Citizens for Balanced Growth

Category: Stonehaven (Page 3 of 3)

E-mail from PWCBG co-founder to BOCS Vice Chairman and Brentsville District Supervisor Wally Covington

PWCBG co-founder Ralph Stephenson

Prince William Board of County Supervisors (BOCS) Vice Chairman Wally Covington

(no response received from Covington)

23 March 2013

——– Original Message ——–

Subject: Questions for Sup Covington: Stone Haven, Conflicts of Interest, Corruption
Date: Sat, 23 Mar 2013 08:42:06 -0400
From: Ralph Stephenson <stephenrk1@verizon.net>
To: Covington, Wally <wcovington@pwcgov.org>
CC: BOCS, Prince William County <BOCS@pwcgov.org>, GT_Dan Roem <droem@timespapers.com>, GT_Tara Slate Donaldson <tdonaldson@timespapers.com>, bordenj@washpost.com, kpugh@princewilliamtoday.com, editor@observernow.com, jshaw@bristowbeat.com, stacyshaw@bristowbeat.com, hkras@bristowbeat.com

 

Supervisor Covington:

A 13 Mar 2013 Washington Post article titled “Prince William moves forward on development in Linton Hall corridor” reports the following about the BOCS vote to initiate review of Stone Haven:   “About two dozen showed up Tuesday [12 Mar], largely to voice their support for the ‘blended’ approach that they had helped come up with: a mix of housing and employment centers, with a large open space in the middle for playing fields. The site would also include space for a high school, residents’ top concern…  A new plan could mean from 6,000 to 13,000 potential new jobs in retail and office space, and from 600 to 1,600 new housing units, county planners say. Those numbers could change as developers create a detailed plan.  With amenities such as space for a high school and open space for fields, area residents said that the project had more to offer than what’s envisioned in the county’s long-range Comprehensive Plan.  Covington said area residents’ support helped sway him to support the project this time around.”

I have the following questions for you and would appreciate a response as soon as possible:

  • If you really have been and are seeking broad-based community support, why was the meeting to initiate the Stone Haven CPA (Comprehensive Plan amendment) held at 2 pm on a Tuesday (12 Mar) when most people are at work?  And why were large numbers of area residents apparently not informed about the citizens’ meetings in prior months, while developers and their allies were all invited and extremely well represented?
  • Also, if Stone Haven really is to contain as few as 600-1600 new housing units, why so much hoopla, effort, and study?  In fact, do you need a rezoning at all, or is there already zoning for about that many houses in the immediate or surrounding areas?  Or do you and the developers, in reality, plan to make this development many times larger than that — once “developers create a detailed plan,” per the article above.  Perhaps closer to the size of the original Brentswood plan — 6,800 homes — than 600-1600?
  • In 2005-06, you were at multiple events at which Brookfield Homes advocated its infamous and ultimately unsuccessful Brentswood proposal, of which Stone Haven is the sequel (same place, high-density, certain to worsen traffic congestion and school overcrowding).  Yet you never found time to show up at any of the events opposing Brentswood, including some organized by your own county Republican Party, and you repeatedly defended Brentswood, to the point of appearing to be a shill for it and Brookfield Homes.  With that history, your consistently pro-developer voting record (see http://pwcbg.org), the thousands of dollars you’ve received from residential developers, and the fact that you are yourself a big landowner with lots of big landowner friends, why would anyone who knows anything about you believe that “area residents’ support helped sway [you] to support the project [Stone Haven] this time around,” and not just that you’re shilling for the developers yet again — this time for Stone Haven?   Isn’t it intentionally deceptive for you to even suggest such a thing?
  • Have you mentioned to anyone that the high school that is being promised by you and Stone Haven’s developers will, in fact, be empty land, and cost taxpayers over $100M?  Have you mentioned to anyone that if you weren’t pushing development of so many new homes in the area, existing schools wouldn’t be so overcrowded and we wouldn’t need another high school right now?  Have you mentioned to anyone that after Stone Haven is built we’ll need another high school in addition to that one?  In sum, isn’t it true that you’re one of the main causes of the problem that you’re offering to solve, all the while slipping in more and more new homes for your housing developer friends?  Isn’t that a bit disingenuous?  Sounds to me a bit like former U.S. House banking committee Chairman Barney Frank offering banking and housing reforms — after the fact — to prevent the  Great Recession that he, in no small part, helped cause.

I have some additional questions for you about your own serious conflicts of interest on land use issues.  But first please click on the links below for some context.

