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

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UDAs to be work session topic

Some issues in Stafford may seem like they’ll never make their way off meeting agendas. One of those is UDAs, or urban development areas.

After years of discussions, the county agreed upon seven UDAs, mixed-use areas that would accommodate the projected high population growth while offering a “live-work-play” atmosphere. But then the state said that UDAs weren’t actually required. They’re now optional.

That put Stafford in a tough spot: Keep the UDAs as approved, though little has been done toward their development aside from initial planning for a pilot program in the Courthouse UDA, or change plans?

In June, the Board of Supervisors asked the Planning Commission to take another look at areas that were to reduce suburban sprawl. Then the Planning Commission looked at population projections. The number they really want to examine though, won’t be available until the beginning of 2013. They asked the board for an extension to May. But Tuesday, supervisors decided to only give them a 90-day extension. Commissioner Scott Hirons said the board didn’t understand the request fully.

The new deadline for the Planning Commission to have a UDA plan (which could be that the county doesn’t need UDAs, or they could have less stringent requirements and a new name) is Jan. 3. That gives them five meetings to work on the program as a seven-member group. They decided not to form a subcommittee.

A work session will be held Oct. 10 at 5:30 p.m. (This is the first meeting under the commission’s new bylaws.)

Asked commissioner James Schwartz: “Who’s buying the pizza?”

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