Like many localities across Virginia’s Fifth District including Nelson County and Danville, Albemarle County is currently reviewing its Comprehensive Plan. State law requires localities to prepare such plans and update them on a periodic basis.
Albemarle is reviewing its plan in a four-phase process and the first phase will take a look at the county’s growth management policy. A survey for input closes on Sunday at midnight.
“The current Comp Plan directs new residential, commercial, retail, office, and industrial development into the Development Areas,” reads the first part of a StoryMap that seeks to explain the history of the growth management policy. “The Rural Area is intended to be used for agriculture, natural resource protection, and some residential homes.”
That’s roughly five percent of the county’s 726 square miles.
Albemarle’s first Comprehensive Plan in 1971, and originally envisioned a much larger development area. This was at a time when Charlottesville still had the ability to annex county land if it could prove to a judge that the city would be able to provide urban services more efficiently.
However, subsequent plans reduced that area due to concerns such as siltation at the South Fork Rivanna Reservoir, which opened in 1967 and soon began to fill in. Another issue was the high cost to build water and sewer infrastructure to remote areas. Several villages have been removed since, such as the ones in Earlysville, Ivy, North Garden, and Stony Point.
In the early 90’s, four areas were added including the Village of Rivanna, the North Fork Research Park, and what is now being developed as North Pointe.
For the full history, read part two of the StoryMap. It’s well worth a read as the county considers changes.
“With an evaluation of the County’s Growth Management Policy, perhaps one of the most important factors to consider is how the policy is impacting the well-being of County residents and whether the policy is leading to equitable outcomes across different geographies within the County, such as residents in the Rural Area compared to residents in Development Area, or across different demographic groups such as age and race,” reads another portion of part 2.
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