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City's Ward 2 candidates have contrasting ideas
Solley wants to see better long-term planning in Fredericksburg.

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Date published: 4/18/2006

By EMILY BATTLE

CITY ELECTIONS: Check out our new interactive guide to the City Council elections. See profiles of the candidates and hear what they have to say about local issues.

In order to preserve Fredericksburg's charm, city leaders are going to have to define what they want the city to look like in the future before other forces define that future.

In a nutshell, that's George Solley's campaign theme.

The 59-year-old retired Marine is a member of the city's Planning Commission. He says he wants to use his experience on this and other city commissions to help create a long-term vision for Fredericksburg's future.

"This seems to be the next logical step," Solley said. "I have the time to contribute, I am very interested in what happens to the future of Fredericksburg and I think I can make a positive contribution."

Ask Solley about any number of local issues--traffic, keeping the budget balanced, preserving downtown character--and his answer will come back to planning.

"The overriding issue for the city of Fredericksburg is how we are going to handle the growth that is going on in the region and in the city itself," he said. "We need to look ahead, do the kind of long-range planning that's necessary and guide the inevitable development so that it occurs in ways and in places that we want it."

By guiding that development, Solley thinks the city will be better able to make sure its tax base is properly diversified so that it doesn't have to overburden homeowners when it looks for new money.

He sees that planning as a necessary part of solving regional traffic problems, and making sure that transportation plans take into account bike and pedestrian pathways and mass transit.

He also sees it as a necessary part of determining what kind of development is appropriate for the city's Historic District in the future.

"If we know what we want to look like in 20 or 30 years, that tells us what sort of infill is acceptable," he said.

Some of these goals are similar to the work that the Economic Development Authority's JumpStart committee has been doing. Solley has participated on JumpStart's steering committee.


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George Solley

Age: 59

Family: married, three children

Occupation: senior analyst with Universal Systems and Technology, a Centreville-based contracting firm

Community experience: member, Fredericksburg Planning Commission; chairman, Parks and Recreation Commission; chairman, Fredericksburg Pathways Committee.