Board of Supervisors Meeting Date:


Planning Commission


July 19, 2004

Staff Lead:



Kimberley Johnson, Zoning Administrator


Community Development



Zoning Ordinance Text Amendment to Section 6-105.6 to Reduce the Additional Setback Requirement for Barns in Certain Zoning Districts


Topic Description:


Section 6-105.6 of the Fauquier County Zoning Ordinance requires a 100 foot setback for all barns from all property lines.  As defined in Section 15-300, a “Barn” includes “any structure used in conjunction with an agricultural use, which may include the housing of livestock and/or storage of fodder.”  The proposed text amendment allows a reduction in this setback in the RA/Rural Agriculture, RC/Rural Conservation, I-1/Industrial and I-2/Industrial zoning districts, with Board of Zoning Appeals approval of a special permit.


Requested Action of the Board of Supervisors:


Hold a public hearing and consider adoption of the attached Ordinance.


Financial Impact Analysis:



Summary Staff Report:


In addition to the typical setback requirements that apply to all structures, the Fauquier County Zoning Ordinance also requires that barns be set back a minimum of 100 feet from any property line.  The setback requirement for non-barn structures in the RA zoning district is 75 to105 feet from the centerline of a street for the front yard, and 25 feet for the side and rear yard. The Board of Zoning Appeals has recently considered several variance requests related to a reduction of the required 100-foot setback for barns.  This raises the question of whether the 100-foot setback requirement may be excessive when a variance would not impact adjoining properties.  Typically, a request for such a variance could not meet the high standards for approval needed.


A review of the County’s ordinances over the last 30 years shows that the requirement for a 100 foot setback was added in 1977.  Before that amendment, the setback requirement for agricultural buildings was 50 feet from any property line and 100 feet from any dwelling. 


On June 24, 2004, the Planning Commission voted to recommend approval of a zoning ordinance amendment to allow flexibility in barn setbacks.  The proposed text amendment would allow the Board of Zoning Appeals to approve a special permit to reduce the 100-foot setback on properties that are zoned RA/Rural Agriculture, RC/Rural Conservation, I-1/Industrial, and I-2/Industrial, where such properties are adjacent to similarly zoned properties.    A variation of this amendment reducing the setback to 50 feet in these districts was discussed by the Planning Commission, but the current proposal provides more flexibility to applicants and more protection to adjoining properties.  It allows the Board of Zoning Appeals to consider specific features of the subject property and adjoining properties in allowing a potential decrease in setback. 


The proposed text amendment provides flexibility only in the additional setback requirements contained in Section 6-105 of the Zoning Ordinance for barns.  The lesser setback requirements for front and side yards, which apply to all buildings in these districts, would continue to apply to barns.  Even with special permit approval, a barn could not be moved closer to the property than these existing setback requirements, which are:

                                                                                                                                                            Zoning District            Front Setback              Side and Rear Setback


            RC                               75’/90’/105’                50’


            RA                               75’/90’/105’                25’


            I-1 & I-2                      75’/90’/105’                25’ adjoining C or I districts

                                                                                    75’ adjoining R or Rural districts


Here it needs to be noted that the front setbacks are different depending on whether a structure accesses a local collector, major collector, or a major thoroughfare.



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

Agricultural Development Office