Chesterfield residents fret over proposed water park, hotel

Posted at 9:30 PM, Jun 03, 2013
and last updated 2013-06-03 21:38:53-04

CHESTERFIELD COUNTY, Va. (WTVR) -- A watersports park, along with a hotel and restaurants, could be coming soon to a Chesterfield neighborhood.

Doug Hackman and his partners have a grand vision for the 23-plus acres along Newbys Bridge Road. He describes the project as a tropical adventure with elaborate landscaping.

Hackman is seeking a special conditional use permit to build the Las Olas watersports and event park in an area that is not zoned for a theme park.

The project, which was modeled after a property in Costa Rica, would include a seven-and-a-half acre manmade lake with a wake cable system, a 75,000 square-foot surf pool, a 300-seat pavilion, health club, shops and small restaurants and eventually a 50-plus room hotel.

However, some who live nearby the proposed site are not welcoming the idea. In fact, county planners recommend turning down the proposal because they said it does not fit with the area's comprehensive plan.

"They recognize its use would be a benefit to the county, but they have concerns about location and the fact that it's proposed without infrastructure being in place, like roads and public utilities," said Chesterfield County Planning and Special Projects Manager Robert Clay.

Neighbors said they are most worried about potential noise and the impact on traffic, but are also worried about their wells.

"The use is being proposed on private well and septic,” said Clay. “Neighbors worried about impact on their wells."

However, Hackman said that the project's wells would be tapping 250 feet deep compared to the neighbors' more shallow wells. In addition, Hackman said the group plans to pay for necessary road improvements.

"We don't want to build an industrial park,” Hackman said. “[We’re] looking to do something pleasant for all and try to be good neighbors in the process."