Citizens for Balanced Growth

Year: 2011 (Page 1 of 3)

“Consolidated public hearings let officials skim over low-profile land use cases”

by Rose Murphy, Bull Run Observer

30 December 2011, p. 11

“Prince William  Board of County Supervisors is streamlining some of its public hearings.  Some officials contacted think it’s a good idea.  Others in the community are stressing caution.

“Starting in October, land use applications with no unresolved issues, and with recommendations of approval from the county’s planning staff, planning commission and the supervisor in whose district the land is located, may have a consolidated public hearing.

“Each case still would have a public hearing, but no staff report or attorney’s presentation would be needed.  The applicant’s attorney and county staff members would be present to answer questions, and the public still would be able to comment on the case during the hearing.

“Chris Price, county planning director, reported Dec. 19 that he is happy with the new process, and that ‘it’s working well, but we’re always open to suggestions.’  The new process allows staff to devote time to the cases that need more attention, he pointed out.

“Martin Jeter, president of Mid-County Civic Association (MIDCO) said that with consolidated public hearings, ‘the devil’s in the details.’

” ‘In some cases, it will probably work fine, but when you combine that with the inadequate notification…and the likely rescinding of the state requirement for newspaper notification on public hearings, it may result in more items “slipping through the cracks.”  Even with the new procedure, a citizen can attend a BOCS (board of county supervisors) meeting and request the full presentation, but they need to know about the project in the first place before they can attend the meeting,’  Jeter said in a Dec. 14 e-mail.

“The notification he was referring to is the county’s telling residents of a land application if they live within 200 feet of the property owner requesting the change.  Jeter suggests the 200 feet should be 500 feet, ‘at least in mid-county.  This is a no-brainer.  The cost is low, according to county figures…’  He added the 200-foot distance is inadequate in mid-county, due to larger lot sizes, ‘and there’s nothing stopping the county from implementing it.  The cost could be passed through to the applicant.’

“Price explained state code only says adjacent landowners must be notified of land applications, and that the county has set 200 feet as the minimum area of notification.

“Jeter added that ‘time after time at MIDCO meetings (people say they) had no idea what was planned near their house, even with the current notification system.’  He said a wider notification system ‘would go a long way to keep folks informed.  The best county web site and hearing procedure in the world won’t help anyone if they don’t get that first indicator that something’s happening in their area.’

“The newspaper notification Jeter mentioned is a proposal in the Virginia General Assembly which would remove legal notices from newspapers of general circulation in the local governmental jurisdiction where the property is located and allow them to appear on the local government’s web site.

“Gary Friedman said Dec. 16 that he is not well enough informed on the specifics of the new consolidated public hearing process to comment.  He was a member of the county’s planning commission until last month.

” ‘However, I am very concerned that on land use matters, the general direction the board has been taking over the last few years has been to try to marginalize citizen input as much as possible, (except for orchestrated spectacles like the Avendale fiasco), while riding roughshod over whatever input they do get.  It seems that for the last two or three years, the board only cares about what developers want on land use matters and all other input is pretty much ignored.  A troubling development to be sure.  It is my understanding that the board is poised to appoint two developers to the planning commission.  If so, this would be unprecedented and a recipe for much mischief, an ominous indicator for the county’s future,’ Friedman opined.

“Corey Stewart, chairman of the board of supervisors, called the consolidated public hearing idea ‘a good thing.  It gives us time to work on the more complex land use issues and dispense with the easier ones.’  He added the new process saves time not only for the board, but also for staff.

“Mike May, who represents Occoquan District on the board of supervisors, said the new consolidated process is functioning well.

” ‘There is still an opportunity for public comment, and any supervisor has the right to request a full presentation in the event there are community issues or concerns.  However, the board should certainly err on the side of caution and allow for a full presentation whenever such issues or concerns arise,’ May explained.

“On the 200-foot notification issue, May pointed out that practice ‘works better in high density areas where there are many people within 200 feet of a proposed project.  However, in lower density areas, there may be instances in which very few people reside within 200 feet of the proposed project.  Moreover, as a general matter, land use decisions impact all of us, not just those who are 200 feet away.’

“May added the board is working on some procedural changes ‘to improve transparency in this area.’

” ‘For example, we recently initiated a zoning text amendment (ZTA) to require that any off-site property that may be impacted by proffers or conditions be notified of the proposal, even if the potentially impacted property is beyond 200 feet away,’ he noted.  Price said a ZTA would go to the board for its consideration after the first of the year.

