PUBLIC HEARING AGENDA REQUEST

Owner/Applicants:                                     Board of Supervisors Meeting Date:

Dondoric Farm, LP/Janet Zwick, Tom Finch                                    July 21, 2003

Staff Lead:                                                                                    Department:

Elizabeth A. Cook                                                            Community Development

Magisterial District:                                                                              PIN:

Marshall                                                                                    6978-56-3909-000

Topic: A Resolution to Approve Special Exception SE02-M-28 Summerplace Farm: To Permit Category 9 Outdoor Recreation Uses

Topic Description:

The applicant is seeking Special Exception approval to conduct a series of horse shows on the 65-acre tract that is part of the 196-acre Dondoric Farm property.  As proposed, two distinctly different series of shows, with a total of twenty-four (24) events, will be held.  They are described by the applicant as follows:

        Full day events to be held on Saturdays or Sundays at two or three week intervals from mid-April through mid-October.  Eleven shows, attracting 80 to 150 entries each, are planned.  Shows will run from 8:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m.   Arrivals and departures will be scattered throughout the day with some participants arriving as early as 7:00 a.m.   Participants are expected to have left the site shortly after 6:00 p.m.   Traffic impacts will include a maximum of fifty (50) horse trailers and thirty (30) to forty (40) cars per event.  Ten (10) employees, two (2) of whom will assist with traffic control, as needed, will staff each event.  Approximately fifty (50) spectators, grooms and trainers are expected to attend each event.

        Thirteen smaller shows are proposed for Thursday evenings through the months of June, July and August.  About thirty (30) participants are expected to attend each event.  Shows will begin at 4:00 p.m. and will end before dusk.  Participants are expected to begin arriving around 3:00 p.m.   The maximum traffic impacts are expected to be fifteen (15) horse trailers and ten (10) cars.  Three to four employees, one of whom will assist with traffic control, as needed, will staff each event. 

Location:

The property is located on the west side of James Madison Highway (Route 17) between its intersection with Enon Church Road (Route 703) and Dondoric Farm Road (Route 812).  The subject property is 65.18 acres in size and is zoned Rural Agricultural (RA).  Adjacent properties to the north, south and west are zoned RA.  Properties to the east are zoned Residential (R-1) and RA.  Great Meadow, a two-hundred fifty acre field event center, is located to the southeast of the subject property on the east side of James Madison Highway (Route 17).

Requested Action of the Board of Supervisors:

The Board of Supervisors is requested to hold a public hearing and consider the resolution of approval.

Background:

Located near The Plains, Summerplace Farm is a horse facility that, in the past, has offered hunter shows for local riders of all levels.  As part of Dondoric Farm, Summerplace Farm falls under the easement held by the Virginia Outdoors Foundation on the entire 196-acre property.  In the past, all activities that have taken place on this site, including horse shows, have been in general conformance with all terms of the easement agreement.

Existing facilities include a fenced 150' x 275' show ring, an open 60' x 120' warm-up ring, a turf course measuring approximately 350' x 450', a secretary's pavilion, judge's stand and two portable toilets.  The public address system consists of three individually controlled speakers mounted around the show ring. No addition to this system is proposed.  There is no artificial lighting on site.

As proposed, all vehicular traffic will access and leave the site by way of Dondoric Farm Road (Route 812).  Emergency access to the site is proposed by way of an existing farm road connecting directly to James Madison Highway (Route 17).  This road will be gated and chained with no lock.

The Fauquier County Zoning Ordinance provides that a Special Exception for a Class C Spectator Field Event be limited to no more than one thousand (1,000) cumulative attendees per event, with no event exceeding three days in length.  Eligible properties shall have a minimum of fifty (50) acres with a minimum of three hundred (300) feet of frontage on a major collector.  No structure shall be closer than one hundred (100) feet from any lot line. 

Staff Analysis:

Staff and appropriate referral agencies have reviewed this request for conformance with the Comprehensive Plan, the Zoning Ordinance and other relevant policies and regulations.  An analysis of these referrals and the actual comments from the appropriate agencies are included as attachments to this report.

Comprehensive Plan

The subject property is designated for rural agricultural uses in the Comprehensive Plan.  Similar properties surround Summerplace Farm.  Great Meadow, a two-hundred fifty acre field event center, is located to the southeast of the subject property on the east side of James Madison Highway (Route 17).


Zoning Considerations

The subject property is zoned Rural Agricultural (RA), a designation reserved for those areas characterized by agriculture and forestry uses.  The Office of Zoning has reviewed the Special Exception Plat and has the following comments:

        The property is under a Virginia Outdoors Foundation easement.

