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

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Planning Commission meetings to change starting in October

Wednesday’s Planning Commission meeting ended at 10:30 p.m. Not too late, but since it started four hours earlier, it was a long meeting.

But in October, meetings that go past 10 p.m. will be rare.

Commissioners formally voted on new bylaws that will mandate that meetings end at 10 p.m., unless a majority votes to extend the time.

The bylaws will go into effect in October, changing meeting dates to the second and fourth Wednesdays of each month. That means the commission can alternate with the Board of Supervisors, which meets the first and third Tuesdays. It’ll also mean staff won’t have to spend consecutive Tuesday and Wednesday nights in the chambers.

Meeting times will remain at 6:30 p.m. Public comment and public hearings will begin immediately, rather than at 7:30 p.m., which is the current practice.

Here are some other things that happened at Wednesday’s meeting:

  • The commission is asking for an extension on UDAs. Unclear population projections have left members questioning how the land use plans fit into the county. After years have been spent developing the seven Urban Development areas, commissioners have suggested planning several work session or organizing a subcommittee.
  • A rezoning to allow Walgreens in southern Stafford was deferred. 
  • Also deferred was the creation of a definition for data centers, which are warehouse-style buildings that house computers and equipment, with few employees and parking spaces. The buildings, which would be open 24 hours a day, wouldn’t necessarily look like a “big box,” said zoning administrator Susan Blackburn. “To the naked eye, it just looks like a nice office building,” she told the commission. They are requesting more information from Economic Development, which hopes to attract data centers to the county by having the definition formally recognized.
  • Radley Collision Center will open on Perchwood Drive, following approval of a conditional use permit. The center, in Cranes Corner Business Park off U.S. 1, will include a body shop, along with Geico insurance representatives and car rentals.