Warren County, VA
 
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Table of Contents
Table of Contents
A. 
Enforcement, Zoning Administrator. This chapter shall be administered and enforced by an officer to be known as the "Zoning Administrator" who shall be appointed by the Board of Supervisors of Warren County, Virginia. The Zoning Administrator shall have all necessary authority on behalf of the governing body to administer and enforce this chapter, including the ordering in writing of the remedying of any condition found in violation of this chapter and the bringing of legal action to ensure compliance with this chapter, including injunction, abatement or other appropriate action or proceeding. The Zoning Administrator shall be guided in all actions pursuant to this chapter by the purposes, intent and spirit of this chapter and the standards set forth in Article I. The Zoning Administrator may be assisted in the enforcement of this chapter by the Health Officer, Sheriff and all other officials of Warren County, Virginia, pursuant to their respective fields.
B. 
The duties of the Administrator shall be as follows:
(1) 
Receive applications for variance permits under the provisions of § 180-62, arrange for their publication as required and place such applications on the Board of Zoning Appeals agenda for public hearing.
(2) 
Serve as secretary to the Board of Zoning Appeals and be responsible for preparing minutes of its meetings under the Board of Zoning Appeals' direction.
(3) 
Receive and process applications for conditional use permits or rezonings pursuant to § 180-63 and present such applications to the Planning Commission, together with recommendations, with or without conditions and reasons for such recommendations.
(4) 
Review applications for building permits to ensure their compliance with this chapter.
(5) 
Perform such other duties as may be required by other provisions of this chapter, Board of Zoning Appeals, Planning Commission or the governing body. (6-26-73, Sec. 8-2; 4-15-77.)
C. 
Enforcement of Board of Zoning Appeals decisions. It shall be the duty of the Zoning Administrator to see that the decisions of the Board of Zoning Appeals (BZA) are enforced.
D. 
Enforcement of minimum requirements. In enforcing the minimum requirements within zoning districts, the Zoning Administrator shall investigate any alleged violation, and, if it is determined that a violation does exist, the Zoning Administrator shall notify the person permitting or committing the violation to cease and/or correct such violation. Such notice shall be in writing and sent by registered mail to, or posted at, the last known address of the property owner or its registered agent, if any. If the violation has not ceased within a reasonable time as specified in the notice, the Zoning Administrator shall initiate such legal action as may be necessary to terminate the violation. If the person responsible for the alleged violation denies that a violation exists, the violator may appeal the decision of the Zoning Administrator to the BZA pursuant to the provisions of Article VII on forms provided by the Zoning Administrator for that purpose.
[Amended 11-21-1995; 9-19-2017]
E. 
Determination letters. When an applicant requests a written determination from the Zoning Administrator that is subject to appeal to the BZA, and the applicant is not the owner or agent of the owner of the real property subject to the written determination, written notice shall be given to the owner of the property within 10 days of the request.
[Added 9-20-2011]
[Amended 11-15-2005; 10-21-2008]
Whenever the public necessity, convenience or general welfare requires, the Board of Supervisors may amend or supplement the regulations in this chapter or the zoning boundaries or classification of property on the Zoning Map. Such changes shall conform to the provisions of Article 7 of Chapter 22 of Title 15.2 of the Code of Virginia 1950, as amended, and the provisions and purposes of this article.
A. 
Initiation of amendments. Proceedings for any amendment shall be initiated only in the following manner:
(1) 
Property owner petition. By the filing of a petition with the Zoning Administrator, any owner or owners of land, contract purchaser with owner's written consent or the owner's agent may initiate a proposition to amend or rezone. Such petition shall be addressed to the Board of Supervisors and shall be completed on a standard form provided by the Zoning Administrator, along with such accompanying documentation as may be required and accompanied by a reasonable fee to be determined in accordance with a fee schedule separately adopted by the Board of Supervisors.
(2) 
Board of Supervisors resolution. The Board of Supervisors may propose an amendment to this chapter which shall be referred to the Planning Commission for consideration pursuant to § 15.2-2285, Code of Virginia 1950, as amended.
(3) 
Planning Commission resolution. By the adoption by the Planning Commission of a resolution of intention to propose an amendment.
B. 
Public hearing; notice. The Planning Commission shall hold a public hearing on any such petition or resolution as provided by § 15.2-2285, Code of Virginia 1950, as amended, after notice and notification of adjacent property owners as required by § 15.2-2204 of said Code.
C. 
Report by Planning Commission to Board after hearing. After the conclusion of the hearing provided for in this article, the Planning Commission shall report to the Board of Supervisors its recommendation with respect to the proposed amendment. Failure of the Planning Commission to report to the Board within 100 days after determination by the Planning Commission that the application as submitted is complete shall be deemed as approval by the Commission. In acting favorably with respect to a proposed amendment initiated by the petition of a property owner or owners, the Planning Commission need not confine its recommendation to the proposed amendment as set forth in the petition. The Planning Commission may reduce or enlarge the extent of land that it recommends be rezoned or may recommend that land be rezoned to a different zoning classification than that petitioned for if the Commission is of the opinion that such revision is in accord with public necessity, convenience or general welfare and is in furtherance of the purposes of this chapter and article, provided that before recommending an enlargement of the extent of land or a rezoning to a less-restricted classification than was set forth in the petition, the Commission shall hold a further hearing on the matter, pursuant to requirements of § 15.2-2204, Code of Virginia 1950, as amended. No amendment to the Zoning Map shall be approved for a change in zoning classification different from that applied for and contained in the public notice of hearing nor for any land not included therein without referring said change to the Planning Commission for its review and recommendations and proceedings pursuant to this subsection and § 180-61E; provided, however, that an amendment may be approved for only a portion of the area proposed for rezoning if the portion rezoned is accurately and sufficiently delimited in the approval action.
D. 
