Proposed Centers – North Woodbridge

Modern development at Woodbridge was triggered by the completion of the Shirley Highway (now I-95) over 50 years ago.  The new highway offered easy access to the jobs in the Pentagon and DC, and spurred Cecil Hylton to build Marumsco Village in 1954.

Now the area is proposed for redevelopment and revitalization.  A November, 2008 North Woodbridge Charrette discussed how to upscale the concrete plant and the rest of this gateway into Prince William, giving it a “makeover.”

In the April, 2009, county planning staff proposed an Urban Mixed Use (UMU) district in North Woodbridge, in the staff draft of a new Land Use Chapter/Map for the 2030 Comprehensive Plan.  There’s logic to this proposal, but the staff must have been wearing blinders when they drew the UMU boundary.

What’s missing?  Belmont Bay.

That development has a town center designed according to New Urbanist principles.  As described by the Washington Post last September, The original Belmont Bay concept had two main thrusts: to create a community where residents could enjoy recreation, dining and shopping for the basics without having to drive somewhere else, and to provide amenities that would also make it a destination for nonresidents.

Sounds just like the Center of Commerce idea, and it’s already a live-work-play community.  Belmont Bay is not perfect, but housing, employment, shopping, and recreational opportunities at Belmont Bay are closer to the VRE station that the UMU area proposed by county staff.  Better yet, no one at Belmont Bay needs to walk across Route 1, risking life and limb to use rail transit.

So if we want to create “Planned urban town centers where a variety of activities with a regional draw allows people to work, shop, dine, live and enjoy entertainment” in Prince Williamit sure looks odd when planners ignore the existing Belmont Bay community.

(Also, it’s fascinating to compare the ratio of residential-to-commercial development in the North Woodbridge  Urban Mixed Use Master Zoning Plan to the Kincora project proposed for Loudoun County.  North Woodbridge would have 3,300 residential units, and 760,000 square feet of commercial development.  In contrast, Kincora would have 1,400 residential units, and 4 million square feet of commercial development.  When we talk about mixed use… let’s aim for a higher ratio of jobs/residences.)


1 comment so far

  1. […] The Prince William County Planning Department proposed in its draft Land Use Chapter that Yorkshire should become a “Center of Community.”  There are similar proposals to develop North Woodbridge. […]

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