South Anna growth issue at town hall meeting

Potential residential growth in the South Anna District remains a concern of some citizens but the district’s supervisor, Wayne T. Hazzard, does not think the proposed Comprehensive Plan update will greatly affect the area in question.

More than 120 Hanover residents gathered at Elmont Elementary Aug. 12 where Hazzard emphasized and addressed this concern.  Hazzard said under the proposed changes, rural areas would continue to be rural.

South Anna Supervisor Wayne T. Hazzard

South Anna Supervisor Wayne T. Hazzard

“I’m confused about how anyone thinks that any of this development will occur anywhere other than on the main thoroughfare,” Hazzard said.

Under the proposed plan, “80 percent of the county is remaining rural,” Planning Director David Maloney said in a July interview. However, the Comp Plan has predicted a 30 percent population increase in rural areas since the plan’s last update in 2007.

Several citizens voiced their concerns over proposed residential development, which Hazzard addressed, adding, “I don’t think housing units are what [Hanover County] needs to drive businesses.”

Under the new plan, developers are limited in areas designated for “mixed-use zoning” to build, at the most, 15 dwellings per acre, whereas the existing plan allows for up to 30 dwellings.

Hazzard proposed a “hypothetical” example looking at the maximum development that could occur in the Route 33/Hylas area. If the development proposed in that area reached its maximum capacity, there would be approximately 50,000 dwellings or 15 per acre, Hazzard said. The new plan, if developed to its maximum, would have 16,000 dwellings, or three per acre.

“When you see signs that say ‘increases in density,’ sometimes you can’t believe everything you see,” Hazzard said.

Another concern raised by Old Church resident, Rick Ryan, was the Comp Plan’s wording regarding the “multi-use” land designation, which would allow developers to build residential and commercial developments.

For builders to develop multi-use areas, the Plan requires at least 50 percent of a project be either business or industrial. In addition, the residential aspect of the development cannot make up less than 35 percent with the same limit of 15 dwellings per acre.

Ryan questioned how the county would regulate and “enforce” the required commercial to residential ratio on developers.

“The business is the primary thing, the residential is secondary,” Hazzard said.

Hazzard added that he would make sure developers are aware of the necessary commercial requirement in order to build any residential developments. He plans to address this issue when the Board meets, Hazzard said.

During the town hall meeting, Neil Nelson, a resident along Holly Hill Road, expressed concern about the updated plan allowing for four to eight dwellings per acre east of Holly Hill Road.

He added the aforementioned area permit four to eight dwellings would not coincide with the Comp Plan’s goal. Nelson expressed the importance of the Plan’s objectives that it “should respect existing low density development” and call for a “gradual transition from lower to higher density and more intense development.”

Nelson asked the Board to reconsider the proposed growth increase and instead keep the area under its current designation of “suburban transitional.” After the meeting, Nelson politely declined an opportunity to expand on his comment.

The suggestion will be brought to the Board, Hazzard said.

Hazzard’s town hall meeting at Elmont Elementary followed a general meeting Aug. 7 at Lee-Davis High School hosted by the Board of Supervisors for residents to learn about the Comp Plan’s new changes. Supervisors also held a similar structured meeting at Patrick Henry High School Aug. 13.

A public hearing will be held at the Board’s Aug. 28 meeting for citizens to voice concerns before the supervisors hold a workshop Sept. 4 to discuss the public’s input from previous meetings. At the latest, the board will vote on whether to adopt the Planning Commission’s recommended plan by Sept. 11.

Posted on Thursday, August 15, 2013 at 10:25 am