12 June 2013
At least they’re putting a lot of thought into it.
For years throughout the United States, rural lands surrounding cities gave way to development. Fields of hay turned into rows of houses. Rolling hills morphed into strip malls.
Acres of forests mowed down and replaced with commercial real estate.
That kind of growth could come to Fluvanna with its position between Charlottesville and Richmond.
Zion Crossroads - at the northern end of the county where Interstate 64 and Routes 15 and 250 intersect - is ripe for development.
But county planners want to do it right.
That’s why they invited everyone to view ideas already on the books and give opinions on growth at Zion Crossroads. Less than 20 people showed up at both events combined. The first was held at the Better Living Mill Shop near Zion Crossroads. The second was at the lobby of the courthouse on Wednesday (June 5). Visitors viewed posters of information on the 2009 Comprehensive Plan, starred ideas they liked and made comments in the suggestion boxes.
Some of the comments:
“This is the entrance and gateway to Fluvanna County. Design and appearance are very important.”
“This area exceeds the limit of state law which says UDA (Urban Development Area) cannot be bigger than needed for 20 years of growth.”
“Minimize residential. More residential means more taxes.”
Fluvanna’s Planning Director Allyson Finchum was on hand to answer questions. She talked about the importance of looking ahead.
“The reason I got into planning was I wanted to know the secret of building a great place,” she said.
When asked if she could point to any county in Virginia that has done growth well, she laughed.
“I asked a panel of experts from across the state that question and no one could give me an example.”
But Fluvanna wants to get it right. The Thomas Jefferson Planning District Commission helped with the workshop and is lending its expertise. The Comprehensive Plan, in part, carves out areas of growth with the goal of keeping the rural landscape of most of the county. The plan designates five Community Planning Areas (CPAs): Zion Crossroads, Palmyra, Fork Union, Columbia and Rivanna.
Finchum is especially excited about the ability to use computer tools to sketch plans.
“We can use it to work with developers. We’ll show them visually what we want,” Finchum said. “We can also use it to prepare grants, working with the Board (of Supervisors) to start the process. I don’t know if I’ve ever seen another locality that’s done this type of design work. A picture is worth a thousand words.”
Finchum said Fluvanna has just about everything: suburban, rural, and an old historic village.
“With the right kind of development at Zion Crossroads Fluvanna could have everything that’s desirable,” she said.
In May, Supervisors established a steering committee to look at development at Zion Crossroads. Supervisors Joe Chesser (Rivanna) and Bob Ullenbruch (Palmyra) are on the committee.
The committee will put together a plan that will serve as a roadmap to economic development in the area.
Wednesday’s workshop was a way to get the input of citizens. The committee plans to meet throughout the summer and present its plan to the Board in August.