Fauquier County
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Fauquier County

PEC works to help citizens in Fauquier build better communities and protect cherished resources--scenic views, working farms, historic heritage, clean water, and healthy air. When asked what is special about Fauquier, here's what people tend to say:

  • Our local governments are continuing to function and provide the vital services we depend on. Read on for information on local government decision-making during the Covid-19 crisis.
  • Our Buy Fresh Buy Local campaign helps people find local food and drink options!The campaign also builds relationships between growers, food artisans, farmers’ markets, retailers, restaurants, and institutions.
  • Over 1,617 acres of land in Fauquier County were protected by conservation easements in 2019. This brings the total of protected land in the county to approximately 108,687 acres.

From the Piedmont View

The following articles appeared in PEC's Membership Newsletter -- The Piedmont View

A Few Highlights from 2019

Dec 16, 2019
Through the generous support of our members and help from PEC's partners, a lot of great things have happened this year! We've pulled together this quick list of some of the highlights from 2019…

A Dirty Secret: How Construction Waste is Making its Way Onto Rural Lands

Sep 15, 2019
Steve and Jennifer Rainwater's world was turned upside down in 2017 when an access road was built along their property line and hundreds of dump trucks started arriving to dump dirt, non-stop, on a…

President's Letter - Fall 2019

Sep 23, 2019
At this summer’s Sunset Safari event, The Piedmont Environmental Council, the Shenandoah National Park Trust, and the Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute recognized The Volgenau Foundation for…

What's That Pollinator?

Mar 08, 2019
It's the time of year when butterflies and bees are starting to flutter around the Larson Native Plant Garden at PEC's Warrenton office. Last spring, we began studying those fluttering insect…

Protecting the Goose Creek Watershed

Dec 14, 2018
PEC was recently awarded a $15,600 grant from the Virginia Environmental Endowment to further our work identifying and prioritizing opportunities to implement agricultural best management practices…

More Local Issues

  • Jun 01, 2020

    Fauquier Land Use Update - June 2, 2020

    As we enter the month of June our communities have entered Phase 1 of reopening. Much is still closed but much has also opened up in a limited way. The Town of Warrenton has implemented the “Roll Out Warrenton” initiative which allows for increased outdoor dining space to help restaurants meet safety requirements. While wineries and breweries in the County have pivoted to curbside pick up and delivery. Read More
  • May 04, 2020

    Fauquier Land Use Update - May 4, 2020

    As we enter the month of May our communities remain under orders to maintain social distancing. Fauquier County has adopted a significantly reduced budget and is implementing a new public hearing format which allows for both in person and remote participation (see more detail below). The Town of Warrenton is working on revising their 2021-2026 CIP and FY 2021 Budget with a series of worksessions and public hearings in May and adoption planned for June 9. Read More
  • Apr 21, 2020

    Earth Day Tree Giveaway

    The Piedmont Environmental Council partnered up with Friends of the Rappahannock to give away free trees to Fauquier County residents in honor of the 50th anniversary of Earth Day! Read More
  • Apr 08, 2020

    2020 Bluebell Walk Video

    It’s bluebell season, and this weekend would have been our annual Bluebell Walk on Cedar Run. Since we couldn't gather together in person, Margrete and Mike Stevens, who host the event at their farm in Catlett, VA, made this fantastic video to bring the beauty of spring to all of us at home! Read More
  • Apr 03, 2020

    Fauquier Land Use Update - April 3, 2020

    As I wrote last week, the Covid-19 pandemic is upending a lot, but our local governments are continuing to function and provide the vital services we depend on. One way Fauquier County has stepped up to address this crisis is by working with the PATH Foundation to provide internet hotspots at several locations throughout the County. According to Fauquier Times recent interview with Supervisor Gerhardt four locations are up and running and several more should be active soon. Read More
  • Mar 30, 2020

    The Piedmont Memorial Overlook

    The Piedmont Memorial Overlook sits on 50 acres owned by The Piedmont Environmental Council, and is part of a corridor of the Blue Ridge Mountains that is permanently protected by Sky Meadows State Park, the G. Richard Thompson Wildlife Management Area, the Appalachian National Scenic Trail, and private land under conservation easement. Read More
  • Mar 25, 2020

    Fauquier Land Use Update - March 25, 2020

    The COVID 19 pandemic and social distancing required may have turned our world upside down, but it has not completely stopped. Here at PEC, we are working remotely and continue to try and provide you with connection to your community during these trying times. This includes connecting you to the important decisions being made at the state and local level.  Read More
  • Jan 22, 2020

