By William J. Des Rochers, Fluvanna Field Officer
Fluvanna County’s Economic Development Commission is embarking on an ambitious program to engage the community in planning the county’s economic future. Commissioners are in the final stages of preparing a “business plan” that would be a reference point for those discussions.
At its August 11th meeting, the commissioners decided to merge two documents that will form the basis for the consultations; four goals, or “imperatives” as one version calls them, will define the criteria by which proposals should be judged. They are:
- Quality of Life and Convenience;
- Strong and Sustainable Jobs;
- Environmentally Efficient; and,
- Diverse the Tax Base.
The effort seeks to merge the objectives of the recently adopted Comprehensive Plan with the need to develop a diversified economic base in the county. A preoccupation with both planning and development commissioners will be how to balance development with the stated desire to preserve the rural character of the county.
This will not be easy. For example one development commissioner implied that a (hypothetical) major electronics plant in a rural part of the county might not be welcome because of the location. While the economic implications of such a plant would have to be known before such a decision could be made, it highlights the tension that exists between the two key objectives in the county.
The Commission hopes to wrap up the merged document by the end of August. It then will:
- Begin interviewing local businesses;
- Hold approximately twenty outreach meetings in the community – with a goal of reaching approximately one percent of the population (about 250 citizens); and,
- Designate, subject to Board of Supervisors’ approval, one area of the county as a “recovery zone” that would be eligible for recovery zone bonds.