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Brentsville Supervisor Still Critical of Devlin Road Residential Community

| February 26, 2020 | 0 Comments | News

Brentsville Supervisor Jeanine Lawson and her aide Matt Godsoe listen to citizen concerns at her Feb. 24 town hall.

One hundred plus residents attended Brentsville Supervisor Jeanine Lawson’s (R) Town Hall to discuss the proposed Devlin Road residential development,Monday night at Chris Yung Elementary School in Bristow.

Lawson shared she still has reservations about the 551 home proposed community in Bristow, believing the plan for the neighborhood to be too dense and that many houses would be trying on roads, schools and county services.

(In a presentation dated Feb. 25, Stanley Martin said they have reduced the number of homes from 551 to 516.)

Stanley Martin Home Builder is requesting the Prince William Board of County Supervisors rezone 269.9 acres located on the north side of Linton Hall Road and the western side of Devlin Road from A1 Agriculture to Suburban Low-Density Residential. There, they would like to build 551  village-style single-family homes. The new 13th High School on Lime Stone Drive, Chris Yung Elementary, Gainesville Middle School would be affected.

The Planning Commission approved the Devlin development back in September of 2018 despite Brentsville Commissioner Patti McKay’s opposition. The applicant resurrected the proposal in October of 2019, and the board will hold their hearing and vote on it, Tuesday, March 10. Six seats on the board have changed since the Stone Haven proposal in 2016.

Information on the Devlin Community from the Developer. 8008 Devlin Road Community Presentation 2.25.20

Lawson does not necessarily disapprove of the rezoning; residential development matches the surrounding neighborhoods and is already part of the county’s Comprehensive Plan. However, she said the density of the clustered homes is concerning. There would be approximately four homes per acre.

“I have a huge problem with this project. It is very dense,” she said. “I struggle with that.”

Many of the lots are 7,000 sq. feet and leave only 10 feet between homes. The proposal describes these homes as village houses, cluster houses and reduced setback houses. It is more densely situated than those on nearby Sheffield Manor. The proposal notes the development leaves environmentally friendly open space; however much of that space is encumbered by electrical easements.

Lawson would like to see a proposal that is less dense and results in fewer homes, and she would like to see these issues addressed before approving the development.

Map of the Devlin Road community property

Roads

Roads are a major issue as Devlin Road experiences high traffic congestion during commuter hours. The citizens approved a $50 million bond proposal to widen the road, but the Board of County Supervisors may or may not fund that road project. There will be a Ballsford Road/Route 234 Interchange realignment funded by VDOT this year.

The developer is proffering off-site transportation improvements along Devlin Road and Linton Hall Road, but the widening of Devlin Road may require taking pieces of people’s property via the immanent domain.

Schools

Students in that zoning area would attend the Gainesville area’s new 13th high school scheduled to open in 2021. In three years the school is expected to reach capacity. Gainesville middle school will require a solution within 10 years to house projected enrollment.

Public Services

Although response times would be excellent in that location, the county is behind on the recommended staffing ratio for police and fire.

Proffers

Developers offer proffers (money, roads, school sites, etc.) to try to offset some costs associated with bringing in new residents. In this case, the applicant’s proffers are beyond what is now required and match the county’s 2014 levels when jurisdictions had more flexibility to require proffer levels.

But Lawson thinks it does not go far enough. Dense development tends to be tax negative, meaning the county will spend more on the residents than proffers and incoming property taxes can offset. Additionally, it depends on the cost of the homes. Stanley Martin estimates the homes will sell for more than $600 thousand. But Lawson thinks that estimate is exaggerated.

History

Developers have proposed residential developments for the Devlin Road area for over 10 years. Lawson opposed the Stone Haven proposal, which was multi-use commercial and residential. That included 1,106 homes and the developer proffered ad site for 13th high school.

The developer recently sold some of the Stone Haven property to a new data center to be built on Piney Branch Road, and that the board of supervisors approved that project.

Man shares his concerns at the town hall at Chris Yung Elementary School.

Resident Concerns

A few residents are concerned about the watershed from the new development as trees have been cut down. However, Lawson noted the development would have to find a way to deal with runoff.

One woman had concerns about how the middle schools would absorb new students.

Another woman said she’d prefer residential development than some other options. “What might end up here in its place?” She said she did not want any light industrial.

People said they would like to keep the agricultural designation if it meant just one house per 10 acres, but Lawson said there is nothing stopping them for placing a pig farm there as well. The supervisors would not be able to stop them.

One man said new residential development is good for the area. “Where’s the money coming from without developers?” he asked. He noted that the developers previously offered a $13 million high school site.

“No, it wasn’t given; it was proffered,” said Lawson, noting it was an attempt to offset the addition of 1,000 homes, and that developers do not get in front of infrastructure needs.

One person said residents who like new development are usually thinking about how they might benefit their real estate business or local shops rather than the county as a whole.

Lawson recommended that should residents want to share their thoughts or concerns about the Devlin Community, they email Ann Wheeler (D), Chair of the Board of County Supervisors. at awheeler@pwcgov.org, or email all of the supervisors at BOCS@pwcgov.org.

Other residents shared concerns on different topics, especially those addressing regarding the needs of the Devlin Road corridor.

Read more about the Devlin Road Community at the time it was proposed to the Planning Commission.

Home types for Devlin Road Community from Stanley Martin Homes.

© 2020, Bristow Beat. All rights reserved.

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