Friday, May 10, 2024

Comments on Mid-county Industrial Park - Planning Commission

On behalf of the Prince William Conservation Alliance,
I am writing to express my concerns regarding the Mid-County Industrial Park and the proposed rezoning of approximately 40.91 acres from A-1 Agricultural to M-2 Light Industrial, as well as the associated amendments to the proffers. This proposal is next to neighborhoods and across the street from Prince William Forest Park. While I understand the need for development and economic growth, I believe we can do so without sacrificing our environmental standards and the well-being of our communities in the process.

Protecting the Occoquan Reservoir - ORPA

The Occoquan Reservoir watershed, primarily (40%) within Prince William County, is crucial for the water quality of our drinking water. Land use decisions in the county significantly influence the health of the watershed and thus the reservoir.

While Fairfax County implemented protective measures, such as downzoning, to protect the reservoir, Prince William County adopted the Rural Crescent in 1998 to limit sewer access and curb development pressure. However, recent changes in the Comprehensive Plan have blurred the line between rural and development areas.

Wednesday, April 3, 2024

Call for data center guidelines

Three years ago, we started voicing concerns about a proposed data center development within the legislative boundary of Prince William Forest Park- Potomac Technology Park. We acknowledged that data centers had a role to play in modern society - many of our programs from the history of the Barnes House to protecting Quantico Creek are available online for anyone to see thanks to data centers that have already been built. But we also recognized that they needed to be properly sited with adequate buffers and set-backs. These siting concerns drove our opposition to projects like the Potomac Tech Park and Prince William Digital Gateway.

Where data centers are located is still important. But with the rapid increase in projects we are seeing, and this industry’s insatiable demand for power, water and land, we are growing more and more concerned about the cumulative impacts of this industry. Impacts on our electric grid, energy bills, water resources, and climate change goals are all of concern. These impacts are felt not only here in Prince William County, but across the state and the globe.

Tuesday, December 19, 2023

PWDG falls short of the CPA and Zoning Ordinance

 December 11, 2023

Dear Chair Wheeler and Members of the Prince William County Board of Supervisors:

We are writing in advance of your public hearing tomorrow on the three proposed “Digital Gateway” rezonings.  At the outset, we wish to emphasize that we strongly oppose all three proposals.  Data centers are a fundamental part of the technology infrastructure that supports the modern economy, and they have a place in Prince William County and other localities in Virginia.  However, given the enormous impacts they can inflict on the surrounding environment and nearby communities, it is essential that they be appropriately sited and scaled.  With its broad array of invaluable historic, cultural, and environmental resources, the landscape immediately west and northwest of Manassas National Battlefield Park is simply an unsuitable location for a data center and technology complex, especially of this massive scale.   

We acknowledge that some of you may disagree, as evidenced by the Board’s adoption of the PW Digital Gateway Comprehensive Plan Amendment (“Digital Gateway CPA”) late last year.  However, we trust that you will fulfill your collective duty to ensure that any rezoning applications proposed in this area: (1) comply with all pertinent requirements of the Virginia Code and Prince William County Zoning Ordinance; and (2) are reasonably consistent with the protections and guidelines in the Digital Gateway CPA.  The three proposals coming before you tomorrow meet neither of those basic marks.

Wednesday, December 13, 2023

Comments to the Board on PWDG

The following were our comments delivered to the Board of County Supervisors on December 12 in opposition to 3 rezoning applications collectively referred to as the Prince William Digital Gateway.


I understand that many of you have already formed your opinions on the rezonings we are discussing today. The allure of hundreds of millions of dollars in tax revenue is undeniable. I also acknowledge that this has been a long day, and it's a challenge to ask anyone to remain engaged for such an extended period. Yet, I implore you to pause for a moment. This is not a process to be endured simply to cast a vote at the end. There is wisdom in this process, and there is wisdom in the voices standing up for sustainability and our environment. 

Let's not forget that even with the approval of the Comprehensive Plan Amendment, these proposals are not inevitable.  Fairfax County, for example, took a decisive step by downzoning, - not just replanning, but downzoning 41,000 acres in order the protect the Occoquan reservoir - a decision was upheld by the courts. Here in Prince William County, our primary strategy to protect the drinking water that the eastern end relies on - me included - has been to maintain the rural area that reduces development pressures on the reservoir. 

Sunday, December 10, 2023

A Call for Conscientious Consideration: Prince William Digital Gateway Threatens Land, Water, Heritage

December 8, 2023


A Call for Conscientious Consideration: Prince William Digital Gateway Threatens Land, Water, Heritage 


Woodbridge, Virginia – The United Tribes of the Shenandoah, alongside a diversity of community faith leaders, will host a peaceful prayer ceremony on Tuesday, December 12, at 9 AM at the Sean T. Connaughton Plaza located between the James J. McCoart Building and Development Services Building at the county government complex in Woodbridge, VA.  The prayer vigil will precede the scheduled public hearing to consider the Prince William Digital Gateway.

Monday, October 2, 2023

Monitoring the Bluebird Trail at Chinn (2023 season)

by: Rita Romano 

If you enjoy watching nature up close and personal, you would love to be a part of the team that monitors the Bluebird boxes that Prince William Alliance has installed on trails by the Chinn Aquatic & Fitness Center. We start monitoring 14 boxes in early Spring that are intended for Bluebirds, however, we get many Tree Swallows in our boxes as well, and sometimes a Wren. We have a team of 6 people, and we take turns peeking into the boxes twice a week until about mid-August. We have a friendly contest with another team that monitors 12 Bluebird boxes at Merrimac Farm to see which team discovers the first egg!

You never know what you are going to find when you peek in the boxes! Is the box empty, or is there a beginning of a nest? If there is a nest, what kind is it? Each species has special characteristics. My favorite is the Tree Swallow nest because they use feathers from other species to curl over the nest opening.

Comments on Mid-county Industrial Park - Planning Commission

On behalf of the Prince William Conservation Alliance, I am writing to express my concerns regarding the Mid-County Industrial Park and the...