Covington expresses concern at increasing “pressure” on Vint Hill Road, blames Fauquier County, hints at “four-laning” Vint Hill Road, without mentioning  his own property interests there
(“Official: Vint Hill lights may hinder traffic” by Dan Roem, The Gainesville Times, 2 September 2010,  pp. A1, A5)

  • Do you deny that you’re a big landowner with lots of big landowner friends and that your avid support for many years while a member of the Board of Supervisors of housing developer interests has made you rich and is likely to make you even richer, both in terms of personal wealth and political campaign contributions from developers?
  • Do you believe that you should be making decisions on behalf of hundreds of thousands of PW County citizens in which your judgement could easily be clouded and corrupted by said conflicts of interest?   Wouldn’t good government practice and sound ethical judgement require that you recuse yourself from any decisions that could directly or indirectly financially benefit you personally?  Isn’t to do otherwise in fact encouraging corruption in local government?
  • As in the 13 March Washington Post article above, you frequently say that your avid pro-housing developer policies and voting record are just reflections of the interests of your constituents, and that they “sway” you to support such policies.  But isn’t that, in fact, an acknowledgement that you represent only big landowners, developers, those directly or indirectly tied to housing developers, and/or those expecting special favors from developers and that you ignore or marginalize all the rest of your constituents?  (I personally know hundreds of your constituents in Brentsville District who strongly oppose your pro-housing developer policies, and only a handful who support them.)
  • Building unneeded homes just because developers want them cannibalizes older neighborhoods and their property values and prematurely ages them, leads to indirect taxpayer subsidies of these unneeded and harmful new developments, and most importantly of all causes severe school overcrowding and traffic congestion.  Taxpayers, not developers, pay for the police, fire, water, sewer, roads, schools, and other government infrastructure and services that must support such new developments.  Since you frequently claim to be fiscally conservative, why do you continually support unneeded and harmful taxpayer-subsidized housing, while ensuring that developer proffers to PW county are among the lowest in Northern Virginia?

Note:  For other conflict-of-interest information on yourself, please click on the following links:  Wally Covington   |  conflicts of interest

I will publish your response, or failure to respond to these questions within two weeks at http://pwcbg.org and further publicize the info beyond that, as appropriate.  Thanks.

Yours truly,

Ralph Stephenson
Prince William Citizens for Balanced Growth
http://pwcbg.org

“Stone Haven development in western Pr. William promises scrutiny, tension”

by Jeremy Borden, The Washington Post

15 March 2013


“The close vote this week by the Prince William Board of County Supervisors for a potential development on the county’s western end could portend a contentious road as developers look to pave the way toward a new housing and commercial development.

“The site of several past battles over development — namely the 2006, 6,800-house failed effort called Brentswood — the issues for a new development called Stone Haven are similar, even if the politics and players have changed and the size of the proposal is expected to be smaller.

“Stone Haven is an 864-acre piece of contiguous open space between Wellington and Linton Hall roads, a place of booming growth in the past and the ills that come with it: namely overcrowded schools, roads and playing fields. In community meetings to reach out to the surrounding community before a formal plan was submitted, residents say developers and representatives for landowner Hunter Trust, have promised a site for a new high school, playing fields and perhaps a recreational center.

“Going forward, area resident Jeanine Lawson said she’s not sure if she will oppose the development plan. The biggest question, she said, is whether the developer would deliver on promised amenities.

” ‘A lot of folks are expecting those carrots that were dangled in front of them,’ Lawson said. ‘I’m going to do what I can to see the fields, the rec center and everything else’ come to fruition, she said.

“Supervisor W.S. Covington III (R-Brentsville) said that a key sticking point would be a site and dollars for an area high school, a key concern for residents.

“He said that while developers are required to offer ‘proffers’ — or contributions to offset the impact of development — a developer doing site work for the building of a high school had never been done in the county. He said he’s expecting something like that for Stone Haven to move forward.

” ‘I haven’t cut any deals, I’ve just been saying “You’ve got to do this to have any chance,” ‘ Covington said.

“A formal plan for Stone Haven has not yet been presented, but supervisors on Tuesday moved forward with studying the area for a change to the county’s long-range Comprehensive Plan, the first step in considering new housing and commercial space for the area. Officials expect a more formal proposal to be introduced within the year.

“A new plan could mean from 6,000 to 13,000 potential new jobs in retail and office space, and from 600 to 1,600 new housing units, county planners say. Those numbers could change as developers create a detailed plan.

“The vote was 5-3 on Tuesday. Supervisors Michael C. May (R-Occoquan), Maureen S. Caddigan (R-Potomac) and Peter K. Candland (R-Gainesville) voted against moving the potential project forward. Caddigan said that area growth and the area’s overcrowded schools — Prince William has the largest class sizes in Virginia — led her to vote against the project. Candland said in an interview that his concern about overcrowded schools were similar.

“May did not return a phone call requesting comment. Peter Dolan, an attorney for Hunter Trust, could not be reached immediately Friday.

“A more formal plan and rezoning request would eventually go before the Planning Commission and again before the supervisors for a final vote.”

