Prince William County

The following were among actions taken at the Dec. 4 meeting of the Prince William Board of County Supervisors. For more information, call 335-6600.

ROUTE 1 -- A citizens commission proposed ways to upgrade the county's dilapidated Route 1 commercial strip, from the Occoquan River bridge to Opitz Boulevard, including creation of a special tax district and applying for a federal grant to help pay for improvements along the corridor.

The board appointed the 20-member commission in early 1989 to develop a vision for the corridor -- one of the first major retail and commercial centers in the eastern end of the county. Development along Route 1 grew rapidly in the early 1960s with little planning, and in recent years many businesses have abandoned the corridor and moved west into new buildings and shopping centers along the Interstate 95 corridor.

The supervisors accepted the report for review, but are not expected to take any immediate action on the recommendations.

The commission recommends that while the economy is in its current slump, the county should expedite efforts to improve the corridor so it will be ready "to take advantage of the next development upswing," the report says.

The report, which gave no cost estimates for the proposed improvements, made the following recommendations:

Establish a highway corridor overlay district, which would place tighter restrictions on new developments, including strict limits on signs and the number of highway exits and entrances permitted.

Develop a preliminary engineering plan to give business owners an idea of how their businesses will be affected by future improvement to the four- to six-lane highway.

Establish a special taxing district for businesses in the area to help pay for road improvements, similar to the one for construction of the Route 234 bypass on the county's western end.

Place utilities underground along the highway.

Apply for a grant from the National Trust for Historic Preservation's Main Street Program to help refurbish the corridor economically and aesthetically. The Main Street grants, which usually require matching local contributions, have been used exclusively for projects in aging downtown areas, such as Old Town Manassas. However, the commission felt that the Route 1 corridor might qualify because it serves "the same economic and social functions" as a main street, according to the report.

DEVELOPMENT -- The board approved plans for construction of 720 condominiums on a 53-acre lot off Four Year Trail next to Potomac High School.

The developer, the Anden Group, initially proposed building 818 condominiums and apartments, but met opposition from parents and school officials who complained that the development would be too dense and might invite trouble, such as drug dealing, near the school grounds.

In addition to scaling down the number of dwellings and eliminating plans for rental apartments, the developer agreed to install a fence on the property boundry with the school.

The developer also agreed to establish a security committee for the condominium owners association, which would meet periodically with the high school parents advisory committee or administrative staff.

ZONING ACTIONS -- The board approved the following zoning variance requests:

ALPS DRIVE AND MINNIEVILLE ROAD -- By Alps Road Associates Limited Partnership to rezone 111 acres from agricultural to rural residential to construct 68 single-family houses. 6 to 0. Coles District.

BALLS FORD AND SUDLEY ROADS -- By Ronald D. Mahyhew, Carla C. Hunt and the Prince William County Park Authority for a special use permit to allow commercial recreational activities in an area zoned for general businesses. 6 to 0. Gainesville District.

FULLER HEIGHTS AND OLD TRIANGLE ROADS -- By Howard Della Puca for a special use permit to operate a motor vehicle repair, storage and impoundment yard. 6 to 0. Dumfries District.

LEE HIGHWAY AND LINTON HALL ROAD -- By Country Club Associates Limited Partnership to rezone 331 acres from heavy industrial, residential planned community and agricultural to residential planned community for future development. 6 to 0. Gainesville District.

OCCOQUAN VIEW COURT AND OCCOQUAN CLUB DRIVE -- By K & C Limited Partnership to rezone 42 acres from agricultural to rural residential to construct eight single-family houses. 5 to 1. Coles District.

VULCAN LANE AND WELLINGTON ROAD -- By Arthur C. Cox Jr. for General Paving Corp. for a special use permit to operate an asphalt plant in an zoned for heavy industrial use. 6 to 0. Brentsville District.

City of Manassas

The following were among actions taken at the Dec. 10 meeting of the Manassas City Council. For more information, call 257-8211.

SOCIAL SERVICES -- The City Council rejected a state proposal to save money by consolidating administrative offices for local social services agencies. Virginia officials are currently searching for ways to offset an anticipated $1.3 billion shortfall in state revenue over the next several years.

The council agreed that a proposal by the state's secretary of health and human resources, Howard Cullum, to combine 124 administrative offices into 40 "administrative centers" is a hasty plan that could hurt the quality of local services and programs.

Under Cullum's proposal, offices of several agency directors and office managers would be combined. For example, Manassas and Manassas Park's social service offices would be incorporated into Prince William's office. Other local staff and programs would remain intact. The consolidations of social service offices across Virginia would save the state about $2 million next fiscal year, which begins July 1.

The council agreed that instead of consolidating some local agencies, $2 million in cuts should be absorbed by social service agencies throughout the state. In the interim, the council suggested, the state should undertake an in-depth analysis of the costs and benefits of consolidating some agencies in the following fiscal year, beginning July 1992.

COMMUTER RAIL -- The council told staff to proceed with the final design of road improvement and parking lot projects to accommodate commuters using the Old Town stop of the planned rail service between Manassas and Washington. The council asked staff to report back with cost estimates on the projects.

The rail service, which will also run between Fredericksburg and the District, is scheduled to start next September.

The projects consist of the following:

Constructing three parking lots, with a total of 281 spaces, at Prince William and Main streets, on the north side of Prince William Street near the Old Town rail stop.

Widening Prince William Street from two lanes to four lanes, with sidewalks and parking lanes on each side between Grant Avenue and Tudor Lane, near the rail stop.

Shifting South Main Street slightly to the west where it intersects Prince William Street and connecting it with Main Street, which would free up space for a fourth parking lot on the south side of Prince William Street.

STOP SIGN -- The council postponed until March a decision on whether to make permanent a four-way stop sign at the intersection of Grant Avenue and Barnett Street. The council directed city staff to develop other options to the stop sign, such as speed bumps. The stop sign was installed on a trial basis in early September to slow down drivers speeding through the intersection.

Residents in the area are split on the issue. In late November, the council received a petition with 63 signatures in favor of the stop sign and another petition with 119 signatures opposed to it.