Manassas Journal Messenger | Complex could get overhaul

Outside Old Town, a revamped housing development could soon be going up.

A new 40-unit project would replace the current two-building, 24-unit Prescott Arms apartments located at the west side of Prescott Avenue between its intersections with Quarry Road and Cherry Street.

The new project, also called Prescott Arms, would be in four, four-story buildings containing stacked, two-level luxury town houses.

Mike Vanderpool, representative for the applicant, Empire Enterprises Inc., said the project is a boon to Manassas.

“This particular project offers a whole lot to the city for a relatively small incremental impact,” he said.

The Manassas City Council voted 4-2 Monday night to approve a rezoning request for the development.

The rezoning request was for a change from R-5, Multi-family Residential, zoning to B-3.5, City Center Transitional, zoning, and its approval makes construction possible.

Deborah Maylie, senior planner for the City of Manassas, said the rezoning allows for changes to capacity and aesthetics.

“They can increase the density on the site,” she said. “It gets us the street trees and the street lighting, the 8-foot sidewalks and the landscaping.”

The council’s vote Monday came after a public hearing, which was a continuation of a Feb. 27 public hearing.

At the original public hearing residents had expressed reservations about parking, traffic, height, utilities, safety and affordable housing.

Prescott Arms currently provides affordable housing, but the new project would not.

Instead the two- and three-bedroom condo units would cost in the low to mid-$400,000 range.

They would range in size from 1,700 to 2,400 square feet and each unit would have two parking spaces.

But at Monday’s public hearing many Manassas residents said two spaces weren’t enough.

Barry McMillen of 9304 Maple St. said Prescott Arms residents would run out of parking and he was concerned that he and his neighbors would suffer because of it.

“If anybody thinks that these 40 units aren’t going to cause a massive amount of overflow into this neighborhood, you are blind,” he said.

He said he would have liked to see the zoning request rejected, and the current development upgraded to 30 units instead.

Irene Dellinger of 9211 Prescott Ave. said increased traffic from the project would make it hard for her to leave her property.

“We’ll never get out of our driveway for sure,” she said. “We’ll have to get out in a helicopter, I guess.”

Improvements to streets surrounding the development were part of the applicant’s proposal.

These included a left-turn lane onto Quarry Road from Prescott and a right-left turning lane into the development that would get residents out of the way of street traffic.

The council rejected putting a left turn lane onto Quarry Road from Prescott Avenue because of residents’ concerns about traffic problems that might be created by the extra lane.

Vanderpool said that the street improvements from the project would actually help with traffic, and in response to the parking problem he said that Empire Enterprises supports parking permits.

“The citizens could impose a neighborhood parking plan,” he said.

This would prevent people who did not belong on the street from parking there.

As soon as Empire Enterprises submits their site plan to the city and receives approval, work can begin on the project.

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