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Despite pushback from passionate local residents who oppose a proposed Mechanicsville movie theater, the Planning Commission has recommended the Board of Supervisors approve the project when it comes their way next month.
The theater, named Hanover 12, would be operated by Carmike Cinemas Inc. and located off Route 360 in the Hanover Village Shopping Center adjacent to the Brandy Creek neighborhood.
Because the property has a “B-3” commercial zoning, developer Hanover Village LLC is required to get a conditional use permit from the county.
Commissioner Randy Whittaker, who represents the Mechanicsville District, voted in favor of the theater proposal. Whittaker explained that the location’s zoning supports 66 uses of the property.
Whittaker said Sheetz is an example of a type of business that could have proposed development on the same property.
“Lots of businesses could have gone on this property that would not have required any discussion,” said Whittaker.
The 12-screen theater’s location stirred up the most lively and consistent discussion. Local residents have voiced their concerns over traffic and safety.
David Jennings, a Brandy Creek resident for about 25 years, said he is worried about the negative impacts the theater could have on his neighborhood specifically regarding an increase in through traffic and an increase in crime rate. Jennings also attended at least one community meeting early this month.
Henry District resident Scott Marshall said he shares those concerns but is also worried “about the influx of activities associated with movies [like] loitering.”
Hanover Village LLC., received the Planning Commission’s approval, but they must create a buffer and a public safety plan. The buffer will add on to a marsh that already acts as an existing natural buffer between the property and Brandy Creek neighborhood.
“Those citizens who wont be pleased with my motion, we’ve heard your concerns but come to another conclusion,” said Whittaker.
Curt Reichstetter, a Mechanicsville resident, was the only citizen who voiced support for the theater proposal during the meeting. Reichstetter said the theater would bring more jobs to Hanover residents and his 16-year-old son who needs summer work.
The theater would bring 60 jobs to Hanover County.