Rural Areas (RA) Comprehensive Plan Work Session



Discuss any changes to be made to the RA Comprehensive Plan and review RA implementation steps



Tucker, Foley, Davis, Cilimberg, Benish, McDowell





March 2, 2005


ACTION:                               INFORMATION:      X



  ACTION:                             INFORMATION: 











On February 9, 2005, the Board of Supervisors conducted a public hearing to receive public comment on the Rural Areas section of the Comprehensive Plan.  Thirty-one people spoke at the hearing and the Board also received written comments from the public. The Board agreed to consider these comments at the March 2 work session. 


In addition, staff advised the Board that steps toward implementing the Rural Areas section would be discussed at the work session.




Goal 2.1:  Protect and/or preserve the County's rural character.

Goal 2.2:  Protect and/or preserve the County's natural resources.




This work session will consist of two components:

1) Discussion of public comments.

2) Review and discussion of RA Comprehensive Plan implementation steps.


In preparation for the discussion of the public comments, the Board was provided minutes of the February 9 public hearing by the Clerk. 


The focus of this report is to identify the major steps needed to implement the strategies contained in the Plan.  This initial implementation discussion includes the review of key implementation categories (Attachment A).  These categories are consolidations of strategies contained in the Plan that are considered by staff to have the highest priority for implementation.  For each of these categories, staff has identified pertinent policy and regulatory changes that will affect County operations, resource requirements necessary to accomplish these initiatives, and the length of time needed for the initiatives to be completed by staff. The timing does not include the period during which the Planning Commission and Board will conduct work sessions and hearings, as that time is less predictable.  It should be noted that the timing takes into consideration a reallocation of assignments (moving from work on the RA Comprehensive Plan amendment to work on implementing the Plan) based on existing staff resources.  In addition, the timing of these implementation steps does not assume that all implementation steps can take place concurrently; however, some of the steps are currently underway and some will be ongoing and/or long-term projects.  


Determining priority status and implementation impacts of the categories included the following steps:

·    Partner Consultation.  Planning Staff met with representatives from departments and agencies that will be involved in implementation, both within and outside the County organization.  Each of these implementation partners identified their resource requirements, service delivery modifications, budget requirements, timing, etc. that would be necessary for their involvement in implementation of each strategy.

·    Assigning Categories.  Each strategy contained in the Comprehensive Plan was assigned to a category that best represented the programs or tasks that would be necessary to achieve implementation.

·    Determination of Key Implementation Categories. Development pressures, specifically residential development, are considered the greatest threat to the Rural Areas.  Therefore, each implementation category was evaluated for its potential to lessen development pressure on the Rural Areas, both in the short term and for the long term.  The key categories in Attachment A were determined to have the greatest potential to lessen development pressures and were given the highest priority status for implementation.  It should be noted that all categories listed cannot be implemented at the same time.  The Board's assignment of priorities will determine the ultimate order.  Staff believes that Phasing of Development should be the first priority assignment and Mandatory Rural Preservation Developments (RPD) should immediately follow. The timing given for each of these categories has been based on this order.  Phasing would provide a potential slowing of the pace of new lot creation that would allow time to do a comprehensive review for RPD standards.  However, it should be noted that based on the inventory of existing undeveloped parcels in the Rural Areas and the historic average of new residential building permit activity in the Rural Areas, Phasing will not likely affect that building permit activity in the foreseeable future. 

·    Determination of Other Implementation Categories.  The categories listed in Attachment B were determined to have less potential to directly affect development pressures.  However, it should be noted that for other beneficial reasons some of these implementation steps are currently underway or could be undertaken along with the key categories noted above with minimal impact to staff and other resources.  An asterisk has noted these implementation initiatives in each attachment. 




Staff recommends that the Board discuss the public comments and give final direction to staff as to changes to the draft RA Comprehensive Plan amendment and set a date for approval of this amendment.


Staff further requests that the Board review staff’s recommended implementation priorities and make a final decision as to the priorities for the RA Comprehensive Plan amendment’s implementation.  The summary of major staff recommendations as detailed in Attachments A and B is as follows:


·    Phasing of Development (time release) – April 2005 – April 2006 (to Planning Commission)

·    Mandatory Rural Preservation Developments – April 2006 – April 2007 (to Planning Commission)

·    Dedicated and Increased Funding for ACE – Board funds in FY 2006-07

·    Create RA Support Program Position – Board funds in FY 2006-07

·    Crossroads Communities/Alternative Uses in RA – April 2007- April 2009 (to Planning Commission)

·    Review of Use Value Taxation Program – TBD

·    Pursue Voluntary Donation of Conservation Easements – Somewhat underway

·    Track and Monitor Conservation Easements – Begin July, 2005

·    Rural Rustic Roads as Alternative – Underway

·    Research TDR Programs and Support TDR Legislation – Next General Assembly

·    Implement Mountain Overlay District – Consideration Underway

·    Amend Code for Tours of National and State Registered Historic Sites/Buildings – Consideration Underway




A          Key Implementation Categories Chart

B          Additional Implementation Categories

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