Hickory Grove: traffic, environmental, economic issues

The Hickory Grove MX-B-2 rezoning request still presents a knot of issues as yet unresolved after more than a year of tinkering. The main fact remains: the 51.5-acre parcel for the proposed development is simply the wrong site.

A massive jump in traffic volume will result on the already overburdened Rte 54. Bob Nelson’s analysis of the applicant’s traffic study reveals it is fatally flawed. 

Mr. Nelson summarizes his argument in these points:

* East Ashland’s traffic and proffered road improvements must be reflected in the Hickory Grove TIA in compliance with express VDOT Guidelines and the county’s Transportation Policy.

* The approved TIA for East Ashland and its proffered road improvements govern and remain valid and must be fully considered in the Hickory Grove TIA.

* Given material misrepresentations and deviations from the VDOT Guidelines and the county’s Transportation Policy, an unsigned Hickory Grove scoping form should not be accepted.

* East Ashland proffered road improvements have not been shown to mitigate Hickory Grove trips, it is unsupported conjecture.

* Hickory Grove’s proffered road improvements are inadequate and based on a flawed TIA, no proffer credits are warranted

*A background annual growth rate of 6.2% is supported.

Read his full analysis:

https://hanoversfuture.files.wordpress.com/2020/11/response-to-hickory-grove-applicant-letter-on-traffic-and-road-improvements.docx

Additionally, a short list of other problems with the Hickory Grove proposal includes:

  • Obliteration of the suburban-rural transition, destroying scenic rural beauty on the Rte 54 Ashland to Hanover Courthouse corridor;
  • Environmental degradation of site preparation: timbering, scraping and compaction adding more impervious surface and removing green space;
  • Rerouting of historic Providence Church Road, further chipping away at Hanover history
  • Gridlock, noise, light pollution and trash for adjacent neighbors: Jamestown Road, Woodside Estates, Providence, Burleigh Drive and Rte 54.

This development cannot be tailored in any way to make it appropriate for this site. Ashland and Hanover citizens will be left with a bad product born of a flawed process. 

Bay Journal features Wegmans extended comment period

The November 11 edition of the Bay Journal updates the story on citizen opposition to the Wegmans distribution center and the extended public comment period granted by DEQ and Army Corps of Engineers.

Protect Hanover, the lead citizen opposition group, has urged residents to respond in the extended period.

Read the Bay Journal piece and see links for submitting comment. Additonally, links are contained in the Wegmans VWP article below.

https://www.bayjournal.com/news/growth_conservation/public-has-another-chance-to-weigh-in-on-controversial-wegmans-project-in-virginia/article_3e642cf8-241d-11eb-91aa-0b131f0c210f.html

Wegmans VWP permit: public comment period again open

The disputed wetlands delineation for the proposed Wegmans distribution center site and the numerous public concerns raised about the wetlands have led the Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) to open another comment period. 

This period is open October 20 – December 4. A public hearing has been scheduled for Thursday, November 19 at 7:00 p.m.

Citizens may go to this page on the DEQ website for dates and documents related to Wegmans draft Virginia Water Protection (VWP) permit:

https://www.deq.virginia.gov/Programs/Water/WetlandsStreams/PublicNotices.aspx

Protect Hanover, the citizen group formed to respond to the proposed Wegmans distribution center and other irresponsible development in the Hanover County, has drafted a letter to the DEQ and the Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) offering seven reasons why Wegmans draft VWP permit must be denied.

Among its assertions Protect Hanover points out:

  • The wetlands determination is incomplete and inaccurate;
  • Secondary impacts to adjacent wetlands have not been considered;
  • The site is not the Least Environmentally Damaging Practicable Alternative (LEDPA). Both agencies must find this site as LEDPA in order to issue permits;
  • A lack of environmental justice for Brown Grove by a perfunctory process denies them a full say about impacts to their community;
  • Army Corps prematurely determined that no Environmental Impact Statement is needed.

Use these links to take action . . .

Protect Hanover invites citizens to draft their own letters or use language from their letter. Go to this link:  bit.ly/ProtectHanover

To read Brown Grove history: bit.ly/browngrovestory

To sign the Brown Grove petition: bit.ly/browngrovepetition

The proposed site for the Wegmans distribution center is inappropriate for many credible reasons: environmental damage, added traffic, insufficient infrastructure, juxtaposition to residential neighborhoods. Citizens have brought up many serious issues.

