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

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How the Other Half Designates Urban Development Areas

Stafford County’s Planning Commission will hold a public hearing on the proposed Comprehensive Plan this evening at 7:30 p.m. in the board chambers of the County Administration Building. The plan contains 8 Urban Development Areas. At least one of the high-density zones is required by state law to be designated by July 1 of next year.

Stafford has obtained the services of a consultant to study UDAs, but they have not yet begun their study or held public information sessions. It is unlikely that the consultant (the same one Spotsylvania County is using) will be engaged in the project before the Board of Supervisors votes to designate the UDAs, probably at their Dec. 14 meeting.

Spotsylvania is taking a different tack. They have already held four community meetings and a joint work session between the Board of Supervisors and Planning Commission. The consultant is currently engaged in closer study of the proposed UDAs. I don’t know if Spotsylvania supervisors have a specific timeline for approval of UDAs.

The Spotsy board, along with the counsultant, is now looking at two UDAs – one in the Massaponax/Cosner’s Corner area that encompasses the proposed new VRE station, and one that would be a redevelopment project in the Four-Mile Fork area.

The next step is a small area plan focusing on the VRE station area. A community meeting is scheduled for November 22, 2010 at 6:30 p.m. in the Community Development Conference Room, 3rd Floor, 9019 Old Battlefield Blvd, Spotsylvania, VA 22553.

Information of the UDA project is posted under Advance Planning on the Planning Department webpage at

Here is the flier for the upcoming meeting in Spotsy.


  • LarryG

    the “other” UDA is really 3. The VRE, the Hospital and then one further south on Route 1.

    If you drew connected the three to enclose inside one boundary – it would b rather large area.

    There’s a point being overlooked here.

    Other counties, 2 in particular Loudoun and Henrico responded to the State’s questionnaire indicating that they already had designated areas for growth that included the 4du+ density and mixed-use elements. In other words, all they need to do is to call those existing areas – already served by water/sewer or planned UDAs.

    in the discussion at the joint BOS/PC meeting in Spotsy the same point was made. That Spotsy already has a designated Primary Settlement Area – served by existing water/sewer, transit, some walking/ped facilities and some mixed-use and the BOS has made it clear that they’ll entertain proposals for higher-density mixed use in those areas.

    The Planners and Consultants however, have sought to promote the idea that a “separate UDA .. MUST be designated and that it must be done quickly to meet the deadline.

    Loudoun and Henrico and about 2 dozen or more other counties do not see the same urgency nor accept the idea that “new” areas – greenfield areas that lack water/sewer/transit/walking/ped/etc need to be designated.

    And of course neither Stafford nor Spotsylvania have sought to have a 527 VDOT review performed which would outline the transportation infrastructure that would be needed as well as the cost of those facilities and a determination as to whether or not those facilities are currently or will be funded in a near-term time-frame.

    The only thing to be gained by rushing is to designate areas that, in turn, imply the county is going to extend water/sewer on a timeframe different than what they have in their existing water/sewer master plans..

    Who is going to pay for these expansions?

    who is going to go to the credit market to get the money to pay for water/sewer and road infrastructure?

    Should we be moving forward on this if we don’t have answers to these questions?

    Again – what is to be gained by rushing this process?

    why are some of them rushing?

    there is every reason to go slow and no good reason to rush into mistakes that could cost the counties big in the longer run.

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  • Dean Fetterolf

    Taking the 30,000 ft level view of the Comp Plan.
    I must be confused or missing something!
    Please help

    1. VRE is responsible for ALL the new train stations in the transit oriented development
    2. VDOT is still responsible for ALL the roads
    3. Developers are responsible for ALL the other infrastructure (parks, schools, public safety, libraries, govt)

    What part of the future of Stafford, other that the paper
    this Comp Plan is written on are we the taxpayers being forced to take responsibility for?