Please see below for an update on an issue that the builders are tracking that could impact property owners trying to subdivide their lots.  Spotsylvania County is looking to amend its subdivision ordinance that currently allows 1 division per year for up to 6 total lots down to just 1 lifetime division plus the remainder parcel.  This could be a huge impact for property owners who intended to sell off pieces over time to fund retirement, medical care, college, etc.  If you’re concerned about this change, consider turning out to the upcoming Planning Commission meeting.

Spotsylvania Planning Commission
April 3, 2024 at 6:00 PM
Board of Supervisors Meeting Room
9104 Courthouse Road, Spotsylvania, Virginia, 22553

The proposed amendments are as follows:

  1. Renaming the Annual Exempt Division as the Single-Exempt Lot Division.
  2. Reducing the potential number of lots created per parcel under this provision from 5 to 1, plus the remainder.
  3. Setting the date of the ordinance as July 1, 2024.
  4. Establishing the Single-Exempt Lot minimum lot size as 3 acres, with the remainder lot conforming to the conventional lot size for the zoning district.

Additional Background/Other Considerations: Annual Divisions were adopted as part of the Exempt provisions of the Subdivision Ordinance on March 10, 2009. The provision allows one division of land per year from parcels in Rural, Resort, and Agricultural zones creating up to five new lots over time from each eligible parcel. The code amendment occurred during the economic downturn and the intent was to allow a farmer or larger land holder in the rural areas to sell some land in order to generate income to maintain their rural or agricultural property.  When adopted, the ordinance capped the number of annual lots that could be created each year to 100.  The County has not come anywhere close to this threshold over the last few years.

While these changes may seem innocuous at first glance, they could severely restrict the ability to develop land efficiently and cost-effectively. Here are some key talking points to consider when advocating against these amendments at the upcoming planning commission meeting :

  1. Economic Impact: Restricting the number of lots created per parcel limits the potential return on investment for developers and property owners. This could discourage investment in new developments, ultimately stunting economic growth in our community.
  2. Property Rights: These amendments infringe upon property owners’ rights to utilize their land as they see fit within existing zoning regulations. Limiting the number of lots that can be created per parcel restricts property owners’ ability to maximize the value of their assets.
  3. Housing Affordability: These amendments could drive up the cost of housing in our area by decreasing lot yield. Decreasing available and buildable lots will result in higher home prices, making homeownership less accessible for working families and young professionals.
  4. Competitive Disadvantage: Large developers with more resources may be better positioned to absorb the impact of these amendments or seek alternative development opportunities. Small home builders, on the other hand, may struggle to compete in a market where their ability to maximize land use is constrained.

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