PUBLIC HEARING AGENDA REQUEST

Owners/Applicants:

Board of Supervisors Meeting Date:

Robert A. & Betty E. Niles (Owners)
Hospice of the Rapidan, Inc. (Applicant) 

November 12, 2009

Staff Lead:
Melissa Dargis, Assistant Chief of Planning

Department:
Community Development 

Magisterial District:
Lee  

PIN
7815-04-9018-000

Topic:

A Resolution to Approve SPEX10-LE-001, SPEX10-LE-006, & SPPT10-LE-003 to Obtain a Category 6 Special Exception to Allow for the Operation of a Minor Medical Care Facility; a Category 20 Special Exception to Allow for a Private Commercial Sewage System; and a Category 13 Special Permit to allow for a Business/Professional Office with Six (6) or Less Employees

    

Topic Description:  

The applicant seeks the aforementioned permit approvals to allow for construction of a minor medical care facility, a 10-bed hospice house, to care for hospice patients. 

Project Information:

The Hospice of the Rapidan proposes to build a hospice house facility to provide care to hospice patients who are not able to live in their own homes.  The Hospice of the Rapidan serves Culpeper, Fauquier, Madison, Orange and Rappahannock counties.  According to the Statement of Justification, hospice houses are medical facilities for terminally ill patients that provide a warm, homelike safe environment enabling patients to live and retain a level of peace and dignity.  Hospice care does not replace nursing homes, assisted living facilities or hospitals, but is an added facet to the continuum of care.

Hospice focuses on enabling patients to live out their remaining days in their own home, but this is not always an option.  Hospice house can help bridge that gap.  The applicant notes that the peaceful rural setting fits well with their vision to provide a serene environment for patients.  This will include an outdoor area with gardens, walking paths and open space to give the sense of a homelike quality versus an institutional space.  

The length of stay at the hospice house would be variable for each patient.  Hospice of the Rapidan will have medical staff at the hospice house to care for patients; various staff such as registered nurses, social workers, certified nursing assistants, grief support, chaplain, medical director and volunteers will work together under the direction of the patient’s attending physician.  These staff members visit periodically and are not present full-time.  Hospice house would be a licensed facility under the Virginia Department of Health, Office of Certification and Licensure as a hospice facility.  It would operate under the appropriate state guidelines.

The proposed facility is a two (2) story building to accommodate ten patients in single occupancy suites.   The façade of the building will resemble a large home and not an institutional building.  The total building size is approximately 20,000 square feet.  Hospice house would operate year round, to provide continuous around the clock nursing and personal care for patients living there.  The house will also accommodate visitors, and if so desired, accommodations for family members to remain with the patient throughout the night.  Based on estimates of similar hospice houses in Virginia, the applicant estimates an average of 2 visitors per day per patient.

For daily operation, hospice house will have at least two staff members present in the building at all times.  The office staff and support staff will have space in the basement of the building.    Staffing depends on the demand and condition of the patients staying at the hospice house.  A minimum of seven employees are required to run the facility.  Additional nurses would be assigned to patients, as required.

There are 30 home care staff assigned to the five county service area.  Two thirds of them are transient and will only report into the hospice house one to two times per week.  The Special Permit for the office use will allow for a portion of the staff from the main office (in Culpeper) to locate at the hospice house, although they are not planning to do this immediately.  Adequate parking has been provided on-site to accommodate staff (including home care staff that may check in a couple times per week), visitors and deliveries.  The septic field is designed to handle the use and includes laundry and kitchen facilities for patients.  The Planning Commission and Board of Supervisors are being asked to make a determination on whether the home care staff workers are an accessory use to the hospice house.

This use requires frontage on a Major Collector or higher category road.  However, the Board of Supervisors can waive the requirement for frontage on a major collector if it finds that the traffic generated will not cause undue impact to the neighbors or affect the safety of road usage.  The site is located on Royalls Mill Road which does have direct access to Sumerduck Road and is two miles from Route 17.  Sumerduck Road is classified as a Rural Minor Collector and Route 17 is classified as a Rural Principle Arterial road in Chapter 10 of the Comprehensive Plan. 

