4After years of planning, the county government is pushing to get a new Purcellville sports fields complex and commuter park and ride lot on the Fields Farm property closer to construction, but that work may not yet be on the fast track.
During a joint meeting of the Town Council and Planning Commission on Thursday night, town leaders balked at a proposal to process the required land use applications on an accelerated schedule this summer. The county has applied to rezone the land, and for commission permits and special use permits for the facilities. The approvals are needed before the projects can enter the design phase.
Town Manager David A. Mekarski had laid out a six-week review schedule, but commissioners and council members questioned whether that was possible or wise.
The Planning Commission is focusing its efforts this summer to work with a town consultant to rewrite the Zoning Ordinance to better implement the latest Town Plan update, and members questioned whether they could tackle review of the county’s projects—and conduct the needed public outreach—without sidetracking that and other priorities. Council members also questioned whether the county has provided traffic studies and other elements needed to adequately evaluate the impact of the projects.
The debate was confused somewhat by concerns raised by Mekarski that federal funding earmarked for the work could be at risk if the approvals weren’t done quickly. However, Nancy Boyd, the acting director of the county’s Department of Transportation and Capital infrastructure, said the urgency more directly is driven by an effort to get the projects underway following pandemic delays.
In addition to those projects, the county is preparing to extend Mayfair Crown Drive to connect with Rt. 690, which already has approvals.
Council members said in general, public comments have been positive about the projects, especially plans to provide a second entrance to the Woodgrove school complex and to build a trail link to the downtown area. However, they said, more information is needed about how traffic will impact other streets in the area and how pedestrian safety concerns will be addresses, along with questions about buffering requirements and regulations on lights and noise at the sports complex.
After more than two hours of discussion, the council agreed to have the commission propose a review schedule after its members receive and review more details about the projects.
The town has canceled its previously advertised a June 30 Planning Commission public hearing on the applications.