Board of Supervisors Meeting Date:

Suffield Meadows, LLC, Owner/Applicant


June 14, 2007


Staff Lead:
Melissa Dargis, Assistant Chief of Planning

Community Development


Magisterial District:




A Resolution to Approve SEAM07-SC-001: A Category 6 Special Exception Amendment to Previously Approved Special Exceptions SE02-S-13 and SE02-S-14


Topic Description: 

The applicant seeks to amend a previously approved Special Exception to allow for additional beds at the assisted living facility.

Project Information:

The original Special Exceptions were approved in 2002.  Since that time, this use category in the RA Zoning District has been removed from the Zoning Ordinance.  Thus, Suffield Meadows is classified as a legal non-conforming use.  The Statement of Justification states that the assisted living facility will provide assistance, to its residents, with daily services such as grooming, personal hygiene, eating, housekeeping, nutrition and medications.  Physical therapy, cultural programs and social activities will be designed for each resident.

As permitted, the private sewage treatment system may treat up to 30,000 gallons of sewage per day.  The applicant has met with the Health Department to discuss the actual water usage data versus the design criteria.  The applicant’s engineer submitted a request for a wastewater flow rate variance to the Health Department on July 14, 2006.  According to this report, there is additional capacity available within the existing system to support the requested total of 72 beds.  In addition, staff has received a letter from the Virginia Department of Health (VDH) confirming that the sewage plant has capacity to accommodate the proposed 72-person (60-unit) assisted living facility. 

The applicant indicates that there is a need within the county for additional assisted living beds due to the recent loss of two other facilities.  It estimates that 70% of the residents at the assisted facility would come from within the county.  Additionally, it states that the market is such that a facility with only forty (40) beds would not be financially viable due to increases in the cost for construction materials and development, and operating costs, including staffing expenses.

The applicant has also provided building elevations for the proposed assisted living facility.   The elevations were prepared in response to several meetings with the applicant, its representative, Commissioner Trumbo, Supervisor Downey, Fauquier Hospital representatives, and staff.  A major change in the overall project is that the Fauquier Hospital intends to own and operate the proposed assisted living facility.


Land Area, Location and Zoning:  

The property is located on Lee Highway (Route 29)at the intersection of Suffield Lane.  A map of the property is shown below.



Neighboring Zoning/Land Use:

The property is currently zoned RA (Rural Agricultural) and is bound by RA and Residential-1 (R-1) to the north; R-1 to the east; Route 15/29 to the south and RA to the west.


Action Requested of the Board of Supervisors:

Conduct a public hearing and consider adoption of the attached resolution.

Planning Commission Recommendation:

On April 26, 2007, the Planning Commission held a public hearing on this item.  It was forwarded to the Board of Supervisors with a recommendation of approval, subject to a series of Special Exception conditions.


Staff Analysis:

Staff and the appropriate referral agencies have reviewed this request for conformance with the Comprehensive Plan, the Zoning Ordinance, and other relevant policies and regulations. Staff and referral agency findings, comments, and recommendations transmitted to the Planning Commission are included as Attachment 3.  No new comments have been received.  The issues have been resolved with any exceptions noted in the Summary and Recommendations section herein.

Summary and Recommendations:

Staff recommends that the Board of Supervisors consider the Planning Commission’s recommendation of approval for these items as well as the specified condition.  This proposal changes the number of beds from 40 to 72-bed (with no more than 60 units total) and the building size for the assisted living facility to accommodate a building up to 54,200 square feet.

At the time of preparation of this report, staff, the applicant, its representative and Supervisor Downey have a meeting scheduled to discuss the Special Exception conditions.  It is possible that additional conditions or refinements to the conditions may occur subsequent to preparation of the report.  If that is the case, the most current version will be added to this report as an additional attachment.

VDH staff has renewed the permit for the waste water treatment plant.  In addition, VDH and Community Development staff have reviewed and refined the Special Exception condition language regarding maintenance and monitoring to ensure compliance with VDH permit regulations.

The current submittal reflects staff’s request for additional bond/letter of credit funds as incentive to complete the assisted living facility.  The proposed conditions condition also provides a mechanism, to reduce the bond.

Staff notes that although the “Continuing Care Facility” is no longer allowed in the RA/Rural Agricultural District it is still possible to allow the requested increase in the use under the provisions of Zoning Ordinance Section 5-004(2).  This referenced section allows the Board of Supervisors to “specifically waive or modify requirements for obtaining additional permits for the enlarging, extending, increasing in intensity or relocation of previously approved Special Exception uses in unusual cases when the change is not significant.”  This standard has been achieved and is reflected in the resolution.  Such a waiver or modification is necessary in this case or the amendment request cannot be approved without a text amendment.  The Special Exception amendment is also required since it specifically addressed the number of beds and that is the focus of the facility’s expansion.

The building design has incorporated aesthetics (blending in with the Suffield Meadow residential development) and addressed the size and screening of the proposed assisted living facility and to minimize impact as viewed from Route 29.   Although parking and loading will be screened, since they have been located to the “rear” of the building, which actually faces Route 29, they may still be visually prominent.  The Board of Supervisors may wish to consider additional screening requirements.  Staff also notes the maximum height in the district is 35 feet; it was not possible to measure the proposed building’s height since no scale was provided with the plan.


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

Fauquier County Department of Community Development

The Residents of Suffield Meadows


1.      Proffer Statement

2.      Health Department Letter

3.      Summary of Comments

4.      Building Elevation

5.      Applicant’s Proposed Conditions (June 4, 2007)

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