Study of Properties within the Rural Area of the Comprehensive Plan and the

Albemarle County Service Authority Jurisdictional Area




Since the Board’s directive in 2003 to study the possible implications of serving all RA properties within the ACSA Jurisdictional Area boundaries (JA), County staff has worked to update the ACSA Jurisdictional Area maps into the County GIS system. This was an important first step to allow more detailed analysis of the Jurisdictional Area properties. The County then worked with the Service Authority to obtain information regarding what service was already being provided to parcels within the Rural Areas of the Comprehensive Plan that are within the Jurisdictional Area boundaries. 


History of Jurisdictional Area Boundaries


During the latter part of 1980, the Board of Supervisors approved the redrawing of the Service Authority’s jurisdictional boundaries. The current Jurisdictional Area boundaries were identified and adopted in 1982 based on parcels that were adjacent to utility lines with structures that would potentially need usage. The four categories of service were also established in 1982 (“water and sewer” service, “water only”, “water only to existing structures”, and “limited service”).   “Water and sewer” service permits both services to a parcel without restriction and is intended for the designated development areas. The “water only” designation permits only water to a parcel, but that service is permitted without restriction.  The “water only to existing structures” limits water service to only those structures on the parcel at the time the parcel is so designated.  The “limited service” designation is used to place specific restrictions on utility use or to document the structures on the parcels that are eligible for water or sewer service. 


It should be noted that there were identified water and sewer service areas predating the 1982 Jurisdictional Area boundary designations.  The jurisdictional boundaries for service were identified by the County in the County’s Comprehensive Plan.  Because the earlier Comprehensive Plans (1971 and 1977) had larger and more Development Areas designated (including the Ivy Village), more area was anticipated to receive utility service than is anticipated in the current Comprehensive Plan.  An amendment to the 1977 Comprehensive Plan for jurisdictional areas included the following:


Water Only: Water only districts are recommended for those areas where existing customers, proximity to the existing transmission lines, and/or planned densities of development make water service both feasible and desirable.  There are two water only areas in the staff recommendation:


(1)   The Ivy village area, following the boundaries of the old area #5, with an extension east to Ivy Creek in order to include existing customers: and


(2)   The North Pines Subdivision, just to the west of the Piney Mountain village area, due to the conditions of approval requiring water for the development.


Therefore, it appears the Jurisdictional Area maps were amended to include areas along the Route 250 corridor between the designated urban area to, and including, the then Village of Ivy.  This area was given the designation of “water only.”  This designation limits the service to properties to only water (no sewer) but does not limit service to only existing structures.  New construction on these properties (and subsequent lots subdivided from these properties) could be eligible for public water.


Since 1982, major areas of the County have been added to the JA as a result of major health and safety concerns (Key West in 1997) or because new development areas were designated (Village of Rivanna). Ivy was designated a Village as a result of the first Comprehensive Plan adopted by the County in 1971 but lost the Village designation as a result of the adopted 1989 Comprehensive Plan (Ivy’s new designation became Rural Areas). 


Mr. Brent was with the Service Authority during the redrawing of the jurisdictional boundaries in 1980.  Staff talked to Mr. Brent and was told that Ivy remained an area designated for water service after the Village designation was dropped.  His recollection was that the Board of Supervisors acknowledged that a village existed at Ivy whether it carried the official designation or not and that public water service would likely be necessary at some point in the future.  The history of well failures may also have been a consideration.  County staff concurs with these comments.


Mr. Brent also pointed out that Ivy is not unique in remaining as a water service area.  There are “water only” areas beyond the Crozet growth area boundary, as is the case is for Scottsville along Route 6, west of the town.  Similarly, a water main does not exist along Old Lynchburg Road, but the area is designated for water service beyond the growth area boundary.        


