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This Week's Topic: Cosby Village

Updated: Aug 22, 2023

Last week, I kicked off the topic of how development is described in the Chesterfield Comprehensive Plan and what developers and the leaders of Chesterfield County have delivered in response. As a refresher, below is a direct quote from Chapter 6 of the Comp Plan:

“COMMUNITY IDENTITY: Designs should provide options to recognize and support neighborhood and community identity that promotes a sense of place and encourages residents and businesses to care for, belong to and promote their community. Features that support unique and diverse identities could include art, signage, community space and streetscaping. Key areas should be identified to promote community identity such as areas that join together neighborhoods, businesses and public facilities. Public facilities such as parks, libraries and fire stations should also be branded to the community identity of the area.”

This week, let’s look at how this vision has been applied recently in Chesterfield. Good folks paid lots of money for nice homes marketed as mixed-use communities. The developers of the projects met the minimum standards required by County Planning as they advertised places to “Live-Shop-Dine.” But has Chesterfield County upheld their end of the bargain? In addition to living, shopping, and dining, the comprehensive plan envisions public gathering places, adequate schools, and public facilities all walkable or a convenient bike-ride away. Many people also have to commute to work—are the roads adequate to get them there?

First, let’s talk about Cosby Village: new construction homes with sidewalks and tree-lined streets. Residents were promised easy access to Hull Street and a short walk to Cosby HS. Unfortunately, Hull Street’s VDOT level of service is rated “F,” and that will only get worse with the level of development in the corridor. Woolridge Road is an alternate route, but it too has several intersections rated “F” and is being proposed as an entrance for a state megasite. Cosby HS is over capacity and can’t handle the kids from the village nor the new village approved at the entrance to the HS. The HS parking lot is covered with classroom trailers, so students are forced to park all along the road at the entrance to Cosby Village.

Sparsely landscaped buffers are being considered “greenspace,” and where is the advertised “garden?” Not quite the community gathering place you might have expected given the marketing. Should you zoom in on one of the signs, you are reminded this is private property and not to trespass—not exactly welcoming to the community-at-large.

Let’s not forget the hub of the “village." Not very pedestrian nor environmentally-friendly. It's your typical shopping center with parking lots. There’s no space for the community to gather, and there are zero public facilities.

Let’s face it. This development is not what the comprehensive plan envisions and is not what the homebuyers were sold. The resulting impact on schools, roads, and all public infrastructure is devastating and is not smart growth as it is described.

During the Magnolia Megasite rezoning case, many members of the community requested that the 1800 acres purchased by the county be rezoned as mixed-use for a "Town Center." The county's response? They claimed they just delivered the community a Town Center: Cosby Village. Cosby Village is a nice, planned residential community, but I think we can all agree that it's a far cry from a "Town Center."

Next week, we will take a look at another "village" in western Chesterfield and false promises for connectivity between neighborhoods.

“Don’t Fairfax our Chesterfield”

God bless America, the Commonwealth of Virginia, Chesterfield County, and the good people of Matoaca.


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