The Central Virginian

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Louisa’s emphasis on staying rural

Posted on Thursday, May 23, 2019 at 5:00 am

The commission meets May 23 at 6 p.m. in the public meeting room of the county office building to discuss the comprehensive plan.
Stock photo.

A more robust commitment to protecting the county’s rural areas may be the most noticeable change in the draft comprehensive plan, which will get an official public hearing at the Louisa County Planning Commission meeting on May 30.

The slimmed-down plan calls for a dramatic reduction in the amount of land designated for development, and a corresponding increase in rural areas. The plan’s vision statement has been shortened from multiple paragraphs to one sentence that emphasizes the county’s rural nature.

“We strengthen our sense of community by providing resources to residents, promoting agriculture and forestry, ensuring environmental stewardship, establishing reasonable growth areas, and maintaining our rural character,” the vision statement reads.

That language, along with everything else in the plan, is subject to revision at a planning commission work session on May 23 at 6 p.m. Members of the board of supervisors may also choose to edit the document when it reaches them this summer.

The commission and board have been busy not only with the comprehensive plan, but also review of Shannon Hill Regional Business Park and numerous apartment developments proposed in Zion Crossroads.

Meanwhile, the Agricultural/Forestal Rural Preservation Committee, which met for the first time at the end of March, has wasted little time in delving into how it can influence rural area protection.

At the group’s April 25 meeting, the committee passed a resolution calling for a statement in the comprehensive plan that the county will maintain land use taxation. Charles Purcell, one of the group’s eight members appointed by the supervisors, proposed the resolution, which passed 8-0-1. Jerry Veneziano abstained from the vote, citing his work for the Virginia Department of Taxation.

The draft plan that county staff submitted to the planning commission this week lists land use taxation as a tool to help maintain the county’s rural character, but not as a specific goal or objective. Taxes are much lower for agricultural, forested and open space properties because they are taxed based on their use value, rather than market value. That encourages landowners to keep farming, growing trees, or doing something else other than developing their property.

(Article by David Holtzman)

This is a partial article. Read the full story in The Central Virginian’s May 23, 2019 issue.

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