SEAM07-MA-008: The applicant wishes to amend a previously
approved Category 5 Special Exception to allow for
construction of an addition to its school building. The
proposed building addition totals ±22,355 square feet. The
structure will include a multi-purpose gymnasium room,
additional storage areas, new bathrooms, new library, and
three (3) to four (4) classrooms or offices and additional
parking. The school also requests to increase its total
student enrollment by 100 and to limit its total student
enrollment to 400. (There is currently no cap on
11, 2007, the Board of Supervisors held a public hearing and
numerous speakers were heard on this item. The hearing was
closed and action postponed for 30 days in order to work out
refinements to the Special Exception conditions. The
applicant, its representative, staff and Supervisor Atherton
held a meeting to address the issues identified at the
hearing. The applicant worked diligently with staff to
accomplish requested tasks.
applicable Zoning Ordinance Standards for this application
5-006, General Standards for All Special
5-501, Standards for all Category 5 Uses
5-502, Additional Standards for All Category 5
Uses Other than Pre-School/Day Care Center/Nursery School
5-504, Standards for Primary School,
Secondary/Advanced Schools and Technical Schools (Indoor)
In 1981, the
Board of Supervisors approved a Special Exception for a
private school and limited attendance to 175 students. The
Special Exception was amended in 1986 to remove the
limitation on the number of students able to attend the
school and to allow an addition to the school. Although a
limitation of 300 students was debated, the final approval
action removed any student enrollment limitation. There is
currently no cap on student enrollment. In 1996, the
applicant obtained a Special Exception for a place of
worship in an existing building. No expansion of building
area has occurred since 1986.
Valley is a non-residency kindergarten, primary and
secondary school that has been educating children in
Fauquier County for 30 years. Present enrollment is 300
students. Normal school hours are 8:15 a.m. to 3:00 p.m.,
September to June. The applicant states that it seeks to
expand its facilities as its current space has become
overcrowded. The new facility will afford two incongruent
uses, for instance a band class and napping first graders,
to be separated by sufficient distance. Further, the school
believes that this addition will further its mission of
providing quality education to children, and allow it to
better serve the community.
The school campus is comprised of approximately 25 acres
(in two parcels) of rolling and partially wooded land. The
buildings and athletic fields are screened by the woods, and
therefore, not visible from the road. The Statement of
Justification notes that efforts will be made to save and
preserve the existing vegetation and additional evergreen
screening will be planted to replace trees lost during
construction and to meet Zoning Ordinance requirements.
This screening will preserve the rural character of the
surrounding properties and protect their views. The new
addition is proposed to be attached to the existing building
on its northern end. Although the new building is proposed
to be 35 feet tall, the roof addition will be within a few
feet of the elevation of the top of the roof of the existing
building as it will be built into the natural slope of the
hillside. The addition will be approximately 250 feet from
the road and approximately 220 feet from the nearest
The applicant states that school buses transport half of
its students (current population of 300) to the site. The
remainder are transported by parents. During a Planning
Commission informational work session, the applicant also
stated that secondary school students are not allowed to
drive to campus.
Valley Christian School (FVCS) completed an inventory of
student enrollment for the last 7 years and found that
approximately 70% of its student enrollment is from Fauquier
County. The other 30% come from the following counties:
Clark, Culpeper, Loudoun, Orange, Prince William,
Rappahannock, Stafford, and Warren.
applicant has conducted an informal traffic study this
school year and presents the following background
information and findings:
Over the last 4 years, 44% of the students
have used bus transportation.
Over the last 4 years 17% of students were
teachers’ children – this means that they arrive at the
school between 7:00 a.m. – 7:30 a.m. with staff.
Over the last 4 years 39% of students were car
riders – many of these families have developed car pools in
which they transport several children in their car at once.
These students arrive between 7:55 a.m. and 8:15 a.m.
The applicant notes there is an average of
approximately 50 cars between 7:55 a.m. – 8:15 a.m. coming
to school. Of those 50 cars, about 13 (or 25%) of them
represent families that live on or right off Wilson Road and
would be traveling Wilson Road whether their child attended
FVCS or not.
Thus, the applicant indicates that, if the
student body is increased by 100 students, that it would
anticipate 44% of the new enrollment would ride the bus.
(This would account for 44 students.)
17% of the new enrollment would be teachers’
children. (This would account for 17 students.)
The remaining 39% would be car riders, which
would equate to an estimated increase of 17 vehicles
traveling on Wilson Road, assuming students continue to
carpool as they do today.