Against the advice of the Chesterfield Planning Commission, Chesterfield Town Council voted unanimously Thursday evening to rezone the parcel of land where Chesterfield Manufacturing once prospered at the end of Zoar Road and Highway 9. The request, by local church members who hope to purchase the building, produced was one of the largest crowds to attend a council meeting in recent months.
Rev. Scott Adams spoke to council on behalf of Living Word Ministries and Outreach. Adams said his church has been interested in the purchase of the building for quite a while.
The zoning for the property, which Chesterfield Municipal Clerk Betty Lynn Watson said was large enough not to be considered spot zoning, will change from basic industrial to general commercial.
One church member, who wished to remain anonymous, said “they’ve (Town Council) tried really hard to sell it. Churches don’t pay taxes, you know. But I feel like the Lord wanted us to have it, and that’s why it hasn’t sold.”
Chesterfield Police Chief Eric Hewitt told council he has photographed and catalogued information on all of the dilapidated buildings in town. Hewitt has prepared this information to assist in council’s efforts to clean up overgrown lots, abandoned buildings and unsafe dwellings.
Council recently agreed to have taxes levied against town property owners for the cost of clean up when deemed necessary.
The public lights that are still in place at Crescent Drive, where the old Chesterfield High School and Community Center burned down years ago, will soon go out. The current owner of the property has been footing the bill for the lights for several years now, but has decided not to take on that expense any longer. Council voted to have the lights removed.
An individual’s request for council to help pay for sewage problems on their property was denied. Chesterfield Town Councilwoman Amy Brown said, “we have to be consistent.” She recalled a similar situation, saying council didn’t pitch in that time either.
Chesterfield Mayor John Douglas and members of Council recognized Betty Lynn Watson Thursday evening for her service to the town.
“It has been an honor and privilege to work for the citizens, council and staff of the Town of Chesterfield over these past twenty five years and I look forward to serving in the years ahead to the best of my ability,” said Watson.
“The town has been like a family to me, allowing me to share joys and sorrows with the citizens, council and staff. I, and the staff, strive to welcome and help everyone that comes into town hall because we are a community and not merely government,” said Watson. “I am often teased about how frugal I try to be with town funds. For example, I will not purchase Post It notes. We use recycled paper for our notes.”
Just recently the town’s main computer software, a DOS base, was upgraded, said Watson, “thanks in part to a Rural Development Grant for half of the cost.” That system had been in place for 25 years too.
“I have seen many changes during my tenure,” said Watson, “and am thankful that I have had the opportunity to be a part of the community’s growth.”
— Staff Writer Karen Kissiah can be reached at 843-537-5261, or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.