A Growing Church Leaves Dumfries Officials Questioning What Should be Allowed in Town’s Business Districts
DUMFRIES, Va. – Last year, Grace Church donated 13,000 pounds of food to the community through its “bag of hope” Keep Reading...
UPDATE 2 p.m. The Prince William landfill has reopened to customers. Here’s the latest in a press release: The Prince Keep Reading...
Posted in: News
STAFFORD COUNTY, Va. – Two adults and four children fled a house fire in Stafford County on Tuesday. Here’s more Keep Reading...
Update The Prince William Ice Center in Dale City remains closed this afternoon, according to fire officials, who say it’s Keep Reading...
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Wants You To Know
Bus riders should be prepared for delays this evening.
A crash on Interstate 395 in Arlington has closed the northbound portion of the highway. The Potomac and Rappahannock Transportation Commission, operators of OmniRide commuter bus service, told riders the crash will impact service tonight.
Here’s their statement:
All northbound lanes of I-395 are currently closed due to a crash at VA-402 (Exit 6/Quaker Lane), with delays beginning prior to Route 7, about 1.5 miles.
This incident will cause delays for OmniRide trips this afternoon, including for later evening trips on buses that operate double runs – serving a trip early during the rush hour and another trip later in the evening.
Posted in: Traffic & Transit
WOODBRIDGE, Va – A 51-year-old man was sent to the hospital after being attacked and then struck with a bat. Police are seeking a suspect in the case.
Here’s the latest from Prince William police;
Malicious Wounding – On July 25th at 10:38PM, police responded to investigate a malicious wounding that occurred in the 1300 block of Bayside Ave. in Woodbridge (22191). The victim, a 51 year old male from Lorton, was delivering food to an address. When no one answered the door, he began to return to his car. He was attacked from behind and struck several times with a bat or similar object. Nothing was reported taken. The victim was transported to a local hospital for treatment. The suspect is described as a black male wearing dark clothing.
Posted in: Lifestyles
A Growing Church Leaves Dumfries Officials Questioning What Should be Allowed in Town’s Business Districts
DUMFRIES, Va. – Last year, Grace Church donated 13,000 pounds of food to the community through its “bag of hope” food pantry.
They did it all from their home located in Dumfries since 2007. Inside their worship center, which once served as a commercial mailing and packaging center in the heart of the town, is a large sanctuary and stage lined with musical instruments, a community daycare center with classrooms, a café, and a TV production facility the church uses to spread the words of its pastor, Bishop Derek Grier.
The church has come a long way since its humble beginnings in 1998 when it met in the auditorium of C.D. Hylton High School in Woodbridge.
And now, after it has applied for and won approval to occupy space in two buildings originally meant for commercial business, and after the church has spent “significant” money to market itself, its location, and by extension the Town of Dumfries on local radio and TV, some in the congregation are wondering if they should stay.
“Some members of our trustees’ board have asked ‘if the town doesn’t want to us to be here then why are we here,” said Rick Watson, a Deacon at the church.
Parking lot problems
After watching its numbers drop to about 30 members after it moved its services from the high school to Dumfries, Grace Church’s congregation has exploded to more than 2,500 members who regularly attend services on Sundays or Wednesdays. Because they’ve outgrown their parking lot, three shuttle vans are used to ferry church goers from nearby parking lots to the church at 1006 Williamstown Drive, just off Fraley Boulevard.
Town officials are now taking notice of the church’s crowded parking situation and noted the church once conformed to the town’s parking rules but, as of late, no longer has enough space to put parishioner’s automobiles.
That, town officials say, breaks the terms of a conditional use permit, or CUP, which the church must obtain from the town. It’s a permit that allows the church to exist inside a district originally zoned for business.
This, and namely the town’s willingness to hand out CUPs, has one Town Council member riled. “We’re handing out CUPs like business licenses. Why is planning commission looking at this and [recommending] approval when they don’t even belong in this district?” asked Dumfries Town Councilman Cliff Brewer. “We’ve got 26 churches in town, a whole lotta religion in this town going on, but none of those are a by-right use.”
