Members of the Louisa County Planning Commission got their first look last month at residents’ long-term vision for the community.
Citizens gave their input during seven public meetings last summer on the current comprehensive plan. Now the commission is working on a new plan to serve the county for the next 20 years.
A seven-member citizens’ review committee appointed by the commission worked with county staff to organize more than 400 written comments submitted by residents. The committee and staff distilled the comments into 12 recommendations and presented them to the commission on Dec. 20.
The public input is expected to form an important part in the updated comprehensive plan, which last received a substantive review in 2001.
Residents identified some familiar priorities, such as broadband and protecting the county’s rural character, and issues that haven’t been highlights in the past such as a roof over the swimming pool at the Betty J. Queen Intergenerational Center.
“The citizens’ committee didn’t necessarily agree with [the roof] but were okay with including it in a plan,” Jeff Ferrel, assistant county administrator, told the commission.
Another concern for residents who attended the seven meetings is how commercial and industrial development looks. They asked for the county to establish a landscaping or screening ordinance that would apply countywide, but would not affect residential areas.
While the comprehensive plan is a guidance document and does not have legal force, language in the plan about the need to properly landscape or screen around commercial projects could provide the basis for an ordinance.
Louisa County Board of Supervisors member Bob Babyok (Green Springs district) asked county staff in 2017 to consider drafting a landscaping ordinance, although his colleagues were skeptical of the idea.
All the comments given at the meetings, as well as ideas from staff, the citizens’ committee, commissioners and supervisors, will contribute to the county’s land use plan. That core section of the comprehensive plan, in turn, will help shape associated plans for economic development, public facilities, transportation, water and sewer, infrastructure and historical resources.
One of citizens’ biggest complaints about the existing comprehensive plan is the lack of specific goals and objectives, Ferrel said.
This is a partial article. Read the full story in The Central Virginian’s Jan. 3, 2019 issue.
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