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The State of NoVa
Posted at 07:51 PM ET, 03/20/2012

Prince William supervisor Nohe puts brakes on rural area development

A proposed development for Prince William County’s rural area won’t move ahead, after the district’s supervisor elected to halt it on Tuesday.

Mid-County Park and Estate Homes, a proposal for 102 homes by landowner and developer Mark Granville-Smith off Route 234 in the middle of the county, has had different iterations in the past. Supervisors have elected not to move forward with proposals on the land in 2006 and 2009, and Tuesday’s result proved no different.
Martin E. "Marty" Nohe (R), is the Coles district supervisor. He effectively halted a rural area project after he elected not to “initiate” further study for the area. (MARTIN E. "MARTY" NOHE)

Granville-Smith, however, had said that he hoped supervisors would see the latest proposal in a different light since he proposed that more than half of the more than 300 acres would be dedicated to a county park, and he would preserve 1.6 miles of streams. Granville-Smith had also outlined a development plan that would be environmentally friendly.

In the end, Supervisor Martin E. “Marty” Nohe (R-Coles), elected not to move forward with what’s called an “initiation” request, which would have directed county officials and the developer to study the proposal in more detail. Because Nohe elected not to move forward with the request, the rest of the Board of County Supervisors was not required to vote.

Nohe said that the project had positive aspects and he thinks that county officials should study whether the county’s Rural Crescent — an 80,000-acre preservation area that was set aside by planners and policymakers in the 1990s — has achieved its desired goals. He said that while having a large, dedicated county park would have been a benefit, the county should not give the go-ahead to a rural area development without understanding the policy implications that entails.

“We need to look at the bigger picture ... and look at what makes sense for the whole county,” he said.

The county’s Rural Crescent, advocates say, is key to ensuring that sprawl that was approved in earlier decades is kept in check. Others, including some rural-area landowners on Tuesday, told supervisors that the arbitrary Rural Crescent policy had unfairly hampered what they were allowed to do with private property.

By  |  07:51 PM ET, 03/20/2012

 
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