PUBLIC HEARING AGENDA REQUEST

Owners/Applicants:

Board of Supervisors Meeting Date:

Blue Rock LLC (Owner)

Young D. Shin (Applicant)

November 12, 2009

 

Staff Lead:
Melissa Dargis, Assistant Chief of Planning

Department:
Community Development

Magisterial District:
Cedar Run District

PIN:
7915-86-3249-000

Topic:

A Resolution to Approve Providence Christian Academy SPEX10-CR-003: A Category 5 Special Exception to Request Approval to Operate a Private School, Cedar Run District

 

Topic Description: 

The applicant wishes to obtain Special Exception approval under Category 5 to operate a private school (primary and secondary/advanced – kindergarten through twelfth grade) in a (leased) building at Vint Hill Station.

Project Information:

Providence Christian Academy wishes to operate a private school in a leased building at Vint Hill Station (zoned for a Planned Commercial Industrial Development (PCID) in an area designated on the Vint Hill concept plan for “Innovative Technology Uses”).  Providence Christian Academy was formerly Cornerstone Christian Academy; the school had a Special Exception, SPEX07-CR-016, approved on August 9, 2007 for a school use in another building on Vint Hill.

Primary and secondary schools are allowed uses in the PCID but were not when this PCID was granted.  Therefore a Special Exception is required.

Providence Christian Academy is a private school, for primary and secondary education (Kindergarten - 12th Grade).  The school would also provide before and after school care, and opens this up to the public school children in Fauquier County.  Optional night school, (high school credit classes) for home schooled students and the public school children are offered as well.  During holidays, when local schools are closed, day care would be provided for school age children.  During the summer the school would offer summer camps consisting of weekly modules (sports, educational, etc.) and summer day care. In the future the school would like to offer adult education such as CPR/First Aid courses, babysitting courses, language (English, Spanish, etc., and computer).

Regular hours of operation of the school would be from 8:15 a.m. to 3:00 p.m.  (Monday through Friday).  Before school care will run from 7:00 a.m. to 8:15 a.m. on weekdays and after school care will be run from 3:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m. (M-F).  Night high school would be provided from 4:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. (Monday through Thursday). 

The applicant estimates that enrollment projection for the regular 2009-2010 school year will be fifty to sixty students and projected growth over the next four years to be an average of 10-15% per year, with a maximum projected enrollment of one hundred fifty ending around the time of its five year lease.  The before and after school care program would not exceed fifty children.  School would be offered to students from kindergarten age to high school.  Evening high school would be limited to a class ratio of no more than twelve students per class for high school age students.

Based on current enrollment the school anticipates a total of nine employees, six full-time and three part-time this year.  As enrollment increases this will increase to a ratio of one adult per every eight students, for a total of twenty teachers.  The applicant states that students that attend the school are mainly from Fauquier County, but they also draw students from neighboring counties, like Prince William and Culpeper.

Providence Christian Academy will enforce an organized drop off (before school 8:15 a.m. to 8:45 a.m.) and pick up (3:00 p.m. to 3:30 p.m.), as outlined in the student handbook.  Parents enter from only one way and drive in a semi-circle to drop off and pick up.  A staff member will monitor drop off and pick up times.  Students remain in the school until their parents drive up and then a staff person allows them to exit to their parents’ vehicle.

The applicant notes that all students are dropped off and picked up by their parents, and some high school students may drive.  There are no buses at this time.  The school intends to utilize rental bus companies such as “Scenic America” for long distance field trips.  It may also purchase a small bus for local field trips and sporting events.  As the school continues to grow, it anticipates acquiring land to build a school facility and thus move elsewhere within the county. 

The play area for the children will be located adjacent to the building (See Attachment 3).  Students will utilize existing sidewalks to get to the play area or other recreation areas.  In the fall and spring students also would use public sports fields for recreation.   During winter months the school rents indoor gym space from Fauquier County Parks and Recreation at Vint Hill for indoor physical education and sports.

 

Land Area, Location and Zoning:  

The property is located at 6782 Watson Court, Suite 100 within Vint Hill Station.  It is zoned PCID.  The remainder of the building is currently vacant (approximately 74,000 square feet); the applicant is leasing approximately 5,800 square feet of the building for school use.  The approximate building location on the property is highlighted with cross-hatched lines on the map below.

                                          

                          

Neighboring Zoning/Land Use:

The subject building is located on the property known as Vint Hill Station and within a Planned Commercial Industrial Development (PCID) district.  This portion of Vint Hill is indentified on the Vint Hill Concept Development Plan (CDP) for innovative technology.

Special Exception Analysis:

At present the Board of Supervisors may find that the school use is compatible at this location within an industrial development since the market is down and many buildings are vacant.  If the market changes and the “Innovative Technology” uses designated for this area become more intense, the school use may no longer be compatible as those types of uses may put the children’s health, safety, and welfare in jeopardy.

