Planning Commission Meeting Date:


Sevinsky Enterprises, Inc. (Owners)

  Thomas Sevinsky (Applicant)


June 24, 2004

Staff Lead:


Melissa Dargis, Assistant Chief of Planning



Community Development


Magisterial District:


Lee District







REZN04-CR-005: A Rezoning to Allow for 9.6 Acres in RA (Rural Agricultural) to I-2 (Industrial-General)


Topic Description: 


The purpose of this request is to obtain rezoning approval for 9.6 acres from RA (Rural Agricultural) to I-2 (Industrial-General).  The purpose is to allow the continued use of existing commercial wash bays, the filling of propane tanks, as well as the rental of ten (10) buildings to accommodate other various businesses.  The property is located on the southeast side of Ritchie Road (Route 644).  The entire property is within the 100-year floodplain.  Two structures have a Letter of Map Amendment (LOMA) from FEMA that remove them from the floodplain.


Project Update:


Since the March Planning Commission meeting, staff has continued to meet regularly with the Applicant to guide him through the steps necessary for obtaining compliance.  During these meetings, staff provided recommendations to the Applicant with a timeline for achieving results.  In general, the Applicant was receptive to staff recommendations with the exception of the suggestion to have a floodplain analysis or study performed.  Staff had suggested the study on the basis of the possibility that the site or significant portion thereof could potentially be removed from the floodplain if the data supported it.  This type of study can be costly and there is no guarantee that the result would support the property being removed from the floodplain.  Thus, the Applicant did not want to proceed with it.


On April 5, 2004, the Virginia Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) sent a report to the County regarding its site visit to Fauquier Feed Supply.  The report cited the discharge of industrial wastewater (car wash water) and industrial storm water from the site into Brown’s Run without the requisite permits.  The DEQ’s recommendations were to: (a) immediately cease the unpermitted discharges, (b) obtain a permit for discharges into State waters; and (c) confirm that an on-site septic system is located on the property and that it is not receiving any industrial wastewater. 


The Applicant reports that the unpermitted discharge from the wash bays has ceased and that 100% of waste wash water is being recovered.  The water from the pressure wash bays is now routed to a holding tank.  Once enough water is collected, it is processed through a final filter and pumped onto a liquid application truck for farm application.  The Applicant completed and submitted a DEQ waste water discharge application package on 26 April 2004, including a permit fee.  The Applicant confirmed receipt of the application and fee, and is waiting for the DEQ response regarding the permit status.


The issue of the location and function of the septic system has been discussed with the Health Department.  The Applicant has retained a septic inspector to locate the septic field and confirm whether or not it was receiving industrial waste water.  The Applicant also contacted the Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT) for entrance and sight distance standards.  The VDOT requirement for this site would be a 30 foot wide minimum entrance with a 500-foot sight distance onto Route 644.  The existing entrance measures 120 feet and its distance to Route 17 (west) is 300 feet; all of which is clear and thus, has sight distance.  There is over 500 feet of sight distance to the east.  Therefore, the property meets the VDOT requirements.  The Applicant has provided a site plan to illustrate this concept.


During meetings, staff and the Applicant also discussed parking requirements for the site.  These standards are from the Fauquier County Zoning Ordinance Section 7-105, Parking Requirements for I-2.  The Applicant has identified parking spaces for each of the tenants and Fauquier Feed Supply.  The site plan shows adequate space for 75 standard parking spaces and 14 oversized spaces for tractor trailer parking.


Another item requiring remedy is the setback requirement for Building 1 (Mullins) from the property line.  The Applicant has a completed survey which would allow him to vacate the current property line via a boundary line adjustment with the adjacent property, to incorporate additional acreage.  If the Applicant proceeds with the boundary line adjustment, it would eliminate the setback problem.  However, it does not resolve the floodplain issue. 


It should be noted that in addition to the tenants on site, Fauquier Feed Supply continues to operate and provide the following services:


  1. Custom blend and apply dry fertilizer to customer specifications.
  2. Custom mix and apply liquid chemicals and fertilizers to customer specifications.
  3. Purchase, store, and sell grain grown by local farmers.
  4. Recommend feed ingredients to dairy farmers and deliver custom made feed.
  5. Provide bag seed and fertilizer to farm customers.






a. Chronology and Issues Summary.  Staff has been working with the applicant for over a year now regarding the zoning violations on this Rural Agriculture (RA) zoned property.   Only the agricultural portion of the business would be allowed in current RA zoning.  Any other type of use is a violation of the Zoning Ordinance.  During the past year the applicant has added new tenants (businesses) to his property.  A rezoning application was received in January and the Planning office has been working with the applicant since that time.  The ultimate goal is to bring this property up to code.  This would require rezoning of the property out of the RA district (as the first step) as well as solving the floodplain issue.  Then there would be other steps needed before each of the uses would be in compliance.


b. Site Visits and Existing Conditions.  Staff has conducted two site visits to the property.  Planning and Zoning staff visited the site and met with the applicant to clarify the uses at the site.  The applicant had identified the uses in his application package and Statement of Justification.  Staff noted there was extensive outside storage of materials.  This ranged from tractor trailer make-shift storage units, to pallets and other debris.  Some of the businesses are storing equipment, vehicles for sale, and tires outside of their buildings.  There was no evidence that the appropriate water quality measures were in place for the vehicle wash bays, although the Applicant said that he captures runoff (for reuse) and stores it onsite in an above ground tank.  Staff also noted the rezoning plat did not indicate the location of the drainfield or well for the site.


The second visit, on March 11, 2004, included the Planning Commissioners.  The applicant was present and narrated a tour of the site.  The group observed each of the buildings and walked the entire site.  The applicant explained the uses in each of the buildings.  In particular the applicant explained that the vehicle wash water was collected and pumped into the above ground storage tank and not (ever) into the pond. 


c. DEQ Actions.  Patricia Greek, Virginia Department of Environmental Quality, called staff to inform them of her site visit to the applicant’s property in early March.  The applicant was not present during her visit, although she did speak to him afterwards.  The applicant had explained to her that the vehicle wash water was collected and stored in the pond or storage tank.  She noted that the pond on site had no freeboard and was breached and potentially discharging into Brown’s Run as well as into various ditches on the property (which also may ultimately discharge into the creek.)  This condition represented an unpermitted discharge into state waters. 


Ms. Greek advised the applicant not to put any additional water into the pond.  Ms. Greek presented concerns that the pond may be polluted due to a very organic odor and poor color.  She noted that there was no record at the Board of Health as to any sewage treatment on the site, but there are 3 restrooms present.  The applicant was not aware of where the septic field was located.  DEQ will require separate systems for domestic (office bathrooms) and industrial gray water.  Ms. Greek is in the process of drafting her staff report.  She estimated that the applicant would potentially require 2 DEQ permits (for stormwater and the carwash) in order to continue his operation.  She will provide staff with a copy of her report when it is complete.



Land Area, Location and Zoning:    


The property is located in Bealeton at 5333 Ritchie Road (Route 644).  The property is zoned Rural Agricultural (RA).  A map of the property is shown below.







Neighboring Zoning/Land Use:


The property is surrounded on three sides by RA (Agricultural) zoning and is next to a parcel zoned I-2 (Industrial General).  The prevailing land use is farming.  One of the adjacent RA parcels is in the Southern Fauquier Agricultural and Forestal District.  The property is entirely within the FEMA 100-year floodplain.


Action Requested of the Planning Commission:


The Planning Commission is requested to conduct a public hearing on the proposed Special Exception and forward a recommendation to the Board of Supervisors.


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 are summarized below. The actual responses from referral agencies are included as attachments.


Code Requirements


Since the site is within the FEMA 100-year floodplain, the uses there must be consistent with the Fauquier County Zoning Ordinance Section 5-2300, Category 23 Floodplain Uses and the general standards set forth for those uses:


PART 23                                 5-2300             CATEGORY 23 FLOODPLAIN USES


In addition to the general standards as set forth in Section 006 above, the following standards shall apply:


5-2301                         Standards for All Category 23 Uses


1.      No such use shall cause an increase in the level of flooding or velocity of flood waters.


2.      No such use shall create a potential hazard of debris subject to movement by flood waters which might cause damage downstream.


3.      The John Marshall Soil and Water Conservation District shall be given the opportunity to comment on such uses.


4.      The applicant shall have obtained and shall present evidence attesting any applicable approvals by State and Federal authorities concerning such a use.


5.      Materials and equipment stored in the floodplain shall not be buoyant, flammable or explosive, and shall not be subject to major damage by flooding or such materials and equipment must be firmly anchored to prevent flotation or movement and/or can be readily removed from the area within the time available after flood warning.


6.      Special exceptions shall only be issued after the Board of Supervisors has determined that the granting of such 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 ordinances.


7.      Special exceptions shall only be issued after the Board of Supervisors has determined 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.


8.      The Zoning Administrator shall notify the applicant for a special exception in writing, at the time of filing, that the issuance of a special exception to construct a structure below the one hundred (100) year flood elevation (a) will increase risks to life and property, and (b) will result in increased premium rates for flood insurance.


9.      A record of the above notification as well as all special exception actions, including justification for their issuance, shall be maintained and any special exceptions which are issued shall be noted in the annual report submitted to the Federal Insurance Administrator.


Zoning and Land Use


The property is currently zoned RA where the predominantly uses are agriculture. The majority of the current uses are not consistent with this zoning category.  The only uses that would be consistent with the RA zoning would be the agricultural based businesses that remain.  The property is next to a site that has been rezoned to Industrial- General (I-2).  Additionally the entire site is within the FEMA 100-year floodplain.