“May asserted that, regardless of official notification, it is the responsibility of each supervisor to keep his constituents informed of land use updates in their neighborhoods.

“Marty Nohe, Coles representative on the board of supervisors, reported that at first, he was ‘reluctant’ on consolidated public hearings because he didn’t want to send a message that the board was avoiding public comment.  He said that he’s come to see it as a benefit to staff and the board and that it will work as long as the board is cautious and uses it as a means to reduce bureaucracy.

“Nohe estimates landowners will be more careful in preparing their land use applications in order to get them on the consolidated agenda.

” ‘It incentivizes excellence and gives the owner a real incentive to get all his ducks in a row,’ he contended.

“Nohe asserted that too much information could result in a lack of transparency on an issue.

“Wally Covington reports he’s received no negative comments on consolidated public hearings.  He represents Brentsville District on the board of supervisors.  He noted the county’s planning commission has had an expedited agenda ‘for quite awhile, but pulls things off a lot’ to consider them.

“Ron Burgess, Brentsville’s planning commissioner, said he’s agreeable with the board’s consolidated public hearing policy if it’s similar to the planning commission’s.  He noted any commissioner could pull an expedited item off the planning commission’s agenda.”

Land Use Votes 2007-2011

Criteria Used to Rate Supervisors: The table below is based on supervisors’ voting records, public statements, and other political activity related to balanced growth issues. Numerous newspaper articles, e-mails from supervisors, and other information on this website document the supervisors’ positions. (Click this link for more information on supervisors’ positions.)

The table below applies only to supervisors’ positions and votes on balanced growth issues and are in no way an attempt to evaluate their records in any other way.

Relative to the last column to the right, we indeed believe that residential developer campaign contributions influence politicians’ behavior in the long run and are thus germane to a discussion of balanced growth issues. If that were not true, why would donors contribute? On the other hand, we consider it even more important to judge the politican’s actual political behavior.

Link to previous supervisor report cards:  Land Use Votes 2001-07 (Nov07) | Proffers (Oct07);

Supervisor  John Stirrup Supervisor Mike Ma Supervisor  Frank Principi Supervisor  Maureen Caddigan Chairman Corey Stewart Supervisor John Jenkins Vice-Chrmn Marty Nohe Supervisor Wally Covington
Avendale Housing Development in Rural Crescent (2010): Actively opposed Opposed Opposed Opposed, then ultimately supported Actively supported Supported Supported Actively supported
County’s current land use plan, which allows development “anywhere, anytime” and fast-tracks approval of developer land use requests (2010): Supported Opposed Supported Supported Supported Supported Supported Strongly supported; appointed residential developer with alleged potential conflicts of interest to county’s Land Use Advisory Commission
Preservation of Rural Crescent by keeping  out development and sewer lines, which make high-density housing possible: Strongly supports Strongly supports Supports Mixed record; before 2007 usually supported, but since then has wavered, supporting both Avendale, Fireside Church Mixed record; before 2007 supported, but since then has wavered, including active campaigning for Avendale Has consistently  supported expansion of sewer lines and other development into Rural Crescent. Has consistently  supported expansion of sewer lines and other development into Rural Crescent. Has consistently  supported expansion of sewer lines and other development into Rural Crescent
2007 precedent -setting sewering of  Fireside Church inside Rural Crescent: Actively opposed Opposed not in office  until 2008 Supported Opposed Supported Actively Supported Actively supported
Reasonable proffers from developers so County taxpayers won’t bear all infrastructure costs (police, fire, roads, schools, etc) of new residential developmt: Supports Supports position unknown In October 2007,voted against increasing developer proffers to offset costs to taxpayers of  residential develpment. Supports In October 2007,voted against increasing developer proffers to offset costs to taxpayers of  residential develpment. In October 2007,voted against increasing developer proffers to offset costs to taxpayers of  residential develpment. In October 2007,voted against increasing developer proffers to offset costs to taxpayers of  residential develpment.
Necessary road improvements to county and particularly his/her district in a timely manner: Supports Supports Supports Supports Supports Supports Supports Mixed record, including many years of failure to build Linton Hall Rd improvements, though taxpayers approved funding for it in bond issue
High-quality commercial development: Supports Supports Supports Supports Supports Supports Supports Supports
2008-11 minimizes  dependence on  developer  campaign funding (<30%), to avoid conflicts of interest: Yes Yes No No No Yes No No

Stewart will run for Lt. Gov. Job

by Dan Roem, Gainesville Times

8 December 2011

“Prince William Board of County Supervisors Chairman Corey Stewart (R) confirmed during an interview on Sunday that he will seek the Republican nomination for lieutenant governor of Virginia in 2013.

