HANOVER, VA (WWBT) – A proposed ordinance in Hanover County aims to relax zoning requirements in Mechanicsville Village. County leaders and business owners agree it's the key in promoting expansion and investment in that area.
Right now if the businesses along Old Mechanicsville Turnpike wanted to expand, among other things, they'd need to add more parking, but that's not really structurally or financially feasible. That's why these changes are so welcome.
People flood into Williams Bakery to satisfy their sweet tooth with these made from scratch treats. This nearly century old family business is booming and could grow if the county votes to relax zoning standards in the area.
"It's a real hindrance when you say they want to expand and they say you don't have enough parking spots because you really can't go out and just make more parking spots," said Ron Williams, owner of Williams Bakery.
The relaxed standards would allow construction much closer to the existing right of way and eliminate the requirement for additional parking as long as existing parking isn't reduced. Businesses could also use off-site parking without a special exception and there would be no landscaping requirement.
"There's a whole lot of potential here as far as properties that aren't really developed as much as they could be and this would help," he said.
Architect and Real Estate Investor Canova Peterson owns property in this same shopping center. He hopes the county votes yes - saying the current zoning standards really apply to new development rather than existing mom and pop shops.
"What's happening is everything is just staying the way it is and frankly it's just going to deteriorate if we don't have some way to improve the facilities," said Canova. "By relaxing the ordinances so that we do not have some of the same restrictions that can be applied to new development will allow us to improve these properties and really make the village more of a destination."
The planning commission voted in favor of the relaxed standards. It's now in the board of supervisors hands.
The Hanover County Board of Supervisors will hold a public hearing on these relaxed zoning standards at the August 25 meeting at 7 p.m. For more information, and to see a map of the exact area for this proposal, click here.