by Dan Roem, The Gainesville Times

9 June 2011, pp. A1, A3

“While the populace and look of Prince William County have certainly changed over the last 12 years, local residents are still figuring out how to solve many similar problems, according to Gainesville District Planning Commissioner Martha Hendley.

” ‘I look back at the issues in 1999 and they’re not that different than they are today,’ said Hendley.

“The 67-year-old is one of five Republicans who filled to compete in a primary for the Gainesville District seat on the Board of County Supervisors.  The open seat is being created by outgoing Supervisor John Stirrup (R), who is running for the state Senate.

“When Hendley first ran in the GOP primary for county supervisor in 1999, issues of the day included residential development and transportation, much like now.

“Since then, overcrowding has become epidemic in western Prince William County schools and an increasing number of houses have either been built near the Rural Crescent or are slated for construction.

“As a planning commissioner appointed by Stirrup during his first term in office, Hendley has amassed a long public record on residential growth.  During the last year, she joined a majority of the Planning Commission. [sentence as published]

“Hendley contended during a May 31 interview that she would have supported alternatives that limited residential units to one for every 10 acres.  She said in a follow-up email that “there was another alternative to move Vint Hill Road to connect with the entrance into the commercial development on the other side” of Route 28.

” ‘That is a far shorter spur,’ she added.

“One policy proposal she suggested is that the county purchase land rather than simply striking deals with developers.

” ‘And sometimes I think… on a lot of cases, if the county just stood back and looked in the long run, it would be sounder fiscally to just buy what you want,’ said Hendley.  ‘I think in the long run (development) can cost you more rather than just buying something outright.’

“Government spending during a down or recovering economy can be a contentious issue for local residents concerned about their tax dollars.  Hendley agreed with that sentiment and asked if the public is ‘fed up enough to say, “We’ll borrow money and pay for these things” ‘?

“According to her statements, Hendley is not against all residential development and proffers.  For example, she praised the proffer package that came with the creation of Dominion Valley in northern Haymarket because it included school site dedications along with Silver Lake being transferred back to the county and extra funding for county parks.

“Toll Brothers, the development company responsible for Dominion Valley, also agreed to fund the widening of U.S. 15 through Haymarket.  The main issue still lingering from that is the completion of the intersection that would connect Waverly Farm Drive and U.S. 15 east of Gravely Elementary School, which was also part of a transportation proffer.

“One of the problems Hendley said she noticed with past development in western Prince William County is that it ‘had been leapfrogging’ instead of being concentrated in particular areas with proper infrastructure amenities put in place, like better roads and public services.

“In essence, Hendley advocated ‘growing responsibly’ as opposed to other commonly-used buzz words like ‘smart growth’ and ‘controlled growth.’

“She defined such growth as linking development not just to transportation but also to general infrastructure, such as making sure there is adequate funding for police, fire departments, schools and other like items to offset [the] cost of more people moving into the area.  Such items are measured in ‘quality of life’ ratings.

” ‘That’s why our schools are overcrowded,’ she said.

“Some of the infrastructure Hendley supports for the western part of the county revolved around mass transit.  That includes a westward expansion of the Virginia Railway Express from the Broad Run station near Manassas Regional Airport to Gainesville and developing a Bus Rapid Transit lane on Interstate 66.

” ‘We don’t really have mass transit’ in western Prince William, said Hendley.  ‘And that’s a mistake.  VRE is not really mass transit, but it’s the closest thing we’ve got.’

“She based her point by comparing VRE to the Metro.  However, brining Metro further west than Vienna is an expensive proposition and that is why Hendley said she favors a potentially cheaper alternative in developing a BRT lane on I-66.

” ‘I think it’s certainly a more cost effective solution than Metro,’ said Hendley, though she identified a potential pitfall if commuters have to make multiple transfers during rush hour.

“For instance, if drivers park at a BRT-loading station and the BRT then takes the passengers to a rail stop which then leads the passengers to work, they may become disincentivized to make the commute instead of driving themselves, Hendley explained.

“As for VRE, Hendley said she felt ‘uncomfortable’ with the idea of extending the rail service past Gainesville into Haymarket.

“Outside of development, infrastructure and transportation, Hendley weighed in on a few other topics as well.  She said she would:

  • have voted against this year’s budget because of the effective tax rate increase;
  •  not change the county’s policy on illegal immigration;
  •  not have supported the Bull Run Mountain Conservancy’s bid for Silver Lake due, in part, to potential litigation if the BRMC and county disagreed on the private company’s handling of the lake.

“Hendley summed up her candidacy by saying she is not running ‘against’ anyone else but instead thinks her qualifications put her in the best position to deliver for the county.

