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Prince William Conservation Alliance
Explore, Enjoy & Protect Local Natural Areas

Community Report
June 19, 2009
Newsletter Archive
Coming together is a beginning; keeping together is a process; working together
is success.
—Henry Ford
In the News
Mother Nature Network; June 11 2009
Legislation introduced to support Chesapeake Bay Clean-up [VA Senator Mark Warner with Senator Jim Webb]
Bay Net; June 12 2009
Washington Examiner; June 12 2009
Reuters; June 10 2009
Wall Street Journal; June 15 2009

Supervisors May and Nohe Announce Conservation Plan for Silver Lake
Silver Lake Public Hearing on June 23, 2:00 pm, McCoart Government Center
Supervisors Michael May and Martin Nohe today announced a conservation plan for Silver Lake. Their press release calls for DEED RESTRICTIONS that limit recreation uses at Silver Lake to passive recreation and horseback riding.
Deed restrictions will ensure a fiscally and environmentally responsible solution that matches community wishes... without further delays the opening of Silver Lake to the public.
May and Nohe note that citizens have made their views with respect to Silver Lake known to the Board for more than two years now through numerous community meetings and public hearings. The overwhelming consensus has been support for passive recreation and horseback riding.
Supervisor May says, “I supported the Bull Run Mountain Conservancy’s proposal because it would have ensured public access to permanently protected passive open space at zero cost to the county taxpayer. Although we missed the fiscal opportunities associated with the BRMC proposal, we still have the opportunity to at least ensure that Silver Lake remains protected open space.”

Specifically, May and Nohe will be using the restrictions that were associated with the BRMC’s application as a guide for their proposal. These uses include:
Jogging, hiking, bicycling, horseback riding, picnicking, fishing, non-motorized boating, walking, walking domestic pets, nature and historic interpretive activities and areas, wildlife refuge, bird watching, educational and scientific activities and programs, primitive camping, conservation areas, environmental protection corridors, environmental studies, natural open space resource management activities scenic vista and viewshed, viewing areas.
Under May and Nohe's proposal, the conveying documents would also include a "reverter clause," which would give the Board the ability to take the property back in the event the deed restrictions were not honored by the Park Authority.Many Prince William community and conservation leaders support the Supervisors effort, saying:
"The community is very tired of looking at a beautiful piece of property become a run down eyesore. Our expectation is that this piece of land will be well maintained for generations to come and will be a place we will all be proud to show visitors. The BOCS needs to adopt a DEED restriction before passing the land on the Park Authority, and the land needs to be developed into serene walking and bike trails as soon as possible… just as was promised to the citizens when Toll Brothers gave us the land.”
-- Rose Benkus, President, Thunder Oaks Home Owners Association
“Silver Lake is a legacy asset for the county. We need to protect it forever. Deed restrictions will ensure that what we see is what we’ll get.”
-- Charlie Grymes, Prince William Conservation Alliance
"This is the place for horse trails, hiking and exploring the great outdoors. Deed restrictions will guarantee we keep it this way."
-- Martin Jeter, Mid-County Civic Association
"As demonstrated in PWC survey results and Occoquan District Charrette results, it is clear that residents want more passive recreation with the County. Silver Lake deed restrictions which ensure passive uses will be welcomed by my family as well as many County residents."
-- Eileen Sheridan, Occoquan District Land Use Advisory Committee Member and Occoquan District Charrette Participant
Citizens, through public hearings and meetings, have overwhelming expressed their wishes to maintain Silver Lake for passive recreation and horseback riding.
For generations to come, families should be able to enjoy peaceful fishing, swimming, boating, hiking, horseback riding and nature explorations.
Plan to speak at the June 23, 2:00 pm, Public Hearing and/or click here to email your views to all Supervisors. 
  Silver Lake in the News

12/19/2008 - PW slashes building plans
Silver Lake Park in Haymarket will get a little more money, but not much. Gerhart has recommended using $350,000 in proffer funds for security at the park. “It's far too important an asset to leave it just at the hands of those who might wander in from time to time,” he said. Gainesville Times

