Stafford County residents will have another chance next month to voice their opinions about the Celebrate Virginia project.
The Board of Supervisors unanimously voted Tuesday to hold a public hearing Oct. 5 to discuss the creation of the Celebrate Virginia North Community Development Authority.
If approved, the authority would be responsible for financing improvements within Celebrate Virginia, such as roads, sewers and storm water management systems. The authority would be able to levy taxes on property owners inside its limits to pay for the infrastructure. It would consist of a five-person body, appointed by supervisors.
The district controlled by the authority would consist of about 1,400 acres, stretching from Route 17 near Geico Corp. to the Rappahannock River.
The Silver Cos., which is developing Celebrate Virginia, presented the idea of the community development authority to supervisors late last month and, at first, received a somewhat cool reception.
Supervisors David R. Beiler (I-Falmouth) and Robert C. Gibbons (R-Rock Hill) expressed concerns about the effect the project would have on local traffic. As a result, the board directed the Planning Commission to revisit the county's transportation plan.
But most of those worries have since been alleviated, supervisors say, and it appears that the plan will be approved.
Celebrate Virginia is a massive commercial, retail and tourist attraction planned for about 1,900 acres in Stafford and the City of Fredericksburg. Local leaders are squarely behind the project, seeing it as an economic engine.
But a vocal cadre of residents has been firmly opposed to the project since its inception, calling the development more unwanted growth. That contingent, led predominantly by Rappahannock Area Grassroots, a local citizen action group, has railed against the development whenever the public has been given a say.