Royalls Mill Road has approximately 360 vehicles per day according to VDOT.  The applicant’s Statement of Justification indicates this will not impact the neighbors or affect the safety of the existing use of the road.  The Institute of Traffic Engineers (ITE) Manual states that this type of use (ITE category for assisted living facility) will have a trip generation rate of 2.74 daily trips per bed.  Thus, at capacity, the trip generation per day is 27.4.  The 6 person business office would generate an additional 24 trips per day if everyone drives to work and leaves the site for lunch separately.  This is consistent with the ITE Manual category for “single user, office.”  Maximum trip generation per day for the facility would be 52.

 

Land Area, Location and Zoning:  

The approximately 14 acre property is located on the west side of Royalls Mill Road (Route 631).  It is located less than one mile from Sumerduck Road (Route 651) and two miles from Route 17.  The property is zoned RA.  The property is currently open land.  A zoning map of the property is shown below with the property cross hatched. 

 

Neighboring Zoning/Land Use:

The property is bound by RA zoned land; the property to the northeast has a Virginia Outdoors Foundation (VOF) open space conservation easement (shown in blue) on it.  The Comprehensive Plan designates this area for rural use.

 

Staff Analysis:

The hospice house facility at this location meets the provisions set forth for all Special Exceptions 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.

 This application is in accord with Section 5-006. The proposed hospice house will not cause degradation of the surrounding area or add significant traffic.

PART 6                              5-600              CATEGORY 6 INSTITUTIONAL USES

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

5-601                           Standards for All Category 6 Uses

No off-street parking or loading area shall be located within any required yard or within 25 feet of any lot line in or adjoining a Residential or Rural District.

The application meets this standard.

5-605                           Additional Standards for Medical Care Facilities, Minor or Major

(Nursing facilities with less than 20 beds shall for the purpose of this Section be considered minor; others are major.)

1.      No such use shall be established except on a lot fronting on, and having direct access to, a road designated as a major collector (or higher) in the Comprehensive Plan unless the Board of Supervisors or the Board of Zoning Appeals 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.

The Board of Supervisors will have to make a finding that the traffic generated by the hospice facility, including the proposed office use, does not have an impact on neighbors or safety of road usage.  The Planning Commission did make a recommendation to support this finding and thus, it is included in the Board’s resolution.

2.      No structure used for or in conjunction with such use shall be located closer than 100 feet to any lot line in any Residential or Rural District.

The application meets this standard.

3.      All such uses shall be designed to accommodate service vehicles with access to the building at a side or rear entrance.

The application meets this standard.

4.      All off-street parking and loading areas shall be effectively screened in any Residential or Rural District.

Information for the applicant for the Site Plan phase.

 

5-1306                         Additional Standards for Offices in Rural and Residential Districts

1.   Not more than six (6) persons may be engaged in the operation of the office, including part-time employees and/or professionals.

2.   No retail or wholesale sales or storage shall be conducted on the premises.

3.   Buildings so used shall have the exterior appearance of a residential structure of a type allowed in the zoning district in which located.

4.   There shall be no lighting of signs or parking areas on the premises in general in any manner not usual in a residential area.

5.   Such uses in multi-family structures shall be located in end units of townhouse structures or on the lowest floor of other multi-family structures.

6.   Office hours shall be limited to the period between 8:30 a.m. and 8:00 p.m., Monday through Saturday.  Offices may open at other times only for emergencies.

7.   Off-street parking for the office shall be provided in accordance with the provisions of Article 7 in addition to that required for the dwelling units, unless the office hours are limited to the period between 9:00 a.m. and 4:00 p.m.

8.   In the V, R-1, R-2 and R-4 zoning districts, no off-street parking space shall be located in any required front yard, and all parking spaces accessory to the use shall be screened so that they are not visible from the first story window levels of adjoining property.

9.   Any such office with more than three employees, shall have direct access to a road designated as a major collector (or higher) in the Comprehensive Plan unless the Board of Zoning Appeals 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.

