“Board looks at new ways to preserve Rural Crescent” by Hillary Chester, Prince William Times, 30
Virginia Public Access Project (VPAP), Virginia’s authoritative source on the role of money in state politics
by Timothy Dwyer, The Washington Post
7 June 2007, p. T1
“One by one, they lined up to speak. Contractors, builders, members of the clergy, Chamber of Commerce representatives, a bank vice president, and they all had the same message for the Prince William Board of County Supervisors: Don’t raise the proffer rate for residential, business and church construction. It would increase the price of homes, drive small and large businesses away and make the cost of building churches prohibitive.
” ‘Simply put,’ said Mark Granville-Smith, president of the Prince William chapter of the Northern Virginia Building Industry Association, ‘now is not the time to raise proffers again. Why is that? We are in such a serious market correction, and the market simply cannot bear another increase at this time.’
“The county charges proffers on new construction to help pay for public services. After hearing the objections, the board voted unanimously Tuesday to deny the increase for commercial and church construction and to defer indefinitely a vote on increasing proffers for residential construction.
“Last week, Chairman Corey A. Stewart (R) said that the board would implement a two-part gradual increase in the fees, but he voted with other members of the board to keep the rates as they are.
“The proposal called for a 36 percent increase in the amount developers would pay for single-family housing — to $51,113 for each house, up from $37,719 — and an increase from $1.91 to $3.80 per square foot for commercial and church construction.
“Supervisor W.S. Covington III (R-Brentsville) suggested that the board vote separately on commercial and church rates and on residential rates. The supervisors voted unanimously to follow his lead.
” ‘And then I would propose that we not close the county down to business and deny the increase in commercial proffers,’ he said.
“Supervisor John D. Jenkins (D-Neabsco) shot his hand in the air and was the first to speak on the issue, even before Covington had made his motion.
“I’d be happy to discuss this new tax,” he said in a booming voice. “This is nothing but a new tax on the people who can least afford it, our policemen, our firefighters and our teachers.”
“He said the increase would add $300 a month to the cost of a 30-year mortgage for the average price of new housing in the county. “You see how much additional tax you will impose?’ Jenkins said.
“Stewart and Supervisor Michael C. May (R-Occoquan) disagreed with Jenkins, saying it was not a tax but a cost builders and developers must pay to compensate the county for the cost of roads, firehouses, police stations, schools and libraries.
” ‘I do not believe that this is a tax passed on to the home buyer,’ Stewart said. ‘You can only sell a house for what the market will bear. If you spend a million dollars to build a house, you might not be able to sell it for a million dollars if the market won’t support it.’
“The board could not agree on how long to defer the vote on whether to raise residential proffers. Jenkins suggested waiting until at least the end of this year and noted that all members of the board may be motivated on this issue by it being election season. (Everyone on the board is up for re-election.)
“In the end, the board decided to take up the matter again after the county staff has had a chance to answer questions about the impact of the proposal.” [passage omitted on debate on county policy toward illegal immigrants]
by Nick Miroff, The Washington Post
25 October 2006, p. B1
“Few candidates can resist walking in a high school homecoming parade, but Friday afternoon in Dale City, Corey A. Stewart was struggling to keep up with one. Wearing a heavy blue peacoat and a ‘Corey Stewart for Chairman’ sticker on his chest, he jogged at a brisk clip along Lindendale Road, weaving among the rifle-twirling marchers of the Hylton High School color guard to shake the hand of every possible eligible voter along the parade route.
” ‘Wow, that’s never happened to me before,’ Stewart said, having edged a little too close to the color guard rifles. ‘I just got hit.’
“It was just a glancing blow, and Stewart never broke stride, trotting after the red convertible that carried his Swedish-born wife, Maria, and their two sons, Isaac, 6, and Luke, 5, who were tossing candy from the back seat. Since he set his eyes on the chairmanship of the Prince William Board of County Supervisors last year, Stewart has been running at the same fervent pace, propelled by his single-minded fixation to curb residential development.
” ‘Smart growth is a loaded term,’ he said, explaining his slogan, ‘Controlled Growth for a Change,’ above the din of the marching band. ‘That’s why I went with “Controlled Growth.” ‘
“Stewart, 38, the Republican candidate for chairman, wants the Nov. 7 special election to be a referendum on development. More specifically, he wants to capitalize on voter frustration with it: the long commutes, the constant churn of construction, the crowded schools.
“Stewart has a folksy, down-home manner that makes him seem like a local, but as his critics like to point out, he is not. He has lived in Prince William for five years and has served on its board as the Occoquan district supervisor for three.
“But like most crusading candidates, Stewart is banking on a backlash. In fast-growing, traffic-crazed Prince William, he presents himself as a regular guy who reached his boiling point and decided to do something about it.
” ‘I was frustrated with the long commute to Washington, D.C.,’ said Stewart, an international trade lawyer for the K Street firm Foley & Lardner. ‘It would take an hour or an hour-and-a-half every day to get into Washington and back. And at the same time, I looked around and saw all this development and said, “This is ridiculous.” ‘
“Prince William’s development, of course, has been driven largely by the demand for new homes from commuting professionals like Stewart. But he insists he’s not seeking to shut the door on others.
