Land use changes need careful review and thought

As part of the five-year Comp Plan review and update process, property owners are given an opportunity to request changes to future land use designation for their properties. Twenty-one (21) applications were received within the application period last fall. The County will review the applications and will hold public meetings to get feedback on changes in General Land Use Map.

To view the current General Land Use Plan and Major Thoroughfare Map, go to https://www.hanovercounty.gov/DocumentCenter/View/92/General-Land-Use-Plan-and-Major-Thoroughfare-Plan-pdf

An important caveat regarding land use change: once a designation changes, growth patterns inevitably change, also. And not necessarily for the better.

See the information for current requests located here: https://www.envisionhanover.com/project-resources

They may be individually accessed at these links:

Map showing general location:

https://www.envisionhanover.com/_files/ugd/6badbb_78f81a655fae465f9da447d663323f9e.pdf

Listing of requests received:

https://www.envisionhanover.com/_files/ugd/6badbb_30fbf4c33e264e7fb09b76e55e55b74f.pdf

Links to applications and supporting materials:

https://www.envisionhanover.com/copy-of-project-resources

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Public input sessions for Comp Plan slated

The Envision Hanover team has received input from citizens and has published the slate of events for January and February to receive comment on the areas of land use, economic development and historic resources.

The announcement, as follows, appears on their website: https://www.envisionhanover.com/upcoming-events

Based upon the feedback received, the project team has been working to identify key concepts related to land use, economic development, and historic resources. These preliminary ideas will be introduced at a series of events scheduled in January/February 2023. 

In-Person Meetings (Presentation + Open House)

  • Monday, January 23, 2023 (6:00 p.m. – 7:30 p.m.): Atlee Library
  • Thursday, January 26, 2023 (6:00 p.m. – 7:30 p.m.): Montpelier Center for Arts and Education
  • Monday, January 30, 2023 (6:00 p.m. – 7:30 p.m.): Red Barn at Chickahominy Falls
  • Thursday, February 2, 2023 (6:00 p.m. – 7:30 p.m.): Mechanicsville Library
  • Thursday, February 9, 2023 (6:00 p.m. – 7:30 p.m.): Berea Baptist Church (Rockville)

Webinar

  • Monday, February 6, 2023 (6:00 p.m. – 7:00 p.m.) (Log-In Information to Be Posted)

Stop and Chat Events (Informal Discussion with Project Team)

  • Wednesday, February 1, 2023 (11:00 a.m. – 12:30 p.m.): Atlee Library
  • Tuesday, February 7, 2023 (11:00 a.m. – 12:30 p.m.): Ashland Library
  • Thursday, February 9, 2023 (3:30 p.m. – 5:00 p.m.): Rockville Library

Visit https://www.envisionhanover.com/ to see all materials, resources and documents related to the Comp Plan review and update process to date. Sign up for email notifications there, also.

Strategic Plan workshop slated January 11

This meeting is cancelled. No word yet on a reschedule.

The Hanover County Supervisors will hold a Strategic Plan workshop Wednesday, January 11, 12:00-2:00 p.m. in the Supervisors’ conference room located on the second floor of the County Administration Building. The meeting is open to the public, but it is not anticipated that public comment will be taken.

The five-year plan addresses priorities and goals in the areas of economic development, engagement and stewardship, public safety, community, human services and education.

To read the draft: https://www.hanovercounty.gov/1221/Proposed-FY2022-FY2026-Strategic-Plan

November 30 target date: citizen input needed for Ashland Comp Plan and County Strategic Plan

When both Ashland and Hanover County are currently in Comprehensive Plan updates, now is the time for residents to carefully consider all matters related to land use. If Town and County want good quality of life for their citizens, then joint engagement for a comprehensive view makes sense, especially on development at their boundaries. No tunnel vision allowed.

Questions of how, where and what type of growth raise many issues and require foresight and thoughtful consideration.