” ‘I have made no official announcement, but I didn’t exactly make a secret of it,’ said Stewart. ‘I can’t make an official declaration but, when I make my move … I have not yet decided when to announce or how to do it.’

“Stewart has not formed an exploratory committee or began fundraising yet, though he did say at one point, ‘I’m going to have my own race on my hands’ come 2013.

“He talked extensively about what message he needs to send for such a campaign and said ‘yeah’ when asked if he was, in fact, running for lieutenant governor and not some other statewide office.

“When told the headline for this story was going to be ‘Stewart running for lieutenant governor,’ he laughed and said, ‘You can read into it what you want.’

“Regardless, he said he plans to stay on as county chairman through Election Day of 2013.

” ‘I would resign if I won the seat, but I would not resign before,’ said Stewart. ‘It would probably be November or December of 2013, assuming I’m successful of course.’

“THE RACE

“Stewart spent the weekend at the Republican Party of Virginia’s annual Advance meeting at The Homestead resort in Hot Springs. He hosted a room where he talked policy and politics with Virginia Republicans.

” ‘I had a very large suite last night. We had at least 200-300 people going in and out of there over the course of the evening. It was very successful and it’s, you know, it was a chance to meet Republicans from around the state,’ said Stewart.

“He explained that budding statewide candidates are able to meet with potential backers after the official party business for the day is done. The private events usually run for about three hours, ending around midnight according to Stewart.

” ‘It’s standard for statewide politicians or statewide candidates or potential statewide candidates to host suites, receptions, after the meeting are done,’ said Stewart, later adding, ‘It’s, to, you know, talk to Republicans around the state about the successes we’ve had in Prince William County.’

“While Stewart is well-known for championing a crackdown on illegal immigration, he said Republicans talked relatively little about that topic and more about other parts of his record.

” ‘What I found is that a lot of people from around Virginia are very well aware of Prince William County and the tremendous economic growth and the prosperity that we achieved in the county,’ he said.

” ‘And the trick for me is, you know, to broaden my notoriety to other issues aside from the illegal immigration (topic),’ he added, mentioning that he still stands on his record on the issue. ‘I need to tout the success we’ve had in Prince William and the reduction in government spending and the economic growth that we’ve achieved.

” ‘My challenge is going to be associating myself with those successes, economic successes, because what I don’t want to be known as is a one-trick pony, on cracking down on illegal immigration. I also need to associate myself with the strong economy (and) growth policies that we’ve had in prince William County as well.’

“HOME AND STATE

“Stewart touting Prince William’s growth rate comes more than five years after his initial run for county chairman when his primary issue was controlling residential growth.

“Though economic growth and residential growth are two separate topics, the growth in population is directly attributed to the growth of the economy within the county and region,

“During Stewart’s term in office, he has voted for residential growth over the objections of some residents in different parts of Prince William County.

“Among the other topics, he supported the Avendale development in Nokesville and he voted for the development of Haymarket Landing and the University of Virginia Foundation properties over objections from the Haymarket Town Council.

“However, local issues like rezonings and development within the Rural Crescent are likely going to matter little to a statewide GOP electorate.

“The county’s population boom over the last decade and, more importantly, its growing economy come at a time when many rural counties throughout the commonwealth have lost population.

“Rural counties tend to be Republican-leaning. Stewart presides over a county with 5.4 percent unemployment rate and the second largest population among counties in the commonwealth at over 400,000.

“Only one Republican, Virginia Beach Mayor Will Sessoms, governs a locality in Virginia with a larger population than Prince William County.

“Prince William and Loudoun also happen to be the two most crucial swing counties in the state.

“And as seen in the last several elections, so goes Prince William, so goes the state.

“All of those factors give Stewart, who’s won three races for chairman and one for supervisor, leverage in the electability debate.

” ‘I would say in recent (years), over the course of the last 10 to 15 years, you cannot win statewide and lose Prince William and Loudoun counties. You cannot do it,’ said Stewart of Republicans. ‘You have got to win (them). These are two key battlefield localities. You’ve got to juice up your margins in Prince William in particular to (stem) off your losses in Fairfax, Arlington and Alexandria.’

“2013

“By process of elimination, lieutenant governor is the only statewide office viable for Stewart in 2013.

“Stewart acknowledged there are already hard-line conservative candidates, much like himself, running for governor and attorney general.

