Planners recommend approval of village plan

by Bill Nachman - Posted on Jan 09, 2013 - 01:29 PM

Following a sparsely attended public hearing last Thursday night in the colonial courthouse, the Gloucester Planning Commission recommended that county supervisors approve a plan on the long-range future of the Gloucester Court House area and how it should be developed.

Planner Emily Gibson said the Gloucester Court House Village Sub-Area Plan will be a stand-alone plan that will be referenced in the county’s comprehensive plan, which is under review. A similar Gloucester Point Village plan was approved in 2011, Gibson said.

The area proposed to be included in the plan extends beyond the usual village boundaries, planning director Anne Ducey-Ortiz said, with some properties just north of Riverside Walter Reed Hospital, out Route 14 to Crab Thicket Road, and down Route 17 to Burleigh Road, all included in the plan that will be considered by the supervisors later this winter.

Consultant Milt Herd said during a public meeting about the plan in mid-October that the plan is not intended to dictate zoning for the county, but instead might lead to some guidelines that would make some zoning regulations more flexible. Herd, of Herd Planning & Design in Leesburg, was not able to attend the Jan. 3 meeting, planning officials said.

The plan will provide direction for the business community to expand, Herd said, while also identifying new housing in that section of the county that might better address actual housing needs such as for seniors or young professionals.

Breckenridge Ingles, chairman of the Main Street Preservation Trust, which paid much of the consultants’ fees, said that the plan is "an excellent beginning" for future village development. He cited the plan as a good example of how a public-private partnership can be helpful to improve a community.