Comp Plan community meetings starting: let your voice be heard!

Public workshops for the 2017 Comprehensive Plan update have been scheduled. Four community meetings will take place at schools across the county.

Now is the time for citizens to express their hopes, wishes, suggestions and concerns regarding a vision for Hanover’s growth. Speak from your experience in your immediate neighborhood to your area of the county to the entire county. What is worth preserving? What could be improved? How can we realize that vision?

All meetings are 6:30-8:30 pm. See dates and locations:

Thursday, July 27 – Elmont Elementary School

Monday, July 31 – Chickahominy Middle School

Wednesday, August 9 – Patrick Henry High School

Thursday, August 10 – Lee-Davis High School

Click link to full meeting notice at county website:

Primer for 2017 Comp Plan update: check out the information

The Citizen Engagement Committee made a number of recommendations in its final report. Those recommendations were appended to the May 24 presentation by the Planning Department to the joint meeting of Supervisors, Planning Commissioners and Economic Development staff. Read here:

Citizen Cmte recs

The May 24 PowerPoint presentation in its entirety may be viewed here:

In its June 15 meeting the Planning Commission, having considered the Citizen Engagement Committee’s report, laid out a structure for the 2017 Comp Plan review and update process. Read here:

The Planning Department has a dedicated page for the 2017 Comp Plan update on the county’s website. Navigate to get to all of the above information, to view videos of meetings and to contact the Planning office:

Citizen Engagement Advisory Committee part of launch

At its April 12, 2017 meeting, the Hanover County Board of Supervisors authorized the creation of a Comprehensive Plan Citizen Engagement Advisory Committee “to assist with the development of a public input process to gather representative perspectives of Hanover residents and businesses countywide related to the comprehensive plan update.” (See the agenda item here:

Hanover County’s Comprehensive Plan is the guideline for future rezoning, growth, economic development, green infrastructure, public facilities and more. The committee was formed in April and May 2017. One citizen from each magisterial district was appointed as well as three additional members representing the business community and civic organizations. The members were:

Ashland District: Web Stokes

Beaverdam District: Martha Wingfield

Chickahominy District: Jim Ellis

Cold Harbor District: Larnie Allgood

Henry District: Graham Kirby

Mechanicsville District: Dan Widner

South Anna District: Mary Butler Eggleston

Hanover Chamber of Commerce: Ben Meredith

Coalition for Hanover’s Future: Pattie Bland

Hanover County faith-based organizations: Annie Baker


See for more.

Do Hanover roads pass the stress test?

The answer is “no” for some places in the higher density suburban service area of the county. Balancing growth, road needs and paltry transportation funding is a monstrous challenge. Some county residents and officials weigh in on the topic in an article by Michael O’Connor in the July 2 Times-Dispatch. Click to read:

Luck property rezoning filed

Barnyard Enterprises, LLC has applied for a rezoning of the Luck property west of Ashland along Rte 54 (West Patrick Henry Road). The applicant seeks a rural conservation (RC) zoning for approximately 260 acres. A RC mandates that 70% of the developable acreage (acreage not in the Chesapeake Bay Resource Protection Areas) be placed in a conservation easement.

A Comprehensive Plan amendment must also be approved to make the land use map compatible with the request.

In a community meeting at Patrick Henry High School October 7, 25 citizens turned out to hear the plan and to ask questions.

The design by R-CI builders shows 42 homes, priced in the $450,000-650,000 range, sized 2500-3500 square feet and  served by well and septic.

The development is expected to produce approximately 400+ vehicles trips per day. Because the trips are fewer than 500 daily, a VDOT traffic study is not warranted.Traffic volume is a concern since this stretch of West Patrick Henry Road will eventually see a planned unit development in the Town of Ashland at the Chapman Road intersection. Falling Creek Estates, toward the Blanton Road intersection, is already in place.

Additionally, it is unknown how many students may be added to the numbers already driving to and from Patrick Henry High School as well as to school enrollment overall. A Planning Department official said that the widening of Rte 54 is envisioned for the future, but there is no money at this time for such a roads project.

