´╗┐Prince William Conservation Alliance

´╗┐Community Report, December 30 2020

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Tom EitlerOpportunities for 2021: Development in Prince William County
Monday, January 11 at 7pm
RSVP required, click
here to register

Tom Eitler of the Urban Land Institute will discuss how Prince William County can maintain its rural area while accommodating growth.

Special attention will be given to the recent impact of the Covid pandemic, how the county can continue to attract and retain talent, and how the development should be focused on locations where infrastructure already exists.

Dr. Tim BeatleyDesigning Cities that Love Nature with Dr. Timothy Beatley

RSVP required, click here to register

Thursday January 14 at 70m

 

Urban design and planning that puts nature at the center is the most effective approach to building communities that are resilient, an especially urgent challenge in the era of climate change.

Join PWCA and UVA Professor Timothy Beatley in a conversation about the many ways in which cities are already profoundly natureful and biodiverse, and he will describe the emerging concept of "Biophilic Urbanism" as an alternative global vision for how cities might develop in ways that make them profoundly resilient (i.e. able to respond to change).

Beatley believes that contact with nature is not something optional but is absolutely essential for a happy, healthy and meaningful life. This emerging new model overcomes the current physical (and mental) disconnect between nature and cities to the benefit of both.

Julie FlanaganThe Story of the Forest That Disappeared

Thursday, January 28 at 7pm

RSVP required, click here to register

 

Join PWCA and Julie Flanagan to hear the happy ending to the story of a forest that was lost and has now been found. Discover the forest at Bristoe Station Battlefield Heritage Park, where history and partnerships are working together to re-establish a forest that was lost due to the Civil War. Learn more about the challenges of re-establishing native forests in an age of battling invasives.

Save the Rural Crescent to promote attractive, sustainable communities near public services, including transit.

Currently, Supervisors are slated to vote on the Preserve at Long Forest (formerly Mid-County Estates) on January 19, with the Independent Hill SAP said to be close behind. The Preserve at Long Forest proposes to triple residential densities, gain access to public sewer in the Rural Crescent, and set a precedent for future applications waiting in the wings.

PWCA continues to actively support smart growth opportunities. Protecting the Rural Crescent allows the investment of taxpayer dollars in areas near existing services, including transit.

Join our programs, above, to expand your horizons. Also join us on January 19 to speak at the public hearing, register here. And please click here to share your views with Supervisors in advance.

 

Nokesville ForestIn the News: Why the ‘rural crescent’ is still relevant
by Nokesville Resident Liz Cronauaer, Prince William Times; December 24

In 2020 order to understand the continued relevance of Prince William County’s “rural crescent” as a land-use tool for the benefit of all residents, it is important to understand the premises upon which it was founded.

These were: to slow residential development in areas where the supporting infrastructure was not available, to preserve an area with open space for ground-water recharge and water/air quality preservation, and to protect a threatened rural economy. After 25 years, these are still desirable and achievable goals.

At the time of its inception, Prince William was considered a "bedroom community" where people who worked closer to Washington could find a less expensive place to live. Property taxes were lower, for instance. The problem this created was that taxes on residential development did not pay for the required services, and therefore the county had trouble keeping up with roads, schools, police, and other services needed to support the residents.

This is still true!  Unlike Fairfax County, which boasts massive employment centers and revenue-generating areas like Tysons Corner, Prince William has not yet achieved a commercial and business tax base that can offset residential expenses. When houses are built in areas with no existing supportive infrastructure, the required new services drain resources from existing residential areas, which negatively affects all Prince William residents.

Another goal of the rural crescent is to protect open space for environmental reasons, one of which is groundwater protection. Pavement and rooftops generate excessive storm water runoff that damages properties through flooding and erosion and eliminates essential recharge areas for groundwater. Public water resources are limited in the county and therefore well water is an important resource.

Residents who are not connected to public water lines require groundwater levels that are within reach of their wells. This need has not changed since the rural crescent was put in place. If anything, increasing temperatures make rainfall less predictable with increased possibility of prolonged drought. Simultaneously, individual storms have become more intense, causing unprecedented storm water problems. Mitigating these issues requires public funds that could be used for other purposes.

Read the entire article here.

In the News: County approves $750K grant toward north Woodbridge ‘town center’
County economic development grant is the first for a mixed-use project

by Daniel Berti, Prince William Times; December 21 2020

 

Prince William County officials are boosting a $380 million mixed-use, “town center” redevelopment project slated for North Woodbridge with a $750,000 economic development grant, the first of its kind dedicated to such a project.

 

The 19-acre redevelopment is being pursued by North Woodbridge TC, LLC – which includes developers IDI Group Companies and Boosalis Properties -- and will consist of multiple phases being built over the next five to 10 years. It’s planned to include 850 new apartments and up to 160,000 square feet of retail space at the corner of U.S. 1 and Occoquan Road across from the Woodbridge VRE station.

... The Metropolitan Washington Council of Governments has recommended that 75% of all future housing development in the county be in existing activity centers or near public transit. 

Christina Winn, executive director of the Prince William County department of economic development, said that creating a town center in North Woodbridge would “drive further economic growth, attract new businesses and create new jobs throughout the area.”

“We’re already seeing the momentum as more businesses and investors are interested in North Woodbridge and eastern Prince William County because they recognize the area as the next new emerging market due to its strategic location, transportation network, and expansive water views,” Winn said.

Read the entire article here.

 

Support PWCA today! Your tax deductible donation helps protect green open spaces and create healthy communities close to home. For more information, please email alliance@pwconserve.org or call 703.490.5200.

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