Supervisors move ahead with a more business-friendly overlay district
After months of work, Gloucester’s controversial Highway Corridor Overlay District (HCOD) has been revised in hopes of making the county more attractive to businesses. Those revisions are scheduled to go to public hearing at the Sept. 2 meeting of the Gloucester County Board of Supervisors.
Supervisors voted 6-0 (Abingdon district supervisor Robert “JJ” Orth absent) during its meeting Tuesday night in the colonial courthouse to send to public hearing a series of revisions to the plan, which will be called the Highway Corridor Development District, if the changes are accepted.
The name change was recommended, as its definition will change, according to Gloucester’s planning director Anne Ducey-Ortiz. She said the current definition states the HCOD is to protect the public health, safety and welfare by managing growth within the county’s primary highway corridor. If the board votes on the amendments to the ordinance, its intent will be to protect the public health, safety and welfare by encouraging growth and economic development along the primary highway corridor within the county’s development district.
“I believe that this is a good median between a total repeal of the act and (sticking with) the current ordinance,” said at-large supervisor John Meyer Jr., who, along with fellow at-large supervisor Ashley Chriscoe, worked on the committee to revise the plan.
Meyer 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.
The revisions began in January as a result of some board members being concerned the current HCOD increases costs to new businesses so much so that it was making the new businesses less successful in getting started.