Earlier this year, the Town Council issued a CUP to Grass Roots Christian Fellowship, a church that had been meeting in Stafford County. The special permit made it possible for the church’s congregation to obtain space inside the Elwye Center office building on Fraley Boulevard to hold services and activities.
Worshiping in a business district
Some business owners urged the Town Council to deny the permit, saying their place of business should only be used for business. And they argued that once a CUP is issued for a property, the permit carries over even if the church closes – which many churches do after their first three years, said Watson.
Grace Church has obtained at least three CUPs for their operation – two for a sanctuary and youth center at 17889 Fraley Boulevard, and for their current worship center next door at 1006 Williamstown Drive. After moving their worship center across the street to Williamsstown Drive, the church now only maintains its youth center at 17889 Fraley Boulevard.
Church provides needed services to community
Whether residents believe in god or not, Grace Church says their food donation services, youth services program similar to what one would find at a Boys and Girls Club, and increased business at nearby restaurants from hungry church goers, are positives reasons that outweigh the negative.
“With 4,000 members on our books and 2,500 who attend services here, literally half the town is here on Sunday. We have created a destination for the town,” said Watson.
Dumfries officials last December recognized the church by issuing a resolution commending the church for the work that it does, and for being one of the top 100 fastest-growing churches in the U.S.
Town Mayor Jerry Foreman says he’ll spend the next four years working to attract business to the town, and he suggested Dumfries review the application process for CUPs as well as work more closely with the individual organizations applying for them.
“We’ve approved CUPs and the property owner hasn’t even been in the audience at all,” said Foreman, who added the permits should not be permanent in the event the organization moves or closes.
Two more churches have applied for CUPs, and town staff are reviewing the applications. The Town Council unanimously voted to review all of the town’s CUP policies and procedures.
UPDATE 2 p.m.
The Prince William landfill has reopened to customers.
Here’s the latest in a press release:
The Prince William County Landfill is now open. The Household Hazardous Waste and Electronics Collection site, however will remain closed until Saturday at 10 a.m.
The landfill was temporarily closed due to a reaction between pool chemicals and water in a large drum. The reaction, which created gas and spillage is complete and the site is being monitored.
The landfill has been deemed safe to resume activities by Prince William County Haz-Mat and police.
UPDATE 1 p.m.
The Prince William landfill issued this statement following today’s explosion of swimming pool chemicals:
The Prince William County Landfill is temporarily closed.
Due to a spill at the Household Hazardous Waste Collection site the landfill is closed until further notice. Although trained staff and the collection contractor are on site, the police have shut down the entrance and the Haz Mat Team from Fire and Rescue is responding. At this time, it not known if the facility will reopen today.
Please call 703-792-4670 or visit www.pwcgov.org/trashandrecycling for reopening schedule.
UPDATE 12:30 p.m.
Chemicals disposed of at the Prince William County Sanitary Landfill exploded today.
Fire and rescue crews and police were called to the landfill at 14811 Dumfries Road about noon after swimming pool chemicals stored in a 55 gallon drum, and disposed of at the landfill’s household chemicals dumping station, had exploded.
No injuries were reported and the entrance of the landfill was closed for a brief time but was later reopened to traffic and trucks hauling trash into the facility. The explosion does appear to be unintentional, according to initial reports.
The FBI called investigators to find out more information about who brought the chemicals to the landfill in the event the explosion turned out not to be an accident, according to initial reports.
PRINCE WILLIAM COUNTY, Va. – The Prince William County Sanitary Landfill is shut down at this hour after a reported explosion.
Police have closed the entrance to the county landfill, according to initial information. The landfill is located on Va. 234, a four-lane thoroughfare links Dumfries at Interstate 95 and Manassas and I-66.
The explosion was reported as calcium hypochlorite which is used as a bleaching agent, according to initial reports. Police have not confirmed the report and are headed to the scene.
More as we have it.
