The footprint of Old Town Manassas could soon expand east.
A proposal calls for 140 new condos to be built at Manassas Station, a new four-story housing development that would replace the old ABC Photo Processing Center on Prince William Street, originally built in 1953 and modified in 1985.
If approved, the new homes would have the same look and feel of the buildings in Old Town, and would come on the heels of Manassas City leaders approving 94 new condos at the site of the old Manassas Journal Messenger building on Church Street.
The same developer who built Historic Courts of Manassas on Center Street would also build Manassas Station. A new Baldwin Intermediate School will be built across the street where ballfields outside Osbourn High School in what is an already changing neighborhood. In order for the project to move forward, the land needs to be rezoned from industrial to a residential use.
The city’s Planning Commission twice denied approval of the condo bui
lding because it will be built too close to existing historic homes on Fairview Avenue. But those who work in the city’s planning office said Manassas Station should go forward because it fits the city’s downtown development plan.
“There’s been very little interest in the property until our people came in and proposed something,” said John Foote, a lawyer representing the developer.
The amount of increased traffic that would come from the development is a concern. A new traffic signal at the nearby intersection of Fairview Avenue and Tudor Land would need to be installed, and the developer has proffered $117,000 for the needed signal.
The developer has also offered $671,860 in proffers to the city’s school system to help offset the cost of educating new students who would move into the condo building. Foote said he used the city’s own data to determine that condo buildings in the city generate fewer school children than a nearby townhouse community and a trailer park.
Opponents of the project said the character of Old Town is changing too fast, fear its population will become denser, and that they don’t want the city to look someday like Arlington.
“I feel that the look a feel of this massive building will further erode the look and feel of our historic district, a district that so many people care about and what makes Manassas unique. Soon it will be hard to find historic buildings if we continue to allow development of this scale in the historic district,” said Mary Ann Jenkins, who lives on Windsor Street in the city.
Supporters of the new project called the condos a sign of “progress” being made in the city. They, along with Foote, also said many young Millenials are choosing to rent rather than buy a home due to the down economy.
“I’m 30 years old and I’m not in a position to purchase a home. It’s a tough world, economically, and I don’t know what can be done to support home ownership because it’s a difficult thing,” one woman told city leaders.
Manassas Station would be built on nearly four acres of land, feature 85 one bedroom units and 55 two bedroom units. Among other proffers, the developer has offered $50,000 to improve parking in Old Town, $121,800 for public safety improvements, $6,300 for parks, and would not allow owners to sublease any condo unit in the building.
The Prince William County School Board voted 7-1 to accept the new boundary plans for the 12th high school, including several amendments. Click here for the full story from our news partner Bristow Beat.
Police busted three people suspected of making meth in an area motel.
Investigators made the bust Nov. 3 at Red Roof Inn just off Interstate 66 near Manassas
A search warrant indicates police suspected meth was being made inside room 237, and it was being sold to people staying at the motel. Detectives went to the door to speak with and spoke with two men staying in the room. While there, they and saw batteries, tin foil, butane, gas masks, tubing, and a clear jar with a white powdery substance to
indicate the manufacturing of methamphetamine, all lying in plain sight, according to the search warrant.
The two men told police that meth had recently been made inside the room and that the man who rented the room would return shortly, according to the search warrant.
The renter of the room returned a short time later driving a Toyota Highlander, according to the search warrant. Needles, a spoon, and a battery were all items listed on the search warrant as recovered.
James Kiger, 45, of no fixed address is charged with manufacture of methamphetamine.
Lindsey Elizabeth Rengstorff, 24, of Bowling Green, is charged with possession.
Samuel Hoak, 21, of Pembridge Road in Manassas is charged with manufacturing methamphetamine.
The suspects are due in court Jan. 9, 2015.
One man is in custody and another is sought in the shooting death of a Dale City man.
Christopher Weaver was shot and killed at a home in the 13400 block of Keating Drive in Dale City early Sunday. A 15-year-old boy was also wounded during the shooting.
Police then arrested their first suspect in the shooting, 35-year-old Christopher Coward, of Kirkdale Drive in Dale City, during a traffic stop in Arlington on Nov. 17. Coward is charged with murder and is suspected of
fleeing the scene of the shooting with another suspect – Bryan Patterson, 35, of 914 Hillcrest Drive in Vienna.