” ‘Well, I’m not going to endorse anybody in the governor’s race or the attorney general’s race,’ said Stewart. ‘I’m going to have my own race on my hands.’

“Stewart expressed interest in the office during the 2009 campaign cycle and even formed an exploratory committee when Lt. Gov. Bill Bolling (R) was rumored to be considering a run for governor.

” ‘That’s exactly right. The only reason I pulled out then was because Bolling ran for re-election,’ said Stewart.

“Meanwhile, Bolling and Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli (R) both announced last week that they would be running for governor.

“Cuccinelli, who lives with his family in Nokesville, notably irked Bolling by announcing his intent to seek higher office after previously saying that he was likely to run for re-election.

“He even said as much when interviewed by this paper in 2009 that he could see himself ultimately seeking re-election.

“Cuccinelli and Bolling are major statewide figures and are likely to wage a bitter race over the next 1.5 years for the nomination unless one of them ultimately backs down and runs for re-election.

“Gov. Bob McDonnell (R) endorsed Bolling and said he would ‘strongly’ support him for governor.

“Cuccinelli once clashed with Stewart over the necessity and legality of a proposal by Stewart, who recommended that statewide law enforcement officials should check the immigration status of everyone they arrest, like local officials do in Prince William.

” ‘As far as that’s concerned, I get along with Cuccinelli just fine. I think a lot of him. I think a lot of Bolling as well,’ said Stewart on Sunday, noting that he has had ‘differences at times with Cuccinelli.’

“Stewart is also an ally of attorney general candidate state Sen. Mark Obenshain (R), a conservative stalwart who represents Harrisonburg in the General Assembly. Obenshain announced his formation of an exploratory committee to succeed Cuccinelli after the incumbent confirmed his interest for governor.

“If Cuccinelli, Stewart and Obenshain all won in the Republican primary, that would set up a Tea Party dream ticket of sorts for 2013. Cuccinelli and Obenshain were part of the most conservative faction of the state Senate when they served in that body together. Stewart has made a career out of enraging liberals and moderates of both parties, particularly over illegal immigration.

“In late 2010 through most of 2011, Stewart even considered running as a more conservative alternative to former Sen. George Allen (R) in the U.S. Senate GOP primary. He spoke negatively about Allen’s term as a senator though he praised his work as governor.

“Then, in October, just as Stewart came under fire in the general election for chairman for having his eye on higher office instead of the county, Stewart endorsed Allen.

“Stewart went on crush the well-funded Democratic nominee, Babur Lateef, 58-27 percent on Election Day. Independent candidate John Gray claimed 14 percent of the vote.

” ‘I’ve proven three times on a countywide basis in Prince William, with increasing margins in every election, that I win here. In a statewide election, I will win Prince William County by a very large margin and that margin would help me offset any losses I would incur in Fairfax as well as Arlington and Alexandria,’ said Stewart.

” ‘I’ll probably win Loudoun and I would expect to win (the general election), even if the Republicans do not win the governorship,’ he added.”

“Covington pulls controversial donation”

by Kipp Hanley, InsideNova.com

28 November 2011

“Gainesville, Va. — Brentsville Supervisor W.S. ‘Wally’ Covington III doesn’t believe his donation to his wife’s charity is a conflict of interest.

“However, he has decided against contributing $100,000 from his supervisor office’s district funds to the Rainbow Therapeutic Equestrian Center during Tuesday’s Prince William Board of County Supervisors meeting.

” ‘To maintain the comity of the Board and not to further politicize or demean this worthy organization, I will withdraw my notice of intent,’ Covington stated in a press release this afternoon.

“His wife Connie is the president of the Board of Directors for the Center, which according to its website, provides ‘therapeutic equestrian activities to individuals with physical and mental challenges in Prince William County and surrounding Northern Virginia areas.’

“Covington was planning to announce his intent to donate the money for the center’s capital project. When reached via phone last week, he said because his wife isn’t a paid staff member, the money isn’t a direct benefit to her.

“He also said he likes to use his discretionary funds on large capital projects, which is what the Center is aiming to accomplish at its Silver Lake site. The Center is in the process of raising money for an indoor arena for usage year-round.

“When his decision to donate such a large sum originally surfaced, it generated incredulity in some circles in the county.

“John Gray, who unsuccessfully ran for board chairman against incumbent Corey A. Stewart, stated in an email to the News & Messenger last week that it’s ‘absolutely outrageous a supervisor can direct taxpayer dollars of this magnitude to one specific charity like this, just because “they feel like it.” ‘

“While Gray said he has no problem with the charity, he stated ‘there ought to be a law, an ordinance against this kind of abusive spending.’