Withdrawal of petitions. Any petition filed pursuant to § 180-61A(1) may be withdrawn upon written request by the applicant. Upon request, the County shall refund the application fee less any and all expenses incurred by the County in processing the application.
E. 
Posting of property. Additional notice of public hearings involving Zoning Map amendments initiated pursuant to § 180-61C shall be provided by means of signs posted on the property proposed for rezoning, in the manner prescribed in this article.
(1) 
Posting of property: Planning Commission hearing. At least 15 days preceding the Planning Commission's public hearing on a conditional use permit or a Zoning Map amendment, the Zoning Administrator shall erect on the subject property a sign or signs indicating the potential action. The sign shall be erected within 10 feet of whatever boundary line of such land abuts a public road and shall be so placed as to be clearly visible from the road with the bottom of the sign not less than 2 1/2 feet above the ground. If more than one such road abuts the property, then a sign shall be erected in the same manner as above for each such abutting road. If no public road abuts thereon, then signs shall be erected in the same manner as above on at least two of the boundaries of the property abutting land not owned by the applicant. Authorization for placement of signs shall be given by the applicant when application for rezoning or conditional use permit is made.
(2) 
Posting of property: Board of Supervisors hearing. Upon receipt of written notice that a public hearing has been scheduled before the Board of Supervisors, the Zoning Administrator shall erect at least 15 days preceding such hearing, a sign or signs in the same manner as prescribed in § 180-61E(1) above.
(3) 
Maintenance and removal of signs. Any sign erected in compliance with this article shall be maintained at all times by the applicant up to the time of the hearings. It shall be unlawful for any person, except the Zoning Administrator or his authorized agent, to remove or tamper with any sign during the period it is required to be maintained under this section. All signs erected under this article shall be returned to the Zoning Administrator by the applicant within 15 days following final action by the Board of Supervisors.
F. 
Matters to be considered in reviewing proposed amendments. Proposed amendments shall take into consideration the purpose and intent of this chapter and other relevant factors, including but not limited to the following: the existing use and character of the property, the suitability of the property for various uses, the trends of growth or change, the current and future requirements of the County as to land for various purposes as determined by population and economic studies and other studies, the transportation requirements of the community and the County; the requirements for schools, parks, playgrounds, recreation areas and other public services; the conservation of natural resources; the preservation of floodplains and the conservation of properties and their values; and the encouragement of the most appropriate use of land throughout the County, timing of development, relation of development to major roads and relation of development to utilities and public facilities and infrastructure.
G. 
Conditional zoning.
(1) 
Any owner of real property who is an applicant for a Zoning Map amendment (rezoning) may, as a part of his application, proffer reasonable conditions concerning the use and development of his property, including also off-site improvements that may serve or benefit his property and the public welfare.
(2) 
Such proffered conditions shall be set forth with clarity and specificity in a proffer statement, which shall follow the following format:
Proffer Statement
RE:
Applicant's name
Date
Rezoning file number (to be added by theDirector of Planning if unknown to the applicant)
I hereby proffer that the use and development of this property shall be in strict accordance with the following conditions:
1.
2.
3.
etc.
(3) 
Any revision to the proffer statement shall be submitted in the same format, with a new date and shall include at the end of the statement the following:
The conditions set forth in this proffer statement supersede all conditions set forth in previous proffer statements submitted as a part of this application.
(4) 
The applicant may also proffer to use and develop his property in accordance with the schematic land use plan or other plans, profiles, elevations, demonstrative materials and written statements submitted as part of his rezoning requests. In such a case, the proffer statement shall make reference to such materials and each copy of such materials shall contain the following statement:
I hereby proffer that the use and development of this property shall be in strict accordance with the conditions set forth herein and/or depicted hereon.
(5) 
When an application for a Zoning Map amendment includes a proffer statement, the Planning Director may suggest revisions to the proffer statement in order to clarify the proffer(s) volunteered by this applicant once conditions to be proffered are signed and made available and the public hearing before the Board has commenced, no change or modification to any condition shall be made and no additional conditions shall be proffered at that public hearing. If modified or additional conditions are proposed, a second public hearing before the Board shall be held before the application and the modified or additional conditions can be approved. Such application may also be the subject of a second public hearing before the Planning Commission.
(6) 
The governing body, when acting on an application for a Zoning Map amendment, may adopt as a part of the Zoning Map the proffered conditions, in whole or in part, set forth by the applicant. Once adopted by the governing body, such proffered conditions shall be binding on the use and development of the property and shall continue in full force and effect until a subsequent amendment changes the zoning on the property covered by such conditions; provided, however, that such conditions shall continue if the subsequent amendment is part of a comprehensive implementation of a new or substantially revised zoning ordinance and/or map.
(7) 
Proffered conditions adopted by the governing body shall be in addition to the regulations provided for the zoning district by the text of this chapter and shall not provide for altering the standards required by the text except when specifically authorized in the text.
(8) 
The Zoning Map and other appropriate files maintained by the Zoning Administrator shall reference the existence of adopted proffered conditions attached to various properties. Any site plan, subdivision plan, development plat or permit application thereafter submitted for development of property to which proffered conditions have attached shall conform to all such conditions and shall not be approved by any County official in the absence of such conformity. For the purpose of this section, "conformity" shall mean such conformity which leaves a reasonable margin of adjustment due to final engineering data, but conforms to the general nature and intent of the development, the specific uses and the general layout depicted by the plan profiles, elevations and other demonstrative materials presented by the applicant.
[Amended 8-17-1993; 10-21-2008; 7-20-2010; 8-18-2015]
A. 
