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Back to Silver Lake September 12, 2007 Staff Report

Board Resolution proposed by County Executive's Office
Comparison Chart Reviewing All Proposals Submitted to the PWC Board of Supervisors for the Silver Lake Property Citizens Matter! What Can You Do?
Silver Lake in the News
Review criteria and the evaluation process (Board of Supervisors)
Bull Run Mountain Conservancy Proposal
Northern Virginia Regional Park Authority Proposal
PWC Park Authority Proposal
Silver Lake Proffered Development Plan
Proffered Trails Exhibit
BOS Resolution Approving Toll Brothers Development Proposal
July 1, 2006 Proffers
Donate - Support Local Opportunities

Some Citizen Comments on the Silver Lake Proposals

I have been a Prince William County resident since 1959, when my father ... moved here to build ...  My husband and I are avid birdwatchers who love our frequent visits to the Occoquan National Wildlife Refuge.  So one could say I know a little bit about Prince William history and about its natural areas. As a result of my experiences living in PWC, I urge you to accept the Bull Run Mountain Conservancy partnership with PWC to expand and develop the Silver Lake site at no cost to our taxpayers.  Prince William needs more natural parkland and places where its citizens can walk, look at and enjoy nature, and less high use facilities.  Let's learn to leave our beautiful lands in their natural state and not be in such a rush to change them.  Please vote for the Bull Run Mountain Conservancy proposal.  Thank you.

I listened to the presentations on the three proposals on Silver Lake given to county residents back in August.  It seemed to me that the Prince William Park Authority's goals ran completely counter to what Prince William County residents wanted, as expressed at that meeting. 

Please do not consider Prince William County Park Authority as the most qualified entity to manage this small patch of park land!  I do not get the feeling this organization understands the value of open space and natural areas. 

Prince William County does not need more development, especially in its too few parks!  Rather, the county needs more spaces left in a natural state.  This is not only about recreation; it is about ecological and environmental health, and providing places for birds and wildlife, so important to our quality of life.   It is about letting our children see, feel and experience what a natural area is like. 

I do not live in that part of the county but I feel strongly that Prince William County really needs to focus on creating more natural areas throughout the county. In fact, I am deeply concerned about the lack of open space in Prince William County and many county residents feel the same way. 

Please consider this as you make your decisions on Silver Lake and on other development mitigation opportunities (which in my opinion are not nearly generous enough) that may follow.  This is important.

We lived in Fairfax County most of our 50+ lives - moved here due to teaching commute 2 years ago.  We picked Belmont Bay because it is near a park.  In Fairfax, we were always within 1 or two miles of a park.  Parks bring in businesses and home owners.  Both bring in tax dollars.  Don't waste my taxes when Fairfax County has more to spend than you do (probably because they have a larger Parks system, among other things ...).

I would be interested to hear your side - but you haven't sent an email (like PWCA) stating your opinion and asking for mine.

PS I vote regularly.

Hello.  I am a Prince William County resident living in Coles District.  I am writing because I wish to urge the Board of County Supervisors to select Bull Run Mountain Conservancy's proposal for management of the Silver Lake recreational parcel when you vote on September 18. 

After reviewing the proposals from BRMC, the Prince William County Park Authority, and the Northern Virginia Regional Park Authority, I strongly support BRMC's proposal because it:

  • Offers the greatest amount of protected land and a minimal structural/impervious surface footprint;

  • Provides superior environmental conservation and waterway buffers; -- Focuses on PASSIVE recreational uses such as hiking, nature study, biking, small boat use, etc.

  • Costs the least for PWC residents.

I am very impressed that BRMC was able to secure matching funds for its proposed management of this site, and I think PWC would be smart to choose BRMC to apply its demonstrated expertise in managing and conserving public lands in their natural state for citizens to enjoy recreationally and use for educational purposes.  

It makes no sense for the county to spend more money to protect less land and provide less passive recreational opportunities, which is what county residents have said (in surveys) that we want.

Thank you for taking the time to read my email, and for your service to our county and its citizens.

