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Stafford County officials exploring options to manage rural area growth

Stafford County officials exploring options to manage rural area growth


Stafford supervisors have directed county officials to begin looking into ways to refine the county’s Transfer of Development Rights Program as a way to manage growth in rural areas.

Part of that strategy involves seeking input from builders, property owners, residents and other stakeholders in the county over the course of the next several months.

“Basically everything’s on the table right now, it’s a clean slate,” said Supervisor Jack Cavalier.

TDRs help curb growth in rural areas by allowing landowners an opportunity to sell their development rights from their land to a developer who uses those rights to increase the density of development in the county’s Urban Services Area, which has access to public water and sewer services along the Interstate 95 and U.S. 1 corridors.

Supervisors determined the county’s TDR program requires additional input from residents, as well as a series of work sessions and county calculations to determine what should—or what should not—be included in a property’s transfer.

Rural lots eligible for TDRs and the density of those lots is one of the issues to be hammered out by supervisors in the upcoming months.

Stafford’s existing TDR program limits the transfer of property to a minimum of 20 acres of property zoned A-1. Some supervisors feel that number should be lowered.

County officials revealed a schedule for the remainder of the year that calls for meetings with land owners, builders, environmentalists and other stakeholders in the summer and fall of this year, as well as work sessions to discuss possible changes to lot sizes and the density of those lots.

Supervisors are expected to send their recommendations for a refined TDR program to the county’s planning commission early next year.

“We’ll set up advisory committees and get input from as many segments of the population as possible—developers, citizens—to reach a fair conclusion early next year,” said Cavalier.

James Scott Baron: 540-374-5438

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I spent 23 years in the Navy in media relations and as a reporter. Prior to coming to The Free Lance-Star in 2019, I volunteered with a local non-profit that helps formerly incarcerated people transition back into society. I'm also an avid motorcyclist.

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