County works to strike balance between development, rural character

By Heather Michon

The Planning Commission heard an update on the progress of the county’s 2040 Comprehensive Plan during its monthly meeting on Tuesday (Sept. 13). 

Community Development Director Douglas Miles reviewed the two key priorities that emerged during a series of open house meetings this past spring and early summer: Fluvanna residents want to protect the county’s fundamentally rural character and focus development on the Fork Union and Zion Crossroads areas.

Miles said he and his staff were working on how to implement and strike balances between residents’ desires for things like tree buffers and enhanced site landscaping for businesses with businesses’ need for visibility.

Citizen advocacy groups focused on rural preservation and historic preservation met over the summer and were in the process of finalizing presentations to bring to the Planning Commission at its Oct. 11 meeting.

If all goes according to the current plan, Miles said they hoped to have a draft document completed by the end of the year, which could then be refined and completed over the winter and spring of 2023. There will be public hearings and other opportunities for community input before a finalized plan is approved by the Board of Supervisors. 

Comprehensive plans are detailed documents designed to set out community preferences and priorities for the county’s development over a 20-year period and are updated every five years. However, the COVID-19 pandemic delayed the planned 2020 update until earlier this year.

Chairman Barry Bibb asked commissioners to select a couple of areas of the plan where they had interest or experience so they could take a deep dive into the material and come up with their own suggestions on goals and objectives. 

The update was the only business before the commission for the evening. Its next meeting is scheduled for Oct. 11 at 6 p.m. at Carysbrook Performing Arts Center.

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