General procedure. Any property owner, tenant, government official or agency may apply for a variance for a reasonable deviation from those provisions regulating the shape, size or area of a lot or parcel of land or the size, height, area, bulk or location of a building or structure. Application for such variance shall be filed with the Zoning Administrator, together with such maps, charts, drawings or other data as the applicant believes will support his application. The Administrator shall furnish promptly to each member of the Board of Zoning Appeals a summary of such application and obtain their concurrence in a date for a public hearing on the application, which shall be advertised and adjacent property owners notified in accordance with § 15.2-2204, Code of Virginia, as amended. Upon conclusion of the hearing, the Board of Zoning Appeals may grant the variance in whole or part, with or without conditions, or deny the application. In any case, the Board of Zoning Appeals shall reach its decision within 60 days of the public hearing and promptly inform the applicant of its decision, unless the applicant and the Board of Zoning Appeals agree to an extension for the decision. Violation of the conditions imposed with the variance shall be deemed to be a violation of this chapter.
[Amended 9-19-2017]
B. 
Required standards.
(1) 
A variance shall be granted if the evidence shows that the strict application of the terms of the ordinance would unreasonably restrict the utilization of the property or that the granting of the variance would alleviate a hardship due to a physical condition relating to the property or improvements thereon at the time of the effective date of the ordinance, and the property meets the following conditions:
(a) 
The property interest for which the variance is being requested was acquired in good faith and any hardship was not created by the applicant for the variance.
(b) 
The granting of the variance will not be of substantial detriment to adjacent property and nearby properties in the proximity of that geographical area.
(c) 
The condition or situation of the property is not of so general or recurring a nature as to make reasonably practicable the formulation of a general regulation to be adopted as an amendment to the ordinance.
(d) 
The granting of the variance does not result in a use that is not otherwise permitted on such property or a change in the zoning classification of the property.
C. 
Burden of proof. The burden of proof shall be on the applicant to prove by a preponderance of the evidence that the application meets the standard for a variance as defined in the criteria set out in this section.
D. 
Conditions. In granting a variance, the Board of Zoning Appeals may impose such conditions regarding the location, character and other features of the proposed structure or use as it may deem necessary in the public interest, and may require a guarantee or bond to ensure that there will be compliance with the conditions.
A. 
Intent; general conditions for approval; preexisting uses.
(1) 
This section is to provide for the granting of conditional use permit by the governing body of Warren County as a legislative process pursuant to §§ 15.2-2286 through 15.2-2288 and 15.2-2203, Code of Virginia 1950, as amended.
[Amended 10-21-2008]
(2) 
The Board of Supervisors may approve a conditional use permit under the provisions of this article when it is concluded that the proposed use complies with all specified standards and that such use will be compatible with existing or planned development in the general area. In addition, in approving a conditional use permit, the Board may stipulate such conditions and restrictions, including but not limited to those specifically contained herein, to ensure that the use will be compatible with the area in which it is proposed to be located. Where such cannot be accomplished or it is determined that the use is not in accordance with all applicable standards of this chapter, the Board shall deny the conditional use.
(3) 
Conditional use permits approved prior to the effective date of this chapter shall be permitted to continue as conditional uses under the conditions imposed by the Board and under this chapter standards in effect at the time of approval unless otherwise provided in Article IV. Changes in imposed conditions or revocation of approval may be accomplished under procedures of this chapter.
B. 
Authorization. In consideration of an application filed with the Zoning Administrator, the Board may authorize the establishment of those conditional uses that are expressly listed in a particular zoning district; provided, however, that no conditional use permit shall be required for a use specifically permitted by right in a given district.
C. 
Procedure.
(1) 
An application for a conditional use permit shall be submitted to the Zoning Administrator, who shall review said application for its compliance with the provisions of this chapter. When it has been determined that the application is in proper form, it shall be submitted to the Planning Commission, which shall hold at least one public hearing thereon pursuant to public notice as required by § 15.2-2204, Code of Virginia 1950, as amended. The Planning Commission shall forward its recommendation to the Board of Supervisors. The Board shall also hold at least one public hearing prior to rendering its decision on the application.
[Amended 10-21-2008]
(2) 
Whenever a petitioner seeks both an amendment to this chapter and a conditional use permit for the same property, both applications may be made jointly and processed at the same time if said proposed amendment does not add a conditional use not previously permitted by the terms of this chapter.
(3) 
Notice of public hearings on conditional use permit applications shall include posting of property in accordance with the provisions of § 180-61E.
(4) 
Changes to conditions imposed by the Board or revocation of a conditional use permit previously acted upon must be preceded by a properly advertised public hearing.
D. 
General standards/conditions. In addition to the specific standards set forth hereinafter with regard to particular conditional uses, all such uses shall satisfy the following general standards:
(1) 
The proposed use at the specified location shall be in harmony with the adopted Comprehensive Plan.
(2) 
The proposed use shall be in harmony with the general purpose and intent of the applicable zoning district regulations.
(3) 
The proposed use shall be such that it will be harmonious with and will not adversely affect the use or development of neighboring properties in accordance with the applicable zoning district regulations and the adopted Comprehensive Plan. The location, size and height of buildings, structures, walls and fences and the nature and extent of screening, buffering and landscaping shall be such that the use will not hinder or discourage the appropriate development and use of adjacent or nearby land and/or buildings or impair the value thereof.
(4) 
The proposed use shall be such that pedestrian and vehicular traffic associated with such use will not be hazardous or in conflict with the existing and anticipated traffic in the area.
(5) 
Adequate utility, drainage, parking, loading and other necessary facilities to serve the proposed use shall be provided.
(6) 
In determining whether or not to grant a permit and in determining conditions to be imposed, the governing body shall take into consideration the objectives and intent of this chapter and may impose reasonable conditions that:
(a) 
Abate or restrict noise, smoke, dust or other elements that may affect surrounding properties.
(b) 
Establish setback, side and front yard requirements necessary for orderly expansion and to prevent traffic congestion.
(c) 
Provide for adequate parking and ingress and egress to public streets or roads.
(d) 
Provide adjoining property with a buffer or shield from view of the proposed use if such use is considered to be detrimental to adjoining property.
(e) 
Prevent such use from changing the character and established pattern of development of the community.
