Citizens for Balanced Growth

Category: Bi-County/Tri-County Parkway (2012-2016) (Page 1 of 2)

See What You, the People, Achieved: 4 for 4 … (+ Questions for BOCS Chair Ann Wheeler)

[Mass e-mail by Prince William Citizens for Balanced Growth]

All:   Good news.

Electoral Outcome — On 5 November, the four western and central county candidates whom you and we were able to directly support were all elected to the Prince William Board of County Supervisors (BOCS):  Yesli Vega (Coles), Jeanine Lawson (Brentsville), Kenny Boddye (Occoquan), and Peter Candland (Gainesville.)  We have deliberately chosen not to list their party affiliations this time because we don’t care.  We backed them only because they have chosen to publicly, clearly, and specifically support protecting the Rural Crescent and limiting residential development, which overcrowds our roads and schools and raises our taxes to pay for the resultant deteriorating public services — an indirect subsidy to residential developers.  Peter, Yesli, Kenny, and Jeanine’s four opponents all refused to make such promises — or any promises other than meaningless platitudes — and they all lost by big electoral margins (10-15%), with the exception of Kenny’s opponent, who lost narrowly because she was an incumbent and, as far as we know, not deeply unpopular. 

What You Achieved — This positive electoral outcome for the four candidates from the west- and mid-county happened because you took matters into your own hands as citizens — voting and, in many cases, before that actually campaigning with friends and neighbors for what you believe in and value, staying focused on the germane issues for BOCS candidates, land use and taxes, and not being distracted by irrelevancies, glittering generalities, red herrings, and disinformation from residential developers and their allies.  Well done.  (Remember that it takes a five-vote majority for the eight-member BOCS to pass anything.)  We take our hats off to you:  A virtuous and informed citizenry is the only defense against bad government and tyranny.  We must now hold our representatives to their promises and hold all BOCS supervisors accountable to deliver responsible government that serves the 98%, ordinary citizens, not primarily the 2%, residential developers, big landowners, and their allies.


Lessons Learned? — Let us hope that the county Democratic Party will never again choose to try to make protecting the Rural Crescent and limiting residential development a partisan issue supported only by Republicans.  Congratulations to the three new members of the BOCS from the southeast end of the county — Margaret Franklin (Woodbridge) and Victor Angry (Neabsco), who both ran unopposed in non-competitive districts, after wining earlier contests, and Andrea Bailey (Potomac), who won by a whopping 28%.  Let’s hope they can find common ground with the four BOCS members from west- and mid-county in serving all county citizens (not just residential developers) on the land use issues that matter most, creating the greatest possible good for the greatest possible number.

Let us also hope that the new Chairman of the BOCS Ann Wheeler will publicly, clearly, and specifically:  a) stop supporting breaking open the Rural Crescent to high-density development via the Bi-County Parkway and via the rigged, residential developer-driven Rural Crescent Study; b) accept serious limits on residential development, which overcrowds our roads and schools, damages the environment and property values, and raises our taxes; and c) stop listening virtually exclusively to unscrupulous residential developers on land use issues. 

We wonder what Ann meant when she told WTOP Radio on 6 Nov, right after the election:  “We are going to do a comprehensive review of land use … [Ann:  Does that include continuing the rigged, residential developer-driven Rural Crescent study?]  We’re going to make a plan for Prince William County for the next 20 years, so we know where we can grow.”  Both sentences, but particularly the last one sound to us like another big, juicy yet furtive kiss/promise from Ann to residential developers. 

Ann also stresses that the county needs more federal funding to fix the schools, through a process over which she has virtually no leverage: the 2020 federal census.  Ann: More importantly, how about stopping rather than encouraging out-of-control residential growth, especially tax-negative housing, which overcrowds our schools and roads and forces us to then subsidize through increased taxes the very thing (residential development/developers) that is tormenting us?  (For the full WTOP 6 Nov story, see: https://wtop.com/prince-william-county/2019/11/democrats-preview-coming-changes/ )

Ann:  We request that you read our following recent posts, which we think you’ll find helpful to better understand the full range of major land use issues:

https://pwcbg.org/2019/10/beware-preserving-rural-crescent-limits-on-residential-developers-no-longer-supported-by-both-parties-in-5-nov-elections/

https://pwcbg.org/2019/10/our-plea-to-you-re-5-nov-elections-implications-for-schools-roads-taxes-rural-crescent/

https://pwcbg.org/2019/10/stopping-the-many-headed-monster-of-out-of-control-residential-development/

https://pwcbg.org/2019/10/how-board-of-county-supervisors-land-use-decisions-affect-you-before-and-beyond-5-nov-elections/

https://pwcbg.org/2019/10/mr-bildmore-civic-groups-civic-virtue-disingenuous-partisanship/

https://pwcbg.org/2019/11/see-what-you-the-people-achieved-4-for-4-questions-for-annw/ (this post)

Again, to the people of the western and central parts of the county who supported Yesli, Jeanine, Kenny, and Peter:  Well done.  Bless you. You can make a difference.


