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Principi Throws A Colleague Under The Bus

By Greg L | 30 September 2008 | Prince William County | 25 Comments

Item 15A on last week’s agenda of the Prince William County Board of Supervisors concerned a request to rezone about ten acres of land that is largely zoned as agricultural land to high-density residential in order to permit the construction of 128 townhouses in the Woodbridge District.  When this came up, Supervisor Frank Principi argued for approval and was beaten down pretty strongly by the other board members, who noted that we have a glut of available housing at present and there’s little need to take away open space in Woodbridge in order to construct what will certainly be more vacant housing.  This wouldn’t be all that notable, as this scenario plays out pretty frequently these days, but for what happened next.

It was pretty clear this was going to go down in flames, and it did with only Supervisors Jenkins, May and Principi voting in support (see update below for correction on what these votes were for).  Principi then moved to have this sent back to the Planning Commission to be re-worked a bit, and brought up again at a later meeting.  That brought on more discussion about how citizens who had showed up for this public hearing would then have to come back again, and that the board’s opinion on additional housing construction in the county is pretty well understood.  Until the housing glut subsides, we just don’t need more houses.  When the vote on Principi’s motion was held, there was only one vote in favor.

Neabsco Supervisor John Jenkins.

Jenkins was pretty clearly trying to be collegial here and not leave Principi swinging in the wind by himself.  Instead, Principi voted against his own motion so he wouldn’t look like the out-of-touch idiot that he is and left Jenkins swinging, instead.  How nice of him.  I wonder if John Jenkins is going to be eager to extend this same professional courtesy to Principi in the future after being embarassed while doing a favor.  While Jenkins clearly gets, as experience will instruct, that sometimes it helps to give a fellow Supervisor some political cover when you can in order to get some help in the future, Principi The Ignorant can’t seem to look beyond his own immediate political survival and will readily throw potential friends under the bus when he thinks it might suit him.

Principi’s liberal cheerleaders have overlooked Principi’s desire to build townhouses on what is currently open space in Woodbridge, which has a significant concentration of the county’s vacant foreclosed properties and clearly doesn’t need more properties on the market.  His potential political friends on the Board of Supervisors are unlikely to overlook this however, as Principi further descends into an irrelevant, albeit occasionally whiny annoyance.

An annoyance, which by the way seems to have a rather difficult to understand desire to promote residential development in the county during a residential glut.

UPDATE: I’ve gotten a clarification in what the votes were in this case that’s important to pass on.  The first vote on this was to refer it back to the planning commission, not to pass it, and that was supported by Principi, Jenkins and May.  The second vote was to approve the rezoning, which failed with only Jenkins in support.  The minutes of the meeting won’t be available until the next Board meeting, and my notes on what happened weren’t as accurate as I’d hoped.  Sorry for any confusion.

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  1. starryflights said on 30 Sep 2008 at 11:49 pm:
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    I am really not surprised to hear this. I hope the Jenkins did learn a lesson from it. Let’s all hope the Principi will be replaced in the next election.

  2. Loudoun Insider said on 30 Sep 2008 at 11:52 pm:
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    What a clueless idiot!

  3. 40years in Woodbridge said on 30 Sep 2008 at 11:55 pm:
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    I saw that and I got a nice chuckle. This was under the umbrella of “POTOMAC COMMUNIITIES” There is a several hundred unit apartment community that was approved through a rezoning several years ago under “POTOMAC COMMUNITIES” that was to be built on York Dr less than a ½ a mile from this location.

    VanMetre applied for the rezoning and has since put the land up for sale and has not built. Hilda Barg at the time was resistant to putting some additional proffers in it because this is a “quality” developer….well so much for quality developer anything is allowed to go in there now. Hopefully that area will be protected with the proffers that were written in on it.

    Almost every piece of vacant land any where near Rt. 1 has been subject to some sort of re-zoning or built out as part of the GREAT the WONDERFUL “POTOMAC COMMUNITIES”. This plan is a joke it has done NOTHING to redevelop or improve the Rt 1. Corridor! It has not redeveloped a single piece of land on Rt. 1.

    Principi has blown smoke up everyone’s bottoms just as Hilda did for 20 years NEITHER one of them has done anything to improve the conditions along RT. 1.

    I have been in Woodbridge for 40 years and it is not getting any better.

