Spotsylvania News

Jeff Branscome writes about Spotsylvania County.

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Fear Mongering or Just Bad Information?

The Spotsylvania County Farm Bureau caused some controversy this week with a flier it passed out about the controversial design standards and overlay districts that the Planning Department is proposing.

The flier contains one key error that could spark people not already against the proposals to react negatively to them at upcoming public hearings.

Some of the residents, chiefly a few Committee of 500 members, are calling the flier a classic example of fear mongering.

The man who crafted the flier, M.R. Fulks, said he was provided wrong information, and he was not trying to scare people. You can see the flier here.

With the proposed highway corridor overlay districts, there ARE NOT 300- to 500-foot setbacks. Here is how it works under the current proposal:

  • The overlays are 500 feet in the Interstate 95 corridor and 400 feet in the remaining HCODs. What this means is if your property is within that overlay, the design standards kick in.
  • Building setbacks, where a structure can be built from the roadway, is 100 feet in the rural overlay districts and 50 feet in the targeted growth area of the county, called the primary settlement boundary. Curb and gutter are requirements in the primary HCODs and sizes of signs are regulated. The minimum distances between entrances, secondary streets or intersecting travel lanes are 200 feet in the primary districts and 500 feet in the rural districts.

Now, the design standards are a whole new animal that developers don’t like. Why? Well, I sound like a blogging broken record, but the main complaint is the standards are ambiguous and onerous. Developers need to meet 75 percent of the design standards. You can view all of the design standards here.

 Now, back to the flier.

In a phone interview with Mr. Fulks today, he said that “one of the county people told me” about the setbacks.

He said the Bureau was not going to send out a correct flier. He said the flier was not sent to every Bureau member, and he was unsure how many people saw it.

“It is a gross violation of property rights in my opinion,” he said of the proposals.

Here are the members and officers of the local Farm Bureau:

  • T.C. Waddy, vice president. Mr. Waddy, who is the Livingston District supervisor, also is against these proposals. 854-4043
  •  Bob Massey, president,  898-8738
  • Ray Simms, secretary and treasurer
  • M.R. Fulks
  • Ann Heidig

  • Charles Harris
  • Bill Biscoe
  • Mike Spillman
  • David Arstutz
  • Wayne Miller


  • thjeffersonfan

    Thanks for the clarification. It seems that a LOT of people (even the PLANNING COMMISSION!!!) is confused on the difference between the overlay area and the setback distance.