Saturday, May 20, 2017

Boom!


It’s official, Goochland is the Richmond region’s playground. Our county was recently recognized as a “2017 Playful City USA Community” by KaBOOM!, a national non-profit organization dedicated to bringing balanced and active play into the daily lives of all kids. The Playful City USA program honors cities and towns across the country for putting the needs of families first so kids can learn, grow and develop important life skills.

The press release about the recognition is available in its entirety on the county homepage goochlandva.us/. It explains that communities selected make a concerted effort to provide active play environments for children and the community at large. Active play, the group contends, is a good way to build social networks and create connections whose benefits extend far beyond physical well-being.

The Playful City designation concentrates on the county’s efforts to expand parks and playgrounds and collaborate with local non-profits like the Goochland YMCA, GYAA, GUSA, and others, to leverage resources for the betterment of all. The county Parks and Rec department is continually expanding its offering of programs and activities for all ages. Offerings for adults, for instance, include programs on both kick boxing and salads.

A good example of this collaboration is Tucker Park by the Maidens bridge. A few years ago, the county brought the property, one of the few places in the county with access to the James River that does not involve crossing CSX railroad tracks.

Interested citizens soon formed “Friends of Tucker Park” that worked with the county to transform a wild spot on the river into a recreational mecca. Walking trails with benches perfect for watching the river roll by; a rain garden; a simple performance stage; a Sycamore grove to honor the late Don Charles, who first glimpsed the possibilities in the site; and the latest addition, a canoe launch on the eastern side that is home to an LL Bean Discovery School.

Other parks and walking trails are spouting around the county. The long neglected former middle school is blossoming into the Central High School Cultural and Educational Center, complete with athletic facilities and walking tracks. Hiking trails in the east end of the county are in the works.

There is lots more to do in Goochland.

We have the Goochland Drive-In Theater in Hadensville. As Goochland is horse country, there are several equestrian venues. Orapax Hunting Preserve has been named the number one hunting destination in Virginia. We have wineries, breweries, and a cidery continually creating imaginative and award-winning, potent potables.

Annual events like Rassawek (coming up June 3 and 4 rassawek.com/rassawek-spring-jubilee/welcome/); Field Day of the Past (www.fielddayofthepast.net) for a trip back to simpler times; Bethlehem Walk, which gives special meaning to Christmas; and Fourth of July fireworks are local life savors.

Our history can be recreation. Walk on the courthouse green (come this Sunday, May 21 at 3 p.m. for the dedication of interpretive markers there) and see the old stone jail. Our Circuit Court House, has been dispensing justice for nearly two centuries.

Tuckahoe Plantation, where Thomas Jefferson may have learned to read, often hosts events and is a movie and TV star. The AMC series Turn was partially filmed there, with each of its distinctive entrances playing different homes in different cities.

Cyclists love to pedal our winding narrow roads, and tubers, unable to read maps, often fail to realize that the James River does not parallel Route 6 and it can take twelve hours to float from West View on the James to Maidens, a half hour trip by car. Signs have been placed along the river to make this clear, let’s see how many have to be rescued this summer.

Events put on by local groups, fire-rescue companies; churches, civic organizations like the American Legion are other way to weave the distinctive thread of every individual into a strong and colorful tapestry of community.

This is by no means an exhaustive list of recreational opportunities in Goochland. Kudos to the county for its efforts to bring folks together while having fun. See the Parks and Rec section of the county website for more information.







Monday, May 8, 2017

On the fly

Goochland County planning commissioners voted unanimously (4-0 with Matt Brewer, District 2 absent) to recommend denial of a conditional use permit for a Dunkin' Donuts drive through window in the Courthouse Commons shopping center at their May 4 meeting.

The Commissioners, who expressed enthusiasm for having a Dunkin' Donuts in the Courthouse Village area, could not get comfortable with the traffic pattern for the proposed drive through in a relatively narrow space on the west side of the strip shopping center that divides it from the Essex Bank property.