 


Excerpts from “Board moves forward with Stone Haven”

by Tara Slate Donaldson, Gainesville Times

20-26 March 2013, pp. A1, A6

 

“A number of major new developments got the go-ahead last week as the Board of County Supervisors initiated several amendments to the county’s Comprehensive Plan.

“The most controversial was the Stone Haven property on the Linton Hall Corridor but supervisors also agreed to move forwad with plans for Midwood Center in Haymarket and Heritage Crossing, Richmond Station and Cannon Branch, all just outside Manassas.

“The Comp Plan is the major document that outlines long-range growth and land use in the county.  In order for a rezoning to win approval, it must match the land use envisioned in the Comprehensive Plan.  If it doesn’t, the developer must first get the Comprehensive Plan amended and then ask that the property be rezoned.

“That makes the Comprehensive Plan the land use equivalnet of the Constitution and the March 12 initiation votes were the first steps for getting it amended.  Each specific amendment will now go through the planning process, which will take several months.  At the end, public hearings will be secheduled and supervisors will vote on whether to approve the final projects.

“Stone Haven

“Most of the Linton Hall Corridor is built out.

“Most, but not all.  One of the last large undeveloped parcels is an 864-acre site at Linton Hall and Devlin roads.

“The site has long been somewhat problematic for the county because while it is currently undeveloped, it was planned long ago for a mix of commercial and residential development that [allegedly] wouldn’t now work well in the area.”  [passage omitted]

“Last year the owners [of the parcel] proposed a new plan with a different mix of residential and commercial uses, plus an environment resource area where the Piney Branch flows through.”  [passage omitted]

“The housing was a problem for Potomac Supervisor Maureen Caddigan (R) however.  She voted against the proposal, saying that for years, she’s heard from Linton Hall Corridor and Gainesville residents who want slower growth.

” ‘They complained to us, and rightfully so, that we needed to slow the growth because their schools were horribly overcrowded,’ she said, adding that she’s not inclined to add to that problem now.

“Coles Supervisor Marty Nohe (R) took a different tack, saying that what he’s heard from area residents is that they’ll accept the extra develoment if they also get all of the promised amenities, especially the ball fields, that could go along with it.

” ‘If at the end of this process it’s clear that the community is expecting a lot of amenities to come out of this, but that we don’t have room in our budget to construct those amenities, then I’m not going to be able to support this project,’ he said.  ‘If the basis of the expectation is that people are going to get soccer fields but those soccer fields won’t actually get built, well then that’s not fair to the community.’ ”  [passage omitted]

E-mail sent to local citizens by PWCBG’s Ralph Stephenson on 11 Mar 2013

——– Original Message ——–

Subject: PLS NOTE — Stone Haven & Covington, Stewart, Nohe’s Conflicts of Interest
Date: Mon, 11 Mar 2013 04:28:59 -0400
From: Ralph Stephenson …
To: [names withheld]

All: Please note below the line of asterisks a message I just received from a community leader regarding the proposed new Stone Haven housing development.  Also, please go tohttp://pwcbg.org for further info on what your Board of County Supervisors [BOCS] is up to.  (I’ll be adding more info to the website in the coming days.)  Here are some of the main relevant points that relate to the Stone Haven proposal:

  • The Stone Haven development would add at least 2,500 homes along Linton Hall Rd in an area that is currently zoned for only a few hundred single-family homes.
  • We don’t need 2,500+ homes right now.  The county has ~30,000 homes already approved but not yet built.  Furthermore, federal sequestration (across-the-board budget cuts that took effect 1 March) is not expected to stimulate housing demand in the local economy.   Building unneeded homes just because developers want them cannibalizes older neighborhoods and their property values and prematurely ages them, leads to indirect taxpayer subsidies of these unneeded developments, and most importantly of all causes severe school overcrowding and traffic congestion.  Taxpayers, not developers, pay for the police, fire, water, sewer, roads, schools, and other government infrastructure and services that must support such new developments.  Covington, Stewart, and Nohe claim to be fiscally conservative Republicans, yet they continually support unneeded taxpayer-subsidized housing.  Why?  Note on http://pwcbg.org  the hundreds of thousands of dollars these politicians have received from housing developers.
  • PW County proffers are among the lowest in the region.  (See http://pwcbg.org, Supervisor page, Proffers section for more info on this.)  Proffers are county-mandated policies that require developers to pay at least some of the government infrastructure costs of their housing projects.
  • The conflicts of interest that many of the supervisors have, particularly Covington, Stewart, and Nohe, are outrageous and we need to call them on it.  These conflicts of interest are what cause them to love virtually every proposal, even very harmful ones such as Stone Haven, that they see from housing developers.  But they will respond to citizens if citizens make it clear to supervisors that they will not tolerate corrupt behavior.  The supervisors’ political careers, which they care about deeply, are at stake.

