Board of Supervisors Meeting Date:

Michael and Heather Hawkins


December 13, 2007

Staff Lead:
Melissa Dargis, Assistant Chief of Planning

Community Development


Magisterial District:
Cedar Run




A Category 29 Special Exception SPEX07-CR-005 to Waive Public Street Requirements, Cedar Run District


Topic Description: 

The applicants wish to obtain Special Exception approval under Category 29, which would allow for a waiver of public street requirements for access to this property.  If approved, this Special Exception would provide the required road frontage and provide access to up to five (5) lots.  At present there are two parcels accessing this private street – an existing administrative subdivision and the parent parcel where the new subdivision is proposed. 

The Special Exception is required because the applicant has requested a waiver of the required public street to accommodate a proposed subdivision that is not located on a state-maintained road.  The applicant is also seeking to keep the existing road as a Type III private street (no design or construction standards).

Project Update:

On January 11, 2007, the Board of Supervisors held a public hearing on this item.  At that time the applicant postponed for 30 days.  Then due to project refinements and other issues associated with the floodplain, the applicant postponed indefinitely.

Project Information:

The applicant’s amended Statement of Justification indicates that the proposed road will serve up to five (5) lots (lots 3, 4 (the administrative lot), 5, the parent parcel, and possibly lot 2).  Lot 1 will access Cromwell Road.  The proposed road consists of an existing 50 foot private ingress/egress easement within which there is an 18 foot wide gravel surface with a ditch line on both sides.  This width is adequate for two-way traffic.  A cul-de-sac at the terminus of the proposed road would function as an emergency turnaround for vehicles.  The applicant intends to submit a cul-de-sac length waiver with its Preliminary Plat application as the cul-de-sac length exceeds 700 feet.

According to the Statement of Justification, the location of the cul-de-sac is based on the topography.  The proposed area is flat whereas other locations slope down from the proposed road and would make it difficult for vehicles to turnaround.  The cul-de-sac location is on the parent parcel and not part of the proposed lots.

The existing ingress/egress easement was approved for the construction of the dwelling unit on the parent parcel.  The applicant indicates that the total length of this ingress/egress, from its intersection with Cromwell Road to the gated entrance to the dwelling unit on the parent parcel, is approximately 2420 linear feet.  The applicant proposes to terminate the proposed road at a cul-de-sac as shown on the Special Exception plat, adjacent to Lot 4 (existing administrative lot).  It is not clear if the radius of the proposed cul-de-sac is adequate for emergency vehicle access and turnaround.  The length of this requested private road was not provided with the Statement of Justification but it appears that the road length is approximately one half mile.

The applicant estimates the total daily traffic generated on this road to be fifty (50) trips per day (the estimate includes the dwelling unit on the parent parcel and the administrative lot).  The proposed road alignment follows the natural topography and existing ingress/egress easement.  The applicant indicates that converting the existing road to a public street would require significant land disturbance such as off-site grading and slope easements.  It should be noted that this road has been constructed and would not require any further land disturbance except to construct the cul-de-sac or other minor improvements.  However, the soils at the road and cul-de-sac location have high shrink well potential and would require significant design work.

The Statement of Justification states that a homeowners association (HOA) for the subdivision would provide perpetual maintenance of the road.  Thus, an HOA consisting of four or five homes would be responsible for approximately a half mile of private road.  The applicant indicated that a draft road maintenance agreement would be provided to Community Development.  It was not submitted at the time of preparation of this report. 

The applicant indicates that it intends to pave the street at some point in the future, paid for out of money collected for road maintenance from the lot owners subject to the covenants that will be recorded for the proposed subdivision and existing lots.  It is not clear from the Statement of Justification  whether any of the neighboring parcels may want (or need) to utilize this proposed road in the future.  Any improvements required on Cromwell Road would be done with the proposed subdivision preliminary plat. 


Land Area, Location and Zoning:  

The property is located at 2020 Hawkins Lane.  A map of the property is shown below.



Neighboring Zoning/Land Use:

The property is currently zoned RA (Rural Agricultural) and is bound by RA properties.  Consistent with this zoning category, the property is located in a district that contains areas where agriculture and forestry are the predominant uses.


Action Requested of the Board of Supervisors:

Conduct a public hearing on the proposed Special Exception and consider adoption of one of the attached resolutions to approve or to deny.


Planning Commission Recommendation:

On November 30, 2006, the Planning Commission held a public hearing on this item and unanimously recommended denial for the following reasons:

  1. The proposal fails to satisfy the general and specific standards for the proposed use established by the Fauquier County Zoning Ordinance.
  2. The proposal failed to demonstrate that there were no other alternatives available, nor did it show that any other options were pursued and then eliminated due to cost, location, or other reason.


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. 

Requirements of the Zoning Ordinance

Section 7-301 of the Zoning Ordinance provides that private streets are prohibited for all subdivisions in RA, RC and residential zones unless a Special Exception is obtained in accordance with the requirements of Section 5-2800 or 5-2900.

Section 5-2900 further provides that, in residential, RA and RC zones, the Board of Supervisors may grant a Special Exception to permit the construction of private streets within a subdivision where the following standards are met:

1.      The requirements of the Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT) necessary for the dedication of public streets will not permit the development of the proposed subdivision in a manner, which is in harmony with the surrounding character of the neighborhood or the proposed development scheme.

