Hearing Tuesday on Rt. 17 overlay district changes
Following months of discussions, revisions and tweaking, Gloucester’s amended Highway Corridor Overlay District will go to public hearing Tuesday night.
During the hearing, which is scheduled to begin at 8 o’clock in the colonial courthouse, business owners and other members of the public will have an opportunity to express opinions on whether proposed changes to the ordinance will help make the county more attractive to businesses, or if lessening restrictions would have a negative impact on the aesthetics of Route 17.
According to Gloucester’s planning director Anne Ducey-Ortiz, the proposed changes to the county’s zoning ordinance are intended to encourage development along the county’s main corridor, Route 17, within the designated development district by reducing some regulations, and eliminating others, currently imposed along the designated corridor.
She said the proposal renames the district Highway Corridor Development District and modifies the intent to better represent the county’s desire to encourage growth and economic development through less regulation.
According to Ducey-Ortiz, proposed changes to the ordinance include such things as reducing the boundaries of the HCOD, changing access requirements to meet VDOT standards, revising sidewalk requirements in the district, revising landscaping requirements, and doing away with additional sign requirements in the district.
The proposed changes would also extend the amount of time a non-conforming structure damaged by fire or natural hazard can be replaced from two to five years.
During the board of supervisor’s August meeting, at-large member John Meyer Jr. said, “I believe that this is a good median between a total repeal of the act and (sticking with) the current ordinance.” Meyer also said the revisions will not only prove to reduce the costs to businesses wishing to locate along the Route 17 corridor, but will also reduce the overall size of the ordinance to a more reasonable level.