February 18, 2021
Warrenton 2040 plan wins commission’s approval
“Experience Broadview,” one of the plan’s five character districts, envisions redevelopment with buildings right along the commercial strip, parking in the rear and townhouses on parallel side streets.
We are aware there are members of the community with concerns, as well as members of the community who value the proposed goals.
— Susan Helander, town planning commission chairwoman
After more than four years of work, the Warrenton Planning Commission this week endorsed a complex document that lays out a vision for the town’s next two decades.
Plan Warrenton 2040, a state-mandated update of the comprehensive plan, will go to the town council for a public hearing and potential approval. That process could start in March.
The planning commission voted, 5-1, Tuesday night to recommend the town council’s adoption.
The plan identifies the Broadview Avenue commercial strip among five “character districts,” where themes would help guide future development.
Multi-story buildings might front Broadview, with parking behind them and townhouses fronting parallel side streets, for example.
The sweeping document encourages outdoor gathering places, increased “walkability,” more diverse housing, mixed-use development and protection of historic resources and neighborhoods.
It focuses on opportunities to create a stronger “live, work, play” environment that would reduce the need for residents to commute to jobs outside the community. And, it seeks to address an aging population, encouraging young people to live in town.
“We believe this plan seeks to protect the best of Warrenton while enhancing its future,” Chairwoman Susan Helander said in a prepared statement before Tuesday’s vote. “It allows for incremental changes, with ‘placemaking’ at its center.”
Ms. Helander said: “We are aware there are members of the community with concerns, as well as members of the community who value the proposed goals,” which include what she called addressing “stagnant growth.”
The document resulted from “extensive public input,” involving participants who ranged from kindergartners to senior citizens, starting in 2016, she noted.
“Community health, community character and fiscal and economic” goals served as the three “drivers” of the document’s preparation, Ms. Helander said.
The plan seeks to encourage “equity” and “affordable/achievable housing,” the veteran commissioner added.
“It’s not perfect, because different people are gonna judge it in different ways,” Commissioner James Lawrence said. “But, this is a damn good plan.”
Mr. Lawrence, who along with Commissioner Ryan Stewart did extensive editing of the document, encouraged citizens to remain involved, especially if they dislike elements of the plan, always subject to amendments.
The community’s two largest conservation groups, Citizens for Fauquier County and the Piedmont Environmental Council have criticized elements of the plan. Major issues have included the potential density of new development, potential population growth and the adequacy of Warrenton’s water and sewer systems.
The commission’s longest tenured member, Ali Zarabi shares some of those concerns. Mr. Zarabi cast the lone vote against recommending the draft plan’s approval.
“I have raised a number of issues in the last three years as we have worked on this,” he said.
Mr. Zarabi called concerns that PEC representative Julie Bolthouse raised, “questions we should have asked to arrive at an even better plan.”
Commissioners Stewart, Mark Moore and Gerald Johnson also voted to recommend the plan’s approval.
> Watch meeting video here
21.02.16 Planning Commissio... by Fauquier Now
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Sammy · February 19, 2021 at 8:42 am
careful .. this might attract people to live here .. we cannot have that unless they've passed child-rearing age
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