Prince William County

The following were among actions taken at the Nov. 13 meeting of the Prince William Board of County Supervisors. For more information, call 335-6600.

TAXI FARE INCREASE -- The board agreed to raise taxi fares to help two local cab companies and their drivers cover the rising costs of car insurance, maintenance and gasoline. The increases, which are now in effect, range from 15 to 25 percent for average trips and are the first in three years.

The fares were increased from $1 for the first one-eighth of a mile to $1.50 for the first one-ninth of a mile, and from 15 cents for each additional one-eighth of a mile to 15 cents for each additional one-ninth of a mile. For example, a two-mile trip will now cost $4.05, nearly 25 percent higher. A four-mile trip now costs 19 percent more, or $6.75 instead of $5.65. A one-mile trip, which county taxi drivers say is rare, would cost $2.70, an increase of about 32 percent.

Before the board's vote, Corky Cochran of Yellow Cab Co. warned that the cab companies may need even more relief in the near future, such as a tax break, if gasoline costs continue to escalate.

"We're going to need some help, other than passing the buck onto the passengers," Cochran said.

LAKE JACKSON -- The board, in an effort to avoid a trial over a lawsuit against the county, agreed to consider a revised rezoning request by a local developer who wants to construct a residential development near Occoquan Reservoir.

Lake Jackson Associates filed a lawsuit against the county in February, claiming that the board had no grounds to reject its original request last January to rezone 104 acres near Pineview Road and Lake Jackson Drive from agricultural to rural residential in order to build 61 single-family houses.

The developer also asked for $2 million in compensation and $20,000 for each month the suit is in court, said Deputy County Attorney Stephen MacIsaac.

According to MacIsaac, the board based its January decision on concerns over increased traffic in the area and the development's potential environmental impact on the reservoir, one of the county's two major sources of drinking water.

Following a closed door session, the board agreed to consider Lake Jackson's new rezoning request. In turn, Lake Jackson has offered to reduce the number of proposed houses to 45; implement more environmental protection controls; construct turn lanes from Lake Jackon Drive into the proposed development; and drop the suit if the board eventually approves the revised proposal.

The new Lake Jackson proposal will now go to county planning staff, the county Planning Commission and return to the board in February.

ZONING -- The board approved the following requests:

DAVIS FORD ROAD AND HOFFMAN DRIVE -- By Southern Cross Investment Corp. to rezone 25 acres from agricultural to general business to construct a 374,000-square-foot, mixed-use commercial center. 7 to 0. Neabsco District.

HOADLY AND DAVIS FORD ROADS -- By Skiggy's Beauty Salon for a special-use permit to operate a beauty salon in a residence. 7 to 0. Coles District.

POTOMAC MILLS CIRCLE AND POTOMAC MILLS ROAD -- By BPI Potomac Mills Limited Partnership for a special-use permit to operate a gas station and convenience store in an area zoned for general business. 7 to 0. Occoquan District.

TELEGRAPH AND HORNER ROADS -- By Potomac Park Retail Center to rezone 25 acres from light industrial to general business in order to construct a 320,000-square-foot retail center. 7 to 0. Occoquan District.

Town of Haymarket

The following were among actions taken at the Nov. 19 meeting of the Haymarket Town Council. For more information call 754-4816.

MAYORAL DECISION -- The Town Council, in a split vote, agreed not to appoint a mayor until the Virginia Supreme Court rules on a Prince William Circuit Court decision nullifying results of the town's mayoral election May 1.

Former mayor Terri Freeborn was removed from the office in August by a three-judge panel. Freeborn had received 24 votes in the election to 20 for her opponent, Richard G. Bird, but the judges ruled that Freeborn had effectively withdrawn from the race a month before the election, even though her name remained on the ballot.

Bird contested the election outcome, and Freeborn in turn appealed the Circuit Court's decision. An appeal to the state Supreme Court can take as long as a year.

Under town laws, the council has the authority to appoint a mayor if the results of an election are ruled invalid.

However, Town Attorney Turner Smith advised the council to hold off on appointing a mayor. If the Supreme Court overturns the Circuit Court's decision, thus restoring Freeborn as mayor, the legality of any actions taken by a council-appointed mayor would be questionable, according to Turner. Vice Mayor John R. Kapp is currently acting mayor.

Council members S.W. Crouch, Dottie Leonard, James Shepard and Kapp favored postponing the mayoral appointment. Dissenting votes were cast by Steven L. Bean and Ronald F. Hancock, who said they were ready to appoint Freeborn. At the meeting, several citizens spoke in favor of appointing Freeborn to the mayor's seat.

Freeborn said she would drop her appeal to the state Supreme Court, which was filed this month, if the Town Council appointed her to the mayor's seat.

