Residents furious over proposed 'Matoaca Megasite'

Residents furious over proposed 'Matoaca Megasite'
The plans for the site have been withdrawn.

CHESTERFIELD, VA (WWBT) - Chesterfield residents are furious with the county. At a public meeting Tuesday night - the third in the last two days - people living near the proposed Matoaca Megasite want to know what this "megasite" will be, but the county claims it doesn't know yet.

Chesterfield picked a huge piece of land, applied to rezone it for heavy industrial use, drew up plans for roads, maybe a new rail line ... it knows how many jobs could come and how much those jobs could pay. The county knows all of that, but it claims it has no clue what business might use this proposed site.

"We don't want this! If it's so important for Chesterfield County, find a new place for it! We don't want it, we're tired of being the step-child," yelled one resident during the public meeting.

People who live in south Chesterfield say the county keeps dumping projects here they don't want and giving all the best projects to the Midlothian area. The Matoaca Megasite is billed as a heavy-industry site that could bring 5,000 jobs, big tax dollars and ease the property tax burden.

Neighbors are angry about the heavy industrial site dropped right next to residential. With that - new roads to get whatever this heavy industry is in and out of the site.

"Our goal is to keep the traffic internal and get it out to I-95 and not put traffic on the local roads here," said an official.

"But your proposed roads show an interpass. Your traffic map over here shows an intersection at Branders Bridge Road," replied resident Philip Venema.

Venema is concerned about a proposed freeway that would connect the megasite to Interstate 95. It could run right through his neighborhood.

"They're spending my money ... and guessing! They have no idea what the impact will be," said Venema.

Dorothy Jaeckle, county Board of Supervisor for this district, was asked how many signatures she would need to vote against this project. She told her constituents that that's not how it works.

There is a question about a conflict of interest here too. The county's Economic Development Authority is leading this project. The EDA member at Tuesday's meeting was John Cogbill - a former lawyer who, back in the 1990s, represented the Shoosmith family in a legal matter.

The EDA that Cogbill serves on would buy land from a couple of landowners for the megasite - the Shoosmith family owns a lot of that land.

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