Board of Supervisors Meeting Date:

R. Holder Trumbo, Jr., Chairman, Scott District Supervisor

October 8, 2009

Staff Lead:


Frederick P.D. Carr, Director


Community Development


A Resolution Initiating a Comprehensive Plan Text Amendment that Designates Land within its Service District Boundaries to be Subject to the “Compact or Suburban Area” Requirements of the Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT) Secondary Street Acceptance Regulations


Topic Description:

Based on the work session regarding the recently implemented VDOT Secondary Street Acceptance Requirements (Virginia Administrative Code; 24VAC30-92-10-140), this agenda item requests that a text amendment to the Comprehensive Plan be initiated that designates land within the specified Service Districts as “Compact or Suburban Areas” under the provisions of this code.

Background Information:

The effective date for Secondary Street Acceptance Regulations (SSAR) for statewide implementation was July 1, 2009.  Two of the enabling legislation’s primary goals that served as the foundation for these new regulations were: (a) ensuring the connectivity of road and pedestrian networks with the existing and future transportation network; and (b) minimizing stormwater runoff and impervious surface area.

Regarding public streets designed, constructed and accepted for state maintenance under these new provisions, VDOT has stated consistently through its educational forums that the enacted regulations will have the following benefits at the local levels:

v  Reduce future construction needs and operational costs;

v  Improve emergency response times;

v  Improve safety and access for pedestrians and bicyclists;

v  Create a more efficient transportation network;

v  Design local streets to encourage appropriate vehicle speeds; and

v  Reduce stormwater runoff.

Secondary Street Acceptance Regulation Area Types:

The SSAR also established three area types for secondary streets in Virginia.  Within each type, streets must meet the applicable design and public benefit requirements to be eligible for acceptance into the secondary system of state highways.  Those categories are:  Compact, Suburban and Rural Area Types.  Their definitions are provided in Attachment 1. 

Designated Area Types Already Existing:

Both New Baltimore and Warrenton already have tripped the “Compact Area” threshold having an established population falling within the 2,500 - 49,999 people range (2000 census tract information) of the regulation’s “smoothed urban cluster boundary”.  Therefore, the regulation has resulted in an official VDOT “Compact Area” delineation around that referenced “cluster” boundary for both New Baltimore and Warrenton.  In addition, the regulation also requires and resulted in a “Suburban Area” to be designated within a 2-mile radius of that “smoothed urban cluster boundary”.  Refer to Attachment 1 and the statewide illustration; a better illustration will be provided at the work session. Therefore, those designated areas in New Baltimore are currently subject to the VDOT regulatory connectivity and design requirements for those “Area Types”.

Recommended Area Type Threshold For Fauquier County:

The County has consistently expressed that these Service District communities will be where our more compact and traditional town or village scale residential densities and business development will occur. Here such growth can be more effectively served through public facilities, services and utilities, be provided an interconnected public street network (including multi-purpose paths and sidewalks), and be all more effectively connected to open spaces, parks and schools.

The County has also recently completed transportation impact studies for New Baltimore, as well as Bealeton-Opal-Remington. These analyses included existing conditions to theoretical build-out. Both studies clearly demonstrate the need for safety improvements, traffic calming and added connections throughout these Service Districts to effectively meet current and future expectations. These communities will need a far more improved and linked street network to provide the balanced distribution of vehicle trips, options for future public transit, and pedestrian accommodation expected.

Based on the initiated text amendment process to the Comprehensive Plan as described in Attachment 1, staff recommends that the Bealeton, Marshall, Opal, and Remington Service Districts be designated for the “Compact Area” classification, since their adopted land use plans meet the minimum median density threshold of 2 units per acre; while Calverton, Catlett, and Midland could be selected as a “Suburban Area”, since their land use plans meet the minimum median threshold of 1 unit per 2 acres.  New Baltimore and Warrenton have already been officially designated by VDOT; however, the regulations allow Fauquier County to add other areas to the VDOT Statewide Area Type Thresholds List through the Comprehensive Plan process.

