Chesterfield neighbors organize meeting to discuss controversial ‘mega site’

CHESTERFIELD COUNTY, Va. (WRIC) — Some Chesterfield County residents upset over plans for an industrial complex are trying to rally neighbors to their fight against the project.

“I can’t tell you as governor how excited I am now to have this asset here that we can take around the globe to bring businesses here,” Governor Terry McAuliffe said back in August.

The governor announced plans then for 1,700 acres in Matoaca to be developed into a huge industrial complex called a mega site. The site is aimed at attracting $1 billion in investment and thousands of new jobs, but the announcement came as a surprise to the residents who would be living around the proposed site.

“This was kind of dropped on us without any warning, without any input from the citizens,” said Mike Uzel with the Bermuda Advocates for Responsible Development.

Since then, residents like Uzel have been fighting the plan, saying the people living here don’t want it.

“There’s no confirmed user for that property,” Uzel said. “Basically, the county is speculating that this will be a great site for a 5,000 employee high tech company.”

Bradley Wall has lived in his home in the area for more than 20 years. In order for the mega site to work, a road would have to be built from I-95 through Harrowgate Elementary School and his property.

“The first people you should have talked to are the people who are going to be affected,” Wall said. “Makes me feel that the county is just not caring or they know more than the citizens know.”

The county has held several public meetings so far, but Uzel and Wall are holding their own meeting this Saturday at 3 p.m. at Wall’s home across the street from Harrowgate Elementary to discuss options with neighbors.

They say they feel like the site is already a done deal even though it has several hurdles to clear.

“Most people who live in the Chester area live here because it’s not Midlothian Turnpike,” Wall said.

“We are very concerned that the county is trying to slip this in without telling the public,” Uzel added.

8News also spoke to Chesterfield’s economic development office. They say the reason this site makes the most sense to have a mega site compared to the whole state is that not only is the land available, but the county also has a workforce that can easily get to it.

The county said they are not trying to hide anything and want the public to be involved. Meanwhile, the process still has a long way to go.

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