PUBLIC HEARING AGENDA REQUEST

Owners/Applicants:

Board of Supervisors Meeting Date:

 

Fauquier County Board of Supervisors, Owners

Salem Community Montessori School, Applicant

 

September 8, 2005

 

Staff Lead:

 

Melissa Dargis, Assistant Chief of Planning

Department:

 

Community Development

 

Magisterial District: Marshall

 

Service District: Marshall District

 

PIN:

 

6969-69-5734-000

Topic:

 

A Resolution to Approve Salem Community  Montessori School: SPEX05-MA-035, A Category 5 Special Exception to Operate a Montessori School

 

Topic Description: 

 

SPEX05-MA-035:  The applicant wishes to obtain Special Exception approval under Category 5 to operate a Montessori School in a (leased) meeting room at the Marshall Community Center.

 

Project Information:

 

Salem Community Montessori School (SCMS) wishes to operate in the Marshall Community Center from September 1 through mid-June in five consecutive years, 2005-2010, Monday through Friday.  Hours of operation are as proposed: Monday – Thursday from 7:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., and Friday 7:00 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.  Closures will coincide with all government holidays, in addition to other organizational holidays.  SCMS will not offer before or after school care for children during its tenancy at the Marshall Community Center.

 

The applicant has met with LaDonna Gardner, Northern Regional Director, and Larry Miller, Director of Fauquier County Parks & Recreation, and has consent to proceed with obtaining the necessary permits and contracts (leases) to use the facility as proposed.  Mr. Miller provided staff with a letter indicating that the hours of operation for the school will occur during off-peak times and that the rental, for a finite period of time (3 years), is acceptable.

 

The applicant is a certified Montessori instructor.  There will always be at least two (2) adults present employed by SCMS to provide supervision.  The children will range from 6 to 11 years in age.  The maximum capacity of the room is thirty (30) students.

 

Accreditation is anticipated and given by Association Montessori International (AMI). AMI is the international organization established to further the ideals and principles established by Dr. Montessori. It accredits schools that meet its organizational and pedagogical standards. 

 

The SCMS program will adhere to the philosophies of Dr. Montessori and guidelines as set forth by the Association Montessori International.  This includes a strong commitment to community service that teaches children the value of service to others beginning at age 6, and continuing in its scope to develop within each child the ability to respond to the needs of the community.  Children develop the skill to design, fundraise and implement a project.

 

The applicant notes that the proposed first year’s projects are to establish a fundraising goal for the playground and equipment at the Marshall Community Center and to design and establish a children’s community garden there as well.  Both projects will benefit all children who come to the Community Center.

 

The school will rent the large meeting room in the Community Center on a temporary basis.  The applicant feels that the center offers the ideal temporary location in which to “grow a school” and begin building a relationship with the community.  The growth model for the school is to begin with a small group of children and to grow gradually.  SCMS will have 8 to10 children the first year.  The business plan includes obtaining a site within the greater Marshall area and constructing a permanent structure in the near future.  It is anticipated that there will be 20 children in year two and 30 children in year three.

 

SCMS is in the process of filing for non-profit status with the IRS.  The applicant notes SCMS holds no affiliation with any religious organizations and enrollment is accepted without prejudice; there is no discrimination on the basis of gender, race, color, country of origin or religious affiliation.  SCMS has also established its articles of incorporation within the state of Virginia and has a Board of Directors.  For insurance, the school is securing an insurance binder with Carr & Hyde of Warrenton, Virginia for a full liability policy.

 

SCMS has an emergency policy in place that includes emergency forms to be signed by parents and/or legal guardians that provide details regarding emergency care.  It also has a written emergency plan in case of accident, fire, snow, or other unforeseen occurrences.  This includes an emergency call plan, posted evacuation maps, written procedures, and practice drills as mandated by state and county codes. 

 

SCMS has hired three employees, one of which is the certified AMI teacher. Two adults will be present on site from 8:00 a.m. - 4:00 p.m. Children are present from 8:15 a.m. - 3:15 p.m. Children will be escorted by an adult at all times, including but not limited to playground, bathroom and library uses.  The applicant has established specific procedures and guidelines for adults to follow when accompanying students in all areas of the community center.  Salem Community Montessori School will not offer lunch service and students will bring a prepared lunch to school that will be eaten on the premises.  When going to recess, students will be escorted by two adults to the playground.