Engineering Considerations


The Engineering Division has reviewed the above referenced plan and has provided the following comments:


  1. The entire property is in the 100-year floodplain. A LOMA was issued in 1998 and states that two grain bins (old buildings?) are not in the floodplain, but other buildings are in the floodplain. An adjacent parcel to the east (PIN 7808-31-8892) has a LOMA that states that the flood elevation is 280.5’ (NGVD29).


  1. Accessory structures and storage of materials in a floodplain require a Special Exception.


  1. A commercial entrance is typically required for this type of activity.


  1. The soils type indicates that wetlands may be present. The expansion of any use should warrant a wetlands investigation.


  1. The wash area should be directed into some type of BMP facility.


  1. Building 1 appears to have been constructed after the 1998 aerial photo for GIS was taken. This building also appears to be in the floodplain. It does not appear that a Special Exception was granted.


  1. What provisions were made to protect Brown’s Run from contaminates, such as fertilizer, gasoline, etc., that would enter the water due to flooding?


Zoning Considerations:


The following are a summary of the Zoning staff comments:


This site has been in violation for several years.  During this time, we have worked with the Applicant to encourage him to secure necessary approvals to authorize the various uses located on his property.  Yet, during this time the Applicant has continued to add additional unauthorized uses.  Examples include 1) constructing additional auto wash facilities; 2) Chick’s equipment; and 3) a rag storage/repackaging operation to the site.


Staff reviewed the uses at the site and compared them to various zoning categories; Commercial-Highway (C-2), Industrial Park (I-1), Industrial General (I-2) to see where the existing uses fit.  No category allowed for all of the existing uses.  Further, almost all of the uses require site plan, special permit and building permit approvals, which may raise various requirements related to construction, stormwater management, landscaping, etc.  One of the uses, Mullins, is located in a building that cannot meet setback requirements.  


Finally, the entire site is located within the floodplain.  Staff is in the process of determining whether some of the existing buildings were constructed prior to the floodplain regulations in the zoning ordinance, making those buildings grandfathered.  The County has limited authority to approve certain uses in the floodplain by special exception.   Not all of the existing uses may be authorized pursuant to the Floodplain overlay district restrictions.    A Letter of Map Amendment (Removal) LOMAR or other approval from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) may be required to “legalize” some of the buildings.


Virginia Department of Transportation:


The Warrenton Residency staff reviewed the above referenced rezoning dated February 9, 2004, and has the following comments:


1.      The traffic counts indicated appear as if they may be a little low for the number of businesses that are indicated being operated from the property.  Even with the number of employees indicated they have 65 to 85 trips per day figuring in 3 trips per day per employee.  It is not clear if the trip count includes deliveries.  Are there a large number of tractor trailers?


2.      If the property is rezoned to industrial, can there be a restriction limiting the usage to the current usage?  We have concerns about the traffic to the site being increased with additional businesses without going through any site plan review to determine if the entrance is adequate.


3.      The plan submitted does not show the existing entrance.  The entrance should be constructed in accordance with the Minimum Standards of Entrances to State Highways that may include a taper or a turn lane.  A sight distance profile should be submitted showing that the entrance meets the minimum sight distance requirements.  The plan should indicate the distance to the intersection of Route 17 from the entrance.


Summary and Recommendations:


Staff recommends that the Planning Commission postpone action of this item to allow the Applicant to create a series of proffered conditions including timelines to reach compliance.  On the other hand, if the Planning Commission decides to take action today, staff would have to recommend of denial.  The basis for the recommendation to postpone is that the rezoning cannot be afforded to the property unless the zoning violations and other outstanding issues are resolved in a timely fashion.  Staff has been diligently working with the Applicant for over a year and some slow progress has been made.


Preparation of a proffer statement is highly recommended.  The Applicant needs to list the permit and other mandatory actions, and the timelines to which he will commit; otherwise, the uses that are in violation will have to cease.  The Planning Commission should also review the proffer statement and provide recommendations for the Board of Supervisors consideration


The ultimate goal is to bring this property into compliance with the County’s land development regulations and state permitting requirements.  Over the past few months, the Applicant has demonstrated positive progress in trying to bring the site into compliance.  There are many procedural steps that the Applicant must initiate and complete, along with the request for Rezoning.  Examples are special permits, needing BZA approvals, and site plan requirements, as well as bringing structures, not grandfathered, into compliance with the FEMA 100-year floodplain and county floodplain regulations.


Although the implication of deferring this action would mean that the Applicant would continue to operate the site in continued violation of the Zoning Ordinance, with the new staff request for a Proffer Statement, it is reasonable that the Applicant be allowed adequate time to prepare that document.  Staff can assist the Applicant in the preparation of that document.


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

1.      Fauquier County Department of Community Development

2.      Virginia Department of Health




  1. Special Exception Plat
  2. Site Plan
  3. Comments from Fauquier County Engineer
  4. Comments from Fauquier County Zoning Office
  5. Virginia Department of Transportation