“Covington has given 10 donations totaling $15,500 from his discretionary funds in 2011– including $10,000 to the Greater Prince William Healthy Communities, Healthy Youth Council in September. Covington has a total of $357,700 carried over from previous years, $90,000 more than the next supervisor: Coles Supervisor Martin E. Nohe ($267,204).

“At $322,458, Covington has the smallest budget of any supervisors for the 2012 fiscal year. Potomac Supervisor Maureen S. Caddigan has the largest at $350,341.”

“Staff writer Kipp Hanley can be reached at 703-530-3904.”

“Candland’s stance on Prince William’s Rural Crescent could be tested by Stewart’s ‘cluster’ plan”

by Jeremy Borden, The Washington Post

14 Nov 2011

“Prince William County Supervisor-elect Peter Candland (R-Gainesville) says he wants to improve county schools and successfully touted conservative principles on his way to victory last week.

“But it’s his stance on rural area growth that may get the most scrutiny when Candland takes office. Following the county’s explosive growth, many Gainesville residents are keen on maintaining a rural area in the county’s western end, saying that the rural beauty beyond the Beltway is what has attracted many newcomers to Prince William.

“Candland says that he will protect the area, known as the Rural Crescent.

“The new supervisor might be tested on his philosophy on managing growth in the near future. Board Chairman Corey A. Stewart (R-At Large) said in an interview with The Washington Post that he plans to introduce a policy next year on the concept of ‘clustering,’ a new approach to managing the county’s rural area.

“As it stands, the area can be carved up into 10-acre lots and developed.

” ‘That, I believe, succeeds at nothing,’ Stewart said. ‘I think that we need to look at better ways of preserving very large areas of rural ground as well as promoting more commercial office space and high-end retail. We have to take the emotion out of this debate and give it a cold, hard, objective look.’

“Stewart said having a hodgepodge of 10-acre lots doesn’t make sense. Better, he said, to have a development on 100 acres, and ‘cluster’ 30 acres of development together while preserving the other 70 acres as open space.

Read more about Stewart’s plan and Candland’s philosophy here.


 

See earlier iteration of Chairman Stewart’s “cluster” development idea: Supervisor Covington’s 2006 cluster housing proposal

“Each magisterial district to be assigned its own planner: Will get to know the communities and the players, says PWC planning chief”

by Rose Murphy, Bull Run Observer

28 October 2011, p. 47

“After Jan. 1 [2012], each magisterial district in Prince William County will have its own planning department person to handle cases, Chris Price, planning director, told those at the Mid-County Civic Association (MIDCO) meeting Oct. 20 at the Prince William County government’s development services building.

“He said each planner is working on 30 to 50 cases, scattered throughout the county.

” ‘We can’t expect them to know the players and the communities,’ the planning chief said.  Assigning planners by magisterial district will allow the planner to become ‘the go-to person,’ he added.

“Price also discussed the new consolidated public hearing process he introduced to the county Board of Supervisors’ meeting Oct. 4.  Under this process, cases that have staff and Planning Commission approval, with no community issues and with approval of the district’s supervisor, are fast-tracked through the public hearing.

“The planning director noted no staff presentation nor any presentation by the applicant or his attorney would be needed at the consolidated public hearing.

“Staff and the applicant or his attorney would be in attendance to answer questions, or to make a presentation, if the case were asked to be pulled from consolidated agenda.

“Members of the public could address the hearing if the case is on the consolidated agenda or the regular agenda.

” ‘If there are questions, the case can be pulled and put on the agenda with a full presentation,’ he reported.

“Price called the consolidated public hearings ‘a process improvement,’ adding it would allow staff to focus on the cases where there are issues to be resolved.

“He said the process also could be a negotiating tool, which could influence an applicant toward compromise in order to be placed on the consolidated agenda.

“The planning director said he was concerned that his department was spending as much presentation time at public hearings on items such as additional signs at Wal Mart as it spent on other matters.

” ‘Most jurisdictions already do consolidated public hearings.  We need to spend time on cases with outstanding concerns,’ Price claimed.

“The county’s Planning Commission puts cases on a expedited agenda, which is similar to the consolidated public hearing process.

“Martin Jeter, MIDCO president, told Price he is concerned with keeping citizens informed on what the county is doing.

“He cited the county requirement that residents within 200 feet of a special use  permit or rezoning public hearing must be notified, asserting the 200 feet should be more like 1000 feet.

