Friday, November 6, 2015

Planning Commission gives thumbs down

At its November 5 meeting, the Goochland Planning Commission unanimously voted to recommended denial of a rezoning application filed by Wilton Acquisitions that would result in nearly 200 homes on approximately 97 acres of land between Manakin and Rockville Roads in the Centerville Village.

John Shelhorse, a homeowner in The Parke at Saddle Creek, was appointed to represent District 4 on the Planning Commission at the November 4 Board of Supervisors’ meeting. Shellhorse was duly sworn in and well-prepared to participate in the November 5 discussion.

The vote followed a lengthy public hearing, during which 24 citizens raised a variety of objections to the proposed Glenns of Rockville subdivision. These included concerns that both Manakin and Rockville Roads, regardless of traffic studies submitted with the rezoning application, are narrow, winding, and hilly. These roads, speakers said, are dangerous with current levels of use. Adding hundreds of new cars to the mix without significant road improvements, for which VDOT has no future plans, will threaten the health, safety, and welfare of citizens.

Other objections focused on school impact. Randolph Elementary School is in the process of deploying its first “education cottage” AKA trailer, to accommodate growing enrollment. One parent said that county school buses are already overcrowded. Additional students would only make that situation worse.
The Commissioners agreed that the roads are dangerous. One characterized the proposal as spot zoning.

The 2035 comprehensive plan, which can be viewed in its entirety on the county website, was cited by both the applicant and opponents.

While wandering around in the weeds of the Comp Plan arguing about the appropriate place for high density development, no one mentioned that the title of that document is the 2035 comprehensive plan. It is a guide for how the Centerville Village, might look in 20 years, not tomorrow.

As long as cows graze next to the Shell station and corn grows in the shadow of the water tower, high density development outside the village core--both sides of Broad Street Road between Manakin and Ashland Roads—is a long way off.

Currently, there are several approved subdivisions waiting for the right economic conditions to break ground. Even without The Glenns, county services will be stressed if they develop simultaneously.

Maybe in 15 years or so, the school system will be able to handle more students and, by some miracle, funding for significant improvements to both Manakin and Rockville Roads will have materialized. But, right now, right there, is the wrong place to site hundreds of new homes.

1 comment:

Cristina Sweeney said...

I feel special - I made in on the blog! It took a ton of courage for me to stand up and speak last night, but seeing the kids be thrown into the aisle of the bus because there is no room to sit upset me. You put into words what I was trying to say, but couldn't overcome - the fact that development is coming, and there is no way to stop it. However, there is a RIGHT way to develop and a wrong way. I was so proud of the way the planning commission handled things last night as well as the staff who had sifted through all of the documents. As I tried to say last night, I used to live in the suburban hell called Wyndham. But even looking at Wyndham and Millstone (smack in the middle of Wyndham), they developed the little neighborhoods within the walls slowly and carefully. Nuckols Road is four lanes with sidewalks, street lights, and stop lights. The roads near us are treacherous to say the least.

I wanted to acknowledge that I personally was not taking the line that "Hey, now that I've moved here, close the door behind me and let no others in." It's unrealistic. I love the idea of the villages and am happy to see the commission taking steps to really flesh out what that kind of village looks like. I look forward to staying in Manakin Sabot for a very long time.

Thank you again for all the work you do on this blog. (and PS - I miss working with your significant other)