Board of Supervisors Meeting Date:

Planning Commission


November 8, 2007

Staff Lead:


Kimberley Johnson, Zoning Administrator

Community Development 


A Zoning Ordinance Text Amendment to Section 5-607 Related to Standards for Transitional Housing


Topic Description:

The proposed text amendment would change the special exception standards for Transitional Housing in order to increase the number of rooms allowed from 15 to 20 and increase the number of people allowed from 20 to 40.


Requested Action of the Board of Supervisors:

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


Financial Impact Analysis:

No financial impact analysis has been conducted.


Summary Staff Report: 


In April 2006 the Board of Supervisors approved a text amendment to the Zoning Ordinance to add “Transitional Housing” as a use.  The text amendment was generated because of an existing use established at the True Deliverance Church of God, located at 10499 Jericho Road in Bealeton.   The Church owns two contiguous 10± acres which are zoned R-1.   On one of the parcels, the church has a sanctuary and associated buildings.   On the other 10± acre parcel, the Church had constructed a “single family dwelling” with 15 bedrooms and 6 bathrooms, which they have been utilizing to provide transitional housing to homeless families; the facility is known as “Victory Transitional Housing.”   Staff’s review of the case found that the Transitional Housing use had never been authorized by the County.  The text amendment approved in 2006 was the first in a number of approvals required to bring the use into compliance with the County’s regulations. 

The initial staff report noted that because of the number of families concentrated in a single building in this type of use, standards are critical to assure that impacts are carefully controlled, and the adopted text amendment did include the following specific standards:

1.    This use shall only be permitted:  a) when located on the same site as a place of worship and as an accessory use to the main sanctuary; or b) when operated by a non-profit organization that provides transitional housing services.

2.    Minimum site area shall be 20 acres.

3.    No more than 15 rooms and no more than 20 people shall be housed at the facility at any one time.

4.    Residents of the facility shall be primarily families, shall be limited to no more than an eighteen month stay, and shall be required to participate in a structured program or classes designed to facilitate independent living.

5.    Facilities shall be located within service districts or must have approval for adequate septic and well requirements by the Health Department.

6.    At least one parking space shall be provided per family, and such parking shall be screened from view from adjoining properties.  Where possible, the parking spaces for the sanctuary shall be utilized to meet this requirement in order to avoid additional paving at the site.

7.    Usable outdoor play space shall be provided for residents and screened from adjoining properties.  The amount and location of the necessary open space shall be determined in conjunction with the permit approval.

8.    The building containing transitional housing shall be set back a minimum of 100 feet from the side and rear property lines.

The text amendment seeks to change standard #3, which limits the use to 15 rooms with no more than 20 people.   At the time the text amendment was processed, the church had indicated they were housing six families at the facility for a total of 16 people.  The church is now ready to come forward with a special exception application and indicated they intend to house up to 40 people in 20 rooms.  This increase in residents cannot be applied for or authorized without a text amendment.


The proposed text amendment would double the maximum number of residents allowed in a Transitional Housing Use, with an increase from 20 people to 40 people.   The basis for the 20 person cut-off in the original text amendment was in part because of  the existing conditions at the Victory Transitional Housing facility. The Victory Transitional Housing facility had 15 bedrooms, then occupied by 6 families with a total of 16 people.  The adopted standard was intended to give some flexibility in the number of people in order to accommodate varying family sizes.  In addition, it was noted that 20 people is the cut-off in the Zoning Ordinance for minor vs. major medical care facilities, and the cut-off between minor and major residential care facilities is 25 people.  As a comparison, if a 20-acre R-1 property were to be developed in single family homes, a maximum of 18 units could be developed.

Staff would note that the proposed text amendment would only change the maximum number of rooms and people that an applicant could request approval of through a special exception process.  During that process, the specific characteristics of the individual proposal could be evaluated and the use could be limited by conditions to a smaller facility or lesser number of occupants in order to minimize impacts and ensure compatibility with surrounding land uses.

Planning Commission

The Planning Commission initiated this proposed text amendment on August 30, 2007, with several amendments to other provisions.  First, the Commission added language to standard #1 to clarify that a place of worship must be a building and that only bona-fide non-profit organizations are eligible for the use.  Second, the Commission proposed additional language to standard #2 to clarify that when more than one legal lot is utilized to meet the 20 acre site requirement, the lots must be adjacent and under the same ownership.  Finally, after some discussion about the appropriate level of parking for this use, it was decided that the adequacy of parking is best determined on a case-by-case basis in conjunction with the special exception process, and language was added to standard #6 to this effect.  After holding a public hearing on the item on September 27, 2007, the Planning Commission unanimously recommended approval.   


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



Proposed Revisions to the Zoning Ordinance


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