Major face lift on its way to Bon Air; opponents say ‘not so fast’

BON AIR, Va. (WRIC) — For nearly thirty years, major plans to enhance Bon Air Village have been underway. The project picked up steam on July 23 as project leaders presented their ideas to the Chesterfield planning commission.

Some residents shared their concerns in front of the commission. At the top of their list were anxieties about commercial rezoning, an increase in traffic, and the loss of what makes the village so special to them.

“It’s really a beautiful place where the river meets these beautiful Victorian homes,” said Bon Air native Sara Berger, who recently bought her first home with her husband.

This village is filled with rich history, natural beauty, and a small-town spirit. Berger and other longtime residents want to see it stay that way. “It would be a huge change in the village culture of Bon Air to have such a large commercial area suddenly land in the neighborhood,” Berger said.

Two redeveloped shopping areas could be coming to the center of the village. On Thursday evening project leaders outlined a plan that also calls for new bike paths, sidewalks and a new park.

“I’d love to be able to take my granddaughter for a walk in Bon Air, maybe even ride a bike with my wife,” said Jim McCool.

Some critics of the long-term project support the proposed pedestrian and cyclist-friendly enhancements, but want the development to end there.

“It’s really easy to commercially develop things that look great fro the outside,” Berger said, “but places like Bon Air develop over time with slow and thoughtful consideration to every intention. It’s not something you can just build like that overnight.”

“Take a look at all of the buildings that are empty,” McCool gestured. “We don’t need more empty buildings.”

With input coming from all directions, there will have to be tweaks before the project can move forward. Both the planning commission and the board of supervisors must review and vote on the proposal before action can be taken.

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