Links to News Articles
Michele Clock and Steven Ginsberg; Washington Post; May 22 2003 

Dusty Smith, Gainesville Times; May 23 2003 

Chris Newman, Potomac News; May 20 2003

Tara Slate Donaldson, Gainesville Times; May 23 2003 

Peter Hoagland, Letters, Washington Post; May 25 2003 

Gary Friedman, Letters, Washington Post; May 25 2003 

Tony Urso, Letters, Gainesville Times; May 23 2003

Chris Newman, Potomac News; May 24 2003

Link Only 

Michael Neibauer, NoVA Journal; May 20 2003

Chris Newman, Potomac News; May 22 2003

Bennie Scarton, Potomac News; May 19 2003

Tara Slate Donaldson, Gainesville Times; May 23 2003

Aileen Streng, Potomac News; May 17 2003

Dusty Smith, Gainesville Times; May 23 2003

Metro Washington Council of Government 

Michele Clock and Steven Ginsberg; Washington Post; May 22 2003
A major developer has deferred a proposal to build a 663-acre golf course
community -- 190 acres of which is in western Prince William County's Rural
Crescent -- saying that it needs time to meet with residents who oppose the
plan, and letting supervisors avoid a potentially controversial vote two
weeks before primary elections. 

The Prince William Board of County Supervisors was scheduled to consider
the proposal by Vienna-based KSI Services Inc. at a public hearing Tuesday
night. But earlier Tuesday, Michael D. Lubeley, an attorney representing
KSI, asked that supervisors postpone the matter to a June 24 public

The project, called Greater South Market, would include a Jack Nicklaus
Signature golf course, 720 age-restricted homes, 525 non-age-restricted
houses and an office park. The site is near Haymarket, bounded by the
Norfolk Southern railroad tracks on the north, Route 15 on the east and
Thoroughfare Road on the west. For the proposal to work, a series of
changes to the county's Comprehensive Plan and current zoning would be
necessary. The Prince William Planning Commission approved the package
April 16.

Edward Byrne, KSI's vice president of planning, said he was not aware of
residents' opposition to the plan until last week.

"We were sort of fat and happy thinking everybody in the community that had
an interest we had talked to," he said. 

Byrne said he thinks the proposal "benefits the whole concept of the Rural
Crescent and the interface between Rural Crescent and development." He
suggested that opponents haven't seen all the details of the plan.

The deferral gives time to Byrne and others to meet with community members
and explain the proposal. It also spares supervisors from voting on a
thorny land-use issue two weeks before party primaries. Virtually all
candidates have campaigned on smart growth platforms, each defining that on
his own terms, and Greater South Market would have given voters a fresh
chance to see whether their definition of smart growth coincides with

The project is particularly notable because it would involve the county's
rural preserve, an 80,000-acre stretch that tantalizes developers but has
been marked as off limits by the county. Opponents of the project said they
thought the last-minute deferral was politically motivated.

Elena Schlossberg, a leader of Advocates for the Rural Crescent (ARC) who
has been very active in her opposition to the proposal, called the deferral
"dirty politics."

"This is absolutely a political move," she said. "It has nothing to do with
the greater good or the greater good of land use. That you can even request
a deferral at the last minute when the citizens make time to go to the
public hearing is outrageous."

Schlossberg, who lives in Haymarket, said she had focused her opposition on
Tuesday night's meeting, mobilizing at least 50 ARC members, other
slow-growth activists and residents of the Rural Crescent to speak out on
the plan at that time. Schlossberg said she still planned to get up and
talk during citizen's time Tuesday night.

Supervisor Ruth T. Griggs (R-Occoquan), the board's most consistent
anti-growth voice, said she received a flood of calls saying the move was a
"disgraceful election-year ploy because now [supervisors] don't have to
take a position until after the primaries."

Griggs expressed her own skepticism, saying, "I don't know what the
applicant knows today that they didn't know a while ago."

Griggs sought to open the public hearing Tuesday as originally scheduled
because residents would not know that the vote was deferred. But
supervisors sided against that idea, not wanting to essentially have two
public hearings on the same project.

Board Chairman Sean T. Connaughton (R-At Large) said the "applicant
requested that the proposal be deferred until they've had an opportunity to
meet with citizens who have raised concerns. We only started getting
contacted about this in the last three or four days."

Schlossberg remains optimistic about the situation.

"Instead of being so angry, I can also look at this as an indication that
the board and the developers are interested in working with the community
on this," she said.
Dusty Smith, Gainesville Times; May 23 2003
KSI Services Inc. requested a delay on the vote and a public hearing for a
new golf course community near the Town of Haymarket.

The hearing date was reset for July 1 to the dismay of 17 opponents who
spoke during citizens' time at the beginning of the May 20 evening meeting. 

"It's like Lucy with the football," said James Hendley, referencing the
"Peanuts" cartoon in which Lucy lures Charlie Brown to kick a football and
then pulls it away. "Go away seems to be the message."

