus designated rural.

Land Use Map

 Service District Map 

 Site Suitability/Environment:

A portion of the western edge of the subject parcels is located within the Floodplain District.

Community Facilities: 

This area is included in the Fauquier County Connections Plan as integral to the future trail network to the County. The Plan shows a trail running adjacent to Academy Hill Road.

Staff and Review Agency Comments: 

Staff and appropriate referral agencies have reviewed this request for conformance with the Comprehensive Plan, the Zoning Ordinance, and other relevant policies and regulations. Findings, comments, and recommendations are summarized below. Following each comment is a staff note in italics stating how the comment has been or will need to be addressed.

Planning Division

  1. There is no indication in the submitted application as to which maps and/or text are being requested to be revised as part of this Comprehensive Plan Amendment. (Staff noted this requirement at the Pre-Application meeting on February 24, 2009.) Based on staff analysis, the request should at a minimum include revisions to the land use and utilities maps. It would be staff’s suggestion that the appropriate land use category could be Greenway. Greenway is defined as indicating the clustering of residential uses on a tract in order to permit the creation of a County path linkage or open space/park to pass through the tract. The Greenway category represents a residential density ceiling for the tract, such as one (1) dwelling unit per acre. It is staff’s further suggestion that these parcels be designated in the non-sewered portion of the Service District and designated as being served by FCWSA water service. The maps that would need to be amended should this amendment be approved are Figure 6-WA-1 (Land Use Plan), Figure 6-UT-1 (Sewer Service Area) and Figure 6-UT-2 (Water Service Area).         

The Applicant provided a response to this comment by stating that the request is to have the subject parcels be designated as Existing Residential. However, these parcels do not make up Existing Residential development. As for Figure 6-UT-1 (Sewer Service Area), the Sewer Service Area Map is requested to be amended to include the property in the Non-Sewered portion of the Service District. Figure 6-UT-2 (Water Service Area) should be amended to show these properties as being served by FCWSA water service.

  1. The Statement of Justification indicates that including the referenced properties in the Warrenton Service District will “materially improve lot layout, preferred home sites and the retention of more natural open space, thereby greatly benefitting the aesthetics of the surrounding community.” It is unclear from the materials submitted how this will be accomplished. If in fact the lot layout is to change substantially, this could result in the need to amend the approved Preliminary Plat for Cedar Mill Subdivision.

The Applicant provided a response to this comment stating that there will be no major changes to the lot layout that would warrant an amendment to the Preliminary Plat. The applicant has also indicated that they will not seek to increase the number of lots proposed per the approved Cedar Mill Preliminary Plat.

  1. This area is included in the Fauquier County Connections Plan as integral to the current/future trail network of the County. Staff noted this to the applicant at the Pre-Application meeting on February 24, 2009 and at a subsequent meeting on April 14, 2009. Staff requested an additional 15’ of right-of-way dedication along Academy Hill Road, and also that the applicant consider clearing and grading that right-of-way area so that the trail can be installed by the County at the appropriate time. 

The Applicant provided a response that they will consider the possibility of assisting the County with clearing the right-of-way area so that the trail can be installed by the County at a later date.

Zoning Division

Zoning Staff notes the following comments:

  1. The application materials do not address whether the property is to be located within the sewered or non-sewered portion of the Service District if the amendment is approved.  Zoning staff presumes the intent is to be non-sewered, as the existing plan utilizes drainfields and the Town of Warrenton has no plans to serve the development. Any Comprehensive Plan Amendment should clarify the non-sewered status so that a special exception for individual septic systems on lots is not required pursuant to Section 7-502.2(2b).

The Applicant has confirmed in a written response to comments that they wish to be in the non-sewered portion of the Service District.

  1. The application states that “including the property within the WSD will materially approve lot layout, preferred home sites and the retention of more natural open space, thereby greatly benefitting the aesthetics of the surrounding community,” suggesting that the applicant intends to revise the Preliminary Plat if the Comprehensive Plan Amendment is approved.  The applicant should be aware that an amended Preliminary Plat will have to comply with the recently revised Section 7-450, which limits the length of a dead-end street to 700 feet within Service Districts and 1,320 feet outside service districts.  The current street layout as shown on the Preliminary Plan meets the 1,320 foot limit for properties located outside service districts but not the 700 foot limit for inside service districts.

Information for the Applicant. The Applicant has indicated in a written response to comments that they do not intend to substantially revise the lot layout from what is on the approved Cedar Mill Preliminary Plat.

Technical Division-Soils


  • The applicant does not show that the reduction in drainfield reserve requirement resulting from the Comprehensive Plan Amendment will result in substantial benefit for Fauquier County.  Substitution of conventional drainfields for alternative drainfields does provide a reduced cost of installation and operation for the future homeowners.  There is a slight reduction in oversight by the Health Department; however, that cost is generally compensated by increased fees for permitting alternative drainfields.  The conventional drainfields require more installation area than the alternative drainfields, so I do not understand, nor do the submitted plans demonstrate, how the change in reserve requirement will improve the siting of the houses and the layout of the subdivision or reduce the number of trees that will be removed from the site. 

Additional Information Needed:

  • The applicant needs to show that the reduction in drainfield reserve requirement resulting from the Comprehensive Plan Amendment will significantly improve the layout of the subdivision and/or siting of the houses in such a way to improve the quality of the subdivision and increase the preservation of the environmental features of the site.  The applicant should clearly demonstrate how the approval of this Comprehensive Plan Amendment poses a significant benefit to Fauquier County.

The applicant provided a written response to these comments which indicates that the benefits for Fauquier County are multifaceted. The first benefit noted is that the maintenance and operation costs of conventional drainfields are less than that of alternative systems, which would provide a benefit for the future homeowners of these lots. The applicant further contended that including these parcels within the Service District would allow for a mix of conventional and alternative drainfields, which would improve the siting of homes and driveways, and would allow the applicant to reserve additional trees and open space.

Staff would like to note in response to this that conventional drainfields traditionally occupy more surface area than alternative drainfields, so staff is unsure how preserving additional trees and open space would be possible, if a greater number of conventional drainfields are installed.

Technical Division-Engineering


  1. The County has the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) jurisdictional determination for these properties and it indicates that wetlands are present.
  2. There are two (2) natural channels that should be protected to the maximum extent possible.  One channel discharges into Cedar Run at the southeast corner of the property and runs for 1200’ almost due north toward the intersection of Atlee Road and Frytown Road.   The other channel runs from the property line at the west end of the existing C&P Telephone Company easement (near the wetlands), almost due north toward Atlee Road.  These channels should be avoided when developing houses and roads.

Both Findings 1 and 2 are for informational purposes only.

Parks and Recreation:

  1. Park land dedication – Using state standards of 10 acres of local parkland per 1,000 population, and a projection of 43 units x 2.89 persons per unit, this equates to a need of approximately 1.24 acres of parkland.  For this project the department is requesting a trail.  (See below.)
  2. Recreational facilities – County standards are defined for recreational facilities.
  3. Location of facilities – the department is requesting that a trail, adjacent to Academy Hill Road, be provided in a 15 foot wide parcel.  The existing road right-of-way is to be cleared and graded for use as a temporary trail.

The suggested trail is part of the Connections Plan, an adopted component of the Comprehensive Plan.

  1. Facility quality – the department would strongly urge that any facilities constructed conform to any existing departmental design standards in order to assure their long-term usefulness.
  2. Future viability – the department requests an opportunity to review and comment on the covenants of the homeowners association (HOA) to provide for continued maintenance of the recreational facilities, limited usage by the department, etc. HOA requirements should not apply to the department.
  3. The department would also like to recommend that issues related to ownership, construction, maintenance, etc. for any recreational facilities and related open space be resolved prior to plat approval.
  4. Recreation facilities should be constructed as part of the development site work, not during construction of the actual residences.

Comments 4-7 are information for the applicant.

Planning Commission Summary and Action of April 30, 2009:

The Planning Commission discussed this item at its work session and held a public hearing on this item. One member of the public spoke in opposition to this application, citing that this request provides no benefit to the County. The Planning Commission found that the materials submitted did not support the contention that the layout of the subdivision lots would be improved, and unanimously voted to recommend denial of this Comprehensive Plan Amendment.

Summary and Recommendation:

Staff believes there is not enough supporting information with this application to substantiate this request. The applicant noted in their statement of justification that lot layout would be improved, but when asked for more detailed information, the applicant indicated that they would not be revising the approved Preliminary Plat, and has not provided information on how home siting would be improved or how more natural open space would be preserved.  Since these parcels are already slated to be served by public water per a Developer’s Agreement, and the Preliminary Plat has already been approved, staff believes that adding these parcels to the Warrenton Service District would not serve any significant purpose.


Requested Action of the Board of Supervisors: 

Conduct a public hearing and consider approval of the attached Ordinance.

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

Department of Community Development


1.           Statement of Justification with Applicant’s Exhibits 1-5

2.           Applicant’s Response to Agency Comments

3.           Cedar Mill Preliminary Plat


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