Board of Supervisors Meeting Date:

Wakefield School, Inc. 

August 9, 2007


Staff Lead:
Melissa Dargis, Assistant Chief of Planning

Community Development


Magisterial District:




A Resolution to Approve Special Exception Amendment SEAM07-SC-003, Wakefield School, Scott District


Topic Description: 

The applicant wishes to amend a previously approved Special Exception to increase the school site by ±12 acres, build an additional 74,500 square feet; and increase student capacity from 500 to 600 students.

Project Information:

The applicant seeks to amend its Special Exception (SE93-S-11) in the following manner:

  1. Increase school property by ±12 acres;
  2. Enhance student safety by making improvements to the on-site traffic circulation;
  3. Provide additional educational, recreation, and cultural venues with new buildings on campus to benefit the school and community; and
  4. Increase the student body from 500 to 600 students.

Project Background:

The school was originally approved by Special Exception in October 19, 1993.  Condition #12 of the Special Exception relating to signs was amended on January 19, 1999.

The applicant requests the proposed amendment to allow for improvement in site access and student safety in order to:  (1) provide a second road to the east of the site to access the rear of the school buildings and upper fields; (2) reduce the volume of traffic in the area for pedestrians; and (3) realign the primary access road.

The applicant states that the proposed amendment to the current Special Exception would dramatically improve site access and student safety.  The changes would allow for an additional road access to the east of the site as a second means of accessing the rear of the buildings and upper fields.  The only current access to the upper campus is a road that crosses a student crosswalk between the gymnasium and the upper school building.  Reducing the volume of traffic in this area by providing an alternate access to the east of the site will reduce the risks for pedestrians using this crosswalk.  This situation will be further addressed by way of the proposed realignment of the primary access road to the upper campus to the west, behind the new gymnasium.

The school has coordinated closely with adjacent property owners and community leaders in The Plains and the County.  The following items are being proposed in connection with the requested amendment:

  1. VDOT has requested a traffic study of the entrance to the site and possible improvements for traffic flow and safety on Old Tavern Road (Route 245);
  2. Extension of the trail system will follow the existing power line easement through the lower area of the school property to the adjacent property owned by The Plains Redevelopment Corporation;
  3. Removal of the condition that all outdoor recreation areas be fully fenced.  The current plan calls for several soccer and general purpose fields.  The fencing of each of these fields would add an unsightly appearance to these facilities that neither the school nor the community would want, without any significant offsetting benefit  Where it makes sense, fencing will be installed to either limit access to the fields from off-site or to control balls or objects of play from leaving the site.  

All other conditions of the original approved Special Exception, SE93-S-11, would remain in effect. 


Land Area, Location and Zoning:  

The property is located at 4439 Old Tavern Road, north west of Route 66.  A map of the property is shown below.




Neighboring Zoning/Land Use:

The subject property is currently zoned RA.  It is bounded by the Village of The Plains on the north and RA on all other sides.


Action Requested of the Board of Supervisors:

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

Planning Commission Recommendation:

On June 28, 2007, the Planning Commission recommended unanimously to forward this time 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.  Findings, comments, and recommendations are summarized below. The actual responses from referral agencies are available upon request.


The Engineering Department has reviewed the above referenced project and has the following comments:

1.      All discharges from SWM facilities must convey into adequate channel in accordance with Minimum Standard # 19 of the Virginia Erosion and Sediment Control Handbook. Discharges must be spread in a manner to minimize the potential for reconcentration.

2.      The “C”, “CN”, Tc, and other analysis/design assumptions will be evaluated with final construction plans based on values from the Fauquier County Design Standards Manual.

3.      Evidence that all offsite easements have been acquired shall be provided prior to Final Construction Plan approval.

4.      Define on the “Special Exception Amendment Plat” the areas planned to be removed from the Conservation Easement and those that will remain.


A summary of comments are as follows:

1.      The school was originally approved by Special Exception in 1993. Condition #12 of the Special Exception relating to signs was amended January 19, 1999.

2.      Staff acknowledges the addition of General Note #9 to show the combined uses, however the Justification Letter referred to was not included as part of this submission. As a result, the application has not been fully amended to include all three uses.

3.      A new Site Plan is required per Zoning Ordinance Sections 3-305.1, 3-305.2, 3-305.3, 12-201 and 12-501 for the uses because a new parcel is being added to the overall site area and new physical changes to the property are proposed that will require 10,000 square feet or more of land disturbance. The applicant has acknowledged this requirement and plans on submitting a site plan in phases.

4.      In addition to the ±12 acres being added to the site, the current application for a Special Exception Amendment includes the following changes:

    1. An additional 74,500 square feet of buildings,
    2. New roads and parking areas,
    3. New athletic and recreational facilities,
    4. Increase in enrollment from 500 to 600 students.

County Traffic Consultant

Please see Attachment 3 of this report for those comments.

Summary and Recommendations:

Staff asks the Board of Supervisors to hold a public hearing on this item and consider Planning Commission’s recommendation of approval and development conditions. 

Per VDOTs request, the applicant prepared and submitted a Transportation Impact Analysis (TIA).  In addition, the applicant conducted a community meeting to discuss its proposed expansion and get direct feedback from residents.

The Wakefield School and Plains Redevelopment Corporation had to divert acreage from an existing Virginia Outdoors Foundation (VOF) easement and replace it with alternate land in order to facilitate road improvements to the school campus.  The County has written a letter to VOF that states that it places no objection to the request by Wakefield School and believes the criteria is met.  Thus, the Special Exception can proceed.  See Attachment 4 for a copy of this letter.


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

Fauquier County Department of Community Development
Town of The Plains


1.            Statement of Justification

2.            Special Exception Plat

3.            County Transportation Consultant’s comments

4.            Virginia Outdoors Foundation letter

5.      Alternative Resolution


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