by Rose Murphy, Bull Run Observer

20 July 2012, p. 10

“What’s the future of Stone Haven, the 864-acre undeveloped tract of land south of Wellington Road and Jiffy Lube Live?

“More than 50 area residents crowded into the media room at Piney Branch Elementary School July 12 to hear  Prince William County staff give its initial report on its study of the area.  Questions from the audience were not alloowed and had to be submitted in written form.

“A second meeting is set for 7 p.m. on Monday, Aug. 6 in the school for public input on alternative land plans for the area, and a wrap-up session is scheduled for 7 p.m. on Thursday, Sept. 6, also in the school.

“Prince William Board of County Supervisors could vote on Oct. 9 on whether to initiate a comprehensive plan amendment (CPA.)  If initiated, the county’s planning staff would study the proposal.  Public hearings next would be conducted before the planning commission and board of supervisors.

“In March, supervisors voted not to initiate a CPA for the 340-acre Hunter tract in the neighborhood, deciding instead to do a study of the entire area.

“Chris Price, planning director, told residents in attendance at the July 12 meeting that the planning staff will give county supervisors a range of land use possibilities and a preferred option for the project study area after gettting resident input.  The study area is west of Devlin Road, north of Linton Hall Road and east of Limestone Drive.

“Ray Utz, head of long-range planning for the county, explained that existing plans show 458 acres planned for flexible employment center (FEC), 308 acres intended for suburban residential low (SRL) and 98 acres of environmental resource (ER).  He added that, if fully developed, 10,000 to 13,000 jobs could be in the offing.

“FEC uses cover a wide ‘range of permitted users over several zoning districts,’ Utz pointed out.  Included could be offices, contractor businesses, data center, self-storage facilities, warehouses and wholesaling operations.  SRL entails single-family homes with one to four dwelling units per acre.  Most of the existing homes in the area are SRL, Utz said.

” ‘Up to 25 percent of SRL can be townhouses,’ he added.

“Utz reported, ‘This is the beginning of a multi-step process and what we want to see,’ in the area.  If supervisors initiate a CPA, ‘the owner would ask for a rezoning to develop the property.’

“Patty Dietz of the county’s environmental services department told the audience attention would be paid to resources in the area that need protection, including about 75 acres of resource protection area (RPA).  There also are some rare plant species in the area.

“Ryan Conklin with county’s parks and recreation department, noted that within three miles of the study area are Prince William Golf Course, Rollins Ford Park with its future six soccer fields, open play area and playground, and Braemar Park, Ellis Barron Park and Rosement Lewis park.  Bridlewood-Rocky Branch Park and Broad Run Park are [with]in a mile of the study area.

“Gregg Steverson of the county’s transportation office told the audience Devlin Road to the east of the tract will be widened to four lanes, that Wellington Road will be six lanes, that University Boulevard will be four lands through the site and Rollins Ford Road will be four lanes.

“In a March e-mail, Wally Covington, told constituents he ‘did not make a motion to initiate the review because it had too many houses and not enough citizen input.’  Covington represents Brentsville District on the board of supervisors.  He pointed out the FEC designation ‘often leads to industrial uses.’  He said the planning staff also believed FEC ‘was not appropriate in this corridor.  I concur.’

“Covington’s e-mail also said he wants a high school site to be a ‘priority in the overall plan for the area.’  He asserted that ‘clear-cut planning for the remaining Linton Hall acreage is essential to continue robust economic activity (in) the area and support surrounding idyllic neighborhoods.’ “