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Residents voice concern after Wegmans plan approved: 'I’m heartbroken'

Posted at 2:20 PM, May 07, 2020
and last updated 2020-05-07 14:23:50-04

HANOVER COUNTY, Va. -- The morning after a controversial project to build a Wegmans Distribution Center was approved by the Hanover County Board of Supervisors, many residents in a nearby neighborhood expressed their concern.

"I love being able to hear the birds sing in the morning," said Fox Head resident, Karri Messina. "Even the beautiful forests and landscapes and the back country roads."

They're just a few things Messina worried would be no more when the Wegmans Distribution Center, taking up more than 1 million square feet, comes to her area.

In a 4 to 3 vote, the controversial project was approved Wednesday night -- despite more than two dozen people speaking against it.

Messina was one of them. And after staying up into the early hours of the morning, she said she felt betrayed.

"Very discouraged, frustrated, angry, sad -- in shock," Messina said.

Messina is also one of the 1300 members of the growing 'Fox Head Follows the Wegmans Development' Facebook group.

She said the biggest concern is the tractor trailers and overall traffic the center will bring to the typically quiet area.

"The 2022 opening date is, oddly enough, the year my daughter is going to be learning to drive. So with all the extra traffic and her learning to drive in this area, I’m terrified," Messina said.

However Wegmans said they've added new zoning amendments which they said will add protections for those in the surrounding area -- like higher lights.

"We think we’re doing something that’s going to benefit the county, benefit the community," said Wegmans representative, Andy Condlin, before the vote Wednesday night.

The county said the project will bring hundreds of jobs to the Hanover area. Three community members showed up Wednesday night to support the project.

"The sooner the facilities will open, the sooner it will bring 700 jobs to Hanover County," said one Hanover resident who spoke at the meeting.

But Residents like Messina, don't want that to come at the expense of their safety at home and overall well-being.

"I’m heartbroken," said Messina.