Pay heed when the General Land Use Map changes

In its April 18 email feed, Envision Hanover announced that the application period is now open for landowners to request land use changes for their properties. Deadline to submit applications is 5:00 p.m. Friday, June 17, 2022.

Such requests, if granted, would then trigger changes in the General Land Use Plan Map, the tool which delineates (with various colors) such uses as residential, commercial, industrial and their various sub categories. 

 See the map at this site: General Land Use Plan

Included in the email: “All applications will be reviewed by the Community Participation Team (CPT), Planning Commission, and the Board of Supervisors to determine whether the requested changes should be reflected in the updated General Land Use Plan.”  

Citizens, pay heed.

The pros and cons of land use changes —large or small — need to be thoroughly considered by citizens, Planning Commissioners and Supervisors.  How will changes affect traffic, roads, suburban development, forests, farmlands, open space, and, indeed, quality of life? A map change decision is no insignificant matter.

A seemingly small change can precipitate an avalanche. Then development pressure builds, putting citizens in the path of a juggernaut and a decision they might not actually have envisioned. 

The County’s fallback position is this: a property owner is not compelled to rezone his property and can continue to enjoy its use. True enough. But here’s another truth: death by a thousand cuts changes the landscape permanently.

The Envision Hanover email concludes with this entreaty: “Be on the lookout for future opportunities to provide feedback regarding the General Land Use Plan and land use throughout the County.”

We couldn’t agree more.

Sign up to receive information on the Comp Plan update process:

Voice your concerns. The citizen voice matters.


Top 3’s show recurring citizen concerns around Hanover’s growth

Over 4000 comments were submitted in Phase #1 Public Engagement for the current Comp Plan review and update process.

Envision Hanover released the latest information April 18, featuring two “Top 3” categories.

The Top 3 critical issues Hanover is currently facing:

  • Loss of farmlands, forests and open space
  • Traffic congestion
  • Lack of walking and biking options

The Top 3 biggest concerns as Hanover County grows:

  • Increased traffic/congestion
  • Loss of farmlands, forests and open space
  • Too much development

Citizens have cited these same issues repeatedly for the last three Comp Plan updates and now a fourth. Is the County listening to the citizen stakeholders? 

Let your Supervisors, Planning Commissioners and County officials hear from you.

 Visit to see the comment log and more. Go to to sign up for email feeds.

A boiling stew: Hanover, Ashland and zoning hotspots

In 2022, local land use planning is a boiling stew as Hanover and Ashland update their Comp Plans and try to navigate the mounting pressures of suburban sprawl, leapfrog commercial and industrial development, loss of rural and agricultural parcels, environmental degradation and viewshed destruction. 

Some zoning applications are already being positioned as Hanover and Ashland are still in the early stages of their updates. How fast can the localities dance? Developers are setting the tempo.

Zoning hotspot: Rte 54 east of Ashland

Hickory Hill, II, LLC has filed for a Comprehensive Plan Amendment (CPA 2021-00001) and new zoning application (REZ2021-00014) with County Planning for the 52-acre tract at the intersection of Providence Church Road and Rte 54. This is a re-do of the previous Hickory Grove application denied 7-0 last year by the Board of Supervisors.

Two parcels comprising the 2010 East Ashland zoning on the south side of Rte 54 have been resurrected . . .

On the County portion, Harris and Douglas, LLC (REZ2022-00008) has filed to amend the MX zoning to townhomes, commercial and industrial on 98 acres.

In Ashland, Tradeport 95 (CPA2022-02) seeks a Comp Plan Amendment for 100 acres that is currently single-family homes, farmland and open space. This case is on the Ashland Planning Commission’s April 13 docket.

Lots of acreage and looming issues: leapfrog development, exacerbated traffic pinch point, more viewshed destruction and mounting environmental degradation.

Results from Comp Plan citizen engagement sessions now posted

Hanover’s Comp Plan update, Envision Hanover, has compiled and released all of the comments received during Phase #1 Public Engagement. They have been posted online HERE.

Included in the document are also all comments taken at the 2017 Comp Plan community input meetings. Citizens in 2022 have most of the same questions, concerns and suggestions as five years ago, including pace and standards of residential development, traffic volume, overburdened roads, more intentional green spaces, rural preservation and more.

Citizen input does not stop with the Phase #1 sessions. Keep in touch with your Supervisors, Planning Commissioners and County Officials. And subscribe to the Envision Hanover project updates:

What should a future Hanover County look like? Make your voice heard.

Hanover Planning process: require pre-application?

Goochland County, Hanover’s western neighbor also under development pressure, requires both a pre-application and a community meeting prior to accepting a rezoning application. More time for all stakeholders — citizens, County and developer — to engage in a less fraught process sounds like common sense policy.

Planning in Hanover is freighted with the numbing details of Planning Department-applicant negotiations until a case is deemed ready for prime time in the numbing pressure cooker of public hearings. Even before public hearings, citizens must jump into a process already underway in order to give or get information.

A recent article in Richmond Bizsense highlights the planning for a 100-acre residential proposal in Goochland County. See link:

Perhaps Hanover could add this to its Planning toolbox?