Prince William County would like people to take an online survey as part of the County’s Rural Preservation Study. The survey is part of the Planning Office’s information gathering to study the various issues related to long-term use of the County’s rural area.
The purpose of the study is:
- to provide an overview of the County’s rural preservation policies and evaluate their effectiveness
- to identify additional rural preservation tools that may be appropriate and effective, and
- to make recommendations regarding possible amendments to the County's land use planning policies.
Prince William County has a long history of rural preservation. In 1964 Prince William County commissioned a study, which recommended that a significant portion of the County be identified as “Large Estate and Agricultural.”
The County’s 1972 Comprehensive Plan designated much of the area as Large Estate and Agricultural. Goals for preserving the area became more formalized when the 1998 Comprehensive Plan designated the “Rural Area,” (more commonly referred to as the “Rural Crescent”) and identified that area with a delineated map. Moreover, the Comprehensive Plan established a series of policies and strategies for preserving the Rural Area.
Over time, the County has adopted various rural preservation measures including policies and strategies in several Comprehensive Plan Chapters, zoning ordinance provisions and subdivision ordinance standards. Collectively, these measures have been considered to constitute the County’s overall rural preservation vision, goals, policies and strategies.
Recently, the Board of County Supervisors inquired as to whether these measures, policies and strategies have been effective in preserving rural space. In looking at this issue, they Board directed Planning staff to evaluate the effectiveness of the County’s rural preservation initiatives and to determine whether there were any tools that might be more effective in efforts to shape the future of the Rural Area.
According to Chris Price, the County’s Planning Director, “There are a number of tools the Commonwealth makes available to the County that are not currently being utilized. However, before determining which tools, if any, may be appropriate for Prince William County, we need to have a better understanding of the community’s needs and desires for the rural area moving forward.”
Ray Utz, the County’s Long Range Planning Division Chief, said the large attendance at the Nokesville Elementary School public meeting on Aug. 1 showed that there is considerable interest in the Rural Area. “The study will look at this important, community defining element and allow us to understand the community’s positions on this issue. This is very important because the decisions the Board makes on how we move forward will define who we are and what we become over the next 15 years.”
Utz went on to say that Environmental Resources Management (ERM), the company conducting the study and coordinating public input, is looking for a broad range of survey respondents. “We need input from residents throughout the County to help shape our future. Whether it is people living in the development area, people living in the rural area, people with businesses, people with young families or those who are retired, we need their input.”
To take the survey, visit the Planning Department website at www.pwcgov.org/planning and click on the Rural Preservation Study link. The survey closes on September 27, 2013.
The survey is one part of the overall public input strategy which also includes public meetings, workshops, and focus groups. Additional public input sessions will be held in the fall. In addition to the survey, the project website includes more information about the project, public input opportunities, and a link to a comment form.