The plan calls for about 1,200 homes and a small office park on 663 acres
along Route 15 with a golf course intended to shelter the Rural Crescent
from the community and development corridor. Part of the development creeps
into the edge of the Rural Crescent.

Michael Lubeley, an attorney representing KSI, said the deferral came in
response to a large number of opponents of the plan who voiced their
concerns for the first time just hours before the scheduled May 20 hearing.

"KSI and [Lubeley's law firm] met with all the neighbors and everyone who
expressed interest on both sides of Route 15," he said, adding that
opposition to the plan only surfaced in the 24 hours before the hearing.

He said KSI hoped to address the concerns of those citizens.

"That is the purpose for this deferral," he said. "We are an open book." 

Opponents argued that the deferral was an election stunt to keep the golf
course from becoming an issue at the June 10 party primaries.

In addition, opponents argued that it was unfair to announce the deferral
so close to the scheduled time.

Elena Schlossberg-Kunkel, who heads the Advocates against the Rural
Crescent (ARC), said she hoped KSI was honest in its intention to work with
the community.

"I hope that what I will see is some reaching out from the development
community in reference to the Rural Crescent," she said. "Anything else
would look like you deferred it until after the primary for political
Chris Newman, Potomac News; May 20 2003
Rural crescent advocates have come out against a plan to put a golf course
and 1,245 homes on land southwest of Haymarket in the last week, leading
county officials to defer action until their concerns are heard by the

The land in question is the 663-acre triangle formed by Thoroughfare Road,
U.S. 15 and the Norfolk Southern railroad just south of the vacant Midwood
business park.

The area is called Greater South Market. The rezoning was submitted by the
Haymarket Investment Syndicate.

The county's long-range land-use plan calls for keeping 266 acres for
agricultural use, but an amendment tied to the rezoning would reduce the
amount to 78 acres.

More than a dozen people spoke during "Citizens Time" at the Prince William
Board of County Supervisors meeting Tuesday, some expressing disappointment
the public hearing was deferred.

It is an assault on the rural crescent boundaries that were agreed to in
1998 changes to the county's comprehensive land-use plan, said Elena
Schlossberg, leader of Advocates for the Rural Crescent, in an interview.
The board last year rejected a plan amendment to allow golf courses in the
rural crescent, she said.

"They're trying to defer it until after the June primary," she said.

Not true, said Board of County Supervisors Chairman Sean T. Connaughton,
R-at-large. No objections were raised against the plan until last week, he

"Our staff is supporting this and worked on this," he said. "There was [no
opposition] at the planning commission. Until this weekend, we had not
heard of any major concern and now we're told all these people will be

With controversial matters the board typically gets the developer to meet
with residents to answer their questions.

The staff report states that the rezoning is an improvement because it
refines the irregularly shaped boundary between the rural crescent and
development of the area and cuts out unwanted uses on the western side of
the area.

Existing agreements and zoning allow for 256 town houses out of 525
residential units to be built along U.S. 15 with strip shopping center,
20,000-square-foot lots along Thoroughfare Road, and 44 acres of light
industrial along U.S. 15, staff wrote.

The new plan pulls east the high density zoning along Thoroughfare Road and
establishes a wide area of open space along Beverly Road, staff said.

Connaughton said the planning commission is the board's "canary in the coal
mine." Only one person spoke against it then -- slow-growther Martha

Schlossberg said rural crescent advocates didn't speak at the planning
commission because that body is leaving it to the county supervisors to
reject developments.

"After the Gainesville sector plan, many people thought, 'Why should we
even bother? They're passing everything anyway.' If you want to energize
people, you have to pick your battles," she said. 

Citizens came out Tuesday with strong words for county supervisors.

Jim Price of Gainesville said even Supervisor Edgar S. Wilbourn,
I-Gainesville, backed off a proposal last year to allow golf courses in the
rural crescent.

"You're not stupid people, but here it is again. The same asininity," Price
said. Smoothing out the geometry of the boundaries is hardly justification
for cutting into the rural crescent, he said.

"My prayer every night is in this year's election people are paying
attention," Price said. "I hope they are paying attention to how ludicrous
your actions have been over the last four years."

Staff writer Chris Newman can be reached at (703) 878-8062.
Tara Slate Donaldson, Gainesville Times; May 23 2003
An allegation that contaminated dirt is being dumped at Sudley Park has
sparked an angry debate involving the Park Authority Board and two of the
candidates for Gainesville District supervisor. 

John Stirrup of Haymarket, the at-large representative to the Park
Authority Board, wrote a letter to the board late last month alleging that
dirt and debris from the Atlas Machine and Iron Works site was being hauled
away and dumped at Sudley Park in Catharpin.

"I'm not familiar with all of the types of chemicals that may have been
used in the processing or iron during the many decades that the Atlas Iron
Works functioned," states Stirrup's April 23 letter. "I am, however, very
concerned that soils and debris transferred from the Atlas Iron Works may
compromise the health, safety and welfare of neighbors and Park users."