All Special Exceptions are subject to the provisions set forth in Chapter 5 of the Zoning Ordinance.  Section 5-001.1 states “There are certain uses which, by their nature, can have an undue impact upon or be incompatible with other uses of land within a given district.  These uses as described may be allowed to locate within certain designated districts under the controls, limitations and regulations of an administrative permit, special permit, or special exception.”  Further Section 5-006.1 says:

5-006                             General Standards for Special Permits and Special Exception Uses

In addition to the special standards set forth hereinafter for specific uses, all special permit and special exception uses shall also satisfy the following general standards:

1.   The proposed use shall be such that it will not adversely affect the use or development of neighboring properties.  It shall be in accordance with the applicable zoning district regulations and the applicable provisions of the adopted Comprehensive Plan.  The location, size and height of buildings, structures, walls and fences, and the nature and extent of screening, buffering and landscaping shall be such that the use will not hinder or discourage the appropriate development and/or use of adjacent or nearby land and/or buildings or impair the value thereof.

General Standards (5-006) require, among other things, that the proposed use shall not adversely affect the use or development of neighboring properties; the pedestrian and vehicular traffic generated will not be hazardous or conflict with the anticipated traffic in the neighborhood and on the streets serving the site; and adequate utilities to serve the site are provided.  Although the school use is allowed, via Special Exception, in the PCID district, as other users rent space in the building the use may become incompatible.  The applicant has requested a 5-year Special Exception.  Based on the current market and amount of vacant space at Vint Hill, at present, the use would likely be compatible.  The Planning Commission had concerns with future incompatibility and so a condition was added to provide annual Administrative renewal to ensure that the use remains compatible with all other uses within the building. 

The Board of Supervisors will have to consider whether the provisions of the Zoning Ordinance for a Special Exception have been met in this application; 1) will the application negatively impact the public health, safety and welfare of residents of Fauquier County; 2) will the proposed use hinder and discourage the appropriate development and use of adjacent land and buildings and impair the value of adjacent land and buildings in violation of Section 5-006 of the Zoning Ordinance; 3) will the proposed use be compatible with existing or planned development in the general area, as set forth in Section 5-006 of the Zoning Ordinance; and 4) will it be compatible with the general area?

Category 5: Section 5-500 of the Zoning Ordinance outlines the following standards for this Special Exception:

PART 5                                  5-500               CATEGORY 5 EDUCATIONAL USES

In addition to the general standards set forth in Section 006 above, the following standards shall apply:

5-501                           Standards for All Category 5 Uses

All off-street parking and loading areas, swimming pools and tennis courts and similar facilities shall be effectively screened and shall not be located in any required yard in all Residential and Rural District.

Information for the applicant for the Site Plan phase.

5-502                           Additional Standards for All Category 5 Uses Other than Pre-School/Day Care Center/Nursery School

1.      No structure used for or in conjunction with the use shall be located within 100 feet of any adjoining property which is in a Residential or Rural District, except where such use proposes to utilize an existing structure and the Board of Supervisors or the Board of Zoning Appeals find that the lesser setback will not cause an undue impact on adjoining properties because of the specific characteristics of the proposed school or adjoining property.

There are no new structures proposed with this application; the current building meets setback standards.

2.      The site shall have minimum road frontage, as required for the site's zoning district, on a road designated as a major collector in the Comprehensive Plan, unless the Board of Supervisors or the Board of Zoning Appeals find that the type and amount of traffic generated by the facility is such that it will not cause an undue impact on the neighbors or adversely affect safety of road usage.

The site is located on Watson Court which is not classified as a Major Collector in the Comprehensive Plan.  In order to approve this application, the Board of Supervisors must make a finding that the type or amount of traffic generated by the facility is such that it will not cause an undue impact on neighbors or adversely affect the safety of road usage.  Watson Court has not been accepted for State Maintenance, but it is part of the Vint Hill road network. 

The Institute of Traffic Engineers (ITE) Manual (5th addition), states that at full capacity (150 students) the requested private school use (Private School Land Use Category 521 Private School K-8) has a trip generation AM/PM peak hour rate as follows:

a)                  (0.93) trips per student during the AM peak hour with a 63% enter versus 37% exiting directional distribution (140 AM PH trips)

b)                  (0.61) trips per student during PM peak hour with a 43% entering versus 57% exiting directional distribution (92 PM PH trips)

The road network at Vint Hill is designed to accommodate this level of traffic.

3.      All off-street parking and loading spaces, swimming pools and tennis courts and similar facilities shall be effectively screened and shall not be located in any required yard in all Residential and Rural Districts.

Information for the applicant for the Site Plan phase.

