PUBLIC HEARING AGENDA REQUEST
Board of Supervisors Meeting Date:
Wiltse, STBI-Warrenton, LLC
Academy Hill Developers, LLC
M. Williams/Toll Bros., STBI-Warrenton, LLC.
Robert C. Counts
Magisterial District: Center
Service District: Warrenton
Resolutions to Approve the Warrenton Chase Special Exception Requests
SE03-C-20, SE03-C-21, And SE03-C-22.
is on the north side of
is in the R-1 residential district. It consists of approximately 244.5
Adjacent Land Uses:
to the north and east are Residential (R-1), to the south Residential
(R-1) and Village (V), and to the west Residential (R-1) and Rural
The Applicant is seeking approval of a Preliminary Subdivision Plat to
divide ± 244.5 acres zoned Residential-1 (R-1) into one hundred fifty (150)
single-family residential lots ranging in size from ± .57 acres to 2.04
acres, with approximately 125.78 acres (±51.44%) in open space.
given the Preliminary Plat’s dependency on companion Special Exception
applications (SE03-C-20, SE03-C-21, and SE03-C-22), Planning Commission
action on the Preliminary Plat was deferred pending Board of
Supervisors’ action on these requests. The Applicant has requested
Special Exception approval under Category 20 to allow for a water storage
system; Category 21 to allow for a community trail system and a utilities
crossing in the floodplain; and Category 30 to allow for a waiver of the
public sewer requirements.
Action Requested of the Board of Supervisors
The Board of Supervisors is being asked to conduct a public hearing on
the Applicant’s Special Exception requests and to consider the
resolutions recommended by the Planning Commission. In summary, the
Special Exception requests are:
Applicant is seeking a Category 20 Special Exception to construct two
utility components. First, the Fauquier County Water and Sanitation
Authority (WSA) has agreed to provide public water to the development. In
order to obtain water service, the Applicant must extend the water line
from the WSA water supply in the New Baltimore area along
Second, the Applicant’s original
development proposal sought a Special Exception to exempt the development
from the requirement of either public sewer or a central community sewer
system. Early in the review of
this proposal, County staff, and nearby neighborhood residents, expressed
concerns that a development of this size on septic fields could possibly
degrade a community aquifer that was already seen as fragile.
In response, the Applicant has proposed a community sewer system.
Such a system, if approved, would be subject to regulation by a number of
State agencies including the Health Department and the Virginia Department
of Environmental Quality. It would be required to meet stringent standards
for both construction and operation. Such
a system requires a Category 20 Special Exception.
Applicant is also seeking Category 23 Special Exception. A Category 23
Special Exception is required for any development-related use of a FEMA
designated floodplain. The Applicant proposes two such uses. First, because
the property is bisected by a stream and floodplain, it is necessary to
cross that stream with several components of the proposed utilities.
Second, in order to accommodate the County’s plans for the provision of
a trail system and greenway in developed areas surrounding the Town of
The Applicant has requested a
Category 30 Special Exception. Generally, the County Zoning Ordinance
requires the use of public sewer and public water in the development of
R-1 subdivisions of more than 25 lots or units. The proposed Warrenton
Chase development contains 150 units, but is located outside of the area
to be served by public sewer. The Applicant has sought public sewer from
the Town of
the request of the Applicant, the Planning Commission has determined that
the proposed water storage
facility associated with SE03-C-20 is in accord with the County’s
Comprehensive Plan. Accordingly, pursuant to Section 15.2-2232 of the Code
of Virginia (C), that determination is hereby communicated to the Board of
The Warrenton Chase development proposal, in various forms and
appellations, has been on the Planning Commission agenda since September
of 2002. A number of issues have been identified and resolved, only to
spawn new concerns and complexities.
More than any other single reason, the difficulties experienced in
finding solutions can be attributed to the fundamental, inseparable
interrelationships between multiple complex components. It has been
literally impossible to address technical issues in isolation; all must be
considered in the context of the total project; all bring a set of
problems that affect the others.
complexity of the Applicant’s proposals, it is impossible to fully
resolve all of the technical issues at this stage of development review.
Rather, this report focuses on the fundamental decisions facing the Board
of Supervisors at this stage of approval. It also attempts to define the
conditions that will govern the various applications as they move through
the remaining stages of the approval process.
