Monday, October 6, 2014

There, not here

The October 2 meeting of the Goochland Planning Commission was a sampler of issues facing the county.

Applications that, if approved, would have paved the way for distillery on Broad Street Road, roughly opposite the Hickory Notch, were withdrawn in the face of stiff opposition from the community.

An ordinance amendment addressing the location of kennels was passed as introduced in September. Revised language, which added more restrictions on kennels, was thrown out after strenuous objections from owners of existing kennels. Commission Chair Joe Andrews, District 4, had asked for the stricter rules because he was concerned about existing kennels impinging on new subdivisions. To truly preserve rural character, perhaps developers who want to build subdivisions near kennels should apply for conditional use permits (CUP) to avoid interfering with the kennels.

An application for a CUP filed by Burger Busters to operate a Taco Bell with a drive through on the parcel just west of the Centerville McDonald’s, was recommended for approval, in spite of staff opposition to the appearance of the building. The vote was 3-2 with Commissioners Tom Rockecharlie, District 5 ad John Meyers, District 1, in opposition.

Elevations included in the packet, show the proposed Taco Bell is a brutal, brown box. (See the complete packet in the planning commission tab of the county website )

As proposed, the building essentially thumbs its nose at the Centerville Village overlay district standards. Among the objectionable elements are storefront windows, flat roof, and metal slat detail on the fa├žade. The elevations lack a representation of the order kiosk. While landscaping is specified on the plan, it will take years for the plant material to soften the dreary aspects of this structure.

As Paul Costello pointed out, citizens volunteered many thoughtful hours to collaborate with staff on overlay district standards to ensure attractive, high quality buildings appropriate in scale and appearance for a village. He asked that the application be resubmitted after it had been reworked to comply with the overlay standards.

McDonald’s worked through several design iterations before arriving at a somewhat acceptable design. However, ordering kiosks for that site were never included in submitted in elevations, and should have been part of the overlay standard discussion.

The county needs to decide if it is really trying to create a cohesive village in Centerville and enforce the standards, or just not bother with the overlay district. The Burger Buster representative agreed to appeal the building exterior design to the Design Review Committee to obtain certification of adherence to the overlay criteria necessary to proceed to construction. He’s going to get a surprise there.

Other citizens objected to another fast food outlet in Centerville. They want the county to do a better job of selecting businesses for Centerville. This is the latest episode in the continuing Centerville development drama. People don’t like Goodwill or MacDonald’s, but are unable to offer constructive alternatives. More homes in Centerville attract new businesses like fast food.

District 3 Commissioner Derek Murray cautioned people who live in Centerville, including the Parkes at Centerville and Saddlecreek, that development is coming to the Broad Street corridor and nothing can stop it. The southeast corner of Manakin and Broad Street Roads, for instance, is already zoned for commercial use.

Applications filed by Ned Massie to rezone land just east of the Creekmore Park community on the north side of Route 6, adjoining the Richmond Country Club, were met with fierce opposition.

Massie proposed construction of two buildings, totaling approximately 18,000 square feet on just less than three acres. Massie said that he has retained several engineering and architectural firms to address the challenges of developing the site but as yet has no clear plan for the parcel. A Creekmore Park resident who opposes the plan contended that Massie is “trying to put a square peg in a round hole.”

Massie seemed to indicate that he expects the structures to be used for retail purposes. It’s hard to see how small outlets here would succeed. In late 2006, a de facto mixed use project was rezoned on the corner of Manakin Road and Route 6, also facing strong opposition from nearby residents. No retail space was ever developed there. Mary Anne Cisne said that when West Creek Business Park was rezoned more than two decades ago, citizens were assured that all commercial development would be contained there. A commercial area further east on Route 6 has struggled to succeed.

Land fronting Route 6 backing onto Creekmore Park was zoned residential office (RO) when the residential parcels were created, but remains undeveloped.

The neighbors contend that Creekmore Road, which would be used to access the proposed development, is narrow and already overburdened with traffic.

They also contended that existing serious drainage issues in the subdivision would be exacerbated by the proposed development. Massie retorted that the land in question slopes away from Creekmore Park.

The Commissioners sided with the homeowners on this one and voted to deny recommendation for approval. They agreed that RO would be the best business use for the parcel.

A companion rezoning application for the rear portion of the parcel to create residential lots was unanimously recommended for approval following no comment during the public hearing.

These matters will move to the Board of Supervisors for another public hearing and final disposition, probably in November.


Anonymous said...

The planning commission is not the design review committee. The planning commission job is to approve or disapprove the drive thru.
Thankfully there were three commissioners who knew that.

Morg804 said...

As a kid growing up in Goochland County I always enjoyed the quiet and rural character of this area. However, Goochland residents may need to get it through their heads that change is coming to the county and it's not necessarily a bad thing. The plot of land where the Taco Bell is being proposed is just an empty grassy field and would honestly be a fine place for a store or restaurant. Taco Bell may not be the ideal business for that spot, but it's better than nothing and I'm sure it will generate more traffic than that silly fireplace store next to it. Also, in the post when you mentioned that many Goochland residents dislike the Goodwill that came to Centerville a few years ago I was pretty surprised. Goodwill is an admirable organization that employs people of all ages and backgrounds and has a good business model. I'm not sure why anyone would have a problem with it. I personally don't mind seeing growth in areas like Centerville, the Courthouse, and even Hadensville or Gum Spring. That's not destroying the rural charm of the county, it's just building up the small villages we already have. I know for a fact that people in Hadensville would welcome a new gas station, general store, or just some decent internet (including my own parents). Lousia and Hanover County have both grown a fair amount in recent years and have still maintained plenty of the country views that made them great to begin with. I'm not entirely sure why Goochland residents are so worried about new business in the county. It's not like people are proposing to build a giant Walmart in George's Tavern. A couple of new restaurants and stores in the county could do our economy a lot of good and would just be convenient. It gets old always having to drive into town just to get some decent food or go to a grocery store thats better than Food Lion. And I believe that new businesses can coexist peacefully with older local businesses like Hickory Notch, WhiteHawk Cafe, etc. Sometimes, at seems like Goochland residents resist change just because they can and are looking for things to complain about. As a Goochland County native it saddens me.