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Is change coming to Montpelier?

Posted on Wednesday, December 28, 2016 at 12:59 pm

Hanover residents will have the opportunity to share their opinions regarding a proposed zoning amendment in Montpelier at public meetings Jan. 12 and 17 at the Montpelier Center

Hanover native Doug Harris’ current rezoning proposal would see a future multi-stage development, which is still in the planning process. The proposal would incorporate a commercial node in a 39.98 acre parcel located on the west line of U.S. Route 33 at its intersection with Locust Run, which Harris has contracted.

Harris said that he intends to build a six-pump gas station and family-oriented restaurant with a patio area for the beginning of development. This proposed facility is estimated to be approximately 8,000 square feet.

“I want to provide something that will be larger, cleaner and well maintained,” Harris said.

Harris hopes that his vision for the facility will help save people time on their daily commutes, thus allowing them more time to spend with their families.

“I want to keep the nostalgic look of Montpelier,” Harris said. “I want to keep it beautiful, I want to keep it small; I don’t want to add anything that would be abusive to the community.”

The facility would be decorated to maintain the rustic atmosphere associated with Montpelier. Harris said that he wants his facility to incite nostalgia, “so we don’t forget where we come from.”

Though this is Harris’ first business endeavor of this size, he believes the facility would greatly benefit the community.

“It could generate anywhere from 25 to 50 jobs. It’s not a big corporation but every little bit helps in a community,” Harris said.

Harris will develop the property in stages if the proposal is approved. The first phases will include removing an empty house currently located the property.

Hanover residents will have the opportunity to learn more about the proposed rezoning and development at community meetings to be held at the Montpelier Center Jan. 12 and 17, at 7 p.m.

Harris’ request to advertise for public hearing for a similar plan was deferred at the Board’s Nov. 9 meeting. The applicant’s previous request included changing the General Land Use designation of land located along Mountain Road from West Patrick Henry Road to Locust Run from Agricultural to Rural Village.

The current proposal is for the rezoning of a different parcel of land near the original proposed location.

“I want to keep Montpelier the same quaint community it’s always been,” Harris said. “All I’m trying to do is offer something that will generate revenues for the county and Montpelier, and give the community something it can enjoy.”

Harris said that he plans to maintain as many of the oak trees located on the property as possible. He has considered including white vinyl or salt treated fence around the property as well.

“Just cleaning it up and making it look better will improve property values around it tremendously,” Harris said.

Beyond the early phases of development, Harris has thought of adding a drive-in movie theater.

“There are a lot of ideas, but nothing is set in stone,” Harris said.

If a drive-in theater were to be built on the property, Harris would avoid installing excessive high intensity lighting, as to not interfere with anyone’s property or home.

Harris said that as a lifelong Hanover County resident, he wishes to contribute something positive to his community. The proposed business developments could bring in more business and revenue to the area, Harris said.

“This is not about me putting dollars in my pocket—this is about the community,” Harris said.