Goochland’s Planning Commission is comprised of five appointees, one from each district. It is an advisory body charged with reviewing land use matters and making recommendations to the Board of supervisors, which has the final say.
Current Commissioners are: John Myers, District 1; Matt Brewer District; Carter Duke, District 3; Chair John Shelhorse, District 4; and Tom Rockecharlie, District 5.
At its June 7 meeting, the Commission reviewed tentative plats for recently rezoned residential enclaves, Mosaic and Reader’s Branch, located in the Hockett Road corridor in eastern Goochland.
Once a rezoning application had been approved by the supervisors, most actions concerning new projects take place administratively.
Mosaic, a 55 plus community approved in March, submitted a tentative plat for 476 dwelling units, a mix of town houses and single family homes. Topography of the site and gas line easements, said Director of Community Development JoAnn Hunter, resulted in 44 fewer lots than originally approved. Rezoning applications include conceptual plans that tend to be broad overviews of a site. As developers refine projects, things change.
As a result, many lots in Mosaic could be between 65 and 55 feet wide. There was some discussion about side setback for the townhomes, which seemed odd, because they tend to be attached. No projections into the setback areas will be permitted, which prevents future enlargement of these homes.
The plat presented on June 7 places the clubhouse and fitness facility at the center of the community, which will extend from Tuckahoe Creek Parkway to Broad Branch Drive, between Capital One and Hockett Road. Of the approximately 207acres in Mosaic, 87.042 is designated as lot acreage; 79.613 open space; and 29 acres for roads. The remainder could be the amenities.
Reader’s Branch, east of Hockett Road opposite the Parke at Centerville, also got approval of its tentative plat. This subdivision also shrank two lots after a more careful look at the site revealed that topographic features will support 301 versus the 303 home site approved.
A proffer amendment application filed by Cameron General Contractors to allow a “home for the aged” on the north side of Rt. 6 opposite the entrance to Rivergate. The 38.8 acre parcel was zoned in 1998 for two office buildings totaling 180,000 square feet, which never materialized.
Proposed is a 130 independent senior living units in one three story building. Services will include dining, housekeeping, valent parking, some retail, concierge services, and a shuttle bus. Residents will average 80 years of age. It will not offered skilled nursing or assisted living options.
The application substitutes the residential structure for one of the office buildings and reserves the right to construct the other, perhaps to offer higher levels of care, in the future. The county’s wastewater pump station, located on an adjunct parcel, will continue to use the same access point onto Rt. 6.
There was no opposition to the facility. It will generate less traffic than an office building and upscale materials, setbacks, and landscaping complement Rivergate.
Community meetings with Rivergate residents resulted in a right turn only option exiting the property for safety reasons. Crossing the very narrow existing median to safely turn left, Rivergate residents believe, is perilous, especially for older people.
|The narrow Route 6 median at the Rivergate entrance makes left turns dicey.|
Roger Spence, a Rivergate resident, said that the developer was receptive to the concerns of his neighbors. He also said that if the right turn only condition had not been part of the application, the board room would have been filled with opponents from his community. The narrow median, Spence contended, requires a commitment to cross all lanes of traffic to turn left, a difficult maneuver in heavy traffic. Fatalities will occur there, he predicted, if left turns are permitted.
Spence also said that it is often difficult to ascertain which lane oncoming vehicles occupy. He predicted a 10 hour public hearing before the supervisors if left turns are permitted there.
The only objection county staff had to the application was the right turn only provision, contending that VDOT standards will require the applicant to widen the median for safety. The right turn only provision just moves the turning action further west and does little to improve safety, said Debbie Byrd, assistant director of community development. A traffic signal at Rt. 6 opposite Hope Church, just west of the site, which will be in place by the end of 2018, will provide breaks in eastbound traffic.
Commissioners were not convinced. Rockecharlie said that he would have a hard time recommending something that could cause an older person to be t-boned by a gravel truck coming east from the Luck Stone quarry. The access point is located at the top of a blind hill on a road with a 55 mile per hour speed limit, decreasing the margin for error when turning. Brewer said he could support left and right turns if the median was widened.
The commissioners voted unanimously to recommend approval, expressing concern that the intersection be improved to ensure safe left turns. The application moves on to the supervisors for another public hearing.
In the meantime the applicant and staff will refine the proposal to address these safety issues.
All community meetings are posted on the county website http://goochlandva.us/ well in advance of their occurrence. Pay attention, be engaged, make a difference.