Prince William Conservation Alliance

Talking Points for the Board of County Supervisors Public Hearing, Tuesday December 5, 2003



Saratoga Hunt is located just north of Minnieville Drive and east of Silverdale Drive. This is the applicants’ third attempt to develop this 130-acre site. This current rezoning application requests a change to R10, the highest density for single-family houses.

The major concerns include:

- Request is not consistent with the Comprehensive Plan. This site contains significant environmental resources: Neabsco Creek, Chesapeake Bay Resource Protection Areas, wetlands, and floodplain run through the 130 acres up for rezoning.

- There would be development in areas dominated by severe slopes and erodible soil types. There are 15-25% slopes and areas greater than 25% slopes at this site. A large part of the property is soil type Sprigs Silt Loam, listed as having severe limitations that preclude development or disturbance without approved mitigations; clearing and disturbance should be held to a minimum.

- Site surrounds a Bel Air Plantation, a Designated Cultural Resource, listed on the national register of historic places and Virginia landmarks. The foundation of this house was a fortification against the Susquehanna Indians; in1673 Revolutionary War soldiers occupied the grounds; in the1770's biographer Parson Weems, who penned the story of George Washington cutting down the cherry tree and throwing the silver dollar across the Rappahannock, lived and is burried there; in 1825 this site was the headquarters for the union forces, although at times confederate soldiers occupied the grounds; in the 1860's Bel Air Plantation was a working plantation. The slave cemetery has never been located.

- Proposal would increase traffic on a two lane section of Minnieville Road which is now at 16,600 vehicle trips/day (over capacity)

- Increases student population at schools already over capacity

- Result in decreased level of service for fire and rescue, which is already over capacity (station 17)

- Leaves taxpayers a "bill to pay” to correct these problems.

The original density was for 235 homes, then decreased to 206 homes. The current proposal is for 155 homes on 130 acres, of which 39 acres (30% of total acreage) are Environmental Resource. The Comprehensive Plan recommends one home per each developable acre near Designated Cultural Resources and Environmental Resources. This means 97-100 homes would be allowed for Saratoga Hunt, per the Comprehensive Plan.

Saratoga Hunt: A Case Study in Failed Planning
Prince William Conservation Alliance