It’s a split decision: the 1,675 proposed Megasite in Chester is liked by some, but not so much by others. And that also depends entirely on where people have put down roots.
Chesterfield County Public Schools held a meeting on Thursday last week September 14. Carrie Coyner, Bermuda School Board Member, extended Harrowgate Elementary School’s back to school night to cover the issue of the East-West Freeway.
“The meeting went well,” Coyner told the Village News. “We announced that Harrowgate Elementary School is directly impacted by the preferred location of the new thoroughfare road. Harrowgate was slated for a major renovation from the 2013 Bond Referendum; therefore, with this news of the road impact, we will be building a replacement elementary school. The preferred location is at Harrowgate Park, immediately adjacent to Carver Middle School.”
The megasite is in the planning stages, it is intended to be located along Branders Bridge Road, and you have heard already about the Economic Development Department rezoning the noted megasite using 1,000 acres and setting aside 700 acres for buffers. The entire properties would be rezoned through Chesterfield County’s planning and zoning process, with the final approval coming from the Board of Supervisors. Dorothy Jaeckle is the Bermuda Supervisor and Chairman of the Board and she will be responsible for the Bermuda vote. She will have community meetings on the issue of the site starting on Wednesday, Sept. 20, this week.
“The East-West Freeway has been on the thoroughfare plan for, I believe, 30 years,” Jaeckle said. “Personally, I think we should never be allowed to identify a thoroughfare without starting the process of purchasing land in that thoroughfare as properties go up for sale. Right before HH Hunt pulled out of Branner Station, they were about to present a road design with the affected properties identified. Unfortunately for us, they did not turn that information over to the county. If we had that and had been able to start purchasing properties back then, we would have had ten years of right-of-way purchase accomplished.
The Clover Hill Supervisor, when asked his opinion by the Times-Dispatch, offered a “no comment.”
The properties that make up the nearly 1,700 acres are made of four individual properties. All but one 125-acre parcel is zoned commercial.
When the rezoning application is made, the request would be to change the current zoning, agriculture, to an Industrial/Office Use, which is one of the most intense uses.
Two residents on Harrowgate Road have been in touch with Chesterfield’s transportation department. A Mr. Walls, who lives directly opposite Harrowgate Elementary, took a plan he obtained and took it to his neighbor Nicole Jordan, who told the Village News that she immediately called the transportation to get a better idea of what was going on.
Jordan said, “I told him the road should go by the Governor, Cox, and Jaeckle, he laughed, but I think he got my point. He said the plan I have is pretty much what it will be.”