Residents of the Montclair community in Prince William County won a court order last week preventing a developer from further bulldozing trees on his four-acre property near their neighborhood.
Developer Peyton Klopfenstein of Montclair Associates, who had been battling neighbors opposed to his plan to build a Mobil gas station at the entrance of their community north of Dumfries on Rte. 234, bulldozed the land in June without a permit for several hours before neighbors were able to obtain a temporary restraining order halting the work.
Last week, Circuit Court Judge Percy Thornton ordered the restraining order extended until a court hearing could be set in August. He ordered Klopfenstein to close off an entrance to the property from Rte. 234 made by the bulldozer and to make arrangements to prevent the property's soil from eroding into the community's water supply.
Klopfenstein said Friday he would not comment on the judge's order. "I can't speak to any of the issues," he said.
Nancy McDonough, manager of the Montclair Homeowners Association, said neighbors are pleased the injunction was altered to allow Klopfenstein to clean up the property and prevent soil erosion.
"It's just a mass of dried out, cut down trees now," she said. "It's really ugly and probably a big fire trap."
Neighbors had opposed Klopfenstein's plans to build the gas station and a shopping center on the property because they feared traffic, noise and pollution. The County Planning Commission agreed, voting in June to recommend denial of Klopfenstein's application for a special-use permit to build the gas station.
Before the Board of Supervisor's could vote on the matter, the Mobil Corp. withdrew from the project, possibly because of the stringent local opposition, say some county officials. Less than a week later, Klopfenstein had the property bulldozed.
McDonough said the homeowners association was shouldering the legal costs of the action against Klopfenstein with members' dues, but she said she did not know how much money was being spent on the suit.