E. 
Specific standards. Specific standards for conditional uses shall be as provided in Article V, Supplementary Regulations.
F. 
Uses not provided for. If a use is not specifically permitted in any of the districts established by this chapter, a landowner may petition the County to amend this chapter to include such uses as outlined in Article III, § 180-9A.
G. 
Modification of conditions and permitted uses. The governing body may modify previously imposed conditions or permitted uses on conditional use permits. No material changes in permit conditions or uses shall be approved until a public hearing is held on the proposal. Such hearing shall be advertised and adjacent property owners notified in accordance with § 15.2-2204, Code of Virginia. "Material change," as used in this subsection, shall mean any change which could reasonably be expected to result in a substantial change in the appearance, operation or general character of the permitted use or its effects upon other persons or properties. If the governing body determines that the proposed change in permitted use is of such a nature that it should appropriately be treated as a new application, the request will be returned to the applicant for submission to the County as a new application pursuant to § 180-64. Any petitioner requesting a material change in conditions or uses will be required to pay an application fee of $75.
[Amended 10-21-2008]
H. 
Termination of permitted uses.
[Added 11-18-2003; amended 1-20-2009; 5-21-2019]
(1) 
Upon receiving a written opinion by the Zoning Administrator regarding reasons for termination, the permit holder shall respond in writing back to the Zoning Administrator within 30 days as to why the Board of Supervisors should not terminate the conditional use permit. Once this information is received, or if no response is received by the expiration of the 30 days, the matter shall be placed on the Planning Commission's regular meeting agenda for discussion. Notice shall be provided to the permit holder of the date and time of the meeting.
(2) 
Following a recommendation by the Planning Commission, the Board of Supervisors may terminate an active conditional use permit for the following reasons. The Board shall hold at least one public hearing prior to rendering its decision on the application.
(a) 
Failure to establish or discontinuance of the approved conditional use: if the approved conditional use has not been established within two years of its approval or if it has been discontinued for two years.
(b) 
Repeated or continuing violations of the conditions placed on the permit.
(c) 
Violations of other provisions in the Code of Warren County.
(d) 
Violations of state and federal law related to the activities of the conditional use.
(e) 
Fraudulent, false or misleading information supplied by the applicant in applying for the conditional use permit.
I. 
Extension of unestablished use.
[Added 5-21-2019]
(1) 
If the holder of the conditional use permit has in fact made diligent effort reasonably calculated to promote development of the approved conditional use permit, the Board of Supervisors may allow an additional period of two years from the date of such request to establish such approved conditional use.
A. 
General provisions.
[Amended 6-18-1996; 1-21-1997]
(1) 
All applications for rezoning, subdivisions, zoning permits, zoning variances and/or conditional use permits shall include a site plan, an environmental impact statement, a community impact statement, a letter of intent or justification and any other information deemed necessary by the Zoning Administrator, the Planning Commission and/or the Board of Supervisors in order for the Planning Commission and the Board of Supervisors to determine the impact that the application, if granted, would have on the community as a whole and adjacent properties in particular, taking into account the purpose and intent of this chapter as set forth in § 180-2.
(2) 
The requirements contained in Subsection A(1) above may be reduced and/or waived by the Zoning Administrator if, in the opinion of the Zoning Administrator, the application is elementary and uncomplicated, such as where no specific use or structure is being requested in the application, and the application, if granted, will be consistent with the purpose and intent of this chapter as set forth in § 180-2; however, the Planning Commission and the Board of Supervisors have the authority to overrule the decision of the Zoning Administrator.
(3) 
Applications for an industrial use shall include, in addition to the above, a listing of all chemicals to be used, housed or generated on the premises and a statement, verified by oath, on the standards of compliance relative to the emission and/or release of noise, dust, smoke, glare, light, heat, vibration, toxic gases, atomic particles, electromagnetic waves, hazardous substances, solid waste, liquid effluent and any other activity that may cause a disturbance to the environment.
(4) 
Any proposed use in the industrial and commercial zones shall meet all applicable state and federal laws and regulations with respect to the environment, including but not limited to the Clean Air Act, the Clean Water Act and the Endangered Species Act.
(5) 
Zoning permit approval required for by-right use in Commercial (C) or Industrial (I) Zones.
[Amended 10-21-2003]
(a) 
Zoning permit application and site plan required. No building or zoning permit shall be issued to construct or erect new buildings and structures for use by right in any Commercial Zone or any Industrial Zone until a zoning permit application, containing a site plan meeting the requirements set forth in this chapter, has been approved by the Planning Director or the Zoning Administrator and Planning Commission as set forth in this subsection.
(b) 
Preliminary approval by Planning Director or Zoning Administrator. The Planning Director or Zoning Administrator shall review the zoning permit application, including the site plan, relative to the completeness of the application and the inclusion of all required plans, including site plans, statements, and regulations contained in this chapter. The Planning Director or the Zoning Administrator shall preliminarily approve or disapprove, in writing, the zoning permit application and site plan within 10 days of its submission in complete form.
(c) 
Preliminary site plan.
[1] 
Any site plan which contains a feature or features which will require review and/or approval by a state agency, shall be deemed a preliminary site plan.
[2] 
The Planning Director or Zoning Administrator shall forward the preliminary site plan to the appropriate state agency or agencies for review.
[3] 
Any state agency making a review of a preliminary site plan forwarded to it shall complete its review within 45 days of receipt of the preliminary site plan. The Virginia Department of Transportation shall allow use of its public rights-of-way for placement of utilities by permit when practical and shall not unreasonably deny site plan approval. If a state agency does not approve the preliminary site plan, it shall comply with the requirements, and be subject to the restrictions, set forth in Virginia Code § 15.2-2259.A, with the exception of the time period therein specified. Upon receipt of the approvals from all state agencies, the Planning Commission shall act upon the preliminary site plan within 35 days.
