CHESTERFIELD COUNTY, Va. (WRIC) — The company behind a controversial housing development in Chesterfield County has withdrawn from the project — but residents and county officials say that might not be the end of the story.
County officials confirmed to 8News that Main Street Homes, the development company behind the 432 home “Marlbank Farm” proposal in southern Chesterfield, has withdrawn their support from a rezoning case for the parcel.
According to John Costello, a land acquisition manager for Main Street Homes, community feedback contributed to their decision to withdraw from the project.
“We had a couple of community meetings,” he said, but after speaking with nearby homeowners they realized, “Some of the density we were looking at doing they weren’t comfortable with.”
Beth Wells lives nearby, and spoke out against the project at community meetings.
“The people around here aren’t against development,” she said. “It’s the concentration.”
County Schools, County Sewage
Her daughter attends Matoaca Middle School, right across the street from the development site. Wells said the school is already short on teachers and other essential staff, and worried that the new development would only exacerbate the issue.
An analysis completed by Chesterfield County found that the development, when fully occupied, would generate between 173 and 225 students — a considerable influx for an area that’s currently made up primarily of agricultural land.
Costello said sewage access was another reason they abandoned the project, “Bringing the sewer where it currently was was almost two miles away.”
The zoning application indicates that the developers planned to connect the houses onto county water and sewage lines — but the parcel is over three times further away from existing lines than is permitted under county planning guidelines.
The Chesterfield Planning Department didn’t reject the proposal outright; instead, they imposed a cash proffer condition that would have required the developers to pay for the wastewater extension. That would have meant payments of up to $15,600 per home – $6,739,200 for the entire 432-home development.
Waiting for What Comes Next
But while the zoning case is now in limbo, Wells and other residents who oppose the project aren’t breathing a sigh of relief just yet. The zoning application is still technically pending, and they’re worried it could be picked up again in the near future.
Costello confirmed that Main Street Homes had formally withdrawn from the project and had no plans to get involved again.
But according to county officials, the parcel owners could find another development company and simply pick up where Main Street Homes left off, though they would face the same obstacles to getting their application approved.