Developer files lawsuit against Prince William

The developer of English Oaks Commerce Center, a new office project in eastern Prince William, is suing Prince William County for more than a million dollars, saying the county took its property without adequately compensating it for the land.

Atlantic Funding Ltd., a Nevada limited liability company, challenged the Board of County Supervisors in a lawsuit filed Dec. 13 in Prince William Circuit Court.

The board had denied its November request to rezone about five acres at the intersection of Elm Farm Road and Prince William Parkway from agricultural to commercial.

Atlantic Funding wanted to build three mid-rise brick office buildings on both sides of the parkway, with shops, restaurants and doctors offices. It is the kind of development the county has tried to encourage.

“The office [midrise] district … constitutes a marketable, reasonable use … and provides an appropriate high quality development for this commercial portion of the parkway corridor,” Atlantic attorney John McBridge said in the lawsuit.

But county planners recommended denial because of traffic concerns.

The major sticking point was the developer’s refusal to allow a road to be built on the south side of the parkway.

The land behind the site is zoned for residential development, and once houses are built, there will be a need for an entrance from Prince William Parkway, they said.

It made more sense for the two parcels to share a common entrance, than adding another road and traffic light on the parkway later on to serve the homes, county planner David Grover said.

McBride said the road would cost his clients a big chunk of land and open up the area to housing, when the main objective was to encourage office and employment opportunities. About a third of its property would have to be given up for the road.

Among the charges filed by the law firm of Vanderpool, Frostick and Nashanian was that the board failed to get an order of agreement with Atlantic, or start condemnation proceedings to determine the amount of just compensation due the landowners.

Atlantic also said the county didn’t settle or file for condemnation until after the rezoning denial, which deprived it of due process of law.

Now it has come down to money, and an attempt to get a court to force the county to pay up.

Atlantic asked for an undisclosed amount from the county, but its claim was disputed.

County Attorney Sharon Pandak said a response is being prepared, and will be filed in the next few weeks.

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