Board of Supervisors Meeting Date: 

David L. Hazel

July 10, 2008

Staff Lead:


Melissa Dargis, Assistant Chief of Planning

Community Development

Magisterial District: Scott

PIN: 6987-75-1075-000

Service District: None


A Category 23 Special Exception (SPEX08-SC-022) to Allow for an Agricultural Pond in the FEMA 100-year Floodplain:  Hazel Pond, Scott District

Topic Description:

The applicant requests this Special Exception in order to construct an agricultural pond within FEMA 100-year floodplain on its 107 acre parcel.  The Statement of Justification (Attachment 1) indicates the dam height for the pond will be lower than fifteen (15) feet and the disturbed area necessary for construction will be limited to .01 acres within the non-tidal waters of the United States.  (Staff notes that the Zoning Ordinance requires dams, which have a dam height greater than or equal to 15 feet and up to 25 feet, to conform to all design criteria listed in NRCS Pond Specification Number 378 in accordance with Section 6-102.24.C.4.)  The applicant’s representative has indicated that the purpose of the pond is to provide water for livestock. The livestock will have no direct access; the pond will be fenced.

Project Information:

The pond location is proposed east of the existing farm entrance/driveway along McRaes Road.  (See Attachment 2.)  Due to the relatively steep terrain on the majority of the property and the orientation of the single drainage feature near the southern boundary of the parcel, there were very limited practicable alternatives for the pond’s location.  The applicant did look into an alternative pond location downstream of the proposed site within the southeastern corner of the property.  However, after reviewing this option, the applicant decided instead to locate the pond to the upper limits of the drainage feature in order to reduce the extent of disturbance (stream channel impacts).

Stream channel impacts associated with the project are less than 300 linear feet of channel.  Thus, a pre-construction notification to the US Army Corps of Engineers (USACOE) for review is not required.  Further there is no USACOE permit required so long as the fill impacts are less than 300 linear feet of stream channel and not more than 0.10 acre of non-tidal waters of the United States (wetlands, streams).  See Attachment 1.

The mapped FEMA 100-year floodplain extends along the entire onsite drainage feature.  The applicant states it would be impractical to locate the pond offline (from the stream channel) where the necessary hydrology is not available.  The pond has been engineered such that it will not cause an increase in the level of flooding or the velocity of floodwaters either upstream or downstream.


Location,  Zoning and Current Land Use:

The parcel is located on McRaes Road (Route 695) north of its intersection with Blantyre Road (Route 626).  It is zoned Rural Agricultural (RA) and Rural Conservation (RC).  Consistent with the RA/RC zoning categories, this property is located in a district where agriculture and forestry are the predominant uses.  RC zoned land contains mountains which are environmentally sensitive, have physical limitations and contain much of the County’s timber resource.




Surrounding Zoning and Current Land Use:

Surrounding parcels are zoned RA or RC. 

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 addressed.


The Engineering Department has reviewed the above referenced project and recommends the following:

Conditions of Approval

  1. A drainage study shall be provided demonstrating that the construction within the floodplain will not adversely affect the capacity of the channels of any water course, which would increase flood heights and/or velocities on adjacent or downstream properties.

A drainage study will be required prior to issuance of a Zoning permit.  A Special Exception condition has been drafted requiring this drainage study, to assure that Zoning Ordinance requirements are met.

  1. The applicant shall assure that all applicable environmental permits have been acquired.  This includes the USACOE/DEQ permits for disturbance of wetlands or other regulated waters.

A Special Exception condition has been drafted requiring applicable permits.  Based on the design submitted, no state or federal permits are required.

Zoning Comments:

  1. The following zoning ordinance standards are applicable:

a.       5-006 General Standards

b.      5-2301, Standards for All Category 23 Uses.

