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Urban Development Areas - Background

What is a UDA?
A UDA, or Urban Development Area, is an area designated by a locality in its Comprehensive Plan that is (i) appropriate for higher density development due to its proximity to transportation facilities, the availability of a public or community water and sewer system, or a developed area and (ii) to the extent feasible, to be used for redevelopment or infill development.

A Comprehensive Plan is a document that provides a vision for where a jurisdiction will be in the future in regards to the use of land, the future transportation patterns, protection of natural resources, and location and type of public facilities, schools, and parks.

Why designate UDAs?
House Bill 3202, passed by the Virginia General Assembly in 2007, mandated that certain high growth communities create Urban Development Areas (UDAs) within their Comprehensive Plan sufficient to meet projected residential and commercial growth in the locality for an ensuing period of at least ten but not more than twenty years.  Stafford County is considered a high-growth locality.  

In 2010, the General Assembly, through House Bill 1071, amended the UDA provisions, found in Section 15.2-2223.1 of the State Code, to require that any locality with growth rates of at least 5% and populations between 20,000 and 130,000 shall create the UDAs with residential densities of 12.0 condominiums or apartments, 6.0 townhouses, or 4.0 single family homes per acre and commercial densities of 0.4 FAR. The deadline for compliance is July 1, 2011.

What has Stafford done?
Over the past several years, Stafford has been going through the process to update its Comprehensive Plan. During the process it considered several alternative future land use scenarios, including how UDAs would be incorporated into future growth patterns.  After many public meetings, on December 14, 2010, the UDAs were adopted as part of the Comprehensive Plan. Then, following additional public workshops, on June 7, 2011, the UDAs were amended to conform with the state code.