ACTION REQUESTED:  Citizens can stop StoneHaven by speaking out.  If you’re concerned, please spend 5-10 minutes to send a brief e-mail to the Board of County Supervisors.  You can reach all eight supervisors by using the following e-mail address:  bocs@pwcgov.org

********************************************************************

“Tuesday [12 March at 2 pm, a time when most people are at work] the Board of Supervisors will decide if they will initiate the Comprehensive Plan Amendment for Stone Haven.  This means the project will move further and undergo more government scrutiny before a final decision is made on approval of the development.

“Last weekend I met with Bruni Peters, the rep for the land owner.  Unfortunately she did not give me any definitive answers such as:
-how many housing units and are they single family/townhomes or condos?
– how much are they willing to proffer foor park space-NOT just ball fields;
-school proffers: impact on our school caapacities as well as fiscally impacts
-and other questions we are concerned aboout.
I struggled with opposing the initiation because a part of me wants to just move forward and see exactly what we’re up against while the other part recognizes this could get tougher to oppose if ‘the cat is out of the bag’ for lack of a better way of saying it.

“HOWEVER, the below email I received tonight from my son’s Grizzly Football organization has made the decision for me.  It’s apparent Supervisor Covington would rather serve a special interest group-his developer buddies and use a youth sports league, like he’s done in the past, to push his projects through.  Our county sports leagues have been neglected and now they find themselves at the mercy of our supervisors who use them as political pawns.  Read below and you’ll see.  The information is not even accurate.  The land is zoned agriculture and PLANNED for Flex Use which means a range of: office space, retail and light industrial-NOT DUMP TRUCKS.  This is a scare tactic.”

“As for a high school: the developer many proffer the land BUT they will NOT be funding the building-BIG DIFFERENCE!!  High schools cost $75+Million Dollars. Our classroom sizes are already at the max the state allows and the impact to the staff and students is significant.  Patriot High School in it’s 2nd year is already overcrowded and will have trailers next year.  When does this madness end??

“As for parks, it’s simple: Our county leaders must adequately fund our current parks and make open space and community parks for ALL citizens a top priority.  They need to stop using the neglected sports leagues as their political pawns and serve the community absent from their political motives.

“So I encourage you to spread the news throughout your community.  Encourage citizens to email the Board of Supervisors at www.bocs@pwcgov.org or call 703-792-6190.

“Stonehaven Development and ‘Getting’ a High School”

by Kim Simons, in “PWC Education Reform Blog”

29 November 2012

Stonehaven Development and “Getting” a High School


Compare low Prince William Proffers to much higher Proffers in Stafford, Loudoun and Fauquier:

Proffers Comparison

Note:  Northern Virginia’s Fairfax and Arlington counties, Alexandria, and Falls Church require higher proffers overall from developers than the four counties noted above.  Also, note that Fauquier is a slow-growth, rural county and thus proffers are not as relevant to its growth management policies as they would be in high-growth counties like Loudoun and Prince William.

 

“Planners meet with residents about Stone Haven”

by Rose Murphy, Bull Run Observer

19 Oct 2012, p. 3

“How would the development of Stone Haven, the 864-acre tract of land south of Wellington Road and Jiffy Lube Live, affect schools, roads and the quality of life in this area of Brentville Magisterial District?

“These were some of the concerns expressed Oct. 9 by several of the approximately 50 peole attending an infomration meeting sponsored by Prince William County’s Planning Department in Gainesville Middle School.

“In March, Prince William Board of County Supervisors voted not to initiate a comprehensive plan amendment (CPA) for the 340-acre Hunter tract in the area, deciding instead to do a wider study.  A preliminary report on the study was presented by the Planning Department July 12 at a public session, and a study group was formed.

“The study group came up with four different land use maps for the area, and a ‘blended’ map after a Sept. 6 public information meeting.  The ‘blended’ proposal has general office, light industrial and service uses, low density residential uses, paks and open space with tree save areas and a transitional area featuring office, commercial, light industrial, medium density housing and/or public uses.

“Chris Price, a county planning director, told the audience that supervisors could vote Nov. 27 on whether to initiate the CPA.  If initiated, the planning staff would study the proposal.  Public hearings would then be scheduled by the planning commission and board of supervisors.

“Price noted the community is concerned with growth in the area and that there is little support for office, industrial or commercial development along Linton Hall Road.  The study area is west of Devlin Road, north of Linton Hall Road and east of Limestone Drive.  There also is little support for residential development along Wellington Road.  While there is general support for the road network in the comprehensive land use plan, residents believe more schools, recreation, open space and community facilities are necessary.

“The planning director said there is support for having employment uses in the area, as well as continguous open space and preservation of environmentally sensitive areas.  Transitional areas should have buffers betwen more intense uses.

“Price noted outstanding concerns include the need for a well-integrated mix of uses, identifying and mitigating impact of the residential uses and determining if the proposed open space corridor along Piney Branch should expand to a broader trail or open space network.

