Regulatory Hurdles and Lack of Infrastructure Hinders Fluvanna Economic Development

By Bryan Rothamel, Field Officer

In an effort to become more educated about the economic development process, the Fluvanna County Board of Supervisors  were briefed about what goes into site selection and site analysis for prospective businesses.

Joe Hines from Timmons Group, gave the presentation about general information that goes into site selection and specifically looked at one property in Fluvanna.

The bottom line, Fluvanna has no property that is close to being ready for a large outside business to develop.

In Hines’ presentation he gave examples of large projects that have either looked at Virginia or committed to move to Virginia. They included projects like Amazon and Caterpillar.

The property in Fluvanna that was examined was the old Cosner location. It is over 100 acres with a potential buildout for 706,000 square feet over multiple buildings. The property was rated to be the lowest tier preparation for potential businesses.

It lacks studies and permits, but the major drawback is no public water or sewer. The entire development, as with everything in the Zion Crossroads area of the county, would have to be on wells and septic.

Welcome to Fluvanna CountyLocalities can proclaim a desire to lower their residential tax burden but then stop development by slowing the process.

“Either you get it or you don’t; you’re for it or you aren’t,” said Hines.

The county can help make land in the county more appetizing for business. Besides building water and sewer infrastructure, the county is in the process of developing economic development strategy.

The county already has transportations and utility infrastructure in the Zion Crossroads area.

“This is a team effort,” said Tony O’Brien (Rivanna District) said.

Area residents did attend the presentation about how to ready land for such development. Hines said the area lacks 100 acre lots that are ready for development. Fluvanna is years away having a lot that would be considered ‘ready to go.’

In the Central Virginia area, there were 13 announced new economic development projects. Those projects created 520 jobs with none coming to Fluvanna. Culpeper had the largest bump and that was driven by its location and incentives.

The supervisors will have a water infrastructure planning session on Dec. 17 at 4 p.m.

A decision like building water infrastructure will be costly and won’t have return of investment for over decade, at least. If it is anything like the last major capital project for the county, the high school building, it will cost political capital also.

“You could be making a decision that will cost you your seat,” said Hines.

The county is studying ground water availability in the area also. Supervisors are expected to discuss water infrastructure in total on Dec. 17. The James River Water Authority, a joint venture with Louisa, is also an option for the county.

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bryan-rothamel.jpgThe Free Enterprise Forum’s coverage of Fluvanna County is provided by a grant from the Charlottesville Area Association of REALTORS® and by the support of readers like you.

Bryan Rothamel covers Fluvanna County for the Free Enterprise Forum

Photo Credit: Central Virginia Partnership for Economic Development

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