by Rose Murphy, Bull Run Observer
17 Oct 2014, pp. 10, 28
“Saying they needed more information on school projections and a representative of Brentsville District elected, Prince William Board of County Supervisors unanimously deferred to Jan. 30 a vote on the controversial 864-acre Stone Haven subdivision near Jiffy Lube Live. The action came at the board’s Oct. 7 public hearing.
“A new supervisor to replace Brentsville supervisor Wally Covington will be chosen at a special election Dec 23. Covington recently was named a county judge and had to give up his supervisor’s post. The Stone Haven project is in Brentsville District.
“Many of the more than 60 residents who addressed the public hearing asked that the Stone Haven vote not be taken until after the special election when the district would have a new supervisor and representation.
“In summing up the public hearing before the vote, Corey Stewart, board chairman, told the meeting he agreed a new supervisor should be in on the vote. He also added he believes ‘schools are the number one issue,’ and that supervisors need better school data before voting on the Stone Haven comprehensive plan amendment (CPA) and the rezoning, calling the school information they had ‘wholly inadequate.’
“Dave Beavers told people at the crowded public hearing Battlefield High School was 119.20 percent over capacity last year, and Patriot High School’s capacity topped 127.3 percent. He said that by 2018-2019, Battlefield High School will be 764 students over capacity, and Patriot high School will be 847 pupils beyond capacity. Beavers is with the school district’s office of facilities services. Adding the 290 students who would be over capacity at Stonewall Jackson High School would mean the district ‘would need seats for 1900 students’ by 2018-2019.
“The developer of Stone Haven will give the school district 85 acres for the county’s 13th high school, which would have capacity for 2053 students. And if a public facilities review (PFR) warrants it, another 30 acres would be set aside for a middle school site or for active recreation.
“Stewart asked Beavers if the district had information on school projects with or without the Stone Haven high school, noting one of the speakers at the public hearing [Kim Simons, of the ‘PWC Education Reform Blog’] came armed with her set of numbers. Beavers explained his projections contained ‘some level of development’ in the Stone Haven area, not necessarily Stone Haven itself.
“In an email Oct. 8, Beavers told The Bull Run Observer that ‘the school division develops its own enrollment projections’ using real estate and development data from the county.
” ‘We look at the type of housing units (single-family, townhouse and multifamily) that are yielding students by grade. We re-evaluate our enrollment projections annually.’ Current school projections go to 2023.
“The school spokesman pointed out the district reviews how many students live in each attendance area, versus how many students actually attend the school.
” ‘Many of our schools have specialty programs, which allow for student transfers. This movement of students from their assigned school to the school they choose to attend necessitates our use of a “transfer route” for each of our schools,’ Beavers noted.
“A county planning department staff report indicates Stone Haven would add 477 students to grades K-5, some 235 pupils to grades 6-8 and 180 more high school pupils.
“Students would attend Piney Branch Elementary School, Gainesville Middle School and Stonewall Jackson High School. Devlin Road Elementary School will open to the east of Stone Haven in 2015, and a middle school in the Linton Hall area would open in fall 2018. Any high school in the area could be opened by 2019.
“Milt Johns, chairman of the county’s school board, explained to those at the meeting that the district adds 2000 new students to its rolls each year.
“He valued the high school site being given to the district at $24 million, pointing out that not approving Stone Haven would lead to a delay ‘of at least a year’ in getting any 13th high school.
“The school board May 8 unanimously voted in favor of the Stone Haven proposals. [For more info on this, see the following links: http://pwcbg.org/RSEMail_YouveBeenLiedToAgainAndAgain.html and ‘Atmospherics’ section of http://pwcbg.org/RS_EMail_StoneHavenRivergateAtmosphericsNextSteps.html}
“Pete Candland, (R-Gainesville), contended the school board this year said supervisors had approved too many homes, but now was backing Stone Haven. He asked if the school district were looking at alternatives, should Stone Haven be denied. Johns explained the schools ‘were relying’ on this site, but have options to buy other sites, ‘but no money.’
“The Stone Haven development would include up to 1650 single-family detached dwellings and townhouses and up to 1.1 million square feet of office/employment and commercial/retail uses. The property is on the south side of Wellington Road, west of Devlin Road and north and east of Linton Hall Road.
“Area road improvements would include University Boulevard, Rollins Ford Road, Wellington Road, Devlin Road and Piney Branch Lane.
“University Boulevard would be four lanes divided from Devlin Road to Progress Court. Rollins Ford Road would be four lanes divided from Linton Hall Road to existing Rollins Ford Road near Wellington Road.
“Peter Dolan, attorney for the applicant told the public hearing the developer held more than 20 meetings with homeowner associations and nieghbors in finalizing the plans. He added the existing flexible employment center (FEC) designation for the area ‘is not compatible.’ He said residents wanted ‘a mix of uses, and to save employment areas along Wellington Road.’ He pointed out they also wanted open spaces and a 13th high school.
“Dolan explained plans call for 875 single-family detached dwellings and no multi-family units. He asserted current Stone Haven plans would result in a 71 percent reduction in traffic over the planned FEC. [as published]
“Plans also call for 160 acres of parks and open space, two clubhouses, two pools and nine pocket parks. Also included would be 49 acres for sports fields and a four-acre park-and-ride facility. He contended the value of proffers for the project would amount to $91 million. Proffes are land or money given to the county by a developer to mitigate the impact of his development on the community. [For more info on this, see the following link: http://pwcbg.org/RSEMail_YouveBeenLiedToAgainAndAgain.html]
“The county’s planning commision and planning department recommended approval for the CPA and the rezoning.
“During the public hearing, speakers were about evenly divided between those favoring Stone Haven and those against it. One woman and an 11-year-old girl decried the removal of trees on the site. The girl contended, ‘you like traffic if you replace all the trees with houses.’
“Patty McKay, hed of Nokesville Civic Association, said her group had 91 people at a Sept. 25 meeting, and all wanted a deferral until a new supervisor is seated.
“Others speaking against Stone Haven plans included Kathy Stephenson, Ralph Stephenson, Jessica Alvarez, Lynne Lewis, Lisa Schuman, John McArdle, Mac Haddow, Chris Bates, Amanda Bates and Bob Weir.
“Weir called any approval of Stone Haven fiscally irresponsible, asking how a $24.25 million value could be placed on land being given for the high school.
“Ralph Stephenson, co-founder of Prince William Citizens for Balanced Growth, said Stone Haven would be tax negative, adding, ‘beware of developers bearing gifts.’
“Asking for a yes vote were Roy Beckner, real estate broker, Kathleen Kennedy, Brittany Koepler, Michael and Rebecca Rush, Richard Walsh, Paul and Sarah Norris, Brenda Walsh, Steve Waxman, Bob Tolbert, Dean Matthews, Pat Patterson, Richard Wolfe, Mike Kitchen, Bart Barnhart, Debbie Hardy, Scott Furlong, Tony Findley, Judy Talbot, Shannon Meehan and Brenda Wolfe. Wolfe is a real estate salesman with RK Realty, the firm which has Stone Haven listed for sale.
“Many of the other speakers stressed the need for deferral until a new supervisor is installed.”