“Board looks at new ways to preserve Rural Crescent” by Hillary Chester, Prince William Times, 30
“Board looks at new ways to preserve Rural Crescent” by Hillary Chester, Prince William Times, 30
“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.’ ”
“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.”
“I sincerely thank everyone who supported my recent re-election as a member of the Board of County Supervisors, and as such, I look forward to serving you for the next four years.
“Harbor Station – After last year’s redistricting, our district has been renamed ‘The Potomac District,’ which better identifies our community. The new district name best reflects the addition of Harbor Station to our jurisdiction, which extends from the Stafford County line northward to Powell’s Creek. I have met several times with SUN CAL, the new developer, and planning is underway to transition the area into a premiere community. The bulldozers will be out on the property next summer. Former Woodbridge supervisor, Hilda Barg, has intimate knowledge of the area and has agreed to serve as our ‘ambassador’ to Harbor Station. She will act as our liaison to the developer.
“Transportation – I hope everyone has now had occasion to see progress being made in the redevelopment of the Route 1 Corridor in Triangle. Work is 90 days ahead of schedule and should be completed by June. The area will be heavily landscaped along the south side where there are homes. I look forward to the planting of crepe myrtles in the median, in keeping with the spirit of my long-term area beautification projects. Where there is not grass, the median will include concrete stamped as red brick.
“Highway Safety – We have recently received $260,000 in Highway Safety Improvement Project (HSIP) funding through VDOT to improve the stopping sight distance to allow for the installation of a multi-way stop at the Mine Road–Van Buren Road intersection.
“You may contact me at any time with your thoughts, ideas or concerns by calling my office at 703-793-4645 or by sending an email to email@example.com.”
Virginia Public Access Project (VPAP), Virginia’s authoritative source on the role of money in state politics
“The planned hike in building proffers on residential developments in the county was voted down October 16 by Prince William Board of County Supervisors [BOCS] meeting in McCoart Government Center off Prince William Parkway. Proffers are monies or other items volunteered by developers to mitifate the impact of their projects on county roads, schools, libraries, parks and police and fire and rescue services. [PWCBG note: Although the BOCS meeting began at 2 pm on 16 October, it did not end until early the next morning, 17 October, shortly after the proffer vote.]
“The proposed proffer on single-family homes would have risen from $37,719 to $51,113. Townhouse proffers would have been $43,262, up from $31,927, and multi-family construction would have been upped to $26,545 from $19,526.
“Voting to go ahead with the increases were Corey Stewart (R-at-large and board chairman); John Stirrup, (R-Gainesville); and Mike May, (R-Occoquan). Against were Marty Nohe (R-Coles); Hilda Barg, (D-Woodbridge); John Jenkins, (D-Neabsco); Wally Covington, (R-Brentsville); and Maureen Caddigan, (R-Dumfries).
“Nohe said before the vote he wanted ‘to see what impact fees would look like’ before approving increased proffers.
“Impact fees let counties charge developers for roads. The fees were approved by the General Assembly this year, and could be assessed on all residential developments after August 2008.
“Nohe explained that ‘some members of the General Assembly want to turn back impact fees. They might go after the proffer authority instead.’ He added passing the proffer change ‘may send the message we’re not doing the right thing.’ He said he wants the impact fees, but does not want to lose proffers.
“Jenkins contended the proffer fees are really ‘hidden taxes.’ He said the higher fee on single-family homes would be pased on to homebuyers.
” ‘The $51,000 would come to $305 more per month on a mortgage. In Stafford, the proffer for single-family is $38,151,’ Jenkins added.
“Caddigan said she was in favor of proffer increases, but that the timing was wrong.
“Stewart asserted that the proposed increases represent ‘the true costs to the county to support residential development. If the developer doesn’t pay, the taxpayer and the county pay.’ ”
PW Pulse in a 25 October 2007 article by Keith Walker on p. A5 adds the following:
“County staff recommended that the proffers be increased.
“Planning director Steve Griffin said each year the county analyzes the impact that building will have on the cost of fire and rescue, police, roads and schools.
“He said he thought the increase was justified.
