Fix It First!

With so much at stake and a plan so flawed, will YOUR Supervisor approve of this Comp Plan Update on Wednesday, March 28th? Please contact your Supervisor.

Your presence on March 28th will speak volumes.

At the March 21st public hearing, Michael Seigel, an expert hired on behalf of citizens concerned that fuzzy math and flawed logic was used to justify the radical expansion of the SSA was not permitted more than three minutes to present his findings.

When CHF asked the County if Mr. Seigel could give a presentation of his facts and findings, Mr. Seigel was denied. Why would the County want to suppress Mr. Seigel’s findings?

Here are exerpts from Mr. Seigel’s counter response to Clarion, the consultants paid to create the basis for the radical SSA expansion.

Hanover County’s proposed Comprehensive Plan Update, and in particular its “Land Capacity and Demand” section (staff draft, 8/24/06) and the subsequent “Summary of Land Capacity Analysis and Preliminary Recommendations” (10/3/06) contain a number of critical errors and unfounded assumptions. Seven were specifically identified and discussed in the Draft version of this Review.

In responding to the Draft, Clarion Associates (the county’s Comprehensive Plan consultant and originator of the above-referenced documents) does little to nothing to dispel the serious nature of these problems. In fact, Clarion offers no response whatsoever to four of the issues specifically identified and discussed in the Draft Review. These (and other) issues cause the Update to erroneously designate tens of thousands of acres for high-intensity development in excess of Hanover’s needs over the next two decades, and well beyond. The Update doubles its error term by designating an additional acre of land for intensive development for each acre it projects will actually be developed. Clarion’s recent memorandum fails to provide a single example of any other capacity analysis that defines ‘capacity’ as in the Summary document it prepared for Hanover. Nor does it offer a single example where it has recommended a Comprehensive Plan to designate double the amount of land projected to be developed over the long-term (e.g., 20 year) planning horizon.

Notably lacking from Clarion/County’s response is a single example or citation in which Clarion (or a qualified researcher or firm) has previously defined ‘capacity’ consistent with the manner employed by Clarion in the Summary document. Clarion’s assertion that the Update is based on sound, correct, and appropriate best practices used repeatedly elsewhere is demonstrably false.

Four recent capacity analyses prepared by Clarion Associates for other communities do not apply the capacity criteria applied in the Summary. 1 Rather, they employ the criteria applied in the earlier “Land Capacity and Demand” document. This document found Hanover to have existing capacity to accommodate 120 to 150 million square feet (msf) of nonresidential space, which represents existing capacity of 275 to 360 years at the assumed rate of job growth.

Unique to Hanover, the method applied by Clarion in the Summary defines ‘capacity’ to include only 1,670 acres on 29 parcels identified during a 2005 “Tour” by the County’s Economic Development Authority. 2

Clarion conflates these 29 parcels as being the only land that is or will be available for non-residential development for the next 20 years. This ‘method’ has no validity whatsoever, does not represent ‘best practices’, and is virtually certain to have never been applied by Clarion in other capacity analyses.

The Summary even goes so far as to exclude 21 of the 44 ‘ready-to-go’ parcels currently listed on the county’s Economic Development office web site. 3

Clarion’s memorandum does not respond to or dispute four serious and substantive issues raised in the Draft Review.


One Response

  1. You would think that after getting strung along like this, people would get serious about the elections coming up in November. Wednesday will be the final blow. The Axis of Evil will sit there,”Not listening, just waiting”, and send you home while they meet in private.

    If you should get them to postpone the vote, it won’t be for further consideration, it will be well to string it out past registration for party candidates and maybe even the June date for independents! They win!

    They say we are different, smarter than the animals because of our ability to reason. However, a good dog can recognize a threat and act on it quickly!!!

    The fact that only Real Estate developers and agents were the only ones to praise the plan should answer anyone’s doubt about the motivation of this plan, $$$$$$$$$$$$$$$.

    Corrupt people don’t just change; they have to be voted out!

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