Is PWC doing enough to protect the Occoquan Reservoir?

The Comprehensive Plan Land Use Chapter (approved Feb. 2 by a 7-1 vote) included 11th hour surprise amendments that had not been made available to the public in advance.

Several amendments resulted in substantive changes to the draft text for the SRR district, which is intended to protect the Occoquan Reservoir and buffer the Rural Crescent from development area densities.

One amendment put forward by Supervisor Jenkins deleted text that would have formed an Occoquan Reservoir Protection Zone, or overlay district, which had been strongly supported by civic groups and area residents.

Chairman Stewart supported the amendment, saying he recommended deleting the proposed overlay district and wanted no changes to the SRR district except for increased buffer standards along Davis Ford Road and Prince William Parkway, which would improve community appearance.

The Chairman went on to explain that one of the reasons for the creation of the SRR district in the first place was to prevent high density development in that area that ran into the reservoir.

More than 1.2 million people rely on the Occoquan Reservoir for clean drinking water. The land draining into the Occoquan covers 590 sq. mi., including portions of Prince William, Fairfax, Fauquier and Loudoun Counties. Approximately 40% of the watershed area lies in Prince William County.

Is Prince William County’s sole effort to protect our public drinking water supply by limiting development near the Reservoir to 2.5 acre lots adequate? Should we do more or can we rely on the efforts of others to save the day?

Check out this quick comparison showing what our neighbors are doing, then share your views with Supervisors.

PRINCE WILLIAM COUNTY

  • 450 homes along Reservoir shoreline
  • 70 acres public parkland (mostly active recreation)
FAIRFAX COUNTY

  • 25 homes along Reservoir shoreline
  • 5,000 acres buffer protects shoreline and provides public parkland (passive recreation)
  • Down-zoned 41,000 acres in the Occoquan watershed in 1982; the down-zoning was upheld by a landmark court decision in 1985.
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