Route 5 Corridor/Marion Hill Study

Project Status: Underway

Magisterial District:   Varina  


Project Description

Henrico County’s 2026 Comprehensive Plan identified both Route 5 (New Market Road) and Marion Hill as Special Focus Areas that warrant further study because of certain characteristics, challenges or opportunities.

In Henrico, Route 5 is a state-maintained road approximately 14 miles in length that runs from the eastern boundary of the City of Richmond through the Varina Magisterial District to Charles City County. The Marion Hill neighborhood shares a boundary with Route 5 and, due to its close proximity, will be studied in conjunction with the Route 5 corridor. Development adjacent to Route 5 has historically been rural in nature but has evolved in large part to more suburban style single-family developments amidst small farms and large-acreage homes.  On March 14, 2017, the Board of Supervisors directed the Planning Department to initiate a study for the Planning Commission’s review and recommendation to the Board regarding possible Comprehensive Plan amendments.

The corridor study area extends 500 feet on either side of the centerline of Route 5. This includes 878 parcels and 1,409 acres.  It will be the longest corridor plan undertaken in Henrico County.

The purpose of the study is to evaluate the existing character of both focus areas and offer recommended guidelines for use in future review of development proposals, while integrating and respecting the existing agricultural, residential and commercial development currently present along the corridor. Data was compiled on previous studies, existing conditions, and visual conditions. That information can be found below in the document entitled Draft Route 5 Corridor Study.








April 16, 2018



The Marion Hill neighborhood has been removed from the Route 5 Corridor Study. During the previous open house and community meetings, residents raised concerns about the neighborhood’s unique characteristics, and how they differ from the Route 5 corridor. Staff has determined an independent study is appropriate and will be completed at a later date.

Revised Goals, Objectives and Strategies

At the August 3, 2017 community workshop, approximately 70 attendees participated in an exercise to formulate goals, objectives and strategies. Participants were assigned to random work tables and asked to identify the 5 most important issues facing Route 5 and Marion Hill.  Numerous ideas were shared; staff transcribed them, and participants were asked to ‘vote’ on those they most agreed with. The top 7 issues/concerns that garnered the most votes (# of votes are shown next to the topics) were the following:


Character (rural, agricultural, historic)


Marion Hill visual inventory


Town Center


Cut through traffic from Tree Hill


Overlay District


Widen/Don’t widen Route 5


Responsible Growth





Based on the comments received, planning staff drafted an initial set of goals and objectives. They were presented at the October 19, 2017 community meeting where over 110 participants used keypad technology to share their thoughts. Many of the goals and objectives were overwhelmingly agreed upon, while others were thought to be “vague” or “leading”.  The town center concept was particularly discussed at length.

In response to the feedback and as an effort to simplify, clarify, and streamline the goals and objectives, staff reviewed all the comments received throughout the public participation process. This included the 59 exit surveys, 118 online survey responses, 30 public input map comments and 3 letters, plus the original worksheets (13) from the August goals/objectives/ strategies brainstorming exercise. The five issues below were identified as the most frequently commented upon.  

Character (rural, agricultural, historic)

Land Use


Transportation (Route 5 & Capital Trail)




Using these topics and feedback, staff revised the goals and objectives, and identified corresponding strategies.  It is important to note that some of the strategies (create design guidelines, review the zoning ordinance, encourage river access) are meant to be implemented by the County, as they may ultimately require decision-making by the Planning Commission and/or Board of Supervisors. Others are meant to be driven by the private sector. For example, the objective “encourage agricultural enterprises along the corridor” could be achieved by the strategy “support efforts such as the Virginia Tech Virginia Beginning Farmers and Ranchers Coalition”. Owners/farmers will determine which enterprises would be successful on individual properties based on soils, business plans, crop production, etc.  Staff will facilitate a review of the zoning ordinance to make sure such enterprises (cideries/wineries, pick your own fruits/vegetables, bed and breakfasts, fee/lease pond fishing, etc.,) aren’t in conflict with the code. Ultimately, it will be up to the farmer/entrepreneur to plan, market and launch such efforts. There are multiple state and national resources available (Extension Service, Farm Bureau, Office of Farmland Preservation, Agricultural Marketing Resource Center) to lend assistance.

Likewise, county staff could facilitate the creation of a town center if, and when, a mixed-use project is submitted for development. Should a residential development with a commercial component be proposed for the corridor, staff will encourage the developer to design the retail portion to function as a gathering space for the community. The specific location will be driven by private sector and market forces. Alternately, the department could study ways to encourage more cohesive development between Gregg and Strath Roads, as this was the area most participants identified as a potential gathering space/town center because of its existing services, location and character.

Finally, because Route 5 is a VDOT controlled road, future widening of the road and/or redesign of intersections, or enhancements to the Capital Trail, are the purview of the state. As growth occurs, the county will coordinate with VDOT to implement necessary improvements.

A copy of the revised Goals, Objects and Strategies can be found by scrolling to the bottom of the page and clicking on the appropriate link. If you wish to submit comments on the Revised Goals, Objectives and Strategies please email





Route 5 Corridor/Marion Hill Public Engagement Portal

The goal of the Public Engagement portal is to provide additional opportunities for citizens and stakeholders to participate in the study and to provide a platform for your comments.  It includes a short community survey and a new feature – a public input map where you can pinpoint and comment on opportunities/strengths and challenges along the Route 5 Corridor. These suggestions will be labeled directly on the Corridor Study Map.  The portal also includes a virtual tour to help you get started and reacquainted with the corridor. 