As proposed, traffic lanes for the drive through window would loop around the end of the building creating storage lanes for people waiting for their orders. However, those same lanes would be used by large trucks making deliveries to loading docks at the back of the shopping center that serve the other businesses there.

A similar proposal made in 2011 by Big Cheese Pizza, former occupant of the same space in the shopping center, was withdrawn before getting to the Planning Commission for essentially the same reasons.

Applicant Luis Cabral contended that the drive through lanes, which would be identified by pavement markings rather than curbing, would be sufficient to handle peak traffic, which he estimated to be between 7 and 9 a.m.

He also contended that deliveries made by large trucks to other tenants could be scheduled to occur during off peak times to lessen the possibility of simultaneous use of the traffic lanes by tractor trailers and drive through customers. Cabral said that Food Lion and Dollar General, the two large tenants in the shopping center, receive only a handful of tractor trailer deliveries per week combined.

The direction of truck traffic behind the shopping center was also a concern. Cabral seemed to indicate that trucks would enter on the west side, essentially through the drive through lanes, unload their cargo behind the shopping center and continue on to exit on the east side of the center, but that is not guaranteed. He said that Dunkin' Donuts expects to receive two tractor trailer deliveries per week that would block access for other tenants behind the shopping center for about ten minutes and would take place before those businesses open for the day.

“I don’t like it,” said Derek Murray, District 3. “I understand the need for a drive through and would like to have it, but I am concerned that something could go wrong.”
John Myers, District 1 said he could live with the proposal if it mandated one way traffic behind the building to prevent trucks from turning around after making deliveries and exiting via the drive through lanes.

John Shelhorse, District 4, said that Dunkin' Donuts is a good commercial enterprise and he hopes the applicant can modify his proposal so it can work.

Commission Chair Tom Rockecharlie, District 5, said that Dunkin' Donuts would be a good asset to the area, but people do not always pay attention to signs and pavement marking and infringe on other people’s right of way.

Having been acted upon by the Planning Commission, the application will now proceed to the Board of Supervisors for a final vote. In the interim, Cabral could revise his plan to make it more palatable from a safety standpoint.

In a companion matter, the Commissioners addressed a proposed ordinance amendment to make drive through businesses a by right use in areas zoned B-1; M-1, which includes West Creek; and M-2. A CUP for drive through businesses will still be required in the more restrictive B-2 zoning district.

According to Principal Planner Tom Coleman, the ordinance change is intended to rectify what has been perceived as an unfair distinction between types of businesses permitted by right in areas zoned for business. “It does not seem fair to make a drive through restaurant go to the Supervisors for permission to build when a sit down restaurant is allowed by right. Drive throughs are appropriate in commercial area, this clarifies and simplifies the process.”

The proposed ordinance contains design standards for drive aisles, stacking lanes, and pedestrian crossings as safety measures.


After a bit of discussion, the Commissioners sent the proposed revision back to the drawing board. They asked Assistant County Attorney Whitney Marshall to draft revised language differentiating between drive though businesses built from scratch on a contiguous parcel from those that are “retrofitted” where drive through lanes could impinge on nearby businesses.

The Centerville McDonald’s, for instance, which occupies its own parcel and configured drive through lanes, parking, and pedestrian access accordingly is an example of the kind of entity that would be by right in the new ordinance. A retrofit situation like the like the proposed Dunkin' Donuts, whose drive through lanes could interfere with its neighbors, would get more scrutiny. The Commissioners voted to defer that matter to their July 13 meeting.

This change will probably pave the way for additional drive throughs in the county. Curiously, with the exception of a drive through window at Walgreens on Pouncey Tract Road and a drive through Dunkin' Donuts in the Shell station opposite Short Pump Town Center, there are no drive throughs on Broad Street between the Taco Bell near Wal-Mart and the Centerville McDonald’s.





