Thursday, May 27, 2021

There is no such thing as a dead tree

by Harrison Glasgow

In the forest, in autumn, an acorn drops from an oak.  Soon, a bushy-tailed squirrel finds it and obeys an ageless urge to bury it to be dug up later during the spare oncoming winter. Soon forgotten by the squirrel, it remains buried through the winter, and begins to germinate the following spring.

In several years, the acorn develops into a sapling, and begins the struggle for survival. It must compete with other trees for its share of sunlight, nutrients from the soil, and water. Its leaves are bigger than those of its parents so that it can devote more energy to absorbing the necessary light and carbon dioxide than the adult trees, thus promoting faster growth.

As it grows, more branches sprout with more leaves, and it is steadily gaining in the struggle for space.  Soon, birds begin to explore the sapling for insects, and for nesting sites. 

Wednesday, May 26, 2021

The Long Branch Development in the Rural Crescent

On January 19 2021 five Prince William Supervisors ignored the recommendations of the Planning Commission, Planning staff, School Board, MCB Quantico, the District Supervisor, and approximately 600 citizens who wrote or spoke in support of maintaining the Rural Crescent and voted to change the Comprehensive Plan. Their vote removed land from the Rural Crescent, tripled the number of homes currently allowed, and approved a connection to public sewer. In exchange the developer promises to “gift” a “natural area preserve” to the County for public use.

Trading new houses for green open space?

There is no question the county needs more preserved open space. But this open space comes at an expense that won’t be covered by the new residents in this community. In exchange for the open space, most of which is unbuildable, taxpayers will have to cover costs for new roads, schools, and other public services.

Prince William at a Crossroads

On Tuesday, May 4, the Board of Supervisors is scheduled to vote on the Rural Area Preservation Plan. The Planning Commission recommends adopting only one of the strategies presented in the Plan - a Purchase of Development Rights program. We agree with the Planning Commission.

It’s unknown if Supervisors will follow that lead or if this will be viewed as an opportunity to expand allowed Rural Crescent uses to include increased densities, commercial uses, or even industrial development.

Although much is uncertain, we know a few things. We know that opening the Rural Crescent to development beyond what is currently allowed goes against why it was established in the first place -  to protect the Occoquan Reservoir watershed, to maximize investments in the development area, and maintain green open space (which could also be part of our climate change mitigation plan!)

Protect Prince William Forest Park from Encroachment by Development

On Tuesday, March 16, Prince Williams Board of County Supervisors will decide whether to allow construction of a data center campus within the Congressional boundary of Prince William Forest Park.

This would negatively impact Prince William Forest Park, the largest Piedmont forest in the entire U.S. National Parks System and an important source of tourism dollars to the county.

Everyone has a stake in protecting our national parks. Click here to find contact information for your local, state, and federal representatives.

This proposal is part of a recent trend by some Prince William County Board of Supervisors officials to undermine the Rural Crescent, which was enacted to preserve rural open space, clean drinking water, and keep taxes low by reducing infrastructure costs. The Rural Crescent has been a successful policy that continues to be popular with voters.

Stop Public Sewer Extensions into the Rural Crescent

On Tuesday, May 4, Prince William County Board of Supervisors is considering adopting an updated Rural Preservation Plan that includes allowing the extension of sewer into the rural areas to accommodate higher density development for the purpose of preserving rural land.

If you're confused, you're not alone, so are we. How does a plan for more infrastructure and residential development preserve the rural area?

The Board is considering four specific actions:

  1. A Comprehensive Plan Amendment updating the Rural Preservation Plan (link)
  2. A zoning text amendment that would enable cluster development with access to public sewer called Conservation Residential (link)
  3. A zoning text amendment that would enable a Transfer of Development Right program (link)
  4. A zoning text amendment that would enable a Purchase of Development Right program (link)

Prince William Conservation Alliance Hosts “People Who Make a Difference” Awards Ceremony

Honoring Community Champions Giuseppe’s Ristorante Italiano, Judy Gallagher, Joyce Hudson, and Julie Flanagan June 24, 2024 – Prince William...