CHESTERFIELD, Va. (WRIC) — Chesterfield County has compromised with community groups over a new development that aims to revitalize the Route 1 corridor, strengthening a requirement for commercial uses on the site of the old Bellwood Flea Market.

The proposal was endorsed unanimously by the board of supervisors, but not before they modified the planned development to address concerns by a community group who feared it put too much emphasis on residential components.

“Our special area plan called for this property to serve as our town center, the center-point catalyst and inspiration for revitalization along Route 1,” said Kim Marble, executive director of Route One Association for Revitalization.

Comparison of the current development and proposal by the developer. (Left, Google Maps, Right, courtesy of Chesterfield County)

The group objected to the planned development because it featured no mixed-use buildings and the only commercial components promised were a small office building and gas station, as well as two plots reserved for commercial uses for three years — after which they’d be free to turn into further residences.

“I question why it is advisable to sacrifice the recommendations of the adopted county-wide plan, the special area plan, the adopted ordinances [and] the potential of the Willis Road interchange by approving 600-plus residential units and a gas station,” said Jim Bowling.

This image shows an ideal concept for the area as envisioned int he county comprehensive plan. It features much denser commercial and residential uses, including mixed-use on the corner of Willis Road and Route 1. (Courtesy of Chesterfield County)

Ultimately, Jim Ingle, supervisor for the Bermuda District, said it was a matter of building up a base for future efforts.

“We do not have the density and the income needed to transform this part of the county,” he said.

But he also pushed to modify restrictions on the leftover parcels, eliminating the three-year expiration date for the commercial restriction and making clear that he wouldn’t accept anything else.

“That area that we have has to develop with commercial,” he said. “There can be no misunderstanding by the applicant.”

In the end, both the developer and the board agreed to modify the proposal to specify that the two leftover plots — which directly border Route 1 — “shall not be used for a residential use unless the residential use is vertically integrated with commercial uses at least at the ground level.”