SE03-C-20: Water Storage
Currently, no public water service is available to the
Warrenton Chase development area or the surrounding properties. An earlier
proposal to develop community wells was met with significant community
concern regarding the effect that such a private well system might have on
both the quantity and quality of water available from wells on adjacent
properties. In addition, public testimony indicated the existence of an
illegal dumpsite dating to the 1950s and, as a result, that toxic
materials had entered the water table.
The developers of Warrenton Chase have recognized that the
surest response to the community’s concerns regarding the effect of the
proposed development on water supply is the extension of a safe and
adequate public water supply. They
have responded by obtaining a commitment from WSA to provide public water
service to the development and adjacent properties via an extension of a
water main from the New Baltimore area well system to be constructed by
The proposed water tower is a necessary component of the
proposed public water system. It is needed to provide both adequate
on-site reserves and to boost water pressure to serve residential needs
and assure adequate community fire protection.
Article 5-2000 of the County Zoning Ordinance requires that the Applicant
demonstrate that there is no more suitable site for the water storage
facility in an Industrial or Commercial District.
The Applicant has stipulated that the location for the water
storage facility was chosen for two reason: 1) Its primary purpose is to
provide near-by water reserves and some additional pressure to the
proposed development and, as such, its proximity to the homes to be served
is an important design element; and 2) Because there is no commercial or
industrially zoned land near enough to the proposed development to ensure
adequate flow and pressure.
of public water to the area is seen as a benefit to both the Applicant and
the County. While Warrenton Chase gains a more workable plan for the
development of the property, the Applicant also proposes to extend a
public water line from its property further south within the existing
public right-of-way to the site of a proposed County park.
Because the line would be run along Frytown Road, in the area
closest to the former dump site, it would provide residents of the area
the option of connecting to public water should they choose to do so.
Although no one should be required to connect to public water, its
availability can effectively alleviate strongly voiced public concerns
about both water quality and quantity in the Frytown area. In addition,
the proposed public water system will be designed to provide sufficient
water volume and pressure for fire protection. Staff recommends the
approval of the water tower element of SE03-C-20 subject to the following
The Fauquier County Board of
Supervisors has determined that the proposed extension of water service by
WSA can be made without detrimental effect on the residents now served, or
planned to be served, by the New Baltimore well system.
The physical extension of water
lines shall be made at the sole expense of the Applicant, with no costs
transferred to the County or WSA.
The physical extension of water
lines shall be made in a manner that provides adequate lateral crossings
of both Frytown and Duhollow Roads, as determined by WSA, to facilitate
the connection to public water for current residents on either side of
these two roads.
The Applicant shall extend water
line service to those lots in Frytown with designated contaminated wells
that are under management of the Department of Emergency Services.
The Community Wastewater System
The use of package treatment facilities and land application
of treated effluent is not new technology. Such systems have been approved
by the Health Department and Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) and
are in use throughout the State. However, based on recent discussions with
WSA and the Loudoun County Sanitation Authority, it seems that there have
been a number of such systems that have required remedial improvements and
even replacement, sometimes at public expense.
It is essential that a high degree of confidence in long-term
performance be attained prior to approving this type of system. This
requires adherence to a number of criteria, among them: stringent design
and operating requirements, adequate system redundancy, and a reliable
entity to own and operate the system.
The Applicant has stipulated the intent to meet all such
criteria, however, at this stage of review, it is impossible for anyone to
describe the exact configuration of the system or its operating
parameters. For example, newly
submitted material assesses the capacity of 184 potential drainfields to
make the case for a 200% redundancy in land application sites. This
information may or may not reflect reality.
First, drainfield use (and consequently redundancy) appears
to be estimated on the basis of 45,000 gallons per day (gpd) average
community water consumption. This equates to 300 gpd for each home, a
figure typically associated with an average size 3-bedroom home. It is
unclear whether it is appropriate to use this standard to evaluate the
larger type of homes being proposed for this site.
Second, the same perc rate has been used for each of the 184
drainfield sites. Based on known soils information, this will certainly
not be the case. Some sites will perform better than others. In the final
analysis, actual system performance may exceed the figures used by the
Applicant, and it may not. Ultimately, the system capacity (and
redundancy) will depend on which sites are actually put in use and which
are held in reserve.
