Mechanicsville multiuse plan clears planning commission

Posted on Thursday, May 22, 2014 at 11:08 am

A proposed multiuse development on Bell Creek Road is moving forward.

May 15, the planning commission OK’d the proposal, 6-1, despite opposition from neighboring residents, primarily because of traffic concerns, early in the proposed project’s development.

Planning Director David Maloney (left) responds to citizen questions during an earlier community meeting regarding a proposed multiuse development in Mechanicsville alongside Attorney Andrew Condlin, representing Hanover Land Investors LLC.

Planning Director David Maloney (left) responds to citizen questions during an earlier community meeting regarding a proposed multiuse development in Mechanicsville alongside Attorney Andrew Condlin, representing Hanover Land Investors LLC.

The developer, Hanover Land Investors LLC., owned by Henry Shield, wants to build 48 single-family homes and 73 townhomes on roughly 25.45 acres near the intersection of Bell Creek and Pole Green roads. Shields also hopes to construct some small commercial developments, but there is no known use at this moment.

Shield is requesting to rezone the property from agricultural to B-3, a multiuse designation, allowing him to build both residential and commercial structures.

Roughly 28 residents attended the commission’s Thursday evening meeting and six individuals spoke against the project.

Traffic is still a concern among some citizens. Elizabeth Cancro, a Hanover Grove subdivision resident, said that is her number one concern. Cancro is worried about the level of traffic coming in and out of the proposed neighborhood and filtering onto Bell Creek Road.

“We already have problems with the flow of traffic as it is,” she said.

Many residents also voiced concerns about the size of the development.

Faye Toney, Meadow Gate subdivision resident, moved to Mechanicsville because she liked its rural charm. Toney is concerned with how that could change if the development goes forward.

“I still want that rural community,” Toney said. “I still want a backyard that my granddaughter can play in.”

Her neighborhood is near the proposal’s location and she suggested the development include no more than four houses per acre. Currently the project allows for 5.52 units per acre and it coincides with the comprehensive plan, which in areas designated as suburban high, allowing four to eight units per acre.

Rick Ryan, a Cold Harbor resident, also expressed concern about whether the proposed development would fit in with neighborhoods such as the layout of the Hanover Grove subdivision.

“I don’t think it’s compatible with the surroundings,” Ryan said.

Since the developer and his attorneys first submitted a draft proposal in the summer, two community meetings have been held to hear and try to address citizens’ concerns.

Following those meetings, some changes were made to the plans such as improvements to help traffic flow at the already busy intersection of Pole Green and Bell Creek roads. In addition, the developer addressed concerns regarding stormwater runoff by adding a landscaped berm by a nearby pond that residents worried it could be negatively impacted. In other efforts to reduce runoff, all walking trails in the subdivision would be made with porous pavement. During construction, the developer will adhere to the new stormwater regulations.

Now that the proposed development has passed through the planning commission, it will be up to the board of supervisors as to whether or not it becomes a reality. The project goes before the board during its June 25 meeting.

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