Chesterfield Magnolia Green neighbors sound off over county fees

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People living in Chesterfield's Magnolia Green neighborhood are sounding off to the county, expressing angst during a community meeting at Cosby High School, Tuesday night. Residents are upset over the bombshell announcement that they're being ordered to pay the county thousands of dollars in special assessment fees. Residents are being told to pay an average of $8,000 per house. The fees can be paid over time, however that'll up the cost.

The assessment fees will fund the widening of Woolridge and Otterdale Roads, near the development. However, residents argue they had no idea about these potential fees, when they bought their homes. County leaders say the possible fees were clearly documented.

County administrators explain that Magnolia Green follows old zoning laws, prior to the early 1990s, when new county fee procedures went into place. Residents under the new procedures usually pay the special county fees up front, when buying their home. However, Magnolia Green residents didn't. However, now, the subdivision's homeowners can be made to pay up for projects, like nearby road improvement.

"There's no choice in the matter. You're just stuck," said Magnolia Green resident, Damara Meadows.

County heads insist they told builders, and put the special assessment fees in writing.

"You would like to think that the seller of the property would notify the buyer," said Chesterfield County Administrator Jay Stegmaier.

It appears that didn't happen in many cases.

"I would have never moved in here," said Anthony Murphy, who just bought a house in Magnolia Green over the summer.

County administrators say that even though Magnolia Green residents will be paying for this construction project, they don't pay towards other county costs, which residents in other neighborhoods do.

"There are neighborhoods around Magnolia Green that were zoned after Magnolia Green, where the property owners are paying cash proffers...and those proffers pay for schools, fire stations, parks, libraries and roads," said Stegmaier. He says Magnolia Green residents don't contribute to those costs.

Residents also raised concerns about home values. Some fear this fee will make it tougher to resell the home. Others also worried about increased traffic surrounding the new road plans.

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