The preceding is a case in point as to why the Applicant
cannot be expected to prepare a final system design and operating plan as
part of the Special Exception application. All concerned agree that there
is some distance to be covered between approval of a Special Exception and
implementation of an approved system. It is, however, important to provide
as much assurance as possible that a Special Exception can be expected to
perform, if approved.
While the proposed system is not new to
File an application
with the Health Department and/or DEQ, as appropriate, for the proposed
private sewage system.
preliminary meeting with the Health Department and/or DEQ, as appropriate,
to determine basic design parameters acceptable to the Department.
Department and/or DEQ, as appropriate, and the County Soil Scientist shall
conduct a field inspection to identify specific sites on the property that
are both adequate and suitable for use as effluent discharge areas.
Submit a soils
evaluation proposal to the Health Department and/or DEQ, as appropriate,
and the Fauquier County Soil Scientist for the proposed site of
drainfields associated with the facility.
As part of this evaluation, the Applicant shall conduct a saturated
hydraulic conductivity test (K-sat) to determine a permeability rate that
will be used in developing suitable design criteria.
Submit a design to
dispose of sewage effluent, and calculate nitrate loading, ponding and
disposal means in accordance with State and local health codes.
Effect any design
revisions deemed necessary by the Health Department and/or DEQ, as
appropriate, and submit the revised package to the local Health Department
for the issuance of a permit.
In addition, the following general provisions shall
The private sewage
treatment facility shall, preferably, be operated by a public entity, but
under no circumstances by less than a Class “A” wastewater operator
licensed by the
The Applicant shall
provide an annual certification statement to the Zoning Administrator
indicating that a Class “A” or higher operator is under a current
contract for the sewage treatment facility.
Applicant or the licensed operator shall ensure that 24-hour a day
monitoring and notification systems and procedures suitable to the Health
Department and/or DEQ, as appropriate, have been developed and are in then
current effect for the sewage treatment operations.
The operator shall be responsible for notifying the County and all
adjacent property owners of any system malfunctions within 24 hours of the
occurrence of the malfunction.
of the sewage treatment system shall be submitted to the Health Department
and/or DEQ, as appropriate, as required on a routine basis, with
accumulated results submitted to the Zoning Administrator on an annual
Before the issuance
of the first occupancy permit, the Applicant shall provide written
evidence to the Building Official that the Applicant has arranged for the
appropriate disposal of bio-solids produced on-site.
The Applicant shall
make suitable provisions for the payment of sufficient fees and dues by
members of the homeowners’ association, to be created for the
development, to assure that in addition to all other fees and dues charged
to homeowners for other purposes of the said association, there are raised
annually sufficient funds for safe operation and maintenance of the
system, to include creation of a reserve fund to be used in the event of
emergencies, or replacement of components, for so long as the system shall
remain in operation.
SE03-C-21: Use of the Floodplain
The Applicant has calculated floodplain boundaries that differ from the
FEMA boundaries currently on file with the County. The
Finally, the Applicant had previously sought approval to
place the Stormwater Management ("SWM") and associated Best
Management Practice ("BMP") facilities in the floodplain, citing
this as the best location for these facilities.
At the insistence of County staff, the Applicant has agreed to
remove these facilities from the floodplain. This action by the Applicant
reduces the Special Exception request to only the floodplain crossings
associated with utility and trail crossings. Staff finds that, if
constructed properly, such disturbances of the floodplain will be
incidental to the development of the property and should not impose any
significant impacts on the floodplain. Staff recommends approval of SE03-C-21 subject to the
SE03-C-22: Waiver of Public Sewer Requirement
In residential zones, the Board may grant a special exception to waive
the requirement for public sewer where the following standards are met:
The development is
located within an area in which the Fauquier County Water and Sanitation
Authority formally refuses, in writing, to extend sewer service or the
Applicant demonstrates to the Board that the provision of public sewer is
not technically or financially feasible in the area to be served, and
Where the proposed
subdivision lots are to be on individual septic fields, the Applicant
includes with the special exception application a soils report
demonstrating that the development will not degrade ground water resources
or impair any watershed, and that the proposed subdivision will meet all
requirements of the Health Department and the Subdivision Ordinance for
development on individual septic fields. The Applicant shall provide
sufficient data to demonstrate that the development will not jeopardize
the safety of present or future water supplies and information regarding
the topography, soil type and condition, surface and subsurface drainage
condition, water table, history of failures of septic systems in adjacent
areas, and the extent of septic system development in the area, or
Where the proposed
subdivision lots are to be served by a private central sewer system, the
Applicant has demonstrated that:
characteristics are such that all necessary health department and other
governmental approvals can be obtained.
will not degrade ground water resources or impair any watershed.
