“Prince William Board of County Supervisors decided at its Dec. 3 meeting to initiate a full study of its road network instead of just removing the controversial bi-county parkway from its system. Wally Covington, (R-Brentsville), cast the only nay vote.
“The bi-county parkway, which would run from the end of VA 234 for ten miles to Loudoun County near Dulles International Airport, has met with significant opposition from some state representatives and affected property owners. The roadway was called the tri-county parkway until Fairfax County opted out. It also is known as Rt. 234 Bypass North.
“In October, Mike May (R-Occoquan), made a motion to initiate a comprehensive plan amendment (CPA) to take the bi-county parkway out of the county’s Thoroughfare Plan. County staff then researched the proposal, and on Dec. 3, recommended the comp plan amendment not be initiated.
“Ray Canizales of the transportation department explained analysis showed removing the by-pass would have major impacts on the transportation system across the county. He added the comp plan designates VA 234 North between I-66 and Loudoun Copunty as a four-lane roadway.
“Deleting the by-pass would increase traffic on Pageland lane by 950 percent by 2030, on Gum Springs Road by 64 percent, on Catharpin Raod by 19.1 percent and on Joplin Road by 9.4 percent, Canizales pointed out. US 15 would see a 69.1 percent hike in traffic, while traffic would go up 14.2 percent on Rt. 55, 5.5 percent on VA 28 and 9.7 percent on I-66 by 2030. He noted he was using the latest travel demand software, which came out in 2010. He said the numbers would change if a complete Thoroughfare Plan update were done.
” ‘No road is an island,’ observed Corey Stewart, (R-at large), board chairman.
“Before the vote, Maureen Caddigan, (R-Potomac), reminded the board she had asked for and supervisors approved initiating a CPA keeping VA 234 four lands and not increasing the roadway to six lanes. That CPA is on its way to a planning commission hearing and then to supervisors for a separate vote, the board agreed.
“Caddigan pointed out she ‘worked hard for the initiation,’ adding, ‘something is going on here I’m not comfortable with.’ She said she worried about increased truck traffic on VA 234, calling it ‘intolerable.’ She opined the bi-county parkway would do nothing for Prince William County.
“Canizales noted the figures he was using for traffic analysis had VA 234 as six lanes, since that is what is in the comprehensive plan today. Pete Candland, (R-Gaionesville), said he was ‘caught off guard’ by staff’s using six lanes, not four, in its report.
“Candland said that the problem with the bi-county parkway is that the ‘CTB and VDOT have married the bi-county parkway with the closing of Rt. 234 (through Manassas National Battlefield Park).’ CTB is the [Virginia] Commonwealth Transportation Board, and VDOT is Virginia Department of Transportation. He said the county should let the state bodies know it doesn’t support the plan.
“Later in the discussion Candland asserted ‘it is clear certain individuals don’t want an up or down vote’ on the bi-county parkway. ‘Enough is enough,’ he asserted.
“Marty Nohe, (R-Coles), suggested doing not just any transportation study, but the right one. Candland volunteered he thought the state ‘is trying to ram the road down our throats,’ and that some in the county think the bi-county parkway is a ‘bad idea.’
“Nohe reported ‘better connectivity is needed north of I-66.’ Candland said that closing VA 234 in the national park would shift traffic to I-66.
“Candland contended that doing the Thoroughfare Plan update would not result in much new information.
” ‘It’s just a way of not voting (up or down on the bi-county parkway) and kicking the can down the road,’ he added.”
“Richard and Beth Waller think the Bi-County Parkway is a bad idea, expecially since it will go through their living room.
“The couple was interviewed at random Oct. 3 at a Virginia Department of Transporation (VDOT) meeting on the parkway, formerly called the Tri-County Parkway, in Stonewall Jackson High School, Manassas. The road’s name was changed after Fairfax County bowed out of the project.
“The road is a mistake,” Richard Waller volunteered in speaking of the ten-mile route that would extend VA 234 to near Dulles Airport in Loudoun County. He added that if the road didn’t actually take out their living room, it would ‘go close enough that no one would want to live there.’ He said he wouldn’t mind giving up his house for an east-west thoroughfare, ‘but not for a north-south one.’
“Jodi Hooper-Spelbring, a real estate agent, said she believes the public has a ‘right to know who will benefit from the by-pass. Why is Sean Connaughton so hot to trot on this? Loudoun County supervisors rejected it.’ Hooper-Spelbring suggested making the by-pass issue a referendum.
“Connaughton, a Prince William County resident [and former Prince William County Board of County Supervisors chairman], is Virginia’s Secretary of Transportation.
“John DePasquale works in Vienna, but lives in Catharpin. He hastened to note he is not the same DePasquale who works for VDOT. He asserted, ‘Interstate 66 was to be the (Manassas Battlefield) by-pass. Why do we need a battlefield beltway?’