        A site plan is required pursuant to Section 3-309.16 and must be submitted, reviewed and approved prior to obtaining building and/or zoning permits.  The site plan and Special Exception Plat must be in general conformance with each other and must comply with the requirements of Section 12-604, including:

o       The justification statement and the structures shown on the SE plat are not entirely consistent.  All structures, riding areas, and parking areas must be shown clearly on the site plan and must be located outside of the required 100 setback area.

o       Right-of-way dedication of 25 from the existing centerline of Dondoric Farm Road must be established prior to Site Plan approval (12-604).

o       All surfaces must be paved (12-606) unless a dustless surface waiver is requested and granted.

o       Sufficient parking must be provided to comply with parking requirements of the Ordinance (1 space per 3 seats or potential occupants, plus 1 space per employee, per section 7-104.15).   Additional information is required to determine the specific level of parking required.  As shown, the number and size of the parking spaces does not appear adequate.  In addition, the estimated number of patrons, entries, spectators, grooms and trainers does not appear to adequately reflect anticipated attendance.

        A landscape plan complying with Section 7-601 is required.  

        Health Department approval is required prior to site plan approval.

        VDOT approval is required prior to site plan approval.  VDOT will likely require that the ten (10) foot existing entrance shown on the plan be reconstructed to meet current VDOT standards. 

The Office of Zoning notes the following zoning violation history:

In April 2002, the Office of Zoning received a complaint that horse shows were being conducted on this property without the appropriate permits.  The property owner was informed that Special Exception and Site Plan approval were required to conduct such activities in this location.  Although a Special Exception application was filed in May 2002, deficiencies in the application were not addressed and the application was not completed.  Unauthorized activities continued throughout the remainder of the show season. 

In March 2003, having been informed of a new schedule of shows being promoted for the 2003 season, the Zoning Administrator requested action by the County Attorney s Office.  On March 26, 2003 , a Notice of Violation, indicating that an injunction would be filed against the owners unless the necessary approvals were obtained, was sent to Dondoric Farms by the County Attorney s Office.   Subsequent to that action, the applicant submitted this application.  Events continue to be scheduled in violation of the Zoning Ordinance.  The County Attorney 's Office has been requested to file an injunction to stop this illegal use.

Engineering Considerations

The County Engineer has reviewed the Special Exception Plat and has the following comments:

  • This site will require a commercial entrance including pavement at a minimum of 30 wide and 25 deep (into the site.)  A culvert, designed to pass the ten-year storm, will be required.
  • The gate along Route 17 is to be kept closed and the entrance sign removed.
  • Right-of-way widths must be shown.  VDOT may require dedication 25 from the centerline of Route 812 to the end of state maintenance.
  • It does not appear that the two riding areas referenced in the Statement of Justification are shown on the plan.  Clarification is needed.
  • SWM/BMPs will be required.
  • All travel ways and parking areas require a dustless surface.  Grass should not be permitted.
  • It is not clear whether a special area be designated for trailer parking.
  • Elevation reference numbers are needed.

Transportation Considerations

The Virginia Department of Transportation has reviewed the Special Exception Plat and identified several needed refinements.  Subsequent to the Planning Commission public hearing, VDOT representatives met on-site with the applicant to resolve previously identified access issues.  VDOT has provided the applicant with a number of conditions that must be met in order to assure compliance with VDOT traffic control compliance.  These were incorporated into the Planning Commission recommendation.

Planning Commission Recommendation:

On May 29, 2003 , the Planning Commission held a public hearing on the request and, on June 26, 2003 , conducted a site visit.  At its meeting of June 26th, the Planning Commission recommended approval of the Special Exception request subject to the conditions identified below.

1.            This Special Exception is granted for and runs with the land indicated in this application and is not transferable to other land.

2.            This Special Exception is granted only for the purpose(s), structure(s) and/or uses indicated on the Special Exception Plat approved with the application, as qualified by these development conditions.

3.            The Site Plan shall be generally consistent with the plat approved with this Special Exception, with modifications only as necessary to meet the requirements of the Zoning Ordinance.

4.            This Special Exception is subject to the provisions of the Fauquier County Zoning Ordinance, as may be determined by the Fauquier County Department of Community Development. 

5.            The events scheduled for this property shall not occur on the same dates as those existing major events scheduled for Great Meadow.