The cases, C-19-15 (RC) and CPA-2-15 (Comprehensive Plan Amendment) are tentatively slated for a Planning Commission public hearing on November 19. The tentative Board of Supervisors hearing is December 9.

Click here to view site design: RC Luck property

Click here to view the Planning application documents: C-19-15 Barnyard Enterprises, L.L.C., et al.

What I Don’t Find Acceptable…

Letter to the Editors of the Herald-Progress and The Mechanicsville-Local from our chair, Pattie Bland:

The recent vote by the board of supervisors to accept a two-year grant for a mental health crisis site is commendable. It innovatively addresses the serious problem of gaps in mental health services, gaps that open the way for tragedies such as that attending the family of State Sen. Creigh Deeds. Good work by the Community Services Board!

The remarks by Supervisor Wayne Hazzard, though, regarding sustainability of the program put a damper on the good news. Terming the grant “another government handout” just shows how cynical and parsimonious we have become in this harsh economy. Certainly, long-term survival of the program should be a concern; Ms. Sager addressed the issue ably.

Around any program, the discussion of funding, or the lack of it, can be a drag, but citizens accept it as necessary. What I don’t find acceptable or necessary is how Hanover can restructure the Winding Brook debt, find $44 million for a new courts building and amend cash proffers to the tune of $16.25 million as of December 2013, then wring its hands over a $451,777 grant.

Pattie P. Bland

Land Use To Change…$44M New Courts Building…Comp Plan Adjustments..Mixed Use Ordinance….

Once again, as the holidays approach, it’s time for meetings freighted with important issues; meetings which will see less citizen attendance because, well, the holidays are approaching. It’s time to wrap up all those yes votes with a pretty bow and put them under the developers’ tree.

Board of Supervisors Meeting – Tuesday, Nov. 26 – 6 p.m.
Pubic Hearings begin at 7 p.m.

What’s on the docket? 

An ordinance to amend the Hanover County tax code regarding land use assessment comes up for a Public Hearing at the November 26 Board of Supervisors meeting, one already top heavy with Comp Plan amendments.

What is the land use ordinance now? 

Hanover County’s tax code provides for assessing and taxing property (often termed “land use”, for short) depending upon the intensity of the use, i.e. commercial parcels are taxed at a higher rate than agricultural parcels.  Taxes are rolled back for less intensive uses until the property is rezoned, triggering payment of five years of rolled back taxes.

What is the change? 

Ordinance 13-14 proposes that when a parcel is rezoned for a more intensive use, the property can remain eligible for assessment and taxation at the previous lower rate and that the roll-back taxes are not due until the that property changes to a non-qualifying use.

What are the concerns?

Equity:  Could an agricultural property owner  rezone, then sit on the property forever without paying the increased taxes, even though no developer is waiting in the wings? An agricultural property owner who rezones to commercial/industrial/business will pay lower taxes at the “land-use” rate than a non-agricultural property owner who rezones to commercial/industrial/business. Is this unequal taxation?
Monitoring:  Are enforcement departments for zoning AND taxation going to work together to ensure that property is accurately taxed by USE once rezoned?

Case studies:  What other localities have implemented such a program? How has this provision worked elsewhere? Is there a precedent?
Revenue: The Virginia Department of Taxation believes localities may experience decreased revenue if they choose not to tax rezoned parcels according to their new designation. The loss of proffers resonates.
What else is on the docket?

Supervisors will be deciding to spend $44M on a new courts building. This isn’t a new project – it was shelved several years ago due to cost. As succinctly described in the Herald Progress, we just had an election. The county could have followed its 2005 precedent by widely explaining the need to spend $44M on a new courts building, and allowing the public to vote on the matter. Not this time; it’s going to go right to Public Hearing.

And to conclude the docket?

The Supervisors will conduct a Public Hearing on the amended revisions to the Comp Plan. And in conclusion, the Public Hearing will give the public a final opportunity to comment on the Mixed Use Ordinance amendment(s).