CHESTERFIELD COUNTY, Va. -- The Chesterfield County Planning Commission gave the green light Tuesday night on the Upper Magnolia Green project, but not everyone is happy about the proposed development.
At Tuesday night’s meeting, dozens of community members came out to give their input on the project, with the majority of residents speaking out against the proposed development.
The project is divided into two parts. The first is the Upper Magnolia Green East rezoning request, which includes hundreds of new homes, schools and a library. The commission passed that request unanimously, 5-0.
But the contention came when discussing the Upper Magnolia Green West rezoning request. That proposal includes 1,700 acres of land to be developed for a technology park, manufacturing, a new high school and a fire station.
“What family with the choice would want to live on a property adjoining it and industrial site," explained one Chesterfield resident. "We need to call it what it is. If this were in your backyard, I believe you would have the same concerns.”
The two biggest concerns voiced by neighbors were related to increased traffic in the area and environmental concerns.
"You're gonna have construction trucks running up and down Westerly Parkway, where people have residents, kids are walking down the road," said Christopher Williams. "And then you're gonna dump a lot of that from both these projects east and west on Otterdale and increase that traffic, and I've not seen any major plans to redo Otterdale."
Another resident cited a Yale University study that looked at pharmaceutical manufacturing in metro areas of the country. He said the study found areas that had pharmaceutical manufacturing facilities had an unusually elevated concentration of those drugs made in that community in the local water supply.
“It only takes one accident, one negligent violation, one fire, one chemical leak, and the reservoir can be destroyed and the people will flee this toxic place," said that resident. "Why are you moving so quickly on such a big case without factually notifying residents or doing due diligence?"
Officials said the Upper Magnolia Green project will bring jobs to the area and important residential development.
Now that the Chesterfield Planning Commission has approved both rezoning requests, they head to the Board of Supervisors for final approval.