“DePasquale reproted he takes Lightridge Road, a two-lane gravel road, to work.
” ‘Why do we need to replace it with a four-land road?’ he asked.
“DePasquale said drivers can get to Dulles Airport by taking VA 234 north to I-66 east and then VA 28 north.
“Debbie DePasquale, Catharpin, volunteered that aerial photos of the proposed by-pass show it will run through two new schools and new home subdivisions in Loudoun County.
” ‘These kids will have to take a bus to math class,’ she quipped.
“Jeff Markiewicz, a Prince William County resident, explained he is concerned with the fate of Sudley United Methodist Church if the by-pass is built.
” ‘It’s one of the oldest churches in the area,’ he said of the congregation, which dates from the 18th century. He wonders if he will have to take I-66 west to the VA 234 by-pass, get off, take the new by-pass up to Pageland Lane, then go east on the old section of VA 234 to get to the church.
“Markiewicz also believes if drivers are discouraged from taking US 29, more traffic will be directed to I-66.
“Haymarket resident Wayne Ernst reported he is concerned with the lack of transparency on the by-pass issue.
” ‘Citizens learn lots after the decisions are made. If there’s a strong need (for the roadway), why did VDOT have to have a DC public relations agency at taxpayer expense? This is getting priority,’ he contended.
“Page Snyder, one of the leaders in the battle against the parkway, pointed out that the road would affect two Civil War mass burial sites, the final resting place of soldiers from both sides of the conflict.
” ‘They were buried where they fell along Pageland Lane,’ she noted. ‘We were told not to dig near the fences, cause that’s where the soldiers were buried.’
“A steady stream of people stopped in at the VDOT meeting to see displays of the project and have their questions answered. Attending from VDOT were Tom Fahrney, project manager, Joan Morris, VDOT’s public relations manager for Northern Virginia, and John Undeland, VDOT’s public relations consultant on the project.”
——– Original Message ——–
Subject: RE: Mike PLS NOTE Security Hole in Important Survey from PW County (Last Day 26 Sep): The Rural Crescent, Love It or Lose It
Date: Fri, 11 Oct 2013 10:32:34 -0400
From: May, Michael C. <MCMay@pwcgov.org>
To: Ralph Stephenson <e-mail address>
Hope that helps and thanks again for the heads up!
Michael C. May
Occoquan District Supervisor
2241-K Tackett’s Mill Drive
Woodbridge, Virginia 22192
(703) 792-4643 (phone)
(703) 792-4833 (fax)
From: Ralph Stephenson [mailto: e-mail address]
Sent: Thu 10/10/2013 10:33 AM
To: May, Michael C.
Subject: Re: Mike PLS NOTE Security Hole in Important Survey from PW County (Last Day 26 Sep): The Rural Crescent, Love It or Lose It
Hi, Mike. Tks for your response below.
Were you able to find out anything about this security hole in the Rural Crescent survey? Also, do you know what, if anything, the BOCS has concluded from the study and survey and what it intends to do with the results? Rgds, Ralph
On 9/26/2013 11:46 AM, May, Michael C. wrote:
Thanks for the heads up and the kind words. I will look into it and see what I can find out.
From: Ralph Stephenson [e-mail address] Sent: Thursday, September 26, 2013 01:28 AM Eastern Standard Time
To: May, Michael C.
Subject: Mike PLS NOTE Security Hole in Important Survey from PW County (Last Day 26 Sep): The Rural Crescent, Love It or Lose It
Hi, Mike. A friend of mine has discovered a security hole in the PW County survey: one person can easily submit the survey one or more times. This is not conjecture on my part; as of this evening I know for a fact that it can be done. Is there anything the county has done to prevent what could easily result in ballot box stuffing, in effect, by interested parties on this survey?
Since there’s only one party to residential development issues that has the organization and economic motive, as well as the repeatedly demonstrated inclination, to resort to corrupt, underhanded, and deceitful means to influence the Board and public opinion to get its way — i.e., some of the developers and their employees — it’s likely that they’ve already tested for such an obvious security flaw in the survey. If they’ve tested for it, they know it’s there. If they know it’s there and they can submit multiple surveys per person anonymously — and they can do all this — it’s unlikely that they haven’t already taken advantage of it.
Could you quietly investigate this possibility? I appreciate your honesty and consistently pro-balanced-growth positions as a member of the Board. Ralph
——– Original Message ——–
Subject: Important Survey from PW County (Last Day 26 Sep): The Rural Crescent, Love It or Lose It
Date: Mon, 09 Sep 2013 23:12:53 -0400
From: Ralph Stephenson <e-mail address>
To: Stephenson, Ralph <e-mail address>
CC: BOCS, Prince William County <BOCS@pwcgov.org> <mailto:BOCS@pwcgov.org>
All: Please spend 15-20 minutes or so filling out the survey below from Prince William County Government asking for your views on whether the Rural Crescent in the County should be preserved. Note that the survey closes 27 Sep, so please fill out/submit before then.
