Chesterfield considering fee holiday for businesses

By Jola Szubielski - bio | email
Posted by Terry Alexander - email

CHESTERFIELD, VA (WWBT) - Chesterfield is slashing prices when it comes to commercial developers. County leaders hope it will encourage business owners to expand and build at a time when the County needs it most.

In an effort to encourage businesses to set up shop here in Chesterfield, County officials have pitched this 'fee holiday' and one business owner says it's certainly sending the right message.

Chesterfield has some of the highest fees in our area when it comes to new development and recently approved another increase.  Bob Schrum owns several Flagstop Carwash locations in the area, and says those fees often times discourage business owners like him.

"That put us three times higher for rezoning and site plan fees than Henrico County. To me that's an unfair advantage," said Bob Schrum.

The recession has also added to the slow down, hurting the business owner and the County's bottom line.

"They understand our fees are presenting a hardship for one time developers, the business man, that's not a professional developer, that needs zoning to expand their business or initiate a business," said Chesterfield Planning Director Kirk Turner.

But now County leaders have a new incentive.  They're hoping to offer a fee holiday for one year that will give business owners up to 8 thousand dollars for planning purposes.

"The majority of the projects it will take care of almost all the fees, so it's really a benefit for small businesses especially and that's what pays 80 percent of the bills in Chesterfield County," said Schrum.

"By reducing fees that makes it more attractive to him and he'll make the applications instead of being discouraged because of the cost," said Turner.

And the County won't be losing any revenue, instead using existing funds set aside from business taxes collected over the years.

"It may just be the catalyst that it takes to say you know I'm going to go and do that now instead of waiting a year or two. We're hoping it will be a real boost," said Schrum.

This fee holiday will be up for public comment next Tuesday, the 21 and then it will be before the supervisors for a vote in August.

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