Letter: Keep the overlay district
Our citizens have had some discussion and concerns about the highway overlay which was approved a number of years ago and supported by not only the planning commission, but also the administration and the board of supervisors for a number of years.
Positive things don’t happen overnight in our community, but they can deteriorate in a hurry. We built the business park looking to the future of having a park with curbs and gutters, streetlights, sidewalks and all the amenities built into the cost of the developed property, and then having expectations of the buyers and optimists.
A number of business types were turned down, because this was not a business park for small businesses, which incidentally we desperately need today, but rather a professional-type park that incubates business and commerce in the process. The land was purchased privately, and we had hoped that it would create additional development in that area of the same caliber and expectations.
We now have the Page Middle School property available for additional continuity, along with properties not developed south to Rappahannock Concrete. Across the road we have our new middle school and White Marsh Plantation bordering four roads; the Plantation is in pristine condition. What a perfect area to continue the wisdom of the EDA and various planning commissions, and the boards of supervisors that so wisely began this initiative.
There is no way we should materially change the highway overlay when you look at so many of our successful business entities that have conformed in every way, to include Phillips Oil, Ken Houtz Chevrolet-Buick, Wawa gas station, Rappahannock Concrete and the Kubicki Enterprises shopping subdivision—to name only a few. It makes a mockery of what we have accomplished.
The wisdom of having a major shopping center 10 miles north of Gloucester Point and yet respectful of the Gloucester village and the quaintness and beauty of our historic town is a tribute to our planning commission, county administration and EDA.
Hopefully we will never become a strip like Route 17 in York County and Mercury Boulevard in Hampton. We want a business and professional community that is here to stay. We are getting fine restaurants ideal for Gloucester, such as Juan’s, Bangkok Noi and Olivia’s, as well as quality carry-out dining in our new endeavors, like Chick-fil-A and McDonald’s—a credit to both. Route 17 is the gateway to the Northern Neck and even farther north on 17 to Route 301.
We need a 100-acre business park properly developed into lots with one stoplight on Route 17, with an attractive entrance to fit the 50 or so businesses that might otherwise settle on Route 17. They will have an identification as being in an established business park instead of just another number along 17, now a transitional community from residential and marginal construction in so many cases.
As one who can reminisce over the past with memories of the lone Tastee Freeze and the one stoplight, Mr. Hogge’s store, and others, I am delighted to see the improvements and beautification of our major thoroughfare, George Washington Memorial Highway. Sometimes codes and standards are hard to follow, particularly if you are the only one following them, and our attention today should be ensuring that every site be a safe and proper place for that identification of “land of the life worth living.” Success breeds success and is a credit to our citizens and a bright look into the future.
David L. Peebles