Orange County

The draft being considered is a severe departure from Orange’s current Comprehensive Plan, creating brand new classifications such as Town Suburban Residential and recommending expanded commercial activities both south of Orange on Route 15 and along most of the Route 3 corridor (including lands within the Wilderness Battlefield National Park along Route 20).

The Board of Supervisors is considering a new plan that calls for major development along Routes 20, 15, and 3 and increased residential and commercial development on agriculturally zoned land by 2025. If adopted, this plan has the potential to negatively impact housing values, future tax rates, and the rural nature of this county.

The draft being considered is a severe departure from Orange’s current Comprehensive Plan, creating brand new classifications such as Town Suburban Residential and recommending expanded commercial activities both south of Orange on Route 15 and along most of the Route 3 corridor (including lands within the Wilderness Battlefield National Park along Route 20).

Many productive agricultural areas are also being targeted for increased density and commercial. As well, expanded economic development areas and new villages are called for along our major transportation routes—completely ignoring the destructive force of sprawl, allowing strip commercial along the roadways that serve as the commuting routes for county residents

Public Hearing on October 22, 2013 at 7pm! At the Taylor Education Administration Complex -- 200 Dailey Dr., Orange 22960 (The old Prospect Heights Middle School)

The Devil’s in the Details

When Counties update their Comprehensive Plans, there can be a temptation to allow a large increase development potential in the rural area that are unrelated to agriculture—particularly during a down economy. In this case, the County’s new draft Comprehensive Plan would do just that.

Problems with the New Plan
 

  • The Route 3 Growth Area Gets Even Bigger
    Most of the Route 3 corridor would be designated for “Town Suburban Residential and Potential Economic Development” (meaning the corridor would continue to be targeted for housing and commercial development in a haphazard manner). The area designated for development has grown to include lands to the north and west of Lake of the Woods. With over 1,700 approved and unbuilt lots already on the corridor, vacant homes for sale, and plenty of commercial zoning to accommodate new business, this expansion is simply not needed.
  • A-2 (Agricultural) Doesn’t Seem So Agricultural
    This designation, shown on the map in yellow, has a definition that blurs the lines between agricultural, residential and commercial uses—and explicitly supports the conversion of productive agricultural lands to residential development. In other words, we’re looking at growing more houses, not crops.
  • Unnecessary 4-Laning and Realignment of Route 20 through the Park
    The plan now calls for Route 20 to be 4-laned from the Town of Orange to Route 3 and realigned through the Wilderness Battlefield Park, an enormous expense and a threat to the Park.
  • New Villages (V) and Economic Development (ED) Designations
    The addition of Economic Development and Village designations along Route 20 raises questions about how effective 4-laning would be. New development causes new traffic lights and numerous curb cuts along the corridor. Sprawling development along this corridor will further degrade the County’s transportation infrastructure and our rural character.
  • New Town Suburban (T-S) Designation
    This new designation, shown on the map in orange, indicates higher density development on outskirts of our towns. The definition includes mixed use development in areas adjacent to town boundaries (and Lake of the Woods) with moderately intensive residential and commercial development. It is stated that these areas should have town densities and that water and sewer services should be extended into these areas. There are over 4,200-acres targeted for this new designation, which would directly compete with the thousands of approved and unbuilt units within our existing towns and growth areas—like Round Hill in the town of Orange or Wilderness Shores on Route 3—and in our rural area (byright divisions).
  • Sprawl Along the Route 15 Corridor
    Increased commercial and industrial development as called for by the “Economic Development” areas is totally at odds with the corridor’s largely agricultural character, and threatens an important aquifer.
  • Economic Development Designation Within the Wilderness Battlefield National Park Boundary
    The current land use and zoning of private land within the Battlefield boundary is agricultural. However, instead of calling for this land to be A-1 (which historic sites and sensi-tive conservation areas are supposed to receive), the new plan identifies this land as ‘Economic Development,’ supporting 4-laning and realignment of Rt. 20 though the Park boundary.
  • Design Standards?
    The plan continues to ignore Route 3 resident’s calls for better design standards. Orange should adopt a Tourism Corridor Overlay District. Orange should set a high standard for future

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