HV: Three years is an awful long time, considering what still needs to be done...And the county continues to call the Comp Plan a "guide". The official "Comprehensive Plan FAQ" states the plan cannot re-zone your land, but HV posts have pointed out that the Plan will change the accepted use for your land raise your taxes.
Local case studies show that this is not usually something that can be changed. Read about higher taxes and land use designations here, and here, and earlier this month, here.
If over 3/4 of those resident's comments ask for programs to preserve land, or bicycling and pedestrian plans, shouldn't officials respond with action?
If residents ask Henrico to make bicyclists and pedestrians safer, and the county refuses, what happens when people get hit by cars in areas that could have been adapted to provide residents a safer passage?
HV: Alright- here we go with the "numerous efforts" line. (This one causes a large amount of chatter over here).
It obviously aint working.
Refer back to HV 10/27 post, where the HV crew met to compare the 106k dollars spent on Henrico's "Zip Code Campaign" to the 2,300 dollars spent on advertising the Comp Plan in the last three years.
HV: Not now? If the county is currently planning our future for the next two decades, then when are they planning to preserve land? In 2026, when there's nothing left to worry about preserving?
Out of the suggestions Henrico received, the Citizen reports high numbers requested a PDR program is made available, and the Board just says no? What about those resident's rights, huh?
How can Henrico reps keep hollering about "property rights" without providing these rights to the folks who own and live on the land and want to keep it undeveloped? This kind of planning will succeed in squeezing taxpaying landowning folks right on out of the picture.
HV: What the venerable Citizen missed here, is that no one is asking Henrico to buy their land. Other "localities" could "permanently preserving undeveloped land" here, "by buying the development rights". So some other area that wants to build more where they are, could buy the rights of Henrico landowners who don't want their land developed.The real story:
Residents are asking for these programs to be made available. This means: residents are asking for these programs to be recognized by our county. PDR and TDR programs are funded each year by the State of Virginia. There are also a whole bunch of different ways to do this. Many areas have come up with creative ways to support these programs, but those are areas where the officials listen to their constituents. Henrico residents are asking the county look into it, but our officials are saying no. Again.
Between 2000 and 2003, petitions asking for PDR and TDR programs in Henrico were submitted to county officials. Documents with over 600 signatures from Henrico residents were given to Mrs. O'Bannon, the Tuckahoe District Supervisor. She and County Manager Hazelett met with petition sponsors, some of whom belonged to the local Sierra Club chapter. Residents from these groups attended many county meetings, sometimes making comments supporting the need for these programs- until... those residents were politely asked "not to come back", because county officials would not support these programs.
Residents are still asking, and it looks like Henrico is still saying no.
If you want to learn more about how these programs work, VDACS- The Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services has the answers.
HV: Again,the State of Virginia provides funding each year, and even if all realistic funding sources were 2-3 years out, or even an unrealistic decade- these programs should remain a possibility for Henrico landowners. PDR/TDR programs are legal and popular in Virginia, and are a right that should not be removed from county residents. If the Comp Plan goes through without including this, it will not be a possibility in 2-3 years.
Does anyone really think this will be remedied by retroactive amendments to the comprehensive plan on a case-by-case basis? Better ask Santa now. Start writing.
HV: Mmmm, "creative approaches". What Mrs. O'Bannon is still completely missing is that new "Land Use Designations" proposed in the Land Use Plan Map now in draft, will remove resident's rights to apply for and get conservation easements.
Maybe Mrs. O'Bannon didn't read Style Weekly's coverage of this topic, "Where the Grass is Greener", that included:
Style Weekly- July 16th, 2008: ""Jernigan is equally pragmatic: “The law says people have a right to develop their property.” Of course, the law limits that right through zoning and permitting and land-use plans. And when asked about the limits Henrico’s proposed plan would put on property owners’ right to get conservation easements, Jernigan voices surprise. “So if it shows SR1 [suburban residential 1], you can’t put it in conservation?” he asks. “I’ve never heard that. I’d like to find out about that.”
Donati, a self-proclaimed “property-rights guy,” suggests that the problem can be remedied by retroactive amendments to the comprehensive plan on a case-by-case basis. He cites examples of exemptions the Board of Supervisors passed to allow high-density development in parts of Henrico where it conflicted with the comprehensive plan.
Such a gesture of support from the county would satisfy the law, Reed and Wilson agree. And some counties have amended comprehensive plans to accommodate easements, though it’s a lengthy process requiring two public hearings. Neither Henrico or Chesterfield has ever made such an exception for an easement.""
HV: For more on this, read "Where the Grass is Greener" from Style Weekly, or HV's post: "Turf War depicted in Style"
HV: Who is "Henrico County, itself"? Isn't that us, the taxpayers? Didn't our tax dollars buy that land too? But we can't decide what will happen to County land or the land we own privately? This could be read to mean the county is not preserving open space, but the two groups above are.
How many readers are sick of the term "vacant land"? Farmland and forests are not vacant, and do not cause Henrico residents taxes to rise. What does cause tax hikes is when county officials decide it is necessary to extend water, sewer and other infrastructure into "vacant" areas. That will raise all of our taxes.
HV: Didn't the article say cycling and pedestrian paths are one of the top two requested items sent in by residents? The Board "could" add a bicycle plan? What about "will?"
They tentatively hope to hold one or several public hearings in January prior to the eventual consideration of the plan by the Planning Commission and Board of Supervisors, which holds ultimate decision-making authority."
For details or to read the Draft 2026 Comprehensive Plan, visit www.co.henrico.va.us/planning/2026plan.htm