 Land Use Plan Policy-Public Water and Sewer in the Rural Area


Existing County policy in the Comprehensive Plan does not support public water and sewer service to the Rural Area. It stresses that these utilities should only be available for the Development Area and the boundaries of service should coincide with the Development Area boundaries.  The policy discourages the extension of public water and sewer into the RA except in cases where lines are adjacent to the property requesting service and there is an existing health/safety issue.  Specifically, the Comprehensive Plan notes the following:


Recommendations for Defining Public Water and Sewer Service Area:

[Note: these recommendations provide the basis for the designation of JA boundaries]


Water and Sewer Planning:

Water and sewer facilities are essential if the urban densities recommended in the land use plan are to be realized. Available water supply and wastewater treatment capacities can limit the ultimate number of connections which can be made to either system.


More important to the effective use of these capacities for future growth is the strategic location and sizing of necessary water storage facilities, water distribution, and wastewater collection lines. The provision of water with adequate pressure to support necessary fire flows is equally important. Coordination of utilities and land use planning also requires the provision of utilities where they are needed, and policies to ensure that Development Area densities and areas designated are appropriate.


Rural Development

Goal: Discourage rural residential development other than dwellings related to a bona fide agricultural/forestal use. The limited amount of residential development, which is permitted in the Rural Areas, shall be located in a manner to minimize impact on rural resources and to minimize conflict with agricultural/forestal activities.


Water Resources:

Since 1972, Albemarle has enacted and enforced measures to protect the watersheds of the public water impoundments within the County and has successfully defended these measures in litigation. Urban and suburban development in water supply watershed areas causes the degradation of water quality through runoff from development activities, and conflicts with water quality protection efforts. Therefore, it has been a County policy to restrict development in water supply watersheds and to discourage the location of public facilities such as public sewer and water lines and major roads. The policy of protecting the environmental integrity of these watersheds will continue to be an important component of this Comprehensive Plan.



Data on Rural Area Properties in the Albemarle County Jurisdictional Area


Information on ACSA JA properties was derived from the County’s GIS system and from information provided from the ACSA. The Rural Area properties comprise about one-sixth, or 16%, of the total parcels within the ACSA Jurisdictional Area. The majority of JA area outside of the Development Area is designated for water service only. There are 2,660 parcels (totaling 10,410 acres) within the Rural Area portion of the JA.  Of those properties, only 556 parcels (totaling 1,836 acres) are not currently served by the ACSA.


ACSAJA Profile 

16,339             Total parcels in ACSAJA

2,660               Parcels in the ACSAJA in Rural Area

10,410             Deeded acreage of parcels in ACSAJA in Rural Areas

Service provided to ACSAJA properties in the RA:

1,533               Parcels that have water service only

579                  Parcels that have both water and sewer service or sewer only

556                  Parcels with no service 

307                  Undeveloped parcels

            1,836               Acreage of Undeveloped Parcels without service





Profile of Properties without Service: Number, Size, Zoning, Geographic Distribution:


There are 556 parcels within the Rural Area of the JA that are not currently served by the ACSA. Of those properties, 307 are undeveloped, totaling 1,836 acres. There are approximately 200 undeveloped parcels without service that are located within existing rural residential subdivisions that are already partially served by the ACSA. Some of these subdivisions include Key West, Colhurst Farm, Ashcroft, and Farmington. Most of the parcels without service are located within areas of the Jurisdictional Area already served, not on the fringe of the JA. Service to these properties would not result in an increased number of utility lines adjacent to the RA. This is not true for areas surrounding Crozet and the Town of Scottsville, where there are properties to the north and east of Scottsville not currently served and there are properties around Crozet not served.


Zoning of Undeveloped Parcels in the ACSAJA in RA                                                                   

(Excluding the Town of Scottsville)



Rural Areas


Planned Residential Development


R1 Residential


Light Industry


Village Residential


R6 Residential


Commercial Office


R2 Residential




R15 Residential


Highway Commercial







Development Potential of Undeveloped Properties within the JA and RA:


There are 159 vacant parcels totaling 690 acres zoned Rural Areas within the Rural Areas of the County as designated by the Comprehensive Plan. At a glance, the majority of these vacant parcels, along with all other zoning categories of vacant parcels in the RA, are scattered throughout the County. The majority of the vacant RA zoned parcels located in the JA, and which are not served, are less than 5 acres in size and would therefore have limited residential development potential. The table below indicates the number of parcels based on acreage ranges. There is only one vacant 100-acre parcel in the RA that can be served by the ACSA.  The R1 Residential zoned properties are located surrounding Crozet (110+ acres) and also along Fifth Street, just outside of Neighborhood 5 and is the location for the recently approved Mosby Mountain subdivision. The Ashcroft development and multiple parcels on the west side of Old Lynchburg Road (south of Mosby Mountain Subdivision) make up most of the 642 acres zoned PRD.  The Light Industrial zoning is located on the south side of Route 250 outside Crozet.



