By Rick Carr, CFFC Board Member and Land Use Committee Chairman
CFFC will focus on a variety of land use topics this year which deserve your attention. Here are some examples:
Proposed Chapter 8 – Rural Lands Section of the Comprehensive Plan: This chapter’s purpose is to address land use in rural areas, and to outline County policies and guidelines to protect and preserve farmland, historic sites and unique open spaces. Fauquier County has a long history of such efforts that need to continue. CFFC has provided substantive comments to the staff and Planning Commission for this key chapter affecting 90 percent of the County’s land area. The draft chapter update is still under Planning Commission consideration.
Proposed County Route 15/29 Corridor Guidelines: Since 1999 and subsequent citizen committee updates, the County’s adopted New Baltimore Service District Plan has recommended an overlay district to manage development, viewsheds and transportation along this busy corridor. The pending zoning ordinance text amendment affects the highly traveled Route 29/15 from the Prince William County line to its intersection with Rt. 605 (Dumfries Road). Its long-term objectives are to avoid strip commercial development, promote more compact business centers with new building design more compatible with our local architecture, provide access management onto this high volume highway of statewide significance, and protect the viewsheds representing our agricultural heritage and history.
Broadband and Telecommunications: The County needs to bring fiscal and countywide balance to the delivery of broadband service and the strategic location of supporting telecom facilities, while protecting our rural character, historic villages and resources, and scenic vistas.
Effective Marketing and Delivery of Fauquier County Farm Products to the Metropolitan Market: The County is studying this topic carefully, with one action report available in February 2019. The informational nugget here is that the potential for local agricultural produce moved to nearby metropolitan markets is an opportunity that needs to be effectively developed.
Water Resources: In CFFC’s Planning Horizons (refer to pp. 11-12), we listed objectives important to the groundwater resources key to potable water resources in the County’s future for individual homes or public utilities, for example: a. Board of Supervisor and FCWSA sustained and coordinated efforts to develop, protect and manage future public well locations and their areas of recharge for the Service Districts. b. More collaboration within the community, the incorporated towns, the County and FCWSA in the development, coordination and management of future public water supplies. We now support a follow-up “County Water Summit” to review U.S. Geological Survey progress in the development and protection of groundwater resources for drinking water, and the next steps needed.
Proposed Special Exception (SPEX 14 - MA - 003, 004 & 005) Blackthorne Inn and Restaurant near Upperville: The +/-68 acre resort proposal just west of Upperville on Route 50 is on property zoned Rural Agriculture (RA) and Rural Conservation (RC). The proposed application is currently being revised, since the project raises questions regarding the size of commercial ventures appropriate for our rural locations and historic corridors. No public hearings have been scheduled at this time; stay tuned.