CHESTERFIELD COUNTY, Va. (WRIC) — Last year plans were announced to turn 1,700 acres in Chester into a huge industrial complex called a megasite. The idea would be to create a place ideal for a large company to build a manufacturing or assembly plant.
At the time, residents who would be living around the site say it was the first time they had heard of such plans. For months they’ve been fighting the idea of a megasite.
“It’s purely speculation in the hopes that somebody will land here,” said Mike Uzel with Bermuda Advocates for Responsible Development.
Uzel who lives in the area has been leading the charge saying the people living in the area don’t want it. For the past six months, they’ve been trying to educate residents on the potential plans.
“That’s our goal is to inform people, you know let them make their own decision,” said Uzel.
Meanwhile, trying to alleviate concerns, the Chesterfield Economic Development office has been studying the potential for a megasite for months.
“We just think it’s going to provide a lot of job opportunities and that’s one of the things that makes this site so attractive,” said John Cogbill who sits on the board of the Chesterfield Economic Development office.
Cogbill says they hired experts to study the site’s location and a potential workforce. He says those experts studied other megasites and predicted Chesterfield could create thousands of jobs, creating millions in revenue annually.
He says there will be at least 300 feet of buffer between the site and surrounding neighborhoods.
“It is an ideal site, with the ideal characteristics that you would want for a project of this nature,” said Cogbill.
“This idea of it being a quiet, clean friendly industry, again they’re pulling something out of the air,” said Uzel.
Next month Cogbill says they will present the findings from their studies to the public and allow them to weigh in.
“We believe we’ve put together a package that answers all those questions,” said Cogbill.
The county’s planning commission will have the final say when they vote on the application to rezone the area from residential to industrial in May.
Meanwhile, Chesterfield Economic Development created a website http://matoacarezoning.com/ that will also have the dates and places where they will present their findings.