“During the question segment a woman in the audience asked if the 13th county high school, planned to open in 2019, would be in the Stone Haven area.  Dave Beavers, of the school district’s planning staff, said this is ‘a potential site,’ but that the school could be built elsewhere.

“Jeanine Lawson contended both Patriot and Battlefield high schools are overcrowded and that thousands of residential units are being built in the area.  Beavers reported that student projections for Patriot High School ‘told us one thing, then went up 22 percent.’

“Another woman in the audience asked if the 12th high school, planned for mid-county, instead could be built in the Brentsville area.  Beavers said planning a high school involves a five-year time frame.  The process starts with identifying a site and buying it, and ‘it’s not a quick turnaround,’ he noted.

Another audience member asked if overcrowding could involved students’ being bused across county as was done several years ago.  Beavers answered that the school board determines school boundary lines, and ‘we do the best we can.’

“A woman told the group she can hear events at Jiffy Lube Live and expressed concern that no one would want to buy a home near the facility.  She said that, and the overhead power lines from Dominion Virginia Electric Co., could lead to low-income housing in the area.”

Letter to Editor in The Gainesville Times

by citizen Victoria Swanson

9 October 2012

“A community input meeting will be held at Gainesville Middle School regarding the Stone Haven Development on Tuesday, October 9th, at 7pm. This piece of land, also known as the Hunter Tract, is the only remaining significant piece of undeveloped land in the Linton Hall Corridor, approximately 900 acres. Earlier this year the property owner applied for an amendment to the county’s Comprehensive Plan in an appeal to re-designate future zoning from predominantly commercial development to high density housing. This would essentially raise the value of the land. Thankfully, Supervisor Covington, Brentsville District, did not initiate the amendment. ‘Too many houses and not enough community input’ were the reasons he stated.  He then directed staff to conduct a comprehensive study of the land and include the land owner, local residents and business owners for input.

“Prince William County’s Planning Department held a series of three community meetings over the course of the recent summer months. As a concerned resident, I attended and encouraged my neighbors to attend and provide input as well. The sole purpose was to study potential impacts, such as traffic and schools, and we were to consider land use alternatives. After these meetings the director of the Planning Department decided to hold an additional meeting in October (10/9) as it was clear a compromise was not close.

“I’m troubled that my supervisor, Mr. Covington, is absent from attending these meetings. In addition, I feel he has not done an adequate job of informing his constituents of these meetings. It is my understanding that during Tuesday’s ‘Supervisor Time’ at the board meeting, he made an announcement advertising for a private organization, Youth For Tomorrow’s annual event, however he failed to mention this upcoming community input meeting on Tuesday. You would think he would encourage his constituents to attend meetings that stand to have heavy impacts on our daily lives and property values.

“In spite of Supervisor Covington’s dismal job of keeping his constituents informed, after reading this, I hope you are encouraged to attend on Tuesday and let your voice be heard.

“For more information on the meeting and materials click on the county’s website: http://www.pwcgov.org/government/dept/planning/Pages/Special-Planning-Projects.aspx

“Sincerely, Victoria Swanson”


19 Sep e-mail from Brentsville District Supervisor Wally Covington publicizing 9 Oct “public meeting” on “Stone Haven” to some interested parties:

——– Original Message ——–
Subject:     Stone Haven Public Meeting
Date:     Wed, 19 Sep 2012 15:19:34 -0400
From:     Covington, W. S. Wally <wcovington@pwcgov.org>
To:     [info withheld]

You recently expressed interest or concern about the development of the Stone Haven property.  Our office would like to keep you informed and welcomes your participation in the process.  The following news release provides information on the next public meeting.

Wally Covington
Supervisor
Brentsville District

Stone Haven Public Meeting / Tuesday, Oct. 9, 2012 at 7 p.m.

Prince William County, Virginia . . . Prince William County’s Planning Office is seeking public input on land use alternatives and potential impacts for the Stone Haven property, also known as the Hunter Trust property. A public meeting will be held on Tuesday, Oct. 9, 2012 at 7 p.m. at Gainesville Middle School, 8001 Limestone Drive Gainesville, VA. 20155. The Stone Haven property is located between Wellington and Linton Hall Roads.

Earlier this year, an application was submitted to the County for an amendment to the County’s existing Comprehensive Plan land use map for the property. The Board of County Supervisors did not initiate that request, but instead directed the Planning Office to work with the community and the property owner to identify and discuss alternatives. This meeting will provide attendees the opportunity to review the County’s existing land use plan for the subject area, the applicant’s proposed land use plan, and a series of alternatives developed at stakeholder workshops over the past few months. It will also offer attendees the opportunity to ask questions and to provide additional input.

