CODE OF ORDINANCES

Article VI - Cluster Housing Development

Sec. 70-731. - Intent.

The board of supervisors hereby implements clustering provisions as required by Section 15.2-2286.1 VA Code Ann.

This article offers the option of creating subdivisions consisting of clusters of lots accompanied by a reserved area of open space in agricultural (A) and residential zones to preserve biological value and diversity, and maintain vistas, forests, historical heritage and agricultural land. Compared to non-cluster development, cluster developments are intended to preserve the rural character of Orange County, maintain the opportunity for agricultural and forestry use, reduce the amount of land consumed by residential developments, lower the cost of roads and other public facilities and help maintain the quality of life for the citizens of Orange County. Cluster developments shall fully comply with the provisions of chapter 54 of this Code except as provided below.

(Ord. of 6-26-2007)


Sec. 70-732. - Applicability.

(a) Agriculturally zoned areas. This section only applies to individual parcels of land of at least 112 acres in agricultural (A) zoned areas that do not have a taxable improvement.

(b) Residentially zoned areas. This section applies to all parcels of land in residential zoned areas without a taxable improvement.

(c) Contiguous parcels can be combined into a single parcel for the purpose of this section.

(Ord. of 6-26-2007)

 

Sec. 70-733. - Area and density.

(a) Agriculture (A) zoned areas. The minimum area for a cluster development in an agriculturally zoned area shall be 112 acres to permit an easement of 100 acres while meeting the 90 percent open space requirement. A minimum of 90 percent of the land area shall be reserved as open space and can only be used for agriculture, forestry, or a nature preserve in accordance with section 70-734(a). The open space shall be at least one single 100-acre parcel for each 112 acres subdivided. The individual lots for single-family dwellings shall be contiguously grouped in compatible cluster(s) within the development. There shall be allowable no more than one cluster of dwellings per 112 acres subdivided. Each lot shall conform to the minimum lot standards in sections 70-304, 70-735, and 54-138 et seq.

(b) Residential zoned areas. There is no minimum area for a cluster development in a residential zoned area. A minimum of 50 percent of the land area shall be reserved as open space and can only be used for agriculture as permitted by section 70-332, forestry, nature preserve or recreational purposes in accordance with section 70-734. The individual lots shall be contiguously grouped in compatible cluster(s) within the development. Each lot shall conform to the minimum lot standards in sections 70-334, 70-735, and 54-138 et seq.

(Ord. of 6-26-2007; Ord. of 6-28-2011(11))

 

Sec. 70-734. - Preservation of reserved area as open space; deed restrictions; enforcement.

(a) Agricultural (A) zoned areas.

(1) The reserved area in agricultural (A) zoned areas shall be preserved as open space. It shall not be subdivided or used for the purpose of any dwelling or other occupied structure, and may only be used for:

(i) Agriculture;

(ii) Forestry; or

(iii) Nature preserve.

Uninhabited structures related to the uses listed above may be constructed on the open space upon the issuance of proper permits by the county.

(2) Restrictive covenants and a conservation easement on the reserved area, reflecting the limitations set forth in subsection (1) of this section, shall be established by the subdivider and reviewed and approved by the county attorney prior to being recorded with the approved final plat of subdivision in the land records as maintained by the clerk of the circuit court of the county. Any subsequent use of the reserved area must be consistent with the restrictive covenants and the conservation easement. The conservation easement must be placed with the Virginia Outdoors Foundation or some similar organization approved by the board of supervisors. This organization must have independent legal standing and be willing and able to enforce the easement in perpetuity. Any subsequent change to the conservation easement or restrictive covenants recorded for the open space must be approved by the county attorney as consistent with the original approved cluster and this ordinance [Ord. of 3-9-10] prior to recordation.

(3) The following language or other language approved by the zoning administrator and county attorney shall be used in the deed of restrictive covenants or deed of conservation easement and shall be shown on the face of the plat of subdivision:

"The land designated as open space or reserved area as shown hereon [or as described herein (in the case of a deed)] may be used only for agriculture, forestry, or nature preserve;"

(4) The zoning administrator shall issue no zoning permit and the subdivision agent shall approve no plat that would violate the terms or intent of this article.

(5) Ownership of the parcel designated as open space must be clearly established and approved by the county attorney, as meeting the requirements of this article prior to the approval of the subdivision plat for the cluster development.

(b) Residential zoned areas.


(1) The reserved area in residential zoned areas shall be preserved as open space, cannot be subdivided or used for the purpose of any dwelling or other occupied structure and may only be used for:

(i) Agriculture as permitted by section 70-332

(ii) Forestry;

(iii) Nature preserve; or

(iv) Recreational purposes.

