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Megasite skeptics want answers from Louisa County officials

Posted on Thursday, August 30, 2018 at 4:45 am

If the regional business park moves forward, the main entrance will likely be located off of Shannon Hill Road near the Goochland County line.

County leaders want to know who leaked news of a planned industrial park, as critics question the location and cost.

The public and elected officials are expected to use the Sept. 4 meeting of the Louisa County Board of Supervisors to air their opinions about the proposed 1,650-acre megasite. Citizens have also been talking about the matter at comprehensive plan meetings, including one held Aug. 29 at Moss-Nuckols Elementary School.

“I’m very concerned that information leaked,” Supervisor Duane Adams (Mineral district) said at the Louisa County Industrial Development Authority’s Aug. 23 meeting. “I want to find out how it leaked. It either leaked from someone who had a non-disclosure agreement with the county, or it leaked from the board of supervisors.”

While the industrial development authority said it would write a resolution in support of the supervisors’ project, neighbors of the planned business park found a letter urging them to oppose the project in their mailboxes.

Meanwhile, the Louisa County Farm Bureau’s board of directors posted a statement on Facebook in which they questioned the “unintended consequences” of the megasite plan.

“When you change that much land and put water and sewer to that area, you’re going to expedite development around it,” Jim Riddell, Louisa Farm Bureau president, said. “If you build the infrastructure, they will come. We need to understand what this plan really means.”

Adams was one of several county officials who expressed frustration at the industrial development authority meeting that the plan was shared with the public before negotiations are completed with all the affected landowners in the business park’s footprint.

“The fact this leaked is very disheartening,” Stewart Reynolds, the industrial development authority’s chairman, said. “[This person] should have the best interest of the county at heart.”

Adams dismissed as “patently false” flyers that were recently distributed to mailboxes in the area where the business park is planned.

“Do not lie to the citizens of this county,” he said. “If you oppose it, tell the whole story … other than asking a broker to negotiate in confidence, I don’t know how much more transparent this process could be.”

Adams said he knocked on doors to talk with residents in the area of the business park after word spread about the project.

The county won’t reveal yet how much it paid for options to purchase property in the affected area, which stretches from Shannon Hill Road on the east to Roundabout Road on the west, and north to West Old Mountain Road. The options are valid for six months, with the first one set to expire in December.

The county estimates it will cost $6.5 million to buy the 1,650 acres, or about $4,000 per acre. Among the many details that are unknown at this time is how much it will cost to develop the property after the county acquires it.

Read full article in The Central Virginian’s Aug. 30, 2018 issue