10/21/2008 - BRMC pulls Silver Lake proposal
After years of wrangling with the Board of County Supervisors and the Prince William Park Authority, the Bull Run Mountain Conservancy has officially pulled its proposal to take control of Silver Lake in Haymarket.  Gainesville Times

9/30/2008 - No settlement likely over Silver Lake
For just one day, Park Authority and Bull Run Mountains Conservancy members and volunteers put aside their differences over which group should gain control over Silver Lake in Haymarket. Last Saturday, the two groups joined forces to clean up the area.  Gainesville Times

4/12/2008 - Partnership proposed for Silver Lake Park; obstacles remain
A prized new public park has been dormant for nearly two years as Prince William County leaders Gainesville.  A meeting this week set to answer the nearly two-year debate over how to best manage Silver Lake Park instead further complicated things when supervisors remained deadlocked over the best solution. Washington Examiner

4/9/2008 - Board rejects Park Authority, BRMC on Silver Lake
On Tuesday night, the Board of County Supervisors rejected competing proposals from both the Park Authority and the Bull Run Mountain Conservancy that would have allowed one of them to acquire the pristine 233-acre Silver Lake property in Haymarket.  Gainesville Times

4/8/2008 - Prince William supervisors struggle to manage their ‘jewel,’ Silver Lake Park
Ever since the Dominion Valley developers gave the county the land for the park in Gainesville nearly two years ago as part of a deal to build new homes, park leaders and politicians have been debating how best to manage the property. Washington Examiner

4/4/2008 - Silver Lake hearing is Tuesday
The Prince William Board of County Supervisors will meet on Tuesday, April 8, 2008, at 2 p.m. in the Board Chambers of the James J. McCoart Administration Building.  …  The Board will also hold a public hearing regarding the conveyance of County-owned property known as the Silver Lake Property, located in the Gainesville Magisterial District.  Gainesville Times

2/21/2008 - Board of County Supervisors to hold joint meeting with Park Authority Board
The Board of County Supervisors will hold a joint meeting with the Park Authority Board on Monday, Feb. 25, at 6 p.m. The meeting will be held at the James J. McCoart Administration Center at the Development Services Building, Room 107A, 5 County Complex Court, Woodbridge, Virginia.The agenda for the meeting includes … Silver Lake Regional Park… Gainesville Times

11/1/2007 - Clarification
In the Oct. 19 issue of "The Gainesville Times," an article on Silver Lake indicated that Board of County Supervisors Chairman Corey Stewart wants the property to be given to the Bull Run Mountains Conservancy. Stewart clarified this week that while he is supportive of the BRMC and is not discounting the group because it is a private entity, he has not yet made a final decision. Gainesville Times

10/25/2007 - Stewart, Pandak differ on Silver Lake park
When asked whether the county should engage in partnerships with groups like the Bull Run Mountains Conservancy, Stewart said he wants the conservancy to take over the park, while Pandak said she wants the county Park Authority to manage the park using the conservancy's plan. Gainesville Times

9/27/2007 - Board puts off Silver Lake decision
The Prince William Board of County Supervisors has decided to delay a vote on which park organization will get Silver Lake in Haymarket.  Gainesville Times

9/20/2007 - Silver Lake ownership still open
… If the county deeded the recreation area to the conservancy, the conservancy could get the place up and running without any county money … According to the study, the county would have to pay the regional authority about $1.66 million annually to be a member. In exchange the regional authority would leverage the contribution to borrow $7 to $10 million over the next 10 to 15 years to buy land and develop parks in Prince William County . If the Prince William Park authority gets control of the recreation area, it would cost the county $215,000 annually from the county's general fund and $1.6 million worth of proffered money to get the place running. Potomac News

8/10/2007 - Groups vie for ownership of Silver Lake park
The prize would be the jewel in the crown of any organization: more than 230 acres of pristine lake property, surrounded by trees and mountains in western Prince William County. So it's no wonder that three different groups are competing for the right to take ownership of the Silver Lake property outside Haymarket.  Gainesville Times

