Community meeting April 11 for Ironhorse Business Park

A joint community meeting of Town and County citizens, Planning staffs and developers is scheduled Tuesday, April 11, 6:00 p.m. in Copley Science Center on the Randolph-Macon College campus.

The meeting is a followup to a motion by Ashland Town Council March 21 to defer CPA2022-06 for 30 days with a promised community meeting. The comprehensive plan amendment will change land use for an upcoming rezoning application for the Ironhorse Business Park.

The proposal consists of 230 acres lying in both Town and County of interstate commercial, industrial warehouse space and residential. The “flex” warehouse spaces amount to 1.9 million square feet in 14 buildings. Commercial interstate businesses–gas station, hotel and quick in/out restaurants–are shown on the design plan.

In short, the Ironhorse Business Park will bring more traffic to an overburdened Exit 92 and road system, fracture open and rural green landscape at the Town-County interface, add excessive warehouse spaces to an inventory of 14.64 million square feet; another 11.3 million square feet is waiting in the wings.

Additionally, this Town-County area is now rural residential. Commercial and industrial zoning is out of sync with the existing neighborhoods.

Quality of life stands to suffer. Attend the meeting and contact Ashland Town Council members:

Steve Trivett

John Hodges

Daniel McGraw

Kathleen Abbott

Anita Barnhart

Don’t let your future be handed to you. The citizen voice matters.


Town Council defers Ironhorse CPA for 30 days

At their March 21 meeting, Ashland Town Council voted 5-0 to defer the comprehensive plan amendment application for Ironhorse Business Park (CPA2022-06) for 30 days.

A provision of the deferral is to hold a joint community meeting of Town and County citizens, planning staffs and developer before Council’s April 18 meeting.

About 20 citizens spoke at the hearing and many wrote emails and letters to Town Council ahead of the public hearing. Residents noted traffic problems currently occurring on and around Mount Hermon Road and adjacent neighborhoods as well as environmental degradation and overabundance of warehouse square footage.

The comprehensive plan amendment is needed in order to change the land use to Interstate Commercial, Office/Industrial and Open Space from its existing “East Ashland” zoning (in 2010) of Interstate commercial, Traditional Neighborhood, Town Edge and Open Space.

A rezoning application will likely follow after the CPA is approved.

The citizen voice matters. Thank you for your voice.

Keep an eye on this: Ironhorse Business Park is starting to move

CPA2022-06 is slated for a public hearing before the Ashland Town Council Tuesday, March 21 at 6:30 p.m. in Town Hall.

To date, a comprehensive plan amendment, CPA 2022-06, has been filed with the Town of Ashland, requesting a land use change that will lay the groundwork for the rezoning request for Ironhorse Business Park.

Applications for the Hanover County portion (REZ2022-00008 and CUP2023-00001) have just been filed in March.

The project will occupy about 230 acres and will straddle the Town-County line.

Now is the time to speak up about preserving the quality of life — namely the rural, small town, less intensively developed character —  that Town and County residents enjoy in this historic Rte 54 gateway corridor.

Some significant issues of concern arise with this development. Here are just a few:

  • Ashland is in the midst of its Comp Plan update. Why is a Comprehensive Plan Amendment being thrown into the mix?
  • Business and commercial producing commercial creep eastward along Rte 54 is out of sync with the rural and historic communities.
  • 1.9 million square feet of “flex” warehouse space in Hanover County and Ashland is unnecessary and excessive. Town and County already have 14.64 million s.f., with 10.9 million s.f. on the way.
  • Traffic volume overload and cut-through on the road network of Rte 54/Mount Hermon Road/Woodside Lane/Jamestown Road are already producing traffic accidents, delays and near misses.

A sense of place will be obliterated if the massive Ironhorse Business Park slams down its Anywhere, USA commercial, industrial and residential development on the green space east of I-95.

Now is the time for action. Speak at the March 21 public hearing. Submit your comments to Town Council. 

Go here for contact information:

Request joint Town and County community meetings to ensure the best decision making for good quality of life.

The citizen voice matters. Thank you for your voice.

Supervisors deny 7147 Mechanicsville Turnpike, LLC Summerlyn development (REZ2022-00010)

On February 22 by a vote of 4-3, the Board of Supervisors denied the application of 7147 Mechanicsville Turnpike, LLC for its 144-unit “Summerlyn at Cambridge Square” apartment complex.

A dwelling unit (DU) density calculation on acreage containing Chesapeake Bay Resource Protection Area acres resulted in a buildable density in excess of the allowable maximum of 15 DU/acre.

Applicant and Planning staff justified the 16.86 DU/acre by including the adjacent Cambridge Square acreage with that of the proposed Summerlyn and treating the developments as Phase 1 and Phase 2. Applicant owns both parcels. But no such phasing was ever proposed when the applicant commenced building the Cambridge Square apartments.

Cambridge Square was completed, bond-released and compliant with the density ordinance as a project in 2019.

In September 2022, Supervisors remanded the case to the Planning Commission, who took it up again in January of this year, sending it back to the Board on a 7-0 vote.

Supervisors denied the application, 4-3.

Winns Church Rd. residential development denied 4-2 by Planning Commission

On February 16, the Hanover County Planning Commission voted 4-2 to deny REZ2021-00013 Willson Family, LLC, an application to rezone 161 acres fronting on Winns Church Road. The rezoning requested a change from A-1, Agricultural to RS, Single Family Residential District.

The proposed zoning amendment would have allowed for the creation of 176 building lots with a gross density of 1.1 dwelling units/acre. The General Land Use Plan currently designates the acreage as Suburban General, with 1.5-3 dwelling units/acre allowed.

Residents repeatedly cited traffic volume and safety as foremost of their concerns.

Commissioners Abbott, Hadra, Iverson and Leadbetter voted to deny while Commissioners Bailey and McGhee dissented. Mr. Whittaker was not in attendance.