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: https://richmondbizsense.com/2022/03/30/more-than-100-homes-planned-for-land-across-from-richmond-country-club/#newsletter

Perhaps Hanover could add this to its Planning toolbox?

Citizen input needed now to drive Comp Plan changes

The process to update Hanover’s Comprehensive Plan, dubbed Envision Hanover, is underway with citizen comment now being taken. The County has held open houses at schools and drop-in sessions at the libraries. 

Please take advantage of two more opportunities to express your thoughts for a better Hanover.

Attend the Virtual Open House on February 28, 6:00 p.m.

If you missed the in-person opportunities, then here’s another chance to give input. Per the County’s announcement, “there will be a presentation with information regarding the planning process. Following the presentation, participants will have an opportunity to ask questions.” Register online here.  

Complete the Visioning Survey by Friday, March 4

The online survey will help identify important issues in the County.

For ongoing information about the Envision Hanover process go to this link: www.envisionhanover.com/upcoming-events

Be in contact with your Supervisors, Planning Commissioners and County staff: https://hanoversfuture.org/Contacts/

The citizen voice matters. Thank you for your voice.

Citizen input needed for Comp Plan and P&R Master Plan updates

Two important Hanover County long-range planning processes are underway in 2022, both requiring the critical component of citizen input in order to truly demonstrate community-based planning.

The County’s Comprehensive Plan, updated at five-year intervals, is now on a two-year timeline for review and update. The Parks and Recreation Department’s Master Plan update, its first since 2010, is commencing a process that is long overdue.

Hanover County daily wrestles with the myriad issues attending growth, development and rural preservation — a persistent balancing act.

Citizens need to be a part of the conversation charting a Hanover County future that respects a common sense approach among these interests. What are the best plans and procedures for roads, housing, ennvironmental standards, rural preservation, economic development, green spaces/pocket parks/passive recreation, land use planning? These and other issues are on the table.

The Comp Plan update, termed Envision Hanover, is starting to roll. Citizen input begins officially with these community listening sessions:

Tuesday, February 8, 2022 (5:00 p.m. – 7:00 p.m.) 

Oak Knoll Middle School 

Patrick Henry High School 

Thursday, February 10, 2022 (5:00 p.m. – 7:00 p.m.) 

Atlee High School 

Mechanicsville High School 

Citizens may drop in at any time during these open houses to provide comments.

Please visit www.envisionhanover.com for more information about the planning process and ways to participate virtually, or contact the Planning Department at (804) 365-6171 or via email at envisionhanover@hanovercounty.gov.  

Parks & Recreation is gathering public input for its updated Master Plan through surveys and public meetings. Please visit the P&R Master Plan webpage to complete the survey and to learn more about the update process: https://www.hanovercounty.gov/1152/Master-Plan

These are not the only opportunities to voice your wishes and concerns. Please stay in contact with your Supervisors, Planning Commissioners and County officials with your comments: https://hanoversfuture.org/Contacts/

The citizen voice matters. Thank you for your voice.

Hanover County commences two-year Comp Plan update; Citizens need to speak up

An unprecedented two-year timeline has been laid out for the Comprehensive Land Use Plan Review and Update that will culminate in a finished product August 2023.

Updated every five years, the Comp Plan is a guide for how and where the County will grow.

Engagement with the update process is vital in order for Hanover citizens to contribute their best ideas for the future of the County.

To see the Comp Plan timeline, click here

Planning Commission defers RC Ordinance change for 60 days; public work session planned

In its July 15 meeting, following a public hearing, the Planning Commission deferred the proposed Rural Conservation (RC) Ordinance revision for 60 days. Commissioners will hold a public work session focusing on an updated draft from the Planning staff. Date, time and place to be announced.

The general goal of the Rural Conservation District, created some 20 years ago, was to provide assurances that open space would be preserved and maintained and allow some residential clusters in the rural area. The purpose of this zoning was to keep large tracts of land open for agricultural and other non-residential agricultural uses.

What is gained by changing the ordinance? Further division of the preserved open space by allowing a second preservation lot. Comparison of the existing and proposed ordinances follows:

Existing RC Ordinance

The RC District allows a cluster of homes in a residential portion with some common open space and a preservation lot that allows one dwelling and agriculture, among permitted uses. The ordinance mandates that 70% of the net developable acreage must be preserved. Permanent open space easements are placed on the common open space and the preservation lot.

Proposed RC Ordinance

The modified ordinance would allow a residential cluster with open space, and up to two preservation lots. One preservation lot of not fewer than 10 acres may have a dwelling and the other preservation lot, termed a conservation lot, would be restricted to agricultural, non-residential uses as listed in the ordinance. The 70% conservation mandate stands. Easements would be placed on the common open space, the preservation lot and the conservation lot.

Why change the ordinance now? There are compelling reasons to wait:

  • The County has just launched a freighted timeline for the 2022 Comp Plan Review and Update. Every chapter of the current Comp Plan will be scrutinized. Lots of moving parts. Don’t piecemeal revisions of ordinances prior to this process.
  • Per the County, rural planning policy is due for a big overhaul to define the role and definition of rural and to expand and articulate rural and agricultural policies. Huge lifts. Why not wait and consider these and other RC changes as part of a coordinated rural strategy?
  • The County now holds two easements per RC parcel, or approximately 50 easements. The new ordinance could add a third easement on each. When the County is admittedly understaffed and underperforming the annual inspections, does it need more easements to manage? Is the integrity of the conservation easements already compromised?