Wednesday, October 19, 2005

DeWitt Crossing Passes Planning Commission

Last night we took the DeWitt Crossing project before the Waynesboro planning commission for a recommendation for rezoning and preliminary plat approval. It passed 5-2 for rezoning and 6-1 for preliminary plat approval.

Our next step is to get final approval from the City Council.

Last night was interesting to say the least. It was described to me by one gentleman as the toughest planning commission meeting he has seen in 20 years. Of course, most of these types of meetings I have been to before are unpredictable.

Here is what happened:

As soon as the agenda item was described by the City Planner, a commissioner made a motion to deny the request. I had to hold on to my seat to avoid jumping up and asking on what grounds. The commissioner said during his remarks that the corridor needed to be studied more before commercial development should be approved.

This came as a complete shock to me and most of the others in the room for the following reasons:
  1. The comprehensive plan clearly calls for that area to be commercial.
  2. The City annexed that property from Augusta County for the sole purpose of increasing their tax base (commercial).
  3. VDOT built DeWitt Blvd expressly for the purpose of commercial development.
After each of the commissioners had a chance to talk, the chairman allowed me to stand up and clear up any confusion. That was very much appreciated. I hate note being able to defend my projects.

This project is great for Waynesboro. I am building stormwater detention facilities which are far superior to those required by the code. The traffic improvements are being made by me. I am protecting the flood plain and the wetlands that are on the property.

I think many of the comments made against the project were from the lack of understanding about what the City has already planned for. It is easy to deny, based on emotions. But the facts support this project and luckily the majority of the commissioners agreed.

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