Tuesday you will vote either to get double the acreage and a free park for Prince William County or to spend $1.6 million and $255,000 of our tax money every year for less than half the acreage of park land.

There is no justifiable reason to turn down the offer from Bull Run Mtn. Conservancy. It is a win win situation. The contract states that if Bull Run Mtn. Conservancy doesn't live up to its promises, the LAND WOULD REVERT to PRINCE WILLIAM County .

So how could you possibly EXPLAIN TO THE TAXPAYERS that you turned down 270 free acres of park land in order to spend $1.6 million of their money and another $255,000 every year? Bull Run Mtn. Conservancy's plan is excellent and makes the best use of the land. The public wants park land for low impact uses such as hiking and horse back riding. We don't want our park land used for trailer storage.

WE don't want our park land misappropriated and abused in an attempt to make it an income producing camp ground to serve NON PRINCE WILLIAM RESIDENTS.

We abhor the thought of giving up 270 acres of park land just because you decide that the county needs to control it. Parkland should be a natural area for the residents not an income producing business for the county.


YOU HAVE NOTHING TO LOOSE IF YOU DO. And all of your constituents's respect if you don't.

A dearth of parks and open space have been one of the most obvious casualties of Prince William County's decades long policy of encouraging suburban sprawl.  Although there has been some movement toward curbing sprawl, the county continues to fail to meet any reasonable goal for preserving open space and creating parks that encourage an appreciation of nature through walking trails through woodland and other passive recreation options.

Instead almost all land acquired by the county is devoted to various forms of profit making ventures.  So much so that the Park Authority is more akin to a Corporation operating theme parks for profit than it is to taxpayer supported entity working for the benefit of all citizens.

The Park Authority's proposal for the Silver Lakes land would continue this approach.  It would create yet another vast landscape of fenced ball fields, courts and other facilities far from population centers where they should be in order for them to be accessible by walking or biking.  So the Park Authority would create yet another attractive nuisance in an otherwise isolated area.  It will generate substantial traffic episodically when tournaments are held there.

On the other hand the Bull Run Mountain Conservancy's proposal would provide far more open space and passive recreation opportunities in addition to lower cost.   While it would not create the mega sports facility envisioned by the Park Authority it would provide a balanced approach that would be a move in the right direction for Parks in Prince William County.

I urge you to accept the Bull Run Conservancy's proposal.

I urge you to accept the Bull Run Mountains Conservancy proposal for the Silver Lake property. It's the only one that costs the County taxpayers nothing. In return, we get acres of undeveloped land for passive recreation.We don't need RV facilities in the Rural Crescent.

With real estate revenues declining, the County has no money to develop the planned facilities or maintain this property. If the Conservancy doesn't live up to it's promises, the property goes back to the County. It's a win-win for the taxpayers. Please vote to keep this land close to nature.

Please vote for the Bull Run Mountains Conservancy plan for the Silver Lake property. We need opportunities for passive recreation in this end of the county, and the BRMC proposal will expand those opportunities by combinining the Silver Lake property with an adjacent parcel. Expanding these opportunities without spending county funds is especially important at a time when the county budget is so tight. We ask you to vote for the BRMC proposal on Tuesday.

Got this e-mail from PWCA that indicates that you are making a choice beteen spending $1.6 million plus more than $1/4 million a year or getting twice as big park without spending any of our tax funds.  If this is anywhere close to true, this should take about 1 minute to say "free".  Should you decide to spend big chunks of tax funds, please furnish your justification. I really do not like high taxes.

Please resolve to convey the Silver Lake property to the Bull Run Mountains Conservancy at your meeting on September 18, 2007.   BRMC proposes to open and operate the property at no expense to PW County citizens, and will combine the property with an adjacent 268 acre natural area.  These are very compelling reasons to accept the BRMC proposal. 

I had to opportunity to participate in two focus group meetings sponsored by the PWC Park Authority, and was dismayed by the Park Authority plans to develop Silver Lake for a long list of activities, including RV camping, RV storage, and radio-controlled planes & boats.  Citizens at the focus group meetings, and in subsequent public meetings, felt that the Park Authority plans were too focused on active recreation, and out of character with the nature and location of the property.  Citizens wanted passive recreation.   Nearby residents voiced concerns about the increase of traffic on Antioch Road, noise, and safety issues associated with intensive use of the property.

