Planning Commission Meeting  Date: 

Raymond E. Graham, Cedar Run District Supervisor

August 13, 2009


Staff Lead:



 Kristen Slawter, Senior Planner

Community Development


Magisterial District:                                                                           Village Service Districts:

Cedar Run,                                                                                      Catlett, Calverton, and Midland




A Work Session to Discuss an Update to Chapter 6 of the Fauquier County Comprehensive Plan - Catlett, Calverton, and Midland Village Service District Plan


Topic Description:


The primary focus of the 2008-2009 Plan Update for the communities of Catlett, Calverton, and Midland was to bring the community and the plan up-to-date with the latest state regulations for wastewater treatment facilities.  In summary, Fauquier County has used up all of its allotted treatment plant permits for wastewater treatment plants (WWTP): Remington, Marshall and Vint Hill.  This means the County can no longer build a treatment facility to service Catlett, Calverton, and Midland.  The County may have other options to service these three communities, but any sewage treatment system would be extremely limited and will likely be so small that the land use plans of these three communities cannot be fully realized.


In lieu of a wastewater treatment plant to service the communities, six other possibilities for wastewater treatment exist and these are highlighted in the Utility Element of the Draft Plan.  One or more of these options may have to be employed if the County wants these three communities to receive health remediation benefits and develop further: 1) Land-application system(s); 2) On-site health remediation of individual drainfields; 3) Small, wastewater treatment system up to 40,000 gallons per day (gpd) for Midland; 4) Running a collection system to treat effluent at the Remington WWTP; 5) Partner with Quantico Marine Corps Base to upgrade its WWTP and negotiate the use of some of the capacity;  6) Seek approval from the Virginia General Assembly to build a treatment system for discharge.  The last two options would require the Board of Supervisors to petition the Virginia General Assembly to seek an exception from State wastewater treatment regulations, including those under the Chesapeake Bay Initiative and the Occoquan Policy. 

Starting in January 2008 and concluding in October 2008, County staff held information sessions with local citizens to discuss changes to the land use plan.  Supervisor Graham asked the communities to consider how to down-plan the land use designations and service district boundaries to fit within the following public sewer capacities:  150,000 gallons per day (gpd) for Catlett; 150,000 gpd for Calverton; and 100,000 gpd for Midland.  The Citizen Committees forwarded a Draft to the Planning Commission for consideration in October.

Citizen Committee Recommendations:

The local citizens evaluated the adopted sewer service priority maps and land use plans and recommended the following for their land use plans and service district boundaries:

·               The Midland group chose to down-plan the residential categories of the land use plan to align with the current zoning.  They chose to expand the district boundary to the west slightly for a few parcels, to remove a parcel in the northwest and to keep the sewer service priority area the same.

·               Citizens from Catlett and Calverton understood that the land use plan calls for more development than can be fully realized.  However, they chose not to change the service district boundaries, or the land use designations; they are hopeful that new technology will provide more solutions. The sewer service priority areas remain unchanged.

·               All three communities would like the County to develop a transfer of development rights program where land developers who wish to develop property within designated sewer service areas could pay property owners for their development rights outside the public sewer service area in exchange for higher densities. 

All three districts desire to keep the sewer service priority areas the same as represented in the 2002 Plan.  Sewer service priority should go to existing homes and businesses with the greatest need first (i.e., failing drainfields) and infill development next, with a focus on commercial development.

The Citizen Draft emphasized the value of historic resources including the National Register Historic District in Catlett, the National Register-eligible districts of Calverton and Midland. One recommendation is to establish a Germantown-Midland historic settlement area.

Transportation elements of the plan were also discussed at the community meetings.  The top priority for Calverton is to have a signal light put in at Route 28 and Bastable Mill Road.  All three communities want traffic speeds to be managed better through the villages. 

Planning Commission Work Sessions of October 2008 - February 2009:

At several work sessions, staff presented the same options as were discussed at the community meetings for down-planning the district boundaries to better align with the sewer service capacities.  After a group discussion, staff was asked to prepare land use maps to reflect the following changes:

  • Remove land zoned Rural Agricultural from the district boundaries;

  • Retain sewer service to parcels in the sewer priority area and health remediation for parcels removed from the service district;

  • Clearly mark the parcels not in the sewer priority area as No Sewer/No Water eligible;

  • Delineate Sending and Receiving Areas for a viable transfer of development rights program in the future. 

While these recommendations from the Planning Commission are different from the options recommended by the citizen committees, they are still in line with information and options fully presented to the citizens by staff.

The Planning Commission also discussed transportation on Route 28.  Some members of the Planning Commission expressed a desire to refine the plan language and maps to show a two lane Route 28, with appropriate pull-off lanes for agricultural vehicles to facilitate the flow of traffic.  Staff stated that four to six lanes of Route 28 in Catlett, for example, could cause traffic to speed through the communities rather than slow down and, furthermore, have potentially a negative impact on Catlett’s National Register Historic District.  Moreover, both Midland and Calverton are eligible to be listed on the National Register of Historic Places. 

Mr. Lewis Ray of Midland, who attended the work session, stated that his community wants to see slower traffic speeds.  The Planning Commission expressed a desire to re-think the road widening of Route 28 to better reflect something similar to the traffic calming measures taken on Route 50.

Planning Commission Recommendations:

After several work sessions, the Planning Commission recommended several refinements to the Citizen Draft that would help meet the task of planning land uses with adequate public utilities.  To this end, the following refinements to the citizens’ draft plan were made:

·         Remove land zoned Rural Agriculture (RA) from the service districts, with the exception of a small amount of airport land in Midland.

·         Provide public sewer service for land removed from the district for health remediation.

·         Down-plan land use designations for residential and mixed use categories to 1 unit per acre.

·         Move the planned school located on RA land to an area planned for residential neighborhood in Midland.

·        Change Commercial-Highway designations to Mixed-Use in order to promote village-style development.

·          Clearly label areas planned for sewer service, no sewer service, and health remediation.

·         Remove transportation plans that label Route 28 as a 4-lane road, and in some areas, a 6-lane road; plan for a two lane Route 28 with modest improvements over time.

In addition, the Planning Commission concurred with the Citizen Plan on the following noteworthy changes:

·         Revise the Calverton transportation graphic Map CCM-19 to eliminate a northern collector road and determine ways to slow traffic speeds through the villages.

·         Plan for a Transfer of Development Rights (TDR) Program to aid in the development of core areas of the villages while preserving and compensating rural land owners.

Prior to the Planning Commission public hearing in April 2009, staff made a presentation to the community on the above Planning Commission recommendations expressed in work sessions.  One gentleman stated he wanted to see Route 28 four lanes while others said they wanted it to remain two lanes.  No one spoke in opposition of the proposed land use changes.

Planning Commission Action:

On April 30, 2009, a public hearing was held on the item.  Three people spoke in favor of the Draft, specifically the down-planning of the villages to manageable levels and the plan to have Route 28 remain two lanes.  The Planning Commission made a unanimous recommendation of approval to the Board of Supervisors with an amendment to the last paragraph of the text as discussed in the work session earlier that day.

Summary and Recommendation:

The difficult task of down-planning three community plans due to a lack of public sewer service now and into the future was undertaken by staff with respect for the citizens.  Many meetings were held to explain the challenges and put forth possible options.  The Planning Commission ultimately made several recommendations that align the three community plans better with an achievable amount of public utilities.  In summary, the Draft puts forth land use plans that meet the objective of this plan update. Staff recommends that the attached Comprehensive Plan Amendment be scheduled for public hearing.


Requested Action of the Board of Supervisors:

Conduct the work session.


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