Manassas Journal Messenger | Controversial rezoning recommended

About 30 Manassas residents walked away disappointed from a public hearing on Wednesday night, and they let the Planning Commission know about it.

The Planning Commission recommended that 5.35 acres of property be rezoned from residential to commercial use, despite opposition from an unusually large number of residents at two public hearings. The City Council, which has the final say on the matter, will hold its first public hearing on the issue Sept. 19.

“Well, I think most people are disappointed but it’s just a recommendation,” said Bruce Wood, a Gregory’s Grove Court resident who has been very outspoken about the negative impact of the proposed development. “And the positive out of that is that it … was the most difficult vote they’ve had in the time they’ve been on the commission.”

The residents on hand were opposed to a planned commercial development at the southeast corner of Dumfries and Wellington roads. Raley Miller Properties LLC intends to develop the triangularly-shaped property, located at 9906 Grant Ave., for retail and office use.

Citing such burdens as increased traffic congestion, inadequate buffers between nearby neighborhoods and development and safety concerns, about 35 residents spoke at Wednesday’s meeting and one continued from early August.

“I just want to say that we don’t need a shopping center down in that area,” said Bill Holsclaw, a 40-year Virginia Avenue resident, during the public hearing.

A Grant Avenue resident, Betty Busby objected to houses at a high elevation having a direct view of a sprawling development.

Since the first public hearing, Raley Miller has proffered several modifications into the plan, such as changing the operating hours of a planned drug store from 24 hours to closing at midnight, reducing signage and limiting building heights to 25 feet.

“We have tried to be responsive. We have tried to be responsible,” said attorney Mike Vanderpool, who represents Raley Miller.

Staff writer Tory N. Parrish can be reached at (703) 368-6570.

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