Sunday, May 7, 2017

May pole



Now that the budget has been approved and the tax rates set, Goochland County supervisors had a rather quiet May meeting.

The afternoon session began with an invocation by Rev. Emily Dunevant, Rector of Grace Episcopal Church. Her prayer reminded our elected and appointed officials that they serve the citizens and asked for divine guidance as they make decisions.

Shannon Grayson of the Goochland Extension Office was selected as employee of the month for April by Virginia Tech for her 13 years of exemplary service. Shannon’s boundless good cheer and exceptional professionalism makes her an excellent representative of Virginia Tech outreach. Shannon, who is believed to be able to herd cats, sends out notices about programs sponsored by Extension, including the Goochland Leadership Enterprise program. This recognition is well-deserved,

Beth Moore, who helped guide Goochland Fellowship through some rough waters; worked to create the Friends of Goochland Parks and improve Tucker Park; and now serves as executive director of Goochland Habitat for Humanity, was inducted into the Parks and Rec Wall of Fame.

The Tennessee native, who embodies the notion “bloom where you re planted,” brings a wealth of relevant experience and a bottomless well of good cheer to every task she undertakes.

The Supervisors also approved a proclamation presented by Senior Connections, the Capital Area agency on aging, recognizing May as Older Americans Month. “Goochland County joins in amplifying the many voices of older Americans and raise awareness of vital aging issues across the country.”

These ceremonial recognitions pay homage to citizens whose efforts build the Goochland community.

Once again, Goochland received a certificate of achievement for excellence in Financial reporting from the Government Finance Officers’ Association. County Administrator John Budesky thanked Director of Financial Services Barbara Horlacher; Debbie White, Director of Finance for Goochland Public Schools; all Constitutional Officers; department heads; and county staff for their hard work and consistent management. “When you start doing these things well, this (award) becomes expected,” said Budesky, pointing out that not everyone earns this recognition.

In an effort to relive the throbbing toothache that is traffic at the Rt. 288/Broad Street Road intersection, Budesky, District 2 supervisor Manuel Alvarez, Jr.; Sheriff James L. Agnew; Principal Planner Tom Coleman; and Assistant County Administrator Todd Kilduff trekked to Colonial Heights on May 1 to speak at a VDOT public hearing on “smart scale” road project. Their purpose was to bring the gravity of Goochland’s traffic issues to the attention of the people at VDOT—the state agency whose motto is “Oops!”—in the hope of expediting the turn signals, additional storage lanes and other upgrades that have been approved and funded, but, may NOT BE INSTALLED BEFORE 2020.

Anyone who would like to encourage VDOT to make these upgrades to the Broad Street Road/ Rt./ 288 intersection may submit comments by email or mail by May 16, 2017: Six-YearProgram@VDOT.Virginia.gov, or Infrastructure Investment Director, Virginia Department of Transportation 1401 East Broad St., Richmond, VA 23219.

Marshall Winn, VDOT rep for the Ashland residency, which includes Goochland, reported that the paving of Fairground Road should be completed by the end of the week. (A VDOT notice implies that overnight paving on May 7 should finish that job.) He said that guard rail reinforcement work will then occur. He also promised that Blair Road will be paved sometime between July 1 and August 1 “for sure.”

County Assessor Mary Ann Davis said that state code requires annual recertification of property with land use taxation status. This year’s update went very smoothly, with only one property not reporting. Davis said that landowners responded well to the county program to update its data and that “residents stepped up and worked well with us.” Going forward, she said, the process will simply require confirming that information on a mostly completed form, sent by the county, is accurate. She said that farmers often change the use of parcels from year to year, and their land use records should reflect that.