[4] 
The Planning Commission shall act on any preliminary site plan within 60 days after it has been officially submitted for approval to the Planning Commission. If the Planning Commission does not approve the preliminary site plan, the Planning Commission shall set forth in writing the reasons for such denial and shall state what corrections or modifications will permit approval by the Planning Commission. After the plan has been modified, the Planning Commission shall act on the plan that it previously disapproved within 45 days.
[Amended 9-15-2015]
[5] 
If the Planning Commission fails to approve or disapprove the preliminary site plan within 60 days after it has been officially submitted for approval to the Planning Commission, or within 45 days after it has been officially resubmitted after previous disapproval by the Planning Commission or within 35 days of receipt of any state agency response, the applicant, after 10 days' written notice to the Planning Commission, may petition the Warren County Circuit Court to enter an order with respect thereto as it deems proper, which may include directing approval of the site plan.
[Amended 9-15-2015]
[6] 
If the Planning Commission disapproves a preliminary site plan and the applicant contends that the disapproval was not properly based on the ordinance applicable thereto, or was arbitrary and capricious, he may appeal to the Warren County Circuit Court and the Court shall hear and determine the case as soon as may be, provided that his appeal is filed with the Circuit Court within 60 days of the written disapproval by the Planning Commission.
[7] 
Upon approval of a preliminary site plan by the Planning Commission, it shall be deemed a final site plan and shall be deemed to be finally approved by the Planning Commission.
(d) 
Final site plan.
[1] 
Any site plan which does not contain a feature or features which will require review and/or approval by a state agency shall be deemed a final site plan.
[2] 
The Planning Commission shall act on any proposed final site plan within 60 days after it has been officially submitted for approval by either approving or disapproving the final site plan in writing, and giving with the latter specific reasons therefor. Specific reasons for disapproval may be contained in a separate document or may be written on the final site plan itself. The a reasons for disapproval shall identify deficiencies in the final site plan which cause the disapproval by reference to specific duly adopted ordinances, regulations, or policies and shall generally identify modifications or corrections as will permit approval of the final site plan.
[3] 
If the Planning Commission fails to approve or disapprove the final site plan within 60 days after it has been officially submitted for approval, the applicant, after 10 days written notice to the Planning Commission, may petition the Warren County Circuit Court to decide whether the final site plan should nor should not be approved. The Court shall hear the matter and make and enter an order with respect thereto as it deems proper, which may include directing approval of the final site plan.
[4] 
If the Planning Commission disapproves a final site plan and the applicant contends that the disapproval was not properly based on the ordinance applicable thereto, or was arbitrary and capricious, he may appeal to the Warren County Circuit Court and the Court shall hear and determine the case as soon as may be, provided that his appeal is filed with the Circuit Court within 60 days of the written disapproval of the Planning Commission.
(e) 
Term of validity of final approval. After approval, a final site plan shall be valid for a period of five years. If, after five years from the date such plans are approved, construction has not commenced on the site, the final approval is revoked and the Administrator shall notify the Building Official that approval of such plan has terminated. An applicant may request reapproval, provided the previous site plan is consistent with all applicable laws in effect at the time the reapproval is requested. All requests for reapproval shall be in writing.
(f) 
Amendment of final plan. Upon application, an approved final plan may be amended by the Administrator, provided that such proposed amendment does not:
[1] 
Alter a recorded plat.
[2] 
Conflict with the specific requirements of this article.
(g) 
Bond or letter of credit.
[1] 
All physical improvements, including private sewer systems, private water systems and Class III roads, required as a contingency to approval of the final plat shall be installed therein and thereon at the expense of the applicant.
[2] 
Prior to consideration of the final plat by the Planning Commission, the applicant shall execute and file with the Zoning Administrator an agreement and bond (or agreements and bonds) in an amount calculated and submitted by a certified engineer and approved by the Planning Commission to be equal to the approximate total cost of such improvements, with surety approved by the Zoning Administrator and the County Attorney, guaranteeing that the required improvements will be properly and satisfactorily installed within such time from the date of final plat approval as may be set by the Planning Commission. Said bond shall be payable to the County and held by the Zoning Administrator.
[3] 
However, in lieu of such bond, the applicant may place with the County a certified check, a deposit in escrow or a bank or savings and loan association's letter of credit on certain designated funds upon the same conditions as above if such security is approved by the Zoning Administrator and the County Attorney.
[4] 
Failure to complete all required improvements to the satisfaction of the County within such time period specified shall mean forfeiture of the bond or other security by the applicant to the County for completion of the required improvements. An extension of the time completion period may be granted once by the Planning Commission when a request by the applicant is received, in writing, stating the reasons the original time period has not been complied with and stipulating a new estimated time period when the improvements shall be completed, which shall not exceed one year. The Planning Commission may require that the amount of bond be revised and/or the bond renewed prior to authorizing such extension. This extension shall only be granted by the Planning Commission when no adverse effect to the public health, safety, welfare or convenience will be suffered.
[5] 
No final plat shall be approved unless and until such bond or security has been received and approved as in this section or all the required improvements are completed.
[6] 
The Planning Commission shall release, either partially or fully, any bond, escrow, letter of credit or other performance guaranty required by the County under this section within 30 days after receipt of written notice by the applicant of completion of part or all of any facilities required to be constructed hereunder unless the Planning Commission notifies said applicant, in writing, of any specified defects or deficiencies in construction and suggested corrective measures prior to the expiration of said thirty-day period; provided, however, that the Planning Commission shall not be required to release such bond, escrow, letter of credit or other performance guaranty in an amount to exceed 90% of the actual cost of the construction for which the bond was taken until such facilities have been completed and accepted by the Board of Supervisors or state agency. For the purposes of this subsection, a certificate of partial or final completion of such facilities from a duly licensed engineer or from an appropriate governmental agency may be accepted without requiring further inspection of such facilities.
