AC44 Update: Dec. 12, 2023

The following text was sent out via email on December 12, 2023. Sign up for AC44 email alerts →

Dear Supporter,

It’s official! The County has decided to prepare standalone Rural Area and Development Areas chapters in the AC44 Comprehensive Plan, reversing course on their initial proposal to combine the two into a single Land Use and Transportation chapter. This is a big win! Thanks to all of you who helped advocate for this change.

Three decades of community survey results and recent feedback from public engagement specifically related to the AC44 Comprehensive Plan have consistently revealed, with great clarity, that a majority of County residents highly value and want to prioritize the County’s Rural Area. The County has done this in the past two comprehensive plans with the inclusion of a Rural Area chapter. A separate chapter is required to adequately address the complex interrelationships of natural and cultural resources and Albemarle’s unique rural communities.

At the time of our last AC44 update, we were encouraged by the direction that the AC44 process was going after hearing that a standalone Rural Area chapter might happen. Now, armed with confirmation of this milestone achieved, PEC’s sights are set on the next Planning Commission work session next Tuesday, Dec. 19. We are advocating for the adoption of six other recommendations for the AC44 Comp Plan to ensure that Albemarle County is planning with respect for the environment and the people who are impacted by it.

PEC’s Recommendations for the AC44 Comp Plan

  1. Include a Rural Area chapter to address the complex interrelationships of natural and cultural resources and the County’s unique rural communities. 
  2. Include a strong recommendation for the creation of a Rural Area Plan that addresses the specifics within that chapter with the same intentionality as the master plans for the Development Areas. 
  3. Include a recommendation for the establishment of a Development Areas Task Force to overcome the obstacles to accommodating projected growth in the current Development Areas.
  4. Do not map/identify potential expansions of the Development Areas because it would draw attention away from currently feasible strategies that direct growth into the Development Areas.
  5. Limit future planning of the I-64/US250 Yancy and I-64/US250 Shadwell interchanges to protect the Rural Area and its important resources. 
  6.  Include strong recommendations for consistent and dedicated funding for the land conservation and purchase of development rights programs to protect aspects of the Rural Area, including drinking water supplies and biodiversity. 
  7.  Include a recommendation for an updated Historic Preservation Plan and a Historic Preservation Ordinance to preserve and revitalize our important places and communities.

AC44’s timeline was adjusted to accommodate the Rural Area / Development Areas chapter change. The next work session on Tuesday, Dec. 19, will still cover land use, transportation, and feedback on the County’s specific planning priorities, called Toolkits. But instead of releasing the goals and objectives prior to this meeting, as they have in the previous work sessions, they will be presented in early 2024 at an additional Planning Commission work session to review Rural Area Land Use and TransportationDevelopment Areas Land Use and Transportation, and Community Facilities. Questionnaires for these topics and their draft goals and objectives will likely be shared with the public in January. We will share them when they are made available.

Until then, we strongly encourage you to engage with the Planning Commission in writing, in person next week, or virtually – it’s up to you!

Ways to Provide Comments Before or During the Work Session:

  • Submit Comments in Writing: Public comment will be accepted in writing at the meeting, or by emailing comments to and 
  • Speak Up Tuesday, December 19, at 6 p.m.: Citizens have three minutes to speak directly to the Planning Commission at the start of the session. Come to Lane Auditorium in the County Office Building or comment virtually to have your voice heard
  • Attend the Work Session: Showing elected and County officials that their citizens are paying attention to the decisions that impact them is significant. Tell your friends and family what you heard after the work session.

If you know anyone who may wish to receive these AC44 email updates from PEC, please forward this email to them and let them know that they can sign up for the list here. You can also find our past AC44 alerts here. We hope to see you next week!

Thank you!

Rob McGinnis, PLA FASLA
Senior Land Use Field Representative
Albemarle & Greene Counties
(434) 962-9110