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Healthy Growth Status


November Update:
For the better part of a year, Stafford’s Board of Supervisors has been discussing and soliciting input on healthy growth goals for Stafford’s future. After public input and work sessions, the Board narrowed its focus down to zoning changes to adjust density in rural and urban areas and enhancing the Transfer of Development Rights program. The Board plans to hold more discussions at a work session on Tuesday, December 10, 2019, at 5:30 p.m. in the Board Chambers of the George L. Gordon, Jr., Government Center, 1300 Courthouse Road, Stafford, VA 22554. Citizens are invited to learn more about the healthy growth decision process at the work session. A public comment period will be held immediately following the work session at 7:00 p.m. to allow citizens an opportunity to weigh in on the process thus far.

Where do things stand currently? At a work session held on November 6, 2019, the Board opted to consider three options with regard to zoning changes in rural areas: no change; upping the minimum three-acre requirement to a six-acre minimum; and upping the minimum to 10 acres. Any changes to zoning will require an amendment to the Comprehensive Plan and Zoning Ordinance.

July Update:
At the July 2, 2019, Board of Supervisors meeting, the Board gave staff direction to pursue the development of a revised TDR program and works session schedule through 2020. A full update is provided on July 11, 2019, in the linked article.

June Update:
The Board of Supervisors discussed Healthy Growth on Tuesday, June 14, 2019, at their 3:00 p.m. meeting. At that meeting, the Board voted in favor of Option 3, as presented here in the agenda. As a strategic priority, staff will come back with a schedule to provide more details.

Option 3: 
A change in lot size with a component of TDR (or other incentives that maintain property value). Staff recommends the same committee as in Option 2. This decision would necessitate a slower process due to the need to calculate development rights for the rural sending areas and ensure there are sufficient development rights in receiving areas (TGAs). 

May Update:
The Board of Supervisors held a Work Session on Healthy Growth on Tuesday, May 21, 2019, at 11:00 a.m. in the Board Chambers of the George L. Gordon, Jr., Government Center, 1300 Courthouse Road, Stafford, VA 22554.

The Board’s adopted strategic plan includes a vision for Healthy Growth.  Recently, the Board has directed staff to work with community stakeholders to develop actions to address the following three-year priority:

Identify and execute growth management strategies that align our Comprehensive Plan and infrastructure without negatively affecting taxation.
  • Incentivize growth in the Targeted Growth Areas (TGA).
  • Evaluate zoning outside areas served by public water and sewer to maintain the rural character of the County.

Healthy Growth News
  • Priority on Healthy Growth: Public Information Sessions
  • Priority on Healthy Growth: Understanding the Process and Providing Input
  • Priority on Healthy Growth: Public Input
  • Stafford Considers Cluster Subdivision Map as First Step in Smart Growth Analysis

Process Ahead
Process Ahead Document 

The Board has approved the following process in engaging with the public:
  • Phase one: Conduct stakeholder interviews and roundtables focused on collecting feedback to further development of strategic options.
  • Phase two: Utilizing gathered input, hold public engagement meetings providing educational context and solicit feedback regarding identified strategic options.
  • Phase three: Assemble the public engagement process data for the Board of Supervisors and Planning Commission to review identified strategic possibilities.
Healthy Growth Documents
Public Input Opportunities
Public Information Sessions
Monday, April 22, 2019 (Completed)
7:00 p.m.
Margaret Brent Elementary School
2125 Mountain View Road
Stafford, VA 22556

Tuesday, April 23, 2019
7:00 p.m.
T. Benton Gayle Middle School
100 Panther Drive
Fredericksburg, VA 22406

Stakeholder Roundtables
(Participation allowed only by roundtable stakeholders)

Wednesday, April 10, 2019 (Completed)
10:00 a.m. and 1:30 p.m.
Conference Room ABC
George L. Gordon, Jr., Government Center
1300 Courthouse Road
Stafford, VA 22554

Stafford is now the third fastest-growing county in Virginia. Recognizing this changing environment, Stafford’s Board of Supervisors adopted a 2040 Strategic Plan that includes a Healthy Growth priority focused on efforts to channel development into Urban Services Area (USA) and preserve our rural spaces. This direction allows the County to focus on infrastructure improvements to serve the citizens of Stafford efficiently with levels of service that enhance the quality of life. Additionally, Stafford’s approach protects the County’s natural and historic resources, open spaces, and farmland, preserving the rural nature of the County and allowing it to prosper.

Even with these efforts in place, Stafford County is a locality in transition whose population has grown 16% since 2010.  The once rural locality has seen substantial growth since the opening of Interstate 95 in the late 1960s.  Being located between the nation’s capital and the City of Richmond, it has become a prime location for exurban commuters to employment in those areas. 

Stafford has a long history of attempting to address concerns about the adverse impacts of residential growth starting in the 1970s. The efforts have not been successful in changing that development pattern to the desired state. More recently, Stafford has seen an acceleration of rural residential development during the recovery from the economic recession.

Since 2007, additional County-sponsored voluntary land preservation efforts have not been sufficient to steer residential development away from rural areas. This approach includes strengthening the goals in the County’s 2016 Comprehensive Plan that includes an Urban Services Area (USA) ripe for development.