    Bills Related to Safety on Rt 17

    The 2020 General Assembly is in full swing and Senator Jill Vogel and Delegate Michael J. Webert have several bills submitted regarding the safety of Rt. 17. Constituents have long had concerns about speeding on Rt. 17 between Warrenton and Marshall so three bills are being considered that would... Read More
  • Sep 05, 2019

    The Sanctuary at Barrel Oak Application

    The owner of Barrel Oak Winery would like to build a hotel, restaurant, and event center on a 50-acre parcel next to the existing winery. The site is about 2 miles west of Marshall on Grove Lane. The application requires the approval of four special exceptions: 1) Lodge/Resort, 2) Event Facility, 3) Above Ground Storage Tanks, and 4) Alternative Onsite Septic System exceeding 1,200 gallons per day. The applicant has asked for a 10-year approval, including a 5 year grace period while construction is underway. Read More
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    Jun 27, 2019

    Fauquier Considers Weakening Language in Rural Lands Plan

    Over the last year, Fauquier has been working on an update to its Rural Lands Plan, a section of the County’s Comprehensive Plan that outlines land use policies in the rural areas. On Thursday, July 11 the Board of Supervisors is holding its second public hearing about the draft plan and will likely vote that night. We are encouraging them to vote to approve Version A. Read More
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    Feb 12, 2019

    Two Fauquier County Budget Items to Support

    There are two issues in particular that we would like to see addressed in the FY 2020 budget that are both long overdue. The first is Rappahannock Station Battlefield Park - Phase I which was not completed in 2018 as proposed in the 2018-2022 Capital Improvement Plan. The second is the creating of a full-time zoning inspector position within the Community Development department. Read More
  • Aug 21, 2018

    Fauquier County Updating the Rural Lands Plan

    The Rural Lands Plan is a section of the Fauquier County Comprehensive Plan, and much as the name implies, it outlines land use policies and the desired future for the rural areas. This chapter is very important because over 90% of the County is planned to remain categorized as rural land. Although the majority of new growth is happening within the growth areas of the County (e.g. Warrenton, Bealeton, New Baltimore, etc.), about half of the nearly 70,000 residents of the county live in these rural areas. In addition, all residents of Fauquier are connected to the rural lands by locally grown goods, through tourism, and by simply driving through them. Read More
  • Jun 15, 2018

    Fauquier County Pursues Broadband Tower Locations: Let Us Know What You Think

    As you might be aware, Fauquier County has been trying to figure out ways to improve broadband service county-wide. As this is an important local land use decision, we want to hear what our supporters and members think about the county's approach. Please take a moment to look at the map and fill out our short survey. Read More
  • Dec 07, 2017

    Surprise... Developers Want More Residential at Vint Hill

    On December 14, 2017, the Board of Supervisors will vote on an applicant-proposed Comprehensive Plan Amendment in Vint Hill that would convert 61.89 acres of “Planned Industrial Development” to “Medium Density Residential.” This change would allow for an additional 497 units (8 units per acre), including the potential for detached single family homes, in place of the planned economic development. PEC is opposed to this request as it would use up limited water and sewer infrastructure for houses, rather than the currently planned commercial and industrial uses. The County would be ill-advised to give up on what is considered a premier industrial and commercial site, especially given there is already infrastructure in place and their desire to balance the tax base. Read More
  • Oct 05, 2017

    The Piedmont Memorial Overlook

    In 2000, PEC purchased over 1,200 acres of Ovoka Farm (in Paris, VA) to ensure that this beautiful property— and the vista enjoyed by a young George Washington—remains rural for generations to come. All of the land is now protected by conservation easements and back in private ownership. However, PEC retained ownership of 50 acres at the top of the ridge called the Piedmont Memorial Overlook. PEC will care for this 50 acres in perpetuity—a beautiful site that overlooks one of the most protected landscapes in the Eastern United States. PEC has three main goals for this land: to act as a memorial site for this region’s conservationists; to be a showcase and demonstration site for good habitat management practices; and to provide the public access to a spectacular over-look along the Appalachian Trail. Read More
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    Sep 19, 2017

    Email Alert: Weigh in on Marshall Car Dealership

    From streetscape improvements and new businesses in downtown, to residential developments, there’s been a lot happening in Marshall recently. I wanted to inform you of a chance to weigh in on another proposal that would impact the town’s future.... Read more in this email alert from PEC field representative Julie Bolthouse.  Read More
  • Aug 14, 2017

