Prince William County has denied a request by the Commission of Local Governments in Roanoke to allow the commission to act as mediator between Manassas Park and the county on a long-simmering annexation issue, city officials say.

The city has been trying for more than a year to annex 674 acres it owns in Prince William County. But Prince William County deputy attorney Steve MacIsaac said the county is immune from annexation under law, and does not want to discuss annexation further.

Manassas Park City Manager Jerry Davis, however, said "the fight is not over. This wasn't a surprise. We'll just go to the next step -- litigation."

Manassas Park hopes to use the land for residential and commercial development to fill its schools and lower its tax rate, which is $1.80 per $100 of assessed value. Supervisor Joseph Reading, whose Brentsville district includes the land in question, said he has two reasons for fighting annexation proceedings: his constituents do not want to live in Manassas Park, and several roads on the property -- which is zoned agricultural -- are "impassable."

"If we allow annexation we would have no control over road improvements during the planning and zoning process," said Reading. The county requires that developers offer improvements, usually roads, on property they want rezoned.

Davis said the state commission has requested Attorney General Mary Sue Terry's opinion on the matter. "We do own the property, after all," Davis said.