  4. Anonymous said on 1 Oct 2008 at 12:24 am:
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    40years in Woodbridge said on 30 Sep 2008 at 11:55 pm:
    I saw that and I got a nice chuckle.

    I would laugh too if it wasn’t so sad. The county chased the Globe and Laurel restraunt out of Quantico because it condemed the property for Rt.1 improvements. To date, ABSOLUTELY NOTHING has been done in that area to improve it. So nice that the county to a viable tax paying business to “get lost!”

  5. Anonymous said on 1 Oct 2008 at 12:25 am:
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    So nice that the county was able to tell a viable tax paying business to “get lost!”

  6. Here we go again said on 1 Oct 2008 at 1:05 am:
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    Gee 40 years in Woodbridge,you really tell it how it is,I thought I wrote that but I didn’t. Great going.

    The Rezoning was for 10 Acres for high Dev. Which would be condos for sale or Apartments for rent.Of which we need none of that and especially in Woodbridge.

    To really make matters worse Principi lied as he said 10-15 people was at his meeting and they were in favor of this.3 of the people were there at the meeting and spoke as they also had been at Principi’s meeting.Then he tried to say that Tues. PM, he had the people called again and they were in favor of this. He then made a motion to send it back to the Planning Commission and thats the vote that was 3 to go back and 5 said no. Corey gave a nice speech and said that he wanted this denied and he felt the majority did also.
    Stirrup made a motion to deny and Nohe 2nd. it.That vote was 7 yes and 1 NO.That being Jenkins. Principi was either confused or wanted to look good to those there. But he didn’t.He acts just like Hilda and we are not letting him get away with this crap.
    There was 7 of us there against this ReZoning and some of us are disabled and hard to get out,but I know I felt really great to be there. No one spoke in favor of this mess.
    They can take their Potomac Communities elsewhere as these small isolated tracks of land doesn’t need this density.
    That church property on York is and was a joke.
    They need to give it to the County for Soccer Fields. We need them.

  7. Dave in PWC said on 1 Oct 2008 at 6:52 am:
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    Here we go again,

    I watched the replay of the meeting over the weekend and I thank you for coming out to state your opinions along with the rest of the men and women who came out to stop this unnecessary developement from takng place.

  8. 40years in Woodbridge said on 1 Oct 2008 at 9:24 am:
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    The people who got out and spoke did a great job. There needs to be more of this when the development doest make sense.

    Principi is developing a civic group. Wondering if this is just a dog and pony show or will it be along the lines of WELT. I believe that was in its time the Woodbridge Environmental Land Transportation group.

    The problem with the new group will be if it is a patsy to push through what Principi wants and that would be the same old same old.

    What this area needs is redevelopment of existing properties. Taking every vacant parcel and building it thinking build it and it will come has gotten us NO WHERE for the last 20 years nor will it.

    Until redevelopment comes we have to DEMAND that existing laws and ordinances be enforced and that existing business be expected to tow the line.

    What can get done to improve RT 1 that NO ONE has done anything with well…..lets get started listing from the North end of Rt 1. where VDOT has taken over parcels and the area is allowed to be overgrown and littered with trash and signs, traveling south past the shopping center where CVS is with the illegal signs and vehicles to Easy Street becoming a heavy industrial compound to the business fronting Easy St also being allowed to be a heavy industrial parking lot, to all the illegal signs along the Corridor the 7-11 at the parkway that has all the trash and denuding of the soil causing runoff issues, to the Color Tile building that should have been taken down years ago it is a heath hazard with all the heavy mold growing inside and the TREES growing up through the middle of the building to across the street with the gas station that has the illegal car lifts out side the bays, to the multiple car dealerships that continued to have their lots overflowing into the landscaping perimeters (although recently it hasn’t been as bad as I believe the economy is the issue here not Principi) to the salvage yard on the right that continues to allow broken down pieces of junk to be parked outside the fenced area, to the overflow of storage of a business into a closed access road, to another heavy industrial parking lot being formed behind the strip business near what use to be DeRay’s Market, to the graffiti filled strip mall on the left just past another dealership and all the outside storage of sheds and gazebos along with all the illegal signs littering the area, to the abandoned gas station at RT 1 and Opitz that has become an overgrown parking lot.

