Document looks 50 years into future for development along route 3 and route 20
Seeking additional clarification on conservation easement restrictions or modifications from the Virginia Outdoors Foundation and possible tax implications, the Orange County Board of Supervisors has postponed approval of a special use permit for a local farm-turned-event venue.
Orange County took its PowerPoint presentation of future economic vitality to the people last week in a dual public meeting Thursday evening at Lake of the Woods. Based on a similar presentation made to a joint meeting of the board of supervisors, planning commissioners and economic development authority members two months ago, the message sent to Route 3 residents and business owners was delivered not as “the” plan, but the plan for the plan of managing the corridor’s expected growth.
Less than a month from the grand opening of the Route 3 Walmart, the supercenter will have an early idea of what its next-door neighbor will look like. During its regular meeting Tuesday night, the Orange County Board of Supervisors voted 3-2 to approve the Signature Station rezoning, which proposes to bring two Walmarts worth of commercial space and 230 townhomes to the Route 3 corridor.
The first step in solving a problem is admitting there is one. Public hearings in Orange County tend to operate as larger discussions on the sustainability of rural living-can open spaces coexist with the encroachments of a modern world. A joint meeting held at the Orange County Airport last Thursday night between the board of supervisors, planning commission and economic development authority operated on the premise that the county's economy is dying and that without a focused, long-range plan for the specified growth areas on Routes 3 and 15, it could fall further and further behind.
The theme of this year's Orange County budget has been "living within means." Unable to rely on its tapped-out fund balance to maintain the status quo, the Orange County Board of Supervisors advertised an $87.3 million budget for fiscal year 2014, more than a $2 million decrease from last year's capital improvement (CIP) heavy budget.
Orange County's capital improvements fund fluctuates dramatically from year to year, with a history of annual swings of more than $1 million. This year's county administrator's proposed budget begins the CIP discussion with a 60 percent cut to the fund compared to last year and with projects mostly of the maintenance or replacement type. During its first budget worksession since receiving county administrator Julie Summ's proposed budget, the board of supervisors deliberated the peaks and valleys flow of CIP funding and whether or not a tax increase was in order to stem the tide.