Board of Supervisors Meeting Date:


Douglas E. & Sharon Y. Darling (Owners/Applicants)



August 16, 2004



Staff Lead:


Melissa Dargis, Assistant Chief of Planning



Community Development


Magisterial District: Marshall


Service District:  Marshall







A Resolution to Deny Special Exception Amendment SPEX03-MA-016, a Category 27 Special Exception to Amend a Previously Approved Condition, to Allow for a Further Reduction of Open Space to Accommodate a Water Storage Silo


Topic Description: 


The purpose of this Special Exception is to obtain approval to amend a previously approved Special Exception condition, which would allow for a further incremental reduction in open space in order to accommodate the placement of a water storage silo on the site.  The property is in the Marshall Service District and is located off West Main Street in Marshall, across from the Marshall Rescue Squad and east of Lunceford Lane. 


Project Update:


On July 19, 2004, the Board of Supervisors held a public hearing on this request.  Since that time, staff and the applicant’s representative have continued to work together to discuss an alternative location for the water storage silo, which necessitates the open space reduction requirement request.  It is paramount to locate the site in such a way that this proposal for open space reduction is not necessary, and that the site meet the WSA elevation requirements.  Additional meetings to discuss this topic have been scheduled, but new information will not be available for this report.  The WSA staff will provide input at the meetings and information about its draft report for the plan of Marshall water system improvements.


On June, 21, 2004, the Board of Supervisors opened a public hearing on this request.  Several members of the public spoke regarding water service in Marshall and the significance of the Cannon Ridge site.  The Board of Supervisors postponed action and kept the public hearing open to allow for additional public input and to provide time for the Water and Sanitation Authority (WSA) to complete a staff report regarding its plan for system improvements.


Project History:


The Cannon Ridge Subdivision has an approved Special Exception (SPEX03-MA-016) for a reduction in open space for the subdivision.  This resolution was approved by the Board on April 21, 2003.  The subdivision’s proposed clustering of lots required the provision of common open space equal to 50% of the total land area.  The applicant was approved for a reduction of 6%, which is equivalent to an open space allocation of 44%.  This amount of land was determined to still provide ample recreation opportunity and preservation of the hilltop area which has local and historical significance to residents.


This Special Exception requires an amendment in order to further reduce the open space requirements so a proposed water storage silo can be placed there.  Because the Fauquier County Zoning Ordinance Section 2-309.4 indicates that; In no instance shall open space credit be given for lands which are included in or reserved for the right-of-way of any street, or for any public facility… With respect to public utilities, the Ordinance does not consider it to be part of open space, except as part of utility easements, and then only when the remaining portions of the easements are dedicated for recreation/open space use.


The original open space reduction reduced the open space from nine acres to 7.92 acres (the requirement for the subdivision was nine acres).  With this amendment, the Applicant requests approval of a further reduction of open space to accommodate the proposed water storage silo.  The resulting open space area would then total approximately 7.86 acres.  However, this figure has not taken into account the access road to the silo.


Requested Action of the Board of Supervisors:


Consider postponing action.  However, a resolution of denial is attached for the Board’s consideration.


Financial Impact Analysis:




Planning Commission Recommendation:


After conducting a public hearing, the Planning Commission recommended that the Board of Supervisors deny the amendment to Special Exception SPEX03-MA-016 and its request for further reduction of open space to accommodate a water storage silo.


Land Area, Location and Zoning:    


The property, which is in the Marshall Service District, is located off Main Street in Marshall, Virginia; across from the Marshall Rescue Squad and east of Lunceford Lane, Marshall District.  The property is zoned Residential (R-2).  A map of the property is shown below.





Neighboring Zoning/Land Use:

The property is bordered by parcels zoned Residential (R-4), Rural Agricultural (RA) and Commercial-Neighborhood (C-1).  The predominant land use is residential and the property is also adjacent to Marshall’s Main Street (central business district).


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.


Zoning and Land Use


The property is currently zoned Residential (R-2).  Consistent with this zoning category, this property is located in a district that contains similar zoning and parcels, which are also within the Service District. The property is bound on three sides by parcels that are zoned Residential (R-4) and on one side is Rural Agricultural (RA).


The Applicant proposes this reduction of open space to accommodate a proposed water storage silo on Stephenson Hill (per local historian Eugene Scheel), otherwise known as Cannon Ridge, in the south-west quadrant of Marshall.  This small hill was identified in the Marshall Citizen Committee VISION exercise as an important cultural and environmental resource to the community, and had a military significance associated with the Civil War.  Accordingly, the Marshall Service District Comprehensive Plan identifies Stephenson Hill as a preserved area, and as such it was given consideration during recent subdivision approval of this parcel.  Given the importance of Stephenson Hill/Cannon Ridge to the community, any public facility proposed for this area should be given particular scrutiny and, if so located, the facility should be very unobtrusive.


Summary and Recommendations:


Staff and the Planning Commission do not support this Special Exception and recommend a resolution to deny the request.  Also note that this application is directly linked to another Special Exception request (SPEX04-MA-020) for a water storage silo that the Planning Commission forwarded with recommendation of denial at its April 29, 2004 meeting. 


Since the two Special Exceptions are linked, it is suggested that they are treated in the same regard.  Additionally, staff also asks the Board of Supervisors to consider the historical significance of this site.  The proposed location sits upon the highest point in Marshall, as well as one of historic significance.  It is an area that, albeit privately owned, is of great importance to community residents.  If the Board should decide to approve the aforementioned request, staff recommends maintaining the original conditions and resolution, with the addition of the amendment to the text to reflect the change in open space, and to have this change of open space include the reduction of the access road to the site.


Staff and the applicant’s representative continue working with the WSA and the Board of Supervisors to location a new water storage silo site.  If a suitable new site is found then this application will be revised to reflect that new information.  If revised, the application may be withdrawn or should go through the public hearing process at both Planning Commission and Board of Supervisors.  Staff recommends postponing this application until new information is available.  However, a resolution of denial has been prepared in case the Board decides to take action on the item.


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

1.      Fauquier County Department of Community Development

2.      Fauquier County Water and Sanitation Authority

3.      Residents of the Marshall Community




1.      Statement of Justification

2.      Special Exception Plat