Stick to Comprehensive Plan

The Post's recent article on the November elections omitted one very important issue regarding the potential proliferation of strip malls along county highways and parkways (Prince William Extra, Aug. 28).

The Board of County Supervisors will vote on the Parkway Commerce Center in January, a proposal that would bring a strip mall to the corner of Minnieville Road and the Prince William Parkway.

This intersection, one of the busiest in Northern Virginia, is currently designated for office use in the Comprehensive Plan. According to the county planning report, the proposed strip mall would bring an additional 3,700 vehicles to this corner every day and would cause traffic gridlock during rush hours. And two planned curb cuts near the intersection would also set the stage for more traffic accidents.

Further, approval would establish a precedent throughout the county for changes to the Comprehensive Plan that would allow similar developments along the miles of beautiful roads that are being built with our tax dollars. These developments would further compromise the county's efforts to attract quality development and would also have a negative impact of real estate values in adjacent areas.

Both the Planning Commission and the County Planning Department have recommended that the proposal be denied.

The campaign manager for one of the candidates for chairman of the Board of County Supervisors, Sean Connaughton, strongly endorsed the Parkway Commerce Center in comments before the County Planning Commission earlier this year. County Board Chairman Kathleen K. Seefeldt has stated that she will vote against the Parkway Commerce Center when it is presented to the Board in January. Chairman Seefeldt has spoken against the proliferation of strip malls in the County.

This is one of the most important land-use issues supervisors will address next year, not only for Dale City residents but for the tens of thousands of commuters who drive through the intersection daily. The precedent established by the board's decision will establish the direction that the county will take on similar proposals.

KEVIN M. RAYMOND

Dale City

Standing Up for Your Rights

If everyone sat in the stands, there wouldn't be anyone on the playing field. Your right to ride is no different from those who wish to sail or canoe on a peaceful lake section or river area, without the noise of the motor boats. The arena that the Prince William Off Road Coalition has chosen, i.e., standing up for your rights, cannot fail.

There is always another election. Our public officials know this. And I would hope that most of them would work with your group and help find a sensible solution for your sport, without stripping anyone's rights.

Sounds like something that starts, "We the People," doesn't it? Perhaps the citizens of the county actually owe Prince William Off Road Coalition a big hand of applause for its efforts thus far!

TERRY WEAVER

Woodbridge

Tolerate No Guns in School

The proposal by Virginia's Gov. James S. Gilmore III to allow students to bring weapons to school if they have a valid hunting permit and the weapon is unloaded and kept locked in a vehicle is the most absurd proposal he has come up with during his term.

There are absolutely no circumstances that should allow a student to have a weapon locked in a vehicle on school property. Current Virginia law and the Prince William School Division Code of Behavior allow for expulsion of up to one year for any student who brings a weapon onto school grounds.

A weapon locked in the truck or a car or a gun rack is not secure and breaches the security plans in effect at our schools. Needless to say, if someone would break into the vehicle, then we have an individual armed with a weapon and this would present a clear danger to students and staff at our schools.

Also, there is another potential problem: the student who has the weapon in the vehicle. In the event that this student was to get into some type of altercation at school and then having access to a weapon, that student may the use the weapon to resolve the dispute.

We have zero tolerance with drugs and weapons in Prince William County Schools. It is important for the School Board to be consistent in our message that weapons are not allowed on school property.

As a member of the School Board, I will continue to support the policy of no weapons on school property. If a student brings a weapon onto school property, I will fully support that the student be expelled from our school division.

JOHN DAVID ALLEN SR.

Prince William School Board

Cooles District

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