” ‘I am the best prepared to represent all of the district and can do the best job to carry on the good service that the supervisor’s office has provided to the citizens of Gainesville,’ she said in a statement.”

“Martha Hendley seeks Republican nomination for Gainesville supervisor”

by Rose Murphy, The Bull Run Observer

1 July 2011, p. 19

” ‘I am the best prepared to continue the fine constituent service and uphold the values he has established in the office.  And I will be a full-time supervisor available to listen to Gainesville constituents,’ said Martha Hendley in reporting why she wants to succeed John Stirrup on Prince William Board of County Supervisors.

“She is competing with four other Republicans in the Aug. 23 primary election to face a sole Democrat in the Nov. 8 general elections.  Stirrup is running for the state senate seat in the 13th district.

“Hendley noted she has been Stirrup’s appointee for the past seven and a half years on Prince William County’s Planning Commission.

” ‘I have worked with Gainesville groups and issues for the past 25 years, starting with Halt (the) Dump, which kept the beautiful Shelter Lakes area from becoming a landfill,’ she contended.

“The candidate said the people for Catharpin School saw the need for a middle school in Gainesville, and the school district looked at the population figures and was ‘shocked to find that not only one middle school was needed, but two.  And Bull Run Middle School and the new Marstellar Middle were built,’ she added.

“Hendley explained there was a site available for Bull Run Middle School because she and other citizens went to the board of supervisors when Heritage Hunt became age restricted.

” ‘Fortunately, the board was persuaded to keep the middle school site, but unfortunately did not keep an elementary school site.  Then, when there was no school site included with the Piedmont development; Gainesville was behind in schools again,’ she asserted.

“Hendley noted Gainesville District didn’t catch up with elementary school sites until there were proffer changes for Dominion Valley, ‘which I worked on as Gainesville planning commissioner.’

“She added, ‘the site for Gravely Elementary School was part of those proffer changes, along with another middle school site, the largest park acquisition ever at Silver Lake and cash funding for Catharpin Park, Long Park and Silver Lake.’

“Hendley reported she ‘will be vigilant to see that the infrastructure needs in Gainesville are provided.  My goal is to provide a high quality of life and conservative tax structure that will attract economic development to the county.

” ‘I will also be vigilant about the overcrowding and crime issues that prompted the Rule of Law Resolution to maintain a higher quality of life in those neighborhoods that were particularly affected by those issues,’ she added.

“Hendley reported she ‘will hold the line on the Rural Crescent.’  She aded, ‘when there was a line drawn around the development area in the 1998 comprehensive plan, the leap-frogging of new development into the far reaches of the county stopped.  If the Rural Crescent were ever developed at high densities, it would be a great expense to provide the additional infrastructure such as roads, schools, fire stations and parks which would be needed.’

“The candidate opines growth in the county is important, but that it creates infrastructure needs and drives the county’s tax structure.

” ‘The rapid residential growth in the county in the recent past came much faster than the infrastructure to support it,’ she observed.  She said residential growth did not keep up, and that the ratio of taxes from non-residential to residential ‘has been declining and continues to decline today,’ putting an increasing burden on homeowners.

” ‘The county needs to attract economic development with good-paying jobs here to improve that,’ Hendley added.  She promised to ‘hold the line on taxes as well as on the Rural Crescent.’

“The candidate was appointed to the Citizens Advisory Committee (CAC) in 2003 to work on the update to the county’s comprehensive land use plan.  She also is a graduate of the county’s Citizen Leadership Institute, and was co-chairman of U.S. Rep. Frank Wolf’s task force on Stone House Intersection.

“An election officer for 15 years, she was 10th District’s Republican Volunteer of the Year for the county.  She served as president three times for Bull Run Republican Women’s Club, served on the National Park Service’s task force on Manassas Battlefield mounted patrol and served on National Trails Day subcommittee.

“Hendley was president of the Citizens Against Roads for Developers, chairman of Ben Lomond Manor House Commission and an advocate for Catharpin Middle School and a western high school, which today are Bull Run Middle School and Battlefield High School.

“She is a founding member of Battlefield Equestrian Society, founding member and former president of Bull Run Civil War Round Table and a founding member and former board member of Friends of Manassas National Battlefield Park.

“Hendley is a member of the National Park Service task foce on Manassas Battlefield Mounted Patrol, member of Northwest Prince William Citizens’ Association, member of Save the Battlefield Coalition, member of Save Our Hospital Coalition and a member of Halt (the) Dump Committee.

“A native of Alexandria, VA, the candidate has lived in the county 43 years and in Gainesville District 27 years.

“She holds a bachelor of chemistry degree from Mary Washington College of the University of Virginia and is a retired real estate appraiser.

“A member of Sudley United Methodist Church, she is the wife of James W. Hendley, a retired judge with GSA’s board of contract appeals.”