Chesterfield approves $20 million tax break for proposed surf park, hotel

CHESTERFIELD COUNTY, Va. (WRIC) — The Chesterfield Board of Supervisors voted Wednesday to give a $20 million property tax break to a proposed hotel and Surf Park complex West of the Swift Creek Reservoir.

The proposal was first presented publicly at the board’s July 27 meeting, when board member Jim Holland asked for a deferral as he had not yet had a chance to review the proposal.

The proposed grant features a complicated series of tax breaks designed to exempt commercial real estate parcels from property taxes while keeping them in place on associated residential developments.

“We do not, as a general rule, subsidize general residential developments,” said Matt Harris, a deputy county administrator.

The company has already begun clearing land on the proposed construction site. (Photo: Lake Adventures LLC)

Lake Adventures LLC is proposing a hotel, shopping space, an artificial lake and a surf park. The lake would offer an “aqua course” and cable wakeboarding, designed to be the central draw for the sprawling development.

The company, Lake Adventures LLC, will get an 80% exemption on the increase in property taxes associated with the new commercial development for the first ten years, then a 60% exemption for the next ten years. A 300-unit mixed-use project, which will feature shopping in addition to housing, will get a 40% tax exemption for 20 years.

“This is a performance grant that the county uses very sparingly in economic development,” Harris said, adding that this would be the only performance grant currently on the books.

Although it’s difficult to guess how much tax revenue the county will actually receive, Harris estimated it would total around $20 million over 20 years.

The grant will also only be available if the company builds the development as outlined in the zoning ordinance, Harris said. “If it’s not built as stipulated in the zoning, it would not be part of this performance grant.”

Narrow Passage

When the grant came up for a vote, however, two board members voiced concerns over the form of the grant.

“It’s worthy of a performance agreement,” said Bermuda supervisor Jim Ingle. “However, I am not comfortable with the structure of the performance agreement before us.”

Matoaca supervisor Kevin Carroll also voiced an objection, saying he was uncomfortable with an agreement that could potentially balloon in value as the land is improved.

“I would be more comfortable with something that had a cap on it,” he said.

But board chair Chris Winslow spoke in favor of the agreement, citing the potential benefits of the hotel for nearby attractions.

“When you look at it broadly, this area is complementary to the uses at River City Sportsplex,” he said. As 8News previously reported, Winslow has accepted campaign contributions from Brett Burkhart and companies associated with the project.

The board ultimately voted to pass the grant agreement by 3-2, with Carroll and Ingle voting against the proposal.

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