(h) 
Certificate of approval for improvements. Upon satisfactory completion of the required improvements, and the submission of an as-built site plan, the Zoning Administrator shall furnish a certificate of approval to the applicant covering all required improvements on the site. Such certificate of approval will authorize the release of bonds which shall have been furnished for the guarantee of satisfactory installation of such improvements or parts thereof.
(i) 
Appeal from decision of Zoning Administrator. Any decision made by the Zoning Administrator relating to site plan standards may be appealed to the Board of Zoning Appeals by the applicant. All requests for appeal shall be in writing and shall be filed within 30 days of the date of notification of the decision.
(6) 
Zoning permit applications for existing buildings and structures for a use by right in the Commercial Zone may be approved by the Zoning Administrator, provided that such proposed use(s) is specifically identified as a use by right in the Commercial Zone. The Zoning Administrator shall review the application and the site plan to ensure that the requested use or structure(s) is consistent with the purpose and intent of this chapter as set forth in § 180-2. Upon such approval, the Zoning Administrator shall notify the Planning Commission, in writing, at the next regularly scheduled meeting. Should the Zoning Administrator deny approval, the applicant may appeal the decision to the Planning Commission.
(7) 
The Planning Commission and/or the Board of Supervisors may require the review of the application, environmental impact statement and community impact statement, including hydrology and transportation studies, by third-party consultants approved by the Planning Commission or Board of Supervisors at the expense of the applicant.
[Added 4-18-2000]
B. 
Fifteen copies of a preliminary site plan or plans shall be filed with the Zoning Administrator. The preliminary site plan shall show all horizontal dimensions in feet and decimals of a foot; and all bearings in degrees, minutes and seconds to the nearest 10 seconds. The plan shall contain the following information:
(1) 
Boundary of the parcel to include courses, distances and total area.
(2) 
Proposed and existing structures, including number of floors and total floor area.
(3) 
Setbacks from all property lines.
(4) 
Tabulation of site area, floor area, required and proposed parking spaces, open space and other pertinent data.
(5) 
Existing and proposed utilities.
(6) 
Location and dimensions of parking and loading spaces and areas.
(7) 
Proposed buffers, fencing, screening and areas of vegetation to be preserved.
(8) 
Location of existing vegetation, pavement, fences, structures and other improvements on or within 100 feet of the parcel.
(9) 
Topography indicated by contours with an interval of two feet or less.
C. 
Environmental impact statement. The environmental impact statement shall be prepared by a certified engineer or other person qualified to perform such work. All costs for the preparation of the impact statement shall be borne by the applicant. The environmental impact statement shall include the following information:
(1) 
Inventory. Existing characteristics and conditions of the environment, including but not limited to the following:
(a) 
Earth (mineral resources, soils, topography, geology and unique physical features).
(b) 
The effect of the applied-for use, to a reasonable degree of scientific probability, on water (surface, underground and springs) both as to the specific property for which the application is being made, as well as to properties within a radius of one half mile from the subject property. In order to determine the effect of the applied-for use on water, the Planning Commission or Board of Supervisors may require hydrology studies, including pump and/or drawdown tests, to be conducted for up to two months, both on the subject property as well as properties within the aforesaid radius from the property. The Planning Commission or Board of Supervisors may require such hydrology study to be conducted by a qualified hydrogeologist selected by the Planning Commission or Board of Supervisors at the expense of the applicant.
[Amended 4-18-2000]
(c) 
Atmosphere (quality as to gases and particulates).
(d) 
Natural processes (floods, erosion, precipitation and air movements).
(e) 
Flora (trees, shrubs, grass, crops, aquatic plants and endangered species).
(f) 
Fauna (birds and land animals, including big game, small mammals and reptiles, fish, insects and endangered species).
(g) 
Land use (wilderness and open spaces, wildlife habitat, wetlands, forestry, grazing, agriculture, residential, commercial, industrial, mining and quarrying).
(h) 
Recreation (hunting, fishing, boating, swimming, camping and hiking, picnicking and resorts).
(i) 
Aesthetics and human interest (scenic views and vistas, wilderness qualities; open space qualities, unique physical features, monuments, historical or archaeological sites and objects).
(j) 
Cultural status (cultural patterns and life style, health and safety, employment and population density).
(k) 
Man-made facilities and activities (structures, transportation facilities, including movement and access, utility network and waste disposal).
(2) 
Impact. Impact upon area by the proposed activity, including but not limited to the following:
(a) 
Modification of natural environment (introduction of exotic flora and fauna, modification of wildlife habitat, alteration of ground cover, alteration of groundwater hydrology, alteration of drainage, river and stream control and flow modification, canalization and irrigation).
(b) 
Land transformation and construction (urbanization, residential and vacation homes, industrial sites, commercial site, airports, highways and bridges, roads and trails, railroads, transmission lines, pipelines, channel dredging and straightening, channel filling, canals, dams and impoundments, recreational structures, blasting and drilling, cut and fill, tunnels and underground structures).
(c) 
Resource extraction (blasting and drilling, surface excavation, subsurface excavation, well drilling and fluid removal, dredging, clear cutting and other lumbering, commercial fishing and hunting).
(d) 
Processing (farming, ranching and grazing, feedlots, dairying, energy generation, mineral processing, metallurgical industry, chemical industry, textile industry, oil refining and lumbering).
(e) 
Land alteration (erosion control and terracing, mine sealing and waste control, strip mining rehabilitation, landscaping, marsh fill and drainage).
(f) 
Resource renewal (reforestation, wildlife stocking and management, groundwater recharge, fertilization application and waste recycling).
(g) 
Changes in traffic (railway, automobile, trucking, shipping, aircraft, river and canal traffic, pleasure boating and trails).
(h) 
Waste storage and treatment (landfill, underground storage, junk disposal, liquid effluent discharge, stabilization and oxidation ponds, septic tanks, stack and exhaust emission).
