Giles Farm rezoning: a case for open space

Various proposals have been put forth over the last several years for a residential development in the Chickahominy district called Giles Farm. The location of the proposed development is along Atlee Station Road across from Chickahominy Middle School and Atlee High School. The current proposal is for 442 homes, of which 122 would be townhomes clustered at Staple Lane and Atlee Station Road. The parcels of land assembled for the proposal almost equal 270 acres, of which about forty percent cannot be developed due to its status as a Resource Protection Area. (The rear of the proposed development includes the wetlands along the Chickahominy River just north of I-295 and east of US 301.)

In November, the Hanover County Planning Commission voted 6-1 to recommend denial of the proposal.  It is not a binding vote.  In other words, when Hanover County’s Board of Supervisors vote to approve or deny the proposed development, they will consider denial as recommended by the Planing Commissioners.  The Giles Farm proposal will go to the Board of Supervisors for a final vote to approve or deny it in early 2011.

Several issues have been raised about the proposal.  Some planning commissioners were uncomfortable with the fact that, because of the irregular shape of the project area, a significant number of homes in the rear of the project could only be reached by one road.  The provision of a gated emergency access connection with Craney Island Farms did not alleviate these concerns.  Some commissioners felt uneasy with the county’s recommendation that the Giles Farm development be connected to the Atlee Manor neighborhood at two points. While connectivity is important, some commissioners believed that the benefits of connection, in this case, were outweighed by the negative impacts.

Residents have raised concerns about the potential of negative impact from increasing traffic; the connection to Atlee Manor; water quality; school enrollment; natural habitat; and, a lack of public green spaces.

Jim Ellis, member of the Coalition for Hanover’s Future and a Chickahominy resident addresses the issue of open spaces within this development as well as other proposed subdivisions.

Link to Jim Ellis’ paper – Public Green Spaces – Giles Farm.