TRANSPORTATION PLAN -- The council, at the urging of two property owners, deleted a proposal in the town's long-range transportation plan to construct a bypass around the town center within the next 20 years.

The road would have cut through the property of two town residents, James Durham and Sarah Turner, who urged the council to drop the bypass plan. The road would have extended from the eastern entrance into town at Route 55, turned south and run roughly adjacent to the railroad tracks, crossed Old Carolina Road and eventually veered north to reintersect with Route 55.

The transporation plan is included in town's comprehensive plan, which is a guide to meeting the town's land use and transportation needs. The council approved a five-year revision of the land-use section at its Oct. 1 meeting, but sent the transportation section back to the Planning Commission for review of the bypass proposal. The Planning Commission returned the transportation section to the council with the bypass proposal intact.

City of Manassas

The following were among actions taken at the Nov. 15 meeting of the Manassas City Council. For more information, call 257-8211.

FINANCE MANAGER -- The City Council established a finance manager position and eliminated the position of assistant city manager for administration, who has been responsible for several departments in City Hall, including the finance department.

The council's decision followed the resignation last month of Assistant City Manager Robert Willard, who cited personal reasons for his departure.

The finance manager will supervise all city financial matters such as the city budget and accounting. The council set the beginning salary for a finance manager at $36,858. Willard would have received $68,500 this fiscal year.

The council agreed to conduct a national search for the finance manager.

According to City Manager John Cartwright, there were also administrative reasons for eliminating the assistant city manager position.

"It never worked out," Cartwright said, explaining that it was unrealistic to expect the assistant city manager to have all the knowledge and skills to administer the various departments, such as financial, personnel and the museum.

For example, the expertise of Willard, who held the position since 1986, was in financial operations. "He didn't have the {necessary} skills in the other areas," Cartwright said.

Cartwright said the council decided to establish the finance manager position after Willard resigned.

At the meeting, the council appointed Joyce Ringler, who was interim assistant city manager for administration, as acting finance manager.

AIRPORT -- The council approved a five-year contract with a local construction company to fill 40 low-lying city-owned acres on the east side of the Manassas Airport with construction debris and convert the land into usable property.

The city then plans to lease the property for the construction of airport-related uses, such as the construction of private airport hangars, according to City Manager John Cartwright.

The contract with the Driggs Corp. "is a very big economic advantage to the city," said Cartwright. Property surrounding the Manassas Airport is currently valued at $100,000 per acre, he said.

Under the contract, Driggs will fill the land over a period of five years, at no cost to Manassas, with debris from its Northern Virginia construction projects. The 40 acre site is currently about nine to fourteen feet below the airport runways. Driggs will then grade the land, preparing it for development, Cartwright said.

SITE PLANS -- The council approved the following site plans:

COMMERCE COURT AND CENTERVILLE ROAD -- By ARM Enterprises Inc. to construct a one-story warehouse on a 18,324-square-foot lot. 4 to 0.

WELLINGTON AND HENDLEY ROADS -- By Grace United Methodist Church to construct a church on an eight-acre lot. 5 to 0.

Town of Occoquan

The following were among actions taken at a special Oct. 30 meeting and the regular Nov. 13 meeting of the Occoquan Town Council. For more information, call 491-1918.

ARCHITECTURAL REVIEW BOARD -- The Town Council postponed action on a controversial ordinance that would require town residency for the seven members of the town's Architectural Review Board.

At the Oct. 30 meeting, the council told the town attorney to postpone preparation of the ordinance until after Christmas, when the town is scheduled to begin a major revision of all town ordinances, according to Mayor LaVerne O. Carson. The overhaul of town ordinances will be the first in about 10 years. The council at its Oct. 9 meeting had asked the town attorney to draw up the ordinance.

Currently the review board, which regulates the exterior design of structures in the historic district, is the only appointed or elected board or commission in the town that does not have a residency requirement. The proposed requirement would affect one member of the review board, Letty Lynn, who currently owns property in town, but does not reside there.

Council members supporting the requirement believe town citizens are the best representatives of the historic district's needs, according to Council member Robby Mooney. Questioning the need for such a requirement are Carson and council members R.A. "Bob" Henry and Charles Pugh.

PLANNING COMMISSION -- The council appointed former council member Joan Herndon to fill the remainder of Kathleen Loomis's four-year term on the town Planning Commission. The commission reviews development and rezoning plans in the town and makes recommendations to the Town Council. Loomis was appointed to the commission in July but resigned when she moved out of town.

SPECIAL USE PERMIT -- EAST COLONIAL DR., 111 -- The council approved a request by Thomas Bennett for a special use permit to operate an in-home tax consultant business. 4 to 0.