Prince William County Supervisor Donald Kidwell has told his fellow supervisors he will not seek the nomination for the board's vice chairmanship when the supervisors pick their leaders in secret ballot Jan. 8.
Kidwell had said earlier that he would be a candidate for the number two spot if Coles Supervisor Richard Pfitzner unseated present chairman Kathleen Seefeldt in the election. Four of the board's seven members have said they will support Pfitzner in his bid for the chairmanship. Seefeldt has served as chairman for six years.
Kidwell changed his mind, he said at an informal meeting before the regular supervisors' session last week, because local media coverage had "created an east-west controversy" over the issue.
Both Kidwell and Pfitzner represent eastern districts. Seefeldt represents the Occoquan District in the eastern end of the county; vice chairman Joseph Reading is from the Brentsville District in the county's mostly rural western portion.
Several former county officials had complained that a Pfitzner-Kidwell ticket would tip the board in favor of the eastern end and would terminate a long-time board tradition of splitting the leadership posts.
Seefeldt was not at the meeting because of the death of her mother.
At its regular meeting last week, the board approved the long-simmering request by developer and horse trainer John Marsh for rezoning that will allow him to build a 74-unit equestrian community on 198 acres of his land on Catharpin Road. The request, which has been in county consideration since September, was delayed for a week to give the supervisors additional time to consider the concern of Catharpin Road residents over a possible water shortage in the area if the request were approved.
The request for deferral came from Gainesville Supervisor Tony Guiffre, who wanted a study of the recharge rates (the rate at which well water is replaced by rain or snow). Although he voted for the plan, Guiffre told the board he will have "possible solutions" to western Prince William County's water situation by the end of December.
All of the Catharpin Road area is serviced by wells. Marsh has said he will construct 74 individual wells on his development unless public water is available at the time of construction. County Attorney John Foote said later, "There's plenty of water in Gainesville. One well there tested at 550 gallons per minute. I respect Mr. Guiffre's concern, but there is really no proof that there is a water shortage in Gainesville."
The board also approved the location of an addition to the county's administration complex now under construction on Davis Ford Road. The new building, which will require 50,000 square feet of space rather than the 28,000 square feet planners estimated originally, will be built on the east side of the new access road. Representatives from the firm of Warnecke/Gauthier, Alvarado & Associates told the board that it would be "esthetically unpleasing" to add additional floors to the two-story complex.
Slated to open in late summer, the building in its first phase will house approximately 350 county personnel. According to Deputy County Executive Rick Noble, the planners knew the building would be inadequate to house all existing county personnel when they drew up the blueprints. "We decided to begin by building what we could afford, and build as we go," he said.
Noble said the project designers plan to ask the board for $175,000 in construction funds for the second phase of development during the midyear budget review. "We'd like to have a construction contract awarded by summer," Noble said.
In other business, the board approved a $5,000 allocation to reduce the remaining cockroach population in some homes adjacent to the landfill in Woodbridge. The board appropriated $10,000 for spraying homes in the neighborhood last summer after consultants said the houses were infested with thousands of American cockroaches as large as two inches in size. County Executive Robert Noe said the spraying has been "fairly successful" but that further spraying may be necessary in the spring when the pests' eggs hatch.