“Jeter also mentioned two General Assembly bills that would remove legal advertising from daily newspapers.  He said the bills failed to pass but would be back.

” ‘I’m concerned that the casual citizen could miss out on the information,’ Jeter contended.”

“Supervisors started overseeing county government in 1869”

by Heidi M Baumstark, Bull Run Observer

14 October 2011, pp. 4, 6

“We see their names on signs, in newspapers and elsewhere. They are the elected representatives of the Prince William Board of County Supervisors who oversee the county government.

“Every four years, Prince William County voters can elect board of county supervisors. Currently, the eight-member board, overseeing seven magisterial districts, consists of Corey A. Stewart, chairman at-large; Maureen S Caddigan, vice chair and Potomac District; W.S. ‘Wally’ Covington III, Brentsville District; Martin E. Nohe, Coles District; John D. Jenkins, Neabsco District; Michael C. May, Occoquan District and Frank J. Principi, Woodbridge District.

“Tish Como, librarian in the Ruth E. Lloyd Information Center (RELIC) Room at Bull Run Regional Library in Manassas extensively researched the board’s history; she wrote an article in one of RELIC’s publications about its history. In an April 2004 issue ‘Prince William Reliquary,’ Como’s study said the board was established by the Virginia Constitution of 1869. In 1870, members were elected every May by townships to take office in July. There was only one annual mandatory meeting, held the first Monday in December, but the board could meet at other times.

“For almost 100 years, from 1870 to 1967, there were six magisterial districts: Brentsville, Coles, Dumfries, Gainesville, Manassas and Occoquan. Those first county supervisors in 1870 were Joseph B. Reid (1870-75), Brentsville; William M. Lynn (1870-72), Coles; John W. Chapman (1870), Dumfries (now Potomac); A.H. Johnson (1870) Gainesville; Francis M. Lewis(1870-79), Manassas and Burr Glasscock (1870), Occoquan.

“In October 1870, the Supervisors’ Minute Books were first recorded and offer a window into the issues facing county residents.

“In February 1967, a seventh district was created. Francis M. Coffey was appointed supervisor of the new Neabsco Magisterial District when new boundary lines were drawn due to increasing population.

“From 1870 through 1893, the board met at Brentsville Courthouse. Beginning on Jan. 6, 1894, the members met at the newly constructed Manassas Courthouse.

“Today, televised meetings are held generally on the first, second and third Tuesday of the month at 2 p.m. in the board chambers at the James J. McCoart Government Center in Prince William. Public hearings for such issues as zoning or special-use permits are held after public notices have been published in local newspapers.

“In January 1904, all county officials were elected in November, and county supervisors served four-year terms beginning the following Jan. 1.  Instead of only one mandatory annual meeting, the board was to hold meetings at fixed periods and as often as necessary.

“In the 1960s, as the governing body of the county, the board issued the Prince William County Annual Report (available in the RELIC Room.) Flipping through the pages with black-and-white photos, the report offers a glimpse of life in the county, regarding issues on transportation, public safety, social welfare, education, health and leisure. They also publish voting and county government employment numbers.

“The 1966 report states, ‘Records of [voter] registration are showing a marked increase in Prince William. Total registration in December 1964 for the county was 12,660.’

“Como’s research showed the county population in 1870 was 7,504; a century later in 1970, the population had grown to 111,102. According to the Prince William County Standard Data Set, as of June 15, 2011, an estimated population figure for Prince William County topped to 409,345. (As of April 1, 2010, the population of the City of Manassas was 37,821; for the same date, the population for the City of Manassas Park reached 14,273.)

“The City of Manassas and the City of Manassas Park, which were formerly towns within Prince William County, became separate, independent cities with their own governments, prior to June 1, 1975. Cities have their own government-governed by an elected city council that appoints a city manager.

“On June 12, 1975, the board adopted a new redistricting plan in response to a court order for the seven magisterial districts, five in the eastern end and two in the western end. The Manassas District was dropped, and a new district named Woodbridge was added to the redistricting plan.

“Kathleen K. Seefeldt, a Prince William County resident since 1970, served as Occoquan District Supervisor from 1976-91. Elected in November 1991 as the first chairman at large (and eighth member) of the board, Seefeldt held this position until Sean T. Connaughton was elected to that position in November 1999. Reelected in 2003, he served until he resigned in September 2006 to accept President George W. Bush’s nomination to become the U.S. Maritime Administrator. Currently, he is the Virginia Secretary of Transportation.

