Commissioners edit comprehensive plan

The Chesterfield County Planning Commission has been reviewing the county’s draft comprehensive plan, and while they have been charged by the Board of Supervisors to make their revisions to the plan before presenting it to them in July, their edits, if approved by the Board, could make the document quite different from the one built by the steering committee and presented in community meetings in recent months.

As commissioners reviewed various sections, including last week’s housing and revitalization sections, they decided they didn’t like the word “policies” and agreed that it should be changed to “recommendations.” The word policy was also removed from the chapter headings of the draft plan and hundreds of locations throughout the draft plan.

Policies is defined as “a course of action adopted and pursued by a government,” while recommendations is interpreted as “to advise, as an alternative; suggest.”

Kirk Turner, who is the director of the planning department for Chesterfield, wasn’t able to give his opinion of the changes, but said, “The Planning Commission will be making a lot of changes to the draft plan, but it’s up to the Board of Supervisors to make the final decision.” He said the board will decide whether they like the steering committee language, which is the current draft comprehensive plan, or the revised edition being worked on by the commission.

The commission has also made other changes including one that affects at least two sections, revitalization and transportation, by removing the connectivity statement. The original statement drafted by the steering committee called for connecting developments through streets and public facilities. The planning commission deleted public facilities and added “when appropriate.” Russell Gulley, Clover Hill planning commissioner, expressed concern that connectivity would create potential funding issues with maintaining the roads.

“All they are doing is recording their wishes,” Turner says of the commission’s actions. “Eventually they may vote as a commission on these changes.”

The draft plan they are reviewing is 187 pages in length and includes elements on goals and objectives, various policies such as land use, transportation, economic development and public facilities, and an implementation element that addresses how the rest of the ideas contained in the document will be carried out.

Community meetings were attended by only 1 percent of the population. According to planners the comments made by those at the community meetings will also be included as comments to the Board of Supervisors when they receive the plan for review and adoption. Residents may make comments by emailing Fassettb@chesterfield.gov. The next planning commission comprehensive plan work sessions are scheduled for April 21 and April 28.

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