Prince William County officials are concerned about the traffic impact of a proposed gaming resort in Dumfries as the project prepares to face its final major hurdle.
The Dumfries Town Council will hold a public hearing Tuesday on The Rose - Colonial Down Group Inc.’s planned $389 million gaming resort.
The company’s rezoning and conditional-use permit requests received a unanimous recommendation of approval from the Planning Commission at its Sept. 14 meeting.
County Transportation Director Rick Canizales and Planning Director Parag Agrawal sent a letter to the town detailing their concerns on Sept. 13. Dumfries resident Ebony Lofton provided the letter to InsideNoVa after receiving it from the county.
Colonial Downs wants to rezone 93.5 acres across 11 parcels at the Potomac Landfill from residential and neighborhood business to planned mixed-use development and obtain a conditional-use permit for the project. The company, which runs a Rosie’s Gaming Emporium in Dumfries, is also seeking a waiver to the 60-foot maximum building height to allow a 200-foot, 200-room hotel.
The development would include a 50,000-square-foot gaming space, a 250-seat sports bar, eight other bars and restaurants, 7,000 square feet of event space and a 1,500-seat theater.
Colonial Downs also said it would have 79 acres of public recreation space, which could include sports fields and an outdoor amphitheater.
In their letter, Canizales and Agrawal wrote that they requested a full electronic copy of the company’s application but received no response from the town.
2The county officials highlighted traffic impacts, uncertainty with proposed intersection improvements and potential nonconformity with the proposed Triangle Small Area Plan.
The plan, which received support from the county Planning Commission earlier this month, covers about 376 acres essentially sandwiched between Interstate 95, Dumfries, U.S. Marine Corps Base Quantico and Fuller Heights Park.
The plan designates the area along U.S. 1 for mixed-use development and high-density housing. Farther from U.S. 1, it calls for low-density residential with some medium density and mixed-use areas pinpointed on the southern end near the Marine Corps base.
Canizales and Agrawal wrote that the documents they reviewed, which were from June, did not include design guidelines for the project. They also objected to the hotel’s building height, saying it would exceed the planned maximum height of eight stories in the small-area plan. They asked the town to “consider the compatibility of land uses and building heights where our boundaries connect.”
The majority of concerns were with traffic, with 90% of visitors expected to reach the development by U.S. 1 or Va. 234.
“Traffic impacts associated with this request will significantly impact County roadways,” the letter says.
As part of its proposal, Colonial Downs has pledged to construct offsite traffic improvements. The application lists the “preferred” option as an extension of Potomac Shores Parkway. The extension would be at the existing intersection of U.S. 1 and Old Stagecoach Road and be four lanes from the intersection to a new connection with U.S. 1. The proposal also calls for widening westbound Va. 234 to a three-lane section from U.S. 1 to Interstate Drive.
The application has an alternative proposal that would analyze several other options, including reconstruction of an access road from Old Stagecoach Road to U.S. 1; removing left-turn lanes on U.S. 1 and reconstructing Old Stagecoach Road to accommodate a future intersection improvement at U.S. 1 and Va. 234.
Onsite traffic mitigation projects include improvements at several intersections and additions to Colonial Street, which would serve as the main access road.
The park and offsite traffic improvements must be completed before The Rose can be granted a certificate of occupancy on phase one. Traffic improvements include intersection work at U.S. 1 and Va. 234 and a traffic signal at the intersection of Colonial and Main streets.
The county supports the preferred option, but said the application “does not provide assurance” that it will be constructed because the company says “all transportation improvements are subject to acquisition of all necessary rights-of-way and easements.”
The county said there’s no provision in the application for the town to use eminent domain to guarantee construction. Because the first proposal is the preferred option, most of the traffic analysis is conducted on that proposal, rather than the alternative. The county said “limited analysis of the alternative is of significant concern for the County.”
Canizales and Agrawal said the application also doesn’t mention coordination with the U.S. 1 widening project in the town limits, which is being administered by the county. The project would extend the road to six lanes between Bradys Hill and Dumfries roads.
Canizales and Agrawal said “coordination is essential” to ensure construction is synched between the projects.
The county’s letter also urged the town to carefully weigh the impact on its police force. The project includes space for a town police outpost.
Company officials have said the project will create 1,490 jobs and provide $10.9 million in annual tax revenue to the town, more than doubling its budget. The town spending plan for fiscal 2022, which started July 1, was $5.8 million.
The project would also provide $6.78 million in annual tax revenue to Prince William County.
The Town Council meets at 7 p.m. Tuesday at 17739 Main St., Suite 200.