Introduction to Albemarle County 2044 (AC44): Comprehensive Plan Update

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Upcoming Events

Let's talk about Big Ideas: Join us for an upcoming community roundtable! You can also share your input in our online questionnaire (open through September 18)!

Albemarle County is planning for an equitable and resilient future. One of the main ways we plan for this future is through periodic updates to the Comprehensive Plan.

What is the Comprehensive Plan?

Albemarle County is updating its Comprehensive Plan (or 'Comp Plan'), which is a guiding document for growth, development, and investment in the county. The Plan has recommendations for how and where the county should grow; supporting local businesses

Upcoming Events

Let's talk about Big Ideas: Join us for an upcoming community roundtable! You can also share your input in our online questionnaire (open through September 18)!

Albemarle County is planning for an equitable and resilient future. One of the main ways we plan for this future is through periodic updates to the Comprehensive Plan.

What is the Comprehensive Plan?

Albemarle County is updating its Comprehensive Plan (or 'Comp Plan'), which is a guiding document for growth, development, and investment in the county. The Plan has recommendations for how and where the county should grow; supporting local businesses and industry, protecting and enhancing natural resources, providing transportation options for walking, biking, taking transit, and driving, and allowing and encouraging a variety of housing types. The Comprehensive Plan is used to guide decisions on public infrastructure and funding, plans and programs, and review of some development applications.

Read more in our Comprehensive Plan Update Fact Sheet.

Why the name 'Albemarle County 2044 (AC44)’?

The process to update the Comp Plan kicked off in early 2022 and is anticipated to be completed by the fall of 2024. When adopted, the Comp Plan will be in effect from 2024 to 2044 with periodic updates, in response to changing conditions and trends in the county. 'AC44' is an abbreviation of the full project name.

Why is the Comprehensive Plan being updated now?

Updates to the Comp Plan offer the opportunity to integrate new plans and policies, and to plan for future growth and demands for infrastructure and services. Since the latest Comprehensive Plan update in 2015, Albemarle County has grown and changed. Several new plans and policies have been adopted by the County (including the Climate Action Plan and the Affordable Housing Policy). Additionally, the Board of Supervisors affirmed Albemarle County's commitment to equity and inclusion with the Resolution in Support of an Equitable and Inclusive Community.

Since 2015, approximately 4,000 new dwelling units have been built and our community’s median household income and median home values continue to rise. This growth, however, has not been experienced evenly across the county, with quality-of-life outcomes that differ depending on where you live in Albemarle County. Read the Albemarle County Equity Profile to learn more.

What are the project goals?

There are three project goals for the AC44 Comprehensive Plan update:

  1. Update plan content to reflect recent County-wide strategic initiatives including climate action, economic development, and multi-modal transportation planning.
  2. Ensure that equity is integrated into the engagement process and the updated plan content, consistent with the County’s “Community” organizational value.
  3. Improve Plan usability by articulating clearly prioritized goals, incorporating metrics for tracking progress, and applying a modern, streamlined document design.

Who is the project team, and how can I get in touch?

There are many staff members across the County that are involved in the Comp Plan update. The lead project team members are listed on the right-hand side of this page. To reach out to these team members with questions or feedback on this project, please email ac44@albemarle.org or call 434-296-5832 ext 3272.

  • August 2022

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    Share Your Feedback on Big Ideas

    AC44 Roundtables

    Join us for an upcoming community roundtable:

    • Thursday, September 15 from 6 pm – 7:30 pm at B.F. Yancey Community Center: Register here
    • Tuesday, September 20 from 6 pm – 7:30 pm via Zoom co-hosted with Zion Hill Baptist Church: Register here

    Online Questionnaire

    Can’t make it to a roundtable? We have similar content in an online questionnaire for you to share your feedback. The online questionnaire will be open through Sunday, September 18.

    Host Your Own Meeting

    Consider helping us reach new people by hosting your own meeting. Our Meeting Kit includes a how-to guide, participant materials, and notetaker forms. You can schedule and host a meeting to connect with your neighbors, friends, walking club, or other networks to discuss and provide input on the Big Ideas.