” ‘I’m not trying to keep anybody out,’ Stewart said, adding that his plan to demand more money from developers for each house they build would slow construction. ‘I’m trying to manage and regulate growth so roads and schools can catch up.’
“What Stewart is fighting to preserve in Prince William, he said, are the quiet, leafy, all-American communities like the one where he grew up: Duluth, Minn.
“An avowed ‘conservative Republican,’ Stewart was raised in a Democratic household. His father was a longshoreman on the docks of Lake Superior — a union man — and Stewart said the two began to disagree about politics when he was a teenager, about the time Ronald Reagan inspired him to be a Republican. Study-abroad programs and a trip to communist-era Poland cemented Stewart’s views.
“In the race for the top position in Virginia’s second-largest county, Stewart’s anti-development absolutism is attracting the support of Democrats who say they’re looking for a bulwark against the bulldozers.
” ‘Corey is conservative, and I am not,’ said Liz Cronauer, a member of one of the local conservation groups that are backing Stewart over Democrat Sharon E. Pandak, a former county attorney. ‘But I believe Sharon Pandak will represent business as usual, and she will be a continuation of the things Sean Connaughton did.’
“Connaughton (R) resigned last month to head the U.S. Maritime Administration, and the special election winner will serve the final 13 months of his term. He and Stewart clashed frequently.
” ‘At times you have to go to battle, and it’s going to get a little bloody,’ Stewart said. ‘I think it’s fair to say I’m a little stubborn and headstrong, but that’s not necessarily a bad thing.’
“Some of Stewart’s colleagues disagree and question Stewart’s ability to reach a consensus. ‘He’s burned some bridges with others on the board, so he’s going to have to make some significant concessions to those people to get them back on his side,’ said Neabsco Supervisor John D. Jenkins (D), who backs Pandak.
“Stewart has been criticized for being overly ambitious and accused of wanting to use the chairmanship as a launch to higher office, a charge he doesn’t entirely reject. ‘I can’t say I’m never going to run for governor,’ he said. ‘It’s not even something I’m thinking about right now.’
“Stewart’s anti-development stance has also drawn the ire of many in the building industry. Roy Beckner, director of business development at S.W. Rodgers Co. Inc., circulated an e-mail last week telling others in the industry that he was ‘doing anything’ to get Pandak elected and claimed that Stewart had ‘attacked’ the industry by trying to raise the amount of money builders would pay for each home they construct.
” ‘He LIED to us & at every turn he has Criticized, Condemned & Complained publicly that our industry doesn’t pay its way,’ Beckner wrote.
” ‘Corey Stewart is a Revengeful, Untrustworthy, & an Unbelievably Contradictory person.’
“Stewart is unfazed by such charges. ‘I’m trying to control growth for quality-of-life purposes,’ he said. ‘If developers do not pay for the costs of development, residents do.’ “
Prince William County Government’s “Infocus” newsletter
Summer 2006, Vol 5, Issue 2, p. 7
“The Prince William County Public Works Department has begun construction of sidewalks along Cardinal Drive from Redwing Drive to Minnieville Road and should have the construction completed by June 2006. Additional sidewalk construction is planned for Benita Fitzgerald Drive and construction on the final segment of sidewalks from John D. Jenkins Ashdale Avenue to Gideon Drive is scheduled to start next Spring and should be completed by the fall of 2007. Every effort will be made to improve this schedule.
“Construction of improvements from our 2002 bond referendum for the intersections at Minnieville Road and the Prince William Parkway and Old Bridge and the Prince William Parkway should be completed by the end of this year. In addition, Benita Fitzgerald Drive between Dale Boulevard and Cardinal Drive should be completed and open to the public by the end of September 2006.
“Each magisterial district is allocated five intersections each fiscal year for street light funding. I have approved street lights from the FY2006 allocation for the intersections of Redwing Drive and Swallow Court; Redwing Drive and Blue Jay Court; Forge Drive and Fullerton Drive; a multiple intersection project along Cherrydale Road, and 14763 Dodson Drive. Street lights from the FY2007 allocation will be installed at Lindendale Road and Langstone Drive; Linfield Drive/Lombard Lane and Lindendale Road; Lynhurst Drive and Lindendale Road; Lynbrook Court cul-de-sac, and Delano Drive and Dodson Drive.
“I want to remind Neabsco residents that my County e-newsletter, the Neabsco District Informer is available by subscription. This is a monthly publication intended to keep district residents informed of current events that impact our community. We now have 455 subscribers to our newsletter. If you wish to receive the newsletter in the future and have not yet subscribed to it, simply go to the Prince William County eNotifications system home page at www.pwcgov.org/eservices/enotifications and subscribe. On the enotifications home page, click on ‘Click here to subscribe today’ and you will be connected to a subscription template. Once you complete your personal subscriber information, click on ‘Neabsco District Newsletter’ and then click ‘Submit.’ Anyone who has an e-mail account can use this system. However, you must have Adobe Reader software installed on your computer to view the e-newsletter. A free copy of Adobe Reader can be downloaded from www.adobe.com/products/acrobat/ readstep2.html”
Virginia Public Access Project (VPAP), Virginia’s authoritative source on the role of money in state politics