In their zeal to make this development work out though, Hanover County and Wegmans have pushed a vision far too dismissive of the citizen stakeholders. County residents need more than hurried and superficial attention to their concerns.

They need dialogue, not decree.

Hickory Grove MX/B-2 application prompts citizen petition

The Hickory Grove MX/B-2 rezoning application continues to be a tangled mess. Citizens and three Planning Commissioners have serious doubts regarding this development.

The mixed use development proposes 79,000+ sq. ft. of commercial and retail, including a 2800 sq. ft. fast food restaurant, a 5600 sq. ft. convenience store with 16 fueling stations, two restaurants of 4000 sq. ft. and 7000 sq. ft. and two-story office buildings.

The integrity of the applicant’s traffic study raises alarming concerns about road improvements and cash proffer computations. Hickory Grove would add approximately 7000 vehicle trips per day on an already overburdened Rte 54. Another 33,000 trips would be added if East Ashland is built.

Other unresolved issues still remain regarding this project:

  • Obliteration of the suburban-rural transition, destroying scenic rural beauty on the Rte 54 Ashland to Hanover Courthouse corridor;
  • Environmental degradation of site preparation: timbering, scraping and compaction adding more impervious surface and removing green space;
  • Rerouting of historic Providence Church Road, further chipping away at Hanover history
  • Gridlock, noise, light pollution and trash for the adjacent neighborhoods: Jamestown Road, Woodside Estates, Providence, Burleigh Drive and Rte 54.

To read and sign the petition, please go to:

https://www.ipetitions.com/petition/keep-hanover-rural-protect-scenic-rte-54

The Hickory Grove MX/B-2 application goes to a Board of Supervisors’ public hearing November 18, 7:00 p.m. in the County Administration Boardroom.

Let your voice be heard. Contact your Supervisor at:

https://www.hanovercounty.gov/427/Board-of-Supervisors

Refuse to allow your quality of life to be compromised.

Hickory Grove development would destroy rural character

For citizens who live in the Ashland to Hanover Courthouse corridor and enjoy its quiet rural beauty, the proposed Hickory Grove Mixed Use/B-2 residential, business and commercial development threatens to destroy a beautiful gateway to one of Hanover’s agricultural and historic areas.

For the B-2 commercial parcel the application proposes a 2800 s.f. fast food restaurant, a 5600 s.f.convenience store with 16 fueling stations and two (2) restaurants of 4000 s.f. and 7000 s.f. each. 

This development on the 51.5-acre parcel at the corner of Providence Church Road and Rte 54 is completely incompatible with the area’s rural character.

Many issues and concerns have arisen regarding this proposed development. They include:

  • Traffic, Traffic, Traffic on Under-capacity Roads

Hickory Grove will add more than 7120 vehicle trips/day. Worse, 6170 of those trips will result from the commercial development.

East Ashland, a development approved in 2010 but not yet built (across Rte 54), is projected to add over 33,000 daily vehicle trips.

More residential is slated behind Woodside Estates and between Woodside and Providence neighborhoods.

To date, an inaccurate Traffic Impact Analysis (TIA) ignores East Ashland’s traffic impacts, and the County underestimates developer road cash contributions. Taxpayers will face underfunded, under capacity roads.

It all spells gridlock and noise for Rte 54 area neighborhoods: Jamestown Road, Woodside Estates, Providence and Burleigh Drive.

  • Commercial development abutting agricultural land and creating a “hard edge” with no transition between suburban and rural; 
  • Site prep = scraping, timbering and compaction adding more impervious surface and creating stormwater runoff issues and loss of green space;
  • A minimum of 79,517 s.f. of commercial and retail space allowed under the master plan, “Anywhere, USA,” adjacent to single family, semi-rural land uses;
  • Destroyed natural beauty on Rte 54, a gateway corridor linking historic Ashland and Hanover Courthouse districts through rural countryside;
  • Rerouting of historic Providence Church Road, further chipping away Hanover history.

Many areas of Hanover County are becoming increasingly indistinguishable from “Anywhere, USA” development. This portion so near the I-95 interchange could also be a casualty. Citizens: let your voice be heard. Refuse to allow poor planning to destroy your quality of life.

Contact your Supervisors:

https://www.hanovercounty.gov/427/Board-of-Supervisors

Contact your Planning Commissioners:

https://www.hanovercounty.gov/444/Planning-Commission

The Planning Commission will hold a public hearing for the Hickory Grove case Thursday, October 15 at 7:00 p.m. in the County Administration boardroom.