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January 14, 2020 · OPINION

Sanctuary at Barrel Oak conforms with county goals

Contributed Photo
Sanctuary at Barrel Oak concept would expand existing home near Delaplane winery.
By Dennis A. Taylor

I am one of the founders of the Balanced Growth Alliance of Fauquier County and a long-time advocate for smart growth approaches to economic development in Fauquier. Fauquier’s historical no-growth policies have eroded tourism, tax receipts and jobs — undermining the viability of our local farmers and businesses, and creating upward pressure on our county’s real estate tax rates.

I am heartened by the passionate team that powers our Department of Economic Development and the smart growth vision of our current board of supervisors. Many positive and exciting things have happened and more are in the planning stages with a focus on balanced economic growth.

Economic development opportunities that are targeted, economically beneficial and environmentally sound — such as The Sanctuary at Barrel Oak — limit this sprawl by enhancing the farm income which allows our farmers to remain on the land.

Other communities have boosted jobs and tax revenues through the provision of a diverse and attractive stock of overnight accommodations. Fauquier’s leaders should do all they can to support our local businesses and farmers through the thoughtful approval of agritourism resources such as this proposed resort on the I-66 frontage road just outside of Marshall. I do not view The Sanctuary at Barrel Oak as a new development; instead it is the thoughtful redevelopment and expansion of an existing structure.

The model for the sanctuary already exists in Fauquier and it works. The Inn at Poplar Springs, another Fauquier residential/agricultural resort-zoned special exception property, is an excellent model for this project because it provides overnight accommodations while hosting events that do not negatively impact the surrounding community. As is proposed for The Sanctuary at Barrel Oak, The Inn at Poplar Springs has a manor house converted to a resort on a large parcel with distant neighbors and the preservation of significant agricultural space and use. A substantial number of events are allowed at Poplar Springs, precisely because the property use does not significantly impact the surrounding neighborhood. As a result, the facility provides a valuable community space.

The protection of our farmlands through agritourism opportunities will only be fully realized if and when Fauquier increases the quantity and diversity of its overnight accommodations. We simply need more and better accommodations for tourists and visitors. This project is not incompatible with Fauquier’s current land-use policies. In fact, the Sanctuary at Barrel Oak is in keeping with and strongly supports the stated objectives of Fauquier’s recently adopted Rural Land Use Plan. I have known and worked with Brian Roeder for many years and fully trust both his judgment and protective stewardship of our beautiful county’s lands.

I will be attending the Feb. Board of supervisors meeting and I support the approval of the special exception application for The Sanctuary at Barrel Oak Resort.
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brianroeder · January 21, 2020 at 8:43 am
Dear pathup. You and the people who oppose this project have stated the septic and water needs of this project are crazy. You suggest without any research that "It could affect the water table of surrounding properties." In fact, I have letters from engineers stating that the water needs are far less than those asserted by those in opposition and that the septic requirements are very reasonable for the area allotted. In fact, in spite of the over the top fearmongering, we are required to provide a full hydrostatic engineered analysis PRIOR to receiving a site plan and building permit. If any negative impacts are shown, the permit will not be issued. The Sanctuary will not be allowed to be built. Moreover, if this was strictly an event venue, why would we be spending over $10M to create the resort? Why not just put up a giant tent like Gold Cup? With 100 acres of land, parking is also simply not an issue. But you are welcome to continue to tell folks of your fears. My job is to provide facts that back up our plan and allow this economic opportunity to move forward in a responsible and accountable way - indeed as I have done with my winery. cheers!
pathupp · January 17, 2020 at 5:18 pm
I am very concerned about the septic and crazy water needs of this project. It could affect the water table of surrounding properties. The hours are late into the evening with outside music, if I remember right, from a meeting. It is strictly an event venue, the parking was still an issue at the 2019 meeting. I would not want it next to me.
Truepat · January 16, 2020 at 10:36 am
It appears who the opposition is more than the issue over legality.....
brandonj · January 14, 2020 at 9:02 pm
This is a terrible idea. Let's leave all the commerce for Loudon and ream the residents up the rear with tax hikes. What we really need are more high density homes and trailers for our schools! *sarc*
brianroeder · January 14, 2020 at 5:45 pm
Thank you for your kind words of support Dennis. Your efforts on behalf of our county cannot be recounted here for lack of space. I have applied to the county to convert my existing 8300 s.f. home into a 32,000 s.f. lodge with 42 rooms and a restaurant for guests. We have also requested permission to host up to 78 receptions and charitable benefits a year. Corporate gatherings would also be allowed. The majority of my land would also continue to be used as a farm and animal rescue. The Lodge will be surrounded on all sides by our 170 acres of land and it is designed to integrate comfortably into the surrounding neighborhood in the way that the Inn at Poplar Springs has in Casanova. The closest adjoining homes are approximately 2,000 feet away. I have been considering this course of action for several years. Throughout my deliberations, I have tried to come up with a design which will address and mitigate any concerns on the part of my neighbors with whom we have developed very good relations over the years.
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