Stirrup asked the board to test the soil at the park, which is scheduled to
open in July on the north side of Sudley Road, near Pageland Lane.

The allegations are complicated by the fact that Stirrup is the Republican
candidate for Gainesville District supervisor. Current Supervisor Ed
Wilbourn, who is seeking re-election as an Independent, is a contract
manager at The Anderson Company, which is clearing the Atlas site and
donating materials and labor to the park.

"We did not haul any soil to Sudley Park. We hauled crushed concrete and
gravel to build a haul (access) road," Wilbourn said, shortly after
Stirrup's letter was sent.

Wilbourn called Stirrup's allegations "dirty, nasty politics."

In response to Stirrup's letter, Lester Leonard, Wilbourn's appointee to
the Park Authority Board, wrote a letter of his own, accusing Stirrup of
"trying to drag the Park Authority into his and Chairman Connaughton's
political mud bath."

Sean Connaughton (R-At large) appointed Stirrup to the Park Authority Board
and is an ideological opponent of Wilbourn.

"Mr. Stirrup's letter of unfounded accusations is harmful to an entire
array of companies and individuals: The Park Authority, The County, The
Peterson Company (who owns the old Atlas site), The Anderson Company,
L.L.C., Supervisor Wilbourn and the thousands of youth who are waiting to
use the fields," Leonard wrote on April 28. "The Park Authority should not
be used for Mr. Stirrup and the Chairman's political platform."

Leonard's letter stated that "it is common knowledge that every
construction site has to have an environmental evaluation and report" and
that Stirrup could have requested a copy of the report before "falsely
insinuating" that there was a problem.

On May 14, Stirrup responded in another letter, stating that Leonard's
correspondence was "an attempt to distort that this park has, for the last
four years, been controversial and unorthodox in its development."

"The overall personal nature of Mr. Leonard's letter was not only
unprofessional, but inappropriate for a Board Member who has oversight
responsibilities for public funds and the health, safety and welfare of the
community," Stirrup wrote.

Stirrup also withdrew his request for a soil test, asking instead to review
Anderson's trucking logs giving details about each load pickup, what type
of material was hauled in each and where and when it was picked up and
dropped off.

On Tuesday, Stirrup said he had been told that Anderson is under no
obligation to hand over any logs.

"I want to see those logs, and, if they don't exist, I definitely have a
problem with that," he said Tuesday.

Stirrup acknowledged that he currently has no proof to substantiate his
allegations. If the logs are not made available, he said he would renew his
request for soil testing at the park. 
Peter Hoagland, Letters, Washington Post; May 25 2003
Gary Friedman, Letters, Washington Post; May 25 2003 

Last Sunday's Prince William Extra contained two interesting letters. 

One referred to the former site of the Atlas Works in Gainesville, which
has been demolished and is now being developed by Anderson Co. Amazingly,
this is Supervisor Edgar S. Wilbourn's employer! I found it hard to
believe, so I called Anderson today and confirmed that it is true. How is
this possible? Are there no policies in Prince William County government
about ethics and conflicts of interest? Chairman Sean T. Connaughton, are
you listening?

The other letter was from Amy Dove of Bristow, who reports she is delighted
with the direction of Prince William County. She made it clear that she
does not want to hear from any critics about horrendous traffic congestion,
poor air quality, skyrocketing taxes/fees and deteriorating quality of
life. I am happy for Ms. Dove, but it is apparent she has not tried to
drive through Gainesville lately. 

Peter Hoagland 
New Baltimore 

At 7:30 p.m. May 20, I, along with about 30 other Gainesville area
residents, attended a scheduled public hearing on the Greater South Market
amendment to the county's Comprehensive Plan and rezoning applications by
KSI Services Inc. This is a large development proposal for rural land near
Haymarket. Like other concerned citizens, I have serious questions about
this project. During the afternoon session, the hearing was "deferred" to a
date in July, after the June 10 primary elections. The board chairman told
citizens that evening the deferral was "at the applicant's request." 

Cynics have said the deferral was requested so Supervisors Mary Hill
(R-Coles) and Hilda Barg (D-Woodbridge), both of whom face strong primary
challenges and have consistently supported numerous large development
projects in the past, didn't like being put into a position of voting to
support yet another massive rezoning case, then have to face voters a
couple weeks later.

I don't know what the real motives were for the deferral, but I am
prepared, at least for the moment, to accept statements made that KSI wants
to work with the community to address concerns. I hope those statements are

If KSI is sincere about being a good neighbor and really wants to work with
the community, that is good news. The subject site offers a wonderful
opportunity for an experienced development company to show civic
responsibility and to demonstrate it understands the wisdom of adopting
smart growth principles into its projects. It is also an excellent
opportunity for the current members of the county board to demonstrate true
commitment to honoring their word to citizens about controlling growth and
preventing sprawl. They can prove we are not just hearing election year
rhetoric from them on these issues.