“Seefeldt said, ‘I was on the board for 24 years. There was a great deal of catching up to do with matching infrastructure with the growing population. Local groups formed to offer input in budget and land-use matters. It was grass-roots participation, giving citizens the opportunity for input at the front-end, to develop a vision and future for the county.’

“Corey A. Stewart is now the chairman. He first served as Occoquan District supervisor from 2004-06; he replaced Connaughton in a special election and was reelected in 2007.

“Over the past 20 to 30 years, there are only a few supervisors who are native Prince William County residents. A reflection of how much this community has grown and the county has urbanized, the board has become more diverse.

“Tony Guiffre of Haymarket served as the Gainesville District Supervisor from 1984-87. At the time, he lived in Catharpin and ran for the elected position because he wanted to improve the local government.

“Guiffre explained that development was springing up at anytime, anywhere, at any price.

” ‘Many citizens didn’t want this. There was lots of growth without restrictions and taxes were increasing; people wanted controlled growth,’ he said. There were also environmental concerns, such as ground-water issues.

“During his tenure, some new developments in the western end of the county included Heritage Hunt, Virginia Oaks, Robert Trent Jones Golf Club in Lake Manassas and the Gainesville Neighborhood Library in James S. Long Park, which opened in 1987.

“The James J. McCoart Government Center (named after a former Neabsco District supervisor) was built in the eastern end of the county.

“Guiffre said he enjoyed his time on the board. ‘Representing local county government is a lot of work, but it was very rewarding, especially working with the constituents. The supervisors are hardworking, dedicated people. The experience gave me a new respect for elected officials,’ he said.

“More information about the county’s board of supervisors is online at www.pwcgov.org , under the ‘government’ link.”

“Grizzly Sports Complex opens; needs remain”

by E. Bruce Davis, Bull Run Observer

2 September 2011, pp. 1, 8

“Hundreds of children, parents, volunteers and county leaders could not contain their excitement at the grand opening and ribbon-cutting ceremony at the Grizzly Sports Complex at 10600 Determination Dr. in Nokesville on Aug. 19. In a culmination of the Haymarket Youth Football League ‘Field of Dreams’ fundraising project, two beautiful new Shaw Sportexe synthetic turf fields were revealed to the onlookers, many of whom were clad in maroon, black and white.

“Gary Skeens, Grizzly commissioner, started the ceremony, speaking from the middle of a new field, welcomed everyone when he said, ‘Good evening Grizzly Nation.’ He introduced the Grizzly board of directors and Wally Covington, Prince William Board of County Supervisors, Brentsville District. Covington noted the teamwork it took to create the fields on their 16 acres and asked, ‘Are you ready for some football?’  [passage omitted]

“The project to build [the fields] started in August 2010, when busloads of Grizzly Football enthusiasts pleaded with Prince William Board of County Supervisors for more sports facilities for western Prince William County youth. A 5 to 3 vote rezoned a residential project in the Rural Crescent now known as Avendale. Owner Brookfield Homes/Vint Hill LLC proffered available recreational space to the county. The Grizzly supporters hoped this land would be available for Grizzly football; it was. The fields will first host Grizzly football games with a Sept. 17 kickoff.

“Since the vote, Grizzly supporters have worked with many individuals and groups to build a $2.5 million facility, according to information from the Grizzly Nation.

” ‘We have never seen anything like this happen so fast,’ said M.J. Williams. ‘My boys are going to middle school, but they stayed in Grizzly Football because of these fields.’

“Pam Key, a fund-raising committee member, said  ‘This is shocking to me. I thought the reality of these fields would be when our boys [ages 10 and 13] were in college.’

” ‘We have been searching for years for places for fields,’ Skeens said, when the Prince William park authority mentioned the area to Grizzly leaders.

“A major boost on the current project came from substantial financial help from Brookfield Homes, [commercial realtor and developer, Weber-Rector, Inc.] Mary Ann Ghadban and [Patriot Development Corp’s] Skip Albrite. The football league entered into a 35-year-land-lease agreement with Prince William County. The Grizzlies must maintain the fields during the lease’s term. The fields are designed for football, lacrosse, field hockey and soccer.

” ‘We expect other sports to play here this year,’ Skeens said. Under the agreement with the county other sports deal directly with the Grizzlies for games at the complex. Jay Ellington, executive director of Prince William County Park Authority, attended the ribbon cutting and was pleased with the beauty and safety of the fields.