Posted in: News
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OCCOQUAN, Va. – During the month of August the Artists’ Undertaking Gallery in Occoquan will be presenting “Angles and Curves”, an exhibit featuring jewelry by Sherry Chaples, Carved Eggshells by Tina Kannapel, and lotus photographs printed on metal by Gerry Gantt. The exhibit runs August 2 – September 1. A Meet-the-Artists reception will be held on Saturday, August 2, from 1:00 p.m. to 5 p.m.
The Artists’ Undertaking Gallery is located at 309 Mill Street in historic Occoquan, VA, and is open 11 a.m. – 5 p.m. daily.
Earine Porta is the former mayor of Occoquan and writes about happenings in the town.
Posted in: Lifestyles
STAFFORD COUNTY, Va. – Two adults and four children fled a house fire in Stafford County on Tuesday.
Here’s more in a press release:
On Tuesday July 29, 2014 at 11:28 p.m., Stafford County Fire and Rescue Department units responded to a reported structure fire at 215 Sleepy Hollow Trail. The first arriving unit from the Falmouth Station reported a two story, single family residential structure with fire in the garage, on the first floor, second floor and extending to the attic. Firefighters mounted an aggressive attack and the fire was brought under control within thirty-five minutes.
The home was occupied by two adults and four children who exited the home unharmed prior to the arrival of the Fire and Rescue Department. There were no reported injuries during this incident. The cause of the fire is under investigation and damage estimates are not currently available. The family did not need assistance from the Red Cross.
The following stations responded: Falmouth, White Oak, Berea, Stafford, Rockhill, White Oak Rescue, Fredericksburg and Quantico
WOODBRIDGE, Va. – There’s been another coyote sighting in Prince William County, this time at Sentara Northern Virginia Medical Center in Woodbridge.
The hospital confirms an animal, believed to be a coyote, was spotted running through the parking lot about 11 a.m. The animal was then seen headed toward a wooded area and then disappeared and was not seen again.
A Prince William Animal Control Officer who was later called to the hospital learned the animal was seen lying on a mulch bed and then again toward the back of the building, said Prince William police spokesman Mark Merriman.
Sentara Northern Virginia Medical Center spokeswoman Corianne Pafford said a vendor making a delivery to the hospital first noticed the animal and took photos of it which were handed over the animal control officer.
The coyote sighting comes after the Prince William Health District office last week issued a warning about a coyote that was spotted in the Buckhall section of the county, just outside Manassas.
Merriman said the construction happening at the Sentara campus could have disturbed the animal’s habit. Coyotes are territorial and will prey on small dogs and cats if left unattended, according to the Prince William Health District office.
The Prince William Ice Center in Dale City remains closed this afternoon, according to fire officials, who say it’s being cleaned.
Here’s a statement from Prince William fire and rescue Batallion Chief Curtis Brodie:
The Ice Center has an environmental company coming in to clean up the site. The Ice Center will be closed until the cleanup is completed.
3:30 p.m. Tuesday
DALE CITY, Va. – The Prince William Ice Center was evacuated this afternoon due to a report of an ammonia leak.
The center at 5180 Dale Boulevard was cleared of all occupants about 3 p.m. Fire and rescue crews were expected to be on the scene for several hours investigating the leak, according to initial information.
Ammonia is used in the ice making process at the center. At room temperature, ammonia can be a poisonous gas.
We’ll bring you more as we have it.
DALE CITY, Va – A 30 year old man was beaten in the face and hospitalized with non-life threatening injuries. Police Keep Reading...
TRIANGLE, Va. – Investigators are looking into a suspicious fire that broke out at a home in Triangle, just off Keep Reading...
WOODBRIDGE, Va. – A 17-year-old male is charged with attempted murder tonight after a fire broke out in Woodbridge. Here’s Keep Reading...
WOODBRIDGE, Va. – The drive home for some on Old Bridge Road in the Lake Ridge and Occoquan areas will Keep Reading...
DALE CITY, Va. – Police say a customer at a bank in Dale City was robbed this afternoon. Here’s the Keep Reading...
Dale City native Christina Epperson spotted a tornado on the way to work on Sunday. She was on her way Keep Reading...
Posted in: News
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