    Download the Meeting Kit


    Listen to the Community Voices Audio Project

    The Weldon Cooper Center predicts that Albemarle County’s population will grow by 30,000 residents in the next 20 years. A growing community faces many challenges and opportunities that have wide-ranging implications for the future. Listen to a variety of perspectives from community members on this topic.

    Listen on Apple Podcast, iHeart, Spotify, Amazon Music, Google Podcasts, or our website.



    August: What We Did

    In August the project team focused on analyzing and incorporating input from the community and Planning Commission. Feedback from previous engagement opportunities on the current Growth Management Policy and Growth Management Options was used to identify major themes.

    Based on the community input, the team recognized a need to identify high-level guiding concepts or “Big Ideas” for the future to guide our work. The four Big Ideas are intended to help guide and focus work in future AC44 phases as we look to identify specific policies and action steps for topics such as transportation, land use, and resource protection.

    The AC44 Working Group held its fourth meeting in August, where they helped the team digest and pull themes from the community feedback. The Working Group meeting materials and minutes can be found on the AC44 Working Group page of the project website.

    On August 29, we kicked off our third round of engagement for Phase 1 of the AC44 process by hosting our first Community Roundtable at the County Office Building. Approximately 30 community members participated in a dialogue about the four Big Ideas and shared input on whether they guide us toward a more equitable and resilient community.

    Looking Ahead

    Mark your calendars to listen in during these important discussions.

    Learn More

    All community members are invited to participate. Please take advantage of these tools to get started:

    • Listen to the Let’s Talk Albemarle podcast episode about the Comp Plan. This is a great introduction to understanding what the Plan is, how it's developed, and what it’s used for. You’ll also get some insight into the project team’s role in the process and some of the challenges associated with such a big (comprehensive!) community project.
    • Visit the Introduction to AC44 webpage to learn about the background of the project, why we have a Comprehensive Plan, and what the Plan is used for in day-to-day life.
    • Visit the Planning for Growth webpage to learn the background of the Growth Management Policy (a component of the Comp Plan) and review the initial ideas about ways we might update the Policy.
    • Sign up here to receive email updates and participation opportunities. Select the "Albemarle 2044 - Comprehensive Plan Update" box and any other topics you are interested in.
  • July 2022

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    Welcome back to the AC44 monthly digest for the County’s Comprehensive Plan update! This is where we’ll share the work we’ve done over the past month, the feedback we heard, and upcoming opportunities to participate.To subscribe to the AC44 list, please visit this webpage and check the box next to "Albemarle 2044 - Comprehensive Plan Update"

    July: What We Did

    The project team has been busy listening to and reading through your feedback related to the potential Growth Management Options. We had 474 responses to our second online questionnaire, and we spoke with several of you in person and virtually at open houses, which were held at the end of June. You can find a compilation of feedback related to the Growth Management Options at the following link: Community Member Feedback Phase 1 (Step 2): Growth Management Options.

    The AC44 Working Group held its third meeting in July, where they focused their discussion on project engagement methods and began to help identify themes from the community feedback. The meeting materials and minutes can be found on the AC44 Working Group page of the project website.

    Lastly, on July 26 the Planning Commission held a Work Session to discuss the Growth Management Options and potential common themes. The Planning Commission offered feedback on the potential options and held a discussion on common themes that are emerging from the community feedback. Links to the meeting materials and meeting recording are below.

    Ways to Participate

    Our next round of engagement will consist of community roundtables. We will be asking for community expertise and lived experiences to inform the County's approach to Growth Management. We will share the common themes we have been hearing and we'll be asking for community input on how we can better incorporate equity and climate action into how we plan for future growth and resilience.

    Dates and locations for the roundtables are still being finalized. Virtual and in-person options will be offered. Stay tuned for specific dates and locations!