    Water Demand in Fauquier County

    This summer, PEC participated in a Water Information Session organized by the Conservation Roundtable. Other guests include Michael Focazio, Marshall District WSA Board Representative, and Kurt McCoy with USGS. The purpose was to discuss the drinking water challenges facing Fauquier County. PEC's presentation, Water Demand in Fauquier County: Build-Out Analysis of Service Districts, given by our Fauquier field representative Julie Bolthouse, focused on the need to understand our near and long term water demand. Read More
  • Jul 10, 2017

    Our Thoughts on the Walker Drive Proposal

    The nebulous Walker Drive development at the gateway to downtown Warrenton will be voted on by the Town Council on Tuesday, June 11th, at 7 p.m. Despite its lack of detail (which resulted in the Planning Commission recommending denial back in February), it looks to be marching towards approval by the Warrenton Town Council. In fact, several Council members telegraphed their ‘yes’ votes in a FauquierNow article earlier this spring. Read More
  • May 05, 2017

    Expansion at Blackthorne Inn Site: Excessive in Scale

    Blackthorne Inn is located in agricultural zoning along Rt 50 between Upperville and Paris. Until it was closed last year, Blackthorne operated as a restaurant and resort with a few small events. Since then, Easton Porter Group, LLC acquired the 50.66 acre property with the desire to renew and expand the restaurant, resort, and Class C event special exceptions. The proposal includes a new 19,000 sq ft event building, a 30% increase to the current restaurant, 20 new cabins for a total of 38 private units, 3 new support structures (3,000 sq ft), and a new spa with gym. The old event building, which was added to the restaurant without a permit, would be removed. Read More
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    Mar 30, 2017

    Remington Walks!

    Wish there were more transportation and recreational options in Remington that both reconnect the community and encourage active lifestyles? Good news! In 2016 we received a grant from the PATH Foundation to improve park, trail, and pedestrian opportunities in this small but fast-growing community in southern Fauquier County. The grant includes two parts: 1) $19,000 toward creating public access on the Rappahannock Station Battlefield Park and 2) $45,000 for the Remington Walks planning project. More information on this effort below: Read More
  • Mar 21, 2017

    Remington Walks - Event Details

    Do you wish there were more places to walk, bike and play in Remington? The Piedmont Environmental Council, in partnership with the Town of Remington, is hosting the Remington Walks Workshop, April 19th – 21st, 2017, to develop a plan for future walking routes, trails, sidewalks, parks and bikeways. Your participation is key to the success of this effort! There will be a series of initiatives over the three-day time span, including two public presentations. Read More
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    Aug 25, 2016

    Truck Stop Proposed in Markham

    The following email alert was sent out August 2016 regarding a proposal by VDOT to open a truck stop in Markham, VA: Read More
  • Apr 19, 2016

    2016 From the Rappahannock, For the Rappahannock

    On April 17, 2016, Friends of the Rappahannock, John Marshall Soil & Water Conservation District, and The Piedmont Environmental Council hosted the 2nd annual "From the Rappahannock, For the Rappahannock" event at Marriott Ranch in Fauquier County. Read More
  • Sep 01, 2015

    Tri-County Feeds Reinvests in Conservation & Preservation in the Piedmont

    In an effort to 'Reinvest' in our beloved Piedmont Region, Tri-County donates a portion of the proceeds from the sale of our branded TCF Horse Feeds to the conservation and preservation efforts of the Goose Creek Association and The Piedmont Environmental Council. For more information, please visit the Tri-County Feeds website, call 540-364-1891 or stop by their retail store in Marshall, VA. Read More
  • Apr 20, 2015

    From the Rappahannock, For the Rappahannock

    On April 11, 2015, Friends of the Rappahannock, John Marshall Soil & Water Conservation District, and The Piedmont Environmental Council hosted our first annual "From the Rappahannock, For the Rappahannock" event at Marriott Ranch in Fauquier County.With more than 160 people planting trees and attending throughout the day - visitors learned about the importance of protecting our important land and water resources in the headwaters for the betterment of the entire watershed, down to the Chesapeake Bay. The day was filled with tree plantings and hay rides to see the conservation practices, fly tying lessons, macroinvertibrate and electro-fishing demonstrations, and most importantly - enjoying the bounty of our watershed with local oysters and beer with friends and neighbors!Thank you to all who got their hands dirtier for cleaner water - and we hope to see you next year! Read More
  • Dec 11, 2014