The following findings are required by the Board in order to grant this Special Exception:  That the granting will not result in (a) unacceptable or prohibited increase in flood heights, (b) additional threats to public safety; (c) extraordinary public expense, (d) create nuisances, (e) cause fraud or victimization of the public, or (f) conflict with local law or ordinance. (Section 5-2301.6).  The Board must also find that the special exception will be “necessary to provide the applicant with reasonable use of the parcel of land in question, taken as a whole.” (Section 5-2301.7)

c.       4-406, Special Exception Uses (in the Floodplain District)

d.      4-407, Use Limitations in the Flood Plain District.

Zoning Staff defers to Planning Staff the assessment of standard compliance.

The applicant will provide a drainage study demonstrating that construction within the floodplain will not result in any of the aforementioned impacts (outlined above in Zoning Ordinance Section 5-2301.)  The study shall be submitted with the application for a Zoning permit.  A Special Exception condition has been drafted requiring this drainage study, to assure that Zoning Ordinance requirements are met.

  1. Ponds are allowed as accessory uses by Zoning Ordinance Section 6-102.24 subject to certain limitations. The proposal appears to be in conflict with the Zoning Ordinance in  two areas:
    1. Zoning Ordinance 6-102.24.C.1 requires that ponds in all zoning districts shall be located so that the 100 year flood pool and spillway is located not less than 50 feet from an adjacent property line unless with the written consent of the owner(s) involved, is obtained and submitted with the zoning permit application. The pond appears to be well within 50 feet of McRae’s Road, and
    2. No land shall be disturbed in the construction of the pond that is less than 25 feet from an adjacent property line unless with the written consent of the owner(s) involved, is obtained and submitted with the zoning permit application. The land disturbance for the pond appears to be well within 25 feet of McRae’s Road.

The applicant has received written confirmation that VDOT does not object to the pond location and grading within VDOT right-of-way.  A VDOT land disturbance permit will be required for pond construction.  A Special Exception condition has been drafted to this effect.


The Virginia Erosion and Sediment Control Law excludes “agricultural engineering operations, such as ponds not required to comply with the provisions of the Dam Safety Act” as a land-disturbing activity.  Therefore, this site will not need an erosion and sediment control plan.  Silt fence will still need to be installed down slope from any disturbance to control sediment flow.          

A Special Exception condition has been drafted regarding silt fencing.


The Warrenton Residency staff reviewed the above referenced special exception for construction of a pond, and has the following comments: 

  1. Plans should indicate the distance to the nearest state road.  Portions of McRaes Road are not within the state system for maintenance.  In order to ensure this is within the limits of VDOT maintenance, the plan needs to indicate the distance to Route 628.

The Special Exception plat has been revised to include this information.

  1. The right-of-way for McRaes Road needs to be shown on the plan.  We recommend that 25’ of right-of-way from the centerline be dedicated if it is not already in place.  Acquisition of the right-of-way at this time, will allow us to ensure that the pond is not in conflict with any future improvements that may be made to this road.

It has been confirmed with VDOT that the along the property frontage adequate right-of-way has been dedicated.

  1. There is a note on the plan that the outfall from the existing culvert under McRaes Road must be diverted, but it is unclear how it is being diverted.

The Special Exception plat has been revised to include this information and it will be included in the drainage study.

  1. There appears to be a grading line shown within the road right-of-way near the area of the stone fence that is connecting to a black line shown through the road.  The black line within the road has not been labeled, and the intention of these lines is unclear.

The Special Exception plat has been revised and VDOT has confirmed that the applicant can grade within its right-of-way so long as a VDOT land disturbance permit is obtained.

Summary and Recommendation:

This item is ready for approval.

The applicant has met with the Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT) at the project site.  Subsequent to that meeting, VDOT sent correspondence to confirm that they do not object to the grading (to construct the pond) within its right-of-way, per Zoning Ordinance Section 6-102.24.C.1 or to the pond at its proposed location.  However, a VDOT land disturbance permit will be required prior to the start of any construction activities within the VDOT right-of-way.


Planning Commission Action: 

On June 26, 2008 the Planning Commission unanimously recommended approval of this item. 


Requested Action of the Board of Supervisors:
Consider the attached resolution with its Conditions of Approval, as unanimously recommended by the Planning Commission.


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




1.                  Statement of Justification

2.                  Special Exception Plat


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