Acreage of Undeveloped RA Parcels

           in the Jurisdictional Area


Parcels less than an acre:      60

Parcels 1-2 acres:                  35

Parcels 2-3 acres:                  25

Parcels 3-4 acres:                  14

Parcels 4-5 acres:                    4

Parcels 5-6 acres:                    3

Parcels 6-7 acres:                    6

Parcels 8-14 acres:                  5

Parcels 22-40 acres:                6

Parcels 100+ acres:                 1

159 Parcels:                690 acres



Staff Analysis: Board Options and Implications with each Option


The following are the key points to consider regarding this issue:



The following are options for amending the Jurisdictional Areas located in the designated Rural Area.  The first option is the null (no change) option.  Options 2 through 4 can be done independently or in combination with one another.  Any changes to the existing Jurisdictional Area boundaries will require public hearing and notice to all affected parties.


  1. Do not change the ACSAJA Boundaries or type of service designation at this time.

This option would have no effect on property owners in the County. Based on input Staff has received from citizens in the Ivy area, this is a desired option. There are some areas in the County that are prone to well failures and it would be a substantial burden and cost for property owners who now are within the JA, if taken out the JA, to meet the criteria set forth in policy to extend service to them.  This option, however, does not address the

inconsistency of the JA boundaries with current County policy regarding the provision of service to the RA,

impact to overall water supply/treatment capacities, and pressure to continue to extend lines generated by providing service to this area.


  1. Take all parcels without service that are vacant out of the JA.

This option would also make the Rural Area part of Jurisdictional Area more consistent with current County policy for utility service in the Comprehensive Plan.  Because these properties are undeveloped, they would not be eligible for service until the properties were first developed (on private systems) and later encountered a health or safety issue.  Any additional use would be subject to Board approval through the Jurisdictional Area amendment process.  Within the Rural Area, the criteria for reviewing and approving an amendment for service is based on the existence of a documented health or safety issue and adjacency to an existing line.  This option would impact 307 parcels.  


  1. Designate all of the JA in the Rural Area currently designated for “water and sewer” service or “water only” service which is already served by the ACSA as “service to existing structures only”.

This option would make the Rural Area part of Jurisdictional Area more consistent with current County policy for utility service in the Comprehensive Plan, in that it would limit future use to only the existing structures at the time of the amendment.  Service would be limited to structures currently in existence.  Any additional service (beyond the existing structures) would be subject to Board approval through the Jurisdictional Area amendment process.  For the Rural Area, the criteria for reviewing and approving an amendment for service is based on the existence of a documented health or safety issue and adjacency to an existing line.  For parcels that are undeveloped, option 2 (above) would also have to be used, since there are no existing structures on the undeveloped parcels.  This option would impact the most property owners (2400 parcels). Approximately 2100 parcels have either “water and sewer service” or “water only designations,” and 307 parcels are undeveloped.



  1. Remove only certain geographic areas of Rural Area from the ACSAJA.

There are portions of the JA that are not currently served by the ACSA and service to these particular areas may result in extension of lines adjacent to the Rural Areas.  If the Board is most concerned about extending utility lines further in the RA and increasing the number of RA properties that are adjacent to lines, then this may be an option to consider. This is a parcel specific approach that would require further study and analysis to determine the particular impact of these parcels if provided with service and which particular parcels should be taken out of the Jurisdictional Area. This option would be labor intensive for staff to undertake and decisions will need to criteria based to insure fairness and avoid the perception of arbitrary decisions.


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