Board of Supervisors Meeting Date:


Praise Communications, Inc., Owner

Steve W. Buchanan, Applicant


November 10, 2004


Staff Lead:


Melissa Dargis, Assistant Chief of Planning



Community Development


Magisterial District:









A Resolution to Approve SPEX05-CT-003, A Special Exception to Allow for an Increase in the Square Footage of an Existing Broadcasting Building


Topic Description: 


The applicant wishes to obtain Special Exception approval under Category 20, which would allow for an increase in the square footage of an existing broadcasting building for WPRZ 1250 AM.  WPRZ Radio is a locally owned and operated station that has been serving the citizens of Fauquier and surrounding counties for over 22 years.  Praise Communications, Inc. is a 501 C 3 non-profit organization.  The station has three full-time employees.  The proposed additions to the building will be used for transmitter space for Metro Radio, Inc. and for storage for WPRZ.


The broadcasting studio is located in a Residential (R-1) zoning district.  It is currently a legal non-conforming use, since the radio station existed prior to the current zoning district and has consistently maintained its use over that time frame.  Thus, it is subject to Article 10, Nonconformities, of the Fauquier County Zoning Ordinance.  This section states that upon obtaining a Special Exception from the Board, such uses may be enlarged subject to conditions.  The standard further notes that the enlargement cannot exceed twenty-five (25) percent of the gross floor area of the building in which such non-conforming use is conducted; provided that such enlargement shall never exceed any applicable maximum floor area ration prescribed for the zoning district in which it is located.


The total square footage proposed with this Special Exception is 396 square feet, which is consistent with the aforementioned standards.  The parcel contains a significant amount of 100-year floodplain.  However, the current broadcasting studio is out of the floodplain and the proposed additions are as well.  There will be no fill in the floodplain associated with this application.  Additionally, the current towers will not change regarding height or style.


Requested Action of the Board of Supervisors:


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


Planning Commission Recommendation:


On October 28, 2004, the Planning Commission recommended approval of this item, subject to a series of development conditions.


Financial Impact Analysis:




Land Area, Location and Zoning:    


The property is located at 7351 Hunton Street, Warrenton, Virginia.  It is zoned Residential (R-1).  The 100-year floodplain is displayed in blue on the map of the property shown below.




Neighboring Zoning/Land Use:


The property is currently zoned R-1 and is bound by R-1 and R-2 (Residential) zoned parcels.  Consistent with this zoning category, this property is located in a district that contains residential properties as the predominant use.  Note that this parcel is also bound on one side by the Route 15/29 highway.


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 included as attachments.


Zoning Comments


The following are the zoning staff comments:


  1. The proposed use is an increase to a nonconforming use located in the R-1 zoning district by adding two (2) additions for equipment.  The existing structure is 1584 square feet and the two additions equal 396 square feet, which is the maximum size or 25% of the existing structure.


  1. The proposed site has floodplain on the rear of the property, located behind the existing structure.


  1. A site plan will be required showing all proposed alterations to the site, and confirming the location of the floodplain.




After reviewing the above stated Special Exception plats dated July 12, 2004, the County Soil Scientist’s comments are:


1.      The plan shall include a summary of soil characteristics and use potential shall be stated from the most recent Interpretive Guide to the Soils of Fauquier County, Virginia, for all mapping unit symbols shown on soil map.  State source (i.e. Interpretive Guide of the Soils of Fauquier County, Virginia, 4th Edition – 2002).


2.      Approximate location of existing drainfield should be shown on the plat.




The Engineering office has reviewed the above referenced plan, here is a summary of its comments:


The FEMA regulated 100 year floodplain limit is less than 10 feet from the existing building according to the County GIS maps.  There can be no fill in the floodplain associated with this project without a Special Exception for Category 23.




Summary and Recommendations:


Staff recommends that the Board of Supervisors consider this item for approval.  The Planning Commission forwarded SPEX05-CT-003 to the Board of Supervisors with a recommendation of approval.  There are no agency or staff comments opposing the application and the applicant has demonstrated that all applicable Fauquier County Zoning Ordinance standards have been met. 


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

Fauquier County Department of Community Development




  1. Special Exception Plat
  2. Statement of Justification
  3. Comments from the Fauquier County Zoning Department
  4. Comments from the Fauquier County Soils Scientist
  5. Comments from the Fauquier County Engineering Department