Supervisors deny 7147 Mechanicsville Turnpike, LLC Summerlyn development (REZ2022-00010)

On February 22 by a vote of 4-3, the Board of Supervisors denied the application of 7147 Mechanicsville Turnpike, LLC for its 144-unit “Summerlyn at Cambridge Square” apartment complex.

A dwelling unit (DU) density calculation on acreage containing Chesapeake Bay Resource Protection Area acres resulted in a buildable density in excess of the allowable maximum of 15 DU/acre.

Applicant and Planning staff justified the 16.86 DU/acre by including the adjacent Cambridge Square acreage with that of the proposed Summerlyn and treating the developments as Phase 1 and Phase 2. Applicant owns both parcels. But no such phasing was ever proposed when the applicant commenced building the Cambridge Square apartments.

Cambridge Square was completed, bond-released and compliant with the density ordinance as a project in 2019.

In September 2022, Supervisors remanded the case to the Planning Commission, who took it up again in January of this year, sending it back to the Board on a 7-0 vote.

Supervisors denied the application, 4-3.


Winns Church Rd. residential development denied 4-2 by Planning Commission

On February 16, the Hanover County Planning Commission voted 4-2 to deny REZ2021-00013 Willson Family, LLC, an application to rezone 161 acres fronting on Winns Church Road. The rezoning requested a change from A-1, Agricultural to RS, Single Family Residential District.

The proposed zoning amendment would have allowed for the creation of 176 building lots with a gross density of 1.1 dwelling units/acre. The General Land Use Plan currently designates the acreage as Suburban General, with 1.5-3 dwelling units/acre allowed.

Residents repeatedly cited traffic volume and safety as foremost of their concerns.

Commissioners Abbott, Hadra, Iverson and Leadbetter voted to deny while Commissioners Bailey and McGhee dissented. Mr. Whittaker was not in attendance.

Ironhorse Business Park juggernaut starting to roll

In its February 8 meeting, the Ashland Planning Commission voted 3-2 to approve a comprehensive land use amendment (CPA2022-08) for applicant Ironhorse Business Park. The public hearing was a continuation of the January 11 hearing.

Town Council had authorized up to 180 days for Commission to take action. This CPA got passed to Town Council with speed reminiscent of Wile E. Coyote and Roadrunner.

The CPA lays the groundwork for a followup rezoning application for Ironhorse Business Park, approximately 100 acres, at the intersection of I-95 and Rte 54. A rezoning application for its “twin”, approximately 120 acres on the Hanover County side, has been filed.

What’s in the massive Ironhorse Business Park proposal? Commercial, flex warehouse and townhomes. Oh, my.

Issues and concerns arise: traffic overloading and cut-through, commercial sprawl down Rte 54, environmental compromise along the Mt. Hermon/Mechumps Creek corridor, excessive warehouse square footage added to an already large inventory and more.

Now is the time for citizens to request joint Town-County community meetings. Contact Director of Planning and Community Development Nora Amos: and Senior Director of Community Development Jo Ann Hunter:

Let your voice be heard. Thank you.

Virginia Supreme Court: Hanover citizens have “standing” in Wegmans lawsuit

Hanover citizens, particularly the residents who live adjacent to the Wegmans distribution center, got good news in the recent Virginia Supreme Court decision. On appeal, their standing to bring suit against the Board of Supervisors was upheld.

The high court’s decision reversed the Hanover Circuit Court in this matter and remanded the case to Circuit Court.

Residents alleged the Board’s decision for Wegmans’s 24-hour operation would result in noise and light pollution, environmental degradation, increased truck traffic and lower property values, among other harms.

To read the full text of the Virginia Supreme Court’s decision, go here.

Massive Ironhorse Business Park proposed for Ashland interchange

In its January 11 meeting the Ashland Planning Commission held the first public hearing for a comprehensive plan amendment, CPA2022-06 Ironhorse Business Park.

Applicant Tradeport Ashland Land LLC is seeking the CPA to change future land use classification on approximately 100 acres from Interstate Commercial, Traditional Neighborhood, Town Edge and Open Space to Interstate Commercial and Industrial.

The new land use classification will lay groundwork for the expected rezoning of the acreage for the massive, warehouse-intense Ironhorse Business Park.

The aggregate of seven (7) parcels sits east of the Ashland I-95 interchange, south along Rte 54. A parcel on the Hanover side of the town-county boundary is also set for development; application has not yet been filed.

Existing zoning is Planned Unit Development, Planned Shopping Center, Highway Commercial and Rural Residential. This zoning dates from 2010 when another applicant was trying to develop the parcel as “East Ashland”.

Existing use of the property is single-family residential, farmland and open space. This is the soft, rural transition that Hanover County residents cite when talking about quality of life. It will go away with the advent of this development.

At the public hearing five Hanover County residents spoke, all of them from the area east of Ashland – Mt. Hermon Road, Providence and Rte 54 corridor. Their concerns included:

•   existing and future traffic on overburdened Rte 54 and adjacent rural roads

•   cut-through truck traffic on Mt. Hermon Road

•   watershed and flooding concerns along Mt. Hermon Road

•   increase in crime with more commercial development

•   hardening and loss of a suburban-rural transition area

•   priorities: pitting locality revenue against quality of life

Ashland Town Council authorized up to 180 days to consider the request. Town and County will hold joint community meetings after application is filed on the Hanover County tract. The traffic study has not yet been reviewed by Ashland Planning staff. Issues abound.

To see materials and maps for the CPA, go here.

Please check the CHF Facebook page regularly for progress and process regarding this proposal, including public hearings, Town and County community meetings, application filings and materials.

Seek out your Planning Commissioners, Town Council members, Supervisors and Planning staffs to contribute your thoughts to the conversation. Click here for contact information.