Henrico board to hold public hearing on vision plan

By Laura Geller - bio | email
Posted by Terry Alexander - email

HENRICO, VA (WWBT) - Henrico officials want your help in deciding what the future of the county holds. The board of supervisors will have a public hearing on the so called, "2026 Vision Plan" Tuesday.

They're expecting east end residents and developers to have differing views of the future. Conservationists say the plan needs to preserve the rural nature of the east end.  But developers say growth is inevitable and healthy if done responsibly.

"We're trying to maintain a healthy balance between all the needs of the county," said Henrico County Director of Planning Joe Emerson.

East end resident Nicole Anderson Ellis has watched subdivision after subdivision pop up where farms used to sprawl for miles. She says the road map the 2026 vision plan creates could destroy everything she loves about the area.

"This is a plan. They call it a road map or a guide so they are guiding us towards a future without farms," said Anderson Ellis.

Looking at the county map though, the flesh tone areas represent 25,000 acres reserved for agricultural and rural residential areas. That's 4,500 acres less than the 2010 plan. But Anderson Ellis says the term "rural residential" will lead real estate investors to fertile farmland.

"Development will occur in Varina because it's a natural result of the quality of life that people enjoy in Henrico County," said Emerson.

Not surprisingly, the Home Builder's Association says development is crucial to the survival of the county.

"You have to have progress.  Progress happens. If a county doesn't have progress it runs out of money. If it runs out of money, it dies," said Warren Wakeland of the Richmond Home Builders' Association.

And while both sides are hoping to sway the board, county officials recognize no plan is perfect, and no plan will please everyone.

The board of supervisors will hold a work session on the plan in July. A final vote is not expected until August.

If you'd like to attend Tuesday's board of supervisors meeting, they will hear public comment at its regular meeting, which starts at seven p.m. The board meets in the County Administration Building at 4301 East Parham Road.

(c) 2009. WWBT, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.