In my public comments at the meeting, I invited KSI and its attorney to get
together with me and other concerned citizens to come up with a plan
everyone can accept. I look forward to meeting with them.

Gary C. Friedman 
Broad Run 
(Democratic nominee for 
Gainesville District supervisor) 
Tony Urso, Letters, Gainesville Times; May 23 2003
As I was driving through Gainesville the other day on Route 29, I noticed
that the old Atlas Iron Works had been cleared away to make room for much
needed big box retail space. 

A sign on the fence declared that the site development was being done by
the Anderson Co. As this is Gainesville Supervisor Wilbourn's full-time
employer I was wondering if there would be still another investigation into
a conflict of interest. 

And then I remembered where I was. Probably not. Is this a great county or
Chris Newman, Potomac News; May 24 2003
The rain has to stop sometime, and when it does, play will resume on the
championship-level softball and soccer fields at Valley View Park in
Brentsville, ready with fresh playing fields and modern irrigation systems.
Meanwhile, more than a dozen other fields across the Prince William County
will continue to be as they were five years ago when voters approved nearly
$1 million to upgrade them. The Prince William County Park Authority used
the money instead to cover some of the $2.4 million in cost overruns at
Valley View, which will come in at a price of $5.4 million.

The fallout from that fund swap and an August 2002 report that found
mismanagement by the Park Authority led the Prince William Board of County
Supervisors last month to take away much of its autonomy.

They couldn't bring the money back until the next fiscal year that begins
July 1.

Deferred are $102,000 in renovations to four softball fields at Fairmont
Park in Gainesville with construction of two pavilions, $27,000 for parking
lot lighting at Turley Field in Dale City, $45,000 for parking lot lighting
at Neabsco Eagles Park in Dale City and $100,000 in field improvements at
15 county schools.

These projects were supposed to be done by July 1, but now the work will be
completed before fall seasons or during the winter, said Park Authority
spokeswoman Delain Clark. County supervisors last month approved a budget
increase for the Park Authority to replace the transferred funds.

"From our perspective it was tough to do because of expectations of the
community and the supervisors," said Park Authority Occoquan district board
member Brant Wickman.

The delayed school projects, which included irrigation control, backstop
and dugout repair and field upgrades, are:

? two fields at Antietam Elementary

? two at Beville Middle

? one at Enterprise Elementary 

? one at Fred Lynn Middle

? one at King Elementary

? two at Lake Ridge Middle

? one at Leesylvannia Elementary

? one at Montclair Elementary

? one at Old Bridge Elementary

? one at Pattie Elementary

? two at Saunders Middle

? one at Westridge Elementary

The Park Authority was able to go forward with projects at four schools
this year:

? $15,750 to replace a backstop, two new dugouts, new sideline fences at
McAuliffe Elementary,

? $12,530 for girl's softball field dugouts and sidelines and $9,450 for
baseball/adult softball dugouts at Belmont Elementary,

? $9,573 for irrigation, dugouts and sideline fence for a baseball field
and $6,750 for dugouts at another baseball field at Henderson Elementary,

? $13,095 for relocating a baseball field, backstop and dugouts at
Enterprise Elementary.

Also transferred was $200,000 to light the baseball and softball fields at
Brentsville High School. It went to Valley View and the BMX facility behind
McCoart, but the Board of County Supervisors saved the Brentsville project
with general fund dollars.

County Supervisors Chairman Sean T. Connaughton, R-at large, had pushed for
disbanding the Park Authority, but his counterparts chose to tighten
financial controls and oversight in a new operating agreement approved last

"Obviously I am a frequent and loud critic of what's been happening at the
Park Authority, and unfortunately the taxpayers and the kids are the ones
who are paying the price for the mistakes made by the Park Authority,"
Connaughton said. "I still have my concerns and will be continually

Supervisor Edgar S. Wilbourn, I-Gainesville, has gone against Connaughton
in defending the Park Authority.

"I don't think it was all the Park Authority's fault. They got caught up in
giving early estimates on a park that evolved. The costs three years after
an estimate are going to change," Wilbourn said.

He said the county needs to rethink the way it build parks. Instead of
following short schedules to build, contractors can do work more cheaply or
for free if given a large window -- 12 to 18 months -- to grade sites or
add dirt.

This was done with Sudley Park in Gainesville. His excavation company
donated dirt to the park and it has not cost the county any money, he said.

The donation has saved the county millions, money that was supposed to
build the park beginning in 2005 can go to other projects, he said.

The park will be completed next year. "It is very innovative," Wilbourn
said. "That's the way the Park Authority should be from here out. We're
proving it can be done at Sudley."

Connaughton and others have questioned the manner in which the dirt was
dumped -- without Park Authority permission or oversight. The park will not
be free next year when its operating costs come online early, Connaughton
pointed out.

