The Rockingham County Board of Supervisors approved the Urban Development Area (UDA) below at their meeting last week. The UDA originally included land on the east side of Cross Keys Road, but in response to the Alliance’s input, the Board of Supervisors elected to provide a clear line between development and the rural and primarily agricultural historic Cross Keys Battlefield (removed portion of the UDA is hashed out in the below map, an excerpt from the plan as presented).
So what’s a UDA?
Some years ago, the state required that localities set up Urban Development Areas if they wanted access to certain state funds for the infrastructure necessary to support development (water, sewer, roads). The mandate was unpopular, so the state ended up lifting the requirement.
However, done correctly and in the appropriate place, a UDA can target growth in areas that make sense – areas that are close to existing development and may already have or can more easily obtain access to water, sewer, roads, and schools.
So why’s a UDA in the County?
Though the mandate had been lifted, Rockingham County recognized the benefits of designating a UDA in its upcoming comprehensive plan revision for the area around Sentara RMH Medical Center. A citizens’ advisory committee, using a boundary based on the old comprehensive plan and existing utilities, provided input on what types of development would be a good fit for the county.
Then the county hired a consultant to turn the committee’s suggestions into planning language and tools. Ultimately the approved UDA will be included in the new comprehensive plan.
The adopted UDA is visionary and it is our hope that a targeted development area will mean that our land is used wisely – new development will occur close to existing development taking pressure off our working farmlands and rural communities.