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October 13, 2017

Supervisors OK Marshall “form-based” code

The Marshall Code creates three zoning districts for the Northern Fauquier village.
I think it’s the very best thing for Marshall. I think it will allow Marshall to develop and grow in a way that really respects the town as it is.
— Supervisor Mary Leigh McDaniel (Marshall District)
By .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)
Staff Journalist
Laying to rest one of Fauquier’s more divisive land-use debates in years, the board of supervisors Thursday approved zoning regulations designed to ensure that Marshall develops like a traditional town.

The board voted, 3-1, to approve the “Marshall Code” — a 31-page document that includes new requirements related to building height and stories, lot size and width, setbacks, building footprints, parking, screening and landscaping.

“I’ve always been a strong proponent” of the code, said Mary Leigh McDaniel (Marshall District), who sponsored the proposal. “I think it’s the very best thing for Marshall. I think it will allow Marshall to develop and grow in a way that really respects the town as it is.”

But critics, who believe the board should leave well enough alone, complained the code represents excessive government regulation that will unfairly curtail land uses and stifle development.

Replacing most of downtown’s existing zoning, the code emphasizes building form and design and allows more by-right uses. Specifically, it creates three contiguous zoning districts — “Town,” “Gateway” and “Town Residential” — and a historic district along Main Street and Winchester Road.

Supervisors Chris Butler (Lee District) and Rick Gerhardt (Cedar Run) also backed the code.

Supervisor Chris Granger (Center) voted against it.

Because he owns Main Street property affected by the code, Supervisor Holder Trumbo (Scott) recused himself from the deliberations.

Intended to implement the comprehensive plan’s vision of Marshall as a thriving, diverse village, the “form-based” code zoning ordinance amendments take effect immediately.

“I am not convinced this would be a bad thing for Marshall or the county overall,” board Chairman Gerhardt said in a prepared statement. “The majority of those within Marshall and neighboring areas support this effort.”

During the last couple of weeks, the supervisors have received approximately 200 emails about the code, Mr. Butler said.

“The majority support the code and no car lot” in the village’s “gateways,” Mr. Butler said. “And that’s kind of telling to me . . . . The folks of Marshall just don’t want car dealerships.”

Facing intense opposition, Leckner’s Ford of Marshall last week dropped a proposal to construct two dealership buildings in a gateway on 8.1 acres along Old Stockyard Road.

Under the plan, owner Carl Leckner would have moved the century-old dealership from Main Street to a proposed 19,800-square-foot structure; a new Nissan dealership would occupy a proposed 14,300-square-foot building.

Detractors objected to the scale and location, suggesting the site would be better suited for pedestrian-friendly small businesses.

Mr. Butler supported the code because a majority of Marshall District voters elected Ms. McDaniel to represent them, he said.

“I’m going to give her my faith and trust to implement this code.”

But, Mr. Butler added: “If anyone’s mistreated, if this thing goes awry in any way, I’ll campaign to kill it immediately.”

Explaining his opposition, Mr. Granger said he believes the code will produce “unintended consequences” that will be most damaging to Warrenton, which his district includes.

“When you really read into the code, it does prohibit a lot of uses,” the Center District supervisor said.

Excluding uses in one area of the county effectively will force them to another portion, Mr. Granger argued.

“The one we’re talking about is car dealerships . . . . That’s just one use that tonight we’re going to prohibit from Marshall, and it’s going to be pushed to Warrenton.”

Calling for Marshall’s incorporation, Mr. Granger believes local residents — not county supervisors — should make land-use decisions that affect the village.

“Now is the time for Marshall to become a town,” he said. “There are discussions that should be taken up by an elected body in a town of people who live in the limits of that town.”

Few of the people who wrote hundreds of emails backing the proposed code live within what would be the town of Marshall, Mr. Granger said.

The code gives Fauquier’s zoning administrator the authority to review and act on land-use applications in the new Marshall Historic District.

The board last month held a public hearing on the proposed code. Fauquier’s planning commission in July unanimously recommended approval of a version of it. 

Marshall Code Agenda Item 10 12 2017 by Fauquier Now on Scribd

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