OCCOQUAN, Va. – The owner of the Cock & Bowl restaurant in Occoquan made a pretty astute observation: A sign was erected heralding the coming of nothing. And that, said the restaurant’s owners, is refreshing.

Occoquan officials recently closed a deal that gives the town ownership of a 17-acre parcel of land, the once controversial Oaks III property, which will be turned into, well, absolutely nothing.

“It’s rather refreshing to see a sign announcing NO new development for a change… I love this little town,” Cock & Bowl posted to its Facebook page.

The town plans to allow the Prince William County Trails and Streams Coalition to construct a series of, you guessed it, trails on the property. The non-profit organization applied for and won a $4,500 grant from Recreational Equipment, Inc. (REI), sellers of outdoor goods and clothing.

The sign was posted by the Realtor who brokered the deal with the town as a way to say thank you, said Mayor Liz Quist. It states: Town of Occoquan’s Future Nature Preserve, thank you, Mayor Porta.

Porta, who was a proponent of conserving the land and fought developers who wanted to build and office building on the property, left the Mayor’s office on June 30.

“Thanks again to everyone for their support on the Tanyard Hill property. And thank you to the real estate folks who put up this sign. I’m not sure how long it will be there, but I very much appreciate it,” stated Porta.

Quist says the sign will come down eventually and the land won’t necessarily be a nature preserve or wildlife sanctuary in the strictest sense, but says it will be a nice place for all to visit.

The land was sold to the town for $300,000. With closing costs, the final price tag was $301,913, said town manager Kristen Barr.