    One has to wonder WHY these simple improvements have not taken place one has to wonder WHY the County has done NOTHING to enforce its own laws in this area when RT 1 has been the black eye of the county for 20 years they cant figure out how to clean up what is there already?

    Build it and it will come, yes it will and it will continue to get worse because NO ONE is enforcing the existing laws, NOT now nor for the past 20 years.

    The ONLY business along R1 1 is the one that has Kilroys in it they have painted improved the parking lot and planted landscaping buffers and Kudos to them.

  9. K.O'toole said on 1 Oct 2008 at 10:56 am:
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    Thank you, Chairman Stewart, for calling it like it is and stopping the madness!

  10. Anonymous said on 1 Oct 2008 at 11:42 am:
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    Anonymous said on 1 Oct 2008 at 12:24 am:
    40years in Woodbridge said on 30 Sep 2008 at 11:55 pm:
    I saw that and I got a nice chuckle.

    I would laugh too if it wasn’t so sad. The county chased the Globe and Laurel restraunt out of Quantico because it condemed the property for Rt.1 improvements.

    The Globe and Laurel is now located on Rt1 in Stafford county. PW’s loss!!!
    It looks like forcing it out of a location it had resided at for many years was a “blessing in disguise.” How many more businesses along the RT1 corridor have to be closed and abandoned to make it look more like a scene from a class “B” movie?

  11. Jones said on 1 Oct 2008 at 1:40 pm:
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    You are really chasing windmills to say Principi is responsible for Route 1 mess. What does this have to do with vote on Tuesday and How can you have mixed use in an area as small as Prince William Overlook. That would cause more traffic. Stupid suggestion on Stewarts part.

  12. porter said on 1 Oct 2008 at 1:56 pm:
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    I guess he is also responsible for the financial crisis and the war

  13. Groveton said on 1 Oct 2008 at 2:17 pm:
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    I thought you guys were all for “free markets” and “free enterprise” and “small government”. Now, you applaud the BoS denying a request to develop 10 acres of agricultural land along Rt 1 (Is there really farming being done?). I would think the followers of this blog would curse the BoS for standing in the way of a private company risking its own money to build townhomes and apartments. Why is the federal bailout of the banking system an example of excessive government meddling while the BoS refusing a private developer’s request to build in a very non-agricultural area an example of good governmental decision making? Is it beacuse you realize that increasing the supply of housing will (in some way) hold down the values of the housing you presently own? If so, isn’t government denying developers the opportunity to build a bail out of existing homeowners? Funny how bail outs are never good unless you’re among those being bailed out.

    As for blaming the PWC BoS for the conditions around Rt 1 in Woodbridge - think again. I grew up on the Fairfax side of Rt 1 - it’s no better there. I don’t know why the Rt 1 corridor remains blighted compared with the rest of Northern Virginia. However, the blight seems to be inter-jurisdictional.

  14. 40years in Woodbridge said on 1 Oct 2008 at 2:36 pm:
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    Pincipi has spouted from the chambers how he is cleaning up Woodbridge and how he having sweeps done an it is a load of CRAP. He has done NOTHING and continues to do nothing except fund a $40,000 group to come in and say how to revitalize North Woodbridge…..gee wasn’t this included in the original mission of Potomac Communities? One only needs to look to our neighbors to the North on their successful revitalization plans of the Corridor on RT 1. through Fairfax and their team work with the South East Fairfax Development Corporation and the grants that have been used improve the area as a good example.

    This should have happened here years ago.

    Look at who Principi contributors to his campaign were 16,000 from Hilda and thousands and thousands from the dealerships…..Wonder why it’s not changing…Keep drinking you Kool-Aid! I for one am not so foolish as to think he has nothing to do with cleaning things up. Try vpap.org and let you fingers do the walking to find the truth!

    The decline on the Rt. 1 corridor has continued for 20 years and will continue until SOMEONE gets off their collective butts and ALLOWS the County to do its job.

    That development was just part of a larger one that didn’t go through a number of months ago. Are you upset because you didn’t get your way and get another load of unsellable units in an already depressed and flooded market? Remember there are already 600 units already approved to go in just ½ mile from there.

    We have lived in this community when that area just behind was a dump that brought massive amounts of cock roaches through the sewer systems. We use to go as groups through the woods collecting the samples of the roaches leading right to the dump. We had boxes and boxes of specimen samples.