“The Grizzlies started with 70 players 11 years ago. Now, 33 teams in age and weight divisions include about 800 participants, including cheerleaders. [passage omitted]

“Grizzly leaders committed to raising $250,000 and hard work to complete the project.

“The two fields are complete, but needs remain for opening day, such as electrical work to provide temporary power, sod, aluminum benches and cash. ‘Water too is our biggest need,’ Skeens said. ‘We also need lights,’ which would extend the hours of usage.” [passage omitted]

“Election Results: Brentsville District”

Bull Run Observer

2 September 2011, pp. 1, 12

“Wally Covington edged out newcomer Jeanine Lawson by 157 votes in the Aug. 23 Republican primary election to capture a third term representing Brentsville District on Prince William Board of County Supervisors.  He has no oppostion in the Nov. 8 general election.

“Covington tallied 1647 votes to Lawson’s 1490, giving him 52.50 percent of the vote to her 47.49 percent, in unofficial returns from the county voter registrar’s office.

“The winner reported he ‘is excited about serving the community for another four years,’ and working to bring ‘jobs and economic growth to western Prince William County.’  He noted the earthquake on election day might have hurt him because voters ‘were stuck in traffic and unable to get home to vote.’

“The incumbent took seven of the 12 precincts.  He was victorious in Brentsville District 197 to 124 votes; Cedar Point with 144 to 99 votes; Nokesville, 232 votes to 117; Stonewall Jackson, 40 to 23 votes, Marsteller, 213 to 103; Piney Branch, 93 to 59 votes, and Buckland Mills, 152 to 98.

“There were 33,287 persons registered to vote in the primary election in Brentsville District, and 8.7 percent of them voted, higher than the 6.4 percent county average, the registrar’s office explained.

“Covington, an attorney, moved to the county more than 20 years ago.  He and his wife, Connie, have three children.”

“Black, Candland win primary”

by Dan Roem, The Gainesville Times

25 August 2011, pp. A1, A4

“Former Del. Dick Black (R) will have a chance to redeem his 2005 state House loss this fall as he secured a 113-vote win over Gainesville District Supervisor John Stirrup (R) Tuesday night in the 13th District state Senate Republican primary.

“He joins four other GOP primary winners for western Prince William County races.

“Brentsville District Supervisor Wally Covington (R) defeated Bristow resident Jeanine Lawson by 5 percent [157 votes.]

“Gainesville District nominee Peter Candland (R) topped his closest rival, Gainesville District Planning Commissioner Martha Hendley, by nearly 10 points in a five-person field for the right to take on Ann Wheeler (D) in the fall. [passage omitted]

“Like in 2007, Covington does not face a general election challenger.  The rest of the GOP contenders in Prince William face Democratic opponents in the fall.  [passage omitted]

Gainesville District
“In the race to replace Stirrup on the Board of County Supervisors, Candland ran the most organized campaign out of the five candidates vying for the job.

“Upon entry, he immediately contacted local media outlets, hired a local GOP insider to manage his campaign, issued press releases and poured his own money into the race while soliciting more individual contributions from other donors than anyone else.

“Quietly, the Republicans establishment, such as Stewart, encouraged Candland without publicly making a scene out of it.  At the same time Candland’s campaign team knocked on about 1,500 doors.

“He successfully targeted Stirrup supporters and focused on reaching voters in residential subdivisions like Parks at Piedmont and Dominion Valley along with chunks of Manassas while Hendley relied on fellow control-growth supporters as her base.

“Candland’s team also placed volunteers at each precinct within the district on Election Day, giving him an advantage over each candidate.

” ‘We were very disciplined throughout the campaign. We came up with a plan. We knew the money we wanted to hit, to raise for the campaign, and we stuck to it,’ said Candland.

“He overcame contrast mailers from Hendley that noted Candland did not sign the Rural Crescent pledge, something he said he avoided due to ideological disagreements on other issues with the person behind it.

” ‘I am a supporter of the Rural Crescent. To me, it is a settled issue,’ said Candland.

“However, he added, ‘I’m not a no-growth person.’

“Candland advocates for what he called a ‘measured approach’ that includes focus on repairing and improving roads.

“Wheeler has signed the Rural Crescent pledge and the issue of growth is likely to play a key role in [the] general election campaign.

“According to Candland, ‘Ann is no slouch.  She has a good following, she has raised a good amount of money.’

” ‘I think Ann is really well connected and she’s going to work really, really hard,’ said [PWC Democratic Party Chairman Bruce] Roemmelt.  ‘I see an advantage for us because these other guys are so divided.'”

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