Owner/Applicant:                                          Board of Supervisors Meeting Date:

High Mountain Farm, LLC, Applicant                                                  August 18, 2003

Claude Schoch, Owner                                                                                                

Staff Lead:                                                                                            Department:

Robert C. Counts                                                                   Community Development

Magisterial District: Scott                                                                             PIN(s):

Service District: None                                7002-92-3409-000, 7012-02-8307-000


Topic:  A Resolution Approving SE03-S-35: a Category 23 Special Exception for Floodplain Use to Allow the Construction of a Dam and Farm Pond Within a Floodplain, High Mountain Farm, LLC, Applicant, Claude Schoch, Owner

Topic Description:    

The Applicant is requesting a Special Exception to permit the construction of a farm pond in the floodplain of Bartonís Creek on High Mountain Farm, located in Scott Magisterial District. The height of the proposed dam is approximately 34 feet and the resulting pond will cover 20.85 acres.

High Mountain Farm is a working farm and the purpose of the requested pond is for agricultural use.  According to the Applicant, Bartonís Creek was frequently dry during the past two summers. The pond would be used to capture and store water to continue watering cattle and horses during dry periods.  There is no planned or anticipated recreational use of the pond, other than by the owners of High Mountain Farm and their guests.  The dam and the associated structures for the pond are to be constructed in the floodplain of Bartonís Creek.

Land Area, Location and Zoning:

As shown on the following map, the property is located on Landmark School Road , (State Route 776) in the vicinity of Windcrest Lane . It consists of three parcels totaling approximately 600 acres. It is zoned Rural Agricultural (RA).

Location Map


Neighboring Zoning/Land Use:

The property is surrounded by RA zoned land, predominantly in agricultural use.

Action Requested of the Board of Supervisors:

The Board of Supervisors is requested to conduct a public hearing and consider adoption of the attached resolution.

Staff Analysis:

Staff and appropriate referral agencies have reviewed this request for conformance with the Comprehensive Plan, the Zoning Ordinance, and other relevant policies and regulations. Staff and referral agency findings, comments, and recommendations are summarized below.

Requirements of the Zoning Ordinance

Section 5-2301 provides the following standards for all Category 23 uses:

  1. No such use shall cause an increase in the level of flooding or velocity of floodwaters.
  2. No such use shall create a potential hazard of debris subject to movement by floodwaters, which might cause damage downstream.
  3. The John Marshall Soil and Water Conservation District shall be given the opportunity to comment on such uses.
  4. The applicant shall have obtained and shall present evidence attesting any applicable approvals by State and Federal authorities concerning such a use.
  5. Materials and equipment stored in the floodplain shall not be buoyant, flammable or explosive, and shall not be subject to major damage by flooding or such materials and equipment must be firmly anchored to prevent flotation or movement and/or can be readily removed from the area within the time available after flood warning.

6.      Special Exceptions shall only be issued after the Board of Supervisors has determined that the granting of such will not result in (a) unacceptable or prohibited increase in flood heights, (b) additional threats to public safety, (c) extraordinary public expense, (d) create nuisances, (e) cause fraud or victimization of the public, or (f) conflict with local law or ordinances.

  1. Special Exceptions shall only be issued after the Board of Supervisors has determined that the Special Exception will be necessary to provide the applicant with reasonable use of the parcel of land in question, taken as a whole.

In addition, Section 6-102-24-C provides the following requirements specific to pond construction:

Ponds in all zoning districts shall be subject to the following regulations:

1.      The pond shall be located so that the 100 year flood pool and spillway is located not less than 50 feet from an adjacent property line unless the written consent of the owner(s) involved is obtained and submitted with the zoning permit application.

2.      No land shall be disturbed in the construction of the pond that is less than 25 feet from an adjacent property line unless the written consent of the owner(s) involved is obtained and submitted with the zoning permit application.

3.      The property owner shall at all times comply with State and Federal requirements regarding impoundment structures.

4.      Dams - The State Water Control Board regulates impounding structures that have a maximum capacity greater or equal to 50 acre-feet or a height greater than 25 feet.

Engineering Considerations

The Engineering Division has reviewed the Applicantís requests and has provided the following comments.

  1. The embankment should be designed by a licensed engineer and should conform to NRCS Pond Specification Number 378 or equivalent design if accepted by the County Engineer .
  2. The applicant shall obtain a zoning permit for the pond construction.


The John Marshall Soil and Conservation District noted that the proposed pond construction is governed by the Dam Safety Act and is, therefore, not exempt from Erosion and Sediment Controls. The District recommends an appropriate E&S plan for this project prior to the issuance of permits. It should be noted that this is also a requirement of the Applicantís Water Protection Permit.

Summary and Recommendation:

The primary purpose of a Special Exception for the use of a floodplain is to mitigate any negative effects of flooding on neighboring properties. In this case, all flooding resulting from the proposed dam construction will occur on the property of the Applicant/Owner. However, in the case of dam construction, three additional concerns must be addressed: 1) The effects of constricted water flows on down stream users, 2) The safety of the proposed dam, and 3) The control of erosion and sediment during construction. The Applicant has obtained a Virginia Water Protection Permit from the Department of Environmental Quality. This permit stipulates requirements addressing all three of these concerns. In addition, the Applicant must also obtain additional permitting from the State Water Control Board and Army Corps of Engineers, which will provide additional oversight of the design and construction process.


On July 31, 2003 , the Planning Commission conducted a public hearing on this application.  Based on public testimony and the foregoing analysis, the Planning Commission has recommended the approval of SE03-S-35, subject to the following conditions:

1.      The Applicant shall comply with all requirements and conditions contained in the Virginia Water Protection Permit issued April 17, 2003 .

2.      The Applicant shall obtain and comply with all other applicable Federal, State, and local permit requirements.

3.      The impounding structures shall conform to all design criteria listed in NRCS Pond Specification Number 378, or equivalent design criteria accepted by the County Engineer .


  1. Applicantís Statement of Justification
  2. Special Exception Plat
  3. Approval Resolution