Upcoming Meetings

Currently, no date has been selected for the next Route 5 Corridor/Marion Hill Study meeting. We anticipate the next opportunity for public engagement could be in late May/early June of 2018. Please continue to check this website, and, if you have not already joined our mailing list, consider doing so by entering your information below.


Thank you for visiting the Route 5 Corridor/Marion Hill Public Engagement website and portal. Please plan on attending one of the upcoming community meetings in which citizens, stakeholders and representatives of local community organizations will be able to provide further input on the Route 5 Corridor Study, and check our site often for updates. To join our email list to receive notices of meetings, please complete the information below:


Route 5 Corridor/Marion Hill Study Mailing List

Progress to Date

  • On Thursday, May 11, 2017 Planning staff kicked-off the project with a presentation to the Henrico County Planning Commission. Approximately 25 residents, stakeholders and representatives from local community organizations attended the meeting to heard a brief overview of existing conditions and the proposed framework for the study. Following the presentation, several individuals shared their thoughts about the corridor, and surrounding neighborhoods, with the Planning Commission.
  • Also on Thursday, May 11, 2017 the Planning Department introduced a project-specific website and public engagement portal.
  • The Planning Department hosted an Open House at the Varina Library from 4:30 to 7:30 p.m. on June 8, 2017. Varina residents and other members of the public were welcomed to view background information compiled by staff for the Route 5/Marion Hill Study.  Over 110 people attended, asked questions, shared their thoughts, and made comments via an exit survey.

    There were a variety of maps and graphics displayed throughout the room, including segment maps showing aerial photography, zoning and Future Land Use designations. Other maps depicted recreation/park facilities, historic markers and conservation properties, the Major Thoroughfare Plan, parcels falling within the 500-foot study boundary and existing views and vistas. Graphics of various cross-sections throughout the corridor and suggested sub-areas based on differing character and land uses along the 14-mile long corridor were also provided.

    Attendees also had an opportunity to provide feedback via an Exit Survey.  Based on a review of the responses, most participants were interested in Future Land Use recommendations and the Major Thoroughfare Plan, as seen on the chart below:



    A copy of the maps, and a summary of comments from the Exit Survey can be found by scrolling to the bottom of the page and clicking on the links for the Open House Graphics and the Open House Survey Results.

  • On Thursday, August 3, 2017 a Community Workshop was held at John Rolfe Middle School. Over 100 residents gathered for an overview of the Draft Route 5/Marion Hill Study document. The Planning Department’s facilitator, Greg Dale, also discussed how input is used to formulate goals, objectives and strategies. Attendees were then assigned to work tables and asked to identify their 5 most important issues facing Route 5 and Marion Hill. Participants were also encouraged to label such examples on a map of the area. Approximately 70 individuals remained to participate in this portion of the workshop.

    Each table presented their ideas to the larger group. Staff recorded them and sheets of the shared ideas were then hung on the walls. The workshop concluded with participants using a dot voting technique to identify those issues/concerns they most agreed with. The chart below indicates which topics garnered the most votes.



    A copy of the evening’s agenda, PowerPoint presentation, and a complete list of comments and pictures of the dot sheets can be found in the Documents section.

    The input received from the community workshop, as well as the June Open House and the Web Survey, are being used to draft goals, objectives and strategies for the corridor and Marion Hill.

  • On Wednesday, September 27, 2017, staff presented an update to the Planning Commission on public participation efforts conducted for the study. A summary of website activity was provided, including total number of “hits” to-date and an analysis of most-commented upon topics from the dedicated survey and public input map. Staff also provided information on the number of attendees and top issues/concerns shared at the June Open House and the Community Workshop held in August.

The presentation used for the Planning Commission briefing is available by scrolling to the bottom of the page and clicking on the appropriate link.

  • On Thursday, October 19, 2017, a second Community Workshop was held at John Rolfe Middle School. Over 110 residents and interested members of the public attended. The Planning Department’s facilitator provided a summary of the results of public input received to-date. This was followed by a brief review of the framework used to develop goals and objectives.

The remaining portion of the workshop was spent gathering feedback on a series of draft goals and objectives, as well as design preferences. Attendees were each provided with a hand-held keypad device and asked to indicate their level of agreement for statements or images in the presentation. The results were displayed on-screen within seconds. The exercise was also used to obtain feedback on general architectural style-preferences for the future design of a restroom facility to be constructed at the Four Mile Creek Park trailhead parking lot.

As the workshop concluded, attendees were asked to identify a place along the corridor they could envision as a town center. This was in response to comments received at the August community workshop suggesting the development of such a use.

A copy of the presentation for the keypad polling exercise, including the responses, the meeting agenda and images of the town center mapping exercise, can be found at the bottom of the page.

Contact Us

(804) 501-4602


Physical Address
4301 East Parham Road
Henrico, VA 23228

(804) 501-4379

Mailing Address
P. O. Box 90775
Henrico, VA 23273-0775

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