This is what the county is using to determine the future of the rural area, under intense pressure from developers. Please fill out the survey, add your comments, and pass the link along accordingly. I am very confident that developers and their employees are busy filling out the survey, but it is important that everyone’s views — and not just those of developers — are taken into consideration.
The link to the survey is below. Make sure to SCROLL down past the map to click “next” to get to the actual survey. Make sure your voice is heard.
You might be interested to know that the most obvious backer of this “review” of the Rural Crescent has been Prince William County Supervisor Marty Nohe of Coles District, an unapologetic supporter of virtually any residential development, particularly development in the Gainesville and Brentsville Districts where most of you live, all of which is indirectly taxpayer-subsidized because PW County has the lowest proffer rates in Northern Virginia (meaning that developers pay relatively little for the public services required for new residential development.) Mr. Nohe receives very large sums of campaign money from Northern Virginia developer interests, particularly big developers outside PW County.
This link shows gives you more info on Mr. Nohe, including how/when he publicly began his campaign to “review” the Rural Crescent (i.e., opening it up to suburban sprawl):
Two of Nohe’s closest pro-developer allies on the PW Board of County Supervisors (BOCS) are Wally Covington, who owns large tracts of land along the Rural Crescent and Vint Hill Road, and Chairman of the BOCS Corey Stewart, who was first elected on a balanced/managed growth agenda, but then changed his mind and became avidly pro-growth after deciding to run for statewide office and receiving $100s of thousands of dollars from developers. Both Covington and Stewart’s voting records in recent years have shown a strong tendency to support indirectly-taxpayer-subsidized suburban sprawl and development in the Rural Crescent, in contradiction of longstanding county policy to keep this area rural.
These links give background on Covington and Stewart’s motivations for supporting development of the Rural Crescent:
Rgds to all, Ralph
“For months, the Prince William County School Board has urged county officials to re-examine the amount of money they ask housing developers to pay to local schools. Now it appears that the county Board of Supervisors is willing to at least consider the idea.
“During the board’s meeting Tuesday, Supervisor Pete Candland, R-Gainesville, asked county staff to develop a report on the how ‘proffers’ – money developers pay to offset new residents’ demands for county services such as schools, transportation, law-enforcement, parks and libraries – compare to those requested by officials in surrounding communities.
“Candland, a fiscal conservative who is nonetheless a vocal supporter of more money for local schools, represents a portion of Prince William County where rapid growth has led to overcrowding in many existing school buildings.
“In a press release issued after Tuesday’s meeting, Candland said the county not only needs to re-examine its proffer amounts but also whether new housing developments produce the tax revenue to support the new developments.
” ‘We have a crisis in education in Prince William County with the highest class sizes in the Commonwealth and underpaid classroom teachers,’ Candland said in the press release.
” ‘Prince William County’s proffer policy has not been updated in several years, and that has the effect of underfunding our schools, and the unintended consequence is that we impose an unfair burden on existing homeowners who are forced to subsidize new housing developments that do not adequately pay for the schools and county services required for new families who buy homes in those subdivisions,’ Candland added.
“Back in May, the Prince William County School Board passed a resolution asking county supervisors to reexamine proffer levels, which were last revised in 2006 and are lower than what developers are asked to pay even in lower-cost areas such as Fauquier and Stafford counties.
“School Board Member Gil Trenum, Brentsville, reiterated that request earlier this month.
“Prince William’s ‘Policy Guide for Monetary Contributions’ sets the proffer amount for single-family homes at $37,719. Of that amount, county schools are slated to receive $14,462 every time a building permit is pulled on a new home.
“In Loudoun County, however, developers are asked to pay more than $51,000 for every home built – more than $34,000 of which is slated just for schools, according to figures provided by Prince William County Schools staff.”
“More than 100 people gathered in the Nokesville Elementary School gymnasium Thursday night for the kick-off meeting of Prince William County’s rural preservation study, a new effort to evaluate 15-year-old land-use policies that limit development in the ‘Rural Crescent.’
“County Planning Director Chris Price said the goal of the study, which is being conducted with the help of Annapolis-based Environmental Resources Management, is not necessarily to change current development rules for the county’s rural corridor, but rather to develop ‘clear rural policies and objectives’ to guide future planning decisions.
“Price said the study comes about a year-and-a-half after some members of the Board of Supervisors began asking what other Virginia cities and counties are doing to preserve rural areas while balancing needs for new housing and infrastructure.