The BRMC proposal, which includes the addition of 268 acres, is an opportunity that can't be passed up.   PW County citizens have consistently stated their desire for preservation of open space, protection of natural areas, and passive recreation opportunities. The BRMC proposal provides that; please accept it on September 18. 

I beg you to please vote to put the Silver Lake Property in the hands of the Bull Run Conservancy.  This option benefits the county in a number of ways.

  1. This option will double our open space for the area. (and we don't want to do this why?)
  2. This will cost taxpayers of Prince William County nothing. (and we don't want to do this why?)
  3. You are concerned with taxes and cutting services. (and we don't want to do this why?)

You all have the opp or tunity to do what is right. Give the residents more parkland f or less $$$$. 

I had initial concerns with the Bull Run Mountain Conservancy's proposal for Silver Lakes . At a public meeting, the BRMC discussed what they would be willing to do were they granted the parcel of land. In all their documentation since that meeting, the BRMC has fully supplied all the information necessary to inform the public of their intentions. They are willing to put up the twenty acres for an equestrian facility at the site and open an additional 263 acres to the site. Beyond the additional land, the BRMC has agreed to match a grant of 500,000 toward improvements on the land, such as trails and other equestrian facilities. Note that the money is not coming from the citizens of Prince William County .

The trails could also be utilized for hiking and other passive recreation. The increase in passive land use cannot be discounted.

The Park Authority proposal includes a plan to put in equestrian facilities in the THIRD PHASE. I have heard that song before. Living in Nokesville and sharing a border with the Valley View complex, we were told repeatedly how the Park Authority would be putting in equestrian facilities someday. Unfortunately, like a bad 70's song, Someday Never Comes.

What will be there if the increased equestrian facilities do not come in? While passive recreation is present, an RV park is one of the main attributes of the Park Authority's proposal for this piece of land. When this piece of land was given to the county government, it was designated to be used for public recreation and open space. This land was suppose to be used by the citizens of Prince William. How does putting in an RV park serve the citizens of Prince William. Are they going to fire up their 33 foot Winnebago Vistas and drive from Woodbridge to Silver Lake for an exciting weekend of weenies by the lake? Probably not.

I repeat - this land was designated to help the citizens of Prince William County address their need for public recreation and open space.

I have seen what happens with Park Authority proposals in the past. I live next to Valley View Park . It is a lovely park and despite not putting in sufficient sound buffers, the noise and lights are not too bad. However, the fact that the Park Authority went well over budget on the Park and we are still waiting for more substantial equestrian facilities indicate directly turning down an opportunity to have equestrian facilities molded from this proposal would be foolish.

Arguments could be made that the NVRPA will be helping with this proposal. This is true. They will be using tax payer money from our citizens to build a park that serves, not the established needs of Prince William County citizens, but the needs of other jurisdictions.

We are presently battling to increase the amount of dedicated open space in Prince William County . Now we are going to turn over 230 acres of public parks to this agency and use fees to support their idea of land for Prince William. The alternative is to turn the land over to the BRMC which will increase, more than double, the amount of open land, dedicate additional passive recreational space and put money into the system.

I was skeptical about their early proposal, but the BRMC has made it clear that they wish to be a positive partner in creating passive recreational space in our county for our citizens. The question is: which Supervisors will join them?

I am writing this e-mail to express my view on the Silver Lake vote that will be held this Tuesday, September 18th. I strongly urge each of you to vote for the plan that has been proposed by the Bull Run Mountain Conservancy. You all should vote against the proposals submitted by the PWC Park Authority and NO. VA Regional Park Authority. The BRMC proposal has clear fiscal benefits for the county and is less of a tax burden to the citizens of PWC. By PWC partnering with BRMC, the citizens of PWC will benefit from far greater park acerage that will be developed at no cost to the taxpayers; and the BRMC proposal focuses on the passive recreational opportunities that PWC citizens have already prioritized.