    The plan did not improve traffic conditions, it did not put in needed side walks, it added to an already overloaded fire and rescue resources

    Cry me a river that for once a development in Woodbridge was denied. Were you the one that fussed at the elderly man when he was leaving the Board Meeting when this was presented?

    And by the way the development was NOT on Rt. 1 it was 2 miles off of RT 1. in a dead end section of Horner Rd that boarders I-95 in an extremely congested part of town.

  15. 40years in Woodbridge said on 1 Oct 2008 at 2:41 pm:
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    Just when is the last time you were on Rt 1. through Fairfax? I worked there for nearly 20 years and it has made incredible improvements in recent years.

    That place has improved leaps and bounds above anything and it continues to improve. Take a drive wont you please before you say how bad it is there!

  16. Groveton said on 1 Oct 2008 at 3:16 pm:
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    I go there all the time. I have many friends who live near Rt 1. My Dad lived next to Mt Vernon Hospital until 2 years ago when he moved to Reston. It’s better than it was. Bobbie Jo’s Flaming Den Health Salon is gone. But the MVC dirty movie place has moved in. Mt Vernon Square apartments has been revitalized. But there are still trailer parks. The Dixie Pig has been replaced by a CVS (maybe progress, maybe not). Worst of all, Mr. Wilson’s Exxon station has become another nameless corproate Texaco station - but that happened years ago. Mt Vernon is still the lowest rated high school in Fairfax County. West Potomac (once called Groveton) is not far behind. The question isn’t whether it has improved - it has. The question is why it lags the rest of Fairfax County and has lagged the county for 50 years. And I don’t buy that there is a magical dividing line between Prince William County and Fairfax County where Rt 1 suddenly becomes much nicer. It doesn’t. So, I continue to hold my position that Rt 1 has issues that are beyond any caused by the PWC BoS.

    Here the “murder map” for the area. Look at the clump of 5 along Rt 1. And that’s for one year - 2007.

    I knew some of the people from MetroCall (now USA Mobility I believe). They built a number of offices along Rt 1. They also complained that Fairfax County wasn’t doing enough for Rt 1. They were right. Again, the question isn’t whether there’s been improvement - the question is whether the gap between the Rt 1 corridor and the rest of Fairfax County has narrowed.

  17. Groveton said on 1 Oct 2008 at 3:18 pm:
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    Sorry - forgot the “murder map”.


  18. Tyler Durden said on 1 Oct 2008 at 3:38 pm:
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    Make your own “Dump Principi” bumper stickers on makestickers.com

  19. porter said on 1 Oct 2008 at 4:26 pm:
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    I believe the neighborhoods are looking better. Route 1 looks awful from Maine to Florida.

  20. 40years in Woodbridge said on 1 Oct 2008 at 6:12 pm:
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    The Dixie pig has been gone for 15 plus years, The Square (Mt Vernon Square Apartments) renovation began more than 10 years ago, MVS video moved in at least 13 years ago. I am shocked you didn’t mention the old pasty bar behind what is now liberty gas station by Arlington Dr…..(I wont ever buy gas there again).

    Let us not forget that Mt Vernon Square was previously owned by Wills and Van Metre and they sold the crumbling and decaying community and Van Metre is the great and grand builder that was to have built the hundreds of units on York Drive that Ms Hilda says we could trust as a developer. Maybe as a developer but not as a Management Company.

    Why don’t we move into more modern times on the improvements on Rt 1 through Fairfax:

    Widening of Rt 1 from Lorton to the Tulley gate of Ft Belvoir, multiple shopping centers being revitalized with new layouts and modern shops, convenient pedestrian shopping in front of the Square as well as the upgrades that continue at Beacon Mall, continuing North you have the Rt 1 improvements leading to the new interchange along with additional shopping centers and up and coming is the new development of the old depressed Chuckey Cheese shopping center that will soon be turned into a town center style development.

    Granted you still have the cheap motels by the interchange however you can also note that the prior obvious prostitution in that area has been drying up as the crack down in that area continues.

    In reference to trailer parks are you denying people affordable housing? Not one complaint from me on the trailer parks in Woodbridge, nor in Fairfax. They for the most part are neatly maintained.

