Wednesday, June 30, 2021

Mapping a Pathway to 2040

The Comprehensive Plan is a vision document. It establishes land use policy and maps development densities, parcel-by-parcel, for the entire county.

The County recently released a new interactive map titled Pathway to 2040:  A Review of the Comprehensive Plan Long-Range Land Use Map Layer. The map shows and identifies properties where landowners have requested changes to planned land uses for specific parcels.

The map proposes significant changes to both the plan and the process, allowing individual projects to avoid public scrutiny. It also sidesteps the County's Comprehensive Plan Amendment process, where individual projects require a full review based on the ten principles of smart growth adopted by Supervisors.

Building Better Burbs with Tom Eitler

"Prince William [County] (PWC) is a great place, it still has great value in its land, it has an exceptional school system, it's close to the influence and power of DC, it has great interstate access, growing bus to rail access the list goes on," explains Tom Eitler from the Urban Land Institute during his recent talk Building Better Burbs. He continues with an implicit but, "Prince William has a reputation issue, it's perceived as a suburban county...[rather than] the most dynamic place in the region." 

Friday, June 18, 2021

Native Plants for County Properties


Bluebells by Randy Streufert
By Adrian Willing and Ashley Studholme
Native plants are crucial to preserving what remains of our region’s indigenous biodiversity and ecological heritage. Without native plants, our region becomes an ecological desert for the pollinating insects that are essential to our survival. 

VA native plants are essential to provide food for pollinators that pollinate over one-third of Virginia’s fruit and vegetable crops. Plants native to Northern VA create healthy, attractive communities, high-quality wildlife habitat, and are foundational to the health and well-being of our ecosystems.

Data Centers Here, There... Anywhere?

Loudoun County Data Centers
In 2019, Virginia data centers used about as much electricity as nine large coal-powered plants according to Greenpeace. Then the pandemic forced a switch from in-person to virtual and increased demand for video conferencing and online shopping. All this additional traffic pushed demand for even more data centers.

In fact, last year, 18 million square feet of real estate in the region went to data centers, which equates to the power needed to serve approximately 7,000 single-family homes.

Thursday, June 17, 2021

The Bi-County Parkway ... It's Back!

 by Charlie Grymes

County officials are planning to resurrect the Bi-County Parkway. They included it in Table 2 of the proposed new Mobility Chapter for 2040 Comprehensive Plan.

The Bi-County Parkway died in 2016 for good reasons (see Myths and Facts and Stewart: Bi-County Parkway project is dead). And there are three new reasons since then that make the Bi-County Parkway proposal even less viable:

Native Plants Matter

 by Adrian Willing

Native plants are crucial to preserving what remains of our region’s indigenous biodiversity and ecological heritage. Without native plants, our region becomes an ecological desert for the pollinating insects that are essential to our survival. 

Virginia native plants provide food for pollinators that pollinate over one-third of Virginia’s fruit and vegetable crops. They create healthy, attractive communities, high-quality wildlife habitat, and are foundational to the health and well-being of our ecosystems.

Biodiversity: Countless insect species rely exclusively on natives as host plants for their complete life cycles. Non-natives occasionally provide nectar or shelter but cannot sustain local insect populations. Without soft-bodied Lepidoptera caterpillars, birds cannot raise their young. A typical clutch requires 6,000 to 9,000 caterpillars before fledging.


Backyard Beekeeping

by Ashley Studholme

Even as the sun was beaming, the morning was still cool considering it was mid-June. Dressed in white, our hat complete with a veil, we were ready! No, no, not for a wedding, but to visit a honeybee hive.

Judy Kenyon was awestruck that she had the winning bid for Close Encounter with Bees during Prince William Conservation Alliance’s recent online silent auction. “Where else am I going to have this opportunity to experience a beehive so close and personal.” 


The honeybee is one of the few insects that humans have successfully domesticated and are important crop pollinators in addition to providing that delightful amber sweetness we enduringly call honey.  The human-bee relationship has had a long history dating back to Ancient Egypt where barges with artificial colonies would sweep up and down the Nile following seasonal blooms. Nowadays, beekeepers vary from small operations i.e. having two or three colonies to mass-scale enterprises that manage tens of thousands of colonies. 


Tuesday, June 8, 2021

Purchase of Development Rights: A Small but Significant Step in the Right Direction

 by the Marsh Family, Little Goat Farm on the Lake

We are a family owned 25 acre farm in the Rural Crescent area of Prince William County. We offer to our community a small Agritourism and organically grown vegetables, fruits, and flowers. 

Our family farm has long supported stronger land use planning tools at the local level. For example, local zoning and general plan processes should be strengthened to improve the effectiveness and quality of mitigation programs that protect farmland. We support adoption and enforcement of stronger ag elements in County General Plans.

Wednesday, June 2, 2021

This bird likes Prince William County too...

by Ashley Studholme

"Mississippi Kite" by TexasEagle is licensed under CC BY-NC 2.0The low hum of the periodic cicadas signals more than “it’s time to mate,” for birds it signals “it’s time to feast.” Sitting on a deck in Lake Ridge, I watch as hawks to sparrows bounce in the treetops and zip through the air with cicada wings protruding from their bill. Chicks are being fed well this year! 

My parents and I were about an hour into an afternoon tradition that we started at the beginning of the pandemic...the Backyard Bird Count Happy Hour. The tongue-twisting aside, it’s why I have binos around my neck and a piƱa colada in my hand, the hour in “happy hour” has an implicit “at least.” 

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...