This application is in accord with Section 5-1300.  However, the Board of Supervisors will have to make a finding that the traffic generated by the hospice facility, including the proposed office use, does not have an impact on neighbors or safety of road usage.  The Planning Commission did make a recommendation to support this finding and thus, it is included in the Board’s resolution.

PART 20                                5-2000             CATEGORY 20 PUBLIC UTILITIES

5-2001                         Additional Submission Requirements

In addition to the submission requirements set forth in Section 011 above, all applications for Category 20 uses shall be accomplished by the following:

1.   Four (4) copies of a map showing the utility system of which the proposed use will be an integral part, together with a written statement outlining the functional relationship of the proposed use to the utility system.

2.   Four (4) copies of a statement, prepared by a certified engineer, giving the basic reasons for selecting the particular site as the location for the proposed facility and certifying that the proposed use will meet the performance standards of the district in which located.

 

5-2002                         Standards for All Category 20 Uses

In addition to the general standards set forth in Section 006 above, all Category 20 special permit and special exception uses shall satisfy the following standards:

1.   Category 20 special permit and special exception uses shall not be required to comply with the lot size requirements or the bulk regulations set forth for the zoning district in which located in Part 4 of Article 3.  However, such requirements may be established in the conditions under which such a special permit or special exception is granted.

2.   No land or building in any district other than the Industrial Districts shall be used for the storage of materials or equipment, or for the repair or servicing of vehicles or equipment or for the parking of vehicles, except those needed by employees connected with the operation of the immediate facility.

3.   In all zoning districts, other than the I-2 District, all equipment, machinery and facilities not located within an enclosed building shall be effectively screened.

This application is in accord with Section 5-2000. The applicant requires a Category 20 Special Exception because the estimated gallons per day (gpd) required to serve the proposed use exceeds 1,000 gpd (approximately 3,000 gpd are requested).  Special Exception conditions for the sewage treatment system have been drafted. 

Staff Review Agency Comments:

Staff and 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. Following each comment is a staff note in italics stating how the comment has been addressed.

Zoning

1.   The applicant proposes to construct a Hospice facility, with non-accessory office facilities.  The use is classified under the Fauquier County Zoning Ordinance as a Minor Medical Care Facility (Section 3-306.4), requiring special exception approval.  Because the proposed sewage system is projected to handle more than 1200 gallons per day, it is classified as a Sewage Treatment System under Section 3-320.7 under the Zoning Ordinance, requiring additional special exception approval.  In addition, as office facilities are proposed to house regional hospice functions (rather than accessory office functions related to the operation of the hospice), a special permit is required for “Business or Professional Office, less than 6 employees” pursuant to Section 3-313.10. 

The following Zoning Ordinance standards are applicable:

Minor Medical Care Facility

a.   5-006 General Standards for all Special Exceptions and Special Permits;

b.   5-601 Standards for All Category 6 Uses;

c.   5-605 Additional Standards for Medical Care Facilities, Major or Minor.

Business or Professional Office, less than 6 employees

a.   5-006 General Standards for all Special Exceptions and Special Permits;

b.   5-1306 Additional Standards for Offices in Rural and Residential Districts.

Sewage Treatment System

a.   5-006 General Standards for all Special Exceptions and Special Permits;

b.   5-2001 Additional Submission Requirements for Category 20 Uses;

c.   5-2002 Standards for All Category 20 Uses.

The property satisfies the lot size requirements and bulk regulations set forth in the Zoning Ordinance. See earlier analysis for General Standards.

2.   In addition to the proposed office use for up to 6 full-time employees proposed with the use to house possible regional facilities, the applicant requests approval to allow as many as 30 home care staff associated with the Hospice to visit the site once or twice a week to do paperwork or attend briefings. These employees do not work with the actual clients living in the Hospice facility, but are rather providing care at client’s homes throughout the community.