Information on the process, including all materials presented at the stakeholder workshops, is available at http://www.pwcgov.org/SpecialPlanningProjects

“Planners report on 864-acre undeveloped tract in Gainesville [Stonehaven]; no questions allowed at public meeeting”

 by Rose Murphy, Bull Run Observer

20 July 2012, p. 10

“What’s the future of Stone Haven, the 864-acre undeveloped tract of land south of Wellington Road and Jiffy Lube Live?

“More than 50 area residents crowded into the media room at Piney Branch Elementary School July 12 to hear  Prince William County staff give its initial report on its study of the area.  Questions from the audience were not alloowed and had to be submitted in written form.

“A second meeting is set for 7 p.m. on Monday, Aug. 6 in the school for public input on alternative land plans for the area, and a wrap-up session is scheduled for 7 p.m. on Thursday, Sept. 6, also in the school.

“Prince William Board of County Supervisors could vote on Oct. 9 on whether to initiate a comprehensive plan amendment (CPA.)  If initiated, the county’s planning staff would study the proposal.  Public hearings next would be conducted before the planning commission and board of supervisors.

“In March, supervisors voted not to initiate a CPA for the 340-acre Hunter tract in the neighborhood, deciding instead to do a study of the entire area.

“Chris Price, planning director, told residents in attendance at the July 12 meeting that the planning staff will give county supervisors a range of land use possibilities and a preferred option for the project study area after gettting resident input.  The study area is west of Devlin Road, north of Linton Hall Road and east of Limestone Drive.

“Ray Utz, head of long-range planning for the county, explained that existing plans show 458 acres planned for flexible employment center (FEC), 308 acres intended for suburban residential low (SRL) and 98 acres of environmental resource (ER).  He added that, if fully developed, 10,000 to 13,000 jobs could be in the offing.

“FEC uses cover a wide ‘range of permitted users over several zoning districts,’ Utz pointed out.  Included could be offices, contractor businesses, data center, self-storage facilities, warehouses and wholesaling operations.  SRL entails single-family homes with one to four dwelling units per acre.  Most of the existing homes in the area are SRL, Utz said.

” ‘Up to 25 percent of SRL can be townhouses,’ he added.

“Utz reported, ‘This is the beginning of a multi-step process and what we want to see,’ in the area.  If supervisors initiate a CPA, ‘the owner would ask for a rezoning to develop the property.’

“Patty Dietz of the county’s environmental services department told the audience attention would be paid to resources in the area that need protection, including about 75 acres of resource protection area (RPA).  There also are some rare plant species in the area.

“Ryan Conklin with county’s parks and recreation department, noted that within three miles of the study area are Prince William Golf Course, Rollins Ford Park with its future six soccer fields, open play area and playground, and Braemar Park, Ellis Barron Park and Rosement Lewis park.  Bridlewood-Rocky Branch Park and Broad Run Park are [with]in a mile of the study area.

“Gregg Steverson of the county’s transportation office told the audience Devlin Road to the east of the tract will be widened to four lanes, that Wellington Road will be six lanes, that University Boulevard will be four lands through the site and Rollins Ford Road will be four lanes.

“In a March e-mail, Wally Covington, told constituents he ‘did not make a motion to initiate the review because it had too many houses and not enough citizen input.’  Covington represents Brentsville District on the board of supervisors.  He pointed out the FEC designation ‘often leads to industrial uses.’  He said the planning staff also believed FEC ‘was not appropriate in this corridor.  I concur.’

“Covington’s e-mail also said he wants a high school site to be a ‘priority in the overall plan for the area.’  He asserted that ‘clear-cut planning for the remaining Linton Hall acreage is essential to continue robust economic activity (in) the area and support surrounding idyllic neighborhoods.’ “

E-mail sent to local citizens by PWCBG’s Ralph Stephenson on 11 July 2012

—–Original Message—–
From: Ralph Stephenson…
To/Bcc:  [multiple names withheld] Cc: BOCS, Prince William County <BOCS@pwcgov.org>; Stewart, Corey <cstewart@pwcgov.org>; Covington, Wally <wcovington@pwcgov.org>; Nohe, Marty <mnohe@pwcgov.org>; Caddigan, Maureen <mcaddigan@pwcgov.org>; Jenkins, John <jjenkins@pwcgov.org>; May, Mike <mcmay@pwcgov.org>; Principi, Frank <fprincipi@pwcgov.org>; Candland, Peter <gainesville@pwcgov.org>
Sent: Wed, Jul 11, 2012 11:09 pm
Subject: Brentswood (aka Stonehaven) Is Back, And Look Who’s Behind It

My kids have all graduated from the PW County Schools, I’m only a few years from retirement, and I’m not too concerned about my home’s resale value in a glutted market because I intend to retire here.