    Waterloo Bridge Update -- Dec 2014

    Text from our Dec 2014 Member Newsletter: PEC, Fauquier County, and Culpeper County commissioned a report that identified a more cost-effec­tive option for the full rehabilitation of the historic Waterloo Bridge on Waterloo Road (Route 613). The bridge has a long history dating back to the late nineteenth century, but it was closed due to safety concerns last winter. Read More
  • Sep 26, 2014

    Waterloo Bridge Report

    An encouraging new report commissioned by The Piedmont Environmental Council, Fauquier County, and Culpeper County has identified a more cost-effective option for the full rehabilitation of the historic Waterloo Bridge on Waterloo Road (Route 613). The bridge has a long history dating back to the late nineteenth century, but it was closed due to safety concerns last winter. Read More
  • Sep 25, 2014

    Conservation Easements in Fauquier County (time sequence)

    Fauquier County has long been a leader in recognizing the importance of protecting its natural, scenic and cultural resources. Take a look at the time series below that shows conservation easements in Fauquier County added between 1974 and 2014, or download a PDF of the maps. Read More
  • Jul 29, 2014

    County Rewriting Telecommunication Plan

    Piedmont Environmental Council has concern about some of the changes being proposed in Fauquier County's rewrite of the Plan for Commercial Wireless Facilities. This section of the County Comprehensive plan sets the policies and goals regarding how telecommunications facilities should be integrated into the landscape. Our two major concerns are about the vague language proposed and the fact that a new telecommunication zoning ordinance is being proposed at the same time. Read More
  • Apr 08, 2014

    Waterloo Bridge Letter to BOS

    The Fauquier Board of Supervisors will hold a public hearing on April 10th, 2014 regarding the Six Year Plan for Secondary Roads. The Six Year Plan outlines planned spending for transportation projects proposed for construction, development, or study for the next six years and is updated each year. The letter below is a request submitted by Piedmont Environmental Council that the long term rehabiliation of the Waterloo Bridge be included in the 2014-2015 through 2019-2020 Six Year Plan. Read More
  • Mar 10, 2014

    National Trails Weekend

    Join The Piedmont Environmental Council, Fauquier Trails Coalition, and Fauquier County's Department Parks and Recreation in extending National Trails Day for an entire weekend of events! Below is a tentative schedule of events. PEC will be updating the schedule as details become finalized. Read More
  • Nov 20, 2013

    Cultural and Natural Resources Comp Plan Update

    The County is updating the Cultural and Natural Resource sections of the Comprehensive Plan and they need your input to establish a real community vision. Read More
  • Nov 08, 2013

    Concerns Regarding Opal Service District Draft Plan

    The Opal Steering Committee has been meeting for about a year and has developed a plan that is ready for public review. Although PEC supports aspects of the plan, we also have several concerns about what the plan proposes. Read More
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    Oct 17, 2013

    Comprehensive Plan Amendments Happening in Fauquier

    It can be easy to tune out these updates, but revisions to the ‘Comp Plan’ can mean drastic changes to the look, feel, and functionality of your county, town, and day-to-day life. This is because the Comp Plan is the community’s most important document regarding land use, growth, development, transportation, and resource utilization. Read More
  • Oct 16, 2013

    Facts about the Opal Gateway Project

    The day before the Board of Supervisors November 14th public hearing the applicant proposed changes that were only made available to the public hours before the hearing. The changes are peripheral in nature. Although the amount of land being added to the service district and rezoned commercial has decreased, the project layout is the same. Instead of the RV Park being a part of the service district and the commercial rezoning, the rural agricultural (RA) zoning will be modified to allow a travel trailer park with water and sewer still being supplied from the service district public infrastructure. Read More
  • Oct 07, 2013

    Re: Sprawling devleopment in Opal

    body a h2 h3 A few months ago, I told you about a proposal for sprawling development along Rt. 17 in Opal. The "Opal Gateway" project, is now coming up for a vote at the Fauquier County Board of Supervisors on Thursday, January 9th. Despite some minor changes to the proposal, the applicant is still asking to open up more than 80 acres of agricultural land to strip-commercial development. What's more, the transportation concerns that VDOT expressed have not been addressed (see our May alert). This text was taken from an alert sent out on January 9th, 2014. Read More
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    Sep 30, 2013

    Busy October -- Including an Important Comp Plan Rewrite

    Happy Friday! It's officially fall, and there's a lot going on throughout the region and in Fauquier County in particular. There are rezonings and zoning amendments under consideration, we've also got tabling at Fauquier Heritage Day in Warrenton this weekend, Outer Beltway public hearings next week, and PEC's Meeting at Galemont on October 12th (the online registration is up!), as well as the 15th Anniversary of the Warrenton Branch Greenway. This text was taken from an email alert sent out on September 27th, 2013. Read More
  • Sep 10, 2013

