Five-Year Work Program for Community Development



Work session to discuss five-year work plan for the update and implementation of the Comprehensive Plan and other improvements



Messrs. Tucker, Foley, Davis, Graham, Cilimberg, Benish






February 1, 2006


ACTION:                                INFORMATION X



  ACTION:                              INFORMATION











Because of increasing demands and shifting priorities for policy review, the concern expressed regarding the development review process and the Board’s new strategic plan priorities, staff is bringing its work plan forward for the Board’s review.  The Department has had a particularly challenging year with development review and has been faced with a number of Board priorities recently that have also challenged staff in assuring an effective plan and understanding of priorities is in place.  Staff hopes to receive direction from the Board regarding the current work plan and how the Board’s recent Strategic Plan and other initiatives should be prioritized.  Staff has done its best to place items in order of priority, but needs Board input to ensure that the plan addresses the items the Board feels are most important.  As a part of this consideration, the Board established the following Strategic Plan priorities in its most recent retreat that will effect the work plan and are to be completed in the next four years:


  1. Establish and Implement a schedule for completing the Master Plans for each County Growth Area
  2. Implement all strategies in the Rural Area Plan
  3. Increase land in conservation easements by 50% in 4 years in all ways— using both public and private sources and the use of educational means
  4. Implement additional strategies for resource protections—i.e.: mountain protection, forestry, and water
  5. Develop and implement an affordable housing policy that actually works 
  6. Implement an integrated Water Resource Management Plan
  7. Be proactive in promoting economic vitality 


In establishing the new strategic plan, the majority of the items identified by the Board at the retreat relate to the work of the Department of Community Development.  To be effective in addressing the Board’s expectations, direction on these priorities through the work plan is necessary. 


The work plan considers required reviews of the Comprehensive Plan and implementation of Comprehensive Plan strategies, proposed ordinance amendments, process improvement strategies, County representation on committees, and development related plan reviews, permits, and inspections.  The work plan has two parts.  The first part (Attachment B) outlines a detailed five year plan for review of the Comprehensive Plan to assure consistency with Virginia law and also lists the other tasks being managed by Community Development.  The second part (Attachment C) presents a detailed listing of work tasks for the current and next fiscal year.  However, Attachment A provides the easiest, summary view of the work plan items in a five year view. 


Staff developed a five-year work plan for reviewing and updating the Comprehensive Plan and implementing priority measures within the Plan.  Under Virginia law, the County is required to review its Comprehensive Plan every five years.  Because of the extent of the Comprehensive Plan, including the number of documents amended by reference into the Comp Plan, the County began undertaking a “rolling review” of the Plan, where certain sections of the plan are updated instead of undertaking a review of the entire Plan at one time (Attachment B).   The attached schedule also includes a listing of other major projects and ongoing assignments to be undertaken by the Department over the next five years. 



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Prioritizing Work and Allocating Resources

In considering a work plan, Community Development’s first priority is development related plan reviews, permit applications and inspections.  The development community rather than the County controls the volume and timing of that work. As previously discussed with the Board, this work typically requires about 75% to 85% of staff’s time. In years with high development activity, staff has less time available for other tasks typically directed by the Board of Supervisors and Planning Commission regarding policy review.  The work tasks on the attachments allocate that remaining 15% to 25% of available time to those items.  Almost all of the attached work plan priorities require team efforts rather than individual effort. For example, creating a rural area clustering ordinance requires involvement of planners, zoning staff, natural resources staff, and attorneys. With few exceptions, the tasks cannot be accomplished by simply dedicating a staff member to it.  For the same reason these efforts require a team, it would be difficult to contract with consultants to complete these tasks because of the various staff needed for the review and the time involved in managing and educating the consultant regarding the work required.  


Comprehensive Plan and Implementation of Comprehensive Plan Strategies

Staff has developed a five year work plan for review and updating of the Comprehensive Plan.  This work plan as been developed to assure consistency with Virginia law, allow the Board and staff to establish priorities and assure resources are being efficiently used.  In developing this work plan, staff has used the existing sections of the Comprehensive Plan as a basis for work programs.  As part of a future discussion with the Board, staff hopes to establish an annual process for review and updating of the work plan. 


The focus of this work plan is the five year schedule for the update of the Comprehensive Plan, and also includes a schedule for completing major implementation priorities of the Plan. The work plan is broken up into three main sections: Update of the Comprehensive Plan, Major Comprehensive Plan Implementation Projects, and Other Priority Projects.  The Other Priority Projects section provides a general overview of other projects being undertaken now or in the future by Community Development staff that are not directly related to the update or implementation of the Comprehensive Plan.  Most all of the dates included in the schedule indicate when staff work will be completed and forwarded to the reviewing body (usually the Planning Commission).  Staff has also identified where contract services (consultant assistance) or new staff will be needed to meet to complete assignments.


It is important to note that the ability to maintain the proposed schedule for the Comprehensive Plan update is dependent on having a consistent and predictable level of staffing (man hours) to devote to the projects.  It will be difficult to maintain this schedule if there is a continuing increase in work plan items and/or changes in priorities (new high priorities), and/or if there are sustained periods of heavy submittals of development review projects.    Based on the overall priorities established for Community Development projects, development review projects are considered the highest priority work item since these projects must be completed within a certain specified time frame.  Therefore, during periods of heavy development submittals, staff assigned to Comprehensive Plan updates/implementation projects may be needed to cover development review projects, or other new, high priority initiatives, identified by the Board/Planning Commission/County Executive’s Office.  Typically, over 60 percent of Planning Division staff time is devoted to development review related projects and 40 percent to other projects. 


It should also be noted that the anticipated scope for any particular project in the work plan may change as the project evolves through the course of its development or during review process, particularly for projects developed in conjunction with an appointed committee or multi-disciplined work team.


Other Department Efforts

Staff has included other tasks in the attachment.  In some cases, there has been little or no Board discussion of the specific task.  For example, staff is working on a study of County fees administered by this department.  That task is an outcome of the Strategic Plan and was budgeted, but discussion was limited to what was presented in the budget request and will need further definition.  Another example would be staff’s work on a proffer tracking system.  That task was anticipated when the Board approved the Zoning position for proffer management and is partially a result of State requirements for local governments that accept cash proffers.  Staff time is also spent on ongoing efforts, such as the annual review of the VDOT Six Year Plan, which are ongoing priorities. Finally, it should not be overlooked that considerable staff time is allocated to committees.  Those include both Board appointed committees and multi-jurisdictional efforts, such as the MPO.    



This work plan creates no additional budget impacts, but simply prioritizes existing efforts.



Staff has presented the attached work plan to receive input from the Board on priorities.  If the Board believes priorities should be shifted from those shown, staff will adjust the work plan to fit the Board’s expectations.  As future Board issues are raised, staff will ask that the work plan be reviewed again so that a priority for each new item can be established with respect to the other items in the plan.       .


Staff recommends the Board conduct an annual review of Community Development’s work plan to assure the priorities match the Board’s expectations. 



A – Community Development Work Plan

B - Five-Year Work Plan for Comprehensive Plan

C – Work Program by Fiscal Year (FY 05-06 and FY 06-07)
Return to regular agenda