Commentary by Jim Ellis

We recently received this comment to our blog:

“The fearmongering regarding inexperience should be expected, and it will continue for some time. But if we want to see something truly frightening, let’s look at what the experience of at least some members of the current Board brought us. This Comp Plan update was supposed to be a bold initiative to plan the county’s next 50 years. But there was only ONE OPTION put out for the citizens to look at. It was essentially devised before the alleged process to create it ever began. And it was just more of the same sprawl-inducing worship of short-term profits over consideration of citizens’ voices and long-term consequences.

The county has continued to pretend that the Comp Plan update process was open to citizens when clearly it was not, at least not in any meaningful way. The process had no room for serious discussion of green infrastructure, rural preservation, agriculture as a real focus of economic development, transportation modes other than private automobiles, smart growth principles, green and sustainable building practices, and real-life examples of these things being done around the Commonwealth and around the country.

Citizens are ready to take the “risk” of electing relatively inexperienced supervisors who may appoint relatively inexperienced planinng commissioners because citizens have seen the certainty of what will happen if they don’t make this change now — not only will they continue to be pushed to the side as their beloved county is further exploited, they will have to endure the added patronizing insult of being told that their opinions are valued and it’s all for their own good.

Numerous citizens spoke at public meetings to inform the Board about what would happen in November based on the Comp Plan update vote. The die was cast in March 2007. The discussion ended on March 28. We have four months to make sure that in November the voters “send a message” so loudly and clearly that there can be absolutely no mistaking its strength or meaning.”

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2 Responses

  1. I’ve been working with four term BOS Jack Ward for almost two years now since we bought a new house in Mechanicsville. Instead of a Subdivision Buffer being placed in a common area, the Developer was allowed to forego a common area and place the 50 x 145 Buffer on my legal property. Trust me, being a military family here on orders, we asked all the right questions to the point of beligerence prior to closing. Still the Developer and Sellers Agents, both of Long and Foster would not, did not, ever state that the Buffer was actually on my property and it was never mentioned on the contract. We had to take the house at closing after being two months late. I noticed the rectangle on the platt but it did not identify it and also did not acknowledge the Restrictions and Responsibilities associated with it.

    You see the Planning Department passsed this without loosing a breath placing the responsibility of maintaining 37 dying trees and a sidewalk to nowhere soley on ME! You see there are only 6 new houses all on the left side of a new street that deadends in a cul de sac! Obviously I live on the corner of Ellerson and Waldron Way.

    The trees have died twice and will again, I hired a Nationally Aclaimed Arborist to do a report. It went to eveyone, County, BOS, Developer. Not a word from the Palnning Department, inspection office, or anyone, even Jack Ward. Even in the light of the roport stating the trees were planted wrong, Wire and baskets still on the root balls, restrictive twin tied tightley around the trunks, wrong species for the area and in a drainage are where this species will die!

    Some have been replaced, same kind, (Dime a Dozen, Eastern White Pines), they continue to die.

    How does the County think that placing a buffer on private property is right? I’m not talking about the utility easement, beyond that! A third of my haalf acre lot.

    All of a sudden in an election year, Jack Ward changed his tact when I said I guessed I’d have to vote for someone else. Three times now he has told me , “It will get Vacated”!

    Guess what, The Planning Department won’t put it on the aagenda! Won’t listen to him at all.

    Experience isn’t working for me in what is another case of the Planing Department siding with the Developers. How are we susposed to think that integrity still lives at the County Complex when this kind of sleazy planning gets pushed off on the citizens? And then the Comp Plan, Jeeezzz!

    Experience in corruption maybe, not in doing the “Right Thing”! Good people just don’t do this to good people. Vote the Bums out and new breath into the BOS!

    Ellerson and Waldron Way. Feel free to come look at this crap. They even planted a tree with the top half broken off and the county inspectors OK’d it!

    Ron

  2. I applaud the effort of the citizenry of Hanover County in signing all the Petitions for the candidates against the current BOS, Bravo! The way the Board completely ignored, (And in the case of Gordon and Stanley, did not strongly defend) the clear majority of citizens attending the Comp Plan work shops who opposed the Comp Plan, is nothing less that tyranny. I thank the candidates that want to cast off the old leadership and provide for a better future. But to think that new Supervisors alone will fix the problems we face is ignoring the real problem.

    The Board of Supervisors do vote aye or no on the proposed changes, implementations, plans and so forth. But where do they come from. Usually they originate at the Office of Developers and presented for review bay the Hanover County Planning Department. If you want to really blame someone for the Comp Plan, I give you the Hanover County Planning Department!!!!

    Michael E. Crescenzo is the Director of Planning. David Maloney and John Bender are the Deputy Directors of Planning. Planning Department personnel can be reached by calling (804) 365-6171.

    The sheer lunacy of some of the plans they have accepted over the last four years is maddening. Some are completely void of the adult thought process and do more harm than good. The drainage in some Sub Divisions has continually been a problem and is not getting any better. Sidewalks where they are not needed, some dumb requirement for a secondary sewer drainage tube in the middle of yards, and buffer plants that are, (By all science) planted to close together, not draught resistant, and dead within weeks and never checked on! Roads built that are often to wide and lines painted that are strangely confusing causing two vehicles in one lane and often turn lanes that end up being, Not Turn Lanes? There is an inspection process in place with the county, but it is seldom enforced leaving the single homeowners with eyesores instead of views.

    Fortunately, There are still Developers who have pride in their work and take care of their Sub Divisions for future considerations. These developers know who they are and often need no policing by the county, “True Professionals”. However there are plenty of just out in out Bums out there throwing plans together without any regard of the end result for the Homeowners. The County Planning Department is allowing Sub Division Buffers to be placed on a single Homeowners Property in small Sub Divisions, saving the Developers form placing them on common areas as in larger Sub Divisions. How are we as citizens to read anything else into this but lazy or completely corrupt?

    A complete sweep in the BOS will not solve the problem; it’s a good start though. The new BOS have to take the Planning Department by the horns and either fix it or clean house! That is the solution for Hanover County!

    Mr. Ellis, this job means getting your hands dirty. This “Good ol Boy” network is devious and condescending to the point of rude if not just totally thinking they are above the law. I think you can do it because I still think truth and justice eventually wins out. But we usually take a beating getting there.

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