(i) 
Chemical treatment (fertilization, chemical de-icing of highways, chemical stabilization of soil, weed control and insect control with pesticides).
(j) 
Accidents (explosions, spills and leaks and construction accidents).
D. 
Community impact statement. The community impact statement shall be prepared by a certified engineer or planner or other persons qualified to perform such work. All costs for the preparation of the community impact statement shall be borne by the applicant. The demand for community services and facilities will be affected by population growth and its distribution. The community impact statement shall include the existing state of the following seven variables and to what degree the proposed action will impact those services, both directly and indirectly; physically and fiscally:
(1) 
Law enforcement:
(a) 
Anticipated response time.
(b) 
Existing and anticipated service demand.
(c) 
Natural terrain and any other barriers inhibiting response.
(d) 
Relative location of growth area and both existing and planned population concentrations.
(2) 
Fire and rescue services:
(a) 
Proximity to exiting fire departments and rescue squads.
(b) 
The ability to achieve an adequate response time for emergency calls.
(c) 
Anticipated service demands.
(d) 
Natural terrain and any other barriers inhibiting response.
(3) 
Educational facilities and services:
(a) 
Related school locations, in order to minimize travel time and efficiency.
(b) 
Anticipated number of students to be housed by development, if a residential project, and average number of persons to be attending each three levels of Warren County public schools.
(c) 
Provision for adequate classroom space and facilities due to pupil enrollment.
(4) 
Parks and recreation:
(a) 
Proximity to existing public parks and recreational facilities, whether owned by the County, Town of Front Royal or the state or federal government.
(b) 
Related facilities provided by the applicant on and/or off site.
(c) 
Maintenance and enhancement of proposed facilities.
(5) 
Library:
(a) 
Proximity to library.
(b) 
Parking offered by library.
(c) 
Books and indoor facilities.
(6) 
Solid waste facilities:
(a) 
Amount of waste to be generated by proposed activity, either given by weight or cubic feet.
(b) 
Impact upon County landfill and compactor sites.
(7) 
County administrative services:
(a) 
Impact upon County services, including but not limited to administration, building, planning, zoning, finance, Clerk of the Court, commissioner and treasurer offices.
(8) 
Transportation: impact upon existing road system in the County.
A. 
Zoning permits.
[Amended 2-18-1997; 12-16-1997]
(1) 
Permit required. No business, structure to house a permitted use or use permissible by conditional use permit shall be conducted, constructed or excavation or grading therefor begun before the issuance of a zoning permit by the Zoning Administrator.
[Amended 9-15-2009]
(2) 
Structures in violation. No zoning permit shall be issued where it appears that the proposed structure or the use contemplated would be in violation of the provisions of this chapter or any other applicable law, ordinance or regulation. The issuance of such zoning permit, however, shall not afford protection to any owner who is found to be violating this or any other applicable law, ordinance or regulation.
(3) 
Forms and information required. An application for a zoning permit shall be made to the Zoning Administrator on forms to be provided by the Zoning Administrator who shall require and be furnished with all such plans and documents as may be needed to determine whether the proposed structure and facilities will be in compliance with the provisions of this chapter. Each such application for a zoning permit shall be accompanied by the following items or as much thereof as the Zoning Administrator deems applicable:
(a) 
A certificate from the Health Official that the proposed location meets the requirements of the Health Department from the standpoint of water supply and sewage disposal or, where a public water and/or sewage system is involved, a statement from the appropriate authority that all applicable regulations and requirements are in compliance.
(b) 
A land-disturbing permit to be issued pursuant to § 150-9 of Chapter 150, Soil Erosion and Sedimentation Control, of the Warren County Code.
(c) 
The proposed use.
(d) 
The number of families or housekeeping units.
(e) 
An adequately dimensioned drawing unless otherwise specified. The drawing shall show the following:
[1] 
The size, shape and dimension of the parcel of land on which the building is to be constructed.
[2] 
The nature of the proposed use of the building or land.
[3] 
The location of any existing structures.
[4] 
The location of such building or use with respect to the property line of said parcel of land and to the right-of-way of any street or highway adjoining said parcel of land.
(f) 
The number, size, location and lighting of signs.
(g) 
Off-street parking and other facilities.
(4) 
In addition to the required drawing, no new principal structure, located on a lot two acres in size or less, shall be constructed beyond the foundation stage until such time as the builder has submitted to the Zoning Administrator a plat, prepared by a certified land surveyor, certifying the location of the foundation wall and all structural projections on the property. If the foundation is in its proper location, as shown on the zoning permit, and all building setbacks and area requirements have been met, the Zoning Administrator shall mark the plat approved. In the event that the plat is rejected, the Zoning Administrator shall give to the builder a written basis for the rejection. No certificate of occupancy shall be issued without a foundation survey plat marked approved by the Zoning Administrator.
[Amended 7-17-2007]
(5) 
Issuance of zoning permit. If it is determined by the Zoning Administrator that the proposed structure and use of land or structure is in conformity with the provisions of this chapter, a zoning permit shall be issued to the applicant by the Zoning Administrator and one copy of the plot plan signed by the Zoning Administrator shall be returned to the applicant with said permit.
(6) 
Time limits. Any zoning permit issued shall become invalid if the authorized work is not commenced within six months of the date of issuance or is suspended or abandoned for a period of six months.
B. 
Commission review; Comprehensive Plan.
(1) 
No street or connection to an existing street, park or other public area, public building or public structure, public utility facility or public service corporation facility other than railroad facility, whether publicly or privately owned, shall be constructed, established or authorized, until the general location or approximate location, character and extent thereof has been submitted to and approved by the Planning Commission as being substantially in accord with the adopted Comprehensive Plan or part thereof. In connection with any such determination the Commission may and, at the direction of the Board, shall hold a public hearing, after notice as required by § 180-61B of this article.
