Board of Supervisors Meeting Date:


Fauquier County Planning Commission


December 9, 2004

Staff Lead:



W. Todd Benson, Assistant Zoning Administrator


Community Development



An Ordinance Amendment to the Fauquier County Zoning Ordinance to Allow Residential Businesses in the C-2, C-3, I-1 and I-2 Zoning Districts and Subject to the Limitations of Sections 5-203, 5-204 and 5-205


Topic Description:


The proposed text amendment would add the opportunity for home occupations and associated business categories where existing homes are present in commercial and industrial zoning districts, as is allowed in all other county zoning districts.  The home occupations would be subject to the same limitations for residential businesses listed in Section 5-200 and Section 6-300 of the Zoning Ordinance, and the amendment makes it clear that residential business may be conducted only at the bona fide residence of the business proprietor.


Requested Action of the Board of Supervisors:

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

Financial Impact Analysis:



Summary Staff Report:

A resident of Elm Tree Lane in Bealeton recently applied to the Zoning, Permitting and Inspections Division for a home occupation permit. The request was to utilize a bedroom in the existing dwelling for a home office of a cleaning business; the applicant’s dwelling is located in the I-2 (Industrial General) zoning district.  While such a home occupation is allowed in Fauquier County in all the residential zoning districts, C-1 and CV commercial districts pursuant to Section 3-302.1 (home occupation with no retail sales or service), it is not allowed in the C-2 (Commercial Highway), C-3 (Commercial Shopping Center), I-1(Industrial Park) or I-2 (Industrial General) districts.   Nor are any of the other types of residential businesses allowed in other districts allowed in the C-2, C-3, I-1 and I-2 zoning districts, with the exception of a home-business auto repair garage in the I-1 and I-2 districts.


It is likely that the residential business were generally not included in the C-2, C-3, I-1 and I-2 zoning districts because residential units are not permitted in these districts.   However, there are some existing residential units located in these districts at various locations throughout the County.  Staff sees no reason to entirely disallow the home occupation opportunity for residents of existing dwellings located in the latter non-residential zones.


Staff is recommending that home occupations with no retail sales or services be allowed in a residence in any zoning district, and that home occupations with retail sales or services be allowed in any existing residence in the commercial districts.  Staff is also proposing that the residential business categories of “small contracting business”, “cottage industry” and “auto repair garage” be added as special permit uses in the C-2, I-1 and I-2 districts, subject to Board of Zoning Appeals (BZA) public hearing and approval.  


In the commercial and industrial zones, some of the proposed residential businesses are already allowed as non-residential businesses.  For example, retail is allowed in C-2, by right with a site plan.  By adding “home occupation with retail sales or service,” a resident who wanted a home business with a retail component would be able to do so without a site plan, just like other residents in other districts with the same home occupation.


As part of this text amendment, staff is also proposing a formatting change to the Residential Businesses (Category 2) table.  Currently, there are two categories which overlap:  “home occupation with retail sales or service” and “home occupation with service only.”  Staff is suggesting that the table be changed to have one category for home occupations with retail and one for home occupations with service for clarity.  This amendment does not actually change the type of home occupation allowed in any district.  The table now within the proposed ordinance text shows the proposed changes.  The formatting changes are shown in bold/underline, and the substantive changes—where uses are actually being added—are shown in shaded in the attached ordinance.


On August 26, 2004, this proposed amendment came before the Planning Commission for public hearing.  During this meeting, concerns were raised that individuals might put businesses in homes they do not occupy.  On motion by Mr. Meadows, action was continued until the next Planning Commission meeting “to refine the language of the Text Amendment.”  


The existing regulations contain some language limiting residential businesses to homes occupied by the proprietor:


1.      Fauquier County Zoning Ordinance § 6-304(1) states: “A home occupation must be conducted within a dwelling which is a bona fide residence of the principal practitioner or in any accessory building thereto which is normally associated with a residential use.”  This language is binding upon any home occupation whether permitted by right or permitted pursuant to a special use permit.


2.      Fauquier County Zoning Ordinance § 5-204(2) (Additional Standards for Cottage Industries) provides:  “A cottage industry shall be conducted on the same lot as contains the bona fide residence of the proprietor of the same business.” 


3.      Fauquier County Zoning Ordinance § 5-205(1)(Additional Standards for Auto Repair Garages) provides that business “[m]ust be conducted on the same lot as the proprietor of the business.”  This language is less precise than the restrictions in § 5-204(2) or § 6-304(1) but appears to accomplish the same thing. 


However, Additional Standards for Small Contracting Businesses (§ 5-203) has no comparable requirement.  At minimum, § 5-203 should be amended to address the concern raised by the Planning Commission.  To avoid confusion that subsequently could arise by different words in different sections intended to accomplish the same objective, it further makes sense to amend § 5-204(2) and § 5-205(1) utilizing consistent language for all residential businesses.  These proposed changes are attached.


During its September 28, 2004 work session and regular meeting, this matter was discussed by the Planning Commission.  On advice of counsel, staff was asked to advertise the proposed text amendments because of the changes. On October 28, 2004,  a second public hearing was held.  No one spoke.  By a unanimous vote, the Planning Commission recommended favorably the proposed text amendment to the Board



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

Department of Economic Development




Proposed Text Amendment