PUBLIC HEARING AGENDA REQUEST

Sponsor:

 Board of Supervisors Meeting Date:

 

Planning Commission

 

August 16, 2004

Staff Lead:

Department:

 

Kimberley Johnson, Zoning Administrator

 

Community Development

Topic:

 

Zoning Ordinance Text Amendment to Section 5-2002 to Allow a New Private Individual Sewage Treatment System for Farm Supply Establishments

 

Topic Description:

 

Current regulations allow a system that discharges into an open ditch or water to only be approved where the system replaces an existing failing system serving an existing use.   Historically, such systems have also been allowed for new commercial and industrial uses.  However, a complex and more comprehensive January text amendment approved by the County aimed at eliminating multiple-user sewage disposal systems within and outside the service districts also inadvertently eliminated the ability to utilize new individual systems discharging into an open ditch or water for non-residential uses.  The latter result simply was not intended in a text box for that adopted amendment.

 

The proposed text amendment restores the ability for new agricultural uses and commercial uses which primarily serve agricultural uses to utilize an individual sewage treatment system which discharges into an open ditch or water, with approval of a special exception.

 

Requested Action of the Board of Supervisors:

 

Hold a public hearing and consider adoption of the attached Ordinance.

 

Financial Impact Analysis:

No financial impact analysis has been conducted.

 


 

 

Summary Staff Report:

 

Section 15-300 of the Fauquier Zoning Ordinance defines a “Sewage Treatment Facility” as:

 

a system to digest and/or treat more than 1,200 gallons per day (gpd) of sewage; or any system approved for experimental or provisional use by the Virginia Department of Health; or any system requiring discharge into an open ditch or water as a means of disposal.

 

Section 3-320 then goes on to require a special exception for any “[s]ewage treatment system, disposal and water purification” facility.   Section 5-2002 sets forth the standards for approval of a special exception for the Sewage Treatment Facility.    One of these standards, 5-2002.5, specifically prohibits a private, individual sewage treatment system from discharging into an open ditch or water except where it replaces a failing existing system serving an existing use:

 

5.         A special exception for a private individual sewage treatment system which discharges into an open ditch or water shall be allowed for only to replace an existing sewage system which is presently serving an existing use.  That existing sewage system must have failed and have been certified by the Virginia Department of Health to pose a real or potential health threat and a discharging sewage treatment system is the only alternative for the repair.  In approving such a system the Board may establish conditions including but not limited to use, maintenance, and testing.

 

A January 2004 text amendment to the zoning ordinance aimed at eliminating multiple-user sewage treatment systems outside of service districts eliminated a sixth standard contained in Section 5-2002 related to approval of sewage treatment facilities for commercial and industrial uses.  The deleted standard was:

 

6.         A special exception for a private sewage treatment system may be allowed for new construction for Commercial or Industrial uses outside of service districts provided that the system is operated under the control of the Fauquier County Water and Sanitation Authority, or a Class III wastewater operator which holds a current permit licensed in the State of Virginia.  In approving such a system, the Board may establish conditions including but not limited to use, maintenance, and testing.

 

The intent of the amendment that struck Standard 6 above, from the Ordinance was to eliminate multi-user systems.   However, because of the existence of Standard 5, striking Standard 6 also had the effect of eliminating the ability for a private, individual sewage treatment system for all commercial and industrial uses where such system discharges into an open ditch or water.  There is suggestion, from the staff notes on the ordinance, that this effect was unintentional.  The record reflects no actual discussion of whether or not the County wished to maintain the ability for new individual commercial systems that discharge into an open ditch or water.

 

The Culpeper Farmers Cooperative (Co-op) has raised the issue in the context of their planned relocation from Remington to a 6.25 acre property located at the intersection of Route 17 and Harper’s Run Drive, in the Cedar Run District.  The Co-op proposes to utilize a sewage treatment system that discharges into an open ditch, and has filed a special exception for such system.  The applicant has indicated this system is the only viable option for the site.    While reviewing the application, staff determined that the Zoning Ordinance no longer allows approval of the proposed system because it is a new system rather than a system designed to replace a failing system. 

 

On July 29, 2004, the Planning Commission voted to recommend approval of a zoning ordinance amendment that would allow the Cooperative to apply for a discharge system.  The proposed text amendment restores the ability for farm supply establishments located in the RA zoning district to apply for a special exception for such a system.  As recommended by the Planning Commission, the text amendment limits such a system to sites that discharge less than 1,000 gallons per day, which serve a single business, and only where the Board of Supervisors finds that such discharge system is the only viable option for the particular site.  The special exception process would allow the individual impacts and merits of any proposed system to be considered on a case-by-case basis, and provides for monitoring and reporting.

 

 

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

Economic Development Office

Agricultural Development Office