A Resolution to Initiate Consideration of an Amendment to the Zoning Ordinance to Set Forth Rules with Respect to the Effect of Boundary Line Adjustments, Large-lot Divisions and Other Subdivisions on Open Space Requirements withIN the RuRAL AGRICULTURAL (RA) and RURAL CONSERVATION (RC) zones
WHEREAS, the Zoning Ordinance does not comprehensively set forth rules governing the effect of boundary line adjustments, large lot divisions and subdivisions with respect to the 85 percent open space requirement of Section 2-406 of the Zoning Ordinance; and
WHEREAS, the County has adopted administrative interpretations with respect to the effect of these actions upon the open space requirements; and
WHEREAS, the Board of Supervisors has determined that it is appropriate and desirable to codify and where necessary clarify these interpretations; and
WHEREAS, good zoning practice and the public convenience warrant consideration of an amendment which would codify the effect of the above-referenced actions upon the open space requirements of the Zoning Ordinance; now, therefore, be it
RESOLVED by the Fauquier County Board of Supervisors this 10th day of November 2005, That the proposed amendment to the Zoning Ordinance, which is attached hereto, be referred to the Planning Commission for its consideration and recommendations, and that this Ordinance be advertised for public hearing at the next regular meeting of the Planning Commission for which the advertising deadline can be met.
2-406 Open Space Requirements
1. Except in the RA and RC zones, when a lot is proposed for subdivision using the cluster provisions of Article 3, a minimum of fifty (50) percent of the gross site area shall be in open space, unless a special exception satisfying the standards of Section 5-2601 is approved.
2. When a lot is proposed for conventional subdivision into 25 or more lots in the RR-2, R-1,R-2, R-3, or R-4 zones, the following minimum percentages of gross site area shall be in common open space unless a special exception satisfying the standards of Section
5-2701 is approved. At least 50% of the designated open space shall be configured for contiguous usable recreation purposes.
3. In the RA and RC Zoning Districts, 85 percent of the gross site area shall be in non-common open space unless a special exception satisfying the standards of Section 5-2601 is approved. The non-common open space shall be in one parcel and shall meet the requirements of Section 2-705 of the Zoning Ordinance. The deed of non-common open space shall be recorded as follows:
A. Administrative and family transfer divisions:
A deed of non-common open space meeting the requirements of Section 2-705 must be recorded when either:
i. there is insufficient land available for future subdivision after deduction for the 85 percent open space area; or
ii. no additional sliding scale density is available
B. Subdivisions other than administrative and family transfer divisions which exhaust all density under the sliding scale:
A deed of non-common open space physically designating
the open space shall be recorded with the plat of subdivision.
C. Subdivisions other than administrative and family transfer divisions which do not exhaust all density under the sliding scale:
Deed of Non-Common Open Space shall be recorded at the time of the first plat of subdivision. The Deed of Non-Common Open Space shall either physically designate the 85% open space or reserve the additional development rights by providing agreement language for the deed and plat that upon completion of subdivision at least 85% of parcel will remain in undivided non-common open space. The Director or subdivision agent may, in his discretion, impose platting requirements at the time of subdivision sufficient to ensure that at least 85% open space will be provided upon completion of the development.
D. With respect to any subdivision for which 85 percent open space is required by this Ordinance, the acreage upon which the open space is to be calculated shall be determined as follows:
i. For a lot or parcel which has not been altered in size since May 20, 1986, 85 percent of the original acreage shall constitute the required open space.
ii. For a lot or parcel which has been divided in accordance with any large lot division provision in effect since May 20, 1986, 85 percent of each such large lot shall constitute the required open space.
iii. For a lot or parcel which has been subdivided after May 20, 1986 as either a clustered open space subdivision, an administrative subdivision or a family transfer, 85 percent of the acreage at the time of the first subdivision shall constitute the required open space, unless the parcel has thereafter been increased in size through boundary line adjustment, in which case the increased acreage shall be the basis for calculating the required open space. Boundary line adjustment or resubdivision of the residue below the 85 percent open space requirement is not permissible without a special exception for reduction of the open space. Notwithstanding the foregoing, one administrative or family transfer of less than 5 acres in accordance with Section 2-310(4) of this ordinance shall not trigger the open space requirement provided that the residue is thereafter divided according to the large lot provisions of Section 2-310. The large lots created thereafter shall be governed by the provisions of subsection ii., above.
iv. For a lot or parcel which has been either increased or decreased in size by a boundary line adjustment after May 21, 1986, 85 percent of the acreage of the parcel at the time the parcel is to be subdivided shall be placed in open space. Reduction of the parcel below the minimum acreage limit for which open space is required shall not relieve the parcel of the 85 percent open space requirement.