Patterson is charged with murder and is sought by police. He is described as black, 5 feet 11 inches tall, 165 pounds, with short black hair and a beard.
Anyone with information on the whereabouts of Patterson is encouraged to callpolice at 703-792-6500.
The “Promenade at First Town Center” project in Dumfries is moving ahead.
Dumfries will hold a public hearing to get feedback on a plan to sell nearly 4 acres of land on Main Street (Route 1 south), between the ACTS Thrift Store and the existing “First Town Center” office building next to Town Hall for $150,000.
Real estate developer Pete Singh needs to the parcel to build the “Promenade at Dumfries First Town Center,” a mix of retail and residential in the heart of the town.
A date for the public hearing should be set at the next Town Council meeting on Dec. 2. The Town Council unanimously approved the motion to move the land sale to a public hearing on Tuesday.
The area in which the Promenade will be built is slated to be dubbed a conservation area on Dec. 2. The designation will allow Singh to apply for low-interest financing from the Virginia Housing Development Authority to construct the center, according to Town documents.
Here’s the exact definition of a “conservation area” from Virginia code:
“Conservation area” means an area, designated by an authority that is in a state of deterioration and in the early stages of becoming a blighted area, as defined in this section, or any area previously designated as a conservation area pursuant to this chapter.
Councilman Derrick Wood also wants to also include both of the town’s major shopping centers, Dumfries Shopping Center on Route 1 north, home to Todos Market and a public library, and Triangle Shopping Center that is home to a McDonalds and the town’s police department, as conservation areas.
Virginia Railway Express riders: pull out your calendars and make note.
Here is the holiday schedule for all VRE trains, noting when service will be modified or canceled due to a holiday between Thanksgiving and New Years.
November 27, 2014 – No VRE service is observance of Thanksgiving
November 28, 2014 – “S” Schedule
December 24. 2014 – “S” Schedule
December 25, 2014 – No VRE service in observance of Christmas
December 26, 2014 – “S” Schedule
December 29-31, 2014 – “S” Schedule
January 1, 2015 – No VRE service in observance of New Year’s Day
January 2, 2015 – “S” Schedule
January 19, 2014 – No VRE service in observance of Martin Luther King, Jr. Day
At a formal pole removal ceremony on today, the City of Manassas Public Works & Utilities Department officially declared the Center Street/Prescott Avenue Overhead to Underground project complete. This Capital Improvement Project, which began in July 2012, removed 33 utility poles from the side of the road and relocated the lines underground.
The project entailed moving 27,708 linearfeet of conductor line from above ground to underground, making the area much more visually appealing. More than 15,352 man-hours were used to move electric lines and to upgrade 3,216 linear feet of water main pipes along the route which included; Center Street, Prescott Avenue, Zebedee Street, Quarry Road, Cherry Street and Maple Street. Moving these lines from above to below ground helps ensure reliability of electric service, while also taking away that cluttered feel of above ground power lines.
Local cable franchise lines for Comcast and Verizon were also moved to below ground during the project. 20 new Sternberg street lights were placed along the route, adding an “old town” ambience to the project. The City also upgraded the water main in this area to a new 12 inch line for improved pressure in the area.
Posted in: Manassas
Two soon-to-be graduates from our area will be ready to patrol the streets and highways of Virginia.
Muhammad Ismail Abbasi, of Lorton, and Robert Morgan Guyton, III, of Stafford, will graduate as members of the Virginia State Police 122nd Basic Session. Cadets turned state troopers, the two men will each patrol in Prince William County.
Here’s more in a press release:
The new troopers have received more than 1,600 hours of classroom and field instruction in more than 100 different subjects, including defensive tactics, crime scene investigation, ethics and leadership, survival Spanish, police professionalism, firearms, judicial procedures, officer survival, cultural diversity and crisis management.
Selected from a pool of more than 1,000 applicants, the members of the 122nd Basic Session began probating Feb. 25, 2014, followed by 26 weeks of academic, physical and practical training at the Academy since May 25, 2014. The probationary phase, which allows recruits to train in the field prior to attending the Academy, requires trainees to complete two and half weeks of introductory training at the Academy before being assigned to a Field Training Officer (FTO).
