The Stafford County Board of Supervisors will host a joint public hearing with the Stafford County Planning Commission on Thursday, October 29 at 6:30pm on downzoning. This meeting will be held at Colonial Forge High School, located at 550 Courthouse Road, to allow for physical distancing. The only item on the agenda for the meeting will be Stafford County’s proposal to downzone land in the A-1 category from a minimum lot size of 1 home per 3 acres to 1 home per 10 acres. The Board can adjust that acreage down at that meeting, but cannot increase it and cannot consider any other alternatives to the downzoning. Check out Stafford’s website dedicated to downzoning for more details on the meeting.
The FAAR Board of Directors approved sending a letter to the Board of Supervisors and the Planning Commission in opposition to the proposed downzoning. The Association is concerned about the financial impacts to longtime landowners that have used the increasing value of their land as wealth creation over many years. For many, the security of their retirement is directly tied to the value of their land. In addition, many landowners are looking to family subdivision as the only affordable way to help their children stay in Stafford County and achieve the dream of homeownership in the place that they were raised.
FAAR requested 3 specific items be considered when looking at downzoning:
- Change the proposed minimum lot size from 10 acres to 6 acres
- Exclude A-1 properties that are located in the Urban Services Area from the downzoning as County planners have already identified those regions as capable of handling future growth
- Consider special considerations for family subdivisions such as reducing the required minimum lot size so that it remains viable for properties with lesser acreage
If you or your clients are concerned about what a downzoning could mean for property owners’ ability to do as they see fit with their land, consider attending the public hearing and letting your voice be heard. FAAR has created a special webpage related to downzoning that includes a sample letter of concern that can be emailed directly to each Supervisor. If you are unable or unwilling to attend the meeting in person, emailing your thoughts and concerns to the Stafford Board Members is a great way to convey your message. Once an action like downzoning is taken, it is very unlikely that it would be reversed, impacting both current and future landowners in the County.