Plans revealed for reimagined Midlothian Turnpike with a ‘main street feeling’

Chesterfield County
CONCEPTUAL RENDERING OF NEW BUILDINGS LINING MIDLOTHIAN TURNPIKE

A conceptual rendering presented at the Chesterfield County Planning Commission’s Nov. 17 meeting shows how new buildings could be constructed closer to the road and parking could be moved primarily to the rear of buildings to make the area more pedestrian-friendly. (Photo: Chesterfield County/Midlothian Community Special Area Plan)

CHESTERFIELD COUNTY, Va. (WRIC) — New plans revealed at Tuesday’s Chesterfield County Planning Commission meeting show what a reimagined Midlothian Turnpike could look like at the core of the village.

The Chesterfield County Board of Supervisors adopted the Midlothian Community Special Area Plan on Dec. 11, 2019.

In order to guide future growth of the community, a committee of residents put forth recommendations Tuesday for updated design standards. The previous plan for Midlothian was adopted in 1989.

(Photo: Chesterfield County/Midlothian Community Special Area Plan)

According to plans presented to the public Tuesday afternoon, the Village Core, centered along an updated Midlothian Turnpike, will focus on public facilities and a variety of commercial and retail establishments that are pedestrian-friendly. The current recommended design standards propose locating buildings closer to the roads and placing parking lots in the rear of buildings to create a “Main Street feeling.” The plan also details the construction of hardscaped areas to allow for outdoor dining, community events, and temporary vendors.

Based on the current plan, buildings will be between two and three stories high, and must be designed to maintain cohesive character and compatibility with Midlothian’s existing structures. Where building lengths extend beyond 200 ft., the plan proposes creating pedestrian passageways and sidewalk connectivity to the rear parking.

The Midlothian Community Special Area Plan discourages automobile-oriented construction. In other words, gas pumps and drive-thrus will be located behind buildings on Midlothian, Charter Colony, and Coalfield. Where that’s not feasible, the plan proposes using buildings, decorative walls, fencing, or hedges to block the view.

During its Tuesday meeting, the Chesterfield County Planning Commission discussed what Midlothian Turnpike could look like if it were reworked with pedestrian amenities in mind. (Photo: Chesterfield County/Midlothian Community Special Area Plan)

Recommendations put forth by community members detail onsite vehicular circulation. Where adjacent parking lots may be blocked off from each other now by a hedgerow or paving, the plan proposes shared cross access for parking lots, so community members can drive from one lot to the other without having to go out onto the main road.

Planning Commission Vice-Chair Gib Sloan of the Bermuda District says he would like to see a successful example of rear-loaded facilities in the absence of on-street parking as the plans for this Special Design District move forward.

Chesterfield County officials say the next step will be to have stay look at drafting and addressing the multi-family and mixed-use standards for the Midlothian area. That draft will then be brought through committee before being presented to the Planning Commission in another work session.

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