Impacts and Community Concerns 

Site and Facility concerns include:

 

  • Wegmans is seeking to build a 700 employee distribution center in Hanover county on 217 wooded acres at the southwest corner of Sliding Hill Road and Ashcake Road.

  • This property is virtually surrounded by agricultural land and homes on and off of Sliding Hill, Ashcake and Egypt Roads, the neighborhoods of Fox Head, Somerset, and Milestone and the historic Brown Grove community.

  • The main entrance is proposed for Sliding Hill Road, just north of Brook Springs Road. The employee entrance is proposed for Ashcake Road, across from Brown Grove Baptist Church property.

  • Wegmans would operate non-stop - 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year. Truck parking, staging and loading areas will surround the building.

  • The first three phases are planned for a maximum of 1,300,213 (1,281,164?) square feet, which would make it the largest building in Hanover County. There is potential for an additional 400,000 square feet located elsewhere on the property.

  • For comparison, the current largest building in the county is the Super Rite Foods (Richfood) facility off 295 at 1,248,601 square feet.

  • Wegmans requested, and the Hanover County Board of Supervisors approved, a modification of the existing community-protective proffers to increase the current zoning height limit from 45 feet to 62 feet, which would likely make this this tallest building in Hanover County outside of King’s Dominion.

 

Community concerns include:

  • Traffic & Safety

    • A traffic impact analysis shows Wegmans will generate 2,864 vehicle trips per day on the surrounding roads, and 3,165 with the maximum development.

    • Regular traffic delays on Interstate 95 will impact traffic flow to and from the facility.

    • The Sliding Hill Road intersection at Atlee Station and Leadbetter Roads is currently graded an F for failure given delays in traffic flow.

    • While Wegmans states it will direct its own truck drivers to use Sliding Hill Road, they cannot control contract drivers and local suppliers that may use other surrounding roads. Significant safety and use issues already exist on these alternate routes and are not addressed in this project plan.

    • Cyclist use and safety along the US Route 76 bike route will be impacted and have not been addressed.

    • A locality may apply for the Through Truck Restriction Program on primary and secondary roads through VDOT. The county has made such applications.

  • Noise

    • Significantly increased truck traffic will produce noise pollution that will impact homes and businesses throughout the area.

    • Trucks loading and unloading around the clock will generate engine noise and from back up beepers.

    • Rooftop refrigeration units above the tree line will generate significant noise that has the potential to travel for miles.

  • Buffers as slim as 20 feet in some areas are proposed around residential areas.

  • Perimeter lighting will be as high as 45 feet ensuring neighbors will see this facility around the clock, but not the stars.

  • Visual impact

    • The building height has been approved at 62 feet and will tower above the surrounding neighborhoods and agricultural land. 

    • White metal paneled warehouse

    • 8 foot chain link fence with barbed wire top

  • Pollution

    • Water runoff, well impact

    • Diesel fuel emissions

  • Historical

    • This was the site of the Merry Oaks Tavern owner’s home. Merry Oaks, which was somewhere nearby, is known to have been where Patrick Henry raised his first militia.

    • The remains of the Brown Grove School are clearly visible on the site, yet were initially denied by Wegmans.

    • Oral history indicated there are unmarked graves on the site.

  • Environmental

    • Huge impacts to onsite and offsite wetlands are not properly accounted for in accordance with the Army Corps of Engineers procedures.

    • See State and federal permitting agency concerns below.

  • Lack of community input

  • Property values – These negative impacts will likely reduce residential property values within at least two miles of the Wegmans facility.

 

Environmental Justice concerns include: 

  • No formal study to address the cumulative impacts of 60+ years of concentrated industrial encroachment on the Brown Grove community.

  • Lack of adequate and open engagement from all government agencies with the Brown Grove community.

  • Inadequate archaeological surveys to find and protect long known about unmarked graves and cultural & historic resources.

  • Requests to access the property from interested parties to help locate unmarked graves in targeted areas has been denied.

  • The Army Corps of Engineers has failed to provide timely responses to community concerns, thereby keeping the public in the dark throughout the permit process.

 

Hanover County Government Concerns include:

  • Hanover County and the state will provide Wegmans with $6,770,000 in incentives. The incentives redirect your tax dollars from other projects.

  • Local officials signed a non- disclosure agreement in February 2019. The Hanover Board of Supervisors voted to approve the incentives in December 2019 and the announcement was made by the governor in December 2019, prior to any interaction with or input from the community.

  • Wegmans proposed and the Hanover County Planning Commission and Board of Supervisors voted to amend the prior zoning to adjust traffic, buffers, landscaping, light pole height and historic cemetery and artifact conditions despite concerns and urging from the community.

  • These proffer amendments are far from beneficial to the community.

State and Federal Permitting Agency concerns include:

  • The Wegmans site development requires permits from two separate government agencies, the Virginia Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (Corps).  The DEQ submits it recommendations to the State Water Control Board (SWCB) for its final decision on whether to issue the permit, issue the permit with modifications or deny the permit.

  • Both DEQ and the Corps accepted initial public comments on the draft permits in April and May of 2020.

    • The DEQ held a virtual public hearing on July 20.

    • The Corps has not granted a public hearing.

  • Due to overwhelming response from concerned citizens and supportive coalitions, both the DEQ and Corps requested additional actions and supporting materials from Wegmans. The Corps revisited the property and in reversing it controversial use of a mosaic classification, found approximately 250% more wetlands. As a result, the draft permits were revised and both agencies held another comment period, again drawing significant public response due to the many remaining issues. DEQ held a second virtual public hearing on November 19.

 

Despite huge public input and outcry, numerous issues remain.

 

Click here to read about Wegmans $20 Million Lie .

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