Board Approves Update to the Comprehensive Plan

The Board of Supervisors has approved a five-year update to its Comprehensive Plan. Stafford’s Board and the Planning Commission have worked many months to update its Comprehensive Plan resulting in several amendments. As well, a public hearing was held to invite community input. The Code of Virginia requires localities to review their Comprehensive Plans at least once every five years. While changes to the Comprehensive Plan were minor, a few amendments included changes to some select land use maps, a revision in terms, and a transportation map change.

“The Comprehensive Plan is one of our most important documents and guides the way as we make decisions that affect the future,” said Chairman of the Board of Supervisors Crystal Vanuch. “We are confident that the changes made support our continuing priority of managing growth and protecting our rural community.”

The purpose of the Comprehensive Plan is to guide the physical development of the County over a 20-year-period. The Plan outlines where projected future population growth is recommended to develop, including the type and intensity of development, and includes goals, objectives and policies to ensure development occurs responsibly. The current Plan was initially adopted in 2016. The five-year review is required by state code to consider the need for amendments. The plan review is an opportunity to reevaluate plan objectives based on the latest existing conditions and latest growth trends.

As mentioned above, much of the Comprehensive Plan adopted in 2016 remains unchanged with this update. In general, the Plan recommends most future residential and commercial development within a defined Urban Services Area that encompasses the developed areas in North Stafford and South Stafford, along the Interstate 95 corridor U.S. Route 1 and U.S. Route 17. Development is discouraged outside of these areas, as the infrastructure does not exist to support additional growth. 

Many of the adopted amendments are minor. These changes include updates to demographic data and public facility and infrastructure inventories. Policies were updated to address the siting of utility-scale solar facilities and affordable housing. Several changes were made to the Land Use Plan chapter. The amendments streamlined land-use plan recommendations to make it more user-friendly. Only one minor adjustment to the Urban Services Area (USA) resulted from the amendment, adding the Stafford Middle School and Brooke Point High School sites into the USA.  Previously designated Targeted Growth Areas, where the highest-density development is recommended, were modified. Two of the TGAs (Brooke Station and Leeland Station) were removed from the Plan. The remaining TGAs are now referred to as Targeted Development Areas (TDAs). A new TDA was designated in the Boswells Corner area of the County, with an emphasis placed on commercial and business development opportunities in this area. 

This update to the Comprehensive Plan reinforces the County’s vision for how it intends to accommodate growth into the future. It informs property owners of what is recommended in and around their property and assists County Planners when evaluating new development proposals or crafting development regulations. For complete details, please visit our Planning and Zoning Department’s webpage.