The Purcellville Planning Commission on Jan. 19 once again recommended that the Town Council deny five applications by the county for zoning and special use permits for the Fields Farm sports complex and a commuter park and ride lot.
These recommendations come after the town sent the plans back for the commission’s review following an initial rejection by the Planning Commission and concessions made by the county after negotiations with the town.
The Town Council will now decide whether to approve the county’s applications. They have a work session scheduled for Tuesday, Jan. 24 with a review of the commission’s evaluation and recommendations on the agenda. Two of applications relate to the park-and-ride, and three to the sports complex.
The commission found it could agree to one application if the county made specific additional changes, a special use permit for the sports complex. They include having the county provide a report detailing the methodology, data sources and analyses that demonstrate the need for and potential impacts of the recreational fields; having the county evaluate the impact of public services for the facilities and mitigate impacts to Purcellville police and fire and rescue or have the public safety services fulfilled by county public safety agencies; and considering whether a revenue-sharing plan with the county can be achieved.
Commissioner Brian Green also presented a plan to reduce the number of soccer fields by one, leaving the total number of multi-use fields at three. He then suggested that the school access road to Woodgrove High School could be pushed further away from the Mayfair neighborhood into the space initially reserved for a soccer field, reducing the impact on the neighborhood and creating a larger buffer.
Regarding the applications in general, the commission found that the plans for the sports complex and commuter lot were not in line with the town’s comprehensive plan and that the consequences for nearby residents would be too great for the commission to approve.
The county has warned the town that the funding associated with the projects would not survive another delay as $13.2 million of the funding is from a competitive grant administered by the Virginia Department of Transportation. If the county fails to use the funding in a timely manner, county staff members have warned, it will have a harder time receiving grants from the state in the future. Because of this, the county plans to return the funding to the state if they cannot come to an agreement with the town soon. County staff members have said they will be looking for progress this month.
Part of the $13.2 million is allocated for the Rt. 7/690 and Rt. 7/287 interchanges, designed in part to help relieve congestion in town. Returning that money would likely delay the interchange projects indefinitely, county staff members have said.