Sincerely,

Ralph & Kathy Stephenson
Prince William Citizens for Balanced Growth

Only in the bright light of public scrutiny can the common good be secured,
While in darkness and obscurity the interests of the powerful and affluent prevail.

BEWARE: Preserving Rural Crescent, Limits on Residential Developers No Longer Supported by Both Parties in 5 Nov Elections

[Mass e-mail by Prince William Citizens for Balanced Growth]

Fellow Prince William County Citizens:

In our nearly 15 years of involvement in county land use issues and almost 20 years living here, pursuing balanced growth land use policies and protecting Prince William County’s Rural Crescent have always been bipartisan issues, including protecting citizens against tax-negative residential development that chokes our roads, overcrowds our schools, raises our taxes, lowers property values, and damages our environment.  Thank goodness for that. 

Specifically, regarding the Rural Crescent, thank county officials like Sharon Pandak, a Democrat and county lawyer who helped create the Rural Crescent in 1998, former politicians like Republican Supervisors John Stirrup and Mike May, current politicians like Democratic Supervisor Frank Principi and Republican Supervisors Jeanine Lawson, Peter Candland, and Maureen Caddigan, all of whom have frequently and consistently spoken out and voted in favor of the Rural Crescent.  They have done so against the wishes of unprincipled residential developers, big landowners, and allies on the Board of County Supervisors (Republican Supervisors Corey Stewart, Marty Nohe, and former Democratic Supervisor John Jenkins) who have had no qualms about sticking you with the most overcrowded roads and schools in Virginia and then raising your taxes to pay for the very things that are tormenting you.  Also thank the citizens groups, composed of both Republicans and Democrats, who, on their own time and pro bono, have applied pressure and kept attention focused on balanced growth land use and preserving the Rural Crescent.

But now, sadly and to our great disappointment, the bipartisanship has apparently ended.

As if they’ve received marching orders from a higher authority, none of the eight Democrats running for the Board of County Supervisors (BOCS) in the 5 November elections has agreed to sign the Preserve the Rural Crescent/Friends of the Rural Crescent (PRC/FORCE) pledge to protect the Rural Crescent or in any way unequivocally and publicly promised to support it.  On the other hand, five of the six Republican candidates running for the BOCS — John Gray (at-large, chairman), Yesli Vega (Coles District), Douglas Taggart (Potomac District), and incumbents Jeanine Lawson (Brentsville District) and Peter Candland (Gainesville District) — have publicly and clearly expressed support for preserving the Rural Crescent.

 

