Can I Subdivide Land for Sale in Fauquier County Virginia?

4 Considerations when Subdividing Land in Fauquier County, Virginia

Are you a Fauquier County land owner, or are you shopping for land for sale in Fauquier County Virginia?

If so, you might be wondering, what does it take to subdivide land in Fauquier County, and does your property (or the property you’re thinking about purchasing) have good subdivision potential? These are excellent questions to ask, because even if you don’t intend to subdivide your property immediately, subdivision potential can add value to your property. 

Rough Transcript: Recently, I was down in Warrenton doing some research on a property at the Fauquier County Planning and Zoning office. While I was there, I came across a pretty useful guide the county has published that outlines some of the key elements that affect the subdivision potential of land in the county.

So, regardless of whether you’re selling land or actively looking for land for sale in Fauquier County Virginia, I thought this would be useful information for anyone who is interested in subdividing their land to create some additional value.

1. Existing Structures and Dwellings on the Site

The first thing to think about is existing structures on the site. The location of existing structures, including wells and drainfields, can affect the ability to subdivide in certain configurations.

The site must be divided in a way that (1) preserves minimum setbacks from the existing house to the new property lines and (2) ensures the existing well and septic remain on the same lot as the existing house – if there is one.

2. Drainage and Soil Types

A second factor to consider is soil types on the property. Soil types determine whether a particular site can support drainfields, and they also affect construction methods. So, before determining any lot configurations, the county recommends obtaining a Type 1 Soil Map of the property, which is a service the county provides through the County Soil Scientist Office.

If you’re interested in learning more about this subject, the county website provides useful information about the different types of soil maps used in the land development process.

Once you’ve obtained a Type 1 Soil Map, engineers and surveyors can use the map to identify possible lot configurations and house locations.

Land for sale in Fauquier County Virginia
Engineers and surveyors can use a Type 1 Soil Map to identify possible house locations and lot configurations.

3. Road Frontage and Access Easements

A third consideration is road frontage and access easements. Every parcel that is created has to have frontage on a public street. The amount of frontage depends on the zoning, but basically, if the site is deep and narrow and doesn’t have much road frontage, then your ability to subdivide may be limited.

Alternatively, you might be able to create a new road to service the new parcels, but keep in mind that creating a new road could reduce the amount of land available to subdivide and increase development costs down the road.

If you’re curious about road frontage and access requirements in your zoning district, you can view he Fauquier County Zoning Ordinance here.

4. Floodplains

Floodplains are a fourth major factor to consider. This is pretty important, because in certain zoning districts, sites receive no density credit for land that is located in a floodplain. So, in other words, if you’ve got 100 acres but 90 acres of that is located in a floodplain, then the county might calculate the maximum density based only on the 10 acres that is not in the floodplain.

Beyond that, Federal and County regulations do not generally permit grading, fill, or building within floodplains. Likewise, there may be restrictions on road construction, although in certain cases you might be able to obtain an exception.

Fauquier County Virginia land for sale
If you’re looking for land for sale in Fauquier County Virginia (or anywhere, for that matter), then checking for floodplains should be one of the very first items on you due diligence checklist.

If you’d like to learn more about buying land in Fauquier County Virginia, or if you’d like to be connected to an engineer who can help guide you through the Fauquier County land subdivision process, please contact Jonathan at 202-750-4050 or 

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