Board of Supervisors Meeting Date:

Fauquier County School Board


September 14, 2006

Staff Lead:
Melissa Dargis, Assistant Chief of Planning

Community Development


Magisterial District: Lee District

Service District:  Bealeton


6889-13-9308-000, 6899-13-7703-000, 6899-23-3686-000, 6899-23-6596-000,
 6899-23-7352-000 & 6899-23-8175-000


A Resolution to Approve Special Exception Amendment #SEAM07-LE-002 – Cedar Lee Middle School


Topic Description: 

The applicant requests approval for a Special Exception Amendment to allow for the construction of a new media center and to convert the existing media center into four (4) classrooms.

Project Information:

On August 31, 2006, the Planning Commission held a public hearing on this item and voted unanimously to forward it to the Board of Supervisors with a recommendation of approval.

Cedar Lee Middle School was built in 1973, with an addition in 1998.  The existing building comprises 99,000 square feet. 

As proposed, the project would add 5,450 square feet for a new media center.  The media center, which would be connected to the main building by a corridor approximately 10 feet wide by 40 feet long.  Pedestrians would enter the media center directly from a sidewalk connection to an existing parking lot, or from the main school building.  The proposal also includes converting the existing media center into four (4) classrooms. 

Typical school operations are from 7:00 a.m. until 5:00 p.m. on weekdays, with events and community use irregularly scheduled after hours.  The existing enrollment is 690 students, which represents the full capacity for the existing building.  The four classrooms to be added with this project will increase student capacity by 100 students.  There are 90 employees currently and, with the proposed project, this number would increase by four. 

The existing school is served by approximately 31 bus drop-offs and 100 parent drop-offs each morning, and the same numbers of pick-ups each afternoon.  Since the project would increase student capacity by approximately 14%, it is expected to generate approximately 35 bus and 114 parent drop‑offs and pick-ups each day after the project is completed.   If the subject project is not constructed, transportable mobile classrooms will be needed at the school to serve the expected student growth, and the increase in student enrollment and traffic impact will be the same as the impact of constructing the subject project. 

The existing building is one and two story rectilinear with flat roof and brick façade.  As planned, the one-story addition will be an extension of the existing style architecture and façade.  

The Zoning Ordinance allows the school use by Special Exception.  According to the applicant, the proposed expanded use of the subject property for a school will not adversely affect uses of surrounding agricultural land or residential properties.  The school provides an important amenity to the community by providing community and recreational space, in addition to the school itself. 

The site for the existing school is 32.5 acres, over 50% of which is open space.  Existing parking and utility facilities are adequate for the existing school plus the proposed new media center.    No new signage is proposed with the additions to the school.  The existing signage will remain and is consistent with County regulations.  No additional parking is included with the project.

According to the applicant’s Statement of Justification, the proposed addition to Cedar Lee Middle School would provide an updated media center for an improved educational environment.  The media center will be externally aesthetically pleasing and will include abundant natural light indoors; it will also be available as a meeting room for public events.  The additional four (4) classrooms which will be constructed within the existing building envelope are needed to accommodate expected student population growth, and will provide a better educational environment.  The proposal will be more aesthetically pleasing than the alternative, which would be additional transportable modular classrooms.  This new media center and additional classroom space project will be an asset to the school division and the community. 


Land Area, Location and Zoning:    

The property is located at 11138 Marsh Road (Route 17), Bealeton.  A map of the property is shown below.                          




Neighboring Zoning/Land Use:

The subject properties are currently zoned Residential-4 (R-4).  In general, the properties are bound by R-4 to the north; R-4 and Commercial-1 (C-1) to the east; R-4 to the south; and Residential-2 (R-2) and Residential-1 (R-1) to the west.


Action Requested of the Board of Supervisors:

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


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 Zoning Office provided the following comments:

1.   This application is an amendment to an existing Special Exception.  Existing Conditions should be carried forward or specifically eliminated as part of this amendment.

2.   This use is subject to the following standards in the Zoning Ordinance:

      a)   5-006 General Standards for All Special Exceptions.

      b)   5-501 Standards for All Category 5 Uses.

c)      5-504 Standards for Primary School, Secondary/Advanced Schools.

3.   A text amendment is pending (scheduled for the Board of Supervisors meeting in September) that would amend 5-504(3)(B) to eliminate the 300 student restriction.

4.   The school parcel is comprised of six (6) PINS and what appear to be eight (8) legal parcels of record.  Buildings cannot be built over property lines and the proposed building does not meet the setback requirements for one of the “internal parcels.”  The property lines should be vacated to create a single parcel.


The Engineering Department has reviewed the above referenced plan and the following comments need to be addressed:

1.      A Site Plan Amendment will be required and must meet with current Stormwater Management criteria.


After reviewing the Special Exception Amendment, the soils office has the following comment:

The site for the proposed media center is already disturbed. The soils before the school was built showed signs of a high intermittent water table and possible signs of high shrink-swell. Due to the schools construction and grading these problems may not be a factor for the new media center.


The Warrenton Residency staff reviewed the above referenced Special Exception Amendment to reconfigure the building and add an additional 100 students.  There does not appear to be a significant increase in traffic to the site, and VDOT has no further comments at this time.

Parks & Recreation

The Parks and Recreation Department submits its comments on the aforementioned proposal as follows:

The Department requests that the gravel lot installed during the last expansion be paved to accommodate the loss of parking.


Summary and Recommendations:

The Planning Commission recommended approval of the School Board’s Cedar Lee Middle School request, subject to a series of Development Conditions.  Those conditions are included in the attached resolution of approval for Board of Supervisors consideration.  The renovations and additions at the site will provide for much needed classroom space and an up-to-date media center for the school children.  This new media center and additional classroom space project will be an asset to the school division and the community. 


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

Fauquier County Department of Community Development

Virginia Department of Health


1.            Special Exception Plat

2.            Statement of Justification


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