Summary of Referral Agency Comments to the Planning Commission
Suffield Meadows Special Exception Amendment Request:
SEAM07-SC-001 A Category 6 Special Exception Amendment to Previously Approved
 Special Exceptions: SE02-S-13 and SE02-S-14

Soil Scientist

After reviewing the Special Exception plat, this office has the following comments:

1.         VDH permit requires monthly effluent sampling and submission of results.  For the period of February 2006 to December 2006, reports are missing for July through September.  Applicant shall provide missing reports.

2.         Total nitrogen levels exceed permitted limits for 4 months out of the 8 months of the effluent sampling reports available for period of February 2006 to December 2006.  Applicant shall provide data evidencing that system has been corrected and is meeting total nitrogen limits.

3.         Applicant shall provide results from quarterly sampling of monitoring wells.

4.         Drainfields numbered 13, 14, 18 and 23 (second reserves) do not appear to be adequately protected from disturbance, based on field review on April 4, 2007.  Applicant shall either provide evidence that these reserve areas are no longer necessary and correct plat to reflect this, or drainfield areas shall be fenced to protect them from disturbance.

5.         Monthly reports (February 2006 to December 2006) of waste water treatment plant show maximum daily flows that are as high as double the average monthly flows.  Applicant shall provide evidence that at full build-out, and with 72 beds in assisted living facilities, that wastewater treatment plant can handle peak flows of double the anticipated average monthly flow.

Zoning Office

The Zoning Office has the following comments:

1.         The applicant proposes to amend the approved Special Exception concept plan and conditions to allow an increase in the size of the Assisted Living Facility:


                              Special Exception                   Proposed                     Increase

      # of Beds                    40                                     72                           80%

      Footprint             18,719 sq.ft.                        31,750 sq.ft.                69%

2.    Pursuant to Section 5-004(2) of the Zoning Ordinance, a use cannot increase in size or intensity without approval of a Special Exception Amendment authorizing such increase.   In this case, because the “Continuing Care Facility” is no longer allowed in the RA/Rural Agricultural District it is not possible in this case to amend the permit to allow an increase in the use under the current provisions.   However, Section 5-004(2) further 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.”   Such a waiver or modification is necessary in this case or the amendment cannot be approved without a text amendment.

3.    Staff would note that there has been an ongoing issue with zoning violations on this property. 

·               Most notably, the applicant is in violation of condition #6 of the existing Special Exception, which required that construction of the assisted living facility begin prior to issuance of the building permit for the 85th residential unit. (Note, applicants appeal on this issue to the BZA was denied by the BZA on March 1, 2007).  

·               In addition, the applicant is in violation of their approved Site Plan.  Many structures have been built larger and differently than shown on the approved site plan and as a result, 9 homes are located within or too close to easements.  The engineer for the builder has recently contacted staff to work on resolving this issue.

·               Also, the applicant is in violation of conditions #42 and #44.  The Zoning Administrator has received none of the required annual certifications or reports related to the private sewage system.

4.    A Site Plan Amendment will be required, to include stormwater management and BMP’s to handle the additional run off. 

5.    While reviewing the files for Suffield Meadows it was clear that the location, size and screening of the proposed assisted living facility were significant issues during the first approval of this project.   The building was, in fact, redesigned to address these issues and minimize impact as viewed from Route 29.   The current application does not address the visual impact of the now much larger and taller building from Route 29 or adjoining rural properties.  In addition, parking and loading for the use are now located “rear” of the building facing Route 29 and will be more visually prominent.  The Board may wish to consider additional screening requirements.

6.    Maximum building height in the district is 35 feet.  It was not possible to measure the height of the proposed buildings as no scale was provided, but it appears that the proposed building is very close to or possibly over the height limit.  This issue can be addressed at Site Plan, but the applicant should be aware of this limitation.

Parks & Recreation

The Parks and Recreation Department submits its comments on the aforementioned proposal as follows:

The easement for trail development in the stream valley is still a priority. The trail requested is shown in the Parks & Recreation “Connection Plan for Trails” as a major connector between Warrenton and New Baltimore. Trails are already in place or proffered at Lake Whippoorwill and Jamison Subdivisions. With the development going on in this part of the county, if trail easements are not secured now, they are gone forever.


The Engineering Office reviewed the above stated Special Exception Amendment and has the following comments:

If approved, the proposed Special Exception Amendment request will require the applicant to file a Site Plan Amendment to demonstrate conformance with SWM requirements approved with the original site plan.  This can be accomplished by either observing the approved stormwater design or by providing for SWM by some other revised plan as part of the assisted living facility.


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