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Planning

Posted on: February 21, 2020

Questions and Answers for Possible A-1 Zoning Changes

Questions and Answers on Possible A-1 Zoning Changes

  • Why is the Board of Supervisors considering a zoning change?
    • The Board of Supervisors has been discussing and soliciting input on healthy growth goals for Stafford’s future over the past year. This effort came out of the development of the Board’s first-ever Strategic Plan with Healthy Growth as a priority. This phase involves a zoning ordinance amendment that would apply to all property in the County zoned A-1, Agricultural. The goal is to identify a way to direct growth into more dense areas with the appropriate infrastructure and to conserve the rural character of our open spaces.
  • Has the Board passed anything yet with changes to the zoning ordinance amendment?
    • No. The Board has asked staff to draft an amendment to the current ordinance to add a one-dwelling unit per 10-acre allocated density while keeping the minimum three-acre lot size.
    • Cluster development would continue to be permitted as an option, but would be subject to the one-dwelling unit per 10-acre allocated density. The minimum lot size of 1.5 acres would still apply.
  • How does the draft language propose to define the net buildable area? 
    • Allowed (allocated) density will be determined by subtracting out wetlands, floodplains and slopes exceeding 35% to obtain a net buildable area. The net buildable area is divided by 10 to determine how many lots can be achieved.
  • Where are we in the adoption process?
    • The ordinance has not been drafted yet. The Board of Supervisors will have to authorize a future public hearing to receive public input before any ordinance may be considered.
  • Do you have an example? 
    • Scenario 1 – No net buildable area reduction: If someone has a 30-acre parcel, which equals the net buildable area (no wetlands, floodplains and slopes exceeding 35%), they may be able to divide the parcel into three lots (30 acres divided by 10). With three acres as the minimum lot size, the lots could include two three-acre parcels, with a third parcel of 24 acres. The 24-acre parcel could no longer be subdivided. They could also divide it into three equally sized 10-acre lots, which could no longer be subdivided.
    • Scenario 2 – With Environmental Constraints  (Net buildable area reduction): If someone has a 33-acre parcel, with 1 acre of wetlands, floodplains and slopes exceeding 35%, this results in 32 net buildable acres. The 32 acres is divided by 10 resulting in 3.2. As a result they could divide the parcel into three (3) lots. With three acres as the minimum lot size, the lots could include two three-acre parcels, with a third parcel of 27 acres. The 27-acre parcel could no longer be subdivided. They could also divide the parcel into three equally sized 11-acre lots, which could no longer be subdivided.
  • Didn’t the Board consider expanding the Transfer of Development Rights program to the whole County as part of Healthy Growth?
    • The Board considered several programs and options through the Healthy Growth process but opted to not amend the Transfer of Development Rights ordinance at this time. The ordinance will stay in effect the way it is currently written.

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