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Well, septic ordinance brought up to Va. code

By Kim Walter -- kwalter@nvdaily.com

FRONT ROYAL -- After a review of the county's wells and septic systems ordinance, the Warren County Planning Commission has decided to leave it as is, except for two changes to bring the ordinance up to date with state standards.

At last week's work session, commission members realized that the minimum required distances from well to building sewer and well to conveyance line were set at 20 feet, while the state's minimum distance is 50 feet.

The ordinance was adopted for the whole county in 2001. Late last year, the Warren County Builders Association brought concerns to the Board of Supervisors and asked that minimum distances be reduced between well to drainfield, well to well and well to distribution box. Currently, the ordinance sets a minimum distance of 100 feet, but the association asked it be changed to 50 feet.

While the state sets no minimum for these distances, it leaves it up to localities to set the best regulations depending on the geography of the area.

Representatives from the association attended the work session, defending their requests. Association member and local contractor Hugh Henry recognized that other distances could be attained, but through a lengthy variance process, which was a hindrance to those trying to buy or sell property.

Planning Director Taryn Logan presented a chart at Wednesday night's meeting that gave an overview of the number of variances. From 1992 to 2010, 17 of the 18 well to well variances were approved, while 30 of the 42 well to drainfield variances were approved.

Chairman Mark Bower asked if the variance process seemed to be working, to which Logan replied, "yes."

Instead of complying with the Builders Association's requests, the commission has decided to only make the two changes to bring the ordinance up to state standards.
A public hearing on the ordinance has been scheduled for March 14, 2012.

In other matters, the Planning Commission:

• Approved the final site plan for the Rappahannock-Shenandoah-Warren Regional Jail on Winchester Road.

• Approved the 2012-2013 Warren County Capital Improvements Plan, which will be submitted to the Board of Supervisors for further review.

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