Wilbourn said the work followed county specifications for the park, and
children will be able to play sooner rather than later.

The news isn't all bad for sports fields other than Valley View and Sudley
Park. The 1998 bond package contained $2.7 million for sports fields and
most has already been done. 

It's the remaining dozen where the attention is now.

"These projects are going to get done and there will be no ability of the
Park Authority to shuffle the funds or hide either overruns or delays in
construction," Connaughton said.

Staff writer Chris Newman can be reached at (703) 878-8062.
Michael Neibauer, NoVA Journal; May 20 2003
Businesses along a small stretch of Richmond Highway in Fairfax County soon
will be able to compete for grants to cosmetically enhance their building's

By a 9-1 vote, the Board of Supervisors on Monday approved the Richmond
Highway Facade Improvement Program, a plan to offer 50 percent matching
grants to private business owners for superficial refurbishment. 

The program will be instituted and carried out by the Southeast Fairfax
Development Corp., a nonprofit organization established in 1981 to combat
community deterioration and encourage economic development along the
7.5-mile Route 1 corridor. The county allocates about $150,000 to the
corporation each year for its efforts. 

``We're hoping to get the small property owners to participate and improve
their property," said Richard Neel, the corporation's president. ``Without
this program they probably wouldn't do that." 

The effort's first phase will focus on an estimated 40 structures between
Lockheed Boulevard and Sherwood Hall Lane. About $180,000 will be available
for initial grants at a maximum of $25,000 per business. 

A $25,000 grant would require at least $50,000 in improvements under the
matching plan. 

It is unknown at this point when the development corporation will begin
accepting grant applications. Once the competitive process begins, each
interested owner will be offered free architectural consultations and a new
design review committee will examine each proposal and make
recommendations. The county's Redevelopment and Housing Authority has the
final say and distributes the grants. 

Priming the effort with less than $200,000 could jump-start revitalization
and inspire other private owners to participate when they see the results,
Neel said. 

Supervisor Stuart Mendelsohn, R-Dranesville, offered the only vote against
the program. The idea behind the program is a good one, but the associated
overhead and administrative costs are classic examples of big government,
he said. 

Setup, consulting, marketing, administration and architectural services are
expected to cost upward of $100,000. 

``I just think that once again we're not doing it the most efficient way we
can," Mendelsohn said. ``We're doing it the government way." 

Mendelsohn's colleagues, however, saw the program, and the associated
costs, as worthy investments. 

``To me this is a very important part of our county, that we don't allow
areas to become slums," said Supervisor Elaine McConnell, R-Springfield.
``I think this is a very worthwhile program and I'm sorry the county's not
putting more money into it." 
Chris Newman, Potomac News; May 22 2003
One thing many conservative politicians are avoiding this year in their
energizing campaign messages is that out-of-vogue concept of math,
moderates say.
On the stance that government gets enough to pay its bills, Prince William
Delegates Robert G. Marshall, R-13th District, and L. Scott Lingamfelter,
R-31st District, and Sen. James K. "Jay" O'Brien Jr., R-39th District,
honored the anti-tax pledges they signed two years ago, but as Delegate
Harry J. Parrish, R-50th District, pointed out, "we certainly raised every
fee you could think of."

In 2002, the General Assembly raised fees by more than $200 million, and
this year raised fees $85 million.

"Most people do not a have a problem with user fees," said Lingamfelter,
who had his bill that defined "fee" and "tax" in the code rejected by the
House Rules Committee. "Where people have a problem is when government uses
fees to raise revenues, and that is where I have problem."

"Sounds like a tax to me," said Bob FitzSimmonds, a former aide to
Lingamfelter, on some of the fees Lingamfelter and other Republicans voted
for -- while House Democrats voted against the budget.

"The fee increases got worked into the budget as a whole, and I committed
in my campaign to vote for a responsible budget," Lingamfelter said.

Lingamfelter last year called for privatizing Alcoholic Beverage Control
stores but fell in line with GOP leadership in voting against a study on
the concept. Last year, Lingamfelter cited $8 billion that Pennsylvania
saved by finding efficiencies, but most of that was just an estimate
attributed to selling liquor stores that never happened, Pennsylvania
budget staff said.

Over six years, Pennsylvania saved $882 million, which is less than the
$900 million budget hole House Appropriations staff said this winter is
estimated to still be in the budget when realized spending needs and
revenues are eventually tallied.

Virginia Finance Director John Bennett on Thursday said estimates of that
budget hole have been refined but have not been released.

A continuing hole in the general fund did not stop four of Prince William's
five delegates from endorsing a plan this week to take $33 million out of
the general fund to match private dollars to leverage $1 billion in debt
for road construction.

Pushing the plan are Delegates John A. "Jack" Rollison, R-52nd District,
Michele B. McQuigg, R-51st District, and Marshall and Lingamfelter. The
same bill died in the Senate Finance Committee this past session at the
hands of moderates like Sen. John H. Chichester, R-28th District.