Uninhabited structures related to the uses listed above may be constructed on the open space upon the issuance of proper permits by the county.

There must be a homeowner's association in the subdivision responsible for the maintenance and upkeep of any facilities that may be constructed in relation to the use of the open space unless the county determines that accepting the facilities into the county system would be appropriate. The restrictions on the reserved area shall be recorded in the deed for the open space parcel as well as each lot in the cluster subdivision.

(2) Restrictive covenants on the reserved area reflecting the limitations set forth in subsection (1) of this section shall be established by the subdivider and reviewed and approved by the county attorney prior to being recorded with the approved final plat of subdivision in the land records as maintained by the clerk of the circuit court of the county. Any subsequent use of the reserved area must be consistent with the restrictive covenants. Any subsequent change to the conservation easement or restrictive covenants recorded for the open space must be reviewed and approved by the county attorney as meeting the requirements of this article prior to recordation.

(3) The following language or other language approved by the zoning administrator and county attorney shall be used in the recorded deed of restrictive covenants or deed of conservation easement and shall be shown on the face of the plat of subdivision:

"The land designated as open space or reserved area as shown hereon [or as described herein (in the case of a deed)] may be used only for agriculture as permitted by Sec. 70-332, forestry, nature preserve or recreational purposes;"

(4) The zoning administrator shall issue no zoning permit and the subdivision agent shall approve no plat that would violate the terms or intent of this article.

(5) Ownership of the parcel designated as open space must be clearly established and approved by the county attorney, as meeting the requirements of this article prior to the approval of the subdivision plat for the cluster development.

(Ord. of 6-26-2007)

 

Sec. 70-735. - Lot standards.

(1) The minimum frontage shall be 70 feet.

(2) The minimum setback shall be 35 feet.

(3) The minimum rear yard shall be 25 feet.

(4) The minimum side yard shall be ten feet.

(Ord. of 6-26-2007)

 

Sec. 70-736. - Streets and utilities.

A cluster development street must consist of a right-of-way that is at least 50 feet wide and shall provide access from each lot in the development to the state highway system. The street may be maintained either by the property owners' association or by the Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT), and shall be constructed in accordance with article III of chapter 54 of this Code. The lots shall have entrances onto the development street and shall not have entrances onto a state primary or secondary highway. Utilities may not be constructed within the street right-of-way. Acreage set aside for streets and utilities shall not be included in the area set aside for open space.

(Ord. of 6-26-2007)

 

Sec. 70-737. - Design features.

(a) The cluster development shall be designed to ensure quality development and preservation of open space. In order to accomplish these goals, the following specific features on the land included in the cluster development shall be situated to the extent possible in the reserved area of open space:

(1) Historic and cultural features. Historic and cultural features shall include historic and cultural features and archeological sites which have been identified by the Virginia Department of Historic Resources, the National Trust of Historic Preservation, the Orange County Historical Society, or other state, local or federal entities charged with the identification of historic and cultural resources.

(2) Sensitive environmental features. Sensitive environmental features shall include wetlands, non-tidal wetlands and watercourses as defined under state law or in the comprehensive plan, and slopes in excess of 15 percent.

(3) Agricultural lands. Agricultural lands shall include the most productive agricultural land as determined by the county agricultural extension agent.

(4) Natural ridge lines. Natural ridge lines shall include the area along the top of a hilltop or ridge.

(b) The streets in the cluster development shall avoid the features and lands set forth in subsection (a), champion or historic trees, tree masses, and unusual rock formations.

(c) The houses shall not be located along natural ridge lines or on slopes in excess of 15 percent, and clearing of natural ridge line or on critical slopes shall be minimized.

(d) To the extent possible the lots containing houses in the cluster development and the houses themselves shall be situated in order to preserve and enhance the features set forth in this section.

(e) Historic and cultural features, sensitive environmental features and agricultural lands not situated in the reserved area of open space shall be identified along with provisions to protect these features.

(f) The landowner or developer shall have a qualified expert, acceptable to the zoning administrator, identify on the subdivision plat and include measures to protect the features set forth in subsection (a) herein as part of the cluster development and the expert shall certify compliance with this section on the subdivision plat.

(Ord. of 6-26-2007)

 

Sec. 70-738. - Procedure for approval.

Cluster subdivision proposals shall be reviewed and approved in accordance with the provisions of this article and chapter 54 of this Code.

(Ord. of 6-26-2007)

 

Secs. 70-739--70-770. - Reserved.