Board of Supervisors Meeting Date:


Planning Commission


December 8, 2005

Staff Lead:



W. Todd Benson, Assistant Zoning Administrator


Community Development



A Zoning Ordinance Text Amendment to Create a New Subsection 46 to Section 12-501 Requiring Submission of a Type 1 Soil Report or a Preliminary Soil Report as Part of All Major Site Plans and to Clarify When Major Site Plans are Required


Topic Description:


The current amendment would require all major site plan submissions to include a Type 1 Soil Report by the County Soil Scientist or a preliminary soil report consistent with the specifications set forth in Section 9, Subsection 5, Paragraph C of the Subdivision Ordinance.  The Planning Commission also has been requested by the Board of Supervisors to better articulate when major site plans are required.


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:


While many major site plan applications have a geotechnical study as a basis for the foundation design of the buildings, the remainder of the site lacks detailed soils information. A preliminary soil report, prepared by a certified professional soil scientist, or Type 1 soil map, prepared by the County Soil Scientist Office, would help in the design of parking lots and streets, stormwater management facilities and erosion and sediment control measures. The detailed information would also assist in the evaluations from both the:  (1) County Engineer's Office for submitted plans, especially in regard to stormwater management; and (2) the County Soil Scientist for the suitability of the soils on the site for the proposed use.


On April 26, 2005 the Planning Commission held a public hearing on the proposed amendment and unanimously recommended it for adoption by the Board of Supervisors. The Board of Supervisors held a public hearing on June 9, 2005 and remanded the matter back to the Planning Commission to consider recommending a change that would better define when minor or major site plans are required. On September 29, 2005, the Planning Commission initiated a new proposed text amendment with the amendments requested by the Board of Supervisors. The Planning Commission recommended adoption of the proposed text amendment on October 27, 2005.


The Zoning Ordinance establishes which uses require site plan approval in Article 3, and establishes several different types of site plan approval in Article 12.  These approvals include: (a) major site plan; (b) minor site plan; and (c) site plan waiver.


The different approvals require substantially different levels of information for applications and take significantly different periods for approval.  The most involved alternative, the major site plan, typically would take at least 6 months for approval; detailed engineering drawings are required and the application goes through the Engineers & Surveyors Institute (ESI) completeness review process and the County’s Technical Review Committee process.  Bonds are typically required.  


In comparison, a minor site plan does not necessarily require engineered drawings.  A less formal sketch plan showing proposed improvement, dimensions and other elements is allowed.  The plan is reviewed by fewer agencies, and the processing time is typically no more than one month.


The site plan waiver typically requires no drawings, but only a description of the proposed uses and any changes envisioned on the site.


Under the provisions of Article 12, the Director of Community Development is given the authority to determine which type of site plan is appropriate for a particular use; the standards that guide his discretion are attached.   


Staff has proposed language revisions to the site plan requirements intended to clarify for the public: 1) that site plan waivers may satisfy the site plan requirement and 2) that most plans with less than 10,000 square feet of disturbance will be processed as minor site plans. In addition to the language proposed to clarify existing regulations, staff has proposed several substantive changes to the site plan regulations aimed at 1) extending the ability to utilize site plan waivers and minor site plans; and 2) simplifying application requirements for site plan waivers and minor site plans.


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

Department of Economic Development




Proposed Text Amendment