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The Right Plan Will Make All the Difference for Centerville

(Image from Yu's Bistro fortune cookie.)

My letter to the editor, published 10/25 in the Goochland Gazette:

Dear Editor,

Goochland County and the residents of District 4 need a thoughtful Centerville plan that restores the vision for a village, well planned roads, and careful review of every development project.

After knocking on over 600 doors in District 4, I know that development is the most important issue in District 4.

Our neighbors know development is coming but they expected to see thoughtful planning. What they saw in each recent version of the Centerville Plans was a radical departure from the years-old vision of a village, a special place that is clearly different from Short Pump. Our neighbors’ opposition to the plan’s urbanization is consistent with that village vision. It was not “just say no to development,” as some have suggested.

Development is coming. There are benefits to such growth. We need the kind of development that attracts businesses to settle here for the long run. We are competing for businesses with every other county in the area and even in the entire state.

We have a huge advantage over other localities:

our access to major highways, our rural character, and our vision for a village.

Employees will be drawn to live in an attractive, walkable village, with buildings at a human scale. Businesses will be drawn to a location that will attract employees.

That is why we need to plan in a manner consistent with our vision of a village.

Our key to economic growth and jobs are roads. All of our infrastructure must keep up with growth, but roads can be the hardest problem to solve and the least in the county’s ability to control. Roads can’t be an afterthought. We need an updated transportation plan if we are to be competitive in attracting businesses. The Centerville Plan that was just defeated would have resulted in Centerville being strangled in traffic, far before full build-out.

In addition to a Centerville Plan that protects the vision of a village and a thoughtful transportation plan, we need to restore the principle of careful review of every development project.

If I'm elected to serve as your supervisor, I will follow these principles for reviewing every development project:

First, I will ask questions. Is the location right for this project?

I’ll visit each project site and talk to neighbors who will be affected.

Next among my concerns is quality. Here is a quote that I love:

“It's attention to detail that makes the difference between average and stunning."

Quality developments will attract more quality businesses and home developers.

Quality benefits everyone: residents, developers of adjacent properties, and those selling their land.

And lastly, I’ll take a long term view. How will a project fit into a fully built-out Centerville? For that, we need an updated comprehensive plan.

It's clear that the residents of District 4 want graceful growth. Not guaranteed gridlock. That's my goal as your supervisor.

Steven Schawaroch

Candidate for District 4 Supervisor

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