Comp Plan input: specifically speaking . . .

Preliminary community meetings for input to the Comp Plan update are underway and citizens are offering some excellent insights and recommendations about quality of life in Hanover County. How might some of the chafe points with Hanover citizens be alleviated or avoided as we move forward? How might some good emergent ideas be encouraged?

We reached out to Stewart Schwartz, Executive Director of the Coalition for Smarter Growth in the DC region and also a board member of CHF’s Richmond-region partner organization, Partnership for Smarter Growth. A 20-year veteran of comprehensive planning and growth discussions, Stewart offered the following ideas.

Comprehensive plan language, illustrations and maps:

1) Identify all publicly owned land and ensure it is strategically allocated for school and park space.

2) Include language that describes the amount of public park space the county seeks within walking distance of each community and incentives for private developers to set aside that public space within their developments.

3) Clearly define what “open space” means within a development. Is land allocated to stormwater ponds and median strips “open space?” As an alternative, why not more specific language that summons people-friendly images, such as “natural park”, “urban plaza” or “playground”?

4) Include maps that clearly show strong stream protection buffers, approximate locations of public parks, and a transportation plan map that shows a requirement for connected local streets, not just large arterials.

5) Cite VDOT access management requirements to reduce the conversion of arterial roads into strip development corridors.

6) Include a bike/ped plan including trail networks, sidewalk requirements or street bike facilities (“complete streets”).

7) Include language about revitalization and infill for older areas.

8) Include language that CIP must ensure repair and replacement of aging infrastructure — schools, water, sewer, streets, sidewalks — are the top priority.

Adding form-based language to the zoning ordinance as well as well-defined park, playground and natural area requirements for each zoning category:

1) Define lot setbacks to achieve the form desired for each zoning type.

2) Define park and playground space requirements.

3) Include a traditional neighborhood development zoning category.

4) Include street connectivity and complete streets (bike/ped) requirements in the zoning ordinance/zoning categories.

5) Include a mixed-use zoning category that allows for the conversion of an older strip area with good transportation access to mixed use with residential and connected streets.

Overlay zones:

1)  To protect rural and historic road corridors, suburban development should be set back and screened in order to preserve the rural character of the corridor.

2) Consider using overlay zones to better regulate the look of commercial development.

Contact the Planning Department with your thoughts and suggestions:

https://www.hanovercounty.gov/DocumentCenter/View/2114

 

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:

https://www.hanovercounty.gov/DocumentCenter/View/2108

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:

https://www.hanovercounty.gov/DocumentCenter/View/1923

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:

https://www.hanovercounty.gov/DocumentCenter/View/2060

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:

https://www.hanovercounty.gov/704/Comprehensive-Plan-Update-2017

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: http://hanovercounty.granicus.com/MetaViewer.php?view_id=8&clip_id=271&meta_id=24722)

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 http://www.richmond.com/news/local/hanover/hanover-forms-citizens-committee-for-help-on-future-of-county/article_9729cfff-c725-548f-b4ab-d1a784e99166.html 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:

http://www.richmond.com/news/local/hanover/hanover-residents-call-for-slower-growth-county-road-projects-at/article_92316936-5013-5ede-aab7-d55eac7584db.html

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