After more than 40 people spoke during a public hearing Tuesday night, the Prince William Board of County Supervisors approved a rezoning application to build 325 housing units at the northeast quadrant of the Interstate 95 and Prince William Parkway interchange in Woodbridge.
Owners of the 55-acre property have proposed a housing development called Ray’s Regarde, which will include construction of a maximum of 175 townhouses and 150 condominiums, said Peter Dolan, of Walsh Colucci Lubeley & Walsh, who represented the applicants.
Most of the speakers opposed the development. Many said traffic in the area couldn’t handle more houses. The property is on both sides of Horner Road.
Others spoke about schools or environmental concerns due to a landfill that was on the property in the 1980s. Homes will not be built on existing unsuitable fill where the landfill was located, according to Prince William County planning officials.
Supervisor Frank Principi, D-Woodbridge District, made a motion to deny the rezoning application, but his motion failed.
After discussing the development until nearly midnight, supervisors voted 4-3 to approve the rezoning application. Supervisor Marty Nohe, R-Coles, made the motion. Supervisors Jeanine Lawson, R-Brentsville; and Ruth Anderson, R-Occoquan; and Republican At-Large Chair Corey Stewart voted in favor of the motion. Supervisors Maureen Caddigan, R-Potomac; Pete Candland, R-Gainesville; and Principi opposed the motion.
Stewart said the property needs redevelopment.
“If this goes down, no one will touch this property in our lifetime,” he said.
Ola Thomas-Smith, who has lived on the property for decades and is from the Ray family, said she and her husband have had to call the police many times due to break-ins at abandoned houses, abandoned cars and finding drug paraphernalia. There is also a burned house.
“[Ray’s Regarde] can only bring better housing and make the area more attractive,” she told supervisors.
After the approval, Thomas-Smith said it feels wonderful to know that their perseverance made a difference in the board’s approval. Multiple family members spoke during the public hearing in favor of the application.
Wreatha Anderson, whose maternal grandparents were George and Markonia Ray, said that only one of six houses on the property is currently inhabited.
“It’s an eyesore,” Anderson said.
The applicant offered the county $11 million, including $4.8 million for schools and $4.4 million for transportation, Dolan said. The transportation funding is proposed to be used to build a roundabout at Horner Road and Summerland Drive, adding a second left-turn lane on Prince William Parkway heading toward Summerland Drive and more.
Dolan said their timeline includes constructing the roundabout and other transportation improvements in 2020, receiving the first occupancy permit in 2022, finishing transportation improvements in 2023 by the 100th occupancy permit and completing the development in 2027.
Ray’s Regarde representatives said the housing units will sell for $300,000 to $400,000.
The housing development is expected to house about 159 school-aged children, according to the county’s planning department memo. Students living in Ray’s Regarde would attend Kilby Elementary, Lynn Middle and Woodbridge High.
According to Prince William County Public Schools, the new Kilby Elementary could accommodate the estimated increase of students, but Lynn Middle School and Woodbridge High School could not accommodate the increase of students. County planning staff estimate that the opening of more schools or the completion of school additions in coming years will help provide more classroom space.
Anderson said preserving the Rural Crescent in the western end of the county means keeping density near highways and major corridors.
“This area [Ray’s Regarde] is screaming for redevelopment,” she said. “I do believe this area will be beautiful.”