Wiltonville?

“East Ashland” is a new name for proposed development of 101 rural acres located in the southeast quadrant of I-95 and Rt. 54, formerly known as “Ashbury.” The Town of Ashland’s Planning Commission recently recommended DENIAL due to concerns regarding traffic, the size of the proposed development, density, and inconsistencies with Ashland’s Comprehensive Land Use Plan.

In 2005, Wilton Development Corporation filed an application entitled “Ashbury” for rezoning the property. Because “Ashbury” didn’t conform to the Town’s land use plan, the Town Council denied Wilton’s rezoning request in January 2006. Wilton Development then turned around and filed a lawsuit against the town. Since then, the Town Council and Wilton Development have met to negotiate a settlement, although litigation is still ongoing.

“East Ashland” would include:

  • Two hotels (for a total of 444 rooms), a meeting center, and a restaurant site.
  • Planned Shopping Center: three out-parcel restaurant sites, an anchor store and other shops (totaling 179,000 square feet), residencies, and a mix of public and private streets.
  • 80 three-story buildings with retail/office uses on the ground floor and residential dwellings on the top two floors
  • 98 townhouses along the perimeter of the shopping center.
  • 71 single-family lots


***The Ashland Town Council will hold a public hearing at the Town Hall on July 24th at 7 p.m. IT IS IMPORTANT TO BE THERE!***

M.I.A.

Supervisor Robert Setliff held a community meeting a couple of weeks ago and only TWO people showed up – his opponent, Jim Ellis and another citizen. Is this a sign of contentment or discontentment with Setliff’s vote to approve a reckless and irresponsible Comprehensive Plan Update?

In other news, it has come to the CHF’s attention that the blog, hanoverliving.com is copying some of our posts. Perhaps hanoverliving.com will come up with its own content and help us address how the 2007 Comprehensive Plan Update will be amended by a new Board of Supervisors after November 6th?

Lowe’s Deferred

The Ashland Town Council voted unanimously to defer the decision on the Lowe’s application until their next meeting on June 19th.

After a brief discussion and a few questions posed to the applicants by council members, Mayor Faye Prichard recommended they vote on a deferral. The Mayor said that although she had told quite a few citizens that she was leaning strongly towards supporting the Lowe’s application, she felt she could not vote in favor at this time, after hearing what citizens had to say. Mrs. Prichard said that after listening to many people whose opinions she greatly respected, and after hearing the citizens’ strong concerns regarding the size of the store (a whopping 170,000 square feet), she could not make a decision without working more with Lowe’s to see what could be done to address citizen concerns. She stated that she hoped that Lowe’s would “stay with us through this discussion” as citizens clearly want a Lowe’s in Ashland, but would also find it acceptable if the Lowe’s was a smaller size.
About thirty citizens spoke, with only two speaking in favor of the application. Kudos to CRG members Bob Brown, Martha Wingfield, Kathy Hopkins, and Jim Foley who were articulate, factual, and persuasive in the information they shared and the questions that they raised. Kathy Hopkins did cited several recent decisions by Lowe’s to build much smaller stores in other locations. Jim Foley said that council needed to vote 5-0 to not just say “No!” to Lowe’s, but to say, “Hell, no!” He noted that the future in big box retail is actually in smaller boxes and with Ashland’s attractive market, plenty of other retailers would want to come here in the near future. Ashland needed to tell Lowes what residentsd will and will not accept regarding appropriate retail on Route 1. Kudos to the residents of Slash Cottage neighborhood who came out in large numbers to oppose the application.

The Lowdown on Lowe’s

May 30, 2007 — Forty people filled the meeting room in Ashland’s public library for “The Lowdown on Lowe’s” program hosted by the Citizens for Responsible Growth (CRG). While 15% of the audience represented local businesses, 35% in attendance were residents of the Slash Cottage neighborhood. The proposed Lowe’s development would back-up to the Slash Cottage; this neighborhood would feel an immediate impact in terms of traffic, noise, light and air pollution.

The moderated panel included representatives from Citizens for Responsible Growth; Lowe’s Home Improvement; Ashland Mayor, Faye Prichard; town planner, Neil Holthouser; and town planning commission chair, Steve Trivett. Greg Glassner, editor of the Herald-Progress and Hanover reporter Melody Martin from the Richmond Times-Dispatch were also in attendance.

Following presentations given by a Lowe’s representative and Ashland’s Town planner, members from the audience posed 35 questions to the panel. The purpose of the two-hour program was to educate and advocate for smart and sound planning, zoning, and development practices in the Ashland/Hanover community. “The Lowdown on Lowe’s” postcards designed for sharing ideas and opinions regarding the Lowe’s application with Town council members were made available to audience members.

Lowe’s application fro development comes before the Ashland Town Council on June 5th, 2007 at Town Hall. The public hearing starts at 7:00 p.m. and if you wish to speak, you must sign-up in advance.