Chesterfield residents voice concerns over proposed retirement community

Posted at 12:10 AM, Oct 30, 2018
and last updated 2018-10-30 09:37:31-04

CHESTERFIELD COUNTY, Va. -- Tempers flared inside Woolridge Elementary School on Monday night as more than 100 residents listened to plans for a proposed retirement community and assisted living center on the Swift Creek Reservoir.

"You have not heard your constituents," former county supervisor Marleen Durfee, who was in attendance, shouted.

The plan, being proposed by the Woolridge Investment Group, would transform several private acres currently for sale, into a 191-lot retirement community.

Another building would accommodate roughly 100 residents in a memory care center.

While developers claim the community will have minimal impact on the Woodlake community, several residents voiced concerns over traffic congestion and school safety.

"I'm really worried and I hope the county is worried about the dangers we are putting people into," a resident whose grandchildren attend Woolridge Elementary said.

Andy Scherzer, a planner with Balzer and Associates, told residents the proposal has been adjusted several times to satisfy the safety and environmental concerns of the community.

Scherzer said 31 proposed lots have been eliminated from the master plan. He also said the pavilion and recreation area were relocated off the reservoir.

Architects said the proposed changes would eliminate traffic density by 35 percent.

Matoaca District Planning Commissioner Craig Stariha said several road improvement projects along Woolridge Road, Otterdale Road, and Hull Street Road would help ease congestion in the community.

"The traffic lights are intended to help ease the flow of traffic but also for the safety of pedestrians going back and forth across the road," Stariha said.

Despite the proposed changes, some residents said the improvements don't involve neighborhood roads most impacted by traffic congestion.

They said roads like Timber Bluff Parkway and Lake Bluff Parkway were not addressed in improvement plans and would be most impacted by the proposed retirement community.

The plan is back before the planning commission, after being rejected by the Chesterfield County Board of Supervisors.