Chesterfield planning commissioners OK Rockwood redevelopment plan

The Rockwood Special Focus Area is a proposed land use plan to guide the project area toward higher-density residential and mixed-use development. (Courtesy of Chesterfield County)

The Chesterfield Planning Commission voted Tuesday to recommend a proposed land-use design district intended to guide redevelopment of aging retail centers at the corner of Hull Street and Courthouse roads into a mixed-use hub.

Dubbed the Rockwood Special Focus Area, the concept is a county staff proposal intended to establish long-range land-use planning and policies in areas county staff feel are good candidates for redevelopment or may be in transition.

The Rockwood Special Focus Area would encompass 673 acres, which contains about 426,000 square feet of commercial space. About half that commercial space is tied up in the Rockwood Square, Oxbridge Square and Rockwood Plaza shopping centers.

The plan wouldn’t change existing zoning and uses, rather it would guide the county’s approval of property owners’ rezoning requests in the area. 

“This isn’t going to change anybody’s zoning,” Senior Planner Andrew Noxon said during a staff presentation Tuesday, stressing the concept would require property owners to pursue rezoning applications to make the vision a reality. The plan falls in line with a comprehensive plan goal of mixed-use development at major intersections in the county.

The plan calls for mixed-use zoning at the area’s shopping centers and high-density residential zoning in the northwest and east of the area, and suggests a 50-year period of redevelopment for the core retail area, Noxon said. New roads would be added to better facilitate movement in the area.

VDOT estimated about 77,000 vehicles drive through the area every day. The area also includes Rockwood Park, a county park that had 586,000 visitors in 2019.

The county has assessed the area at $96.5 million. County officials have said the county doesn’t plan to actually buy land to enact their vision.

Commissioners praised the concept and detail of the proposed plan. The commissioners also reviewed the proposal in January. The county held a public meeting on the subject this month.

“I think we as a Planning Commission, this is probably one of the most important things we will pass because the area really needs it,” Planning Commission member LeQuan Hylton said.

The proposal requires final approval by the Board of Supervisors, which is expected to consider the proposal April 28.

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