Hickory Grove: schlocky suburban design slammed into rural land

Simply, Categorically…
the wrong site for this type of zoning
The public hearing for the rezoning request from Hickory Hill II, LLC was deferred in June and July upon request by applicant until the August meeting of the Planning Commission. The 51-acre parcel, located at the intersection of Rte 54 and Providence Church Road, is categorically the wrong site for an MX/B-2 zoning.
The developer plans 42.33 acres of commercial and 100 townhome units and 9.17 acres for mixed commercial that may include a convenience store and fast-food restaurant with drive-through.
The application presents numerous problems, one of the most troublesome being added traffic on the under-capacity Rte 54. The Hickory Grove applicant did not consider the approved East Ashland average daily traffic numbers (ADTs) in the Traffic Impact Analysis. This is a major oversight. However, when it came to computing the road cash proffer, East Ashland was considered, which reduced the cash proffer of the applicant.
This inconsistent factoring for East Ashland benefits the applicant but shortchanges the citizens who will suffer the traffic congestion caused by inadequate road infrastructure.
In addition to the funny math of the traffic count, other problems abound:
  • the development would abut agricultural land and create a “hard edge” with no transition between suburban and rural;
  • site prep = scraping, timbering, slashing that add more impervious surface and create water quality issues;
  • 79,417 sq.ft. of commercial and retail space is incompatible with adjacent land uses;
  • a proposed realignment of historic Providence Church Road to “improve” traffic safety on an already stressed Rte 54 would strangulate that thoroughfare should East Ashland (approved 2010) be built;
  • the commercial/retail component encourages urban crawl to the east side of I-95 and in Ashland vacated, blighted properties result;
  • this leapfrogging development to the east of I-95 will bloat the interchange like many in Northern Virginia;
  • a gas station/convenience store and fast-food drive-through would compound traffic, light pollution, trash, noise . . .
  • there are already 10 places to get gas and snacks on Rte 54 from the Ashland town center to east of I-95;
  • Rte 54 is a gateway corridor linking historic Ashland and Hanover Courthouse districts through rural countryside.
We implore citizens to speak out in the strongest possible terms to County officials and the developer. Hanover County does not need another poorly planned and sited development foisted off on its citizens.

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