To the many Woodbridge residents who came out to speak against the Ray’s Regarde development application, and to the many others who shared information, emailed and called, thank you. Unfortunately, the Board of County Supervisors approved the application with a 4/3 vote. Opposed were Supervisors Frank Principi, Woodbridge; Maureen Caddigan, Potomac and Peter Candland, Gainesville. Supervisors who voted in favor of Ray’s Regarde, in spite of overwhelming testimony were: Corey Stewart, At Large, Marty Nohe, Coles, Ruth Anderson, Occoquan and Jeannine Lawson, Brentsville.
Supervisor Principi urges residents to not give up on civic engagement, reminding that our collective efforts were not in vain. Public input had a significant impact on this development, bringing:
- A reduction in the number of homes,from 525 to 325,
- An additional $285,000 in school proffers,
- A speed study,
- Two additional environmental studies and
- Participation in the Virginia Department of Environmental Quality remediation program.
On the evening of the hearing, we heard three hours of public testimony. Every single resident who lives near the development site spoke against it; citing serious traffic, school, public safety and environment concerns. The only people who spoke in favor of the development were the developers and their lawyers, the Ray family who is selling the land, and one or two residents who do not live near the site but seemed happy to push development out of their own districts.
Supervisor Principi spoke at length about the negative impacts and community’s concerns, and urged the Board to reflect on the fact that their vote will impact thousands of people for years to come. He argued that it is irresponsible and an injustice to the residents who already live here to approve more homes when the infrastructure cannot support it. A fellow member of the Board remarked that he wondered why the county even bothers with public hearings if at the hearing the public input is overwhelmingly in opposition and the Board still votes in favor. This was a sentiment shared by many last night.
A video of the public hearing is available online. Now that the application is moving forward, Supervisor Principi will continue to engage in the planning process, doing everything in his power to mitigate community impacts. In the meantime, please do not hesitate to contact our office with questions or concerns.