"That's political rhetoric," Chichester said. "Unless you want to throw
away your AAA bond rating and you just increase your debt capacity,
mortgage the future to a generation yet unborn."

The general fund cannot afford to pay for roads when it is already under
pressure to fill unmet needs in public education, health and human
services, and public safety "not the least of which is the understaffed
nature of the state police," Chichester said.

The Virginia Department of Transportation spends 13 percent of its
construction revenue to service the interest on $1.2 billion in debt. That
percentage is forecasted to go up to 16 percent of its budget over the next
six years, according to VDOT.

Virginia's Debt Capacity Advisory Committee says the amount of borrowed
money it repays annually using state tax money -- its debt service --
should be no more than 5 percent of those revenues. 

"We need to have a much tighter policy regarding the use of debt," said
state Transportation Commissioner Philip A. Shucet. "The administration [of
Gov. Mark R. Warner] feels that way, the General Assembly seems to feel
that way, and the public at large seems to feel that way."

That's not how Marshall felt last year when he pushed his House Bill 109 to
take out $750 million more in federal debt -- more than double the amount
used to plug the raid of the transportation trust fund in 2002. His plan
died quietly at an out-of-session committee meeting last year.

The cycle of talking points continued to evolve this year.

During House floor debates, Republicans pointed out billions in tax
exemptions in the state code that could be reined in to find new revenue.
The political unfeasibility of that idea was never dissected because the
message then became look at the $2.5 billion in uncollected taxes estimated
by the Virginia Department of Taxation.

A solution to that problem has not been identified, but a tax amnesty
program this fall is estimated to bring in a fraction of that uncollected
tax, nearly $50 million.

In Richmond, McQuigg passed her "Roadmap for Virginia" this year that she
said will give goals and outcomes to state agencies in their budgets.
Lawmakers have all the money they need but simply don't know where they can
find savings until budgets are more transparent and accountable, she said,
in the manner that was done to Prince William County budgets when she was a
county supervisor.

In Prince William, Supervisor Mary K. Hill, R-Coles, was the lone vote
against the county budget last month. She said savings could be found in
the county budget, based on the concerns and questions raised by her
citizens budget committee. The real estate tax rate should have been less
than the adopted $1.16 rate this year, but she said she didn't know by how
Bennie Scarton, Potomac News; May 19 2003
Old Town Manassas is now in the company of five other cities nationwide for
efforts taken in its revitalization.

The Manassas Main Street Program on Monday received the 2003 National Trust
for Historic Preservation's Great American Main Street Award.

The annual award recognizes exceptional accomplishments in revitalizing
America's historic and older Main Street commercial districts.

The designation, awarded to only five cities each year among the nation's
1,700 Main Street programs, recognized Historic Manassas Inc. for its
achievements in the revitalization of Old Town Manassas.

Other 2003 award winners are Greenville, N.C.; Littleton, N.H.; Rome, Ga.;
and Wenatchee, Wash.

Accepting the award in Cincinnati were Tricia Davis, executive director of
HMI; Mary Gesotti, marketing director; Carol Merchant Kirby, charter member
of the board of directors; Dave Flach, past president; and Lawrence Hughes,
city manager.

The award was presented by Kennedy Smith, director of the National Trust
for Historic Preservation's National Main Street Center, at the trust's
2003 National Town Meeting on Main Street in Cincinnati which runs through
May 21.

"Manassas has proven its dedication to preserving its old-town character,"
said Richard Moe, president of the National Trust, which works to save
diverse historic places and revitalize communities.

"Its leaders and residents recognized the power of collaboration, keeping
ahead of sprawl and empowering its downtown. We are proud to honor Manassas
with the Greater American Main Street Award and congratulate the town's
leaders for their perseverance and excellence in revitalizing their
commercial district."

Once an important strategic location for both Union and Confederate forces
during the Civil War, Manassas' downtown had become economically depressed.
To revitalize the downtown and preserve their valuable historic character,
Manassas business owners, government officials and city leaders founded
HMI, a non-profit organization, in 1986.

Since its designation as a Main Street Community in 1988, Manassas has
experienced a resurgence of business and community involvement including 54
renovated buildings, more than 350 jobs created and $12 million of private
investment, according to city officials. To date, Old Town touts 100
percent occupancy in buildings housing several upscale restaurants and

Other public revitalization efforts include streets lined with
turn-of-the-century lamp posts welcoming visitors to recreational,
educational and cultural opportunities offered at the Loy E. Harris
Pavilion, providing ice skating in the winter and concerts and festival
during the summer; the restored Hopkin's Candy Factory that houses the
Center for the Arts; and the renovated 1914 train depot that serves as the
HMI offices.

"Manassas has truly redefined itself as a bustling community with a
distinctive old town charm," said Moe.

