Dear PWC Board of Supervisors,
My name is John B. Bloxton, III and I have been a resident in the Prince William County area since May, 1980. I have lived at Livia Drive, Catharpin, VA 20143 since fall of 1982. My wife and I were married on June 26, 1982 and our wedding reception was held at this home. I was born in Washington, DC and have lived in the Northern Virginia area all of my life.
I saw your article on the proposed data center changes happening in Prince William County. First I'd like to thank you for writing an unbiased narrative offering both sides of the story from the people that actually live here. I'd like you to know that there are many residents along Pageland Lane that are keeping quiet, but for the most part they are in favor of the data center proposal.
Since then, my wife and I have owned and operated a horse business here for 40 years, raised 2 kids, and now the grandkids visit on the weekends. We have 4 generations on this farm and we love it here. Catharpin was always meant to be a farming community, rural and pristine. Gas and grocery at Alvey's Store plus a Post Office was all we ever wanted.
I remember back when Disney came and we beat them. I remember fighting the parkway and the power lines too. Each time it was an outside force coming into our community wanting to drastically change the landscape without the support of the people who lived here. We won twice and lost once (the power lines). And now because of those power lines we're presented with the proposition of data centers. Yes it would be a broad sweeping change for the area but there's a big difference... this time the residents are welcoming that change.
I've watched Gainesville grow from Joe's Pizza and a gas station to become a series of shopping centers, big box stores, a movie theater, and thousands of homes. Haymarket has grown much the same from little Tyler Elementary and 84 Lumber, now to have even more thousands of homes and shopping centers with big box stores. Catharpin is stuck in the middle. Yes, it's true that Pageland Lane has mile-long traffic jams at both ends Monday through Friday. Yes, it's true that dump trucks and 18 wheelers use Pageland Lane as a cut-through while ignoring the "No Trucks" signs every single day. Nobody who lives here wants to be the shortcut for other people going to work.
The sweeping changes that Prince William County wanted to avoid with the rural crescent designation happened anyway. Except it happened a piece at a time. A new housing development here, then later a shopping center there, and nobody minded those upgrades because they were in Gainesville or Haymarket. I remember when Toll Brothers built old Route 15 into a 4 lane divided highway to accommodate the new homes at Dominion Valley. Back when there was no Battlefield High School, Bull Run Middle, or Mountain View Elementary. I also remember back when the thousands of homes were being built in Heritage Hunt and they were the new kids on the block... It happened around us, slowly and over a long time.
The rural crescent was always meant to be a temporary injunction on residential and commercial development. It was the right thing to do at the time and it's the right thing to do now to remove it. The growth in Fairfax, Loudon, and Prince William Counties has been tremendous. All locations drastically grew their residential footprints, they attracted businesses to provide tax revenues and used that money to build an infrastructure to support their population. Meanwhile, Prince William County reaffirmed the rural crescent policy to maintain a farming community that no longer farms. The new homes in Catharpin are $1M houses sitting on the required minimum 10 acre lots and the owners play the land-use game with the county to reduce their taxes. The truth is this stopped being a rural farm community some time ago and became a bedroom community for commuters.
What's happening right now isn't a question of battlefield encroachment. It's not a question of building thousands of homes that will further increase our traffic problems. And it's not a situation where an outside entity is trying to exploit the residents of Pageland Lane. This is an initiative started by us, we the people who have lived here for 30 or 40 or 50 years, to leave this area which has grown up around us over time. The benefits of job creations, tax revenues, and landowner support makes this an easy win for everyone.
In closing, I want to make it clear that my family and friends who are residents along Pageland Lane support the proposed data center changes to the Comprehensive Plan for Prince William County. I want to express my total support for the growth and development of the Catharpin/Prince William area and it is easy for me to remember all of the time spent here.
Thanks for your help,
John B. Bloxton, III
Catharpin, VA 20143