CHESTERFIELD, Va. (WRIC) — The Chesterfield Board of Supervisors delayed their vote on a proposed tax break for a hotel and surf park complex at a meeting on Wednesday, with one board member saying he had not yet had a chance to evaluate the numbers behind the proposal.
Representatives of the county administration spoke strongly in favor of the tax grant, saying it would boost the county’s commercial tax base in the long run.
Matt Harris, a Deputy County Administrator, said previous reports on the cost of the package – which were based on the estimated total value of the project provided by the county – were inaccurate.
“Those numbers are overblown – that entire incentive package we would estimate is in the $20 million range,” he said.
Harris provided additional information about the proposal, saying that it would not apply to the exclusively residential portions of the development, “We do not, as a general rule, subsidize general residential developments.”
Instead, the tax break will apply to the portions of the project featuring commercial uses. Office, retail and entertainment zones will have an 80% discount applied to the marginal increase in property value for the first ten years, falling to 60% for the next ten years. Mixed-use properties will get a flat 40% discount for 20 years.
The developer has already begun clearing land in preparation for construction.
“We have already permitted the first three buildings,” Brett Burkhart, representing Lake Adventures LLC, said.
Burkhart stopped short of claiming the project could only be completed if the tax break were granted, instead saying it would “kinda help accelerate the next phase.”
Harris said that since the grant was performance-based, the company must begin construction within 36 months “or basically the incentive agreement dries up.”
Board Chair Chris Winslow, who has accepted thousands in campaign donations from the developers since 2017, made the motion to defer the vote after Supervisor Jim Holland said he “couldn’t say yes at this point,” since he hadn’t had a chance to look fully at the financial impact of the proposed tax break.
A slideshow presented by Harris stated that “performance grants are used very sparingly,” but pointed to cases such as the deal struck with Lego to bring a manufacturing plant to Chesterfield as an example of their efficacy.
The board will now consider the proposal at their August meeting, which will be open to public comment.