Summary Staff Report:
request by EDS to utilize the runways at Hartwood Airport
(located at the Stafford County Line on Crupp Road) raised
a question of whether or not more flexibility is warranted
for use of existing airports. EDS has signed a lease to
utilize an existing runway at Hartwood Airport for the
testing of vehicle sensors. The testing involves driving a
vehicle down the runway at approximately 40-60 mph, through
a canopy-type structure (toll booth) equipped to read a
transmission from the vehicle, testing the sensor
technology. According to the applicant, the planned tests
are similar to the “fast pass” toll road sensors and will
occur on-site one day per month.
There is no
current use category in the zoning ordinance which would
allow this activity at the Hartwood Airport, which is zoned
RA/Rural Agriculture. The use category “Limited
Industrial” seems most appropriate and is allowed in the RA
zone with special exception; however, uses are limited in
that category to those occurring indoors.
itself is authorized by special exception approval, and
typically as part of this approval accessory incidental uses
would be allowed, provided they are somehow related to
airport use. However, in this case the proposed use has
nothing to do with airport use and therefore cannot
reasonably be considered an accessory use to the airport.
The airport setting is ideal in this case primarily because
of the availability of the existing paved area (runway) for
driving the vehicle at necessary speeds.
alternatives are proposed for the text amendment. The first
adds a new standard for airports that would allow incidental
non-airport related uses to be approved as part of an
airport special exception, with a limitation that the use be
transportation related (the airport use is under the
transportation category). This approach would require an
amendment to the Hartwood Airport SE to include the
incidental use. The proposed new standard is:
An airport and/or
runways may be utilized for transportation uses that are
minor in area and extent and not normally associated with an
airport, when presented and specifically authorized as part
of the special exception.
alternative would allow incidental transportation related
uses to be approved by separate administrative permit by the
Zoning Administrator, with limitations aimed at allowing
only those uses that are transportation related and which
have minimal or no potential impacts.
The Board of
Supervisors initiated the proposed text amendment at their
June 7, 2007 meeting. The Planning Commission held a public
hearing on the text amendment on July 26, 2007 and
unanimously recommended approval of the alternative allowing
administrative approval of incidental uses. The Planning
Commission recommended an additional standard for such
administrative approvals, requiring incidental uses to be
restricted to hard surface runways only.