Work continues on draft land use map

Members of the county’s new comprehensive plan steering committee shared concerns and questions about a draft land use plan map last week.

At last week’s steering committee meeting, Planning Manager Barbara Fassett said the planning staff had offered the opportunity for a map workshop for each panel member.

Comments on the map were logged, she said, and “one question we did ask” was “Do you see the vision in this draft land use plan map?” Generally, she said, the answer to that question was “yes.”

Panel member Joan Girone asked how the panel was going to deal with the “25-acre issue.” In proposed countryside areas, residential density would be held to one dwelling or less per 25 acres.

“The landowners are really upset over the government taking land or determining the future value of their property,” she said. “It’s a big issue and it’s going to come forth. … We’re going to have to deal with it in some way.”

Planning consultant Milt Herd pointed out that designating a density in a comprehensive plan is not a “taking.” County planner Steve Haasch said the map was developed based on the vision of the new comprehensive plan.

Panel member Imad Damaj asked how the staff got to 25 acres. Haasch said 20-25 acres was a good stand to do active forestry on. There’s limited water and sewer access in most of the countryside area, Haasch said, and “it also does not bode well for septic tanks either.”

“I disagree with where the line was drawn for the countryside,” panel member Carrie Coyner said. There are several larger subdivisions right along the line, she said, and it doesn’t make sense to put the countryside density next to those subdivisions. Also, she said, there aren’t enough big industrial tracts designated.

Haasch pointed out that industrial uses were allowed in the regional center designation, as well as the mixed employment center designation.

COMMUNITY CENTER - Chester’ Iron Bridge Plaza Shopping Center

The Community Center designation calls for community-scale developments that serve community-wide trade areas and promote public convenience and accessibility. These areas would have a vertical and horizontal integrated mix of residential, office, public and commercial uses and a density of six to eight dwellings per acre.


The Regional Center designation calls for integrated developments containing a mixture of regional shopping centers, employment centers, major office/light industrial parks and high-density residential uses. These areas would have a vertical and horizontal integrated mix of these uses and a density of eight or more dwelling units per acre.

COMMUNITY CORRIDOR - Along U.S. 10 from U.S. 1 to Chester, to Walmart.

The Community Corridor designation calls for mixed-use corridors that provide areas primarily for transportation-oriented uses that serve community trade areas. These areas would have a vertical and horizontal integrated mix of residential, office, public and commercial uses and a density of six dwellings or more per acre.

MIXED EMPLOYMENT CENTER -  Along Meadowville Road, Ruffin Mill Road.

The Mixed Employment Center designation calls for developments that encourage the grouping of professional, administrative and research offices, laboratories and manufacturing uses with access to major road, rail and/or water transportation options.

URBAN DEVELOPMENT AREA -  U.S. 1 from 288 to about Kingsland Road

The Urban Development Area designation calls for mixed use centers appropriate for higher density development. These are focus areas for redevelopment and revitalization initiatives. These areas would include a vertically and horizontally integrated mix of residential, office and commercial land uses with a density of 12 dwellings or more per acre.


The Suburban Residential Community designation calls for communities that include a possible mix of residential unit types. Other appropriate uses include schools, parks, places of worship and other similar uses, as well as limited retail and personal services and limited professional and administrative offices that provide goods and services to nearby residential communities. This would have a density of three to six dwelling per acre.


The Countryside designation calls for agricultural and residential areas and uses that support a rural economy. Extremely low residential densities would maintain rural landscape characteristics, such as viewsheds and natural features. The density would be one dwelling per 25 acres.

According to information distributed with the Draft Land Use Plan Map, the map depicts the desired arrangement of future land uses for the entire county. The designations are very general and the land use plan map is not a zoning map.
The specific delineations between recommended land uses were made considering several geographic parameters:

  • Natural features such as streams, wetlands or flood plains
  • Man-made linear features such as roads, railroads, power lines, etc.
  • Service area boundaries of public utilities and facilities
  • Historic, cultural and/or environmental features
  • Parcel-based boundaries between land uses unlikely to change (i.e. established residential areas)
  • Other parcel boundaries if no other discernable delineation criteria applied


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