“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 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.”
(and to BOCS Supervisor Mike May warning of security holes in survey process)
E-mails sent 9 September thru 11 October 2013.
——– 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
Minutes of the 7 Aug 2012 Meeting of the Board of County Supervisors (See page 10 of 10 of attachment.)
Virginia Public Access Project (VPAP), Virginia’s authoritative source on the role of money in state politics
by Rose Murphy,Bull Run Observer
12 February 2010, pp. 47-48
“Amid a confusing flurry of last-minute changes, Prince William Board of County Supervisors Feb. 2 voted to approve the land use chapter of the county’s comprehensive plan.
“Mike May, who represents, Occoquan District on the panel, cast the only nay vote. He said he favored a vote on each of the alterations, adding he couldn’t back some of the amendments, so he would vote against the proposal.
“The update to the transportation chapter received unanimous board approval. The panel agreed to May’s change, limiting Old Bridge Road to four lanes from Colby Drive to Prince William County Parkway. The county’s department of transportation wanted it six lanes.
“Corey Stewart, board chairman, commented, ‘Old Bridge is a residential road. If it were expanded to six lanes, it would become a highway. Traffic should be on Prince William Parkway.’
“The chairman noted work on the land use and transportation chapters has been going on since Feb. 7, 2007. Virginia code requires the comprehensive plan be reviewed every five years to see if updating is needed. The county met the deadline for a technical update two years ago.
“During the past three years, the Land Use Advisory Committee (LUAC), a citizen group appointed by supervisors, presented its version of the land use chapter. This was followed by separate versions of the chapter from the county’s planning commission and planning staff.
“LUAC recommended setting up 19 centers of community and six centers of commerce throughout the county. The change accepted by supervisors Feb. 2 has three centers of commerce and one center of community, according to David McGettigan of the planning department. Centers of Commerce will be at Innovation, north Woodridge and Potomac Town Center. The center of community will be in Triangle.
“The board also agreed to two study areas, Yorkshire and the Wellington Road area. The Wellington Road area, zoned heavy industry, could become a town center.
“The new changes to the land use chapter provide for lighted ballfields throughout the county without a public facilities review (PFR). Lights will have to be turned off within a half hour of the end of a game, McGettigan explained.
“At the February 2 meeting, supervisors approved unanimously a resolution that no property in the Linton Hall area may be rezoned for residential uses until two new elementary schools and a high school are built and open for use, and sites for another elementary school and another middle school have been acquired.
“Stewart’s land use amendments approved by the board say that buffers and setbacks along the parkway from Hoadly Road to Liberia Avenue and along Davis Ford Road must be established as part of any rezoning or special use permit (SUP) in order to protect the semirural appearance of both corridors.
“Marty Nohe, Coles District representative, was not successful with his amendments altering the semirural residential (SRR) classification in the land use chapter. He represents Coles District, home of most of the county’s SRR land.
“Supervisors voted to keep requirements for SRR the same as the 2008 comprehensive plan, which dictates one home per 2.5 acres. The SRR classification is meant to provide areas of large lot development as transition between the rural crescent and the development area.
“Nohe’s changes, first introduced at the January 19 board meeting, included single-family homes with individual single lots of a gross acre or greater. If more than one home were constructed, the average density would not exceed one unit per 2.5 acres, less the ER areas, unless the homes were clustered. With clustered homes, density would be calculated on the gross density of the project.
“Clustered development would result in density of one dwelling per 2.5 acres, and minimum lot sizes of one acre, but lots could range from a half acre to one acre to allow public natural resource facilities, Nohe contended.
“Stewart said February 3 he did not want to alter the existing SRR rules because he didn’t know how Nohe’s changes ‘would be interpreted in the future.’ He added, “the concepts of clustering could mean cut-and-fill” construction in the SRR, which the county has been able to avoid thus far.
” ‘With clustering, someone has sold the county a bill of goods,’ Steward opined.
“Nohe also wanted to see lot sizes limited to a minimum of five acres within 500 feet of the Occoquan Reservoir. His proposal for an Occoquan Reservoir protection area is better suited for inclusion in the comp plan’s environmental chapter, Stewart contended. The environmental chapter will be considered next by the board.
“The board also decided to approve out-of-turn comprehensive plan amendments (CPA) with concurrent rezoning applications. Existing policy provided that CPAs could be submitted only once a year in January.
“The chairman also had changes approved for the community employment center (CEC), regional employment center (REC), and regional commercial center (RCC) classifications. He added to each classification, ‘development shall also occur according to a phasing plan that must ensure that office, employment and lodging uses are always the primary uses within the area rezoned.’ In each category, drive-in and drive-through uses are discouraged, and residential uses are limited to no more than 25 percent of the total gross floor area of the project.
“Purpose of the CEC classification is to provide areas of low- to mid-rise offices, including government offices and especially county offices, ‘research and development, lodging and mixed use projects planned and developed in a comprehensive and coordinated way.’
“CEC projects would be at or near intersections of principal arterials or major collector roads or commercial rail stations. Residential uses will be secondary uses.
“In CEC areas, single-family attached or multi-family housing, including housing for the elderly, is allowed. Density will be six to 12 units a gross acre, minus any environmental resource (ER) areas.
“REC areas will be near and have good access to interstate highways. Main REC uses are mid-rise and/or high-rise office, including government and county offices, research and development uses and lodging or mixed-use projects.
“In REC areas, there will be multi-family housing at a density of 16 to 30 dwelling units per acre, less the ER.
“RCC areas will be near interstate highways and will be large-scale retail projects serving regional rather than a local market. Included will be regional malls, mixed-use projects and large single-user retail buildings.
“In RCC, shared or structured parking is encouraged. Housing will be multifamily with a density of 16 to 30 units per gross acre, less ER.
“Stewart explained February 3 that in mixed-use areas, the development community wanted the mix to change from 75 percent commercial and 25 percent residential to 60 percent commercial and 40 percent residential. That proposal did not pass.
“The chairman said the comp plan revisions encourage more development like Stonebridge, where Wegmans is in eastern Prince William County.
” ‘This is a mixture of retail, office and residential, and we want more of that,’ Stewart indicated.
“The developmental community also failed to get its proposal for no phasing, which would mean that, in a mixed-use project, all the residential or retail could be built first. With phasing, commercial must be the dominant use, Stewart remarked.
“The chairman added the land use chapter revisions ‘do not increase the number of residences by one house, maintain the SRR, add buffers along the parkway and Davis Ford Road and keep the Rural Crescent. We’ve made some good changes, and limited residential density.’ “
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]