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Rockfish Valley Area Plan


About the Rockfish Valley Area Plan (RVAP)

The RVAP is a public community planning effort focusing on the Rockfish Valley (including Afton, Nellysford, Beech Grove, and Woods Mill). The project is being conducted by Nelson County and the Thomas Jefferson Planning District Commission, and is designed to be a two-phase process:

  • Phase I: area analysis + community engagement (January 2016 – August)
  • Phase II: recommendations + strategies (September – January 2017)

Anticipated project outcomes include:

  • Producing an up-to-date evaluation of a wide variety of community topics, including: agriculture, economy, community, natural resources, and transportation
  • Identifying the local community’s current concerns, desires, and priorities
  • Developing short-term and long-term goals for meeting the needs of the Rockfish Valley:
    • Identify a framework for balancing growth and preservation that will attempt to:
      • Maintain authentic rural character
      • Preserve unique sense of place
      • Protect Blue Ridge Mountain scenery
      • Sustain working farms, working forests, and other productive ag lands
      • Support local economic vitality
    • Identify specific recommendations for possible updates and modifications to County policies

RVAP Documents

Phase 1: Area Analysis

RVAP_Existing-Plans-Summary: A summary of numerous plans and studies pertaining to the study area; this includes a summary of (3) general plans, (3) transportation plans, (3) infrastructure plans, (4) economic development or tourism plans; and (7) other plans such as environment, history, or outdoor recreation.

RVAP_SWOT Analysis: A comprehensive evaluation of the study area’s strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats; this includes a (draft) list of short-term, mid-term, and long-term action items.

The Area Analysis for the Rockfish Valley Area Plan will also include the following:

Community Asset Inventory

Zoning & Land Use Analysis

Tax Revenue Assessment

Summary of Zoning Permit Approvals (2002 – 2016)

Phase 1: Community Engagement (Public Survey)

The Public Survey, which was initially released to the public in May, was closed on Friday, July 15th. A total of 431 responses were received; 95% of respondents self-reported as Nelson County residents. Approximately half of all respondents provided written comments after completing the 28-question survey.

RVAP Public Survey – Summary Analysis

RVAP Public Survey – Responses (Questions)

RVAP Public Survey – Responses (Written Comments)

RVAP Public Survey Questions – Paper Copy

RVAP Public Engagement & Meetings


A project update was presented to the Nelson County Planning Commission (PC) during their regularly scheduled meeting on Wednesday, July 27th. This presentation provided the Commission with an informational update, and allowed the project team to receive Planning Commissioners’ questions, comments, and requests.

Another project update was presented to the Nelson County Board of Supervisors (BOS) during their regularly scheduled meeting on Tuesday, August 9th. This presentation provided the Board with an informational update, and allowed the project team to receive specific guidance and requests from County Supervisors’ for consideration during the process of finalizing Phase 1 documents and initiating Phase 2 tasks.

The presentation to the BOS is available for download below.


For meeting information or other details, please check the County Calendar or contact County staff.


Tuesday, November 1, 2016 | 6:30 pm to 8:30 pm
Rockfish Valley Community Center
190 Rockfish School Ln, Afton, VA 22920

This public meeting – which was attended by approximately 25 community members – included a formal presentation by project team members, as well as a community “listening session.”

The presentation included an overview of the Area Plan project; numerous highlights from each of the Phase 1 (“Area Analysis”) tasks; and a draft community vision statement for the Rockfish Valley which is reflective of the essential themes identified during the public engagement process. The “listening session” provided an interactive opportunity for members of the public to present comments, concerns, recommendations, and questions to a panel of project team members, and to receive responses from the project team.

The presentation materials for the meeting are available for download (below – with more material to be added when available). Full-size electronic copies of maps and other presentation materials can be made available upon request.







Tuesday, June 28, 2016 | 6:30 pm to 8:30 pm
Rockfish Valley Community Center
190 Rockfish School Ln, Afton, VA 22920

This public meeting – which drew approximately 125 attendees – provided members of the public an opportunity to learn more details about the five main “plan topics” for this Area Plan effort, and to share questions, concerns, and opinions in a variety of interactive formats. The meeting included a short presentation from the project team, which was delivered once at 6:45 and again at 7:45. Each presentation was followed by informal Q&A sessions with staff from Nelson County and TJPDC at five stations around the auditorium.

The presentation materials for the meeting are available for download (below). These materials include a meeting summary report which summarizes trending topics and comment card submissions; a copy of the PowerPoint presentation slides; and copies of each of the “plan topic” posters.

RVAP June 28th Open House Meeting Summary

RVAP Open House Presentation

RVAP_Open House Posters: All 5 Topics (11×17)

RVAP Open House Posters: Agriculture (11×17)

RVAP Open House Posters: Community (11×17)

RVAP Open House Posters: Economy (11×17)

RVAP Open House Posters: Natural Resources (11×17)

RVAP Open House Posters: Transportation (11×17)

RVAP June 28 Public Open House Flyer


Tuesday, October 28, 2014 | 5:30 pm to 7:00 pm
Rockfish River Elementary School
200 Chapel Hollow Rd, Afton, VA 22920

This initial public meeting for the Rockfish Valley Area Plan was attended by more than 70 members of the public. After a project introduction slideshow was provided by the project team, the meeting transitioned to an “open house” format which allowed attendees to review informational exhibits and maps, to engage County staff and project team members with questions and feedback, and to complete and submit the (voluntary) public participation materials.

RVAP Project Intro (copy of PowerPoint presentation slides)

RVAP Project Intro Presentation (web-resolution)

RVAP Project Intro: Why is this project important?

RVAP Project Intro: Where is the project study area?

RVAP Project Intro: What project work will the Area Plan contain?

RVAP Project Intro: Why is this project happening? (Project Intent & Purposes)

RVAP Project Intro: How does this Area Plan project relate to the proposed pipeline?

RVAP Project Update: “AFID Planning Grant”

The Rockfish Valley Area Plan was recently awarded a Planning Grant from the Governor’s Agriculture and Forestry Industries Development Fund (AFID), which is a program administered through the Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services (VDACS).

This grant award, announced on November 16, 2015, will provide Nelson County with additional resources to undertake and complete the RVAP project. County participation in this AFID Planning Grant program will include the establishment of a citizen-based working group to assist members of the RVAP project team; this “ag working group” will carefully evaluate the evolving roles of agriculture in the local economy and local community, and will help identify key issues to be addressed throughout the overall RVAP project.

For more information, please reference the following announcement and the AFID Planning Grant application:

Grant Award Announcement from Governor McAuliffe (November 16, 2015)

Nelson County Times article (November 19, 2015)

AFID Planning Grant Application: NelSon County Rockfish Valley Area Plan

AFID Planning Grant Application: Nelson County Rockfish Valley Area Plan (attachments)