By William J. Des Rochers – Fluvanna Field Officer
Fluvanna County Planning Commissioners declined to make major changes to a draft Zoning Text Amendment (ZTA) that aroused concerns from developers. The planners met in a work session on July 11th to consider proposed changes that would have modified required landscape and stream buffers. Previously, the Board of Supervisors had returned the proposed amendment to the Planning Commission to consider changes in light of business concerns.
The most contentious of the issues – the requirement to place 75-foot buffers on either side of perennial streams and 50-foot buffers along intermittent streams – was not changed. Commissioners were amenable to allow for remediation plans to be submitted if developers sought waivers to the requirement. The authority to grant waivers would reside with the planning director.
The planning staff showed an aerial photograph of part of the Zion Crossroads development area that highlighted the impact upon a portion of the county’s designated growth area — however, the area shown already was largely developed. Staff did not present any information regarding the rest of the development area, nor did it show any intermittent streams that further would impact developable lots.
Thus, the commissioners were left with wanting to support the intent of the riparian buffers, but without any understanding of the economic development implications that would result from the introduction of riparian buffers.
Commissioners also expressed a desire to reduce the time for holding a landscape bond from three years to one.
Commissioners also agreed that if a developer were to incorporate “high quality landscaping and/or architectural features” into a subdivision, then the “subdivision agent” could approve a modified landscape proposal. Just what constitutes “high quality” was not further defined.
The Planning Commission’s next public meeting is scheduled for July 25th at 7:00 pm at the County Courthouse.
William Des Rochers is the Fluvanna County Field Officer for the Free Enterprise Forum a privately funded public policy organization.
The Free Enterprise Forum Field Officer program is funded by a generous grant from the Charlottesville Area Association of REALTORS® (CAAR) and by readers like you. To support this important work please donate online at www.freeenterpriseforum.org