Residents questioned local leaders Tuesday night about why the state has mandated planning an urban development area in Gloucester. The questions came during a town hall meeting hosted by Gloucester Point district supervisor Bobby Crewe at Abingdon Elementary School.
Gloucester’s Planning Director Anne Ducey-Ortiz said the county has been mandated by the state to come up with a UDA to complement its comprehensive plan and chose the Gloucester Point area. In 2007, she said the General Assembly enacted the requirement to help with transportation planning efforts.
"It’s all related to transportation," Ducey-Ortiz said. "There was no money for the state to fix roads." The mindset behind the legislation, she said, is to attempt to make localities plan for future development so residents won’t always have to get in their cars to get where they need to go.
Ducey-Ortiz said the county wrote a letter of opposition at the time to state lawmakers arguing against the proposed legislation.
Ducey-Ortiz said a bill is being debated in this year’s General Assembly session that would make the UDA requirement voluntary for localities, instead of mandatory. Del. Bob Marshall (R-Manassas) introduced the bill that was passed by the House of Delegates Tuesday on a 61-38 vote. The bill now goes before the Senate.