Is this Plan a Scam?

Is the Comp Plan Update merely reckless, or is it a scam as well?

Do you work in Hanover, say, as a real estate agent, an independent contractor, or consultant? Are you shop-owner? Do you run a small to medium-size business? Or are you paid out of LLC or partnership income (as are many doctors, lawyers, accountants, architects, contractors, etc.). Are you self-employed? Maybe you own a farm or work in the county’s agricultural and equine industry? If so, the county and its planning consultants do not count you as having a job – although they do count your employees!

How does this affect Hanover’s future? For one thing, it causes the proposed Comp Plan Update to unnecessarily designate thousands of acres of land for intensive development in an effort to accommodate 8,000 jobs that already exist in the county.

The reckless proposal being voted upon tomorrow night by the Board of Supervisors, must be discarded. As we have outlined here and on our website, the Comp Plan Update has been documented to be based on numerous, erroneous data, flawed methodologies, and to contain numerous invalid, dubious, and contradictory assumptions.

More recently, and in a memorandum submitted to the Board just before the March 21st public hearing at which 1,000 citizens showed up to voice their displeasure with the Update, the county’s consultant falsely claims its methodology and assumptions used in its Summary Capacity Analysis and Recommendations to be ‘correct and appropriate’, ‘best practices’ that ‘have been used repeatedly’ in other communities. But this assertion is belied by four capacity analyses Clarion recently prepared in other communities (Rock Hill, SC, Gainesville/Hall County, GA, Will County, IL, Longmont, CO).

Consider how these false claims and poor practices inflate Hanover’s SSA:

Being oblivious to the existence of about 8,000 jobs in Hanover, the Update designates thousands of acres of additional land for 8,000 jobs that already exist?! It then doubles this error by its designating an additional acre for each acre it erroneously believes these already-existing jobs will require.

Compounding this error is the Update’s assumption that Ashland does not have the capacity to accommodate a single new job or house over the next 20 years?! Rather, it assumes that all new jobs and new homes in Hanover will locate outside of Ashland. As before, the impact of this error is also doubled such that several thousand additional acres of land are designated for intensive development.

Perhaps most bizarrely, the Update excludes all but 29 non-residential parcels with a net of 1,670 acres from its assessment of current SSA’s capacity for new non-residential development. It is of some concern that omitted from these sites are about 20 to 22 other sites currently listed on the county Economic Development Authority’s database that are described as ‘ready-to-go.’ But the far larger error here is that the capacity analysis relied on by Clarion’s Summary document is based on the false assumption that not a single additional acre of land in Hanover has (or will have) the potential to become ‘available’ for non-residential development over the next 20 years. The Summary document appears to be the first and only time Clarion has defined ‘non-residential capacity’ as being limited to a select number of sites (29, representing less than 1% of the parcels currently designated for such development) visited during an “Economic Development Tour” to identify land available for non-residential development.”

To date, and with the notable exception of two or three members of the Board of Supervisors, the county’s response has been to denigrate and dismiss these serious and substantial problems, or, as it did during the public hearing at Hanover High, make quibbling, meaningless, ignorant, or irrelevant critiques of the Review that brought these problems to light.

As concerned citizens, property and business owners of Hanover, you should call upon the county BoS to REJECT the Update currently before the Board, and to:

  • Re-initiate the process with true citizen involvement that reflects accurate and reliable data, methods, definitions and assumptions;
  • Assure the maintenance of Hanover’s quality of life, a balance of new job opportunities and respect for our existing communities and rural character.
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5 Responses

  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!

  2. Just when we thought we had incompetence and lust for power confined to 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue! And facts and logic hasn’t stopped Bush! Only one choice remains.

    The BOS has been given every opportunity to do the right thing and has failed every time. This comp plan isn’t the only wrong decision made. They have been bombarded with Facts and Science and Math only to throw all aside and keep the plan! What could be the motivation??????????

    In the absence of sound decision based on facts, logic, and scientific data, corruption is the only answer! It is basic deductive reasoning!

    Remember the old adage, “In for a penny in for a pound?” They can’t turn back now! It would open them up to bigger Legal question and dismantle the entire,”Good ol Boy”, network!

    So what do we do; The answer is in the Declaration of Independence:

    That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness….
    But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, IT IS THEIR DUTY, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security.

  3. The state of Washington, Minnnesota, Vermont, and some of Wisconsin and Maryland
    include citizen-based approaches to comprehensive planning. In fact, in Minnesota,
    its state law – fancy that!

    Community-based planning is the opposite of top-down, developer driven planning.
    http://www.mc-mncppc.org/community/about/about_cbp.shtm

    Here are ways in which Hanover County could be building the capacity for its citizens
    to understand the comp planning process.

    Effective Approaches for Getting the Word Out to Citizens:
    http://www.mrsc.org/Subjects/Governance/Participation/Effective.aspx

    http://www.uwsp.edu/cnr/landcenter/tracker/fall2003/compplanset.html

  4. Government Of the People, For the People, By the People, Sounds familiar! Actually having someone in County Government that shares and cares about what the PEOPLE want! Wouldn’t that be grand?

    The current occupants of the BOS do not! They are otherwise motivated by something that makes them stark raving mad. They have to be mad to allow subdivision buffers to be placed on a single homeowners property and then to make that home owner responsible for maintaining 37 trees that have already died 3 times and a sidewalk that goes NOWHERE! ON HIS PROPERTY! Also a Comp plan that awards Developers and real Estate Agents, while straining the schools, the water system, and turning Hanover County into Henrico County, CROWDED!

    And is no one paying attention to current events? As this planet changes to Global Warming, every citizen living within 100 miles of the costal regions are going to see changes in their living conditions as the sea level rises. 85% of the population of the United States lives in costal areas! GROWTH IN THESE AREAS IS NOT RECOMMENDED! And it’s not that far off, our children and their children will witness the results of Global Warming up close and personal. Or do we just throw caution to the raising wind speeds and continue to grow!
    The Federal Government doesn’t even recognize there is a problem!

    The current occupants of the BOS are people who couldn’t work a regular job, and no talent or skills but Rhetoric and political spin. Using the Republican handbook of just keep repeating the same wrong information until they believe it.

    Sadly, unless someone runs against all of them, we’re screwed for another two or four years, whatever it is! THE SOLUTION is to vote them all out, put new well meaning people in who will in turn fire the Planning department and start all over with fresh ideas based on what the voters want! Alas only a couple of people have come forward to run and that isn’t going to do the job.

  5. Seating is limited, so how about a good ol tailgate party tonight at the courthouse, cook some burgers and dogs and support those inside! We can chant, blow our horns, throw a little tea overboard, you know!

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