“Back in 1998, the county established broad land-use rules for the roughly 100,000 acres comprising the Rural Crescent, a swath of land that traverses the length of the county west of Bristow and Vint Hill roads. Much of that land lies within the A-1 Agricultural zoning district, which limits development to one single-family home per 10 acres.
“The study might conclude that no changes are needed, Price said, but 15 years is a long time to retain a policy without evaluating whether it’s meeting the community’s goals.
“The first step, he added is to find out what residents and stakeholders want.
” ‘We’re really starting the process’ of considering a variety of issues, Price noted, including: ‘Do we want more houses or do we not want more houses? Do we want to allow people to connect to the [county] sewer [system], or do we not want them to? … You’re way more impacted than we are,’ he told those in attendance. ‘So the process is way more impacted by public participation.’
“Clive Graham, a representative with Environmental Resources Management, said the goal is to include a variety of rural area stakeholders – including those who live and own property in the rural corridor as well as conservation groups, community organizations and representatives from neighboring Prince William Forest Park, Quantico Marine Corps Base and Manassas National Battlefield Park.
“Earlier on Thursday, representatives from those groups met for a focus group discussion at the county’s McCoart administration building, Price said. The goal of the evening session was to explain the study’s goals to area residents and begin gathering their input.
“Many complied, voicing a range of opinions about the county’s A-1 zoning rule.
“Some expressed support for the existing policy, which they credit for limiting sprawl and preserving open space by directing new growth toward existing population centers.
“Others said the land-use rules unfairly limit the rights of rural property owners.
” ‘We have property and we have rights,’ said longtime Rural Crescent area property owner and resident Elizabeth Parker. ‘We don’t want the county dictating to us what to do with our land.’
“Charlie Grymes and Elena Schlossberg, both members of the smart growth-minded Prince William Conservation Alliance, said any new policies should consider the financial ramifications of increased development.
” ‘If you plant all these extra houses in the rural area, how does that affect traffic congestion?’ Grymes asked, noting that county taxpayers shoulder the burden of widening roads and building new schools necessary to accommodate residential construction.
” ‘It’s not just the idea that you are preserving rural land, it’s also a sound fiscal tool,’ Schlossberg added. ‘You can’t separate the two.’
“It all seemed all too familiar to some residents, who said it felt like a return to earlier fights about land-use policies that ended in hurt feelings.
” ‘I would hope we don’t fight the same ugly battles that hurt this community 10 or 15 years ago,’ said a woman who did not give her name. ‘There should be room for compromise.’
“Price said the divergent opinions were not unexpected.
” ‘Land-use planning is a very passionate issue,’ Price said. ‘I’m actually very pleased that people are actively engaged. … The strongest communities are the ones where the people are most engaged.’
“Residents were invited to submit written comments, and an online survey will soon be available on the rural preservation study webpage.
“In the meantime comments can be directed toward Brian Wilson at 703-792-7615 or email@example.com.”
“What’s the future of the Rural Crescent, the 80,000-acre swath of land set aside for preservation by Prince William County in its 1998 comprehensive land use plan?
“Nearly 120 people who turned out to an information meeting Aug. 1 in Nokesville Elementary School want to know.
“Chris Price, county planning director, told the group a rural preservation study was approved last year by county supervisors to examine existing rural land use policies. He added the county uses only some of the land use tools the state allows.
” ‘Most of our rural policies date from the late 1990s,’ Price said the day before the meeting.
“To help determine the future of the Rural Crescent, the county hired consultants from Environment Resource Management (ERM), Annapolis, MD, to do a study. Price said July 31 he believed, without checking the paperwork, the consultants cost $60,000. The project kicked off June 4 with a presentation by the consultants to the board of supevisors.
“Clive Graham, who heads the study from ERM, told his audience the study’s purpose was to evaluate the county’s rural policies and its preservation tools and to help the county develop clear rural policies and objectives, based on stakeholder input. Price said all residents are considered stakeholders.
“Graham added, ‘we want to find out what’s working, what’s not and what to do about it.’ He said the purpose of the meeting was to ‘tell you about the study, introduce the team (of consultants), tell you about the process and how you can get involved.’
“Graham said stakeholders could provide input by taking a 20-minute survey on the study at pwcgov.org/planning. The survey will ask respondents how they feel about the county’s sewer policy, open land, recreation areas and farm areas. He noted the county’s existing policies do not say what the goals are for the Rural Crescent.
“A draft report will be done in October, but stakeholder recommendations will be sought until November, when the project will be sent to the board of supervisors.
“For those who don’t want to take an on-line survey, Graham pointed out comments can be put on the planning department’s web page. Comments and questions also can be addressed to Brian Wilson in the county’s planning department at 703-792-7615, or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
“Preliminary observations show the county has two development areas, one at each end of the county, with semi-rural land in the middle, the speaker explained.
