County resident: Board should deny Lake District project

At its Aug. 28 meeting, the Hanover County Board of Supervisors will consider the Lake District mixed use rezoning along Route 33. The board should deny this massive 1,787 dwelling unit (970 apartments, 817 townhouses), 1.1 million-square-foot commercial/industrial project for four compelling reasons.

First, when the board reinstated transportation cash proffers in 2013, it established a road improvement list. Widening Route 33 is not on the list. Widening all of Atlee Station Road from Warren Avenue north is on the list as are seven other unfunded or unconstructed projects.

The board can’t ignore established priorities. It would be fiscally irresponsible and disregard long-standing commitments to create a new problem corridor, Route 33.

Second, the rezoning violates the Comprehensive Plan. The growth management section assumes no residential development along Route 33.

Lake District approval would create county-wide infrastructure problems and compromise Hanover’s rural-suburban planning model. Major parcels near interstate interchanges from Route 33 east to Creighton Road and north to Doswell, would be eligible for similar mega-projects. Road, school, and water/sewer infrastructure and funding does not exist for urban projects scattered about the county.

Third, under the Comprehensive Plan and county zoning ordinances, residential density is computed based on residential units and residential acreage. At 20.3 dwelling units/acre, the Lake District exceeds the 15 unit/acre maximum and flunks this common sense test.

The staff’s density computations, however, use all Lake District acres whether developed for residential or other uses. 3,390 dwelling units would be permissible along with millions of square feet of commercial and industrial development. This is no density limit but rather a license for over development.

Fourth, the Lake District provides no concrete plans for 87 economic development acres. Assuming approval, other Route 33 landowners can seek to rezone land and provide plans later. Again this is license, not rational planning.

Hanover County is in the crosshairs for development. By adding the problematic Lake District precedent to the mixed use tool box, the targets will be as big as the county, impossible for developers to miss. The Lake District rezoning should be rejected by the board.

Bob Nelson

Mechanicsville

Responding to defense of Confederates

I’m responding to letters from Mickey Reardon and Jennifer Horstmann (weeks of Aug. 7 and 14), defending the Confederate cause and the Hanover County Board of Supervisors’ recent choices.

Your letters read thick with the Lost Cause narrative -- a twisted interpretation of historical events that tells a false story that the Confederate cause was just, that the war was not about slavery, and that slavery wasn’t that bad. Your assertion that folks who think otherwise need to learn history is a projectionist stance.

Academic historians have provided overwhelming evidence that the primary reason the Confederacy went to war was to defend the institution of slavery.

Countless first-hand accounts of enslaved Africans (and common sense) tell us that slavery was abhorrent and immoral regardless of how “benevolent” any slave owner ever was. It’s a no-brainer that defending the institution of slavery is a white supremacists ideology. This is just not a debatable point among serious scholars.

I don’t blame you for having heard, believed, and retold this narrative. Ever since the war ended, descendants of Confederates have been busy creating and perpetuating this narrative in an effort to save face.

The United Daughters of the Confederacy (UDC) designed a successful strategy targeting children in order to instill this narrative into our national culture: Children of the Confederacy chapters, essay contest, teachers’ scholarships, and school textbooks. The residuals of these initiatives continued when you and I were attending school. We were taught the Lost Cause narrative, in part or in whole, as if it were objective truth, when it never was. (By the way, did you hear that Pluto is now considered a dwarf planet, butterflies do not make cocoons, and dinosaurs were not reptiles but pterodactyls were?)

Jennifer, if you are like Mickey and me -- a descendant of the Confederacy, and I suspect you are with your depth of knowledge of the Lost Cause talking points from the Confederate Catechism -- our history and heritage are painful.

The Civil War was crushing for white Southerners. A credible statistic estimates that 75% of Southern white men (ages 17 to 50) fought for the Confederacy, and 36% of them were killed or maimed. My great-great-great-grandfather was one of them.

Our ancestors experienced trauma; and perhaps that trauma has been passed down to us. Further, the knowledge that our ancestors fought and died for the cause of white supremacy is another source of our pain. We might be more inclined to deny this truth than face it.