The Board approved a request from schools to appropriate just under $90 thousand dollars for a long term demographic and educational facilities planning study. The tricky part of this will be accurately predicting the number of school children going forward. At a recent community meeting, a mother whose children attend Randolph Elementary School complained that the apartments in West Creek were responsible for the trailers installed there to handle a burgeoning school population. Planning staff explained that the majority of the new students moved into existing homes. It will be interesting to see how that phenomenon is addressed as empty nesters are replaced by families with school-aged children.

In their evening session, the supervisors approved an amendment to the rural preservation zoning ordinance that abolished the Public Recreational Facility Authority, and moved responsibility for maintenance of the preservation tract to the homeowners’ association. This removes the possibility of responsibility for the preservation tract reverting to county control.

Rural preservation zoning was established in the early days of the century to prevent dreaded sprawl of housing tracts consuming all of Goochland’s farmland. The premise was that a significant portion of a subdivision’s land was to be left undeveloped in a preservation tract, whose uses were to be overseen by an appointed Public Recreational Facility Authority. RP zoning encouraged smaller, clustered home sites.

The permitted uses of the preservation tract varied from agricultural to passive recreation. The ordinance was tweaked several times to deal with particular situations. Breeze Hill, currently under construction on Fairground Road, and perhaps the iteration of RP that fulfilled its purpose best, was zoned about a decade ago. It was perhaps the last RP zoning.
In recent years, most residential rezonings have been smaller lots on land served by public utilities.

This change is part of the ongoing rewrite of county zoning ordinances. State code governs the responsibilities of homeowners’ associations. Let’s hope that realtors selling homes in RP subdivisions, especially those based outside Goochland, do a good job helping potential buyers aware of what they are getting into.










Monday, April 24, 2017

Fore-ish



A hi tech golf and entertainment venue plans to invest approximately $25 million dollars to build the area’s first Drive Shack. It will be located on 31.1 acres behind Audi of Richmond. Drive Shack will snug against the curve where Rt. 288 meets Interstate 64.

At an April 20 meeting at the Centerville Fire-Rescue station, adjacent property owners and other interested parties got an early glimpse of the project.

Drive Shack CEO Sarah Watterson explained that the company offers a way to combine golf and entertainment, and “take golf off the course” for busy people. The three story, approximately 60 thousand square foot building—Wegman’s, by comparison, is 120,000 square feet on one level—will contain 90 suites where people will use electronic enable equipment to hit golf balls onto a very special driving range. The activity, said Watterson, will appeal to golfers and non-golfers alike. Someone likened it to a combination of golf and pinball.

Drive Shack will complement nearby golf courses including Kinloch, Hermitage, Sycamore Creek, and Hunting Hawk. Golf is popular in the Richmond region. According to a post on Richmondbizsense.com more than 350,000 rounds of golf were played in the Richmond region in 2016. Hunting Hawk, just up Ashland Road, came in third with 26,000 rounds.

In addition to the golf suites, Drive Shack will include food and beverage service, and space for events ranging from corporate retreats to kids’ birthday parties. Memberships will be available.

Watterson explained that the location, close to Short Pump and major highways is ideal. Because Dive Shack is very sensitive to light concerns, all illumination is contained within the confines of its property and aimed down. She expects external sound to be minimal and drowned out by noise the vehicles passing by.

Access to Drive Shack from Broad Street Road will be via the internal road being built for Audi of Richmond. Three Chopt Road will dead end at the Drive Shack property, putting to rest the silly idea that VDOT floated about reconnecting Three Chopt Road via some sort of “intermodal connector” over, under, or through Rt. 288.

The new entertainment venue, said Watterson, will generate about 350 hospitality jobs and spend around $25 million on the project. She said that Drive Shack “is the best neighbor you can be” and will be an asset to the community.

Adding another business to the Broad Street Road corridor raised concerns about even more traffic is an area that is giving new meaning to the term “dysfunction junction”. Watterson said that that Drive Shack customers will trickle in and out during its operating hours.

Director of Community Development Jo Ann Hunter said that improvements to the Broad Street Road/ Rt.288 intersection have been approved and funded and will be installed by VDOT—the state agency whose motto is “Oops!—sometime in the next four years.

