of Supervisors Meeting Date:
Academy Hill Developers, LLC.
M. Williams/ Toll Bros., STBI-Warrenton, LLC.
Elizabeth A. Cook Community Development
Magisterial District: Center
Service District: Warrenton
Topic: An Appeal of the Planning Commission Determination With Respect to the Designation of Open Space for the Warrenton Chase Subdivision, Toll Brothers, Applicant
The Applicant is seeking
approval of a preliminary subdivision plat to divide ±
244.5 acres zoned Residential-1 (R-1) into one hundred fifty (150)
single-family residential lots, two non-residential lots, and
approximately 125.79 acres (± 51.44%) in open space.
The Applicant has agreed to dedicate a ±3-acre parcel for a future
library or other public facility site.
The property is on the north side of
The Board of Supervisors has previously approved several Special Exception requests for this proposed development, including a community wastewater treatment facility, which was approved with the limitation that the system is to be owned and operated by the Fauquier County Water and Sanitation Authority.
The proposed clustered development requires the provision of a minimum
of 50% open space. The
County’s practice has been that such open space requirements are met by
the provision of common open space. The
Applicant has proposed the use of "dedicated" open space to meet
approximately half of the open space requirements.
As proposed, this dedicated open space would encompass the
67.6 acres of land upon which the community package treatment plant's mass
drainfields are to be located.
The Applicant sought a Planning Commission determination that this
dedicated drainfield and reserve area can be used to fulfill the
development’s open space requirements.
Planning Commission Action:
1. Community package treatment plants with mass drainfields are not expressly identified as qualifying for open space under Fauquier County Zoning Ordinance §2-309.1, et seq;
2. The aforesaid property does not constitute dedicated open space under the Zoning Ordinance as no governmental entity, including but not limited to, Fauquier County, Fauquier County Water and Sanitation Authority, the Town of Warrenton, or any other public agency or body, has accepted or agreed to ownership of the system;
3. The 67.6 acres constitute more than 50% of the required open space for the subdivision and it is not good planning or policy to permit more than 50% of open space for any subdivision to be land upon which a mass drainfield sewage system is to be established.
Commission has postponed action on the Preliminary Plat to afford the
Applicant time to appeal the Commission's open space determination.
The Applicant has taken that action pursuant to Zoning Ordinance
Section 2-406.6, which states: "Any person aggrieved by a decision of
the Commission with respect to a cluster subdivision may file an appeal
with the Board of Supervisors within thirty (30) days of such
Action Requested of the Board of
Consider adoption of the attached
proposed development of 150 residential building lots in a clustered
subdivision is required to provide open space equal to but not less than
50% of the developed land area. It
has been the County’s practice that such open space requirements are met
by the provision of common open space.
As defined by the Zoning Ordinance, common open space is designed
and set aside for use and enjoyment by all residents or occupants of the
development or by the residents or occupants of a designated portion of
the development. Common open
space represents those areas not to be dedicated as public lands, and
remains in the ownership of a homeowners association.
The Warrenton Chase development consists of 244.52
acres. The Applicant proposes
to provide 125.79 acres of open space, or 51.44% of the total development
area. However, less than half
(58.8 acres) of the proposed open space is to be designated as common open
space. The balance (67.60
acres) is proposed as “dedicated” open space and includes the proposed
mass drainfield and reserve locations.
should be noted that the Applicant has not accounted for the future
library site in its open space calculations, which would add three (3)
acres that would be classified as dedicated open space versus common open
space. In addition, another
small open area appears to not be included in the open space calculations.
As defined by the
Zoning Ordinance, dedicated open space is that open space within the
boundaries of a given lot, which is to be dedicated or conveyed to the
County or an appropriate public agency, board or body for public use as
open space. If accepted, such land shall be given full credit in satisfying the open space
requirements for a given district. However,
a decision to accept such a dedication is usually predicated on a County
need. Typically, school sites,
parks, recreational areas or stream valleys are the types of uses for
which dedicated open space is accepted, assuming that such land is
suitable in location, size, shape, condition and topography for the
Ordinance Section 2-309.6 further
stipulates that the Planning
Commission shall have the authority to determine whether or not lands
qualify as open space, as well as the authority to determine whether such
lands are dedicated open space, common open space or non-common open
The Warrenton Chase development proposes to employ a community
wastewater treatment system, which will use land application to dispose of
treated effluent. The
community drainfields that will be used for this purpose comprise most of
the 67.6-acre area that the Applicant has proposed as dedicated open
space. With the original
proposal, the homeowners association would have owned these drainfield
areas. The Zoning
Administrator has previously determined that the open space used for the
common drainfield areas, if owned by the homeowners association, would be
credited toward the open space requirements.
As directed by the
Board of Supervisors, the Applicant has agreed to design and implement the
system in accordance with WSA standards.
Currently, WSA draft standards for community wastewater systems
call for its fee simple ownership of all system facilities, including
drainfields and drainfield reserve areas.
The Board has conditioned the approval of the community wastewater
treatment system to require the ownership and operation by WSA.
The ownership issue has raised the question of whether or not the
application meets the open space requirements.
Unlike most cases
involving dedicated open space, the Warrenton Chase proposal is not tied
to meeting a particular County need or function.
It does, however, provide more than 67 acres of permanent open
space, and it is specifically responsive to community concerns about
public ownership of the proposed wastewater treatment system.
In accordance with
the provisions of Section 2-309.6 of the Zoning Ordinance, the Planning
Commission is required to determine whether the proposed dedication of
open space meets the open space requirements for a clustered subdivision.
Upon receipt of the
Applicant's appeal of the Planning Commission's determination, the Board
of Supervisors has two options: