by Greg Latique from “Black Velvet Bruce Li” blog that discusses “Prince William, Manassas and Manassas Park politics”

2 August 2010

“The Gainesville Grizzlies recently sent out a call to parents to join a road trip to the August 3rd Board of County Supervisors meeting to tailgate and lobby in support of a zoning application creating more playing fields in Bristow. What was omitted from the email was notification that the zoning application is the Avendale development and if you lobby in support of the zoning application you are asking the BOCS to approve the Avendale development.

“What is Avendale? Avendale is a housing development proposed by Brookfield Homes which will bring from 300 – 500 more homes to the Bristow area. The development will be located behind the Harris Teeter on the Vint Hill Road side of the intersection of Vint Hill Road and Route 28. The playing fields the Grizzlies want you to support are 17 acres included in the area to be developed that Brookfield has offered to ‘give’ to the PWC park authority if the BOCS approves the Avendale development.

“Because of increased traffic resulting from the development, Vint Hill Road will have to be shifted more than a mile south down Route 28 and will have to be widened from 2 to 4 lanes. Brookfield homes has offered to pay for half of a portion of the realignment and widening. The rest of the funds – roughly 2/3 of the cost to shift and widen Vint Hill Road from Route 28 to Sudley Manor Drive – will have to be paid for by local taxpayers. The 6 year transportation plan for PWC does not include any funds for shifting and widening Vint Hill Road. That means that construction on the development will begin but there won’t be any improvements to local roadways until 2014 or 2015 at the earliest, assuming the county has the money to fund widening and shifting Vint Hill Road at that time. So we’ll get a new development but we won’t get the roads to manage the additional traffic resulting from the new development for a number of years.

“Those roads that there’s no money to build and that won’t be built for many years include the roads needed to access the ‘playing fields.’ The 17 acres Brookfield has ‘offered’ as parkland are undeveloped. There are no roads to access the space and there are no services like electricity or water available on the site. The park authority won’t turn the offered land down, but has no plans to develop the site as a park and has no funds to do it.

“Additionally, the ‘donation’ isn’t designated as football or playing fields. Brookfield has only offered to ‘give’ the land to the park authority. The park authority can do whatever it wants with the land – including keeping it as woodland. In fact, the 17 acres Brookfield will be ‘donating’ as parkland will still be available and could be designated parkland if the zoning application is rejected.

“Approving this development will cost all of us in increased taxes. We, the taxpayers, will have to provide road improvements, additional fire and rescue personnel to cover the area, and will have to fund the construction of more schools.

“We all know that more playing fields are needed in the county. The county could simply re-zone those 17 acres as parkland at a significantly lower cost than funding all the increases in services necessary to support a new 300 – 500 home development.

“Don’t be fooled by hollow promises from Brookfield homes. It will be years before the fields are opened, assuming the land is even used for playing fields. In the meantime you’ll be paying more in taxes, dealing with more traffic, and still driving to 8 am games in Alexandria.”