” ‘The rural area is important because it is the outer edge of the DC metro area,’ Graham [said], adding that Quantico is doing a land use study in cooperatin with Prince William and Fauquier counties.
“The consultant reported 28 percent of the rural area is preserved today, and asked, ‘Is this too high, too low or right?’
“The Rural Crescent is 50 percent of the county, and today it has 7,600 homes, according to Graham. With current zoning, another 3,700 homes can be added.
” ‘Is this too high? Too low?’ asked Graham. He explained that water lines are premitted in the Rural Crescent, but sewer cannot be added, ‘unless there are special circumstances.’
“During the question and answer period, a woman in the audience noted Rural Crescent landowners couldn’t transfer development rights (TDR) becauses ‘there are no development rights in the Rural Crescent.’ Price explained that with a TDR, a builder/developer could go to a landowner and purchase the rights to build a certain number of homes. He added the county would look to see if it could do TDRs here.
“A woman audience member noted the builder/developer would be paying for agricultural land, which costs less than other property.
“A man in the audience contended he couldn’t afford to sell as agricultural land. ‘We’re in survival mode now,’ he added.
“A man who said he lives on Vint Hill Road reported someone had called the county to complain that he ‘had an animal with too much fur’ on his property.
” ‘It was a sheep,’ he told the meeting.
“On another occasion , he said someone called him to report there was ‘a cow in my field having a calf. “Do something,” ‘ he said the complainer demanded.
“Another man who said his family has farmed in the county 110 years contended he didn’t move to the rural area to live beside residential development.
” ‘You moved next to us,’ he asserted. ‘Get us the hell out of the Rural Crescent, and we’ll get the hell out of your hair.’ He remarked that one of his animals was down in a field, sunning itself, and a neighbor thought it was dead.
“Patti McKay, Nokesville, told the meeting she’s against any development that’s going to cost her more money. She added she hoped ‘we don’t fight the same ugly battle as 10 or 15 years ago.’ She noted there should be room for compromise.
“Another audience member opined, ‘We’ve lived here forever. What’s left to preserve? Forget the study. The county is better now in paying bills than before development.’
“Michelle Trenum, Nokesville, reported that developers in Loudoun County give more money to the schools than developers do in Prince William County.
“Charlie Grynmes wanted to know whether the 120,000 people who move here in the next 20 years would be in the development area of the county, or ‘across the whole area.’
“Price explained more units would be added to the development area. Grymes said the rural preservation study also should consider the financial impacts of added development.”
“Score another one for opponents of the Bi-County Parkway.
“On July 16, the Board of County Supervisors unanimously approved a citizens’ resolution stating that Prince William County will not support the closure of U.S. 29 and Route 234 inside the Manassas National Battlefield Park without the completion of a bypass road around the battlefield.
“The Bi-County Parkway would link Manassas to Dulles. While exact plans are not solidified, officials have said they might close U.S. 29 and Route 234 inside the battlefield as part of the overall parkway plan.
“A related proposal would close U.S. 29 and Route 234 inside the battlefield and would intead create the Battlefield Bypass to reroute traffic around the park.
“With enough money and public support, officials could do both — close the roads and build both the bypass and the parkway. They could also do just one or the other — create the bypass or the parkway.
“Last week’s vote means that the county doesn’t want the roads closed for the parkway unless the bypass is also being built. That amounts to a victory for opponents of the Bi-County Parkway because forcing the construction of the Battlefield Bypass first would add considerably to the cost of the overall plan, making it less likely that the parkway would ever happen.
“But while that resolution is the latest in a string of victories for opponents of the Bi-County Parkway, it’s debatable whether the board’s declaration has teeth behind it or is merely symbolic.
” ‘It actually does have teeth to it because the assistant attorney general made a ruling that they could not take a secondary road without the Board of County Supervisors agreeing to it,’ said Mary Ann Ghadban, a Pageland Lane resident who helped draft the resolution.
“As proof, she pointed to a Dec. 18 email to several Virginia Department of Transportation staffers. Virginia’s senior assistant attorney general Ellen Porter stated that ‘it would be difficult to successfully argue that (the) public is being served by VDOT abandoning a road that is in demand by drivers.’
“While Porter’s statement is not an official ruling, it is an indication that the state would be unlikely to move against the county’s wishes.
“Gainesville District Supervisor Pete Candland (R) said on Thursday that the ‘teeth’ is whether VDOT or Manassas National Battlefield Park superintendent Ed Clark ‘want to consider the feelings of the Board of County Supervisors.’
“Candland said there is a ‘a lot of uncertainty’ about where Clark will stand on the transportation issues but as the battlefield superintendent, his opinion will carry weight.