4. In the approval of a cluster subdivision, in no case shall the applicable regulations or use limitations for the district be modified or changed, nor shall any lot extend into an estimated floodplain area unless approved by the Commission based on the determination that:
A. The particular floodplain, by reason of its size or shape, has no particular open space value, and
B. The lot, exclusive of floodplain, contains seventy-five (75) percent of the required minimum lot area specified for the district in which located.
5. In the RA and RC Zoning Districts:
A. The proposed development shall not result in the unnecessary loss or degradation of natural resources, including prime agricultural and forestal lands; environmentally sensitive areas such as floodplains, steep slopes, rock outcrops and seasonally wet areas; predominant or unusual geologic features such as mountain peaks, caverns, gorges; areas critical to the existence of important types of flora and/or fauna. The standards for evaluating the impact will be as follows:
(1) Natural resources, environmentally sensitive areas and unusual geological features will be identified using the following criteria:
a. Prime Agricultural Lands - those soils which are delineated as Class I, II or III soils by the Soil Conservation Service, and other soils with slopes less than 15% which have comparable productive value as those rated Class III or better as delineated on the Fauquier County Soils Survey or based upon acceptable soils delineation study. See Appendix A for list of soils.
b. Prime Forest Lands - those that are well suited for timber production (as delineated by soil type on the Fauquier County Soil Survey or by acceptable soils delineation study) and which contain stands of timber which could qualify for use valuation taxation on the effective date of this Ordinance. See Appendix A for a list of soils.
c. Floodplains - as delineated in the overlay district or as revised based on acceptable detailed engineering studies.
d. Steep Areas - those areas containing slopes in excess of 25% as determined using current United States Geological Survey quads or as determined based on acceptable detailed engineering studies.
e. Highly Erodible Soils as delineated by soil type on the Fauquier County Soil Survey or based on acceptable soils delineation study. See Appendix A for list of soils.
f. Rock outcrops and seasonally wet areas - as per site investigation.
g. Areas critical to the existence of important flora and/or fauna - as per site investigation.
(2) Natural features will be included in the open space unless the Board finds that doing so would not be appropriate regarding the site or would not allow the applicant to develop 50% of the otherwise allowable site density.
B. The Board shall take into account any scenic and/or historic resources that would be impacted by the development and may require that adverse impacts be mitigated. Standards for evaluating the impacts are as follows:
(1) Site improvements including streets and lots shall take advantage of topography so as to mitigate adverse visual impacts and maintain, to the extent possible, the scenic qualities and/or historic resources.
(2) Scenic resources shall include those areas with a 1 or 2 rating in the current visual analysis policy adopted by the Board by resolution.
(3) Historic resources shall include those listed in the Comprehensive Plan.
C. The proposed development shall be sufficiently compatible in character and intensity with the existing uses in the neighborhood that it will not significantly jeopardize or infringe upon the continuation of such existing uses. The conflicts and potential, therefore, between major residential developments on one hand, and sparsely settled rural areas, particularly intensive agricultural production operation, on the other, shall be taken
into account. A permit for a major residential development shall not be denied in a finding based solely on this paragraph if it can be shown that sufficient open space would adequately prevent undue change in the character of the area involved and sufficiently diminish land use conflicts between residential and agricultural uses. The general standards for determining compatibility of character and intensity will be as follows:
(1) Lots of less than 10 acres, but a minimum of 2 acres, should be buffered from an Agricultural and Forestal District or an existing agricultural use.
(2) Lots of less than 2 acres should be buffered from an Agricultural and Forestal District or an existing agricultural use. If possible the buffers should be at least 2,000 ft.
(3) In no case shall the net site density be reduced by more than 50% solely as a result of the application of this Paragraph C.
D. For lots 30 acres or greater, eighty-five percent (85%) of the gross lot area shall be required in open space unless a special exception for a lesser amount is granted by the Board. For lots of less than thirty (30) acres the open space requirement of
3-408 does not apply. The open space shall be located so as to best accomplish A, B and C above.
6. Any person aggrieved by a decision of the Commission with respect to a cluster subdivision may file an appeal with the Board of Supervisors within thirty (30) days of such decision.