On June 29, the Chesterfield County Board of Supervisors unanimously voted to replace Leslie Haley as the Midlothian supervisor with former Chesterfield County Republican Party Chair Tara Carroll.
Board Chair Chris Winslow (R-Clover Hill) said the board followed a policy that was adopted in 1994. Eight people applied for the vacancy after Haley resigned to work in the attorney general’s office and six were qualified, Winslow said.
Kevin Carroll (R-Matoaca), no relation, motioned for Tara Carroll, which Jim Holland (D-Dale) seconded.
In the afternoon session, the board voted unanimously to name Holland vice chair following a nomination by Winslow.
Also during the afternoon session, Bermuda resident Mike Uzel protested the impending decision, calling for more transparency. He cited a process the supervisors used to fill a board vacancy in 2006. “Have a special public meeting,” Uzel said.
LEGO tax incentives
As part of the consent agenda, the supervisors approved two infrastructure agreements with LEGO that will provide tax incentives for 20 years.
Economic Development Director Garrett Hart noted that LEGO plans to build a 1.7 million square-foot building in Meadowville and plans to invest $1 billion while creating 1,700 jobs.
The supervisors also agreed to pay $1.725 million for 38 acres, including 15 islands in the Appomattox River, in Ettrick for conservation purposes. The funds will come from the federal American Rescue Plan Act, according to a board document. The county is purchasing the land from the Capital Region Land Conservancy, which bought it from Joshua and Ingrid Greenwood.
Also as part of the consent agenda, the supervisors approved a performance-based grant for the 160-unit Winchester Forest Apartments development on 16.71 acres on Drewrys Bluff Road, which is located east of Defense Supply Center Richmond.
The property is currently wooded and vacant, according to a staff report. The community will be mixed-income, serving those with incomes between 40 and 60 percent of the area’s median income, which equates to annual incomes of $20,000 to $51,800. Rents will range from $580 to $1,210. The two- and three-story buildings will be built next to Winchester Greens. Construction is estimated to take 20 months.
Jesse Smith, deputy county administrator for community development, said a $45 million investment is planned. The grant is in accord with the county’s Route 1 incentive policy that was adopted in 2019, Smith said.
New Matoaca firehouse
Smith also noted that the county plans to replace the 66-year-old Matoaca Fire Station on Pickett Road with one on Hickory Road. The supervisors approved a contract for $8.1 million for Daniels and Co.
During public comment in the afternoon session, a Mr. Branch complained that the county attorney filed a motion for qualified immunity for a Chesterfield County Sheriff’s deputy, Amanda McGregor, following a crash in which Branch said she was at fault on July 17, 2021.
Branch said he was driving behind McGregor’s police vehicle when she turned right and made a u-turn and crashed into his Cadillac CTS in the city of Richmond.
“She was not charged as she should’ve been,” Branch said. “My car was totaled. I have been fighting to get resolution … the way it was handled was reprehensible.”
McGregor “was not responding to a call for service,” Branch said. “My insurance [State Farm] paid for everything. It’s not fair to my insurance company.”
Winslow suggested Branch work with an attorney. Branch said he has one.
He asked the county to put in place a review panel for instances when a police officer is involved in a crash. “There’s too many police-involved crashes,” he said, citing two others in the Richmond metro area.
Pocahontas State Park update
Nate Clark, park manager, gave an update on Pocahontas State Park during the afternoon session.
He noted that the park, which celebrated its 75th anniversary last year, had 957,872 visitors last year. That was second highest among the 41 state parks, he said.
A 4-mile mountain bike park was recently built mostly by volunteers. The JT Trail opened June 11. It can be accessed off Hawkins Forest and Courthouse roads, he said.
The park will continue hosting music venues, including English Channel on Aug. 6, a Bluegrass festival on Aug. 20, the Richmond Symphony on Sept. 10 and Zoso on Oct. 1.