“With VDOT Secretary Sean Connaughton, who is a former Prince William Board of County Supervisors chairman himself, due to speak to the board on Aug. 6, it appears county residents and elected official alike may receive at least some hint about whether the July 16 resolution will have any sort of impact on the debate.
“Board of County Supervisors Chairman Corey Stewart (R), who supports the Bi-County Parkway and is Connaughton’s successor, asked for a change in the wording of the reolution to make it clear [that] it would ‘reaffirm’ rather than ‘confirm’ county policy.
” ‘This is not a change to county policy,’ said Stewart at the board meeting.
“The board voted 8-0 in favor of that wording and two minor technical changes.
“The resolution means that even advocates of the Bi-County Parkway do not like the idea of either road being shut down until there is a completed new road around the battlefield in place.
“However, opponents of the parkway, such as Candland, say they’re against that road under any circumstance, so the resolution should not be seen as a tactical endorsement of the parkway even if the Battlefield Bypass is built first.
” ‘Let me be clear: I’m against this road, the Bi-County Parkway, regardless,’ said Candland. ‘It’s not a good use of taxpayer money.’
“He later added that the opposition to closing Route 234 inside the battlefield ‘could be one of those avenues to stop this from happening.’
“One alternative to the Bi-County Parkway is an eastern route, generally known as the Tri-County Parkway, that would run parallel to Route 28.
“The extension of Godwin Drive through Manassas and Yorkshire and out in to Fairfax County, eventually leading to Dulles in Loudoun County, is being pushed by state House Majority Whip Jackson Miller (R-50th), who represents Manassas.[Note: House Majority Whip Jackson Miller, a realtor by profession, is generally considered a residential developer ally and receives more campaign funding from developers than any other group — about 25% of all funding — per the official Virginia campaign finance website Virginia Public Access Project (VPAP): http://www.vpap.org/candidates/profile/home/60848 .]
“So far, opponents of the Bi-County Parkway seem to be considering it as potentially viable.
” ‘That would be a good solution in light of the fact that you have the right-of-way’ already provided, said Ghadban, who backs a rural road around the battlefield too.
“To Candland, the Tri-County Parkway ‘is definitely a better alternative’ than the Bi-County Parkway because the Bi-County Parkway ‘does not solve any sort of traffic issue for the citizens in Prince William County’ while the Tri-County Parkway would alleviate some north-south congestion.
“However, he said, ‘I don’t know enough about the Tri-County Parkway’ to deem whether it is a completely acceptable alternative.”
“More than 700 people crowded into Hylton Performing Arts Center in Manassas June 3 to hear Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT) report on the Tri-County Parkway (TCP). Only two of the almost 40 people who spoke from the audience expressed support for the 10.4 mile roadway.
“Prince William Board of County Supervisors at its June 4 meeting voted to remove the TCP from the list it sends to VDOT as part of the six year program allocation. Several residents addressed the board on the TCP during citizens’ time and all spoke against it.
“The TCP water run north of interstate 66 from the VA 234 interchange in Prince William County to route 50 in Loudon County, west of the Dulles International Airport.
“Also under discussion at that VDOT meeting was the North-South Coordinator Master Plan study, which looks at a 45-mile road network from Interstate 95 in eastern Prince William County to Rt. 7 in Loudoun County, and the Manassas National Battlefield Park (MNBP) bypass, which allow for the closure of VA 234 and 29 in the park and rerouting of both roads outside the park.
“The North-South Corridor is mainly east and west of VA 234 between I-95 and I-66.
“The battlefield bypass on the park’s western edge would run from I-66 to Sudley Road and have the same alignment as the TCP. In 2005, the National Park Service held a public hearing on the plan, and VOT will pay $4 million toward its design. No federal funding has been set aside for the bypass, according to VDOT information available at the June 3 meeting.
“Charles Kilpatrick, VDOT’s chief deputy commissioner was in charge of the June 3 session. He told the audience the TCO would not have tolls and would not introduce development in to the Rural Crescent at I-66, US 29 and existing VA 234 west of the battlefield. He added there is $12 million available for road design, but no construction schedule.
“VA 234 would be widened and relocated 2.5 miles west of the battlefield. The part of VA 234 running through the park would close to through traffic, but remain open for access to private property.
“US 29 through the battlefield would not close when the TCP is built, Kilpatrick assured the crowd. The Manassas Battlefield Bypass would relocate US 29 outside the park when it is built, but there is no construction funding for the bypass.
“The VDOT official also explained there is at least $300,000 set aside for traffic calming measures on US 29, and that work would be finished before the TCP opens. Public input will be sought, and US 29 traffic will not be affected, he added. Kilpatrick also noted Pageland Lane would not close.
“The state official said removing major bottleneck at VA 234 and US29 at the Stone House would improve MNBP, and that the National Park Service (NPS) supports the TCP because traffic would be shifted out of the park’s center to its periphery.
