Land Use Management - The Prince William County Example

[NOTE: This site, just like Prince William County, is still under development...]
when the Shirley Highway was completed to the Occoquan River, what is now Lake Ridge in Prince William County was just forest
when the Shirley Highway was completed to the Occoquan River, what is now Lake Ridge in Prince William County was just forest
Source: US Geological Survey (USGS), Occoquan 1:24,000 scale topographic map (1951)

The "Rural Crescent" in Prince William County

Sector Plans in Prince William County

The Prince William County Planning Office has a brief description of the relationship between the county-wide Comprehensive Plan and site-specific Sector Plans:
"The Comprehensive Plan is Prince William Countyís long-range land use policy document. A Sector Plan is a Comprehensive Plan for a small geographic area. These plans are initiated by the Board of County Supervisors (The Planning Commission may suggest a sector plan but only the Board is authorized to direct staff to prepare it). Planning studies, less intensive than sector plans, may also be initiated by the Board of County Supervisors. Sector plans are prepared by citizensí advisory commissions with the help of Planning Office staff and contain specific recommendations pertaining to all applicable Comprehensive Plan chapters, such as Community Design, Cultural Resources, Economic Development, and so forth. Planning Staff forwards the citizen's advisory commission proposal to the Planning Commission, who in turn make recommendation to the Board of County Supervisors. Once adopted, the sector plan or planning study represents an amendment to and refinement of the Comprehensive Plan for the area studied."

The Comprehensive Plan is not a tight straightjacket that totally controls land use. The Comprehensive Plan is a flexible document - and it's revised every 5 years as well. It also allows for amendments to deal with proposals that are desired by a landowner but inconsistent with the Comprehensive Plan. The Board of Supervisors requires that proposed amendments must be requested by early January of each year, so landowners must plan ahead...

The county has identified over 20 possible sector plans that would elaborate on the 1998 Comprehensive Plan - but the planning process is complicated and time consuming, so the odds are that only a handful will be developed before the revision of the Comprehensive Plan scheduled for 2003. Not all of the proposed plans are guaranteed for approval, either.

Cherry Hill

The Gainesville Sector Plan

Land Use and Roads: The Western Transportation Corridor

Land Use Planning in Virginia


Sprawl in Virginia
Prince William County
Virginia Places