vanessa-newVanessa Remmers covers Stafford County government and schools for and The Free Lance-Star.

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Comp Plantastic

It’s the Comprehensive Plan that just won’t go away. Stafford officials are still wrestling with it after four years.

This is a crass oversimplification, but revising a Comprehensive Plan goes something like this: The Planning Commission revises it, holds a public hearing. It then goes to the Board of Supervisors, which holds its own public hearing before approving it.

Over the last four years, Stafford has had committees, joint committees, steering committees, hearings, work sessions and rewrites.

Most supervisors hope to finally pass the plan by the end of the year, but the plan is still being revised (with occasional input from supervisors) at the Planning Commission.

In what could be a sign of frustration over the timeframe or the content of the plan, supervisors came out of a closed session and passed a resolution to “direct” the Planning Commission to hold a public hearing on the plan. They gave the Planning Commission 60 days to do so and submit the plan to the board. The clock is ticking.

The resolution further “directs” the Commission to include specific information in the plan–Urban Development Areas and how they should interact with a potential Transfer of Development Rights ordinance, for one. It also requests a review of the housing mix in relation to a recent economic analysis (fewer townhouses, possibly) and that the maximum build-out figure be reduced to reflect what some supervisors feel is a more realistic interpretation of growth potential.

The vote on the resolution was 4-2, with supervisors Harry Crisp and Bob Woodson against and Supervisor Gary Snellings abstaining.

What do you think? Are supervisors doing the right thing by putting this pressure and these guidelines on the Planning Commission?


  • Richard

    I don’t understand why a complete comprehensive study isn’t done before going forward with this. Our Planning Commissioners and our BOS members (with good intentions), are not urban planners and do not have experience in this area. The democratic majority of the last board pushed through the ordinance that prohibited property owners from building on or near slopes and intermittent streams on their OWN property without any kind of impact study – now the republican majority is doing the same thing. This is too important and needs to be carefully, creatively, and cautiously planned with cooperation from all involved. Our environment has changed significantly since this process first started. What’s the rush?

  • Martin (Marty) Work

    Thought it best to ask where everyone has gone before putting my toes’ worth of insight to what the “HURRY-UP” is all about.

    Jonas already has a leg up on the issue after reporting on Spotsylvania County’s version of selling Urban Development Areas to its constituents without public recall on anything remotely related to necessary information from which the public (citizens of Stafford) could reasonably make an INFORMED DECISION, not about the hurry up, but the consequences of high density population, with 4-24 families residing on an acre of land.

    Know a lot of Richards but have no idea who this Richard is, BUT he is on the right track. If he’s up to doing a little homework, we’ll ALL be better off knowing what Richard finds out about who’s really calling the shots, and which elected officials on the Stafford BOS already have the answers to what the “hurry up” is all about.

    The clock is running. How much do you want to know about UDAs and their impact on your transportation demands, quality of life and crowded living conditions that necessarily come with UDAs? Your call.

  • Concerned Citizen

    Pay Attention or Pay Taxes.

    BOS is just bullying the PC and interfering with the planning process to get its own way. Where are the public information meetings? If it wasn’t for Jonas and the FLS there would be NO information.

    Four UDAs were studied at a cost of almost $1M. The 5 new ones have had no completed studies.

    Dr Fuller, the $25K BOS hired expert, analysis shows that the 2010 plan is not economically viable, it loses money. It does not include the $2B in transportation needs already identified and approved by 3 BOS members who sit on GWRC/FAMPO

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