      As the Zoning Ordinance does not allow an office use in the Rural Districts for more than 6 employees, these 30 additional employees cannot be approved as an office use.   They could, however, be approved as part of the Special Exception for the Hospice use if they are considered to be an accessory part of the Hospice itself.   In evaluating whether or not to allow these employees to utilize the Hospice as a check-in point once or twice a week, the Board should consider the impacts of these employees and whether their potential impacts are in fact, reasonably considered accessory or whether they are more akin to office use. The Zoning Ordinance defines Accessory Use as follows:

ACCESSORY USE:  Accessory uses as permitted by this Ordinance are set forth in Part 1 of Article 6.  An accessory use is a use or building which:

1.   is clearly subordinate to, customarily found in association with, and serves a principal use; and

2.   is subordinate in purpose, area or extent to the principal use served; and

3.   contributes to the comfort, convenience or necessity of the occupants, business enterprise or industrial operation within the principal use served; and

4.   is located on the same lot as the principal use, except any building that is customarily incidental to any agricultural use shall be deemed to be an accessory use whether or not it is situated on the same lot with the principal building.

Zoning staff had some concerns with the original submission, which showed additional parking at the rate of 1 space for each of these 30 employees being provided on-site, suggesting that the employees were far more than an accessory function.  The applicant, however, has agreed to substantially reduce the amount of parking provided to fewer than 10 spaces for the occasional employees, reducing the physical impact on the site of this potential accessory use.

The Board of Supervisors will have to make a determination on whether the home care staff workers are an accessory use to the hospice house.  The primary use is clearly the minor medical facility.  The applicant indicates that the home health workers are a function of the continuum of care that hospice provides.  Based on discussions with the applicant regarding the parking, the parking spaces are not provided for the home health care workers but instead for visitors, hospice house staff, visiting staff (such as chaplains, social workers, ADA requirements, etc.) and are thus, needed for the facility.

3.   The Special Exception/Special Permit plat does not show required landscaping, but sufficient space is shown to provide required landscaping during site plan process and it may be possible to utilize existing landscaping in many cases to meet requirements.

Information for the applicant for Site Plan phase.

4.   Site Plan approval is required.

Information for the applicant.

Environmental

Findings:

1.      The installation drainfield area shown on the plat does not match that shown in the application by M&M Soil Consultants.  The area on the M&M application extends past the corners shown on the plat.  The discrepancy does not need to be corrected on the Special Exception/Special Permit plat.  However, at the Major Site Plan phase, it should be corrected on the plans in order to protect the drainfield area.  Before land disturbance begins, I recommend surrounding the installation and reserve drainfield areas with safety fence to protect the drainfields from construction traffic.

Information for the applicant for Site Plan phase.  A Special Exception condition to protect the drainfields during construction has been drafted.

2.      Based on the Fauquier County Soil Survey, a jurisdictional wetland determination will not be required unless disturbance occurs in the area mapped as 10A.  If the Preliminary Soil Report shows soil map units containing hydric soils, then a jurisdictional determination may be required at the Major Site Plan Phase.

Information for the applicant.

3.      Additional information (preliminary soil report, geotechnical investigation, etc) may substantially change comments.

Information for the applicant.

Future Actions:

1.  Preliminary Soil Report with first submission of major site plan

2. Geotechnical Investigation for presence of shrink – swell soils prior to issuance of building

    permit.

Special Exception conditions to this effect have been drafted.

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.  Two members of the public spoke in favor of the project at the hearing; the applicant and the applicant’s representative also provided comments.

Subsequent to a meeting with Commissioner Meadows, Health Department, staff and the applicant, 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 for this request: SPEX10-LE-001, SPEX10-LE-006, & SPPT10-LE-003: a Category 6 Special Exception to allow for the operation of a minor medical care facility; a Category 20 Special Exception to allow for a private commercial sewage system; and a Category 13 Special Permit to allow for a business/professional office with six (6) or less employees.

The majority of referral agency comments refer to the Site Plan phase for this 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 Royalls Mill Road 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 proposal will add approximately 27.4 vehicles per day (vpd) on Royalls Mill Road, compared to its current 360 vpd.

Requested Action 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
Virginia Department of Health

 

Attachments:

1.      Statement of Justification

2.      Special Exception Plat 

 

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