Church expansion plans not sitting well with neighbors

CHESTERFIELD, VA (WWBT) -  A Chesterfield church has big expansion plans, but some neighbors don't share the enthusiasm for the proposed rezoning project. Southside Nazarine Church sits between Courthouse Road and 288. Neighbors said traffic will only get worse should plans move forward. The church wants to make use of its additional 250 acres. Plans call for medical offices, athletic fields and senior housing.

Neighbors said their home values will take a hit. Denise Davis' property on Courthouse Road butts up to Southside Nazarine Church. A church that's looking to change its landscape.  It said for the better. Davis doesn't want to move. But cringes at the thought of trying to sell in light of the plans.

"I think we're going to have some problems with that," said Davis.
Pastor Jerome Hancock's vision for the vast green space near his church is to bring more people together.

"I can see beautiful fields and kids playing and wonderful things happening with families," said Pastor Hancock.

The rezoning proposal before the Chesterfield Planning Commission calls for the expansion of the church's existing school, more than a dozen athletic fields, senior housing, a day care and medical offices.

Pastor Hancock said most of the development would be closer to 288, away from the more than three dozen neighboring homes.

"We are a church we're not big business coming in here wanting to do this or that we're two to four thousand citizens of the county saying we think this will help the community," said Pastor Hancock. Neighbors said the stretch of Courthouse Road near the church is already busy. What they don't want is to see a four lane highway.

Nearly six thousand cars a day travel Courthouse Road, right by Davis' house. She's scared to turn in to her own driveway.

"In the last six months to a year it's gotten really bad I just got this close to being rear ended two days ago," said Davis.
Pastor Hancock said they're not intending to drastically change how people live.

"We have a lot of activity now and I don't know that it's going to be exponentially different," said Pastor Hancock.

A public hearing planned for tomorrow night is expected to be deferred until January.

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