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New Housing Impacts Prince William Infrastructure

By Mary Rosenthol March 12, 2014 8:30 am

9 Comments

PRINCE WILLIAM COUNTY, Va. – Two new large building projects are going in along Route 28 in Prince William County testing the limits of an outdated road and an already taxed county infrastructure. Orchard Bridge will be a 15 building grouping of garden style apartments the anticipated completion date will be May of 2014.

The Towns at Falls Grove will be a mix of single family homes and town home style condos across from Yorkshire Drive on Va. 28 in Prince William County. Potential residents can expect to pay upwards of $289,000 to purchase a unit in the complex.

The housing units are being constructed just outside Manassas, on the border of Prince William and Fairfax counties, along a busy commuter route that links drivers to large job centers around Dulles Airport.

get-attachment“The Orchard Bridge Apartment Project of Route 28 was approved in 1985, at a time when there was very little understanding on the adverse impact that it would have on the community. The Board knew then that Centreville Road was only designed to be a four lane road, and in fact approved this zoning with the assumption that it would stay four lanes,” said Prince William Coles District Supervisor Marty Nohe stated in an email. “Twenty nine years later, a project that had largely been forgotten about is now being constructed and there are no legal tools that the current Board of County Supervisors can use to require that the developer pay for the impacts that the project will inevitably have on the community.”

Nohe said there is no way such a large project in this area would have been approved by officials in this day and age. Additional traffic, new students in public schools, that the new homes will be a challenge, added Nohe.

“It is extremely frustrating to think that families in Prince William County today are going to pay the price for a short-sighted decision from so long ago.”

Since both building projects fall within the confines of Prince William County, the county must provide emergency services and education for the developments. Jason D. Grant, spokesman for Prince William County, said that Prince William representatives do not plan on adding new satellite stations to that area of the county. Police response will come out of the Western District location and fire service from Yorkshire station which is just 4 minutes away. At this point, Grant does not know how much tax revenue will be added by the units nor do county officials now what the impact will be on the Va. 28 corridor between Manassas and Interstate 66.

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  • Al Alborn

    It would appear that the Developers responsible for these new projects have absolutely no regard for our community or the citizens who live within it. Prince William County Government should respond in kind.

    Everything is negotiable… everything.

    There are certainly “legal” tools, and always “moral” tools. It’s funny how bad publicity brings out the “morality” in some businesses.

    The cooperation of several Departments within PWC Government is required for any project. Projects of this scale will require considerable support. I also suspect these folks would also like to build more such developments in the future.

    The developers here are doing what I would do: take advantage of every break to increase my profit. I expect County Government to do what it is suppose to do: protect our interests.

    It’s time to negotiate new terms (and EVERYTHING is always NEGOTIABLE when you have leverage)( using the leverage of County cooperation on these projects and approval of future projects.

    Warning folks looking for housing in this area of the dire commute they will face might just be an interesting strategy. Building homes no one would want to buy because of a problem created by their very existence has a certain poetic ring to it. I suspect there are plenty of developments constructed with consideration for traffic patterns, commutes, and density. Why move into a disaster?

    There are several strategies ranging from exposing their lack of interest in the impact of these projects on the community (impacting their reputation and interests in other communities using fact based exposure), looking carefully at County processes and support required to complete these projects to ensure requirements are fulfilled to the letter, examining every fee associated with these projects, and considering the developer’s philosophy in approving future projects.

    I can’t help but wonder if anyone in Prince William County Government has simply asked the developers to come to the table to discuss and renegotiate terms based upon the obvious negative impact these new structures will have on our community. Considering the leverage discussed here, and PWC’s wherewithal to use it, we might be surprised by the response.

    You only get what you ask for… so ask.

    To wring one’s hands saying “there is nothing we can do” is simply unacceptable. “Everything is negotiable”. Start negotiating.

  • http://www.themoyersteam.com Dwayne Moyers

    There is a solution to dealing with this developer. All future zoning requests from the same developer meet all possible roadblocks until proffers to Prince William County help cover the cost of this project.

  • https://www.facebook.com/FixRoute28 FixRoute28

    It would be helpful if they could add an additional access point (ex. Lake Dr.) to the new community. Everyone living in the Orchard Bridge community (15 buildings) will need to enter/exit onto Route 28.

  • Scott

    Why isn’t there a deadline on approved projects? 30 years is way too long to come back and say you’re starting. If you’re not reasonably underway within a decade that approval should be considered cancelled.

    And as far as pressure, I’d extend it to all developers in the area. “Gee, we’d love to approve your project but we’ll need to hold off until we can assess the impact of this 30 year old apartment project. Sorry, come back a few years after they are built or when they change their project.”

  • Harry

    Marty Nohe’s announcement that the county wouldn’t approve this type of development today, well it has approved nearly every development of this type during Nohe’s tenure on the Board and he votes for ALL of them. During his tenure on the Board he has voted for developments that have added 22,245 additional students to the schools while providing classroom space for only 12,130, a 10,000 shortfall. Nohe is nothing more than the developers whore.

  • Kris Day

    I must be crazy but does anyone feel like joining me in a peaceful protest of this builder and the whole awful impact this poor planning will have on our community? I’m this close to doing it but I’ve let too much time go by since I read this article and I am losing my nerve. I did call the PW police and an officer said that it is possible to stand on the sidewalk at the entrance (right in front of Yorkshire Center Plaza, 7223 Centreville Road) and hold up signs. I mean to shame the builder (Clark Builders Group). Could pick one weekday for an hour or two during rush hour and one Saturday when more commuters would be able to join us. Also, please “like” the Facebook page, called Fix Route 28. If I get enough positive feedback I will post dates and times there. I can be reached at krisjim27@gmail.com Let me know what you think!

  • Jason

    “At this point, Grant does not know how much tax revenue will be added by the units nor do county officials now what the impact will be on the Va. 28 corridor between Manassas and Interstate 66.”

    Isn’t this the purpose of the planning and transportation departments to know this information! How can they recommend rezoning projects if they do not know the impacts! New leadership is solely needed in this county.

  • http://www.youtube.com/user/BatteryMill Battery Mill

    Be the last to comment.

  • Haywood Udume

    Just an idea, but how about not allowing these project approvals to stay open for almost 30 years? Permits have (or should have) a limited lifetime. I can’t ask the county for a building permit to put an addition on my house and then take 30 years to complete it. The county may have approved this land for apartments back in 1985, but there is no way they approved the current design that long ago.