A Prince William County judge ordered a Centreville man to stop all activity on property next to Manassas National Battlefield Park yesterday, agreeing with the county's claim that he is operating an unauthorized motorcycle and all-terrain vehicle park there.
Circuit Court Judge Richard B. Potter said it was clear that a motorcycle park was the intended use for the property, in violation of county zoning. In granting a temporary restraining order, he excluded all use of the 23-acre site by Sam Unuscavage at the penalty of $1,000 per violation. Potter also held the property's owner, TOV LLC, responsible for the zoning violations.
The county has signaled that it will seek to have work on the property permanently barred.
Unuscavage, who testified that he planned to farm part of the property and limit use of the bike track to him and his friends, angrily suggested after the ruling that he was being unfairly targeted because of his sport.
"You can play . . . soccer all you . . . want. I think it's [expletive] is what I think," Unuscavage said while pointing at Assistant County Attorney Curt Spear before being led away by his attorney.
During the two-hour hearing, Spear told the court that fliers bearing Unuscavage's name, a Web site advertising the park and Unuscavage's personal solicitations at a bike club showed that he intended to use the land for a park for motorized dirt bikes. Spear also pointed out that the lease between Unuscavage and TOV LLC specifically mentioned a bike park and required Unuscavage to obtain necessary permits.
Unuscavage testified that he did not authorize the flier or Web site and said he suspected it was done anonymously by a biking associate. But his business partner, Debra Buck, acknowledged in court that the flier was part of a packet she and Unuscavage passed out to members of another local bike club.
Spear also called county officials, neighbors and dirt-biking enthusiasts to the stand. The bikers said they had watched Unuscavage clear the land and build a bike track, had been solicited by him to join a club to ride there and had paid to ride there.
Michael Gaudy Jr., 15, testified that he had called Unuscavage after seeing a flier advertising the park at a local bike store.
"I paid $200" to become a member, Gaudy said in court. Gaudy added: "We can't [just] show up and ride. . . . Whenever he invites us to ride, he'll tell us, and we come to ride that day." Gaudy told the court he had ridden at the Prince William site twice after joining the club.
Unuscavage acknowledged running a club for dirt bikers, but he said it operated elsewhere and was not connected to the Prince William property. His attorney called a handful of bikers to the stand who said they had used the site without joining the club or paying dues.
But Potter ruled that Unuscavage was not allowed to operate either a commercial or private motorcycle park on the land.
The county first halted work on the site in September after receiving reports that a motor-bike park was being built. They allowed it to continue after Unuscavage assured them he was planning to farm the land. A short time later, though, the fliers and Web page again led officials to believe he was building a commercial park. They then went to court last month seeking to stop activity on the site.
A strong contingent of neighbors and Civil War buffs, concerned about what they feared would be a loud, intrusive activity right next to Manassas Battlefield, have for weeks urged county officials to stop Unuscavage.
One of those activists, Mary Ann Ghadban, testified yesterday that she had watched Unuscavage denude the property and build a bike track over the past two months. She hailed the judge's decision.
"I think it's great that the judge saw through him," she said. "But we definitely have to keep an eye on him and just follow this through to the point of getting a permanent injunction."