“Sudley Methodist Church on VA 234, as well as other local property owners, would have access to their properties both during and after the TCP is built. Directional signs to the historic church will be put up on the TCP. At previous meetings on the TCP, church members have voiced concern that their congregation would be negatively impacted by the parkway.
“When it comes to VA 234 south of I-66, Kilpatrick reported VDOT is studying projects to grade separate VA 234 at Balls Ford Road and Prince William County’s comprehensive plan calls for VA 234 to be widened to six lanes from I-95 to I-66, but that no formal plans or money exists.
“During public comment on the VDOT presentation, Sen. Charles ‘Chuck’ Colgan, (D-29th District), got applause when he contended he didn’t want to see VA 234 or US 29 ‘closed anytime.’
“Del. Robert ‘Bob’ Marshall, (R-13th District), told Kilpatrick VDOT ‘is three years too late’ with its presentation on the TCP. He added information was lacking from the Commonwealth Transportation Board (CTB), the 17-memberboard which allocates all funding for state transportation projects, and that ‘a lack of transparency’ has plagued the TCP project.
” ‘Who has options on the land,’ Marshall asked in speaking of the TCP route through two counties. He said he has asked for information from the state, but gotten ‘different answers from different people.’
“The delegate asserted that Gov. Robert ‘Bob’ McDonnell has said freight users at Dulles Airport want the TCP. Marshall noted he contacted both Fed Ex and UPS, and that Fed Ex ‘didn’t know about the project, and that UPS did not support it and was not pleased VDOT said it supported it.’
“Vicky Hull spoke for Del. Tim Hugo, (R-40th District), pointing out he believes the TCP is ‘an ill-conceived project that squanders precious transportation dollars.’
“Audience member Steve Ward asked what would be done to address backups on I-66 west at rush hour. He said closing VA 29 would worsen traffic on I-66.
“A man in the audience reported Featherbed Lane is used as a cut through from VA 234 to US 29, even though part of the road is gravel. Kilpatrick asserted he ‘is amazed at the traffic on this one,’ and that ‘people are using unpaved roads as cut throughs.’ He added there are no plans to close or restrict Featherbed Lane or Groveton Road.
“Linda Budreika called the TCP process ‘insulting.’ She alleged the ‘north-south corridor has been on the books before and has failed.’ She said that with each failure, the roadway has been given a new name.
” ‘We’ll kill this road again. The road is fatally flawed and an insult to the tax-paying public,’ she contended.
“Mac Haddow reported Prince William Chamber of Commerce has said that ‘only a small group’ is opposed to the TCP. No one from the chamber spoke at the meeting.
” ‘This (road) is a non-starter and a huge mistake,’ Haddow observed.
“Martha Hendley, a former member of Prince William County Planning Commission, asked what would happen to other roads in the area when some roads are closed. She added ‘What else is there in these plans that we don’t know about yet?’
“Robert Weir, Haymarket, told Kilpatrick, ‘VDOT is facing a crisis of confidence. No one here has confidence in you.’ He asserted, ‘everything in this project is a moving target.’
“Pageland Lane resident Phyllis Thompson explained the TCP wouldn’t help her, since she travels to Maryland, not Loudon County. She said the TCP ‘will destroy the Catharpin community.’
“Allyson Satterwhite, a member of the county’s school board, contended economic development in the county would be hurt if VA 234 is closed inside the battlefield, and that the closure would shift traffic to US 15.
” ‘We don’t have the capacity for the kind of traffic you’re forcing on us,’ she noted.
“Page Snyder observed that the area’s chambers of commerce have said the TCP is needed for the future.
” ‘They’re creating the future of more strip malls. We’re being sold a bill of goods. Never doubt the power of the people,’ she added.
“Mary Ann Ghadban, Pageland Lane, spoke against what she termed ‘the taking of private property for economic gain.’
“Ed Clark, MNBP superintendent, said June 6 much of the information the public has received on the TCP is ‘bad or out of date.’ He explained he asked Hugo to visit the park, but ‘he never did.’ He said he spoke with Marshall a few times on the telephone, but has had no contact with him since 2011.
“US Cong. Frank Wolf, (R-10th District), ‘has been kept up to date for years on what the park is doing,’ Clark said. On May 14, the congressman issued a press release, asking the governor to delay plans for the north-south corridor until area residents have a chance to learn more about the project.
“Clark noted VDOT has never supported making VA 234 four lanes through the battlefield. He said VA 234 through the park only would be closed when the TCP is finished and opened. He explained US 29 is part of the Manassas Bypass project, not part of the TCP project.
“VDOT plans to give the park service $3 million to purchase preservation easements along the historic corridor, Clark reported.
“MNBP has 650,000 visitors each year and contributes $10 million to the local economy, according to Clark.
