This week Chesterfield’s Board of Supervisors held a public hearing to get input on the new draft countywide comprehensive plan. There are a number of directions which Chesterfield County Board of Supervisors (BOS) could choose to handle the comp plan after hearing input at this week’s public hearing. They will decide how they will proceed at their Feb. 8 meeting.
The comp plan, as it is commonly known, has been on its way to its last step, which would be final consideration, after almost three years.
While the many community meetings held during the draft process have been lightly attended, the meetings held last week in Bermuda and Matoaca districts were standing room only.
A reported 90 residents attended the Matoaca District meeting while 60 attended the Bermuda meeting held at Colonial Heights Baptist Church. The Midlothian District held a community meeting as well, but the BOS decided not to hold meetings in the Dale or Clover Hill district. According to Steve Haasch, a principal planner for Chesterfield, it is possible that some Dale District residents attended the Bermuda District meeting.
“It was good to see a good mix,” Haash said. “I saw some people from Dale District and folks from [the Jefferson Davis Association.]”
The BOS agreed that there shouldn’t be a large group of planning staff at the community meetings. At the Bermuda meeting only Haasch and Planning Director Kirk Turner spoke, explaining the various functions of the current comp plan and the new draft plan.
Bermuda District Supervisor Dorothy Jaeckle opened the meeting and after an introduction said there were two issues she wanted to address before fielding questions from those in attendance.
“I know many people have voiced concern that the comp plan was influenced by Agenda 21,” Ms. Jaeckle said. She said that when a representative of a local group had said no one on the board knew about Agenda 21, she had remembered hearing about it in the 1990s.
“I started noticing that there were global, national, state policies that were influencing our community without getting any input,” Jaeckle said. “We have to be very diligent and make sure that the policies that we implement are policies that reflect this community, not some other organization.”
According to ICLEI (International Council for Local Environmental Initiatives,) “Sustainable development planning, in the Local Agenda 21 context, is requiring the development and testing of a variety of new planning methods and instruments. All of the methods are being developed to maximize public participation in the planning process.”
In Jaeckle’s second issue covered, before introducing Turner to explain the plan, she said, that in addition to being mandated by the state, “we do need to plan for the future.”
During the explanation of the plan, Turner told the group that there were basically five directions that the BOS could take on Feb. 8. in relation to the new draft comp plan.
At the end of the Mataoca community meeting held at Matoaca High School, newly elected supervisor Steve Elswick asked for a show of hands. He asked if the plan should go back to the planning commission.
“A clear majority indicated they would like to send it back to the planning commission,” said Turner.