Board of Supervisors Meeting Date:

William G. Downey, Scott District Supervisor


December 13, 2007


Staff Lead:


Kimberley Johnson, Zoning Administrator


Community Development



A Zoning Ordinance Text Amendment to Section 5-1813 to Amend the Additional Standards for a Community Farmers’ Market


Topic Description:

The proposed text amendment changes the standards for a Community Farmers’ Market, allowing a larger building on a smaller lot with lesser setbacks.  It also would allow some percentage of products sold at a Community Farmers’ Market to be grown or produced outside the Commonwealth of Virginia.


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:

Recently, the Buckland Farmers’ Market, now located just over the Fauquier County line in Prince William County, has expressed an interest in moving to Fauquier County.  They have found a property on Route 29 just north of New Baltimore owned by the Smith family.   The Smiths own and farm multiple properties in the area, with the parcel of interest being a 25-acre lot on the northwest side of Route 29, just north of the Riley Road intersection with Route 29.  The property is zoned RA/Rural Agriculture.

This existing business would be allowed on the subject property as a Community Farmers’ Market with special permit approval, except it cannot meet several of the standards for the use. The existing standards for a Community Farmers’ Market are listed below, with the proposed changes highlighted and discussed.  Staff would note that the Planning Commission recommended a number of changes to the initial recommendations in order to provide further flexibility to a Farmers’ Market, and to assure that any new building is built with an agricultural character.  The Planning Commission recommended changes are incorporated into the text presented, and noted in the discussion below.

5-1813             Additional Standards for a Community Farmers’ Market

1.   The minimum lot size requirement shall be one hundred (100) acres; multiple contiguous legal lots under common ownership may be utilized to satisfy the lot size requirement.  The requirements of this section shall not preclude the property owner from conducting compatible, Permitted Uses on the same parcel.  <While the subject parcel is only 25 acres, a contiguous parcel of 80 acres is under the same ownership, for a combined total of 105 acres. Both parcels would need to be part of any special application permit for the Community Farmers’ Market in order to meet the 100 acre requirement.>

2.   The road frontage requirement shall be a minimum of 300 feet on 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.

3.   All open off-street parking and loading areas shall be no closer than 25 feet from any lot line.

4.   In addition to the allowed farm sign, one temporary, portable sign may be erected of up to 12 square feet in size and six (6) feet in height to advertise hours of operation and products available.

5.   The permitted activity is the use of any tract of land in a rural agriculture zoning district for the retail sales and preparation of agricultural products, horticultural products, aquacultural products, and hand made crafts.  Any other retail sales conducted on the property shall be accessory and incidental to the permitted activity.  Permitted accessory products shall be accessory and incidental to the permitted activity.  Permitted accessory products include pottery, baskets, garden accessories, baked goods, floral supplies and other similar type items directly related to the culture, care, use of, or processing of the principal use.  Products using electrical or combustion power such as lights, lawn trimmers, and tractors shall not be allowed.  Outdoor recreational activities such as corn mazes, hayrides, pumpkin patches or other similar activities which are dependent on the products being produced on site may be held in conjunction with a community farmers’ market if approved as part of a special permit application.

6.   Highway entrance shall be approved by the Virginia Department of Transportation.

7.   Sanitary facilities shall be approved by the Fauquier County Health Department.

8.   No structure used for or in conjunction with the use shall be located within 500 feet of any adjoining lot zoned property located in a Residential or Rural Zoning District or within 50 100 feet of any lot zoned Rural except where that lot is part of the special permit application; and further provided that no structure shall be located within 500 feet of any existing residence<The subject parcel in this case is only 250-260 feet wide, making it impossible to meet the existing 500-foot setback requirements from adjoining lots.  However, none of the adjoining lots are zoned residential, and the proposed structure would not be within 500 feet of any residence located on a lot with rural zoning.   The proposed revision maintains the 500-foot setback for adjacent residential lots, but provides additional flexibility when adjacent to rural lots, while still providing protection to any existing home located on a rural lot.  The Planning Commission reduced the setback from the newly proposed 100’ to 50’, while maintaining the 500’ setback from an existing residential unit. Staff believes this approach provides the same protection to existing residents as the original language, while providing flexibility for the BZA to determine setbacks where residents are not affected.  Staff would note that the “default” setback in the RA Zoning District is 25 feet, and that other commercial uses allowed in the RA Zoning District have the following special setback requirements for structures:

            Barns                                            100 feet

            Golf Practice Facility                    100 feet

            Class A/B/C Events                       100 feet

            Kennels                                           75 feet

            Farm Supply Establishment          none

            Veterinary Clinic                           none

            Farm Equipment Sales/Service    50 feet (paved areas).>


9.   No more than one new structure shall be allowed to be constructed, not to exceed 2,500 6,500 square feet in size and shall meet all location requirements for the RA zoning district, and shall be designed with an agricultural character.  However, structures previously existing on the parcel may be converted to a farmers’ market use, regardless of size or number, if the Board determines the location, accessibility, and visibility of these structures is appropriate to this use.  <The owners of the Buckland Market need 6,500 square feet for the proposed market, and no existing buildings are located in proximity to the street that could be utilized.  Most other uses allowed in the RA zoning district do not have a size limitation on the buildings.  And, in fact, just down the road on Route 29 are two uses located in the RA district with larger buildings (Meadows Farms with about 6,500 square feet and the Golf Practice Facility, at about 5,000 square feet).  Much larger structures have been built elsewhere on RA land for uses in the RA district (i.e., Tri-County Feeds and the Culpeper Farmers Cooperative).  The Planning Commission agreed that the larger building was appropriate, but added language to assure that the building was designed with an agricultural character.> 

10. All At least 75% 80% of the agriculture products, horticultural products, and hand made crafts shall be grown or produced within the Commonwealth of Virginia.  The remainder shall be grown or produced in the United States of America.  <The Buckland Market operators have indicated that they occasionally would want to offer products from outside the Commonwealth of Virginia in order to provide a full array of produce throughout the year.  They have indicated they could work with a requirement that 80 percent of the products must be from Virginia.  This proportion is consistent with the requirement for “Farmers’ Market” where only 80% of the goods are required to be produced in Fauquier County, allowing 20% to come from anywhere else.  It may be reasonable for the broader “Community Farmers’ Market” category to allow equivalent flexibility.  The Planning Commission recommended further flexibility by reducing the required percentage to 75%, but also added a limitation that the remainder of the products be domestically produced, which is consistent with the Buckland Market business model.>

The Board of Supervisors initiated this Text Amendment on November 8, 2007.  The Planning Commission held a public hearing on the proposal on November 29, 2007 and recommended unanimous approval of the Text Amendment, with the changes noted above.


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

Department of Economic Development

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