Aa graduation ceremony held at the State Police Training Academy located at 7700 Midlothian Turnpike in Chesterfield County, beginning at 10 a.m. Friday, Nov. 21.
Posted in: News
Stafford authorities say they have completed their investigation into a choking incident at Brooke Point High School.
A football player was choked and subsequently passed out inside a locker room Oct. 23. The following week, the school canceled its scheduled football match with North Stafford High School.
Here’s more in a statement from the Stafford Sheriff’s office:
The Stafford County Sheriff’s Office is reporting that on Wednesday, October 29, 2014,
the Sheriff’s Office was informed of an incident that occurred in the Brooke Point High School football team’s locker room on Thursday evening, October 23, 2014. The incident in the locker room involved the choking of one student by another.
Once informed of the incident the Sheriff’s Office initiated an investigation. That investigation has now been completed. The investigation concluded that while the student who initiated the chocking incident could, according to Virginia Code, be charged with misdemeanor assault, no charges will be filed against the minor teen at this time. In this incident the Sheriff’s Office worked closely with the family of the victim prior to determining if charges would be brought. The Stafford County School Division has dealt with the situation according to the school division’s Code of Conduct.
This investigation is now completed and no further comment will be provided.
Traffic on a portion of Route 1 in Woodbridge will shift on Friday morning, said Prince William County Director of Transportation Thomas Blaser.
Drivers headed south will be routed on a new portion of roadway that has been constructed just before Dale Boulevard. Two lanes of traffic will continue to carry drivers south, as the effort to widen the road from four to six lanes continues.
By Summer 2016, the portion of Route 1 between Neabsco Mills Road and Featherstone Road will be widened to six lanes.
Posted in: News
This Saturday, Nov. 22, Saint John Paul the Great Catholic High School near Dumfries will host their 4th annual JP5K Run/Walk for Options. The race, which will take place on the school campus and the surrounding neighborhood, is being hosted to raise funds for the school’s Options program, which provides educational opportunities for students with intellectual disabilities.
“[This race] supports our Options program, which currently serves about six students with intellectual impairments,” said Jennifer Cole, Director of Admissions and Marketing for Saint John Paul the Great Catholic High School.
Last year the race had about 600 participants, and they’re hoping for a similar turnout this year. In last year’s run, the school raised several thousands to help fund the Options program.
“It’s really important to us that families know that there is a Catholic school that has a program that can meet the needs of students with these disabilities, because it’s not something that has traditionally been very available,” said Cole of the importance of such a program in the community, noting that children from all faith backgrounds are accepted.
The goal of this program is to give students a place where they can contribute to the educational community, spending part of their time with an individualized curriculum, and another part of their day spent with other students in the classroom.
“We have a program where they spend part of their day in the classroom – it’s a very individualized program and they’re learning at the level that is appropriate for each one of them. And the other part of the day, our Options students are in our mainstream classrooms with ‘buddies’…these are students that are like mentors,” said Cole.
Runners for the race can register on the race website, or the day of at the race, from 6:30 to 7:30 a.m. The address for the campus is 17700 Dominican Drive in Dumfries.
On Dec. 11, 2014, Major Bruce H. ‘Doc’ Norton, USMC (Ret.) will speak at the Freedom Museum about several books he has authored on U.S. Military History. He will discuss several of the men about whom he has written, why he chose them, and will present lessons learned about writing military history, as well as mention some of his future projects.
During his Vietnam tours spanning five years, he was decorated for heroism “under fire on numerous occasions”. After his Vietnam Service, Major Norton attended the College of Charleston, where he earned a BA in US History and a Commission as a Second lieutenant in the U.S. Marine Corps. He retired after twenty-four years of military service in command and staff positions and earned a Master’s Degree in Military Sciences before becoming the Director of the Marine Corps’ Command Museum, in San Diego, California, and also taught military history courses at the University of San Diego.
Admission to the Freedom Museum is free and light refreshments will be served. The presentation will be from 7:00 PM to 8:45 PM at the Museum, which is located in the Manassas Airport Terminal, 10600 Harry Parrish Blvd., Manassas, VA 20110. For further information and directions to the museum, visit www.freedommuseum.org.
Posted in: Manassas
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