Chesterfield considers changing proffer policy — again

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Construction in Harpers Mill in September 2016. (Jonathan Spiers)

CHESTERFIELD COUNTY, Va. — The discussion about cash proffers in Chesterfield County continues.

Six months after cutting its proffer fees in half – and putting those payments toward road improvements specifically – an influx of requests from developers wanting to reduce their payments is testing staff resources and prompting a second look at the county’s revised policy.

Since the start of this year, the county planning commission and board of supervisors have faced considerably lengthier agendas filled each session with requests from developers to amend previously approved proffers – payments required by the county to offset impacts of residential development on public infrastructure.

Supervisors changed the county’s policy last September to restrict such payments to transportation infrastructure improvements, and to reduce the required amount from $18,966 to $9,400 per dwelling unit – the first such reduction the county had made in 25 years.

Since then, requests from developers have been making their way through the application process, appearing on the county agendas and in many cases requiring deferrals to future meetings – adding to the workloads of county staff and board members and contributing to a backlog of development requests, be them proffer amendments or new requests for zoning changes or conditional use permits.

“We’ve got over 100 cases pending,” said Kirk Turner, the county’s planning director. “Some of those are cash proffer cases, and then we’ve got other folks that are out there just trying to do business and have cases that aren’t residential-related at all, but they’re just caught up in this backlog, unfortunately.

“We’re doing our best to keep everybody on the schedule that they filed,” he said. “Obviously when you have this many cases in the system, it creates a strain.”

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