  • Democratic candidate for at-large chairman of the BOCS, Ann Wheeler, unapologetically supports the far-western north-south Bi-County Parkway (BCP), which:  runs right through the Rural Crescent to Dulles Airport and thus will be the end of any honest semblance of a rural preservation area, solves no known commuter or other traffic problem, and is a big juicy kiss to residential developers who wish to open up the Rural Crescent to high-density residential development.  Ann has raised $185K, three times that of her Republican opponent John Gray.  Over $103K (56%) of her money raised is from major Democratic donors, her family, organized labor, and developers.  (See http://vpap.org for more info.  All campaign finance figures above and below are as of 31 Aug 2019.)
  • Democratic BOCS Supervisor Frank Principi (Woodbridge District), who supports the Rural Crescent and limits on residential growth, was ousted by his own party.  It seems that the Democratic Party may have caught him off guard by running a quiet but well-organized primary campaign against him that succeeded by only 97 votes.  His replacement as the Democratic candidate, Margaret Franklin, will apparently run unopposed in the general election.  Margaret has raised $61K; just under $27K (44%) is from major Democratic donors, organized labor, and developers.
  • The Democratic candidate for Coles District Supervisor, Raheel Sheikh, when asked if he supported the Rural Crescent, not only refused to offer support, but also told PRC/FORCE:  “I represent everyone and feel no need to take sides on anything.”  In other words:  I refuse to tell you what I stand for so you can make an informed decision about me, but you should just vote for me anyway.  My policies and views are not your concern as a voter.  … It appears that Raheel is uninterested in the democratic process of being transparent and accountable to voters.  Interestingly, of Raheel’s campaign donations we were able to map, about 55% are from outside the county or state. Perhaps that’s why he seems to see himself as unaccountable to local voters.
  • The Democratic candidate for Gainesville District is Danny Funderburk, who works for one of the largest developers (construction site development) in northern Virginia, William A. Hazel, Inc.  It’s an understatement to say that electing a developer to the BOCS, which controls land use in the county, is like putting a fox in charge of guarding the hen house.   Danny has raised almost $14K, of which over $7.5K (54%) is from developers.
  • In addition to Ann Wheeler, Margaret Franklin, Raheel Sheikh, and Danny Funderburk noted above, the remaining four Democrats and one Republican candidate for the BOCS who have been unwilling to publicly support the Rural Crescent or significant limits on residential growth are:  Democrat Ken Boddye and the Republican incumbent Ruth Anderson (Occoquan), Democrat Victor Angry (Neabsco), who like Margaret Franklin in Woodbridge is apparently running unopposed, Democrat Maggie Hansford (Brentsville), and Democrat Andrea Bailey (Potomac).  Andrea Bailey has raised $120K, five times the amount of her Republican opponent Dennis Taggart; over $63K (53%) is from Democratic donors, organized labor, and developers.  Victor Angry has raised almost $27K; $24K from developers and Democratic donors.  Republican Ruth Anderson has raised $103K, of which $73K (71%) is from developers, Republican donors, and organized labor.  (Nothing special to report that we noticed about Ken Boddye or Maggie Hansford’s fundraising.)
  • It may also be of interest that although we live in Brentsville District and have been active in land use issues there and elsewhere in the county for 14 years, we had never heard of Maggie Hansford before this election campaign several months ago.  The opposite was true of her opponent Jeanine Lawson before she was elected Brentsville supervisor; Jeanine was in the trenches fighting on the right side of many land use battles for years before she was elected supervisor.  In other words, when it comes to land use and related issues — the BOCS’ main responsibility and area of influence — Maggie Hansford has been invisible.



If you think Prince William County is poorly governed, overtaxed, and underserved now — and to some extent we agree — wait until a Democratic majority takes control of the BOCS after 5 November, a Democratic majority that has no commitment whatsoever to the Rural Crescent, balanced growth land use policy, and limiting residential development, especially tax-negative residential development.  Then the most overcrowded school district in the state will become even more overcrowded at all levels, traffic-choked commuter roads will become even more congested, to the point of gridlock, and at the same time that the  government services for which you pay taxes are declining rapidly, your property taxes will increase rapidly.  This will be the new Prince William County that the official Democratic Party apparently supports:  More beholden than ever to big northern Virginia residential developers, who love to flush the high-density, high-volume, tax-negative residential development that no other northern Virginia localities want into Prince William County, our county, degrading the quality of life for everyone except developers, big landowners, and their political allies.


Ralph & Kathy Stephenson
Prince William Citizens for Balanced Growth

Only in the bright light of public scrutiny can the common good be secured,
while in darkness and obscurity the interests of the powerful and affluent prevail.

Board of County Supervisors remove Bi-County Parkway from county comprehensive plan in 4-3 vote; former supporter Stewart absent; Principi claims ‘dirty politics’; Candland calls vote ‘big win’ for citizens

by Jill Palermo, InsideNOVA.com, 18 March 2016

Bi-County Parkway presser
[Pictured:  “Alan Johnson (left) and Philomena Hefter, both residents on Pageland Road in Gainesville, hold a banner that says ‘Say “No!”  to Tri-County Parkway’ during a 2013 protest. Behind Johnson is state Senator Dick Black (R-13th).”]

 

“The controversial planned Bi-County Parkway was dealt yet another blow this week.

“In a surprise move Tuesday, the Prince William County Board of Supervisors voted 4 to 3 to remove the future 10-mile roadway from the county’s long-range planning blueprint, known as the ‘comprehensive plan.’

“The vote was unexpected because the board verbally agreed March 8 to open a public hearing on matter Tuesday but delay their vote until April 5 because Chairman Corey Stewart, R-At Large, said he would be traveling for business and would not be able to attend the March 15 meeting.

“But those plans apparently changed when the road’s opponents realized they had the votes needed to extract the Bi-County Parkway from the comprehensive plan.

