Stafford supervisors are seeking public comment at two late-April sessions to address growth in the county and how it impacts transportation, schools, public services and infrastructure.

The feedback sessions will be held April 22 at Margaret Brent Elementary School and April 23 at T. Benton Gayle Middle School. Both begin at 7 p.m.

On Wednesday, stakeholders—such as builders, contractors and large-scale property owners—will meet at Stafford’s Government Center from 10 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. to discuss a wide range of topics before the public sessions are held. The public is invited to observe the discussions.

Stafford’s construction boom, plus a 16 percent increase in population over the last 10 years, prompted county officials to examine the broader picture of county growth through the lens of the community. Input from the sessions will be presented to the Board of Supervisors on May 7 as the county moves forward with its initiative to manage growth in the area.

“We’re trying to be as open and as transparent as we possibly can to get everyone’s input,” said Supervisor Mark Dudenhefer. “We will take the recommendations from these sessions, put it all together, and see if the board has consensus to go forward on action items and recommendations.”

The two public sessions later in the month will allow county residents a chance to weigh in with their concerns and suggestions for the county to consider in helping to address the rising trend of growth, especially in Stafford’s rural areas. This includes those areas without proper levels of infrastructure, such as water, sewer and internet connections.

“The more we build in the rural areas, the less rural it becomes,” said Andrew Spence, Stafford’s community engagement director. “We want a conversation with the public to help them understand the challenges ahead and gain their perspective on what those challenges are. We want them at the table to hear all sides of the challenges that are ahead of us.

“Citizen input is critical,” Spence added. “We would love to have as many people as possible come to the sessions so we can gather input and have discussions on growth in the area.”

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James Scott Baron: 540/374-5438 jbaron@freelancestar.com