    Sustainable Landscaping Workshop Presentations September 2013

    These four presentations were given at our Sustainable Landscaping Workshop hosted at Brookside Community Center in Warrenton on September 7th, 2013. We had a packed room with more than 50 people in attendance! Read More
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    Sep 04, 2013

    Landscaping Workshop this Saturday

    Ever wondered if there was a better way to landscape your yard? Join us for this Saturday (September 7th) at Brookside Community Center in New Baltimore to find out! PEC has invited experts from Master Gardeners, Virginia Department of Forestry, Hill House Farm and Native Plant Nursery, and John Marshall Soil and Water District who will share information about yard care practices, urban tree care and maintenance, benefits of using native plants, and other landscaping practices that benefit wildlife and the environment. This email alert was sent out on September 4, 2013. Read More
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    Aug 30, 2013

    Thanks! Over $2,000 raised at Chipotle for the Trail

    We wanted to thank everyone who came out to Chipotle last Wednesday in support of the Warrenton Branch Greenway Trail! The line was out the door and many people waited a long time to get their food, but it was a great success. Due to overwhelming support from the Fauquier community, the Warrenton Chipotle was able to donate $1,027.82 (fifty percent of the proceeds for the night) and that amount was matched by a PEC supporter. This email was sent out on August 30, 2013: Read More
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    May 28, 2013

    Sprawling Development Proposed on Outskirts of Opal

    Most everyone who travels south of Warrenton on Rt. 29 ends up stopping (at least momentarily) in Opal. On weekday mornings and weekend afternoons traffic gets backed up in both directions, with drivers struggling to turn on to Rt. 17 or get in and out of existing businesses. This Thursday, the Fauquier County Planning Commission will consider a development proposal that would make the traffic situation worse. The proposal would open up more than 80 acres of agricultural land to strip-commercial development -- putting a burden on County services like water, and ultimately detracting from future economic opportunities in the area. This text is from an email alert sent out on May 27th, 2013. Read More
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    Feb 15, 2013

    Fauquier Farm Winery Ordinance

    On February 14th the Board of Supervisors voted to adopt the amended special exception application for Barrel Oak. The vote was 4 to 1 with Supervisor Holder Trumbo voting in opposition. Read More
  • Jan 03, 2013

    Adaptive Reuse Ordinance

    Update: An alternative amendment has been drafted that alleviates our concerns about this undermining rural zoning in Fauquier. The changes are carefully crafted to support innovative small businesses who reuse historic structures, differentiate between the use of reception and restaurant, and addresses what happens if the structure is destroyed. The Board will be voting on this amendment at their March 14th public hearing starting at 6:30pm in the Warren Green Building. Please ask the Board of Supervisors to adopt the alternative language that would ensure that the Adaptive Reuse Ordinance continues to be used for its intended purpose of preserving historic structures by incentivizing their reuse. Read More
  • Sep 14, 2012

    Business Parks?

    Update: On December 13th the Board of Supervisors voted unanimously to pass the new Business Park zoning district. Nothing has changed since November, the vote was only put off to December due to a procedural issue. The district although envisioned to be utilized primarily in the Service District, can still be approved for sites in Villages. Read More
  • Apr 16, 2012

    Alternative Onsite Septic Systems Forum

    Alternative Onsite Septic Systems or AOSS is a term that has become increasingly better known as more developments include these systems in areas where septic was historically impossible. Understandably many citizens are concerned about this new technology and the regulations controlling their use and maintenance. Come out Wednesday night at 6pm to the John Barton Payne Building to learn more about these systems! Read More
  • Feb 13, 2012

    Mintbrook Proposal Passes

    Update: The Mintbrook proposal was up for public hearing April 12th. Although there were a number of community members present who spoke against the proposal, it was approved with a 3-2 vote. Read More
  • Feb 13, 2012

    "Village of Catlett" Proposal

    Update: After years of consideration and seven public hearings, the Village of Catlett proposal was finally voted down. This over-sized development never made very much sense, but it was kept alive based on a promise from the developer to provide sewer to Catlett at no cost to taxpayers. In the end, the Board realized that was not likely, and turned the project down on a 3 to 2 vote. However, the developer has decided to challenge the denial, so the county and the developer are currently in litigation. We will keep you updated as we find out more. Read More

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