HANOVER, Va. (WWBT) - A group of homeowners and developers are voicing their concerns about potential truck traffic on their quiet country road in a visual way.
On Wednesday, the Cedar Lane Coalition placed an 18-wheeler at the intersection of Route 1 and Cedar Lane with the message, “400 big trucks a day do not belong on Cedar Lane,” drawing the eyes of hundreds of drivers in the area.
Neighbors said they’re worried about the quality of life in the area once the entrance to a new industrial park is built nearby.
“We believe this narrow two-lane road was never intended to carry this kind of heavy-duty industrial traffic,” said Anna Kotas, a CedarLea Homeowners Association board member. “For a big 18-wheeler on a big road like that, you know what happens. The noise, the air brakes and all of the functions of a big tractor-trailer just don’t belong in a sleepy country road like this.”
In 2015, Hanover County rezoned the property off Route 1 and Cedar Lane from agriculture to industrial, but site plans for the Cedar Lane Industrial Park have changed since then.
The Hanover County Planning Department approved the site plan for the first phase of the project in October. The Director of the Planning Department, David Maloney, said a traffic analysis was done in the first half of 2019 and sent to VDOT and the County for review, which was approved.
The 2015 plan had several potential entrances to the property, however, in 2019 Scannell Properties, the developer for phase one, chose to locate the one entrance off Cedar Lane directly across from the Chickahominy Falls neighborhood.
"400 tractor-trailers don't belong on a two-lane road with school buses, new drivers, families and all the rest of that type of traffic,” said Steve Busic, another CedarLea Homeowners Association board member.
However, Maloney said they anticipate around 100 trucks per day, not 400.
"Our concern is about traffic on Cedar Lane, not about having an industrial or commercial park next to us,” said Roger Glover, Founder & President of Cornerstone Homes. “They have that right."
It’s why Glover, as the developer of Chickahominy Falls, appealed this plan to the Hanover Board of Supervisors. His appeal hasn’t been denied compared to other groups in the area. Busic said their neighborhood’s appeal was denied recently.
“We want this site plan sent to the Planning Department for failure to meet the proffers and zoning requirements approved in 2015,” the Cedar Lane Coalition stated.
However, Maloney believes there's been some misunderstanding connected to that 2015 approval. According to the Planning Department, at this time Scannell Properties has only purchased part of the property and selected one entrance.
“Future development of the property that was zoned in 2015 may include additional driveways," Maloney said, and that could come from other developers.
A spokeswoman for Scannell Properties had “no comment” when asked for a statement regarding the project and residents’ concerns.
“Cedar Lane is our only option, but you have other options,” said Jeff Hulewicz, who lives in Chickahominy Falls. “We’re just asking you to explore those and revisit those. Take us into consideration... do what’s best for the residents of the community.”
Ideally, these residents would like to see the tractor-trailers enter the property off Route 1.
"I believe that if at least a majority of the traffic were to be sent on Route 1, none of these residents would have any kind of issue with this project beginning," Kotas said.
However, Maloney said that could create safety issues for truck drivers turning into the property without a traffic light.
“County staff strongly feels that trucks should turn into the property through a signalized light,” he said. “It’s much safer than trucks trying to turn left into the property off Route 1, crossing several lanes of traffic. Cedar Lane has a much lower traffic volume compared to Route 1.”
According to Maloney, the Board of Supervisors is expected to make a decision following the appeal hearing scheduled for Dec. 11.
"I would just like to see the board slow down, take time to fully understand all the issues, hear the people’s concerns and ability to be heard and then deliberate," Glover said.
The agenda for Wednesday’s Board of Supervisors meeting is scheduled to be released Friday.
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