  • But for those who face many years of horrible daily commutes and having their children in overcrowded schools …
  • For those who would like to sell their homes some day but face falling home resale prices and accelerated decline of older neighborhoods because of a continuously glutted real estate market …
  • For those who are concerned about high property taxes at least partly due to an increasingly unbalanced county tax base (way too much residential, not enough commercial)  …
  • And for those who are weary of the hypocrisy and corruption of local politicians who arrogate to themselves the mantle of fiscal conservatism while forcing taxpayers to indirectly subsidize unnecessary housing (think of police, fire, roads, and other taxpayer-funded infrastructure for housing developments, which are only partially offset by increased property tax revenues) …

For all those who feel that these problems are a threat to their families’ well-being, they might want to protest the latest gambit by certain members of the PW Board of County Supervisors to resurrect Brentswood.  Brentswood, as you may recall, was the infamous 2005-06 attempt by the PW County Board of Supervisors to cram housing for over 20,000 people into a two-square mile area bounded by Linton Hall, Devlin, and Wellington roads.  And it’s back.  Its new name is Stonehaven.  (To send e-mails to the Board advising them of your opposition to Stonehaven, use cc addresses above.)

Leading the charge to add more unneeded homes — at the behest of the big landowner and developer friends who finance their political campaigns — are Corey Stewart and Wally Covington.  (Even by Wally’s admission in the 2011 Republican primary, the county has at least 30,000 already-approved-but-not-yet-built homes.  So why is it so important, so urgent that even more new homes be approved and built?)

About Corey Stewart
Corey Stewart fought Brentswood in 2005-06 and capitalized on his opposition to it to become chairman of the Board of County Supervisors in an emotional campaign in which he pledged to always protect the community from such massive over-development.  But now Corey is running for higher office.  His latest quest (after previous failed US Senate and VA lieutenant governor campaigns) is, once again, focused on becoming lieutenant governor.  He needs campaign cash, and lots of it fast.  Corey’s heart, mind, and integrity is clearly for sale, and the price is relatively cheap:  any large housing developer can afford him.  See http://pwcbg.org  for more info thru Aug 2011 on Corey’s voting record which, in a 180-degree reversal, has become staunchly pro-residential-developer in recent years.

About Wally Covington
Wally Covington, who first campaigned in 2003 with slogans saying that PW County is not for sale to residential developers, has proven to be the most residential developer-friendly of all the supervisors.  See http://pwcbg.org  for more info on his voting record through the 2011 Republican primary, which he barely won by 4-5% percent only after what  amounted to a massive vote-buying campaign.  Wally’s corruption has become so brazen — on the order of what often happens in DC City Government — that he recently tried to donate $100,000 in taxpayer funds to a charity run by his wife.  The only thing that subsequently prevented him from doing so was a public outcry.   (See  http://www2.insidenova.com/news/2011/nov/28/2/covington-criticized-rainbow-center-donation-ar-1498738/ )

About Stonehaven (formerly known as Brentswood)
Here’s what a couple prominent members of the community, whose names I have withheld, have to say about Stonehaven and Wally Covington’s role in it.

1.  “Wally is up to his old tricks…  He has aligned himself w/ a crowd of Victory Lakes parents who are still quite bitter over the Patriot/Stonewall HS boundaries.  He’s now convinced them he can get a high school site out of of Stonehaven [as long as thousands of new homes are built as well.]  They of course have taken his bait…

“Anyway, [we] caught wind of a ‘public input’ meeting this Thursday night [12 July] at Piney Branch elementary.  Apparently the county planning dept sent letters to only [developer-friendly] Linton Hall HOA Boards and just sent them around the 4th of July; right out of Wally’s playbook — when people are not paying attention because they’re vacationing…  I’m afraid he’s going to have the Grizzly/VSA organizations there in addition to the Victory Lakes folks all pleading for more fields and schools.”

2.  “Thursday July 12 7-9 pm [at] Piney Branch elementary [there will be a] county meeting on Hunter Tract/Brentswood property….to discuss what citizens would like to see for that property…  No one was really notified about the meeting except for [developer-friendly] HOAs.   This is [supposedly] the Linton Hall citizen’s chance to voice what they would like to see done with that parcel in the comp plan.  [When] citizens don’t show up and voice their opinions [because they didn’t know about the meetings in time], the ‘public opinion’ will be crafted by the developers who’ve proposed Stonehaven.”

“County votes to re-examine land protection goals of Rural Crescent”

by Rose Murphy, Bull Run Observer

30 March 2012, pp 1, 35

Rural Crescent graphic courtesy of Prince William Conservation Alliance

Rural Crescent graphic courtesy of Prince William Conservation Alliance

“Prince William County plans to take a hard look at the Rural Crescent to see if the goals established when it was put into the county’s comprehensive land use plan in 1998 are being met.

“Marty Nohe, (R-Coles) made the suggestion at the March 20 meeting of the county’s board of supervisors. The panel was holding public hearings on annual requests to initiate changes to its comprehensive plan. If initiated, a project would be studied by the county’s planning department, then have public hearings by the planning commission and board of supervisors.

