By. Teresa Gulyas, Greene County Field Officer
The April meeting of the Greene County Planning Commission opened with the introduction and welcome of new member Frank Steele.
Planning Director Bart Svboda reported on the status of the Greene County Capital Improvement Plan. Radio systems for E911 have been implemented and construction on Pump Station 13 is 80% complete. Commission members expressed disappointment with the input from several departments for the next fiscal year. Some departments were unable to prioritize projects and ranked all projects as number one. Other departments provided no response and input that was received reflected “almost a mirror image of last year’s requests” per Norm Slezak, Planning Commission chair. Commissioner Davis Lamb expressed the need for a solid Capital Improvement Plan to be able to get meaningful proffers from developers.
The Commission discussed its role in the process of capital planning and felt that they could not ascertain the accuracy of the costs of any given project. They did feel strongly that the CIP should reflect what is in the Comprehensive Plan and so deferred decisions until the next meeting. This will provide time to compare the two documents and make sure that all projects listed in the Comprehensive Plan are addressed in the Capital Improvement Plan. Departments will be asked to provide additional input no later than May 7 with clarity as to how they derived their figures.
The Planning Commission unanimously approved the two recommendations of the Agricultural and Forestral District Advisory Committee. These recommendations included reducing the time frame of the District from ten years to five years (four years is the minimum required by Virginia) and approval of Article 3 regarding the continuation of districts. The Commission wants to ensure that property owners have information about land that has switched from belonging to an AFD to a conservation easement. Anthony Herring, Planning Commissioner, suggested that related maps be color coded to differentiate how these lands are protected.
Stanardsville officials are in the process of advertising the ordinance that would be required for the Greene County Planning Commission to serve as the Planning Commission for Stanardsville. After a public hearing, the Town Council will decide whether or not to approve the ordinance. Pending approval, the May agenda for the Greene County Planning Commission will include items for recommendation to either the Stanardsville Town Council or the Greene County Board of Supervisors.
Leon Szeptycki, Director, UVA Environmental Law and Conservation Clinic, presented the “Reducing Runoff from New Development: Recommendations for Greene County” report. For more information or to obtain a copy of the report, contact the Rivanna Conservation Society. With Greene County poised at the headwaters of the Rivanna and Rapidan rivers, it is in control of the quality of water for the area and neighboring counties downstream. The report discusses the correlation between development and water quality with a goal of reducing the amount of impervious surface area. Among the recommendations included are:
- Reducing parking space requirements for professional office and retail buildings
- Increasing landscaping designed to collect and filter runoff in new parking lots
- Allowing landscaped islands incorporating stormwater features in the middle of cul-de-sacs
- Offering incentives to developers to preserve trees and utilize low impact development features
- Implementing a comprehensive buffers ordinance to protect water quality and water supply
The Comprehensive Plan was reviewed but layout and graphics errors remain a problem. A representative from the Thomas Jefferson Planning District Commission stated that the plan will need to be put into a more sophisticated computer program to eliminate these problems. The Commission unanimously agreed that these issues should not delay presentation of the plan to the Board of Supervisors.