2.      The proposed private streets, based upon anticipated traffic generation volume, would adequately serve the lots to be developed and provide sufficient emergency vehicle access to the subdivision, and demonstration that adequate provisions will be made to provide for continuing maintenance and repair of the streets by a homeowners association.  For any subdivision with 80 lots or more, a traffic impact analysis must be provided to establish the justification of the request.

Planning Office

The Planning Office typically discourages the use of private streets, in part, due to the long-term maintenance issues to the future residents.  In addition, private streets are frequently extended to serve additional parcels that are further divided, thus increasing the traffic impacts on these roads with no design or construction requirements. 

During its review of this request the Planning Commission and Board of Supervisors should consider the following items:

  1. Whether or not the proposed private street would be in harmony with the surrounding character of the neighborhood.
  2. The development scheme of the subject property and the adjoining developments, and how a private street would fit in with these designs.
  3. The requirement for continuing maintenance of the private street by the homeowners.
  4. The traffic impacts of the development on a private street.
  5. Whether or not the proposed private street would align with the county’s goals of protecting open space and discouraging non-essential alternations to scenic, agricultural, and historic areas.
  6. The ability for any further development along this road or the possibility of a future extension to serve other parcels.

Please note that referral agency comments were prepared based on a project submittal from November 1, 2007.  On November 30, 2007 a new project submittal was received.  If items have been addressed, it is indicated in italics below the comment.


The Engineering Department has reviewed the above referenced plan and has the following comments:


1.         The road crosses soils that are characterized as being hydric or having hydric soils inclusions which indicate the possibility of wetlands.  Wetlands permits may be required from the Virginia Department of Environmental Quality and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers if disturbance is proposed. 

The road has already been built.  If additional disturbance is required, such as with cul-de-sac construction, appropriate permits would need to be obtained.

2.         All culverts will be required to pass the 10 year storm and velocities will have to be non erosive for the 2 year storm.

The applicant has designed the road with 24 inch culverts.  Additional information will have to be provided to determine if this is adequate.


1.          The lots that will utilize this road will generate 50 vehicles per day.  The road width should accommodate 2 way traffic.  A typical section of 18’ width and 4’ shoulders is considered the minimum for this traffic count.  Although the statement of justification states the road will be 18’, the plans show a width of 14’ on Sheet 1. 

The Statement of Justification and Special Exception Plat now both show a road width of 18 feet which the applicant indicates can accommodate 2-way vehicle traffic.


After reviewing the above stated Special Exception, the soils office has the following comments.


Be advised that the existing road goes through soils that are shallow to bedrock (Soil map units: 76B, 76C, 77C, 77D, 480C, 480D). The road also goes through map unit 14B at multiple locations which have a low bearing capacity and may have hydric soil inclusions.  This means that a jurisdictional wetland determination is required if the areas are to be disturbed. 

The road has already been built.  If additional disturbance is required, such as with cul-de-sac construction, appropriate permits would need to be obtained.

Future Actions:

A jurisdictional wetland determination will be required if areas are to be disturbed. 

The road has already been built.  If additional disturbance is required, such as with cul-de-sac construction, appropriate permits would need to be obtained.


The Warrenton Residency reviewed the above referenced special exception for a waiver of public street requirements, and we have no comments.  The entrance will need to be constructed in accordance with our Private Subdivision/Street Entrance standards, and will need to demonstrate that it meets sight distance requirements since it will be serving 3 or more lots.

This can be addressed during Preliminary Plat.

Summary and Recommendations:

Staff recommends that the Board hold a public hearing on this item and consider the input above as well as the Planning Commission’s recommendation.

Staff has several concerns with the applicant’s proposal:

  1. It is not clear if the radius of the proposed cul-de-sac is adequate for emergency vehicle access and turnaround;
  2. The length of the proposed private street has not been quantified;
  3. The road maintenance for the length of road appears to be a rather large obligation for an HOA of four (4) or five (5) homes to finance;
  4. A draft road maintenance agreement, as indicated in the Statement of Justification, has not been provided to staff;
  5. The soils at the road location have high shrink swell potential and require significant design work; and
  6. It is not clear whether any of the neighboring parcels may want (or need) to utilize this proposed road in the future.

In addition, the applicant provided a new submittal (revised Statement of Justification and Special Exception plat) on November 30, 2007.  Thus, there has not been adequate time for referral agencies to review this submittal.  However, Planning staff has conducted a preliminary review of the submittal and provided information in this report and provided the November 30, 2007 submittal as attachments.

The applicant has submitted a Preliminary Plat to ESI (Engineers and Surveyors Institute) for a completeness review.  This is required prior to application submittal to the county.  It is recommended that the Preliminary Plat be submitted with this companion Special Exception so that the Board of Supervisors can make its decision based on complete information. 

Based on the concerns noted above, staff would recommend that the Board either deny this item or consider a deferral period for this application, in order for the applicant to work out refinements.


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

Fauquier County Department of Community Development



  1. Statement of Justification
  2. Special Exception Plat
  3. JMSWCD Comment Letter (12/5/2007)

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