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Development back on agenda page 2
Rezoning for proposed Clift Farm Quarter development continued until May 1 meeting.

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Date published: 3/8/2012

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Former Supervisor David Beiler expressed concerns that Clift Farm provides only 35 percent of the commercial space that the county has planned.

He also questioned the location of the project in the county's steeply sloped, tree-covered center.

"There's hardly any amenities because there's hardly any neighbors, and there's hardly any neighbors because no one wants to live here," Beiler said. "It's wedged in between the pound and the dump and the prison camp."

Reb Benson was one of few supporters for the project as a whole.

"It's the right kind of area to put this community into," said Benson, former president of the Stafford Area Soccer Association. "The development is right."

Many players, coaches and families involved with SASA attended Tuesday's meeting to support the fields that the project would bring.

Part of the proffers of Clift Farm Quarter include 262 acres to become 15 irrigated, rectangular fields. Construction on the first four would begin no later than six months after approval for the first phase of the subdivision, according to revised proffers proposed late Monday.

A second option for the proffer would be for six lighted and irrigated fields.

Barry Hill, general manager of SASA, said the county needs more fields to provide adequate playing space for the program. He said tournaments could bring in $1 million for the county.

"We're taking away the opportunity to have money come into the county by having our kids play outside the county," Hill said.

The county is currently acquiring land in unspecified areas for an athletic-field complex, as part of the 2009 parks and recreation bond referendum. The project could be complete by 2015.

Clark Leming, attorney for D.R. Horton, said it may be time for the county to reassess how it does proffers.

He said the developer puts an estimated value of $20.2 million on the current proffer contributions. The county's estimate of the proffers is $12.5 million.

Other proffered contributions include land for a school, an animal control facility and a commuter parking lot, or $780,000 for VRE parking improvements at Brooke.

In 2006, developer Rob Gollahon proposed building 1,600 housing units at the Clift Farm site for a project known as Stafford Town Station.

The original rezoning application included $50 million in proffers. The project was withdrawn in 2007.

At Tuesday night's hearing, Gollahon supported the Clift Farm development.

"This is the backbone or the spine of the UDA," Gollahon said, but he said it will take a good road system to make it work.

Stafford has hired consultants to design the Courthouse UDA, which was intended to be the pilot program for the state-mandated developments to accommodate high growth.

For that plan, the county has focused on creating a connected network of roads.

As for the proximity to Stafford Regional Airport, Hank Scharpenberg, chairman of the airport authority, said the development would likely not violate any federal aviation rules. Planes currently take off toward the west, but patterns will be changing for the airport.

If planes take off toward the east, they would fly directly over Clift Farm.

Katie Thisdell: 540/735-1975
Email: kthisdell@freelancestar.com


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