6.            Events shall be limited to the following:

a.       A maximum of eleven (11) full day shows may be held from mid-April through mid-October on Saturdays or Sundays with a minimum of two weeks between shows.

i.         Total attendance including staff, participants, trainers, grooms and spectators shall not exceed 175 persons per event.

ii.       Shows shall begin no earlier than 8:00 a.m. and shall end at 6:00 p.m. , or sunset, whichever is earlier.

iii.      Access to the site shall be available no earlier than 7:00 a.m.

iv.     All show related activity and access to the site shall cease at 6:30 p.m. or at sunset, whichever is earlier.  At that time, all participants, trainers, grooms and spectators shall have exited the area, along with all vehicles, including horse trailers.

v.       The total number of horse trailers on site shall not exceed (50) trailers per event.

vi.     At least two (2) flag persons, certified in traffic control, shall direct traffic.  They shall maintain radio contact with one another to facilitate safe traffic movement.

vii.    Amplified sound shall be limited to those three speakers already in place.  All amplified sound shall not commence prior to 8:00 a.m. and shall cease at 6:00 p.m. Amplified sound shall not exceed sixty decibels at the property line.

b.      A maximum of thirteen (13) weekday shows may be held one evening per week through the months of June, July and August.

i.         Total attendance including staff, participants, trainers, grooms and spectators shall not exceed 75 persons per event.

ii.       Shows shall begin no earlier than 4:00 p.m. and shall end at 7:00 p.m. or sunset, whichever is earlier.

iii.      Access to the site shall be available no earlier than 3:00 p.m.

iv.     All show related activity and access to the site shall cease at 7:00 p.m. or at sunset, whichever is earlier.  At that time, all participants, trainers, grooms and spectators shall have exited the area, along with all vehicles, including horse trailers.

v.       The total number of horse trailers on site shall not exceed fifteen (15) trailers per event.

vi.     At least two (2) flag persons, certified in traffic control, shall direct traffic.  They shall maintain radio contact with one another to facilitate safe traffic movement.

vii.    Amplified sound shall be limited to those three speakers already in place.  All amplified sound shall cease at 7:00 p.m.   Amplified sound shall not exceed sixty decibels at the property line.

7.            No artificial lighting shall be installed nor shall it be used for any event.

8.            Two portable toilets shall be supplied for use during events. These shall be located and screened so as to be out of view of adjacent property owners and passing traffic and/or removed from the property following each event. These facilities shall be properly maintained to Health Department Standards.

9.            All food-vending facilities shall meet Health Department standards.

10.        Potable water shall be available on site for both human and animal consumption.

11.        All riding surfaces shall be treated with water, as needed, to maintain a dust-free environment.

12.        Appropriate surfacing materials shall be applied to all travel ways and parking areas to maintain minimal dust conditions and to prevent the tracking of sediment onto public roads.

13.        A safe and functional ingress/egress pattern shall be designed, constructed and maintained to the Virginia Department of Transportation standards.

14.        All traffic control measures and practices shall be approved by VDOT.

15.        All animal waste shall be handled in a manner that is consistent with Best Management Practices.

16.        The Special Exception holder shall provide adequate security, emergency, traffic control, sanitation, and refreshment services at every Class C event or activity.  At least thirty (30) days prior to holding a Class C event, the holder of the Special Exception for the property upon which a Class C event will be held shall provide to the Zoning Administrator written proof, including copies of any permits or licenses if required, from the following agencies that traffic control, security, emergency services and on-site sanitary and refreshment facilities are adequate for the size and type of the event or activity to be held:  Fauquier County Sheriff's Office, Virginia Department of Transportation, Fauquier County Emergency Services, Fauquier County Health Department.

17.        This Special Exception shall be limited to a period of one (1) year from the date of approval.  The Special Exception may be extended by the Zoning Administrator, in accordance with the provisions of Section 5-012 of the Zoning Ordinance, for a period of one year and, upon the expiration of the one-year extension, the Zoning Administrator may grant a second extension for a period of one year.  Thereafter, the Special Exception must be renewed in accordance with Section 5-013 of the Zoning Ordinance.

18.        No events shall be held until all conditions of the Special Exception and Site Plan are met.

19.        All site plan requirements, as required by the Virginia Department of Transportation and the Office of Zoning, shall be met.

20.        A sign shall be posted at the emergency entrance indicating that it is for emergency access only.

21.        Traffic control signs shall be posted in both directions on Route 17.

22.        All signs are to be in conformance with the Manual on Uniform Traffic Control Devices and Virginia Work Area Protection Manual.

23.        All Flaggers shall be certified.

24.        Sign spacing shall be in conformance with the Virginia Work Area Protection Manual, and shall be labeled on the plan.  Sign spacing where the speed limit exceeds 45 mph shall be 500 to 800 feet.

Attachments:

1.      Special Exception Plat

2.      Site Entry for Horse Show