Planning director shares schedule to update 2040 Comprehensive Plan

Residents are encouraged to participate in defining future county land use

By Heather Michon

Community Development Director Douglas Miles outlined the county’s plan to update the 2040 Comprehensive Plan before the Planning Commission at its meeting on Tuesday night (Feb. 8).

The Comprehensive Plan lays out a community’s priorities for land use and development over a 20 year period; under state law, it must be reviewed every five years. Fluvanna County, like many localities across the state, is 12-18 months behind in updating its plan, as the COVID-19 pandemic disrupted the 2020 and 2021 review cycles. 

Miles presented a full slate of public meetings and open houses stretching through the spring and early summer. They hope to approve a finalized plan and send it to the Board of Supervisors for a vote by October or November. 

As the plan evolves, updated information will be available at the Fluvanna library, the Planning Department offices, and other public areas. Residents will have the opportunity to submit their views in writing, through the county website, and during meetings.

The public comment process has been informally underway for several months. Miles said the recurring themes he and his staff were hearing included the need to manage population density while still allowing senior and workplace housing; providing more local shopping, dining, and medical options; and most significantly, maintaining the county’s rural character.

For his department, one goal is to eliminate Rural Residential planning areas.

Currently, the county has three categories for planning: Community Planning Areas (CPAs), Rural Preservation areas, and Rural Residential areas. 

Community Planning Areas, like the Rivanna CPA at Lake Monticello, allow for larger housing developments, mixed-use areas, and commercial development, where Rural Residential and Rural Preservation districts have limits on development. 

Miles said that folding the Rural Residential category back into the Rural Preservation category wouldn’t prevent the building of rural cluster developments, but it would reduce confusion and make the planning process more streamlined for both developers and the county.

Other staff goals include encouraging growth in the Zion Crossroads CPA to take some of the pressure off the Lake Monticello area, further developing the Fork Union Commerce Park, and focusing more development efforts on “rural crossroads” areas like Kents Store, Kidds Store, and Troy.

Miles stressed that the biggest piece of revising the Comprehensive Plan is defining future land use priorities, and that was where they needed to hear from residents. Virginia allows many land-use decisions to be made at the local level.  

“We can make Fluvanna how we want it, not how Richmond wants it, or Washington wants it,” he said. “So that’s the most important thing – public input on where things are needed for infrastructure and land use.”

His staff will be on hand for an open house at 4 p.m. on Thursday, March 10, at the Fluvanna County library. They will be announcing more meetings in the coming weeks.

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