GOAL: Protect and efficiently utilize County resources by:
A. Emphasizing the importance of protecting the elements that define the Rural Area:
1) Agricultural and forestry resources
2) water supply resources
3) natural resources
4) scenic resources
5) historic and cultural resources
6) limited service delivery
Of these, the protection of agricultural and forestry resources is the highest priority.
B. Promoting the Development Areas as the place where a variety of land uses, facilities, and services exist and are planned to support the County’s future growth, with emphasis placed on infill development.
(As Amended July 10, 2002)
The County's primary growth management goal directs development into designated areas and conserves the balance of the County for rural areas and resource protection. Resource protection is the basic theme behind the County's growth management approach. To this ongoing theme are added new emphases on intelligent use of Development Areas, public facilities and resources. Thus, planning efforts aim to channel growth into designated areas to facilitate economical service delivery in those areas, to promote a sense of neighborhood-style development as the preferred design in those areas, and to conserve the Rural Areas.
Planning efforts also focus on means to discourage development in the Rural Areas and support activities consistent with the character of the Rural Areas. This is accomplished through education, incentives, and voluntary and regulatory measures. Agricultural and forestal resources have been identified as the most critical County resources and the desired primary land use in the Rural Area. Such uses play an important and long standing role in the environment, heritage, and economy of the County. Loss of these resources to development is irreversible and irreplaceable. Maintenance of these resources also provides an opportunity to conserve and efficiently use other resources such as: (1) water resources (with use of property conservation techniques); (2) natural, scenic, and historic resources with the maintenance of pasture land, farmland, and forested areas; and, (3) fiscal resources by limiting development and lessening the need to provide public services to wide areas of the County. In the interest of this growth management strategy, residential development is considered a secondary use in the Rural Areas.
It is important that this and future Comprehensive Plans make adjustments that can influence development patterns to better meet the growth management goals. Such adjustments can include more active County support of Development Areas development, adjustments to location and/or holding capacity, and additional protective or support measures for the Rural Areas. This plan emphasizes the County's role in providing necessary new and amended ordinances, regulations, support services and infrastructure for development, and more efficient use of Development Areas, including more urban and pedestrian oriented development styles. It must be recognized that the desired increased densities in the Development Areas will also require an increased commitment by the County for public infrastructure improvements. It must also be recognized that provision of infrastructure that successfully implements the Development Areas is highly dependent on the availability of adequate funding from a variety of sources. Traditionally such infrastructure has been programmed in the County’s Capital Improvements Program (CIP) and funded primarily through County property taxes on a pay as you go basis. But the scale and scope of the impacts of new development on this infrastructure necessitate greater financial participation by new development in addressing these needs. Furthermore, the provision of infrastructure that is more concurrent with needs may be best realized through longer term debt that utilizes the excellent bond rating of the County and can be financed through property taxes and funding commitments from new development.
Residents of the County expect high quality facilities and services. It is recognized that the provision of such facilities and services significantly affects the location, timing, and extent of development.
By their very nature, public facilities are capital-intensive, requiring significant funding not only for the initial development of the facility, but also for its continual maintenance and operation. It is becoming increasingly difficult for communities to find adequate fiscal resources to pay for new or improved facilities, as well as maintenance of existing facilities. Therefore, to provide facilities in a fiscally responsible and equitable manner, adequate planning is necessary to ensure that the highest benefit is provided to the citizens in exchange for the cost required to provide the service. The policies, objectives, and strategies presented in this chapter outline an active process to assure this success.
The County's growth management goals are to be supported through the appropriate provision of transportation, public utilities, and public facilities and services to designated Development Areas. The provision of fire, rescue, and police protection, roads, utilities, school bus service, and other governmental activities and functions to a large, dispersed rural population is viewed as inefficient and contrary to the overall public interest in guiding new development to the designated Development Areas.
Emphasis is placed on providing a level of public service delivery that will support development in, and direct development to, designated Development Areas. To accomplish this, service and facilities will be provided at a much higher level in the Development Areas than in the Rural Areas. Those persons living in the Rural Areas should not anticipate levels of public service delivery equal to services provided in the Development Areas.
The Capital Improvement Program (CIP) serves as the major financial planning guide for County expenditures towards capital facilities and equipment over a five-year period. It is primarily based on the physical needs of the County as identified in the Comprehensive Plan. It is one of the primary tools used to implement the Comprehensive Plan. Albemarle County adopted its first CIP on March 5, 1978. The CIP is reviewed annually by the Planning Commission, as authorized by Virginia Code § 15.2-2239, and is approved by the Board of Supervisors.
The CIP establishes a five-year funding schedule for the purchase, construction or replacement of the physical assets of the community. A capital project typically requires a minimum expenditure of $20,000 and has a useful life of a minimum of ten years. County departments and affiliated agencies initiate their capital project requests, which span the five-year period of the CIP. A CIP Technical Committee reviews all requests. Recommendations are then made by this Committee to the Planning Commission, which subsequently makes its recommendation to the Board of Supervisors for adoption as part of the County’s budget.
In conjunction with the CIP process, the County develops a comprehensive long-range capital needs assessment that forms the basis for the county’s five-year capital improvement plan. This ten-year needs assessment is updated every other year as part of the CIP process when departments are asked to submit capital requests spanning a ten-year planning period.
The CIP and capital needs assessment are a function of both the desire to provide facilities that support and implement the County’s Comprehensive Plan and the need for such facilities in response to the impacts of new development. As such, the funding necessary to support this program must be a shared obligation of the County and new development creating the impacts. In an effort to determine how to appropriately and equitably pay for the cost of growth to the County, the County Board of Supervisors directed the County’s Fiscal Impact Advisory Committee (FIAC) to analyze the fiscal impacts of development on the County’s public facilities and infrastructure and make recommendations as to the appropriate cash proffers to offset these impacts. On May 2, 2007, the Board accepted the cash proffer methodology recommended by the FIAC to calculate the impacts of residential development resulting from re-zonings on a per-dwelling unit basis. With the exception of affordable housing, there is an expectation that all new re-zonings that include residential development will pay for the equivalent of their full impact as determined by the cash proffer methodology and as implemented pursuant to the County’s cash proffer addendum to the Comprehensive Plan (see Appendix B: ALBEMARLE COUNTY, VIRGINIA CASH PROFFER POLICY FOR PUBLIC FACILITIES).
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