Letter: Overlay district stifles business growth
During the few years the toll was removed from the Coleman Bridge, Gloucester experienced a growth spurt that will not be experienced again until un-tolled access returns. That growth spurt was used as justification for creating the Highway Corridor Overlay District (HCOD). In reality, the HCOD was established to satisfy aesthetic and financial gain desires of a few rich persons.
What the HCOD actually did was stifle business growth and remove control of property use from the owners. How does this benefit the people of Gloucester or prospective businesses? It doesn’t. During the time the HCOD was set in place, the economy was good and people were not paying attention to government. Fortunately, more people are paying attention now.
In a recently printed letter David Peebles mentioned the numerous years of support of the HCOD by the planning commission, board of supervisors and administration. Statistics indicate we the people have not seen any significant return from the implementation and enforcement of the HCOD. In fact, the HCOD has caused the county to lose prospective and established businesses.
Mr. Peebles’s assertion that the EDA, administration and the HCOD are responsible for the existence of good restaurants, shopping centers and other businesses in Gloucester seems to be somewhat distorted. The truth of the matter is population growth was the driving factor behind those businesses coming to Gloucester.
Mr. Peebles also implied the old Page site is now available to become part of a 100-acre business park. The citizens of Gloucester have an urgent need for a permanent place to take care of and store school buses, county vehicles, grounds equipment and to house the public utilities department. The old Page site is the most practical and financially sensible location to construct such a public infrastructure facility.
I agree with the current efforts being made to overhaul the HCOD. If it is done the right way, property owners will regain control over the use of their property and there will be more opportunity for prospective businesses.
Kenneth E. Hogge Sr.
Gloucester Point, Va.