Located in the southeast part of Chesterfield County, the proposed Matoaca Mega Site includes 1,675 acres currently zoned for residential use. The site was rezoned residential in 2007 as part of the Branner Station Project. When the economy suffered the large downturn, the residential project was no longer viable and has sat vacant since that time. The Comprehensive Land Use Plan now shows the parcel is intended to be used as Regional Mixed Use/Corporate Office/Research & Development/Industrial. The Chesterfield County Economic Development Authority currently holds an option on the parcels and is applying to conditionally rezone the entire property to I-3 as part of a strategy to attract a major employer to the region.
The major employers currently targeted by the Economic Development Authority require a site within a convenient drive of a well-educated and prepared workforce, higher education facilities, and an international airport, and that is served by highway and a major north American railroad. They also require a minimum of 1,500 acres to assure that their facility is properly buffered from existing or proposed residential communities. The subject site meets these and other site criteria typically used to evaluate the potential for landing a major employer of the quality targeted by the Economic Development Authority. The plan proposed by Chesterfield County and the Economic Development Authority has been vetted by the Virginia Economic Development Partnership and creates a very unique opportunity for the future.
The property, as currently zoned, would allow for thousands of single family homes to be constructed before significant upgrades to the County utility and road infrastructure were required. Preliminary calculations suggest the proposed use will generate less traffic than if the site were developed within the current zoning designation. The Chesterfield County Economic Development Authority intends to construct necessary sewer, water, and road infrastructure, consistent with County Thoroughfare Plan and Overall Utility Master Plan, commensurate with the schedule of the major employer. Not only will this infrastructure allow for the creation of thousands of jobs, the existing citizens of Chesterfield County will benefit from the upgraded infrastructure.
Virginia has not been seriously considered for any of the large-scale automotive, aerospace, or other advanced manufacturing companies projects in recent years because we lack a site with close proximity to a large labor force. The Matoaca Mega Site will be Virginia’s best opportunity to utilize the unique characteristics of this site to attract a major employer to central Virginia.
About the Chesterfield Economic Development Authority
The Chesterfield Economic Development Authority (CEDA) works in conjunction with the Department of Economic Development to help create new jobs, expand the tax base and diversify the economy of Chesterfield County. Created in 1968, the CEDA is chartered through a state law that allows cities and counties to create industrial or economic development authorities with wide-ranging powers, not available to local governments, in order to facilitate economic development opportunities within the community.
Among other things, the CEDA has the power to buy, sell and develop land for business parks or other economic development purposes. It can also build facilities for sale or lease to private companies; issue taxable and tax-exempt Industrial Revenue Bonds either to finance CEDA projects or to provide financing for facilities and machinery by a private company; and provide incentives to attract new companies to Chesterfield County or to induce existing companies to expand. Two of the CEDA’s most active economic development projects are oversight of development of Meadowville Technology Park and participation in the development of Stonebridge.
The CEDA is careful to spend public dollars wisely and recognizes, evaluates, and takes very seriously the implications of competing with the private sector to meet short and long-term economic development goals and objectives. When the CEDA takes on a developer’s role, it generally does so in order to stimulate opportunities that would, ordinarily, be slow to occur with private developers that may be unwilling or unable to commit financial resources and patiently wait for a return on investment. Additionally, private developers are often reluctant to provide the incentives that are needed to promote economic development in today’s intensely competitive environment.
Industrial Revenue Bonds issued by the CEDA must be repaid by the company benefiting from the bond, either directly or through application of lease payments to the bonds issued by the CEDA. Upon recommendation of the Economic Development staff, the CEDA can also provide financial incentives to new or expanding companies to enhance Chesterfield’s position in attracting qualified projects. Chesterfield’s use of incentives in economic development deals is very judicious, and only offered after a thorough cost-benefit analysis has been done to ensure that increased tax revenue and jobs created by the company will meet or exceed the value of the incentives within a prescribed timeframe. This aggressive yet careful approach to economic development incentives has allowed Chesterfield County to compete globally and expand the business tax base.
The CEDA is made up of a seven member Board that is appointed by the Chesterfield County Board of Supervisors. Members are appointed for four-years, with staggered terms that allow for ongoing continuity on the CEDA Board. Members are often appointed from among the County’s business leaders, with special consideration given to those with a range of expertise including real estate, finance and law.
The CEDA Board elects a Chairman, Vice-Chairman and other officers annually. Much of the work of the CEDA is accomplished through a committee structure, generally comprised of one or two CEDA members, staff, and consultants (when appropriate). Committees or sub-committees make recommendations to the CEDA Board, which sets policy and takes public action on those recommendations.
The Chesterfield County Board of Supervisors (BOS) has final control over most of the decisions of the CEDA, including those involving economic development incentives or sale/purchase of land. While most of the annual operating budget for the CEDA is funded by revenue generated from application fees and closings of Industrial Revenue Bonds that come before the Authority, the BOS may make special appropriations during the year to finance other CEDA activities.
Chesterfield Economic Development Authority Board Members
- Terri Cofer Beirne, Secretary, board member since June 2007. Eastern Counsel for the Wine Institute.
- Lloyd A. Lenhart, board member since December 2004. Community Relations Coordinator at Southside Electric Cooperative.
- John Ruckart, Vice-Chair, board member since August 1995. Owner of Property Consultants, Inc. a real estate firm.
- Harril Whitehurst, Treasurer, board member since July 2008. CFO of Village Bank.
- John Cogbill, board member since 2017. Retired Attorney, McGuire Woods.
- John W. Hughes, Assistant Secretary, board member since October 1997. Partner in Drake Hughes and Associates Insurance Company and Financial Consulting.
- Art Heinz, Chair, board member since 2011. President, Heinz Insurance and Financial Services.
- John O’Neill, Esquire, Bond Counsel. Managing Partner, Richmond Office, Hunton and Williams Attorneys specializing in Public Finance.