 

For clean-up and storage, all classroom materials will be stored and secured each evening in moveable bookshelves. These will have closed fronts that will lock. Shelves will be turned to face the wall. Additional materials will be stored in a separate closet rented for this purpose.

 

Land Area, Location and Zoning:    

 

The property is located on the east side of Route 710 at 4133-A Rectortown Road, Marshall District.  It is zoned Rural Agricultural (RA).  A map of the property is shown below outlined in orange.

 

                                                      

                          

Neighboring Zoning/Land Use:

 

The subject property is currently zoned Residential (R-4).  It is bound by Commercial (C-1) and Residential (R-2) to the north; R-2 and R-4 to the east; C-1 to the south; and R-2, R-4 and C-1 to the west.

 

Action Requested of the Board of Supervisors:

 

Conduct a public hearing and consider adoption of the attached resolution.

 

Planning Commission Recommendation:

 

On August 25, 2005, the Planning Commission held a public hearing on the application and recommended approval, subject to the following conditions:

 

1.                  This Special Exception is granted for and runs with the land indicated in this application and is not transferable to other land.

 

2.                  This Special Exception is granted only for the purpose(s), structure(s) and/or uses indicated on the Special Exception Plat approved with this application, as qualified by these development conditions.

 

3.                  The Site Plan requirement shall be waived.

 

4.                  No new structures shall be constructed.

 

5.                  The elementary school shall not exceed thirty (30) students.

 

6.                  This approval allows the Salem Community Montessori School (SCMS) to operate, September through June, five consecutive years, 2005-2010, Monday through Friday.

 

7.                  SCMS shall obtain an appropriate lease agreement with Fauquier County Parks and Recreation Department for use of the facility.

 

8.                  Hours of operation shall be:  Monday – Thursday from 7:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. and Friday 7:00 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.  Closures will coincide with all government holidays in addition to other organizational holidays.

 

9.                  SCMS will not provide before or after school care for children during its tenancy at the Marshall Community Center.

 

10.              A certified Montessori instructor (AMI certified) shall be present during school hours.

 

11.              There will always be at least two (2) adults present employed by SCMS to provide on site supervision for the children, from 8:00 a.m. until 4:00 p.m.

 

12.              Children will be escorted by an adult at all times, including but not limited to the playground, bathroom and library. SCMS shall use specific procedures and guidelines for adults to follow when accompanying students in all areas of the community center.  A copy of these procedures shall be submitted to the County for the project file.

 

13.              Two (2) adults shall escort children when using the playground.

 

14.              The SCMS program shall adhere to the guidelines as set forth by the Association Montessori International. 

 

15.              The school shall provide evidence of appropriate insurance (full liability policy) when signing the lease to use the Marshall Community Center.

 

16.              SCMS shall have an emergency policy that includes emergency forms to be signed by parents and/or legal guardians that provide details regarding emergency care.  A copy of this document shall be submitted to the County for the project file.

 

17.              SCMS shall have a written emergency plan in case of accident, fire, snow, or other unforeseen occurrence. This includes an emergency call plan, posted evacuation maps, written procedures, and practice drills as mandated by state and county codes.  A copy of this document shall be submitted to the County for the project file.

 

18.              No food preparation or lunch service shall be offered.  Students shall bring packed lunches.

 

19.              Accreditation by Association Montessori International (AMI) shall be maintained.

 

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.  Findings, comments, and recommendations are summarized below. The actual responses from referral agencies are available upon request.  The majority of referral agencies had no issues with the proposed use of this existing facility.

 

VDOT

 

The Warrenton Residency staff reviewed the above referenced Special Exception. The proposed use of the Marshall Community Center for a Montessori school with up to 30 students appears to be consistent with the approved use for the community center, and does not appear to warrant any improvements.

 

Summary and Recommendations:

 

Staff asks that the Board of Supervisors consider the Planning Commission’s recommendation of approval, subject to the Special Exception conditions.  Staff concurs with this recommendation.  The applicant has met with staff and with Mr. Atherton, Marshall District Supervisor and Ms. McCarty, Marshall District Commissioner and worked out project refinements.

 

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

Fauquier County Department of Community Development

Fauquier County Parks and Recreation Department

 

ATTACHMENTS:

 

1.            Special Exception Plat

2.            Statement of Justification