Board of Supervisors Meeting Date: 

Marriott Westfields Conference Center, Inc., Marriott Ranch

June 12, 2008

Staff Lead:


Melissa Dargis, Assistant Chief of Planning

Community Development


Magisterial District:




6908-83-3361-000, 6919-15-9657-000, 6917-47-0965-000 & 6918-55-8536-000


A Resolution to Approve a Category 9 Special Exception (SPEX08-MA-013) to Operate a Hunting Preserve and a Category 9 Special Permit (SPPT08-MA-032) for Clay Target Shooting and a Firing Range Marriott Ranch, Marshall District


Topic Description:

Marriott Ranch has requested Special Exception approval to use 200+/- acres of its 4,200+/- acres as a Hunting Preserve.  It has also requested a Special Permit to offer clay target shooting at a designated site on the property and a firing range.  These uses would be for private groups, by appointment, and not open to the general public.

Project Update:

On May 8, 2008 the Board of Supervisors held a public hearing on these items.  The public hearing was closed and action on the applications was postponed for thirty days.  On May 23, 2008 Supervisor Schwartz and staff conducted a site visit to Marriott Ranch and met with adjacent property owners who had provided permission to access their property.  During the visit shotgun rounds were shot from the bird hunting preserve areas that had been noted as potential concerns by residents at the public hearing.  Shots were observed from close range, ranch property lines and adjacent property owners properties to demonstrate how the sound traveled.

As a result of the public hearing input and the site visit, Special Exception conditions for the bird hunting preserve have been further refined to reduce the number of months the preserve may operate; to limit the number of hunters per day; to reduce the hours of hunting; to specify the type of shotgun to be used (no greater than 12 gauge); and to encourage the bird hunting be done in lower areas to help attenuate the noise.  Further the conditions clarify that the requested uses are limited to guests of the ranch and that the Special Exception/Special Permit is valid for two years and then is eligible for one (1) administrative renewal.

Project Information:

The applicant has indicated that the aforementioned uses would generate revenue to help pay the operational expenses of maintaining the 4,200 acre farm.  Further, they say the plan is conducive to Agritourism as promoted by Fauquier County.  The proposed additions to the Marriott Ranch portfolio of activities would be compatible with programs already in place at Marriott Ranch, and would not require any new construction or changes to the landscape.

The locations for the uses are proposed to be non-obtrusive to the surrounding community (see Attachment 2).  The proposed sites are all located on the interior of parcels of land on Marriott Ranch, creating a buffer zone from neighboring properties.  The sites are also easily accessed by using the current farm road systems on the property, thus creating minimal impact as no new ingress/egress is required.

Special Exception Hunting Preserve

The applicant has proposed a hunting preserve to be operated on its site in cooperation with the Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries and managed by the applicant.  It would meet all local and state regulations and laws.

Special Permit Clay Target Shooting

The applicant has proposed to have clay target shooting at its site.  This activity would only be conducted at the designated area outlined in the application (see Attachment 2). Only private groups with appointments would be allowed to participate in this program.

Special Permit Firing Range

The applicant has proposed to have a firing range on its site to be located in the area designated on the map (see Attachment 2).  It would be used for sighting in guns prior to guests participating in the proposed hunting programs. The location is centered on the interior of the ranch property and away from adjoining properties.


Land Area, Location and Zoning:                                                  

The subject assemblage of properties consists of 4200 acres zoned RA (Rural Agricultural) and RC (Rural Conservation).  The property is located at 5219 Marriott Lane.

Please see Attachment 3 for Map of properties.


Neighboring Land Use:

The property is surrounded by RC and RA zoned properties.  Consistent with the RA/RC zoning categories, these properties are located in a district where agriculture and forestry are the predominant uses.


Site History: 

The aforementioned assemblage of parcels, also known as Marriott Ranch, currently has an approved Category 9 Special Exception (Outdoor Recreation Spectator and Non-Spectator Field Events, Classes B&C).  The Special Exception was originally granted in September 1992.  The most recent renewal was approved in June 2000 with Conditions of Development and is valid for ten (10) years (until June 2010).  That approval states that the types of events are limited to the following: weddings and wedding receptions; company, corporate or organization picnic and barbecues; corporate retreats; trail rides with catered meals; youth picnic group camping; equestrian events (cutting horse competitions and clinics at the Corral site).  Uses other than these shall be allowed only upon approval by the Board of Supervisors or Board of Zoning Appeals for individual Special Exceptions or Special Permits.  These events may be conducted with for profit or for charitable community service organizations.

Per the approved Special Exception conditions, the applicant is requesting the approval of a Category 9 Special Exception (SPEX08-MA-013) to operate a hunting preserve and a Category 9 Special Permit (SPPT08-MA-032) for clay target shooting and a firing range.



Staff and Review Agency Comments: 

Staff and Review Agency Comments are included in Attachment 4.


Summary and Recommendations:

The applicant has sought to address all comments from Planning Commission, Board of Supervisors, staff and members of the public.  This application is ready for action.


Planning Commission Action: 

On April 24, 2008 the Fauquier County Planning Commission unanimously approved the Special Exception and Special Permit subject to a series of conditions.

On March 27, 2008, the Planning Commission held a public hearing on these applications.  Adjacent residents in Fauquier County and the neighboring Rappahannock County came to speak at the hearing.  Residents in general were positive about Marriott Ranch.  Their primary concern with the applications was regarding the proposed clay target shooting activities, the frequency of that use and what type of noise it may generate.  The Planning Commission postponed the item for 30 days and conducted a site visit on April 18, 2008.

Subsequent to the site visit, the Special Exception conditions were further refined, in consultation with the applicant, to indicate the following: 1) the hunting preserve would not operate on Sunday; 2) Clay target shooting would not operate on Sunday; 3) the location of the clay target shooting was moved (in consultation with an adjacent property owner and Planning Commissioner McCarty); and 4) the firing range shall be used for citing of weapons by ranch guests during deer season.  The Planning Commission held a second public hearing on April 24, 2008.  Speakers at that hearing were supportive of the revised Special Exception conditions and these applications.


Requested Action of the Board of Supervisors:

Consider the attached resolution with its Conditions of Approval, as recommended by the Planning Commission.


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

Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries

Fauquier County Department of Economic Development


1.                  Statement of Justification

2.                  Special Exception Plat

3.                  Parcel Map

4.                  Review Agency Comments

Back to Agenda...