Drive Shack, which is a publicly traded company, NYSE symbol DS, will own and operate the venue.

This is an excellent use for this parcel of land, which, given its location, might have been otherwise somewhat difficult to develop. Adding entertainment to the mix in eastern Goochland will move some spending westward.

Kudos to everyone involved in bringing Drive Shack to Goochland. May it be successful for many years to come. Drive Shack will begin the process to rezone the property from agricultural to business use in the next few weeks. It hopes to be operational by late summer 2018.

Saturday, April 22, 2017

Tough decisions



On April 18, a few hours after they approved the county budget for fiscal year 2018, which begins on July 1, and set tax rates for calendar year 2017, essentially unchanged, Goochland supervisors voted unanimously to approve three land use matters involving West Creek.

These cases—an ordinance amendment creating a mechanism for parcels of land to be added to the planned business park administratively; rezoning of approximately seven acres to M-1, the predominate zoning for West Creek; and adding a second access point to Rt. 6 and shrinking the retail setback proffer for a portion of West Creek frontage on Route 6 from 1,000 feet to 100 feet—have been simmering since late last year.

West Creek principal Tommy Pruitt stated that he believes the land in question, essentially the former Oak Hill golf club property, will develop as a mixed use enclave with a combination, as yet undetermined, of residential, retail, and commercial components.

Long-time residents who live in the general vicinity of the Rt. 6/ Rt. 288 interchange adamantly opposed the changes contending that they are not justified in any way and will shatter the rural character of the Rt. 6 corridor.

West Creek has been touted as the county’s economic engine for decades, yet still resembles a bucolic nature preserve. In the 12 years since Rt. 288 connected south of the James, little has happened.

Pruitt stated at both the March meeting of the planning commission and the public hearing before the supervisors that there are no firm plans for the subject property. He has also pledged that whatever is built on the site will be well designed, of high quality, and will contain some sort of retail use.

Opponents were not impressed. Some speakers at the supervisors’ public hearing seemed to be under the impression that apartments pay no real estate taxes, which is not true. Multifamily property is taxed like any other residential land. Those taxes become a component of rent payments. People who live in apartments have cars, and they do pay local personal property tax. Pruitt stated repeatedly that there are no firm plans for the subject property, that the residential component could be townhouses or a “retirement village”.

The Bristol Apartments currently under construction in West Creek, for instance, are likely to become a “dormitory” for Capital One employees. They have cars, some rather nice, and will pay personal property tax in Goochland.

One citizen told the Board that he and his wife moved to Goochland as soon as their kids were out of school to enjoy the quiet rural atmosphere and do not want it ruined. They are, he said, quite happy to drive to Henrico to shop, where they leave their retail dollars, and accompanying sales tax—one penny of the five percent tax—to support Henrico schools.

They apparently care little for Goochland schools. Indeed, these could be the same people who a few years ago objected to the temporary use of private school athletic fields in the River Road corridor by Goochland kids. Though no one said it aloud, the attitude was that they did not want riff raff from the rest of Goochland encroaching on their turf.

After carefully listening to all comments during the public hearing, the supervisors made some thoughtful observations.

Bob Minnick, District 4, and Manuel Alvarez, Jr. District 2, contended that Goochland’s main travel corridors, Broad Street Road and Rt. 6 are reasonable locations for retail to provide amenities to county residents to generate sales tax to help fund out schools.

Board Vice chair Ken Peterson, District 5, which includes the property in question, said that all of West Creek has been considered “prime economic development” use for more than 30 years. Since the applications were filed, five public meetings were held at which citizens expressed their heartfelt thoughts about the matter.

He observed that West Creek was the result of a tug of war to decide where and how economic development would happen in Goochland. In the early part of this century, Goochland County made an approximately $100 million commitment in the form of Tuckahoe Creek Service District infrastructure to support that.

