by Audrey Thomasson
IRVINGTON—Maintaining village charm is the driving force behind proposed updates to Irvington’s comprehensive plan.
Planning commission members unveiled their concept to enrich village charm and build on its history during a joint work session Monday with town council.
A comprehensive plan is a blueprint for future development that identifies goals, objectives, guidelines, policies and standards for the immediate and long range protection and growth of the community.
Planning commission chairman Bill Young said they first had to address and correct the 2000 U.S. Census report that indicated Irvington was growing at 35%. He said the mistake was due to inclusion of areas not within town. He noted a subtle switch in residency over the years from a majority of part-time to more full-time residents.
“Some growth is necessary to have a viable community,” said Craig Wilson, planning consultant with Community Planning Partners Inc. “Those that don’t grow become static.”
He noted the trend in “zoning has changed from separating out uses to combining in mixed uses” and including pathways and green space.
Wilson compared two regional counties that took separate paths: Chesterfield County followed the old concept which resulted in massive sprawl while Henrico County embraced mixed use and created the “town” of Short Pump.
He noted Irvington’s current zoning leaves few options and that the town is made up of single-family residences on varying sized lots.
“There is not much of an option for seniors who want to downsize from a single-family house,” said Wilson.
The plan’s proposed changes include sections on planned unit development (PUD) for areas that encompass 10 to 25 acres, discussion on the economy and income, possibilities for a sewer system, a roadway classification map and land use map, an implementation plan, results of the recent public survey of residents and a one-page summary.
Proposed strategies include updating town ordinances, strengthening ordinances to control development and working with current land owners to suggest updating their development plans. Additional strategies include housing options that cover the older adults and young families—such as building apartments over town shops, plans for uses for the North Commons area and public access to the water by studying available land for sale and the cost for development.
Council scheduled a public hearing on the plan for 6:30 p.m. February 7 at Irvington Baptist Church. The plan has been posted on the town’s website.