2014-08-27 / News Briefs

Developer sues county over cash proffers

Michael Buettner

A local development company has filed a federal lawsuit accusing the Board of Supervisors of violating the U.S. Constitution in turning down a request to remove cash proffers from a proposed subdivision.

Viridis Development, a Powhatan-based company headed by Matthew S. Sowers, filed the lawsuit last Friday in U.S. District Court in Richmond naming the county and all five members of the Board of Supervisors as defendants.

In 2012, Viridis filed an application to increase the number of homes to be built on a 22-acre property off Courthouse Road and to eliminate the cash proffers agreed to by the previous owner in a 2006 zoning case.

Viridis argued that the development would not have any impact on county schools, libraries or parks and that its offer to pay for a right-turn lane at the intersection of Cherylann Road and Courthouse Road would offset any impact on transportation. The company also offered to pay for improvements to the stormwater runoff system in the area of the subdivision.

Planning Department staff recommended denial of the application, arguing that the proposed improvements weren’t enough to offset the development’s impact on county facilities. The Planning Commission, however, recommended on a 4-1 vote that the Board of Supervisors approve the request.

The board held a public hearing on the case in July and voted 4-0 to deny the request, with Bermuda District Supervisor Dorothy Jaeckle abstaining.

In the lawsuit, Viridis reiterated its claim that the development will not have an impact on county facilities other than roads and drainage, and that the improvements it has offered will adequately address the latter. The company claims the board exceeded its authority in denying the application solely because of the proffers issue and that the board’s action amounts to “extortionate land-use exaction” and violates the constitution’s prohibition on the taking of land by any government body without just compensation.

Viridis has asked the court to declare the board’s decision invalid and unconstitutional, and order the board to approve the rezoning and pay the company an unspecified amount of compensation as well as court costs and attorney fees.

The county has not yet responded to the lawsuit, and no date has been set for any hearings in the case.

Ettrick shooting leaves teenager wounded

A teenager was wounded in a shooting in Ettrick that police believe was a result of an argument.

The Chesterfield County Police Department said officers responded around 3:15 a.m. on Friday to a report of a gunshot victim in the 20400 block of Williams Street in the Laurel Branch Farm subdivision off East River Road.

Officers found an 18-year-old male victim with a gunshot wound in the leg. He was taken to Southside Regional Medical Center in Petersburg with injuries that police said were not life-threatening.

Investigators said the shooting appears to have followed an altercation at a home in the area where the victim was found and that the victim and the shooter know each other.

Anyone who has information is asked to call police at 748-1251 or Crime Solvers at 748-0660, or visit

Suspect sought in convenience store holdup

Police are asking for the public’s help in finding a man who robbed a Hull Street Road convenience store.

According to police, a male suspect entered the Circle K at 7100 Hull Street Road around 2:40 p.m. on Sunday, Aug. 17. He approached the clerk and asked for an item, then displayed a handgun and demanded money from the register. After receiving an unspecified amount of cash, the suspect fled on foot toward Turner Road.

The suspect is described as a black male, 16-25 years old, about 5 feet 4 inches tall and weighing about 160 pounds. He was wearing a blue short-sleeved shirt, white and gray camouflage pants and a light blue baseball-style cap with a bright pink brim. He had braided hair that stuck out from the back of the hat.

Anyone who has information is asked to call the Chesterfield County Police Department at 748-1251 or Crime Solvers at 748-0660, or visit

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