Observations about the creation of West Creek, 49 years ago.

West Creek, Peterson said, may have been conceived as a park for corporate headquarters and light industry, but that assumption is no longer valid. Rigid thinking can lead to negative outcomes.

“We were elected to represent the best interests of Goochland County as a whole, not certain groups,” Peterson said. He made motions to approve all three cases.

Tuesday, April 11, 2017

Goochland is open for business



Matt Ryan, Goochland’s Director of Economic Development, presented his quarterly update to the Board of Supervisors on April 4.

After years of stagnation, the east end of the county is on a roll. In addition to previously announced projects including an Advanced Auto Parts store and rehabilitation hospital, a retirement home, and a high tech golf driving range venue are in the works east of Rt. 288 in the Broad Street Road corridor.

Tuckahoe Pines, a 130 unit upscale retirement home will be in The Notch, opposite the Wawa. The “Drive Shack” golf venue will be located between Richmond Audi, under construction on the north side of Broad Street Road and Interstate 64.They represent an expected investment of more than $150 million and will bring increased property taxes, additional users for the Tuckahoe Creek Service District, and more jobs to the county.

Ryan’s presentations use charts and graphs illustrating hits on the economic development website and other metrics. (See the report, beginning on page 60 of the April 4 board packet, available on the county website http://goochlandva.us/) Goochland, said Ryan, is definitely on the radar screen of regional, state, and national brokers looking at Central Virginia. Given that the county cannot justify the steep admission fee to join the Greater Richmond Partnership, which includes Chesterfield and Henrico, that’s quite a coup.

Location, location, location, as the realtors say, may be part of this. Short Pump is still a hot ticker for economic development, but it’s almost built out, and Goochland is waiting with open arms to take up the slack. Exploiting this advantage is prudent.

Capital investment in Goochland during 2016 hit $87.1 million, up from $29.7 million the previous year. This translates into a better tax base ratio of residential/commercial of 81.4/18.6 percent for 2016. For 2017, the ratio is anticipated to be 80.4/19.6. The long term goal is 70/30.

Since the current supervisors took office in 2012, they have made economic development a priority. Regulations have been streamlined and, in some cases, fees reduced to encourage business activity. At its meeting last week, the Board referred an ordinance amendment to the Planning Commission that, if approved, will make drive through enterprises by-right uses in property zoned for business and commercial use.

For those who fear that all of this accommodation to new development will transform Goochland into the next Chesterfield, relax. The 2035 county comprehensive land use plan—available in its entirety on the county website—shows that 85 percent of Goochland, mostly west of Manakin Road, will remain “rural.” Property east of Manakin Road and north of Route 6, on the other hand, will be developed.

The Economic Development Authority, said Ryan, is developing a set of criteria to deal with increasing loan request. The EDA, whose members are appointed by the supervisors, is an independent organization. It has the statutory ability to grant loans. The EDA is also discussing possible deployment of a local business incubator to help get fledgling enterprises off the ground, and working on an update of its strategic plan. The group expects to hold joint sessions with the supervisors later this year.

Ryan also reported that the EDA sold all of its properties in the Midpoint Industrial Park in Hadensville.

The county’s economic development website, www.goochlandforbusiness.com has been redesigned, explained Ryan. It is a valuable tool in attracting attention of business to Goochland.

Ryan hinted that additional investments in the county may be on the way.





Thursday, April 6, 2017

Highlights of April Supervisors' meeting


Blue pinwheels marking Child Abuse Prevention Month around the Dickson fountain

Goochland’s Board of Supervisors began their April 4 meeting with proclamations about Child Abuse Prevention; Hunger Awareness; and National Crime Victims’ Rights. Citizens are urged to support the food drive to restock local food pantries this month.
“What a caring county we live in,” observed Board Chair Ned Creasey, District 3. “People jump in and help each other. I am always impressed by what goes on in these local organizations.”