Please, let’s not forget that our African American friends and neighbors have a much deeper traumatic history directly at the hands of our ancestors. To say African Americans need to leave race issues in the past, that’s another projectionist claim. It is us who need to heal and stop hurting other people, and we can do that brave work.

We can mourn our ancestors and honor the humanity of African Americans. Even the UDC (see their home page) understands that Confederate imagery is often used to represent white supremacy, which is absolutely what happened when Hanover County decided to name those schools in the midst of desegregation.

The UDC calls such use “abhorrent and reprehensible” and they “totally denounce” white supremacy.

The entire community of Hanover County would do well to follow the UDC’s lead on this particular point and fully denounce the KKK’s message and work diligently to remove the names of Confederates from public school names.

Kelly Merrill

Ashland

Resident asks why rezoning sign isn’t upright

(Editor’s note: The following was addressed “To the Honorable Board of Supervisors, Hanover County, Virginia.)

Just wondering if you guys ever wonder why some people in the county seem to cause problems. Maybe it’s not the people but something else, for example: Rezoning C-9-10(c) Hanover Land, LLC 3282 Old Church Road.

I was not and am not opposed to the rezoning for the apparent reason given to add one additional house on the above property for the new owners’ children to live. Then I see the county rezoning sign lying on the ground for the apparent reason that no one can see it and that causes me to question if the apparent reason for rezoning is the real reason. I notified the Hanover County Planning Department on Aug. 3 by email that the sign was down and it is still down.

Although I am not opposed to the rezoning there may be others in the neighborhood who are opposed and as citizens of Hanover County they deserve to have a say in the matter.

Now I see some construction going on by the addition of a driveway on the property. What should I figure from that? Looks to me like it’s already a done deal and I don’t care about that, but today I get a certified letter from Hanover Planning notifying me of the BOS Aug. 28 hearing to decide yes or no on the rezoning.

The rezoning sign is down, a driveway has been added so why would you guys expect me or anyone else to come to a hearing? I understand the workings and situation in Hanover and I agree with you that people don’t need to be involved in Hanover business but making things a bit less obvious would help to keep people from getting p----d at you and you at them for speaking up. In this case get mad at the sheriff; he taught me to; “See something, say something”.

I recommend that when the rezoning signs get hidden you delay the rezoning request for six months or so as penalty and any construction be delayed until the paperwork is done. And, please, don’t invite people to a hearing that has the smell of already been decided, I wasted ½-hour in line to get the certified letter so I don’t need to waste another 2-plus hours driving to and from Hanover to hear the obvious.

I may be totally wrong about my conclusions and realize the rezoning sign could have blown over during the last hurricane and the apparent driveway may just be a novelty thing like an infinity drive or something else really cool. If this is the case, I apologize for bringing it up.

Ted Mentz

Old Church

Newcomers accused of changing county

As the overcrowding of Henrico County drives people over the county line into Hanover for more elbow room, from their 240-square-foot lots to an acre or more, in fact, they are encroaching on centuries of large land owning families that have largely been left to their own lifestyles.

Target shooting happens daily out here. And horses and cows graze peacefully all the while. My dog and cat rarely open a sleeping eye when a neighbor shoots. It’s normal, everyday life.

That liberal newcomers suddenly metastasized in our backyard and wish to bring their suburban sensibilities to Hanover is ill advised at best.

Generally speaking, wise newcomers observe and are mostly silent until discerning the lay of the land. That would not include our newcomers.

We now have new newcomers who move in and demand that we conform to their wishes.

Fully grown humans have moved into our county and bang their spoons on their highchairs and wail at the top of their lungs in order to get their way.

I will never listen. We will never acquiesce to their selfish demands. You came here. We didn’t storm your neighborhood. You stormed ours.

As for the descendants of the father who put up the VFW facility, veterans of Foreign Wars, American heroes, and are now brow-beaten by your new liberal neighbors, I feel sorry for your new misery.

Jim Smyers

Beaverdam

Trump marches onward as 2020 race heats up

Before stunning America and the world by winning the 45th United States presidency, Donald John Trump had achieved noteworthy business success.