I have been a resident of PWC for twenty-two years and have become increasingly alarmed at the way in which land is being over-developed in this county with what seems to be a complete disregard (or lack of priority) for increasing the amount of parks and open space.

As the Board of Supervisors, you have the perfect opportunity on 9/18 to start changing the priorities in PWC and start moving in the direction of greater park acreage for passive recreation activities and not RV storage! Please listen to the citizens of PWC vote for the plan proposed by the Bull Run Mountain Conservancy.

I also need to question the fact that there was no public hearing on this issue. Why was this the case? In addition, I feel that voting on the Silver Lake proposals at your 2:00 pm Board Meeting is extremely unfair to the citizens of PWC. I'm sure that most citizens are in the same situation that I am in whereby my work schedule precludes me from being able to attend the Board Meeting at 2:00 in the afternoon. As a result, we are not able to participate in the Citizen's Time in order to voice our opinions. I feel that placing this issue on the Board's Agenda for an afternoon meeting does a great disservice to the citizens of Prince William County .

In a final note, I just want to again urge all of you to vote in favor of the Bull Run Mountain Conservancy's proposal for Silver Lake . Thank you.

Note to County Supervisors:  As long-time Prince William, tax-paying residents (the highest in Northern Virginia), my wife and I strongly urge you all to accept the Bull Run Mountain Conservancy's offer to partner with Prince William, double Silver Lake's acreage and invest in our parkland by developing the site _ at no cost to taxpayers _ .

The PWC Park Authority proposal would provide residents with less parkland and significantly higher costs to taxpayers and is totally unacceptable to us and other PWC tax-paying residents.  PWC residents have long been given the short end of the stick when it comes to county services for recreation and this co-cost opportunity is a chance to reward our residents for the hard-earned taxes they/we have been paying to this county - it's time the supervisors put the citizens first.

We call on you and the rest of the county supervisors to vote to accept the Bull Run Conservancy's offer.  Thank you.

My family and I strongly urge each of you to accept the Bull Run Mountain Conservancy's offer to partner with the Park Authority, double Silver Lake 's acreage, and invest in our public parkland.

PWC has way too little public parkland and natural areas for its quickly growing population, especially for passive recreation (e.g., hiking, jogging, birding, photography, nature study, fishing, etc.). This reality directly affects the quality of life for residents throughout the county, especially as widespread development is quickly eliminating our remaining green spaces.

For minimal cost, the Bull Run Mountain Conservancy's plan would provide high quality passive recreation opportunities that the citizens of this growing county want now and for future generations. I also know that public-private partnerships such as this are invaluable for securing high-quality public services as public funds are increasingly tight.

I regret that I learned of your September 18, 2007 Board meeting too late to be able to speak prior to your vote on Silver Lake . Even so, I trust that you will seriously consider my family's request and comments as well as very similar views that you heard from many more citizens in July of this year.

It seems to me that you are making an important decision for the future beauty and worth of life here in our county without allowing much input from the people who must live with your decision.

Prince William is seen as the poorer cousin of Fairfax . Having relatively little park land is one reason. Not protecting the environment is another. (We allow houses--which mean trees destroyed--which means erosion--along our banks of rivers. They require setbacks. We allow an excessive amount of trees to be removed with every building project--because it is easier for the developer--which includes the county itself-- than working to save as many trees as possible. Tiny newly-planted trees do not equal trees with established roots and rich canopies.

Now it looks as though you have the opportunity to add extra land to the Silver Lake Park at relatively little cost to taxpayers. Why would that not be a wonderful opportunity?

Please add us to the list of citizens who favor the Bull Run proposal, and to the list of those who prefer to keep the new park free of as many motorized vehicles, such as RVs or snowmobiles or any kind of off-road vehicles without feet as possible!

Allow Bull Run Mountain Conservancy to have the property.  Without them the County never would have acquired the whole parcel.  They took the initiative by asking for a meeting with Toll Brothers to ask for the land.  The County needs passive park areas especially when they come at zero cost.  Come on guys, this one is a no-brainer.