Saturday, August 4, 2007

Chesterfield BOS Strikes Again

It amazes me sometimes how the current Board just keeps moving along in total disregard to the community concensus. We are to believe that our local government knows best in these matters, however what we have is a governing body at odds with its own appointed Planning Commission and the result is complete arrogance.

In an effort to hold back the tide of raising taxes on either citizens or business, one of which is inevitable in the next five years if the County is to be able to offer even the average rate of services throughout the county, the Board continues to approve both new zonings and rezonings applying its pro-growth oriented governance even though we are seeing housing starts slow and homes sales slow down which may result in the largest inventory in the last ten years.

So why the dash to approve these new developments? Elections?

Could it be that the overall sentiment as of late is one of change thus this Fall may represent the first true "change election" Chesterfield has witnessed in quite some time. The Republicans have held a majority throughout this latest economic uptrend and bull market for residential and commercial developers throughout the country. It begs the question as to whether these developers are pushing these developments to either get them done before the election or to lock in requirements and proffers (or in some cases lack there of) now in hopes of developing the areas slowly during the downtrend of the housing markets and then bring them faster along when the market turns around. Either way it does not seem to be in the best interests of the County.

The latest is a "modification" to the Watkins Centre commercial/residential development along the Route 60 corridor at Route 288. I recall a town hall meeting where both Supervisor Don Sowder (R) and State Senator John Watkins (R) addressed the needs for this center and the benefits for the County to have such a "gateway" development. Less than two months after groundbreaking ceremony, the master plan has been changed by the Board.

Evidently, the current BOS did not feel the need to readdress changes with the public nor hold another town hall meeting before review the proposals by Rebkee Partners. Chairman of the Board of Supervisors Kelly Miller was quoted as saying that the measure was "departing from the original zoning". Was it not the original zoning that the community was briefed on at the town hall meeting?

The area in question was orignally zoned industrial. However, the BOS unanimously approved the change to allow retail to be developed on the sites 16 acres adjacent to Midolthian Turnpike. Rebkee will now have these 16 acres in addition to its original 35 acres of approved retail/offcie space at the area designated as Shoppes at Westchester.

No one spoke in opposition, largely due to the fact that people have expressed that they were uninformed of any potential changes to the original plan. The Board Strikes Again.

Its time we in the community Strike Back. Please see the post concerning the debates and town hall meetings scheduled in the coming months for the candidates for the Board to meet with citizens.

The Board can quickly get measures like this past and yet is stalled with solving the Upper Swift Creek Plan, has little plans to solve excessive use of school trailers, is approving developments without formally addressing roads and infrastructure other than to say that the developments are providing land set aside for schools, seeks to implement line item oversight of the school board budget and continues to stay behind the curve of health and saftey protocals regarding food safety certification requirements for business providing food to the public.

I am not sure which amazes me more; that the Board continues to act in this manner or that our community continues to allow them to.


James D. said...

If you ever have seen the series called "Flip this House" on cable the relationship between our local politicians and developers is just a conflict of interest maybe we should "Flip this Board". Support Independent candidates this Fall.

Anonymous said...

How many more deals will we see get cut before the election cycle by this board? I think this just might be a very historic election cycle for the county. I am supporting the change ticket for my district.

Anonymous said...

Hastings could take Matoaca and I think Sowder will be defeated by Planning Chairman Dan Gecker. Only concern is Gecker has not updated website for campaign with up to date info instead relying on his message from 2006 election runoff against Sowder which he performed extremely well in a huge Republican district but in the end lost. Ree Hart is gaining and Dorothy Jaeckle may be in trouble in Bermuda. The Board could indeed flip to a Democrat/Independent majority.

Anonymous said...

On this date 12/9/2006,The Rebkee Co. gave $1,650.00 to th Chesterfield County Republican Committee. Nothing like a little money to grease the skids

Will C. said...

I think Hastings (D)will win Matoaca this time around, but Sowder (R) will hold on to Midlothian. Bermuda is a toss up at this point. The Independent candidates will have some influence on the outcome, but do not think any will win.