The new Albemarle Board of Supervisors has opted for an expedited review of an update to the county’s Comprehensive Plan that has been under development the past two years.

The Planning Commission has held more than 60 meetings on the current draft. The board decided Wednesday to hold a public hearing on Feb. 12, curtailing an in-depth review that had been the preference of the previous board.

“This is such an important document,” said new Supervisor Liz Palmer, “and I recognize that the Planning Commission put a huge amount of work into this.”

Elaine Echols, a principal planner with the county, and Wayne Cilimberg, director of planning, briefed the board, which included three supervisors participating in their first meeting.

“I have been working with the Planning Commission for the last two years on the update of the Comprehensive Plan,” Echols said. “I’ve been waiting for you all to get here so we can get going on this.”

The previous board had expressed interest in a more thorough chapter-by-chapter review after the Planning Commission recommended the document’s approval last July.

“The plan has been updated in a piecemeal fashion since 1996 and became somewhat unwieldy,” Echols said. “The update will standardize, reduce bulk, make information current and look at changes in certain focus areas.”

Echols emphasized that each section now clearly states the goals, objectives and strategies.

“The vision is written at the beginning of each chapter along with a blue box containing a description of the relationship of that particular chapter to the vision,” Echols said.

“I agree with planning staff, in that the Planning Commission has put a lot of hours into the document” said new Supervisor Brad Sheffield. “I am a planning geek and I enjoy looking through it.”

“Our primary objective today is getting your decision on the next step,” Cilimberg said.

The board opted for a public hearing on Feb. 12 followed by a review of issues identified by the board and public.

Discussion about the cash proffer policy, sustainability accords and the livability project goals are expected to occurred at a future work session if not on the same day as the public hearing. These topics were identified for further discussion by the previous Board of Supervisors.

“It is our job to identify those areas that are critical, and not to be hand-held,” Sheffield said.

“Since we have so many new members … I would like to hear from the public … because the public might find things we have no question about and I would like to know that while I’m evaluating,” Palmer said.

The draft update of the Comprehensive Plan is available for the public to review at