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May 16, 2017

Marshall Code public hearing Wednesday, May 17

The proposal includes specific design regulations in three districts: Gateway, Town and Residential.
With the exception of a small group, it’s been fairly positive. I think there are a lot of people excited, but there may be some that are not.
— County Zoning Administrator Kim Johnson
Public Hearing
• Topic: Proposed “Marshall Code.”

• When: 6:30 p.m., Wednesday, May 17.

• Agency: Fauquier Planning Commission.

• Where: Marshall Community Center, 4133 Rectortown Road.

• Details: Proposed 31-page code would create new zoning regulations to more effectively implement county’s long-range vision of Marshall as a diverse, thriving village.

• Next: Planning commission will keep public hearing open and decide whether to return to Marshall in June for more citizen comments.
By .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)
Staff Journalist
The proposed zoning regulations should make it easier to implement Marshall’s long-range vision as a diverse and thriving small town, according to county officials.

Fauquier’s planning commission will conduct a public hearing on the proposed “Marshall Code” at 6:30 p.m. Wednesday, May 17, in the Marshall Community Center at 4133 Rectortown Road.

If adopted, the so-called “form-based code” would replace most of the Northern Fauquier village’s downtown zoning.

Promising greater development flexibility, the proposed code specifically would regulate various design elements, including:

• Lot shapes, sizes, widths, setbacks and access.

• Building height and story limits.

• Block size.

• Street and alley design.

• Parking requirements.

• Screening.

Increasingly, communities across the country have concluded that “conventional” zoning fails to allow redevelopment or new construction that would be compatible with historic communities.

As an alternative, “form-based” codes give priority to regulating building design elements as a means of creating a specific vision and sense of place.

“The thing with conventional zoning is you don’t know what you’re going to get,” county Zoning Administrator Kim Johnson said. “With (“form-based” regulations) you’re creating a predictable outcome of how buildings relate to each other and the street.”

The draft code would allow greater “freedom in terms of use,” Mrs. Johnson added. “It allows organic use over time, which Marshall has seen. . . . Once you get the buildings right, you can let go on the uses.”

The proposed Marshall Code would replace most of downtown’s existing zoning. Allowing a range of by-right uses, it calls for three contiguous districts — “Town,” “Gateway” and “Town Residential” — and a corresponding historic along Main Street and Winchester Road.

The “Town” district would allow the “concentration” of businesses, “with interspersed residential uses,” to reinforce development of a downtown.

The “Gateway” district would allow mixed-use development to create an “in-town” experience “in a predominately auto-oriented area.” It also would create “a secondary area of business activity off Main Street, with strong pedestrian connections to Main Street.”

The “Town Residential” district would seek to “protect and extend” Marshall’s single-family home neighborhoods and make them more walkable.

The code would be used to implement Fauquier’s long-range vision for the village.

The Marshall Service District plan states the village “will have a good balance of jobs, housing and shopping, including a full range of diverse housing types and prices.”

Marshall also will be “very pedestrian friendly, with a human-scale streetscape and architecture,” according to the 76-page plan.

The county planning staff began work in earnest on the proposed code about 18 months ago, Mrs. Johnson said. During that period, it has held numerous community, small-group and one-on-one meetings with citizens.

The zoning administrator so far sounds generally pleased with the public response to the proposed code.

“With the exception of a small group, it’s been fairly positive. I think there are a lot of people excited, but there may be some that are not.”
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