The Hellwig Highway – Round 1 goes to citizens

The Prince William County Park Authority has adopted a “stick it to the neighbors” policy for people in the Rural Area.

At Catharpin Park, the county agency surprised the neighbors by adding tall poles with night lighting, disrupting their peaceful setting.  At Wiita, the Park Authority went further and adopted a plan to cram soccer fields and a soccer stadium into a rural area, creating future traffic congestion – in addition to the night lights, of course.

Now, they are repeating the pattern at Hellwig Park. It’s like deja vu all over again.

At Hellwig Park, the proposal is to purchase three subdivision lots off Aden Road – and then pave a road through the middle.  Everyone who drives in Prince William knows that the proposed new road (linking Bristow and Aden roads) will be an invitation for commuter traffic to cut through the complex of soccer fields.  Tired commuters and distracted kids… hmm, do these mix well?   Can you predict a future headline?  (And how long before the Park Authority adds lights on tall poles along the road?

Bonds to fund the Hellwig Park expansion to add ball fields were approved by the voters in 2006, but the Park Authority never mentioned the Hellwig Highway project in public until four years later.   The Planning Commission forced a public discussion of the Hellwig Highway proposal, requiring a public hearing for a Public Facility Review.

The Park Authority was so confident regarding its ability to get final approval without considering impacts, alternatives, or public comments – or so unprepared for public discussion – that it declined to answer some basic “what are you doing” questions regarding the road.  The proposed road could be 4 lines wide, or maybe just 2.  Perhaps it will have one roundabout, maybe there will be a second roundabout – maybe with a future side road, to destinations undefined for now.

Before laying out a road that would bisect the park, the Park Authority did not bother to assess the potential impact on the environmental resources (identified by others) on the parcels it intends to acquire.  Based on testimony at the public hearing, the county does not plan to look for threatened/endangered species – particularly the whorled pogonia, which private developers and even the Marine Corps at Quantico must survey before conducting any ground disturbing or timber harvesting activities.

Maybe the Park Authority has not decided what sort of road it wants.  More likely, the Park Authority Board and their appointed staff have decided to share the agency’s plans with just the particular special-interest groups that the county organization cultivates.

However, the Planning Commission rejected the Park Authority plans on June 2, by a vote of 4-3.   The Park Authority doesn’t have to take “no” for an answer, they can appeal the Planning Commission decision to the Board of County Supervisors for authority to pave the park.

If they do, supervisors facing an election in November 2011 will have to go on record in support of paving a cut-through road in Hellwig Park, or decide that the Transportation Department should build new roads and the Park Authority should acquire land for… parks.


3 comments so far

  1. Mom on

    Let’s connect the dots
    1. Property is owned by Liberty Oaks LLC
    2. Their agent is Mike Lubely
    3. Their address is the same as Creative Concepts
    4. Which is owned by Mark Granville-Smith
    5. Who has contribute thousands to Wally
    6. Who also heads the Builders Assoc. which has donated thousands more.

    Getting the picture, sounds like another sweetheart deal and builder bailout

  2. Christine Learman on

    Of course it is a developer’s bail out. Despite the Planning Commission’s denial, it has continued to be listed on internet that the remaining adjacent lot for sale, “will have a second access road to Hellwig”. Sounds like a “done deal” that has already been decided behind closed doors and when it goes to the BOS, it will likely pass. What a shame that power and money supercedes what the taxpayers want and what is safe for the neighborhood and children playing in the park. How sad that the precious wetlands will be disregarded.

  3. […] Authority was clear on what it needed – and no plans included bisecting the park with a new Hellwig Highway to Aden […]

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