Nelson County

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Nelson County is located in central Virginia along the eastern edge of the Blue Ridge Mountains. It has a population of under 15,000 and is governed by a five-member Board of Supervisors. The county began a review of its Comprehensive Plan in the spring of 2022.

Nelson is a member of the Thomas Jefferson Planning District.


The 2010 Census counted 15,020 people, an increase of 4% since 2000. [1] The County seat is Lovingston.

The Weldon Cooper Center estimated the population on July 1, 2021 as 14,820. [2] [3]

Weldon Cooper projects the population remaining relatively flat into the future with 14,322 in 2030, 14,273 by 2040 and 14,438 by 2050. [4]


A key industry is tourism, which brought in $217.8 million in revenue in 2019. [5]

Comprehensive Plan

The Nelson County Planning Commission begun an update the Comprehensive Plan in June 2021. [6]

  • December 14, 2021, the Nelson County Board of Supervisors voted to spend $160,000 to hire The Berkley Group to update the county's Comprehensive Plan. [7]
  • May 31, 2022 – The Board of Supervisors and the Planning Commission toured the county during the day before holding a kickoff meeting.



Board of Supervisors

Candice McGarry became the acting county administrator on June 3, 2022 and will become the permanent one on August 1 when Steve Carter retires. [9]

Rutherford was named to a second year as chair on January 10, 2023. [10]

Election history


In the North District, incumbent Thomas D. Harvey defeated Democrat Mary Cunningham. Harvey is an independent.

In the Central District, incumbent Ernie Reed defeated Republican Pamela Brice. Reed is a Democrat.

Republican Jesse Rutherford faces no opposition in his bid for re-election to the East District. [11]

In the School Board race, North District incumbent Janet Turner-Giles is unopposed. Central District representative Margaret Clair will not run for an additional term. No has filed for that seat and there is no candidate for the East District. [11]


Robert "Skip" Barton defeated incumbent Larry D. Saunders for the South District seat on the Board of Supervisors.

Sheriff David W. Hill won re-election to a second term.

Treasurer Angie Hicks and Commonwealth’s Attorney Daniel Lee Rutherford won re-election.

Pamela C. Campbell became Commissioner of Revenue.


Amanda C. Hester will become the superintendent of Nelson County public schools on July 1, 2022. She is currently assistant superintendent for instruction at Louisa County public schools]]. [12]

Pandemic response

The Thomas Jefferson Planning District Commission administered a business grant program for Nelson County funded by the CARES Act. [13]

The Nelson School Board voted 3-2 on October 8, 2020 to remain in virtual learning through the end of the calendar year. [14]


  1. Web. Analyzing area's growth will be key for future planning, Brandon Shulleeta, Daily Progress, Media General, February 5, 2011, retrieved June 23, 2022.
  2. Web. [University of Virginia Weldon Cooper Center, Demographics Research Group. (2020) Virginia Population Estimates], University of Virginia Weldon Cooper Center, Demographics Research Group, retrieved May 31, 2022.
  3. Web. Population growth up 12.8 percent, Sean Tubbs, News Article, Town Crier Productions, January 29, 2022, retrieved May 31, 2022.
  4. Web. Virginia Population Projections, Weldon Cooper Center for Public Service at the University of Virginia, retrieved November 19, 2023.
  5. Web. Nelson County earned about $217.8 million in tourism revenue in 2019, Michael Caldwell, News Article, CBS19, October 5, 2020, retrieved October 15, 2020.
  6. Web. Nelson comprehensive plan update on county's to-do list, Justin Faulconer, News Article, January 29, 2020, retrieved January 31, 2020.
  7. Web. Consultant chosen for comprehensive plan update, Justin Faulconer, News Article, Lynchburg News and Advance, December 22, 2021, retrieved December 24, 2021.
  8. Web. [ ]
  9. Web. New Nelson County administrator named, Justin Faulconer, News Article, Lynchburg News & Advance, May 27, 2022, retrieved June 23, 2022.
  10. Web. Rutherford reappointed Nelson board of supervisors chair, Video, Lynchburg News & Advance, January 12, 2023, retrieved January 13, 2023.
  11. 11.0 11.1 Web. As filing deadline passes, field of candidates for local races takes shape, Nick Cropper, News Article, Lee Enterprises, Lynchburg, VA, June 16, 2021, retrieved June 17, 2021.
  12. Web. New Nelson County schools superintendent named, Emma Martin, News Article, Nelson County Times, March 25, 2022
  13. Web. Agenda Packet for October 1, 2020 TJPDC Meeting, Meeting Packet, Thomas Jefferson Planning District Commission, retrieved September 26, 2020.
  14. Web. Nelson County Public Schools to remain in virtual format through end of semester, Nick Cropper, News Article, Lynchburg News and Advance, October, retrieved October 15, 2020.

External links