Spotsylvania News

Jeff Branscome writes about Spotsylvania County.

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Same UDA talk

This UDA talk is getting repetitive. Planning Commissioner Mary Lee Carter is absent from another meeting and Commissioner James Strother asked if they should postpone the UDA work session, the commission’s fourth.

County officials have plenty of time to figure this all out, as the deadline is July 2011. The Urban Development Areas are super-dense communities in which one or more must hold at least 10 years of growth. Commissioners just cannot agree on where these UDAs should go. 



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  • lgross

    since the deadline is more than a year away but sense was that the PC was not
    “on board” with the basic concept… not comfortable with the concept… leery of
    unintended consequences, lots of questions without totally satisfying answers.

    One of my concerns is if the county designates a UDA – are they committing to
    the infrastructure needed to service it?

    For instance, traffic generation – another area that the county is still behind the
    curve in anticipating the impacts that growth will have on existing roads.

    If you designate a UDA – you are designating traffic also and, in turn, affecting
    the capacity of the roads and that will require the county to look at the impacts
    of designating density – how much more road (and/or transit) capacity will be
    needed, and figure out how it will be paid for and built.

    Most of the road projects in the pipeline from the referenda are ..the result of
    not anticipating just how much the transportation network would be affected by

    The county has gotten a pretty good handle on schools and
    libraries/fire/rescue impacts and roads around commercial with the use of CDAs
    and Transportation districts but road/transportation for residential is still an
    issue especially since VDOT is essentially out of the road-building business for
    all intents and purposes unless there is a state or local level gas tax increase
    of fairly substantial proportions – 10 to 20 cents and I just don’t think that’s
    going to happen.

    So…we get the proffers for schools… but figuring out how to move all those
    folks in those UDAs …if they work elsewhere – like up in NoVa like a lot of
    Spotsy residents do… is going to be an important issue – I would think (hope).

    Tricord recognized this with their proposal that got turned down. They had
    calculated the road infrastructure but the county did not like the proposal in
    terms of who would pay for it… a TIF-type arrangement if I recall.

    The TIF would be like a transportation district LITE in that the increase in taxes
    due to the development would have been dedicated to pay for the
    transportation infrastructure and … not for other infrastructure schools
    and the like….

    Sooner or later.. the county will need to deal with the issue of how to do roads
    that are needed to serve new residential growth – and the UDA discussion at
    some point.. ought to involve that issue.

    It could be something simple – like enacting a policy that any/all UDAs created
    will also have a transportation district created with the same boundaries.

  • gramps

    the exalted Ms. Carter should be asked to “step down” since she seems to be not interested in attending these meetings?

  • lgross

    She may not be well.. I dunno.. the last meeting.. was a little weird I thought…

    but I would have liked to hear her opinion on the 3202 concept of UDAs.

    The BOS passed on the other 3202 opportunity – UTSDs which would have allowed them to
    put comprehensive impact fees – countywide on all new homes – which would have, IMHO,
    gone a long way towards dealing with the issue of growth paying for itself, designating
    growth areas… and worries about growth in “by-right” areas.


    I don’t think I have ever heard a concise reason why the UTSDs were rejected nor a bill of
    particulars brought back to our reps at the GA to repair the parts about the UTSD that fell

    then less than a year later… they expand the by-right in the county.. without impact fees.

    the Lee Hill District BOS (who appointed Mary Lee).. looks like a real cat-fight come the next
    election… at least 3 – all strongly opinionated about taxes, government and growth.

  • thelama


    The BoS rejected USTDs because it requires counties to pick up all secondary road construction and maintenance – a very prohibitive deal! I agree that it was stupid for the 4 BoS members who voted for the 3-acre lots to do so with no impact fees to offset the costs. I heard that the planners are pushing for the UDAs because many other smart growth tools – TDRs, TNDs – require these designated areas in order to work.