Last week, Republican Jim Ingle and Democrat Murtaza Khan spoke and answered questions about the proposed Carvana auto inspection and storage facility planned for Woods Edge Road.
The project is slated to be considered by the Chesterfield Board of Supervisors on Sept. 25.
Both candidates, who are vying to replace incumbent Republican Dorothy Jaeckle, also spoke in general about their candidacies.
If either were now on the board, Khan said he would vote against the Carvana project, while Ingle said he would vote to delay consideration of it until some questions are answered.
Ingle, a senior project manager with R.J. Smith Construction Co., noted that Chesterfield Planning Commissioner Gib Sloan is his campaign treasurer. Although Sloan voted to recommend approval of the Carvana project last month, Ingle said he doesn’t necessarily agree with Sloan on everything.
“The county has not done a good job in planning to get ahead of cases like that across the street,” he said at the Sept. 3 meeting of the Southcreek Homeowners Association, which was held at Marguerite Christian Elementary School on Woods Edge Road.
Ingle said there could be regret if the supervisors approve Carvana’s proposal, but added that the property in question was zoned industrial in the late 1980s before area subdivisions were built.
“I dare say most of you had no idea when you bought your home,” he said. Ingle added that, if elected, he would work with the state Legislature to help make people aware of area zoning before they purchase property.
Khan said he’s not taking donations from developers, whom he said are paying millions of dollars less in cash proffers to the county because of actions of the supervisors. As a result, he said county real estate owners are paying more taxes.
Khan – an importer/exporter with a background as a business analyst – asked several questions of the audience of two dozen or so in which he implied that the county has not been honest and transparent about the Carvana project and hasn’t worked with area homeowners to a reasonable degree.
“I stood with citizens on the megasite” and two other recent cases, Khan said, noting he did it when it was easy and when it was hard.
He said the county deliberately chose not to give citizens more information about the Carvana project.
Khan said the citizens “had to fight tooth and nail” against the megasite project. “We shouldn’t have to. They should be representing what the people want,” he said of county officials. He added that the tipping point was when House Speaker Kirk Cox, R-Colonial Heights, switched his position after hearing from the public, “and then the case was pretty much dead in the water.”
Earlier this year, Ingle said he supported the process that took place in regard to the megasite, but didn’t say whether he supported the project.
Last week, Ingle said he’s taken money from people and developers whom he’s worked with in the past, but doesn’t think that prohibits him from being unbiased on any particular development case.
In regard to Carvana, Ingle said he would like to know if the sound level at Woods Edge Road can be decreased to 65 decibels, adding that the supervisors should know that before they make a decision. “I’m not sure why they need 9,000 spaces (for cars) over there,” he said, referring to how many vehicles Carvana has said it could store at the 184-acre site.
“A lot of people think Bermuda isn’t going the direction it needs to be going, a direction that represents the people,” Khan said.