(2) 
The Commission shall communicate its findings to the Board indicating its approval or disapproval with written reasons therefor. The Board may overrule the action of the Commission by a vote of a majority of the membership thereof. Failure of the Commission to act within 60 days of such submission, unless such time shall be extended by the Board, shall be deemed approval. The owner, owners or their agents may appeal the decision of the Commission to the Board within 10 days after the decision of the Commission. The appeal shall be by written petition to the Board setting forth the reasons for the appeal. A majority vote of the Board shall overrule the Commission.
(3) 
Widening, narrowing, extension, enlargement, vacation or change of use of streets or public areas shall likewise be submitted for approval, but paving, repair, reconstruction, improvement, drainage or similar work and normal service extensions of public utilities or public service corporations shall not require approval unless involving a change in location or extent of a street or public area.
(4) 
Any public area, facility or use which is identified within, but not the entire subject of a submission under subdivision regulations or site plan regulations of this article or both, may be deemed a feature already shown on the adopted Comprehensive Plan, and, therefore, exempt from the requirement for submittal to and approval by the Commission or the Board, provided that the Board has by ordinance or resolution defined standards governing the construction, establishment or authorization of such public area, facility or use or has approved it through acceptance of a proffer.
(5) 
The Zoning Administrator shall issue a zoning permit following approval by the Planning Commission. Said approval shall be subject to ratification by the Board of Supervisors. Failure of the Board to act within 60 days of the date of transmittal of approving action of the Commission shall constitute ratification.
Fees for zoning permits, conditional use permits, sign permits, applications for amendments or other applications requiring a fee shall be payable to "Treasurer, Warren County," in the amount set by resolution of the Board of Supervisors.
[Amended 4-15-2008]
A. 
Appeal to Board of Zoning Appeals. An appeal to the Board of Zoning Appeals may be filed by any person aggrieved or by any officer, department, board or bureau of the County or municipality affected by any decision of the Zoning Administrator or from any order, requirement, decision or determination made by any other administrative officer in the administration or enforcement of this article or any ordinance adopted pursuant thereto. The appeal shall be made within 30 days after the decision being appealed by filing with the Zoning Administrator and with the Board of Zoning Appeals a notice of appeal specifying the grounds therefor. The Zoning Administrator shall forthwith transmit to the BZA all the papers constituting the record upon which the action appealed from was taken. An appeal shall stay all proceedings in furtherance of the action appealed from unless the Zoning Administrator certifies to the BZA that by reason of facts stated in the certificate, a stay would in the Zoning Administrator's opinion cause imminent peril to life or property, in which case proceedings shall not be stayed otherwise than by a restraining order granted by a court of record, on application and on notice to the Zoning Administrator and for good cause shown.
B. 
Procedure on appeal. The BZA shall fix a reasonable time for the hearing of an application or appeal, give public notice thereof as well as due notice to the parties in interest and decide the same within 90 days of the filing of the application or appeal. In exercising its powers, the BZA may reverse or affirm, wholly or partly, or may modify an order, requirement, decision or determination. The concurring vote of a majority of the membership of the BZA shall be necessary to reverse any order, requirement, decision or determination of an administrative officer or to decide in favor of the applicant on any matter upon which it is required to pass under this chapter or to effect any variance from this chapter. The decision by the BZA shall be binding upon the owner of the property which is the subject of such appeal only if the owner of such property has been provided written notice of the zoning violation, written determination or other appealable decision. The owner's actual notice of such notice or active participation in the appeal hearing shall waive the owner's right to challenge the validity of the decision due to failure to receive such notice. The BZA shall keep minutes of its proceedings and other official actions which shall be filed in the office of the Board and shall be public records.
[Amended 9-20-2011]
C. 
Certiorari to review decision of Board.
(1) 
Any person or persons jointly or severally aggrieved by any decision of the Board of Zoning Appeals or any taxpayer or any officer, department, board or bureau of the County may file with the Clerk of the Circuit Court of the County a petition specifying the grounds on which aggrieved within 30 days after the final decision of the Board of Zoning Appeals.
(2) 
Upon the presentation of such petition, the Court shall allow a writ of certiorari to review the decision of the Board of Zoning Appeals and shall prescribe therein the time within which a return thereto must be made and served upon the applicant's attorney, which shall not be less than 10 days and may be extended by the Court. The allowance of the writ shall not stay proceedings upon the decision appealed from, but the Court may, on application, on notice to the Board and on due cause shown, grant a restraining order.
A. 
Violations. Any person who violates any of the provisions of this chapter or permits any such violation or fails to comply with any of the requirements hereof or who erects any structure on any land in violation of any plan submitted and approved under the provisions of this chapter or who violates conditions imposed by a conditional use permit shall be guilty of a misdemeanor and, upon conviction thereof, shall be subject to a fine or punishment as provided by law. Each day during which such violation continues shall constitute a separate offense.
(1) 
Unlawful structures, uses. Any structure erected contrary to the provisions of this chapter and use of any building or land which is conducted, operated or maintained contrary to the provisions of this chapter are hereby declared to be unlawful. The Zoning Administrator may initiate injunctions, mandamus, abatement or any other appropriate action to prevent, enjoin, abate or remove such erection or use in violation of this chapter.
(2) 
Notice of violation. Upon becoming aware of any violation of the provisions of this chapter, the Zoning Administrator shall serve notice on such person committing or permitting the same as provided in § 180-60 by sending a written notice through registered mail to, or posted at, the last known address of the property owner or its registered agent, if any.
[Amended 9-19-2017]
B. 
Remedies not exclusive. The remedies provided for in this article are cumulative and not exclusive and shall be in addition to any other remedies provided by law.
C. 
Complaints. Any person who alleges that a violation of this chapter has occurred may file a written complaint with the Zoning Administrator. Such complaint shall stipulate the cause and basis thereof and the location of the alleged violation. The Zoning Administrator shall properly record the complaint, investigate the facts thereof and take action thereon as provided by this chapter.