” ‘Based on the expensive buildings and land purchases, they needed to be adjusted to this amount,’ Griffin said. ‘It was all about construction and the price of land that justified the higher amount.’ ”
“Some numbers are up, some are down and some stayed about the same, but overall Prince William residents are satisfied with the way things are going.
“The Prince William Board of County Supervisors recently heard the results of the county’s annual Citizen Satisfaction Survey.
“The 2007 survey, which was conducted by the University of Virginia’s Center for Survey Research, showed that residents’ satisfaction with the quality of life has remained steady at about 70 percent since the 1998 survey.
“Thomas M. Guterbock, who directed the $61,227 survey, told the supervisors Tuesday that residents’ priorities have changed since the 2003 survey.
“Improving the county’s road network jumped from 4th to 2nd on the list of 24 strategic goals, and better public transportation moved from 11th to 9th place on the list.
“Expanding the county’s revenue moved up in importance from 22nd to 17th.
“Overall satisfaction with county government services remained about even with the 2006 numbers, but dropped significantly from the 2005 results to fall from 92.2 percent satisfied to 89.5 percent satisfied in 2007, Guterbock said.
“Prince William residents were 98.9 percent satisfied with the library staff, 98.5 percent satisfied with medical rescue, 98.4 percent satisfied with fire protection services, 97.3 percent satisfied with courthouse security and 96 percent satisfied with the landfill.
“People are generally dissatisfied with the coordination of development and roads, growth in the county and planning and land use. Although the satisfaction with being able to get around Prince William County is up by 7.3 percent, Guterbock’s presentation showed that people are only 46.9 percent are satisfied with ease of travel in the county.
“In the 2006 survey, 60.2 percent of residents trusted the county to do what’s right. In the 2007 survey. which was conducted this spring, 64.1 percent of residents believed the county would do the right thing.
“Supervisor Maureen S. Caddigan, R-Dumfries, said the study showed her that people are satisfied with the way things are going in the county.
” ‘The people are satisfied and they trust us a little bit more,’ Caddigan said. ‘I think all in all the county is doing as well as can be expected.’ ”
“I would like to share with you an update of important progress in the Dumfries District.
“Roads — The widened Spriggs Road from Route 234 tto Minnieville Road opened in May. Road improvements are in the works to widen a section of eastbound Joplin Road from Interstate 95 to U.S. Route 1 and to add a continuous right turn lane onto southbound Route 1 to serve the entrance to the Marine Corps Heritage Center. Additionally, Route 1 will be widened from Joplin Road to the Heritage Center entrance to facilitate traffic in and out of the Heritage Center. I have requested that VDOT add a traffic light at the entrance.
“The 2002 road bond projects include the widening of Minnieville Road from Cardinal Drive to Spriggs Road. Benita Fitzgerald Drive between Cardinal Drive and Dale Boulevard is scheduled to open in September. The next bond referenda, scheduled this November, will include roads, libraries and recreation. In the Dumfries District, Route 1 would be widened to six lanes from Joplin Road to Brady’s Hill Road. The widening ofMinnieville Road to Route 234 is also in the plan. Recreation will include parks and ball fields. A library is planned for Montclair.
“Construction of sidewalks on Fuller Heights Road will continue in the fall.
“The trees removed from Cardinal Drive were taken to accommodate the intersection of Benita Fitzgerald Drive with Cardinal Drive and roadwork related to the Kelly Farms Development. The developer will plant 18 replace-ment trees on Cardinal Drive between Beau Ridge Drive and Wertz Drive and the rest will be replanted in the fall.
“Zoning District — The County is working to implement the recommendations of the Potomac Communities Revitalization Plan with respect to the Triangle study area. This includes the creation of a new zoning district to implement the village mixed use concept. A public hearing on the village district will take place on July 25.
“Commercial Development — The military base realignment program will bring 3,000 new personnel to the Quantico Marine Corps Base. We are seeing the development of office space in the Dumfries District to accommodate that growth. The office complex at Route 234/1-95 is partially completed and occupied. The second building is under construction. A full:’service Holiday Inn is under construction at the same site and retail will soon be added. In Triangle, one office building is complete, with a second one under construction.
“I hope you are enjoying a relaxing summer. Please contact me with your questions or concerns at 703-792-4645 or bye-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.”