Established in 1980, the trust's Main Street Center helps communities of
all sizes revitalize their older and historic commercial districts. Active
in more than 1,700 downtown and urban neighborhoods, the program has
generated more than $16 billion in new investment. Participating
jurisdictions have created 226,000 net new jobs, 56,300 new businesses and
rehabilitated more than 88,700 buildings, according to documentation.

To be eligible for the award, communities must show active involvement by
the public and private sectors; broad-based community support; quality
achievements in revitalization over time; positive economic impact; and
successful activity in the Four Points of the Main Street approach to
commercial district revitalization -- design, organization, promotion and
economic development.

Each winning community receives a $2,500 cash prize to further its
revitalization efforts, a bronze plaque commemorating its award, road signs
and a certificate.

"HMI is honored to receive the award because it reflects the vision,
commitment and energy of our entire community," said HMI President Randy
Frostick. "Since the mid-1980s, the citizens, government and entrepreneurs
have joined forces to identify problems, develop clear goals, and implement
an ambitious plan of action. From the vision of individuals like Loy Harris
to the city's funding of key public projects, the renaissance of Old Town
Manassas reflects public-private partnership at its very best." 

According to the Trust, HMI also supports Old Town by producing events such
as the Heritage Railway Festival and the Fall Jubilee. The events attract
close to 200,000 people to Old Town each year while the Visitor Center it
operates greets more than 48,000 visitors each year, including many
international visitors.

"While HMI is thrilled to receive these tangible rewards, it is the
intangible benefits to the community that are most important to HMI," said

"Old Town Manassas has become the heart and soul of the surrounding
community by providing cultural opportunities, a thriving business sector
and a quality of life not in existence since the early days of the city,"
she said.
Tara Slate Donaldson, Gainesville Times; May 23 2003
Old Town Manassas has received the 2003 National Trust for Historic
Preservation's Great American Main Street Award.

Manassas was one of only five Main Street communities from throughout the
country to receive the award this year. 

"It's very prestigious," said Marianne Gesotti, marketing director for
Historic Manassas Inc. "We really are in a very, very elite group. It's
quite an honor."

The Great American Main Street Award recognizes exceptional accomplishments
in revitalizing America's historic and older main street commercial
districts. Historic Manassas Inc. was awarded for downtown revitalization
initiatives, including the train depot renovation and the Loy E. Harris
Pavilion as well as the city square project, numerous historic building
renovations and successful special events like the Heritage Railway

"This all began in 1985," Gesotti said. "There were at least 33 vacant
buildings in Old Town Manassas. They were considering tearing down some of
the historic buildings ... to put up a Tysons Corner type of thing."

Then, a new city manager approached Carol Kirby, daughter of Manassas
philanthropists W. Caton and Mae Merchant. The official had heard about a
new main street program and urged Kirby to attend a conference about it,
Gesotti said.

The Manassas Main Street Program was launched that summer. Kirby and a
group of concerned citizens raised $250,000 to get the project off the

Almost 20 years later, it's still going strong. And, while keeping Old Town
a historic, yet thriving business district is a daunting task, it's a labor
of love.

"It's like a garden," Gesotti said. "You have to tend it all the time." 
Aileen Streng, Potomac News; May 17 2003
The retention basin at the Flat Branch Pumping Station near Manassas Park
was designed to temporarily hold raw sewage during emergency situations
"We wanted to make sure that raw wastewater did not get into the
environment," said Charles Boepple, deputy director of the Upper Occoquan
Sewage Authority, which owns and operates the facility. Officials didn't
want the sewage to contaminate the nearby Occoquan Reservoir, the major
source of drinking water for much of Prince William and Fairfax counties.

However, a harsh winter of heavy snow followed by a whole lot of rain has
kept this large basin -- capable of holding as much as 37 million gallons
of sewage -- at least partially full for several months this year.

The amount of sewer water going through the system caused enough of an
emergency that the basin had to be used, officials said. 

Under normal circumstances, the wastewater stays a day or two before being
pumped out and does not create an odor nuisance, said Charles Williamson,
water compliance manager for the regional office of the state Department of
Water Quality. DEQ is the regulatory agency for wastewater treatment

With this past winter being anything but normal, problems began at the Flat
Branch facility.

"The storms seemed to come back to back so before we could empty out the
basin another storm would come along," Boepple said. 

The basin contained sewage almost constantly from January through April,
Boepple said.

Residents of Alleghaney and nearby streets near the pump station say the
stench of raw sewage from the plant has been intolerable in recent months. 

The neighborhood is located outside Manassas Park, near the Ben Lomond
Regional Park and the Fairfax County line.

UOSA and DEQ officials say everything possible is being done to combat the
odor emanating from the pump station.

"We are going all out," Boepple said. "We understand the complaints and we
are trying to fix it."

Various chemicals have been added to the sewage to reduce the odor.
Misters, which provide a constant spray of deodorizers, line the top of a
chain link fence around the perimeter of the property. Other steps are
being taken as well, Boepple said.

