PUBLIC HEARING AGENDA REQUEST

Owners/Applicants:

Board of Supervisors Meeting Date:

Vint Hill Economic Development Authority, Owner / Cornerstone Christian Academy and Cornerstone Christian Ministries, Applicants

 

August 9, 2007

Staff Lead:
Melissa Dargis, Assistant Chief of Planning

Department:
Community Development

 

Magisterial District:
Cedar Run District

 

PIN:
7915-86-1930-000

Topic:

A Resolution to Approve Cornerstone Christian Academy SPEX07-CR-016, a Category 5 Special Exception to Request Approval to Operate a Private Christian School, Cedar Run District

 

Topic Description: 

SPEX07-CR-016:  The applicant wishes to obtain Special Exception approval under Category 5 to operate a private school in a (leased) building at Vint Hill Station.

Project Information:

Cornerstone Christian Academy wishes to operate a private school in a building on Vint Hill Station in the area identified for Planned Commercial Industrial Development (PCID).  Although this use is allowed in the PCID at Vint Hill, a Special Exception is required.

On July 13, 2006, the Board of Supervisors approved an amendment to allow primary and secondary schools “by right,” Section 4-605 of the Zoning Ordinance requires a Special Exception for “[a]ny use listed in Sections 603 and 604 above which was not specifically designated in the approved Development Plan establishing the PCID.”  Thus, the proposed amendment makes new schools a use allowed by Special Exception.

Cornerstone Christian Academy is a private Christian School, providing Faith Based education for primary and secondary education (Kindergarten - 12th Grade, with a pre-kindergarten). The school also provides before and after school care, and opens this up to the public school children in Fauquier County.  Optional night school, (high school credit classes) for home school students and the public school children is offered as well.  During holidays, when local schools are closed, day care would be provided for school age children.  During the summer the school would offer summer camps consisting of weekly modules (sports, educational, etc.) and summer daycare. In the future the school would like to offer adult education such as CPR/First Aid courses, babysitting courses, language (English, Spanish, etc., and computer.

Regular hours of operation of the school would be from 8:30 AM to 3:30 PM (Monday through - Friday).  Before school care will run from 7:30 AM to 8:30 AM on week days and after school care will be run from 3:30 PM to 6:30 PM (M-F).  Night High School would be provided from 4:00 PM to 8:00 PM (Monday through Thursday). 

The applicant estimates that enrollment projection for the regular 2007-2008 school year will be sixty to eighty students and projected growth over the next four years to be an average of 10-15% per year, with a maximum projected enrollment of two hundred ending around the time of its five-year lease with Vint Hill.  Before and after school care program would not exceed fifty children.  School would be offered to students from pre-kindergarten age to high school.  Evening high school would be limited to a class ratio of no more than twelve students per class for high school age students.

Based on current enrollment the school anticipates a total of twelve employees, nine full-time and three part-time this year.  As enrollment increases this will increase to a ratio of one adult per every eight students, for a total to twenty-five teachers.  The applicant states that students that attend Cornerstone are mainly from Fauquier County, but they also draw students from neighboring counties, such as Prince William and Culpeper.

According to the Statement of Justification, the current Corporation and Administration of Cornerstone Christian Academy has a total of fifteen years operating experience in Fauquier County (Remington and Warrenton.  They are a member of the VCPE (Virginia Council for Private Education) which acts as the school’s liaison to operate in the Commonwealth of Virginia.  They are also an active member with ACSI (Association of Christian School International) where teachers and staff receive their certification. 

Cornerstone Christian Academy will enforce an organized drop off (before school 7:30 to 8:30 AM) and pick up (3:15 to 3:45 PM), as outlined in the student handbook.  Parents enter from only one way and drive in a semi-circle to drop off and pick up.  Staff functions as monitors for the drop off and pick up times.  Students remain in the school until their parents drive up and then a staff person allows them to exit to their parents vehicle.

The play area for the children is located a fenced grass area in close proximity to the annex building.  They will utilize existing sidewalks to get to the recreation area.  In the fall and spring students also would use public sports fields for recreation.   During winter months the school rents indoor gym space from Fauquier County Parks and Recreation at Vint Hill for indoor physical education and sports.

The applicant notes that all students are dropped off and picked up by their parents, and some high school students may drive.  There are no buses at this time.  The school intends to utilize rental bus companies such as “Scenic America” for long distance field trips.  It may also purchase a small bus for local field trips and sporting events.  As the school continues to grow it anticipates acquiring land to build a school facility and thus move elsewhere within the county.  The lease for the space at Vint Hill is for a period of five (5) years.

 

Land Area, Location and Zoning:  

The property is located at 7142 Lineweaver Road within Vint Hill Station.  The building is highlighted with cross-hatched lines.

                                                                    

 

Neighboring Zoning/Land Use:

The subject building is located on the property known as Vint Hill Station and within a Planned Commercial Industrial Development (PCID) district.

 

Action Requested of the Board of Supervisors:

Conduct a public hearing and consider adoption of the attached resolution.

Planning Commission Recommendation:

On July 26, 2007, the Planning Commission conducted a public hearing on the proposed Special Exception and unanimously recommended approval to the Board of Supervisors, subject to a series of development conditions.

 

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.  The actual responses from referral agencies are available upon request.  The majority of referral agencies had no issues with the proposed use of this existing facility.

 

Summary and Recommendations:

Staff asks that the Board of Supervisors consider the Planning Commission’s recommendation of approval for this item.  The applicant has respectfully requested action and approval of its Special Exception application so the Cornerstone Christian Academy can open on schedule August 27, 2007.

 

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

Fauquier County Department of Community Development
Fauquier County Parks and Recreation Department
Vint Hill Economic Development Authority

ATTACHMENTS:

1.            Statement of Justification

2.            Building Photos

3.            Special Exception Plat

 

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