By William J. Des Rochers, Fluvanna Field Officer
Fluvanna County’s Planning Commission Chair Elizabeth Fortune is eager to finish the Comprehensive Plan and begin work on dealing with the other issues that face the county. Notably, she wants to address those changes in the zoning and subdivision ordinances that have been neglected while work continues on the Comprehensive Plan.
In an October 27th Free Enterprise Forum interview, she said: “After the Comprehensive plan is adopted, we will need to audit the existing ordinances, both for internal consistency and in light of the new Comp. Plan. I would like to see that process begin within six months of adoption [of the plan]”, she said.
Ms. Fortune also cites two other key elements of the Planning Commission’s work that will require quick attention: the County’s Capital Improvement Plan (CIP) which is part of the budget process, and a Telecommunications Master Plan for Fluvanna.
After an embarrassing public row over the education component of the CIP several years ago, the Planning Commission’s role in recommending capital projects to the Board of Supervisors was curtailed. But this year two members — Mr. Barry Bibb (Cunningham) and Mr. Joseph Chesser (Rivanna) – are reviewing the early submissions. The full Commission expects to make recommendations on particular projects.
The County’s pending telecommunications policy assumed a higher importance after Verizon announced it was deferring indefinitely any new county projects. Previously, the firm had one proposal turned down, and was delayed on another, both in the underserved Fork Union District.
Fortune was a bit more vague regarding how she sees the current Comprehensive Plan but sees much progress. “I am confident we are in the home stretch” she said, and believes that it is nearly complete.
“Overall [I am] substantially satisfied” Fortune said. “There are some specifics that have to be resolved, and that is why we [the Planning Commission] have set so many upcoming work sessions.” She declined to cite any specific concerns she had.
Fortune is gratified by the community’s involvement in the Comprehensive Plan process. For example, the Fluvanna Taxpayers Association (FTA) has offered a draft fiscal impact chapter for inclusion in the Comprehensive Plan. It would require, among other things, economic impact analyses on many new projects in the county.
Fortune said: “I’m very pleased about the level of citizen involvement … the FTA brings up [some] interesting points which have to be addressed by the Planning Commission”.
Fortune also praised the work of new County Planning Direct Darren Coffey. “I’m very pleased to be working with such a professional”, she said. “Overall, he is very responsive and highly knowledgeable [and] energetic.” Mr. Coffey has assumed much of the responsibility for writing the Comprehensive Plan and sought to ensure that it not only is internally consistent, but also a document that will meet with the widest possible approval.
The Planning Commission will continue meeting throughout November and early December to finish work on the Comprehensive Plan draft. It expects to provide its recommendations to the Board of Supervisors in January 2009.