The combination of his wealth, lovely wife and cohesive family made him appear to be a man lacking nothing, but he was then and still is an exceedingly polarizing personality.

After the election, this political outsider doubled-down on his self-righteous image by openly blasting predecessor Barack Obama, bashing and circumventing liberal media outlets, and mocking campaign opponent Hillary Clinton.

Kicking sand in the faces of his political foes after beating them at their own game was atypical of presidents, and Trump became a lightning rod for left-wing contempt and retaliation.

Public figures, including presidents, often deal with scrutiny.

Right-wingers challenged Obama’s background, and they questioned his political agenda on matters such as law enforcement, the national defense and America’s international relationships, particularly with Israel. But the hunt for skeletons and smoking guns in Trump’s closet is more prolonged and intense than normal.

Most Americans would prefer a virtuous president, but the sordid game of politics all but disenfranchises saintly candidates from emerging.

Trump believed that informed voters would discount nobility and allure as presidential qualifications and instead choose the candidate that would “Make America Great Again” by prioritizing America’s interests internationally and preserving its liberty, laws and economy.

Although Trump has been true to those commitments, his brusque, combative style has impeded the delivery. His integrity is often attacked and his successes frequently discounted.

When he enforces immigration laws and tackles border security deficiencies, also Democratic predecessor priorities, he is depicted inhumane; when white supremacists validate him or enact individual or mass racially-motivated violence, despite his condemnation of such people, he is branded a racist, an intolerance enabler or worse; initiatives to rebuild the national defense, renegotiate lopsided international trade agreements and silence ISIS are largely ignored; some even credit Obama for the nation’s soaring economy; and after the lengthy Mueller investigation failed to reveal sufficient evidence that Trump’s campaign conspired with the Russian government, the House Judiciary Committee continues to look for grounds of impeachment.

While the never-Trump-group searches for a leader to derail him in 2020, the seemingly unscathed President focuses on America’s interests and delivering new jobs, apparently believing his re-election hinges on domestic security and prosperity . . . and he may be correct.

Perhaps the overriding consideration for many voters will be the fitness of the Democratic Party choice from among the crowd of untested hopefuls to maintain the thriving economy and to deter international threats from the likes of Vladimir Putin, Xi Jinping and Kim Jong-un; will the electorate trust Joe Biden, Elizabeth Warren, Beto O’Rourke or whomever, or will they depend on Trump?

Trump also may envision receiving votes from a number of traditional Democrats because of the Party’s ties to extremists like presidential candidate Bernie Sanders and New York Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, who, unimpeded, would perform major surgery on a comparatively robust, free society.

Daniel Corso

Mechanicsville

Save insects dying off in large numbers

We are facing massive die-offs of all sorts of insects. Why should you care? Insects are the building block of all animal life, including yours. We need insects to pollinate our food crops, and to feed many other creatures. For example, do you like birds? Most birds feed caterpillars and other insects to their young. No bugs, no birds. How can you help them?

1. If you can, build a pond or water feature. This is the single most important thing you can do to help insects. Try not to stock it with fish, as they eat insects.

2. Plant native plants. In Virginia, the Virginia Native Plant Society has guides for native plants you can plant in your home or garden. They have posted regional guides on native plants appropriate to your area, free for download: https://vnps.org/virginia-native-plant-guides/.

3. Stop spraying pesticides. For example, mosquito spraying seems to be popular. This only kills adults, not larvae, and also kills butterflies, ladybugs, lightning bugs, and bumble bees.

4. Set aside an area of your yard to be wild, with tall grass, brush piles, etc. This will provide habitats for insects.

5. Don’t deadhead your flowers. Many creatures over winter in the stems of flowers and other plants and then you get the added bonus, for example, of seeing goldfinches eat your cone flower seeds!

6. Plant a native tree, especially an oak. Native trees will provide habitat for insects, reduce your heating and cooling bills, beautify your yard, and provide nesting for birds. And don’t cut down healthy trees in order to have more grass. Grass is basically a desert for most creatures!

J.M. Thomas

Mechanicsville

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