  • Is more residential needed? Where? How dense?
  • How can a locality grow, yet avoid environmental and aesthetic destruction?
  • Are there sufficient housing options for varied income levels?
  • How much commercial and industrial is warranted? 
  • How can adjacent zoning types be more compatible? 
  • Are there sufficient roads and other public works infrastructure to support growth? 
  • Is there a strong long term plan to preserve rural land? 
  • Can transitions between suburban and rural be aesthetically pleasing and environmentally sound?
  • How will growth mitigate or aggravate traffic volume and patterns?
  • Can better environmental site standards be required of developers?
  • Can green space be strategically retained, whether in commercial or residential development?

Important meeting:  Town of Ashland will hold an open house public input session on its Comp Plan Wednesday, November 30, 5-7 p.m. at the Patrick Henry YMCA. Plan to attend and give voice to your thoughts. Email your input: planning@ashlandva.gov

Deadline fast approaching: comment needed by November 30 for draft Strategic Plan . . .

Hanover County’s draft 5-year Strategic Plan is headed to the Board of Supervisors for its approval Wednesday, December 14 in its 2:00 p.m. session. With very little notice or time, citizens are now on a tight deadline to read and comment on the massive 87-page Strategic Plan.

Visit https://www.hanovercounty.gov/1221/Proposed-FY2022-FY2026-Strategic-Plan to read the draft Plan. 

Email comments to: strategicplan@hanovercounty.gov

The enormity of the document challenges the reader to absorb content and consider implications. Numerous goals, objectives and timelines freight the chapters on Economic Development, Engagement and Stewardship, Public Safety, Community, Human Services and Education. 

Questions arise. Will adoption of the Strategic Plan divert vital attention and activity from the County’s ongoing Comprehensive Land Use Plan update? Is the County encumbering itself and the citizens unduly?

Hanover County is loading its plate. Citizens have a lot to digest.

Luck Farm Market, Summerlyn cases pose issues

Applications for Luck Farm Market, proposed for Ashland, and Summerlyn, age-restricted apartments in Hanover County, go to public hearings September 20 and 28, respectively. Read on . . .

Luck Farm Market: commercial concept poor fit with residential area

Applications to develop a farmers market-style grocery store and restaurant exceeding 2500 square feet will be the subject of an Ashland Town Council public hearing Tuesday, September 20, 7:00 p.m. in Town Hall.

This application wad (CPA2022-03, REZ22-0414, ORD 2022-04, CUP 22-0627A, CUP22-0627B) to shoehorn Luck Farm Market into 3.6 acres at the Town boundary would inappropriately site commercial development and poses serious issues:

  • commercial development out of synch with the surrounding single family residences;
  • compromised rural transition and character;
  • additional light, noise, traffic and trash;
  • loss of green space and addition of impervious surface.

Citizens repeatedly cite rural character as a vital component for good quality of life in Hanover. Retro-cramming a commercial node into this green residential area misses the mark.

Density calculations big issue in Summerlyn application

Applicant 7147 Mechanicsville Turnpike, LLC (REZ2022-00010) seeks to rezone 6.5 acres from B-1 Neighborhood Business to RM, Multi-Family Residential on the south side of Route 360 east of the Meadow Drive intersection.

The proposed zoning amendment for “Summerlyn” would permit construction of 144 age-restricted apartments. The development would provide “cross access” to Cambridge Square Apartments by sharing an internal road. 

In order to stay within RM density guidelines (8-15 dwelling units per acre), applicant is calculating based on the combination of the already completed, bond-released Cambridge Square Apartments and the Summerlyn application. The resulting gross density is 13.4 units per acre.

Got that? Cambridge Square is a completed apartment development. It cannot simply transfer density to a parcel it does not own. 

Furthermore, Cambridge complied with the Resource Protection Area (RPA) guideline by subtracting non-developable acreage from its density calculation. Even if both Cambridge and Summerlyn acreages are combined, the RPA is still in effect and results in 16.9 dwelling units/acre. Bad math. Out of compliance. Period.

Go here to read the position paper.

The case goes to a public hearing before the Supervisors at their Wednesday, September 28 meeting, 6:00 p.m., in the County Administration Boardroom.