The Applicant has
sufficient financial resources and a business plan to insure the
successful operation of the system for a period of at least ten years.
That the system
will be deeded to and operated by an entity with all the necessary
authority and easements to operate the system in perpetuity.
A Special Exception
is obtained for the private treatment facility in accordance with Section
The Applicant has made a number of attempts to bring public sewer to this
site. While the Town of
The option of developing the property using well and septic
has also been considered. As noted above, community concerns relating to
the use of drainfields and associated water quality in the surrounding
area prompted the Applicant to propose the private central sewer system
outlined in this report.
It is the stated preference of the Applicant to develop the
property using public sewer. That is also the first preference of County
staff. Toward that end, the Applicant has agreed to meet any reasonable
standards required to allow the transfer of the proposed wastewater
treatment system to a public entity. Ultimately, however, the decision by
a public entity to accept the proposed system is out of the hands of the
Given the uncertainty associated with public ownership, to
deny the Applicant’s request for a waiver of the public sewer
requirement might unreasonably foreclose development options on the site.
The Planning Commission has recommended approval of SE03-C-22 subject to the
The Applicant shall
give first priority to developing the property using a publicly owned
sewer system, second priority to developing with a privately built system
to be conveyed to a public entity, and third priority to developing with
conventional individual drainfield systems.
Pursuant to Section 15.2-2232 of the Code of Virginia, the
Applicant requested a determination by the Planning Commission that the
proposed water storage facility associated with PP03-C-17 and SE03-C-20 is
in accord with the Comprehensive Plan.
According to this section of the Code, whenever a local planning
commission has recommended a comprehensive plan for the locality, and such
plan has been approved and adopted by the governing body, the Plan shall
control the general or approximate location, character and extent of each
feature shown on the plan. Thereafter, unless a feature is already shown
on the adopted Comprehensive Plan, no public utility facility or public
service corporation facility shall be constructed, established or
authorized, unless and until its approximate location, character, and
extent have been reviewed and approved by the Commission. The Planning
Commission has determined that the proposed water storage facility is
substantially in accord with the adopted Comprehensive Plan.
SE03-C-20: Water Storage Facility
The proposed facility is necessary to support the provision of public
water to this development and the adjacent community. The Planning
Commission has recommended approval of this Special Exception subject to
the conditions outlined above.
SE03-C-20: Community Wastewater System
The development of this property using public
sewer is the stated first preference of the Applicant and County staff
reviewing this application. In the absence of conventional public sewer,
staff supports the Applicant’s proposed community wastewater system over
development using individual drainfields, if it is implemented in
accordance with the recommended conditions. However, the Planning
Commission has recommended denial of this request for the following
Staff has prepared resolutions of both
approval and denial for consideration by the Board of Supervisors.
SE03-C-21: Use of the Floodplain
Staff finds that the proposed use of the
floodplain will not, if constructed properly, impose any significant
impact on the floodplain or properties up stream or down stream from the
site. The Planning Commission has recommended approval of this Special
Exception, subject to the recommended conditions.
SE03-C-22: Waiver of Public Sewer Requirement
The Applicant has made every effort to obtain public sewer for this
development. The pending Special Exception for a community wastewater
system reflects an agreement by the Applicant to transfer that system to
public ownership. However, others must decide acceptance of such a
transfer. Given the uncertainty associated with
public ownership, to deny the Applicant’s request for a waiver of the
public sewer requirement might unreasonably foreclose development options
on the site. The Planning Commission has recommended approval of SE03-C-22, subject to the recommended condition.
water storage facility is integral to the objective of providing public
water to the proposed development and the adjacent community. Since the
Comprehensive Plan supports the development of the subject property and
the continuing residential use of adjacent properties, the Planning
Commission has determined that the proposed facility is compatible with
the Comprehensive Plan and recommends that the Board of Supervisors
support that finding.