7/28/2007 - Everybody wants a piece of the Silver Lake land  
…The Bull Run Mountains Conservancy, the Prince William Park Authority and the Northern Virginia Regional Park Authority each want to put some kind of park there. … Of the 318 acres, 45 will be set aside for the Rainbow Equestrian Center , which provides therapeutic riding to people with special needs. A middle school will occupy another 40 acres. The remaining 233 acres will be for public use. Potomac News

6/23/2007 - Silver Lake park review gets under way
Staffers in Prince William are preparing to hear three competing proposals from groups that want to take over and manage the Silver Lake property in Haymarket.  Gainesville Times

1/3/2007 - Silver Lake property transfer brings hosts of issues for PW residents
One mile down a gravel dirt road to the east of Antioch Road in Haymarket, Prince William County's past, present and future came to life last Thursday as scores of area residents gathered at Silver Lake to be a part of something more than just a land dedication.  Gainesville Times

12/22/2006 - Silver Lake site proffered to county
Toll Brothers deeded the Silver Lake property to the county in a short ceremony Thursday at the 318-acre site off Antioch Road. The developer, which originally planned to build 31 houses around the lake, bowed to public pressure in July and proffered the lake and surrounding land to the county in exchange for an additional 420 homes in Dominion Valley off U.S. 15 north of Interstate 66. Potomac News

9/8/2006 - Bull Run Mountains Conservancy tries to ease qualms about Silver Lake acquisition
As officials with the Bull Run Mountains Conservancy work to acquire the Silver Lake property in Haymarket, allaying public concerns is at the top of their agenda.   Gainesville Times

8/30/2006 - The Plains: Better late than never ...
The Bull Run Mountain Conservancy is holding a public meeting at Alvey Elementary School in Prince William County from 7:30-10 p.m. Aug. 24. Gainesville Times

7/21/2006 - Board OKs Silver Lake development
The Silver Lake development proposal at Dominion Valley was approved unanimously on Tuesday, after a lengthy public hearing in which residents lined up to praise developer Toll Brothers.  Gainesville Times

7/14/2006 - New deal in the works to preserve Silver Lake
When the Board of County Supervisors votes on the Silver Lake development issue next Tuesday, they'll be looking at a proposal to give the entire lakefront property to the Bull Run Mountains Conservancy.  Gainesville Times

7/13/2006 - New park in western Prince William could be 500 acres
The Prince William County Board of Supervisors approved adding some 400 homes to the Dominion Valley development in return for getting more than 300 acres surrounding Silver Lake from the developers, Toll Brothers. Supervisors unanimously approved the Toll Brothers proposal late Tuesday night. The developers had previously offered about 174 acres but the offer was changed days before the meeting to 300 acres with the possibility of handing the majority of that 300 acres to a nonprofit. Washington Examiner

7/10/2006 - Silver Lake to become conservatory
Toll Brothers has plans to donate more than 280 acres of open space to Prince William County in return for approval of some 400 new homes in a 2,800-home community. … In response to the community's concerns, the developers said they would donate 282 acres surrounding Silver Lake to the county for a school, nature conservancy and a therapeutic horseback riding facility, according to a letter from Michael Lubeley, a Toll Brothers attorney.  Washington Examiner

6/16/2006 - Board delays vote on Silver Lake development
After about three hours of reports, questions and public input, the Prince William Board of County Supervisors still couldn't decide what to do about the Dominion Valley rezoning.  Gainesville Times

6/8/2006 - Board votes Tuesday on Silver Lake plan
The Board of County Supervisors is preparing to consider a major rezoning at Dominion Valley. On Tuesday, June 6, the board will decide whether to approve more homes for developer Toll Brothers in exchange for proffers that include two school sites and a lake.  Gainesville Times

7/29/2005 - Campground closes next week, Silver Lake's future is unclear
There are only a handful of weekend days left before Mountain View Campground at Silver Lake closes for good on July 31. Toll Brothers has placed a contract on the land, and has a complex set of plans for Silver Lake, with repercussions for Dominion Valley Country Club and the rest of Haymarket.  Gainesville Times