“The park also is responsible for adding 175 to 200 jobs locally for hotels, restaurants and retail establishments.
“The superintendent said he and VDOT representatives were planning to meet with Sudley United Methodist Church members on June 10.”
” ‘Right now, every day, at (US) 29 and (VA) 234 in the battlefield, traffic is backed up a couple of miles. Due to the historical nature of the battlefield, we’re prohibited from improving those roads. We’ve got to find a way to address the capacity outside that will lessen the congestion inside,’ said Sean Connaughton on May 20.
“The Virginia secretary of commerce [and former Prince Willaim Board of County Supervisors chairman) was speaking in a phone interview about plans to build the Tri-County Parkway through Prince William County from interstate 95 to west of Dulles International Airport in Loudoun County. The Virginia Department of Transportation’s (VDOT) plan would re-route US29 and VA234 traffic out of Manassas National Battlefield Park (MNBP), but the proposal has met with opposition from some elected federal and state officials and some western Prince William County residents.
“US Rep. Frank Wolf, (R-10th District) on May 10 asked Virginia Gov. Robert McDonnell to have the Commonwealth Transportation Board (CTB) delay decisions on the roadway, fearing it was ‘on a fast track,’ and that residents need to learn more about the project.
“VDOT will hold an information meeting June 3 at 6:30 p.m. in Hylton Performing Arts Center on the George Mason University Campus in Manassas. Gary Garczynski, who represents northern Virginia on the 17-member CTB, said May 17 a meeting also will be set up with residents of Pageland Lane near the corridor and that Wolf’s letter to the governor ‘warranted not only a response, but a meeting.’
“The congressman also asked the governor to get a cost-benefit analysis to determine ‘the cost versus any expected congestion relief and compare it to other proposed congestion relief projects in the area; especially those planned on I-66.’
“Wolf added he is concerned with the lack of transparency in the parkway process, the opening of the Rural Crescent to development, plans ‘to potentially close Routes 234 and 29 before the bypass around the park is completed’ and how up to 100 properties would be impacted if Pageland Lane were closed or limited. He noted if the North/South Corridor becomes a toll road as discussed, ‘it would mean four toll roads in northern Virginia-more than any other region of the state. Under no circumstances should this region face more tolls.’ He contended he has spoken with officials of the Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority, and concluded the roadway will not lead to an increase in press conference Apr. 29 at the Stone House at the battlefield are Del. Tim Hugo, (R-40th), Del. Bob Marshall, (R-13th); Del. Michael Webert, (R-18th); Sen. Dick Black, (R-13th); Sen. Richard Stuart, (R-28th), and Sen. Jill Vogel, (R-27th). In Prince William County Pete Candland, (R-Gainesville), and Mike May (R-Occoquan), said they are not in favor of the project. Both sit on the county’s board of supervisors.
“At its May 15 meeting, the CTB deferred to June 19 its decision to accept the North/South Corridor study. The Tri-County Parkway also is known as the North/South Corridor, the Bi-County Parkway, the outer beltway and the Battlefield Bypass.
” ‘The May 15 resolution was to accept the North/South corridor study, not bless it,’ reported Garczynski, who added the board may not ‘necessarily agree to all that’s in the study.’ He said about 15 people attended the CTB board meeting, and that some were for the parkway, while others were against it.
“Connaughton called the North/South study a ‘visioning document’ that will project ‘where and what will happen in 30 years.’ He explained the state is looking at ‘the land use plan of Prince William County and Loudoun County at Innovation, land west of Loudoun, residential planning of southeast Loudoun [and] what’s happening in Gainesville and Haymarket.’ He added that in June, the state would start procurement for express lanes, transit or rail ‘that would go down the middle’ on I-66 from the beltway to Haymarket.
” ‘In mid-June, we’ll issue a request for interest where we ask for proposals,’ the secretary noted. Connaughton pointed out the state’s six-year plan includes funding for the I-66/US 15 project.
“The proposed Tri-County Parkway would replace two-lane VA234 with a four-lane road.
” ‘We want to improve the transit connections in Loudon and Prince William County. The plans have been in the works at least 25 years, and we’re finally finishing all the studies to enable us to improve the transportation network and preserve the national battlefield. This is a major win for the residents of Prince William County and the preservation of hallowed ground,’ Connaughton remarked.
“Three overpasses are in the parkway plans. One would take VA234 over Balls Ford Road, the second would route VA 234 over US 29 and the third would go over VA 234 extended.
“The state official pointed out an extension of VA234 ‘has always been in plans.’
“Connaughton noted that road improvements would result in ‘no traffic lights from Heritage Hunt to Centreville. Rt. 29 would be free flowing. This will drastically improve mobility in western Prince William County. Every resident should be demanding we move as quickly as possible.’ “