The public hearings for the proposed Goochland County FY18 budget brought no surprises and little comment on April 4. There were a few adjustments, including the addition of a principal planner to the Department Community Development for $89,000, and a transfer $9,100 from the fire-rescue cost recovery funds to the Fire-Rescue Association for a paid treasurer to improve its "processes".

Real estate tax rates will remain at 53 cents per $100 of assessed valuation, which represents a slight increase; the ad valorem tax will stay at 32 cents. Some fees were reduced, but cost recovery rates for EMS hospital transport will rise to levels charged around the region. For complete details, view the budget, which is available in its entirety on the county website goochlandva.us. A vote will be taken on the proposed budget and tax rates for calendar 2017 at a 3 p.m. Board meeting scheduled for April 18.

County Administrator John Budesky thanked citizens for their input during the budget process and comments at the town hall meetings. “We take all of these comments to heart and use them every day in our business decisions,” Budesky said.

After a well-planned weeklong detour on. Fairground Road, the central part of Goochland found itself in gridlock as surprise roadwork tied up another part of Fairground Road, Route 6, and Oilville Road at the same time.

Marshall Winn, VDOT representative said that he advocated doing this work at night, rather than during daytime hours, but was overruled by the contractor retained to do the actual work. Once again, VDOT—the state agency whose motto is “Ooops!”—has demonstrated its arrogance. Aside from inconveniencing everyone stuck in traffic, the road work could have hampered swift movement of emergency vehicles.

Winn said that there will be extensive roadwork on River Road West in Courthouse Village and Fairground Road in the next few months.

Given notice, most people would likely choose alternate routes to get to their destinations. Aside from sparing people the heartburn of sitting in traffic, the fewer vehicles that move through a construction zone, the safer it is for everyone. Winn said that contractors are supposed to give VDOT a “two week look ahead” of their work schedules. He will share that with the county to inform citizens. Facebook is probably the most effective way to get the word out.

A bit later in the meeting, Board Vice Chair Ken Peterson, District 5, pressed Bruce McNabb, VDOT engineer for its Ashland Residency, which includes Goochland, about the timetable for improvements to the Rt. 288/Broad Street Road intersections in Centerville.

At the District 4 & 5 town hall meeting a few weeks ago, McNabb said that, even though the project, had been approved and funded, it would not be completed before 2020. McNabb explained that VDOT’s “Smartscale” program approved a wide range of projects across the entire state and getting all of them done at the same time is a challenge. He also said that there will be a meeting in May with the Secretary of Transportation. McNabb suggested that an appearance at that meeting by someone from Goochland to reinforce the urgency of those improvements could speed up the process.

County Assessor Mary Ann Davis reported that 14,857 reassessment notices were sent to property owners in January. During the review period between January 13 and February 15, her office receive 244 inquiries. Of those, 58 properties were given a value decrease; eight were increased; 138 remain unchanged and 40 are still pending. There are currently four appeals—1 residential and three commercial— to the Board of Equalization, which plans to meet in June.

The supervisors referred an ordinance amendment to the Planning Commission which would make drive through restaurants by right uses in B-1, B-2, B-3, M-1 M-1, and M-2 zoning districts. Currently, drive through restaurants must obtain a conditional use permit.

Peterson explained that the CUP requirement slows down economic development. Objections to drive through restaurants are the same every time. He contended that, as it is not local government’s job to pick winners and losers, but to remove regulatory impediments to economic development. Businesses that want to locate in Goochland have done their homework and believe that they can operate profitably here.

Will this change open. the door to more burger doodles in the county, or perhaps lure a national coffee emporium here? A CUP request for Dunkin’ Donuts to build a drive through window next to Food Lion in Courthouse Village is in process.

Both the planning commission and supervisors will hold public hearings on the matter, providing ample opportunity for citizen input. If you have an opinion on this subject, let your supervisor know.