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

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As I’ve noted previously on this blog, Del. Bob Marshall (R-Prince William) submitted a bill that would make urban development areas optional. It would also allow localities that have created UDAs to remove them via a citizen petition process. This article by my colleague Chelyen Davis talks about the progress of the bill, and has a quote that suggests Marshall may have been thinking specifically about Stafford County when he proposed it.

The bill has passed the house, but still must pass the senate.

This poses an interesting question for Stafford. If the bill passes, that would leave the county with 6 UDAs that only partially fill the requirement of the original UDA bill. Would those six UDAs would remain, only to be repealed if 5% of the voting population of the county submits a petition to remove them and/or the supervisors follow through on removal?

County officials are still trying to figure out where to put the remaining 4,000 housing units required by the UDA legislation. If this bill passes, do they just drop that process? Do they follow through with it, only to consider a petition to remove them later?


  • LarryG

    The thing about the UDA law right now is that it only requires the county to DESIGNATE … WHERE.. they will allow PROPOSALS for mixed use and if you think about it – right now the law says that ANY PROPOSAL must be considered – UDA law or not.

    So – all along – the law supports a developer proposing what amounts to a UDA – a mixed-use high density proposal.

    So what does DESIGNATION imply?

    What it does – is it COMMITS the county to provide the required water/sewer/road infrastructure to these pre-designated areas which means the county has to put together a financial plan to accomplish that – even if the developer/buyers end up paying for the connections at the time they get their building permits.

    But the county has to make it “available”.

    That means the county must alter it’s water/sewer Master Plan AND it’s water/sewer CIP AND it may well require to county to take on more debt …sooner than planned even if it adversely affects their credit rating.

    What happens if they designate and a developer shows up with a proposal that they cannot legally turn down?

    Does the county have to then start the process of extending the water/sewer to that approved development?

    yes they do if they designated as a UDA but if it i not a UDA then the developer would have to take on more responsibility and the county would have more options including not approving the rezone if the area is not designated to be served by water and sewer anyhow.

    The Stafford BOS is basically gambling that if they keep the DU at 4 instead of making it 8 – that enough developers will show up wanting water/sewer for 1/4 acre subdivisions to make all of this work.

    And there are NO RULEs to say that the water//sewer corridors to the UDA cannot also allow connections.

    That’s it in a nutshell.

    You designate the UDA .. have a water/sewer corridor and then if a developer not in the UDA but adjacent to the proposed corridor asks for hook-ups… the county can then go ahead and add the water/sewer – even if it is not for the designated UDA.

    The BOS is basically using the UDA law as a defacto way to expand water/sewer for 1/4 acre subdivisions … with no companion plans to deal with the road impacts that have been clearly identified by VDOT int their preliminary review.