Nelson County to host open house for Comprehensive Plan

How might decisions made by the Nelson County Board of Supervisors direct that locality’s future? That’s a core question behind the development of a new Comprehensive Plan.

“Planning will allow Nelson County to manage growth and capitalize on opportunities for our community,” writes Planning Commission Chair Mary Kathryn Allen on the website announcing an open house to be held from 6:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. 

“The new plan will build on the 2014 Comprehensive Plan with public input, data collection, visioning, goal definition, and strategies to ensure that it all gets put into action,” Allen continues.

The draft for public review is available for you to read. The Berkley Group has provided technical assistance during the development of the document. 

“Nelson is a welcoming community that values its natural resources, encourages economic growth, and provides excellent quality of life for all community members,” reads the vision statement of the draft plan. 

“As we blaze a trail to the future, how do we preserve our rural character as we grow and evolve with our changing times?” the introduction continues. “How do we increase housing choices for different types of individuals and families?” 

The plan notes that Nelson County is in between the cities of Charlottesville, Waynesboro, and Lynchburg which provide employment, shopping, and other services. The plan notes that growth in Nelson County is far behind the statewide average. 

“Population projections forecast a negative growth rate for the County for the next 20 years,” reads a portion of chapter two. “The reasons for Nelson’s declining population numbers are multi-faceted and complex, but reflect the realities of an aging population and a locale which has not retained young people and families in recent decades.” 

Agricultural production continues to decline and many employees of service industries commute into Nelson for work. Tourism has been the driving industry. The top employer is Wintergreen Pacific LLC and the third largest employer is Devils Backbone Brewing Company. 

Before you go: The time to write and research of this article is covered by paid subscribers to Charlottesville Community Engagement. In fact, this particular installment comes from the August 28, 2023 Week Ahead. To ensure this research can be sustained, please consider becoming a paid subscriber or contributing monthly through Patreon.

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