Stop Bowing to Developers
I lived in Prince William County for 39 years, from 1958 to 1997. It was a good place to raise children, and it was also good to be back in the county after a long day's work.
But things changed when developers sensed that the county was ripe for development. The environment changed from a semirural, suburban bedroom community to a teeming, crowded, uninspiring, swarming, crushing area, and the quality of life deteriorated very badly. To save my sanity and achieve a better quality of life, I moved to the Northern Neck in early 1997.
The Board of County Supervisors in Prince William has caused the deterioration in the quality of life by its actions in allowing any and all development. And that brings up the subject of the pressure being applied to the owner of Tim's Rivershore Restaurant, so that the wannabe developer of the Cherry Hill peninsula can begin his rape and pillage of that beautiful place.
Having been to the restaurant on numerous occasions, I know that it is a good place to gather with friends to enjoy good food and camaraderie. I do not think for a minute that Tim would endanger any of his patrons by using an unsafe deck. In fact, I understand that it has been inspected and certified as safe by an outside engineer.
This entire matter is politically driven by the would-be developer. It's time for the citizens of Prince William County to take back their rights as citizens and make the Board of County Supervisors act as it's supposed to: in the best interests of all, not in the best interests of the developers.
A Lack of Leadership
At the June 22 meeting of the Prince William Board of County Supervisors, Chairman Sean T. Connaughton (R) cut off Supervisor Corey A. Stewart (R-Occoquan) when he had asked the county attorney about how long it would take to get a temporary permit to reopen Tim's Rivershore outside decks. This occurred right after more than 25 individuals spoke during citizens time in support of opening Tim's Rivershore.
Tim's Rivershore is embroiled in a dispute with the county over code compliance issues.
Mr. Connaughton's response was typical for a local politician currently seeking statewide office: "It's out of this board's hands." In other words, "I have more important things to focus on than some worn-out Prince William crab shack that at best is not worthy of me hanging my legacy on, like my cut in the real estate tax rate" (that resulted in higher taxes).
Indeed, Mr. Connaughton is no fool. He wanted to leave the entire Tim's Rivershore situation to the bureaucrats. That way, there's no need for common sense to prevail, because bureaucrats have plenty of rules, regulations, dockets, binders, agendas, statutes and precedents to use to drag out this situation until the crabs molt. In the interim, Mr. Connaughton wanted to act as though the monkey's off his back so that he could get back to running for lieutenant governor while, here at home, another small business is about to bite the dust.
Tim Bauckman, owner of Tim's Rivershore, left the June 22 meeting with even less assurance his restaurant would open sooner rather than later.
On June 24, Vienna-based KSI Services announced that it will buy Tim's Rivershore Restaurant for an undisclosed amount. KSI is in the midst of building the upscale Harbor Station development on the Cherry Hill peninsula where the restaurant is located.
On June 24, Mr. Connaughton and Supervisors Hilda M. Barg (D-Woodbridge), John D. Jenkins (D-Neabsco) and Maureen S. Caddigan (R-Dumfries) visited the restaurant separately to expedite Bauckman's deck reopening.
Mr. Connaughton said the four supervisors went down there "to figure out what the facts were versus the fiction -- then to essentially find out that we were all being played."
Mr. Connaughton, the only people being played in this case were Mr. Bauckman and his myriad of Prince William supporters that you ignored from the outset for your own political gain.
In the end, while Mr. Connaughton and his handlers try to spin Tim's Rivershore in the same manner they spun the tax rate cut as tax relief, even though it raised tax bills, I hope his campaign for statewide office continues to ignore what Mr. Connaughton is a failure at locally -- honest leadership.
As a fellow Coast Guard veteran, I'm surprised Mr. Connaughton has forgotten the Coast Guard credo, Semper Paratus (Always Ready), in dealing with Tim's Rivershore. You'd think he'd be the first one to throw a life ring instead of the last one to come to the rescue.
Robert T. Molleur
New Fight for Battlefield?
The battle isn't over yet.
One hundred forty years ago, a Civil War battle was fought on it. Twenty years ago, a development battle was fought on it. Today, this Manassas battlefield land has been restored, but I fear yet another battle looms in its future.
While I was very pleased to read that the land in the southwest part of Manassas Battlefield Park has been restored to Civil War conditions, the proposed battlefield bypass currently being studied could undo everything positive that preservationists fought long and hard to accomplish.
The bypass, one segment of a larger proposed north-south corridor, would go just to the west of this piece of land. After $130 million was spent to save the land from development, and $1.4 million was spent to restore it to its 1862 condition, a multi-lane highway would turn all the time and resources devoted to this project into a complete waste. And the effort that went into the newly created wetlands habitat would have been in vain. At the same time, it would only make traffic congestion worse. By opening up new land to development, it would contribute to increased gridlock on east-west corridors such as Interstate 66.
Whether you're concerned with historic and environmental preservation or more practical matters such as traffic, the battlefield bypass is a huge mistake. Through careful planning of development and improved transit options, we can have real traffic solutions. And through acts of preservation such as this newly restored land, we can ensure that future generations can enjoy America's rich history.