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Courthouse Landing Approved, Fees, Calendar Changes: Chesterfield Board of Supervisors Meeting Highlights

County entrance
Chesterfield County's Board of Supervisors met in person for Wednesday's meeting. (Photo: Ian Stewart/VPM News)

Courthouse Landing Approved

After months of back and forth between developers, the planning commission and the board of supervisors, developers now have the green light from the Chesterfield Board of Supervisors to build a mixed use project dubbed Courthouse Landing. 

In a 4-1 vote, with board member Jim Ingle being the lone holdout, the board approved the $290 million project which seeks to build a large-scale hotel, retail office space and multi-family housing, which includes both townhouses and apartments on more than 100 acres off of Iron Bridge Road -- near Route 288.

Some residents have been concerned the project would bring more traffic and impact nearby schools. The group Chesterfield Citizens United had several members speak in person at Wednesday’s meeting.

They said having a reported storage unit facility and a gas station and market doesn’t reflect the “gateway to Chesterfield.”

Points of contention with the project circled around the nearby Chesterfield airport. Critics and board member Jim Holland, who sent the application back to the planning commission earlier this year, said the heights of buildings, a water retention pond and the sound from planes would all need to be taken into consideration before approving the plan.

During the public comment period, over a dozen people spoke out on the project, with a mixture of those in favor and against. The citizens were required to wait outside to be called into the public meeting room as a way to stop the spread of the coronavirus. County staff said that they received 170 comments on the project before Wednesday’s meeting, with most being in favor.

The developers, a joint venture between Florida-based Dunphy Properties and Atlanta-based Shuler Properties, went back to the drawing board several times to make the requested adjustments, such as lowering the heights of the buildings, incorporating sound-proofing for the multi-family units and moving water retention ponds underground so as not to attract waterfowl. 

The developers spent about $14 million in upfront infrastructure improvements, including more than $10 million in traffic enhancements and about $4 million in underground stormwater facilities and utilities. Before construction even starts, those improvements would be required, which developer Jim Dunphy agreed to.

Chesterfield County owns part of the land and sold it to the developer--which is another sticking issue with the CCU, who have repeatedly asked the county for records and transparency with how the sale of the land evolved and was done.

Infrastructure improvements proffered by the developers have raised the estimated project cost to $290 million, up from their initial estimate of $265 million, according to Richmond BizSense.

Building will start on the project sometime next year. 

County Calendar Changes

Chesterfield County’s recognized holiday of Lee-Jackson Day has been removed from the county’s calendar.

The Board of Supervisors approved the changes Wednesday. 

Lee-Jackson Day, which commemorates Confederate generals Robert E. Lee and Stonewall Jackson, first landed on the county’s calendar in the year 2000. Replacing it will be the federally recognized President’s Day. 

The Commonwealth of Virginia recently exchanged Lee-Jackson Day for Election Day as one of its 13 recognized state holidays. 

Chesterfield also expanded its holiday calendar to include nationally recognized cultural and religious observances such as the Buddhist Lunar New Year and the Islamic holiday of Ramadan, among others. The listing does not make these paid holidays for county workers.

The new calendar goes into effect in 2021. 


Courthouse Fees

The Board also  approved doubling courthouse security fees at Wednesday’s meeting.

The fee is currently $10, and county officials say it brings in around $400,000 annually.

That money goes toward costs incurred by sheriff departments who handle security duties at both district or circuit courts. In Chesterfield County, there’s also an additional $25 processing fee.

The charge is paid by convicted defendants in criminal or traffic cases. 

The increase goes into effect July 1.