Tuesday, January 20, 2009

HENRICO's FUTURE: traffic, tarmac and tree loss- Will it cost you not to get involved now ?

A Planning Commission Hearing that should focus on our environmentally sustainable future will address plans for growth in Henrico until 2026. But will officials say there is no way to budget for these green necessities? Our answer will be
The first county "public hearing" to allow residents to speak out about
The 2026 Comprehensive Plan (draft) will be held on

THURSDAY JANUARY 22nd, at 6PM
in the Board Room of the County Administration Building
in the Government Center at Parham and Hungary Springs Roads

If school redistricting boundaries have got you concerned, have a look at the bigger picture.


How many more years can our longstanding Supervisors be supported in this backwards-thinking land-gobble?
There are incentives for revitlization of existing areas, but no real promotion of this important necessity. Haven't we all seen the traffic and crime results of massive growth? Or do these issues have us so busy we just "don't have time to get involved?"

As neighboring Chesterfield considers windmills as an energy alternative, and countering the dire effects that mass grading has on their watershed (and the James, and the Bay,) consider the deaf ear that Henrico's officials have turned on resident's eco-minded 2026 planning input to date. There is noticeable concern, both East and West over Henrico's incessant need to grow.


While blog posts seem to have become the new version of the AP wire for many RT-D 'articles' of late, there are a few the local press has missed. Tied for our idea of the "Saddest Post" are blog entries showing what's happened in Short Pump in the recent past. If pictures are worth a thousand words each, these would be bottomless pages.

TIE FOR THE SADDEST HENRICO BLOG POST:

Blog:OuterBanksMom

"Sadness beyond belief (a tiny rant)"


Blog:DownTownShortpump
"John Rolfe Parkway Construction in Full Swing"

Great job bloggers- keep your coverage coming!

And if our readers still aren't concerned, maybe they need an eye exam...

Which is better?

This?

















OR This?

























...If you need a clue, the replacement of farms with roads and parking lots can increase your taxes just as much as it harms the environment.


And which do you prefer...
This?


















OR This?



















... because if you think "that can't happen to me" or "they won't put a road through my neighborhood," that's probably the same thing the folks above thought until the John Rolfe Parkway extension was proposed.

Check the 2026 Land Use and Major Thoroughfare Plan maps (linked at right) for your area now. Even if nothing major is planned for your neck of the woods, the current plan can still cost you plenty.


Both of the posts "tied" above are cautionary tales, showing what can happen to our entire county, if residents don't make their opinions known. Take the opportunity to do just that by taking the time to speak to Henrico's Planning Commission about what you think is important for our future as a county. The Commission will hear locals speak freely about the draft of the Comprehensive Plan on January 22nd at 6pm.

You can't be "too busy" to care about where you live.

This is the plan that will determine development patterns in Henrico for the next seventeen years.

Topics to consider addressing are:
* the lack of planning to preserve the environment and watershed,
* smart transportation planning to help cut traffic and vehicle trips,
* the importance of including open-space preservation,
* saving what remains of our county's history,
* the future of our drinking water supply

.... the list goes on. But you can always

review posts from our archives for other ideas.
It's free, and open for your review
all day, all night, 365 days a year

So remember, when they tell you about "budget cuts" and the lack of funding available for planning that Henrico remain a safe and desirable place to live, it's a matter of where your tax dollars are spent.

Issues like a funding line item request for repaving the Belmont Golf Course parking lot and fixing the course itself, totaling FIVE MILLION DOLLARS?

During a county "work session" in February 2006, while discussing Henrico's Capital Budget, County Manager Virgil Hazelett reported that the Belmont Golf Course had put in a request for 5 million dollars to increase the number of parking spaces available at the facility and to make improvements at the golf course. Yep, word for word:
February 2006 Work Session minutes-
line 290:
"In addition, Belmont Golf Course has a request for 5 million dollars. All we say is its to fill up the holes that Mr. Archer creates out there, but it is to increase the number of parking spaces available at the facility and to make improvements at the golf course."

No telling how much was actually spent at Belmont for the turf repair and tarmac. Anyone want to dig up the final Belmont Golf Course parking and course improvement totals?

The 2008 budget for Henrico was A BILLION DOLLARS ...yet there are no funding options available to preserve open-space or assist farmers in keeping their land in production before development gobbles up all of the remaining fields and forests in Henrico?

Press coverage has shown parcels "redesignationed" on the 2026 Land Use Plan Map may remove some local's rights to put acreage into 'conservation easements'? The county won't respond to requests to create ways for farmers and silvaculturalists to preserve their own land?
And this is "OK?"

Henrico residents already face 'water rationing' every year, and no one wants to question this new plan that will allow for thousands and thousands of more homes to be built here?

Clammer for Trader Joe's and other fresh foods purveyors has been high in the West End, but do we all need to keep paying for interstate trucking to transport our healthy ingredients while polluting the atmosphere and driving up the price at the market check out?

When the county spent taxpayers dollars to ask residents what they wanted in preparation to create the current comp plan draft, Greenbelt creation was a topic that ranked high among citizens who participated in the "2005 Citizen Survey." The results showed

"There was some support for creating a storm water utility that could be integrated into a larger Greenbelt/Greenway system of open spaces, parks and naturally preserved areas. Overall, 60% of the respondents supported doing so."

Yet no Greenbelt or Greenway planning exists that we can see in Henrico's current plan for the future ... unless they're saving that to show us 'later'.

So when anyone tells you there's "no funding available" for preserving agricultural and forested lands, or creating ordinances to ensure tree preservation,

Study multi-modal transportation options, or new ways to encourage mass transit as bus routes face budget cuts,


-or "no way to plan" for the protection of remaining historic sites from encroaching development, you can always give them the same argument they're using to promote the need for further sprawl: