Jeff Branscome writes about Spotsylvania County.
Urban Development Areas and byright
On Aug. 10, a state-funded consultant from Code Studio told both the Board of Supervisors and Planning Commission that the Urban Development Areas that are ultimately chosen will be a new type of development with a new character unseen in the area.
UDAs are super-dense communities that are self-sufficient. They are walkable, bicycle friendly, safer, preserve more open space, keep people off the main highways and have shopping, entertainment and other amenities within the development.
The consultant also said that these UDAs should be zoned for mixed uses so someone can develop a UDA byright, which would mean the Board of Supervisors would not have regulatory authority over the development and it could not get proffers from the developer to offset the costs the development would have on public services.
The comments are cemented in the heads of several supervisors.
But was the consultant correct? The answer is he may have misspoken?
The legislation clearly states that selecting a UDA does not change the zoning of the land marked as a UDA. The legislation has no language about proffers being excluded.
Proffers could still be collected from a developer proposing a project in a UDA zone and the developer may, or may not, have to go through the rezoning process. In most instances, it seems as if the developer WOULD have to go through the rezoning process.
The consultant has since backed away from those comments and said that there is no direction from the state on how these developments would be processed. Would it be through a normal rezoning or will the Board of Supervisors have to rezone the land in an Urban Development Area so that the developer can streamline through the process.
Stafford County reporter Jonas Beals and I are working on a story about how Stafford and Spotsylvania counties are tackling this state mandate. They are going in completely different directions.
But my story will focus on how supervisors are a bit confused with what they heard on Aug. 10. In fact, the entire process has been a bit confusing and constantly changing.
The General Assembly has a special subcommittee reviewing UDA legislation and working to better define the legislation.