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Comprehensive plan update on Amherst County's to-do list in 2021

Comprehensive plan update on Amherst County's to-do list in 2021

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Standing Ovation, 3

In this 2019 file photo, Janet Lewis, co-owner of Standing Ovation Miniatures, walks with one of her horses in the Elon area of Amherst County. The barn is located near Virginia 130, a designated scenic byway in Amherst County. Protecting viewsheds of mountains is a goal within the county's comprehensive plan.

An update to Amherst County’s comprehensive plan, a guide for growth and development, is planned for this fall.

The purpose of the plan, adopted in June 2007 following a four-year process, is to provide guidance for critical decisions that impact growth and development over a 20-year period, according to Jeremy Bryant, director of community development.

The plan originally consisted of six chapters, including an introduction, development and population trends, community facilities, anticipated growth, mixed-use development and land use. A seventh chapter was added in 2013 on urban development areas.

Virginia state code requires that, at least every five years, the comprehensive plan shall be reviewed by the local planning commission to determine whether it is advisable to amend the plan. Bryant recommends updating the plan this year and setting a timeframe for updating statistical and demographic data on land use sections by May 31. The county is in the process of gathering comments from other departments and agencies.

One issue is the latest U.S. Census data is anticipated for release to local governments on March 31, which Bryant said is later than usual because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The update process will include public hearings by the county’s planning commission and board of supervisors. The commission tentatively is set to review and vote on the updated plan by July, according to the schedule.

The Amherst County Board of Supervisors tentatively is expected to vote on the plan update as soon as September.

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