5-504                           Additional Standards for Primary School, Secondary/Advanced Schools and Technical Schools (Indoor)

1.   In addition to complying with the minimum lot size requirements of the zoning district in which located, the minimum lot area for a private school of general education shall be of such size that:

A.  200 square feet of usable outdoor recreation area shall be provided for each child in grades kindergarten through three(3) that may use the space at any one time, and

B.  430 square feet of usable outdoor recreation area shall be provided for each child in grades four (4) through twelve (12) that may use the space at any one time.  Such usable outdoor recreation shall be delineated on a plat submitted at the time the application is filed.  For the purpose of this provision, usable outdoor recreation area shall be limited in the same manner as paragraph 503.1.

Adequate recreation space has not been provided.  The area is only 1600 feet.  Thus it is limited to a maximum of eight (8) children in kindergarten through third grade or three (3) children in grades four through twelve.  The applicant intends to utilize public sports fields for recreation during good weather and rent space from the Fauquier County Parks and Recreation Department at Vint Hill for indoor recreation space during winter months.

Staff would recommend that the applicant secure additional useable outdoor recreation space adjacent to the building such that the area is sufficient in size to allow a grade level (classroom) to utilize the space. This can be accomplished during the Site Plan phase.

2.   All outdoor recreation areas shall be fully fenced, unless waived by the Board with approval of a Special Exception.

Since the school is located within a PCID district, staff recommends full fencing of the recreation area.

3.   The following standards shall apply to primary and secondary/advanced schools in residential zoning districts:

A.    Minimum lot size shall be 5 acres.

The site meets this standard; it is 8.5702 acres in size.

B.     All exterior lighting shall be designed and installed so that all direct rays are confined to the site and adjacent properties are protected from glare.

Information for the applicant for the Site Plan phase.

 

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 majority of referral agencies had no issues with the proposed use of this existing facility.

Zoning Office

  1. The subject property, located within Vint Hill, is zoned Planned Commercial-Industrial District (PCID).  Although currently an allowed “primary use” in the PCID, Primary and Secondary schools were not a use allowed in the PCID at the time of the Vint Hill rezoning.  Therefore, pursuant to Section 4-605 of the Zoning Ordinance, the use is allowed at this location with approval of a Special Exception.
  2. The General Standards for all Special Exceptions (Section 5-006) apply to this use.

See the Special Exception Analysis section for General Standard’s discussion.

  1. The approved concept plan for the Vint Hill development designates the land-bay where the school proposes to locate (A) for “Innovative Technology” uses.
  2. Staff is unable to evaluate the parking proposed at this time.  The parking requirement is to be based on an assessment by staff of the actual number of employees and staff and characteristics of the student body.  This information has not been provided.  In addition, a revised tabulation for the overall building showing that sufficient spaces remain to meet Zoning Ordinance requirements for the remainder of the building is necessary.  These issues can be handled in conjunction with site plan review, with the applicant assuming the risk that parking will be adequate to meet standards.

See the Special Exception Analysis section for an estimated trip generation for this use. The parking standard must be met at the Site Plan stage.

  1. Site Plan approval is required (likely an amendment).

Information for the applicant.

 

Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT)

VDOT has reviewed the additional information that was submitted.  The only comment VDOT has is that the applicant refers to Watson Court as a public road, but it has not been accepted for state maintenance.

Planning Commission Summary and Action of September 24, 2009:

On September 24, 2009, the Planning Commission held a work session and conducted a public hearing on the proposed Special Exception.  The applicant spoke at the hearing; no members of the public spoke regarding the project.

An amended set of Special Exception conditions was provided.  The Planning Commission forwarded a unanimous recommendation of approval, subject to a series of Special Exception conditions, to the Board of Supervisors.

Summary and Recommendations:

Staff asks the Board of Supervisors to consider the Planning Commission’s unanimous recommendation of approval.  The applicant can secure the recommended additional area for useable outdoor recreation space adjacent to the building, such that the area is sufficient in size to allow a grade level (classroom) to utilize the space.  This can be accomplished during the Site Plan phase of the project.

The requested use requires road frontage on a major collector, unless the Board of Supervisors finds that the type and amount of traffic generated by the facility is such that it will not cause an undue impact on the neighbors or adversely affect safety of road usage.  Since Watson Court is not classified as a Major Collector in the Comprehensive Plan, the Board of Supervisors must make such a finding in order to approve this application.  At capacity, the proposed use will add approximately 140 a.m. peak hour trips and 92 p.m. peak hour trips on Watson Court.  The road network at Vint Hill is designed to accommodate this level of traffic. 

Action Requested of the Board of Supervisors:

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

 

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

Fauquier County Department of Community Development
Fauquier County Parks and Recreation Department
Vint Hill Economic Development Authority

ATTACHMENTS:

1.         Statement of Justification

2.         Building Layout

3.         Special Exception Plat

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