And DEQ's Williamson says UOSA is in compliance of its permit. 

"They are not in violation of any laws. We've been out to the site. We've
heard the complaints," he said. "[UOSA] is doing everything it can do to
dry out the basin and remove the sludge and solids."

UOSA was created in the mid-1970s as a regional entity to operate the sewer
systems of Manassas and Manassas Park as well as portions of western Prince
William and Fairfax counties.

The agency owns the major facilities that manage the region's sewage
including the Flat Branch Pump Station that sits only a couple hundred feet
from the backyards of Alleghaney Street homes. 

The Flat Branch site was once the location of the Greater Manassas Sanitary
District Waste Water Treatment Plant. When UOSA was created, it built a new
treatment plant on Compton Road just over the Fairfax County line and
converted Flat Branch into a pump station to move wastewater about a mile
to the main facility.

This emergency retention basin is one of several operated by UOSA. The
others are in Fairfax. They are not required by law but are viewed as an
innovative safeguard against overwhelming the sewer system and causing a
spill, Williamson said.

When the basin remained full earlier this year for so long, UOSA officials
knew they would likely soon be dealing with an odor problem. 

Calcium nitrate was added to the wastewater. It was somewhat successful in
cutting down on the odor, Boepple said.

When the sewage had a chance to empty out, the sides were coated with
magnesium oxide to negate the smell. Chorine was even poured into puddles
at the bottom of the basin.

The latest attempt to control the odor has been to spread a mixture of
mulch and grass seed along the embankment in hope that it will soak up some
of the water and help control the stench, Boepple said.

"We are hoping that this will be one of the most effective things that
we've done," Boepple said. "If not, we will get back together with our
chemist and engineers to find something else."

Boepple said that none of the chemicals used are experimental -- and they
are safely used industrywide. "They are not anything toxic. We have checked
them out carefully."

There also is a long-term solution underway.

The $200 million expansion of the main Compton Road facility would increase
its capacity from 32 million gallons per day to 54 million gallons. 

The extra capacity would mean that the need to use the Flat Branch facility
for storage would be lessened, Boepple said.

Although the expansion is two years behind due to work delays by the
contractor, Boepple said he hopes it will be done by the end of the summer
or the end of the year at the latest.

"UOSA has built one of the most sophisticated treatment plants in the
United States," Williamson said. "Overall, it performs extremely well."?
Dusty Smith, Gainesville Times; May 23 2003
The Haymarket Historical Foundation elected its new leadership May 15, and
the new chairperson announced intentions to fully utilize the nonprofit
organization to raise funds for the town. 

"We have a new board sitting here," said newly elected Chairperson Sheila
Jarboe. "I really want to get this foundation up and running. My goal is to
be successful and have some fun along the way."

Jarboe is also a town council member, but serves the foundation as a
private citizen. The town has no authority over the foundation.

Pam Stutz, the outgoing chairperson, was elected vice chair; Becky Taylor
was elected secretary; Bill Robinson was elected treasurer; and Michelle
Neal-Heard was elected director at-large.

Councilman David Taylor attended the meeting to wish members of the
foundation luck with their new goals. At the last council meeting he raised
the issue of allowing the foundation to take more responsibility for
Haymarket Day and the Spring Festival.

While the town has no authority to direct the foundation, Taylor said it
serves as a useful tool that could provide volunteers and relieve town
officials and employees from burdens associated with those events.

"I don't think the town should be volunteering if we have a vehicle
designed to do that," he said.

Jarboe invited town residents to join the group or offer ideas for new
fund-raising events. Nonresidents are also eligible to join.

The meeting took a turn in the middle as Mayor John "Jack" Kapp raised
concerns about statements that past chairman Pam Stutz made to The Times.

"There are still a couple of things sitting in my craw," he said.

Stutz told The Times that the town had taken away the foundation's powers.
When Kapp asked, she said she understood that the town did not have the
authority to stop her from raising funds.

"She could have carnivals. She could have fund-raisers," Kapp said. "The
town did not take her power away."

She later said that what she tried to convey in earlier comments was a
feeling of exclusion when the town called meetings about upcoming events.

Stutz served as chairperson for two years. Kapp served as chair from the
time the foundation began in 1996 until Stutz took over.

Jarboe put an end to that argument, saying the foundation needed to get
working on business.

"Let's just bury the hatchet. Let's move forward and make this the
organization it was designed to be," she said. "I believe we are a new
organization. We need to drop things from the past."

Demonstrating the desire to leave the past behind and work together in the
future, Kapp and Stutz agreed to work together on a foundation committee
that will recommend changes to its bylaws.

"Jack [Kapp] and I will work together," Stutz said. "This will force he and
I to sit down together and have a mutual conversation."

Kapp agreed.

"I have always worked for the betterment of the town and the foundation and I will continue to do so," he said.

Residents are invited to attend meetings of the historical foundation.
Dates can be obtained in the town hall.