Child grazed by bullet

Neighbors kill Matoaca Mega Site plan — for now

CHESTERFIELD COUNTY, Va. -- Neighbors who live near the proposed Matoaca Mega Site in Chester have won the most recent battle to keep the 1,750-acre site undeveloped. The Chesterfield County Economic Development Authority (EDA) announced Thursday the application for the mega site rezoning will be withdrawn.

The stated reason?

More community consensus was needed and changes had to be made to the zoning ordinance.

"The 1,750-acre site has characteristics that make it unique in the region, and perhaps the East Coast, in terms of elements important for economic development," EDA Chairman Art Heinz said. "The EDA believes the land can be an important part of Chesterfield County’s long-term plan for generating quality jobs and economic opportunities for our citizens. However, it is also clear that the proposed rezoning application did not result in a sufficient consensus in the community regarding the proposed use."

Some neighbors who live near the site fought to prevent the county from changing the zoning from residential to industrial.

"I’m very concerned about home values and quality of life," Stoney Glen community community member Mike Uzel said in October 2017. "We don’t know who will be at the site. We don’t know answers to questions about the road."

"The past eight months have demonstrated that a number of complicated and challenging issues are confronting this part of the county," a statement from the Chesterfield EDA read. "The area is growing, but infrastructure is not keeping up with the pace of growth."

In 2007, neighbors fought back when developers attempted to build Branner Station -- a 5,000 housing unit development -- on the same site. That opposition pushed county planners to change the site's Comprehensive Plan in 2012 from mixed-use residential to an “economic development opportunity site.”

"The EDA agrees with the Planning Commission changes and is seeking to position the property to compete for needed jobs for County residents," the statement continued. "The mega site rezoning process was additionally constrained by the current zoning categories, which have not been updated to reflect current advanced manufacturing practices. Because the property is so unique and important to this part of the county, the EDA is recommending that the Board of Supervisors exercise the option and purchase the 1,750-acre site."

That, the EDA said, would allow more time for county leaders and the community to discuss "potential uses for the property."

Last year, Chesterfield Economic Development Director Garrett Hart said he expected the megasite would create up to 10,000 jobs.

“What we are targeting is a major assembly facility…possibly automotive, aerospace, smart glass. We’re looking for a modern world class facility," Hart said at the time.

This is a developing story. Neighbors can send news tips and photos here.