Black Swallowtail

PWCAPrince William Conservation Alliance

Community Report
June 28, 2016
Newsletter Archive

In this Issue

The Rural Crescent Forum

PWCA Open House - Keep the Conversation Going!

Why Does Prince William Have a Rural Crescent?

Your generous gifts help us stay strong and remain a critical local voice for healthy communities. If you haven’t yet joined or need to renew your membership, please consider doing so now!

True FarmsTom and Debbie Truesdales own and operate TrueFarms near Haymarket, in the Rural Crescent.

Their hydroponic farm produces about 300,000 heads of lettuce every year for local restaurants and grocery stores.

It is one example of a way that smaller farm properties in the Rural Crescent can be successful.

Look for TrueFarm’s lettuce in Giant Food and Whole Foods markets, as well as many fine local restaurants. Read the full story at

Birding report from the last Sunday of the month Bird Walk at Merrimac Farm

Forty species, 7 birders

Highlights - 6 warbler species, 5 Flycatcher species, and some beautiful Scarlet Tanagers.

The list:
Green Heron 
Turkey Vulture 
Sharp-shinned Hawk 
Red-shouldered Hawk
Mourning Dove 
Yellow-billed Cuckoo
Ruby-thrt Hummingbird
Red-bell Woodpecker Downy Woodpecker 
Eastern Wood-Pewee
Acadian Flycatcher 
Eastern Phoebe 
Eastern Kingbird 
White-eyed Vireo
Red-eyed Vireo
Purple Martin
Barn Swallow
Carolina Chickadee
Blue-gray Gnatcatche
American Robin
Gray Catbird
Brown Thrasher
Cedar Waxwing
Prothonotary Warbler
Common Yellowthroat
Pine Warbler
Prairie Warbler
Yellow-breasted Chat 
Field Sparrow 
Song Sparrow
Eastern Towhee
Scarlet Tanager
Northern Cardinal
Indigo Bunting
Common Grackle
Brown-headed Cowbird
American Goldfinch


Community Forum - Wednesday, July 6, beginning at 7pm at the Old Manassas Courthouse, 9248 Lee Avenue, Manassas

Learn how the Rural Crescent promotes farming and farm markets, spurs redevelopment in the Route 1 corridor, and why “sewering the green” would increase property taxes countywide. Join the conversation, bring your questions and ideas.


Jeanine Lawson, Supervisor, Brentsville District
Mike May, former Supervisor, Occoquan District
Charlie Grymes, Chairman, PW Conservation Alliance

QUESTIONS & RSVP (not required) to, 703.490.5200

PWCA Open House - Keep the Conversation Going

Silver-spotted Skipper by Judy GallagherMonday, July 25, 4:30 to 7:30pm at PWCA's office, 2241F Tackett’s Mill Drive, Woodbridge

Special Guest Jay Yankey, Prince William Soil and Water Conservation District, will be there to share information on farm markets and incentives for farmers!

Please stop by for a drink, food, and good conversation with our Board and members. Learn more about current events, the Rural Crescent, and fun summer programs!

Why Do We Have a Rural Crescent?

The 1998 PWC Comprehensive Plan formally established an Urban Growth Boundary. As stated in the Plan, the intent was to strengthen the County's capacity to control urban sprawl by defining an area that was available for higher density development and a protected rural area, which quickly became known at the Rural Crescent.

When Prince William County first established the Rural Crescent, taxpayers were up in arms over property tax increases.The Rural and Development areas were adopted to reduce the cost of building future infrastructure.

The low-density development called for in the Rural Area requires fewer infrastructure investments, freeing taxpayer funds for use in the Development Area where public investments can be maximized for greater benefit.

The Rural Area was defined at the edge of the county because that is the most expensive area for extending sewer/water lines and roads. New residents would also experience the longest commute to jobs in Fairfax County/DC. It was viewed as the least suitable area for new subdivisions.

The “focus the growth” strategy used by Prince William is not unique. Both Loudoun and Fairfax counties have designated a substantial area on their western edges for lower-density development, while the portion of the counties closer to the urban core is planned for growth.

And, although Prince William County did not create the Rural Crescent to preserve farmland, we now have a unique opportunity to encourage farm-to-table businesses and agriculture-centered visitor destinations, not more-of-the-same subdivisions.

Pricing out the farmers is not smart growth. Sadly, Prince William has discouraged farming in the Rural Area, most recently by limiting access to the Use Value Assessment Program so taxes reflect farming use rather than speculative housing development potential.

Prince William County will grow. The question is where we want that growth to occur.

The Urban Growth Boundary established with the Rural Crescent steers growth to the Development Area, especially to targeted redevelopment areas such as Route 1. It helps keep property taxes lower for all landowners in Prince William County by reducing the costs of new public facilities.

The current Comprehensive Plan calls for most new development to occur in the Development Area, minimizing property tax increases and preserving the traditional character of the Rural Area.

When you hear people propose to bust the Rural Area to allow for sprawl – ask yourself who would pay the extra taxes and who would benefit from that change.