    Learn More

    All community members are invited to participate! Please take advantage of these tools to get started:

    • Listen to the Let’s Talk Albemarle podcast episode about the Comp Plan. This is a great introduction to understanding what the Plan is, how it's developed, and what it’s used for. You’ll also get some insight into the project team’s role in the process and some of the challenges associated with such a big (comprehensive!) community project.
    • Visit the Introduction to AC44 webpage to learn about the background of the project, why we have a Comprehensive Plan, and what the Plan is used for in day-to-day life.
    • Visit the Planning for Growth webpage to learn the background of the Growth Management Policy (a component of the Comp Plan) and review the initial ideas about ways we might update the Policy.
    • Sign up here to receive email updates and participation opportunities. Select the "Albemarle 2044 - Comprehensive Plan Update" box and any other topics you are interested in.
  • June 2022

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    Welcome back to the AC44 monthly digest for the County’s Comprehensive Plan update! This is where we’ll share the work we’ve done over the past month, the feedback we heard, and upcoming opportunities to participate. To subscribe to the AC44 list, please visit this webpage and check the box next to "Albemarle 2044 - Comprehensive Plan Update".

    Ways to Participate

    We want to hear from you!

    Questionnaire #2: Growth Management Options is open now through Sunday, July 17. In this questionnaire, we ask you to consider potential Growth Management Options that build on the current growth management policy and have the potential to support goals for equity, climate action, and planning for growth.

    After the questionnaire closes, we will have a Planning Commission work session where we will share your feedback and hear the Commission’s input on the Growth Management Options. Stay tuned for more details and additional opportunities to participate!

    What We Did

    In June we hosted open houses, held virtual “office hours,” and launched our second online questionnaire, which focuses on Growth Management Options. We also developed resources related to growth management to help us evaluate the current policy. These resources include a video introduction to the Growth Management Policy and posters for our in-person open houses. Visit the project website to see the Planning for Growth Resources.

    We also rolled out initial findings from the Land Use Buildout Analysis. The Land Use Buildout Analysis is an estimate of the maximum number of homes and square feet of non-residential uses such as office, commercial/retail, and industrial, that could be built within the County’s Development Areas. We presented initial findings from the analysis to the Planning Commission and Board of Supervisors. You can view the presentation slides and a Background Report summary with interactive maps of the initial findings.

    Based on feedback from the Planning Commission and Board, we are conducting additional studies about development patterns and growth. These studies will further inform our evaluation of Growth Management.

  • May 2022

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    Welcome back to the AC44 monthly digest for the County’s Comprehensive Plan update! This is where we’ll share the work we’ve done over the past month, the feedback we heard, and upcoming opportunities to participate. To receive this update in your inbox via email, subscribe to the AC44 list.

    Ways to Participate

    June 2022 Upcoming Events

    In June, we will continue Phase 1: Plan for Growth. Later in the month, we will have a variety of ways for you to share your input. We will share information about existing conditions and the potential future buildout of the County’s Development Areas. We will ask you for input on various options for growth management.

    Engagement opportunities this month will include both in-person and virtual open houses. We will also have an online questionnaire. Save the dates below for your chance to connect with the AC44 Team! The content and opportunities for input will be the same at each location.

    • Friday, June 17, 12 - 1 pm Virtual Open House via Zoom (link to be announced)
    • Tuesday, June 21, 4 - 6 pm In-person Open House – Northside Library Meeting Room
    • Wednesday, June 22, 5:30 - 7 pm In-person Open House – COB 5th Street, Room A
    • Monday, June 13 through Friday, June 24, Online Questionnaire

    What We Did

    We hosted pop-ups, held virtual “office hours,” and had an online questionnaire in May. We asked you to share your thoughts about the current Growth Management Policy and what we should prioritize with an updated policy.

    We also held the first meeting of Working Group 1. The Working Group spent time getting to know each other, learned about the history of Comprehensive Planning in the county, and shared some initial feedback about the Growth Management Policy.

    May Engagement By-the-Numbers

    • 116 visitors to pop-ups/virtual office hours
    • 139 online questionnaires completed
    • 1,245 visits to the project website

    What We Heard

    About 37% of people who participated in the questionnaire felt that the current Growth Management Policy accurately, or very accurately, reflects their vision for growth. However, 25% of respondents indicated that it does not reflect their vision for growth.


