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Louisa County board plans another vote on business park idea

Posted on Friday, January 11, 2019 at 5:00 am

The Louisa County Board of Supervisors will make a decision whether to develop a 700-acre lot between Parrish and Shannon Hill roads at their next meeting.

The megasite may be no more, but the idea of a business park near the Shannon Hill interstate exit is very much alive.

The Louisa County Board of Supervisors will decide at its next meeting whether to develop a roughly 700-acre business park between Parrish and Shannon Hill roads.

It’s been a mere two months since the board voted against the park, but on Monday the board voted 4-3 to make the park an action item on the Jan. 22 agenda. Real estate options to buy properties in the area are due to expire later that week.

Supervisors Fitzgerald Barnes and Bob Babyok (Patrick Henry and Green Springs districts) said they still see a need for a business park. They received tentative support from colleagues Troy Wade and Willie Gentry (Louisa and Cuckoo districts), though none said how they will vote at the next meeting.

“I’m regretful we didn’t do a better job of exploring this option more early on,” Wade said. “It planted some seeds of discontent with the public.”

Wade, who was absent from the meeting in November when the board voted to cut off discussion of the business park, asked county staff to prepare scenarios to buy and develop the land that won’t lead to a tax increase.

Several people active in Go Virginia, a statewide organization that says more large business parks are needed, encouraged the board Monday to develop the Shannon Hill site. They included Tom Click, co-owner of Patriot Aluminum in Ferncliff Business Park, and Jim Cheng, secretary of commerce under former Governor Bob McDonnell.

Residents of the area where the business park is proposed were caught off-guard by the board’s renewed interest in the matter. Randy Holladay, who lives on Roundabout Road, questioned why Andy Wade, the county’s economic development director, continued to work on the project after the board’s Nov. 19 decision not to pursue it.

The proposed business park was originally as large as 1,600 acres, including land as far west as Roundabout Road and north to West Old Mountain Road. The board’s first vote on Nov. 19 was to not exercise options to buy land west of Parrish Road. The supervisors then deadlocked, 3-3, on Barnes’ proposal to take more time to evaluate the Hopkins properties east of Parrish Road, so named because they are largely owned by a single family. Finally, the supervisors voted 6-0 not to pursue options on those properties.

Andy Wade said there is one 111-acre parcel within the Hopkins tract that is not designated for growth by the county’s comprehensive plan. Areas outside the growth area, but included in the proposed business park’s footprint, were a point of contention for some supervisors last fall, especially Gentry.

Wade said Monday the county could compensate for developing the 111-acre property by taking land elsewhere out of the growth area. He said which land to take out would have to be identified during the comprehensive plan review process.

This is a partial article. Read the full story in The Central Virginian’s Jan. 10, 2019 issue.

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