“In declining to initiate Mid-County Park and Estate Homes, Nohe observed this was not the first time someone had sought to change the boundaries of the 80,000-acre Rural Crescent. He said goals established when the area was set aside for large-acre residential development were to save agriculture and protect open space. He noted nearly 40 percent of the county’s agricultural land has disappeared since 1998.

“Nohe added today’s goals for the Rural Crescent remain the same, but that other tools should be looked at to achieve those goals.

” ‘Are there other things that can be done to save agriculture and open space? What works in Haymarket may not work in Nokesville. We need to look at the bigger picture,’ he commented in proposing the entire rural area be studied.

“Susan Roltsch, assistant county executive, said the county ‘needs to assess what’s happened since 1998,’ and agreed a broader study is called for.

“Mid-County Park and Estates Homes in Coles District involved a comprehensive plan amendment (CPA) request by Classic Lakes, LLC, for about 306 acres along Classic Springs Drive. Mark Granville-Smith sought to change the land use designation from agricultural and estate (AE) and environmental resource (ER) to 129 acres of semi-rural residential (SRR) and 178 acres of parks and open space.

“Ray Utz of the county’s planning department reported that if the six CPAs requested were eventually approved by supervisors, there ‘would be a significant loss of employment capacity’ in the county, ranging from 10,300 to 22,703 positions

“Supervisors also decided against initiating the Stone Haven CPA, a 337-acre tract on the northeast side of Linton Hall Road near the Rollins Ford Road intersection. The applicant wanted to change the long-range land use designation from flexible employment center (FEC) to 114 acres of suburban residential medium density (SRM), 189 acres of suburban residential low density (SRL) and 34 acres of general commercial (GC).

“Staff documents show the Stone Haven CPA would cut county land available for employment uses by 6623 to 13,245 jobs and shift employment uses from a mix of industrial and office uses to mainly retail employment.

“Wally Covington, (R-Brentsville), said he was ‘conflicted’ about the CPA, noting the project could include a high school and road improvements. He added Stone Haven also lacked community support.

“The motion on Stone Haven was to not initiate the CPA and to do a planning study of the project area. Voting against the motion were Mike May, (R-Occoquan) and Frank Principi, (D-Woodbridge).

“Supervisors agreed to initiate New Dominion Square on the Old Dominion Speedway site and the adjacent Bradley Square project, both in Coles District. Voting against initiation was Principi.

“New Dominion Holdings, LLC, wants to change the long-range land use designation of about 41 acres on the east side of Dumfries Road from community employment center (CEC) and SRL to SRM. Owners of Bradley Square, the 22 acres adjacent to New Dominion Square, want to change the site from CEC to SRM.

“Supervisors also decided not to initiate a CPA for the Bell property, a 127-acre tract on the north and west side of Catharpin Road in Gainesville Magisterial District. Owners wanted to change the long-range land use designation from SRR and ER to SRL and ER. The property is just north of Bull Run Middle School. May and Principi voted against the motion.

“The CPA request for the 99-acre Wheeler tract on the south side of Balls Ford Road was withdrawn by the applicant before the public hearing. Owners wanted to change the site from regional employment center (REC) and suburban residential high density (SRH)  to 77 acres of SRM and 22 acres to SRH.”


BOCS 20 Mar 2012 discussion on “broader study” on, possible reduction or elimination of Rural Crescent

(video from Prince William County Government website; note first eight minutes of this clip — from 2:51.10 thru 2:59.15)

Three-part county planning staff report on original Brentswood proposal (2005-06)

PWC Planning Staff Report on original Brentswood Land Use Proposal:   Part 1      Part 2      Part 3


 

Note the following excerpts from the three-part county Planning Staff documents above:

“The applicant has submitted an application to establish a CDA to fund off-site infrastructure improvements. A staff analysis of the CDA application is contained in Attachment B of the rezoning report under ‘Materially Relevant Issues.’  Regarding the use of a Community Development Authority to obtain construction of I-66/Route 29/Linton Hall interchanges, VDOT representatives have indicated VDOT will not enter into an agreement with the Brentswood Community Development Authority. VDOT suggested an alternative whereby the County would enter into an agreement with VDOT to administer the project. In this alternative, the County would then enter into an agreement with the Brentswood CDA. Staff does not recommend this alternative due to the scale and complexity of the I/66/Route 29/Linton Hall interchange. The County is not positioned to administer a large federally funded interstate highway project.”

“Community Development Authority — Denial of the CPA [Comprehensive Plan ameendment] would be appropriate because the applicant proposes, with approval of the Board of County Supervisors, to establish a Community Development Authority (CDA) to fund proffered off-site road and recreation facility improvements. If the CDA is not established, the applicant has no obligation to make the proffered improvements. The CDA application is not consistent with the Board’s policy for establishing a CDA.”

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