    Themes we heard at our pop-up events and in the online content include:

    • A need to better support population growth with infrastructure and facilities, including schools and transportation improvements such as roads, transit, and sidewalks
    • Concern about the rising cost of living in the county and the lack of affordable housing options, and concern that the limited amount of Development Area land is increasing housing costs
    • Concern about the density and form of new development and associated impacts such as traffic
    • The need for more housing options in the existing Development Areas, especially around the City of Charlottesville, and to prevent sprawl
    • Importance of protecting resources such as the County’s waterways, forests, and scenery, and making sure that our Climate Action goals are incorporated into the Growth Management Policy

    Review the Online Responses

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  • April 2022

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    Welcome back to the AC44 monthly digest for the County’s Comprehensive Plan update! This is where we’ll share the work we’ve done over the past month, the feedback we heard, and upcoming opportunities to participate. To receive this update in your inbox via email, subscribe to the AC44 list.

    What We Did

    Mapping & Analysis

    This month we completed our first two installments (out of three) of the Growth Management Background Report! Throughout the AC44 process, we will use Background Reports to communicate relevant information for each phase of work. Background Reports will include existing conditions mapping, historical information, and other relevant data or background materials.

    Part 1: AC44 Intro and Background, provides an overview of the AC44 Comprehensive Plan update process, including information about what a Comprehensive Plan is and how it is implemented. Part 2: Planning for Growth Past and Present, shares a history of growth management in Albemarle County, summarizes the current Growth Management Policy, and considers how planning for growth affects how we live, work, and travel in the County. Stay tuned for Part 3, which will look at our capacity and projections for future growth.

    AC44 Working Group

    The AC44 Working Group is now finalized! After receiving an overwhelming response (102 applications!) and reviewing the thoughtful and passionate responses, we decided to revisit our initial goals in creating a Working Group. These included how to engage the community in reaching as many people as possible, with a focus on adding new voices. Our new approach offers an opportunity for all applicants to participate. We will have five Working Groups of about 20 members each, which will each serve approximately six months. We are excited to get started with Working Group 1 next month!

    Ways to Participate

    Share your feedback about the current Growth Management Policy

    We are ready to hear from you about the County’s Growth Management Policy! Over the next two weeks we will be “popping up” in various county locations to connect with community members and hear your feedback about the Growth Management Policy – the dates and locations are listed below. The content and opportunities for input will be the same at each location.

    If you can't make it to a pop-up or virtual event, we still want to hear from you! We have an online questionnaire that will be open until May 16.


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  • March 2022

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    Welcome to the AC44 monthly digest for the County’s Comprehensive Plan update! This is where we’ll share the work we’ve done over the past month, the feedback we heard, and upcoming opportunities to participate. To receive this update in your inbox via email, subscribe to the AC44 list.

    What We Did

    The AC44 Comprehensive Plan Update kicked off in early 2022, with the AC44 website and a call for applications for the AC44 Working Group. Your response to the call for applications was tremendous, with 102 applicants! Due to the high volume of responses, we are still working through the applications and considering additional ways for all the applicants to get involved.

    Behind the scenes, our project team has continued to gather data on existing conditions and recent trends in the county. This data is focused on the ways community members live, work, and travel in Albemarle County and how and where we may have room to grow within our existing Development Areas. We plan to start sharing this data in the upcoming workshops and pop-ups. Stay tuned to learn more!

    What We Heard

    In February, we held four pop-up events across the county using our Let’s Talk Albemarle van. We also held two virtual kickoff events to share an overview of the project and how to apply to the Working Group. These events were focused on sharing information about the AC44 timeline, project outcomes, and ways to get involved. We heard an overwhelming response and interest from community members who want to get involved in this process.

    Ways to Participate

    In April and May, we will continue work on Phase 1: Plan for Growth, with in-person and virtual ways for the community to provide feedback. We will share information about the current Growth Management Policy and the history of growth management in the county. We will be asking for community members to share their lived experiences as well as input on what an updated growth management policy should prioritize.

    We will hold the first round of engagement by providing multiple ways to get involved: in-person pop-ups at several locations around the county, a virtual office hours session, and an online questionnaire. The content and opportunities for input will be the same at each location.

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Page last updated: 21 Sep 2022, 10:09 AM