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Chesterfield school leaders concerned about plans for new homes

Posted at 11:24 PM, Jul 25, 2019
and last updated 2019-07-26 16:15:22-04

CHESTERFIELD COUNTY, Va. -- Parents and residents gathered inside the Midlothian High School auditorium Thursday night in response to a proposed housing development that would build 165 new single-family townhomes.

20.7 acres of land along Coalfield Road are currently being looked at by developers to be rezoned and built on.

"That's why we had this sort of meeting. We wanted to make sure those concerns were articulated in front of the community," said Chesterfield School Board Member, Dr. Javaid Siddiqi.

Dr. Siddiqi said if approved, the project could bring more students to Old Hundred Elementary, Watkins Elementary, Weaver Elementary, Midlothian Middle and Midlothian High. He also said that parents would see trailers put back at Watkins Elementary School.

Dr. Siddiqi held the meeting Thursday night, stating that the school board was left out of previous meetings with developers. Concerns about bringing in more families to the area, and the impact it could have on school overcrowding, were the main issue Thursday night.

"What can we do to then to be proactive to either change things, reduce the size or nix them if necessary," asked one resident.

Dr. Siddiqi also shared his stance on the issue, claiming that the school system isn't ready for more kids. In February, the county approved a redistricting plan for schools in the area, moving 1142 elementary students to Old Hundred Elementary attendance zone and 406 students changed schools in other attendance zones.

"What I'm telling you from a schools lens, is we don't have the schools, the seats ready to feel this development," said Dr. Siddiqi.

Others believe the county supervisors and school board need to find more flexible system of planning.

"So that Mr. Siddiqi doesn't have to stand up here and say, I got no chairs to put in a school for these kids that are going to come," said a parent. "Because what that says to me that is what`s foundational problematic is the process."

A Chesterfield County community meeting will be held at 6:30 p.m. on Monday, July 29 at Winfree Baptist Church. That meeting will discuss the proposal for 20.7 acres of land on Coalfield Road to be rezoned in order to build a maximum of 165 dwelling units that will be a mix of single-family and townhomes.

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