“The vote split mostly along party lines, with Republican Supervisors Ruth Anderson, Occoquan, Maureen Caddigan, Potomac, Pete Candland, Gainesville, and Jeanine Lawson, Brentsville, voting to nix the road, while Supervisor Marty Nohe, R-Coles, joined Democratic Supervisors John Jenkins, Neabsco, and Frank Principi, Woodbridge, in voting against it.

“Candland said Thursday several supervisors believed the parkway had been debated long enough and that many believed their voices  ‘would be diminished’ if the vote were delayed.

“ ‘It was time we addressed it,’ Candland said.  ‘The vote was a big win for the citizens of Prince William County who have been held hostage by this poorly designed Bi-County Parkway routing plan.’

“Principi said he tried to protest the vote by reminding his fellow supervisors of their public statement March 8 promising to move the vote to their first meeting in April.

“But County Attorney Michelle Robl advised that because the board never voted on the delay, the verbal agreement was not binding.

“ ‘That is just dirty politics,’ Principi said Thursday. ‘It’s just not good for our community.’

“The parkway, which has been on state and local long-range transportation plans since the 1980s, would extend Va. 234 north to U.S. 50 in Loudoun County. The road is planned to be a four-lane, limited-access parkway that would ease trips between Prince William and Loudoun counties and open up another access point to Dulles International Airport.

“The road is considered key to accommodate current and future population growth and as well as economic development. For that reason, it is widely supported by business and development groups.

“But the road is also planned to skirt the western edge of the protected Manassas National Battlefield Park and is considered a threat to the county’s rural crescent, where residential development is limited to one home per 10 acres. Both are key points of contention for the road’s many opponents.

“Caddigan has been a vocal critic of the parkway because residents in neighborhoods along Va. 234, including Montclair and Ashland, fear it would draw heavier truck traffic between Dulles and Interstate 95.

“Supervisors were cautioned against removing the parkway from the comprehensive plan, however, by both the Virginia Department of Transportation and their own transportation department, because of the effect to other roads in the county.

“According to VDOT projections, the loss of the parkway would exacerbate congestion on nearly every other main north-south artery in the county, including Va. 234, Prince William Parkway, U.S. 15, Sudley Road and Pageland Lane.

“VDOT also predicts 20 percent increases in traffic on several secondary roads, including Waterway Drive and Joplin, Spriggs, Delaney and Hoadly roads.

“Also, the move could come with a big price tag. VDOT has already purchased right-of-way property along Va. 234 for which it could now ask the county for reimbursement, according to a VDOT staff report.

“It is not immediately clear how much the county might have to pay the state, however, since those details were not included in the report.

“It also remains unclear what effect the supervisors’ vote will have in the long term, considering the parkway remains on state long-range plans as well as those in Loudoun and Fairfax counties.

“Principi said he, too, has ‘issues’ with some aspects of the Bi-County Parkway as planned, but contends that taking it off the county’s transportation blueprint is not the responsible way to deal with those challenges.

“ ‘The vote on the Bi-County Parkway was a vote to stop that other conversation,’ Principi said.  ‘The system is broken if we don’t build this road.’ ”

Planning Commission votes unanimously in support of removing Bi-County Parkway from county’s comprehensive plan

by Jill Palermo, InsideNOVA, 23 February 2016

“For the past 30 years, the controversial Bi-County Parkway has existed only as a line on local and regional transportation planning maps.

“Last week, the Prince William Planning Commission voted unanimously to remove it from the county’s long-range blueprint, formally called the ‘comprehensive plan.’

“The proposed 10-mile roadway would extend Va. 234 north about 10 miles to U.S. 50 in Loudoun County, skirting the western edge of the protected Manassas National Battlefield Park.

“The road has been the subject of hot debate in recent years, as opponents have argued it would spoil the protected battlefield without providing enough relief to Prince William County commuters, who would be better served, they say, by improvements to Interstate 66 and Va. 28.

“Supporters, meanwhile, say the future four-lane road is critical to accommodate population growth and facilitate economic development in both Loudoun and Prince William counties.

“The matter was before the planning commission Wednesday because of concerns among some members of the Prince William Board of Supervisors that the Bi-County Parkway could amount to an ‘outer beltway,’ that would direct heavy truck traffic from Dulles International Airport to Interstate 95 along Va. 234 through Manassas and Dumfries.

