Kline Farm project clears Prince William Planning Commission; property could house Greater Manassas Baseball League

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The Kline Farm project has once again cleared a major regulatory hurdle, but there’s still work to do before it’s a done deal.

This article was written by WTOP’s news partner InsideNoVa.com and republished with permission. Sign up for InsideNoVa.com’s free email subscription today.

The Kline Farm project has once again cleared a major regulatory hurdle, but there’s still work to do before it’s a done deal.

In a series of votes Wednesday, the Prince William County Planning Commission recommended approval of the multi-use proposal with the hope it could be home to the Greater Manassas Baseball League.

Stanley Martin Homes LLC has been trying for more than six years to gain approval for the project. The proposal under consideration would have 240 townhouses and includes a drive-thru pharmacy, drive-thru restaurant and a self-storage facility.

The original plan was to rezone about 100 acres from agricultural use to planned mixed-residential and business zoning.

The new plan is to rezone 55 acres southeast of the intersection of Prince William Parkway, Liberia Avenue and Wellington Road. Of the remaining 45 acres, 20 acres would be gifted to the county for a school or other civic use.

The additional 25 acres would be made available for the county to purchase. Because it will not automatically be given to the county, it is so far not guaranteed to be purchased or transformed into any specific use.

The company first submitted an application for a project on the land in 2016, but it didn’t receive key zoning approvals.

The proposal was then revised and submitted for a second try in 2019, calling for 310 residences, including houses and townhomes, 145,000 square feet of commercial space, a park, three outdoor playing fields and a site to be dedicated to the county for a school.

The project cleared the Planning Commission in late 2019 but was pulled for further work over concerns from the surrounding community.

At a public hearing Wednesday, 16 people spoke in favor of the project and 12 opposed it.

Those opposing the project said the density was still too high and were concerned about the impact of traffic on surrounding roads.

The project’s density is 5.86 units per acre, which company officials said is slightly less than the industry standard for a townhouse development of six to eight units per acre.

The majority of the speakers supporting the project advocated for the Greater Manassas Baseball League, which has been floated as a potential suitor for part of the land.

Manassas City Council member Lynn Forkell Greene said the league provides a great service to area children.

“Having these organizations be able to train these athletes to play for our schools is vital,” she said.

Last year, Manassas City Council voted to pre-approve the sale of the 18-acres of city-owned property that includes the E.G. Smith Baseball Complex, which is home to the Greater Manassas Baseball League.

The property, at the northeast intersection of Va. 28 and Godwin Drive, is now under a three-year purchase option, allowing Micron Technology Inc. to potentially buy it for $14.1 million.

Should Micron decide to buy the land, the league will have two years to find a new home.

The baseball league has said that the 25 acres available for county purchase could house six baseball and softball diamonds.

Commissioners, however, were concerned there’s no guarantee the land will be used for the league.

Coles Commissioner Joseph Fontanella Jr. wanted to table the proposal to address “loose ends” about the future of the 45 acres, plus its impact on traffic.

“There’s no protection to ensure these aspirational uses happen,” he said.

Sherman Patrick Jr., director of zoning and entitlements for Compton & Duling, the law firm representing the developers, said the county is negotiating with the baseball league and Manassas about the organization’s future home. He said Stanley Martin’s “commitment here is very, very clear.”

“It’s not the applicant’s responsibility to plan public property,” he said.

Fontanella made a motion to table the project until Feb. 22, 2023, but it failed on a 3-4 vote.

The commission then voted 6-2 to recommend approval of the project with the caveat that loose ends be addressed before it reaches the Board of County Supervisors.

Fontanella and Brentsville Commissioner Tom Gordy voted against the rezoning.

The commission then voted unanimously to recommend approval of the special-use permit required for a drive-thru pharmacy.

The commission voted 7-1 to approve a special-use permit necessary for a larger square footage for the self-storage facility, with Woodbridge Commissioner Cynthia Moses-Nedd in opposition because of its location.

Stanley Martin will contribute $600,000 to the county’s affordable housing fund as part of the project.

Stanley Martin Vice President Truett Young said it’s difficult to predict the future of the market, but he estimated the townhouses would be listed in the low $400,000 range.

The company hopes to start construction in 2024 and wrap it up by 2028.

The proposal next heads to the Board of County Supervisors.

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