Culpeper Fast Tracking Decision on New Comp Plan?

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aerial photo trees, houses and buildings in culpeper with mountains in background
Photo of Culpeper by Hugh Kenny/PEC

Draft Plan Calls for More Data Center and Residential Development in Culpeper’s Rural Areas

Dear Supporter, 

Culpeper County is in the final stages of updating its plan for future growth and development, so now is a critical time for you to weigh in.

Earlier this week, the County released its first draft of the new Comprehensive Plan and the Planning Commission could recommend approval or denial as soon as next week. The public will have a chance to comment on the draft and ask the Planning Commission to make changes at the public hearing on Thurs., Sept. 22 at 7 p.m.

We hope the Planning Commission will not rush a recommendation on the Comp Plan next week and instead allow more time and hold additional public hearings. Residents are usually given a lot more than a week and a half to fully digest the plan and provide feedback before it’s sent to the Board of Supervisors. The Board ultimately makes the decision on whether or not to adopt it.

The Comprehensive Plan is a critically important document that represents the community’s vision for the future of the County. It sets the framework for how land is used, identifies needed improvements to transportation networks and other public facilities, and provides a valuable guide for many other county programs and needs. Moreover, it affects all decisions and regulations regarding growth and development for the upcoming 5-20 years.

Initial Concerns

While I am still reviewing all the details of the draft plan, it’s already clear that it it would open up more rural land to residential sprawl and industrial development (including data centers). This could have significant impacts on taxes, traffic, and Culpeper’s agricultural and tourism economy, most of them negative.

Of particular concern are two newly proposed land use designations in areas currently planned for low-density rural development: ‘Commerce & Innovation,’ which would allow commercial, office and technological uses (which explicitly includes data centers) and ‘Activity Hub,’ which would allow moderate to high densities/intensities of residential and commercial development. See the orange and pink labels on the Future Land Use Map below.

culpeper county future land use map
This Future Land Use Map can be found on page 37 of Chapter 2: Land Use and Development.

We are also concerned that the Comprehensive Plan fails to take into account the newly approved Culpeper Battlefields State Park and how that might be used to enhance the existing historical, recreational, and agricultural economy. And if the County opens up more land to sprawl it could undermine the ability to make the park a destination that boosts the local tourism economy.

Weigh in:

I encourage you to scan through the draft plan and share your thoughts in-person at the upcoming Planning Commission hearing. If you cannot attend, you can also comment on the plan online.

Planning Commission Public Hearing
Thursday, September 22 @ 7 PM
Board of Supervisors Meeting Room
302 North Main St., Culpeper, VA 22701

As I learn more about what’s proposed in the draft plan, I’ll share PEC’s specific concerns and be sure to let you know what it gets right.

I hope to see you at the Sept. 22 public hearing. Don’t hesitate to reach out to me with any questions.


Sarah Parmelee
Land Use Field Representative
Culpeper County

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