Board of Supervisors Meeting Date:


Douglas E. & Sharon Y. Darling


June 21, 2004



Staff Lead:


Melissa Dargis, Assistant Chief of Planning



Community Development


Magisterial District: Marshall


Service District:  Marshall







A Resolution to Deny SPEX03-MA-016, A Category 27 Special Exception to Amend a Previously Approved Condition, to Allow for a Further Reduction of Open Space to Accommodate a Water Storage Silo


Topic Description: 


The purpose of this Special Exception is to obtain approval to amend a previously approved Special Exception condition.  The amendment would allow for a further incremental reduction in open space in order to accommodate the placement of a water storage silo on the site.  The property is in the Marshall Service District and is located off West Main Street in Marshall; across from the Marshall Rescue Squad and east of Lunceford Lane. 


The Cannon Ridge Subdivision already has an approved Special Exception (SPEX03-MA-016) for a reduction in open space for the subdivision.  This resolution was approved by the Board on April 21, 2003.  The subdivision’s proposed clustering of lots required the provision of common open space equal to 50% of the total land area.  The Applicant was approved for a reduction of 6%, which is equivalent to an open space allocation of 44%.  This amount of land was determined to still provide ample recreation opportunity and preservation of the hilltop area which has local and historical significance to residents.


This Special Exception requires an amendment in order to further reduce the open space requirements so a proposed water storage silo can be placed there.  Because the Fauquier County Zoning Ordinance Section 2-309.4 indicates that: “In no instance shall open space credit be given for lands which are included in or reserved for the right-of-way of any street, or for any public facility…” With respect to public utilities, the Ordinance does not consider it to be part of open space, except as part of utility easements, and then only when the remaining portions of the easements are dedicated for recreation/open space use.  


The original open space reduction caused the open space to be about 7.92 acres instead of the required 9 acres.  With this amendment, the Applicant requests a further reduction of open space, equivalent to less than one percent (0.63 percent), to be approved.  That action would allow the site to accommodate the proposed water storage silo, which will be interconnected with the public water service system.  The resulting open space area would then total about 7.86 acres.  However, this figure has not taken into account the access road to the silo.


Requested Action of the Board of Supervisors:


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


Financial Impact Analysis:




Planning Commission Recommendation:


After conducting a public hearing, the Planning Commission has recommended that the Board of Supervisors deny the amendment to Special Exception SPEX03-MA-016 and its request for further reduction of open space to accommodate a water storage silo.


Land Area, Location and Zoning:    


The property, which is in the Marshall Service District, is located off Main Street in Marshall, Virginia; across from the Marshall Rescue Squad and east of Lunceford Lane, Marshall District.  The property is zoned Residential (R-2).  A map of the property is shown below.





Neighboring Zoning/Land Use:

The property is bordered by parcels zoned Residential (R-4), Rural Agricultural (RA) and Commercial-Neighborhood (C-1).  The predominant land use is residential and the property is also adjacent to Marshall’s Main Street (central business district).


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.


Zoning and Land Use


The property is currently zoned Residential (R-2).  Consistent with this zoning category, this property is located in a district that contains similar zoning and parcels, which are also within the Service District. The property is bound on 3 sides by parcels that are zoned Residential (R-4) and on one side is Rural Agricultural (RA).


In Zoning Ordinance Section 5-2701, Standard for Reduction of Common Open Space as Permitted by Paragraph 2-410, there are two criteria in determining whether a reduction in common open space is permissible.


  1. The required amount is not necessary in order to establish neighborhood open space for useable recreation, accessibility, visibility and linkage with other established or planned subdivisions, adjacent open space, parks, schools, or similar land uses.


  1. The area, particularly adjacent parcels, is developed predominately as conventional subdivisions without open space and the required open space would result in an inconsistent pattern of development, in which case open space may be reduced to zero.


Per the Ordinance, the Applicant will still have ample active recreation area, and retain the majority of trees as indicated in the Marshall Service District Plan, should the reduction of open space be approved.  The adjoining properties do not have common open space since they were developed in the past as conventional subdivisions.


The Applicant proposes this reduction of open space to accommodate a proposed water storage silo on Stephenson Hill (per local historian Eugene Scheel), or otherwise known as Cannon Ridge, in the south-west quadrant of Marshall.  This small hill was identified in the Marshall Citizen Committee VISION exercise as an important cultural and environmental resource to the community, and had a military significance associated with the Civil War.  Accordingly, the Marshall Service District Comprehensive Plan identifies Stephenson Hill as a preserved area, and such was given consideration during recent subdivision approval of this parcel.  Given the importance of Stephenson Hill/Cannon Ridge to the community, any public facility proposed to be located in this area should be given particular scrutiny to this regard and, if located, the facility should be very unobtrusive.


Summary and Recommendations:


Staff is not in support of this Special Exception and recommends a resolution to deny the request.  Also note that this application is directly linked to another Special Exception request for the water storage silo.


At its April 29, 2004 meeting, the Planning Commission recommended that the water storage silo Special Exception application (SPEX04-MA-020) be denied.  Staff recommends that the Board hold the public hearing and take this action into consideration.


Since the two Special Exceptions are linked, it is suggested that they be considered concurrently. Additionally, staff also requests that the Board of Supervisors take into consideration the historical significance of this site.  The proposed location sits upon the highest point in Marshall, as well as one of historic significance.  It is an area that, albeit privately owned, is of great importance to community residents.  If the Board should decide to approve the aforementioned request, staff recommends maintaining the original conditions and resolution, with the addition of the amendment to the text, to reflect the change in open space (0.63 percent), and a reduction to 43% versus the required 50% [or the formerly approved reduction of 44%].


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


Fauquier County Department of Community Development

Fauquier County Water and Sanitation Authority





  1. Statement of Justification
  2. Special Exception Plat