A Comprehensive Plan is the north star for a community, the document that guides everyone forward into the future. It is the overarching road-map to describe where a community plans to go for the next 20 years. All municipal governments must develop a comprehensive plan every 20 years in order to be in accordance with VA § 15.2-2223. In addition to developing new comprehensive plans every 20 years, municipal governments must update their comprehensive plans every five years, with more comprehensive updates at the ten year mark.
The comprehensive plan represents the citizen’s future vision for the County. This plan will be built on the opinions and desires of local residents. Your input is needed in order to make this plan, your plan.
The current comprehensive plan was last updated in June 2019 as a new economy or economic development chapter was adopted. The current plan was originally implemented in 2005 and was based on a report from 1998 titled, “Commission On The Future.” The current plan will expire in its entirety by 2025, which is why we are working on this new 2045 plan. The current comprehensive plan has continuously been updated thanks to the diligent and caring work by a group of unpaid volunteers known as the Citizen’s Advisory Committee. This organization fills the role that a typical private firm would, and saves Shenandoah County tens of thousands of dollars of tax revenue every year.
On August 28th, 2019 the Citizen’s Advisory Committee of Shenandoah County started work on the fourth Comprehensive Plan for the community. In order to christen the proposed new plan, the Committee agreed on the title, “Shenandoah 2045: A Future Together.” The committee laid out a broad scope for community outreach, with the first six months of their work composing of developing a community survey to better inform the next 20 years. This survey was launched on March 20, 2020 and will remain open until the Committee moves to close it. The survey can be found here: Shenandoah 2045: A Future Together Survey.
In addition to the community survey that was launched, the Citizen’s Advisory Committee plans to host meetings across the County in order to address the over 100 forgotten communities in Shenandoah County including villages, hamlets, burgs, hollows, and other settlement communities. These include Moore’s Store, Walker’s Chapel, Seven Fountains, Mount Olive, and many more. As some of you may have read John Wayland’s A History Of Shenandoah County, which ends in 1927, we want to know what happened since then and why many of the communities discussed in the book have faded away, in addition to the future we can build together to revive the communities.
To learn more about the importance of the Comprehensive Plan, please read this article by the Alliance for the Shenandoah Valley.
Current Plan’s Vision For 2025
The following Vision Statement describes in a broad sense what we as a county wanted to be by the year 2025 when the plan was adopted in 2005. In the year 2025, Shenandoah County is and will be a primarily rural community that:
- Protects its natural resources
- Directs its growth to the towns ensuring its open, agricultural character
- Provides a variety of jobs in business, light industry, tourism, and sustainable agriculture
- Maintains moderate growth of a demographically varied population
- Supports safe and efficient interstate transportation and maintains the rural character of its primary and secondary roads
- Affords its students excellent and appropriate education
- Serves its citizens with public facilities and services that enhance their quality of life
- Ensures preservation of its natural beauty and unique, historical character by strictly adhering to the goals and objectives of the Comprehensive Plan.
Chapters Of The Current Plan
Chapter I: Regional Context And History
Provides an overview of the history and location of the County as well as its historic resources.
Chapter II: Natural Resources
Describes all of the natural resources of the County such as prime farmland, water, and the mountains.
Chapter III: Land Use
Serves as an overview of how land is currently and has historically been used in the County.
Chapter IV: Economy
Demonstrates market conditions in the County and provides principles to guide economic development.
Chapter V: Population
Reports on the current and historic population trends and status of the population in Shenandoah County.
Chapter VI: Housing
Presents the current state of housing in the County, identifies needs, and discusses solutions to issues.
Chapter VII: Community Facilities
Shows the scope of public facilities and their potential future needs like fire & rescue, police, and schools.
Chapter VIII: Transportation
Reveals a detailed description of the transportation systems in the County and needed improvements.
Chapter IX: Growth Management
Expresses methods of how the community can ensure growth occurs where they want and need it to occur.
Chapter X: Implementation
Gives a list of measurable tasks to be completed in order to address the ideas and vision set forth.