Highlights from The Comprehensive Transportation Funding and Reform Act of 2007:

  • Most large counties will be required by law to designate specific areas for higher density development.
  • Some counties will be able to levy impact fees to curb “leap frog” development and to direct growth into areas where roads and infrastructure have already been planned.
  • Owners of farm land will no longer be allowed by right, to divide their pastures into acre-plus housing lots without paying a price.
  • Developers will not be allowed to build subdivisions as completely disconnected entities. State approval of roads will require new subdivisions to have roads that connect with adjacent subdivisions.
  • Fifty-nine counties including the state’s largest and fastest-growing, such as Fairfax, Loudoun, Chesterfield, Henrico and Stafford, will have to create Urban Development Areas (UDAs) by July 1, 2011.
  • Inside a UDA, housing densities must reach four units per acre or more. UDAs must be of sufficient size to handle growth for 10 to 20 years.
  • Development within UDAs should apply “New Urbanism” design principles, critics argue that the bill’s language doesn’t specifically require it.
  • Urban Transportation Service Districts (UTSDs) may be created for counties of 90,000 or more people that do not maintain their own roads. Aa a reader notes below: this provision will not apply to Hanover County.
  • Special real estate taxes for road maintenance may be levied within those UTSDs and densities within the area must be at least one unit per acre.The UDA requirement now extends to counties with more than a population of 20,000 and a 5% per decade growth rate.
  • Over half of the counties can assess impact fees for road improvements on residential and commercial development. In addition, a county can help direct growth within their UDAs by exempting those areas from impact fees. Another type of impact fee can be assessed in counties that have more than 90,000 people but do not maintain their local roads.
  • If counties agree to maintain their roads, they will be allowed to charge a fee to pay for fire, police, schools or libraries on by-right development projects on agricultural land.
  • Predictably, the Home Builders Association of Virginia opposes the impact fees while proponents believe it will make it easier to build more affordable housing within UDAs and UTSDs.
  • Incentives for counties to maintain their own roads is meant to relieve VDOT, which now maintains secondary roads in all counties but Arlington and Henrico Counties.


One Response

  1. The provision “Urban Transportation Service Districts (UTSDs) may be created for counties of 90,000 or more people that do not maintain their own roads.” does not apply to Hanover. The population figure had to be as of the 2000 census when Hanover had 85,000 residents…

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