Land Use Management - The Prince William County Example

[NOTE: This site, just like Prince William County, is still under development...]

when the Shirley Highway was completed to the Occoquan River, what is now Lake Ridge in Prince William County was just forest
when the Shirley Highway was completed to the Occoquan River, what is now Lake Ridge in Prince William County was just forest
Source: US Geological Survey (USGS), Occoquan 1:24,000 scale topographic map (1951)

Dale City under construction in 1980, west of I-95
Dale City under construction in 1980, west of I-95
Dale City under construction in 1980, west of I-95
Dale City under construction in 1980, west of I-95
Source: Historic Prince William, Dale City Construction

Gideon Drive under construction in 1980, at intersection with Dale Boulevard (Ashdale Plaza Shopping Center)
Gideon Drive under construction in 1980, at intersection with Dale Boulevard (Ashdale Plaza Shopping Center)
Source: Historic Prince William, Dale City Construction

the planned community of Lake Ridge had not expanded west of Woodbridge High School in 1977
the planned community of Lake Ridge had not expanded west of Woodbridge High School in 1977
Source: National Map, US Geological Survey, Occoquan 1:24,000 scale orthophoto (1977)

what was a Hechinger's hardware store in 1977 (red circle) is now a park-and-ride commuter lot
what was a Hechinger's hardware store in 1977 (red circle) is now a park-and-ride commuter lot
Source: National Map, US Geological Survey, Occoquan 1:24,000 scale orthophoto (1977)

site of Potomac Mills in 1977
site of Potomac Mills in 1977
Source: National Map, US Geological Survey, Occoquan 1:24,000 scale orthophoto (1977)

Dale Service Corporation's private sewage treatment plant on Neabsco Creek was built by the developer of Dale City
Dale Service Corporation's private sewage treatment plant on Neabsco Creek was built by the developer of Dale City
Source: ESRI, ArcGIS Online

the Lake Ridge subdivision was built on the southern edge of the Occoquan Reservoir, starting in 1970
the Lake Ridge subdivision was built on the southern edge of the Occoquan Reservoir, starting in 1970
Source: US Geological Survey, Occoquan 1:24,000 scale topographic quadrangle map (1994)

Tacketts Mill, looking north
Tacketts Mill, looking north
Source: Historic Prince William, Tackett's Mill - #60

Rivergate Apartments and Occoquan Harbour Marina are the first evidence that North Woodbridge might emerge on the south bank of the Occoquan River
Rivergate Apartments and Occoquan Harbour Marina are the first evidence that North Woodbridge might emerge on the south bank of the Occoquan River
Source: Historic Prince William, Rivergate Apts. - #109

Gordon Plaza, a North Woodbridge revitalization opportunity
Gordon Plaza, a North Woodbridge revitalization opportunity
Source: Historic Prince William, Gordon Plaza on Rt. 123 at Rt. 1 - #110

mouth of Neabsco Creek, with new boardwalk under construction in 2018
mouth of Neabsco Creek, with new boardwalk under construction in 2018
Source: Historic Prince William, Neabsco Boardwalk, part of Rippon Lodge Park - #128

Prince William developed as a bedroom community because it offered low-cost housing with a relatively fast commute to high-paying jobs in the urban core
Prince William developed as a bedroom community because it offered low-cost housing with a relatively fast commute to high-paying jobs in the urban core
Source: Historic Prince William, Hope Hill Housing Development - #180

sod farm in Rural Area on Brentsville Road, south of Manassas Regional Airport
sod farm in Rural Area on Brentsville Road, south of Manassas Regional Airport
Source: Historic Prince William, Centerville Sod and Manassas Airport - #217

large farms in the Rural Area were carved up into 10-acre lots for houses
large farms in the Rural Area were carved up into 10-acre lots for houses
Source: Historic Prince William, Colvin Farm - #223

the Prince William School Board built Patriot High School in the Rural Area
the Prince William School Board built Patriot High School in the Rural Area
Source: Historic Prince William, Wood Elem. and Patriot High School - #244

The "Rural Crescent" in Prince William County

Sector Plans in Prince William County

The Prince William County Planning Office has a brief description of the relationship between the county-wide Comprehensive Plan and site-specific Sector Plans:

"The Comprehensive Plan is Prince William Countyís long-range land use policy document. A Sector Plan is a Comprehensive Plan for a small geographic area. These plans are initiated by the Board of County Supervisors (The Planning Commission may suggest a sector plan but only the Board is authorized to direct staff to prepare it). Planning studies, less intensive than sector plans, may also be initiated by the Board of County Supervisors. Sector plans are prepared by citizensí advisory commissions with the help of Planning Office staff and contain specific recommendations pertaining to all applicable Comprehensive Plan chapters, such as Community Design, Cultural Resources, Economic Development, and so forth. Planning Staff forwards the citizen's advisory commission proposal to the Planning Commission, who in turn make recommendation to the Board of County Supervisors. Once adopted, the sector plan or planning study represents an amendment to and refinement of the Comprehensive Plan for the area studied."

The Comprehensive Plan is not a tight straightjacket that totally controls land use. The Comprehensive Plan is a flexible document - and it's revised every 5 years as well. It also allows for amendments to deal with proposals that are desired by a landowner but inconsistent with the Comprehensive Plan. The Board of Supervisors requires that proposed amendments must be requested by early January of each year, so landowners must plan ahead...

The county has identified over 20 possible sector plans that would elaborate on the 1998 Comprehensive Plan - but the planning process is complicated and time consuming, so the odds are that only a handful will be developed before the revision of the Comprehensive Plan scheduled for 2003. Not all of the proposed plans are guaranteed for approval, either.

Cherry Hill

The Gainesville Sector Plan

Land Use and Roads: The Western Transportation Corridor

Land Use Planning in Virginia

Links


Sprawl in Virginia
Prince William County
Virginia Places