by Page Snyder of Pageland Farm, Gainesville Times

13-19 February 2013, p. A5

“Gainesville residents need to be aware that the Tri-County Parkway (Outer Beltway) might start construction in as little as 2-3 years from now.

“The TCP (Outer Beltway) is slated to run the length of Pageland Lane from I-66 across U.S. 29 to Route 234, down Sanders Lane and into Loudoun County where it will connect with the North Star Boulevard.

“The TCP will be a major four-lane highway and truck route with cargo traffic headed to Dulles and speed limits designed for 65 mph.

“It will cut through the Rural Crescent, and part of the route will be placed directly in the Manassas Battlefield Park through the hallowed grounds of Brawner Farm.

“Congress passed a law in 1980 that requires the National Park Service to close the intersection at the Stone House (U.S. 29 and Route 234.)  The Park Service additionally plans to close 29 to through traffic from Pageland Lane through the Stone House intesection and to the Farifax County Line.

“In order to achieve this, the National Park Service has bought into the placement of the Tri-County Parkway directly onto park property.  The National Park Service states that by providing historic land to VDOT for a highway, it enables Manassas Battlefield Park to close the Stone House intersection and U.S. 29.

“As currently planned, the TCP will cut off Pageland Lane and other residents from access to U.S. 29 or access to a service road and will allow no access to residents to the new highway, other than somewhere on Route 234.

“Recently, at citizen request, VDOT held a meeting with residents whose property is directly affected by the TCP.  Many residents were unable to attend the meeting because VDOT did not notify all the residents or the notices were received late or not at all.

“The meeting was held in a darkened room and maps given to the residents were difficult to read and decipher.  Many residents were angered and felt that VDOT was purposely trying to limit citizen input.  VDOT has repeatedly stated they are under no requirement to have citizens meetings, which is outrageous.

“At the meeting, residents voiced their anger at cutting off Pageland lane and putting a high-speed four-lane highway through our farmland and the park.

“One major concern is how the TCP will affect property values and the ability to develop privately-owned lands.  Most residents, however, have lived on Pageland Lane for many years, have been good stewards of the land, and do not wish to be forced to move as the highway cuts through their property and in some cases through their homes.

“Residents of this area and people throughout the nation have fought battle after battle to preserve the integrity of one of our country’s most beloved parks.  Many of us have sacrificed our blood, sweat, and tears and feel the National Park Service has betrayed us, and that the Commonwealth of Virginia is creating tremendous conflict in the community and jeopardizing the battlefield.

“Several Pageland Lane residents have initiated meetings with Gainesville Supervisor Pete Candland and State Del. Tim Hugo.  Delegate Hugo plans to hold a meeting within the next month for all concerned Gainesville residents.”