Benefits of the “Compact  or Suburban Area” designations for the nine Service Districts are that it establishes a higher level of VDOT review, better implements the Comprehensive Plan’s expected road network, is more compatible with the County’s Subdivision Ordinance and Facilities Standards Manual,  and requires that residential, business and mixed use projects:

·         Have sufficient street connections in multiple directions;

·         Provide pedestrian accommodation;

·         Incorporate context sensitive street design; and

·         Add streets as a project package and part of the overall community secondary street network.

At the moment, VDOT reviews for such rezoning applications as Cannon Ridge (Marshall), White Marsh and Mintbrook (Bealeton) currently are subject to the Rural Area category.  That category has no mandatory connectivity requirements and is meant for areas similar to those currently zoned RA/RC or other more rural zoning categories.   However, VDOT in this district does assist in recommending project improvements consistent with the transportation elements of the County’s Comprehensive Plan. The “Compact Area” and “Suburban Area” designations as recommended herein would align the VDOT Secondary Street Acceptance Regulations (SSAR) with the Chapter 6 – Service Districts and Chapter 10 – Transportation of the Fauquier County Comprehensive Plan.


Tasks to be Completed:

1.      Text Amendment to the Comprehensive Plan.  The regulation is specific in terms of how a local government may officially add a “Compact” or “Suburban” Area that does not meet the other established Virginia Administrative Code thresholds (refer to Attachment 1).  It may be done by ordinance or by the comprehensive plan, pursuant to §15.2-2223 of the Virginia Code, in order to be subject to “Compact or Suburban Area Type” requirements of this Chapter provided that such an area has median lot sizes no greater than ˝ acre (e.g., 2 lots/acre) or 2 acres (e.g., 1 lot/2 acres) respectively. Each of the Service Districts has been assigned, within this agenda item, the proposed “Area Type” under which median planning threshold it qualifies.

Chapter 10 – Transportation and Chapter 6 – Service Districts will need to be amended slightly and subject to the hearing and adoption process through the Planning Commission and Board of Supervisors. Text language would be short, simple and identify all affected districts that are to be designated “Compact or Suburban Areas”.  These areas will coincide with the boundary of the adopted Service District or as periodically revised.  This text amendment action will need to be initiated by Board resolution.

A draft example of such a text amendment just for Chapter 10 – Transportation of the Comprehensive Plan is included in Attachment 2; a similar text refinement may also be appropriate for Chapter 6 – Service Districts.

2.      Adjustments to the Existing “Suburban Area” Boundaries. The New Baltimore and Warrenton Service Districts are already VDOT classified as “Compact Areas” and have a 2-mile radius surrounding them that is currently designated as a “Suburban Area”. The current “Suburban Area” designation here is far too extensive, does not reflect the County vision for that rural environs subject to Chapter 8 – Rural Areas Land Use Plan, and will need significant boundary adjustments.  It extends north of Pilgrims Rest, Pond Mountain and Hunton Woods and west of the Village of Auburn where rural roads are the norm and preferred option. 

VDOT regulation allows and welcomes reasoned modifications to these “state” delineated “Suburban Area” boundaries.  However, County effort will require study and significant justification for VDOT consideration and approval.  Such approvals are not guaranteed, and need proper analysis and validation that include, for example, existing zoning and development, easements, sites on the National Register, Civil War battlefield studies, agricultural/forestal districts and future development expectations represented in the Comprehensive Plan.

Note that task number two represented here should be initiated upon completion of the Text Amendment to the Comprehensive Plan focused on designated “Compact Areas”.


Requested Action of the Board of Supervisors:

Consider adoption of the attached resolution.

Financial Impact Analysis:

None is required.

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

Virginia Department of Transportation
Department of Community Development
Development Community



1.     Compact, Suburban and Rural Area Definitions (VDOT Secondary Street Acceptance Regulations Excerpts); VDOT Designated Compact & Suburban Areas Statewide

2.      Text Amendment to Chapter 10 – Transportation (Example)


Back to Agenda...