“Supervisors voted last year to begin the process of removing the road from the comprehensive plan and undoing plans to widen Va. 234 from the current four lanes to six lanes from Country Club Drive to Bristow Road. The move is considered another means of discouraging the construction of the new parkway.

“On Feb. 17, the eight-member planning commission took the first step toward removing the parkway from the comprehensive plan, but declined to reverse course on Va. 234, citing the need for more study.

“In the same vein, the commission called on supervisors to initiate a study of county’s overall transportation grid to identify alternatives to the Bi-County Parkway.

“ ‘The Bi-County Parkway is hypothetical and has been hypothetical for a very long time,’ said Planning Commissioner At Large Don Taylor.

“ ‘My feeling is, let’s wipe the slate clean and quit arguing about this abstract thing and take a look at what we really need here to solve our transportation challenges.’

“The planning commission vote moves the matter to the board of supervisors, which has the final say on removing the road from the comprehensive plan. The board is expected to take it up in March or April, Taylor said.

“At this point, removing the parkway from the county’s comprehensive plan is largely symbolic. The road remains on the regional long-term planning map as well as state transportation plans for the Northern Virginia corridor.

“Still, opponents of the road consider the step an important acknowledgement that the road was never a good deal for Prince William County, said Page Snyder, an outspoken critic who lives beside the battlefield.

“ ‘It’s gratifying to see our planning commission unanimously recognize the negligible benefits and the great cost of the Bi-County Parkway to our county as opposed to the huge benefits to Loudoun County,’ Snyder said.

“Candland calls road study ‘kicking the can down the road'”

by Rose Murphy, Bull Run Observer

13 December 2013, p. 4

“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.”

“Thumbs Down on Bi-County Parkway — for various reasons”

by Rose Murphy, Bull Run Observer

18 October 2013, p. 7

“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.”

“Bi-County Pkwy foes win again: Board resolution ties parkway plans to the PW Battlefield Bypass”

by Dan Roem, Gainesville Times

24-30 July 2013, pp. A1, A3

“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.”

“They Prefer Traffic to Having a New Road”

by Rose Murphy, Bull Run Observer

14 June 2013, pp. 1, 15, 16

“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.”

“VDOT sets June 3 information meeting at Hylton Center on road issues”

 by Rose Murphy, Bull Run Observer

31 May 2013, p. 12

” ‘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.’ “

“Prince William supervisors delay vote on Tri-County Parkway”

by Jeremy Borden, The Washington Post

21 May 2013

BCP

“The Prince William Board of County Supervisors unanimously delayed a vote Tuesday [21 May 2013] that would have reaffirmed the county’s support for a proposed parkway through Manassas Battlefield land that connects Prince William and Loudoun.

“The delay is another in a string of setbacks for the project known as the ‘Tri-County Parkway,’ a road the administration of Gov. Robert F. McDonnell (R) says is vital to the future of one of the fastest-growing regions in the country.

“(Virginia Department of Transportation/Office of Intermodal Planning and Investment) – A map of a planned 45-mile highway — including the proposed Tri-County Parkway — from Route 7 in Ashburn, past the west side of Dulles International Airport, down to Dumfries and Interstate 95 in Prince William County.”The 10-mile parkway, which as proposed now runs through just two counties instead of three, would connect Interstate 66 in Prince William to Route 50 in Loudoun. Dozens of residents and a state legislator implored supervisors during its board meeting to hold off on a vote that would have established the county’s funding priorities for state projects, including the parkway.

“Board Chairman Corey A. Stewart (R), a supporter of the road, blasted state officials who oppose the road, saying that those who are against the project need to propose solutions.
” ‘Everyone who is opposed to the road and not offering an alternative is a coward,’ Stewart said.

“The comments came minutes after Del. Robert G. Marshall (R) joined dozens in voicing opposition to the project.

“In an interview, Marshall said of Stewart’s comment: ‘He should have said it to my face.’  He said he has proposed specific solutions, including widening Route 28, that would be cheaper and less damaging.

“Residents say they worry about increased traffic and the fact that the parkway would run through a bucolic region with a rich Civil War history. Last week, a state transportation board delayed a vote on the issue after U.S. Rep. Frank R. Wolf (R-Va.) wrote a letter to McDonnell to say that the state’s process lacked transparency and that more public input was needed. Six Republican state legislators announced last month that they oppose the road.

“The parkway’s supporters, particularly the business communities in Prince William and Loudoun, say the parkway would create jobs and drive economic development in the area, ease congestion and provide a key connection to Dulles International Airport and between two rapidly growing counties.”

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