Monday, May 24, 2010

New business in TCSD

Car wash to the rescue

The Goochland planning commission voted 7-1 to recommend approval of a conditional use permit to establish a car wash on Pouncey Tract Road at its May 20 meeting. Two commissioners, Tommy Carter District 3 and Courtney Hyers District 5, were absent.

Ty Querry, District 2 based his sole dissenting vote on concerns identified by the planning staff about the adequacy of turning radii for fuel delivery trucks and limited access for fire-rescue apparatus.

Another commissioner observed that exit traffic patterns for the car wash should be carefully considered because “...people do crazy things when they go through these car washes.” Do car washes add psychedelics to their cleaning compounds?

Tom Coleman, the county’s principal planner, and Don Charles assistant county administrator, who oversees land use matters, were confident that these issues can be successfully resolved during the plan of development (POD) stage of the project.

Charles said that Goochland Fire Marshal Phil Paquette was on board with the proposal and will be involved in the POD
process to ensure the safety of traffic patterns. The project is accessed from an interior roadway rather than directly from Pouncey Tract Road.

A master plan for the entire tact of land, which has frontage on both Ashland and Pouncey Tract Roads, includes access points on both highways. Because Pouncey Tract Road is a major artery, VDOT will be involved in road use discussions. Proffers included with the CUP include donation of ample land easements to facilitate widening of Pouncey Tract Road at some future date and left and right turn lanes.

The initial rezoning, which occurred in 2006, shows that the land is designated for both B-1 (business) and M-1 (light industrial) uses. The original concept foresaw retail use near the road and light industrial in the interior portion.

There was no public comment about the proposal.

An accessory use to a convenience store planned for 4.4 acre outparcel of the larger tract, the car wash is a small stone in the Tuckahoe Creek Service District pond.

However, given its location at the northern terminus of planned TCSD lines, a business that uses a large amount of water in turn generating wastewater, is good news on many fronts.

Jobs will be created, badly needed revenue will flow into county coffers, but most important of all, the county will resell a good bit of the water it buys from Henrico and now dumps on the ground to keep TCSD water fresh.

PT Land Company, LLC, which plans to build the convenience store and car wash, will make a substantial investment in county infrastructure to extend water and sewer lines to its property.

Once these utilities are in place, other businesses should be attracted to the area.

The proposed design of the convenience store and car wash as illustrated by elevations submitted with the application shows high quality structures with standing seam metal roofs. The elevation is reminiscent of the Charles Luck Stone Center on Route 6 in Manakin. These charming buildings will set the tone for all future development on this parcel.

The location of this project, dubbed “Alligator Fuels” on elevations submitted with the application, takes a page out of Henrico County’s successful strategy for economic development by locating near a county border.

“Alligator Fuels” is ideally located to capture trade from Henrico, Goochland and Hanover residents who travel Pouncey Tract Road.

According to Charles, procedures used by Goochland to obtain utility easements have been improved to benefit both landowners and the county, a change long overdue. The county must create an environment that encourages private investment and abandon long standing policies that discourage businesses from locating here. “Alligator Fuels” is good news indeed.

Requiring a CUP for car washes ensures that they won’t pop up on every corner.

This may have been the zoning ordinance matter that was discussed by the supervisors in closed session at their may 4 meeting. Although the board mumbled all the “magic words” required by the Code of Virginia to enter closed session, this makes it look like “the boys” are up to their old tricks of secret meetings about potentially embarrassing items. Or, the bizarre change made to the accessory use provisions of the zoning code made on an emergency basis a few years back could be causing indigestion like last night’s bad chili.

Other business:

Charles reports that inquiries about land use issues have risen sharply in past weeks, perhaps an indication that the economy is improving.

The planning commission also voted 8-0 to extend a CUP initially granted in 2000 to local photographer Jeff Mabry for his studio at 2680 Sandy Hook Road for 15 years.

James Melton, District 2 will continue to serve as commission chairman with Tommy Carter, District 3 as vice chairman.

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