    All this redevelopment has happened in the last 5 years and prior to that SEFDC worked closely with all the business to maintain their appearances and assist in getting grant money for much needed façade improvements.

    As far as the schools you mentioned yes they are not the top nor are they the bottom. West Potomac ranks in the division in the teens to twenties out of 30 for testing and Mt Vernon ranks in the low twenties out of 30 in the division.

    Lets not mix education and affordable housing with economic redevelopment of a previously poorly laid out and developed corridor as well as maintaining the neatness in appearance of existing business and not allowing them to illegally expand.

    The BOCS can most assuredly focus existing resources from Neighborhood Services –Property Code Enforcement to cleaning up the blatant violations along the RT 1 corridor through Woodbridge however they DO NOT. And that is why they and they alone are to blame….

  21. Groveton said on 1 Oct 2008 at 7:15 pm:
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    Obviously my education is lacking. After all, I attended Groveton High School which is now called West Potomac (after combining with Ft Hunt). But I followed your link despite my educational shortfall. It seems that the last free ranking data is from 1998. Since I grew up on Rt 1 you can assume that I am too poor to pay for the ranking data - so 1998 it will have to be. The cover list is a bit deceiving. It looks like Mt Vernon is doing pretty well. But if you go past the cover ranking into the details - there is trouble. I looked at this page:


    This has Mt Vernon as 23 out of 26. Stuart, Bryant Alternative and Mountain View are ranked lower. But even this is deceiving. Stuart is a high school under the normal definition. But I believe that Bryant Alternative is an alternate school as is Mountain View. And even this is deceiving since Bryant Alternative is basically a Rt 1 school too.

    Your argument is that I haven’t been down Rt 1 in years. You are wrong. I travel down Rt 1 from the Beltway to Mt Vernon Avenue about once a month. Usually to meet my friend who grew up with me around Rt 1 and still lives near Rt 1. I am not sure how to prove this but it’s a silly argument anyway.

    Rt 1 in Fairfax County has improved. But it moves in cycles and never seems to close the gap with the rest of Fairfax County (usually the richest county in America). The only thing that really counts is results. And the Rt 1 corridor has been at or near the bottom in Fairfax County in wealth, crime (or lack thereof), education, etc. for a long time. The buildings may be prettier but the people who live there are still getting the short end of the Fairfax County stick.

    BTW - If I didn’t like the Rt 1 corridor or if I were embarrased by growing up there I wouldn’t use Groveton as a blog name.

  22. 40years in Woodbridge said on 1 Oct 2008 at 7:48 pm:
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    At least Fairfax gets cycles of improvements on Rt 1 which far from what we get in Woodbridge.

    I would never suggest you should be embarrassed growing up on the corridor. I have grown up and have had a good time for the most part along the corridor to the south of you.

    As for the stats well I stand corrected I defiantly need a new prescription on the old eye glasses as I swore I was hitting the 2007 numbers oooppps

    I still stand by what I said that the BOCS can most assuredly focus existing resources from Neighborhood Services –Property Code Enforcement to cleaning up the blatant violations along the RT 1 corridor through Woodbridge however they DO NOT. And that is why they and they alone are to blame….

  23. 40years in Woodbridge said on 1 Oct 2008 at 8:44 pm:
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    more recent rankings for SAT scores. :)

  24. Slick said on 2 Oct 2008 at 3:28 pm:
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    The last thing we need to do is develop vacant land along rt 1. The best thing the county could do is to buy up the few parcels and turn them into parks and MAINTAIN them. High density development is insane! Lest see, it takes a half hour on a good day to get over the rt 1 bridge in the morning because of the insane traffic…..I know, lets build MORE low rent units so we can increase the traffic! Brilliant Principi.

  25. Here we Go Again said on 2 Oct 2008 at 6:42 pm:
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    There are Supervisors who really don’t care abpout Rt. One in Woodbridge.
    The one who should care is blind as a bat and probably not much for brains.

    Most Supervisors care about improving their District such as Caddigan is doing for Dumfries and Triangle. She is not interested in the high density along Rt. One. You can be sure she will get the right mix for her area.

    Neighborhood Services could go a long way in citing all the properties along Rt. One. This is called a sweep. Barg never would ask for a sweep and Principi really doesn’t either.

    WELT, tried for years to improve Rt. One and we had many business that went out of their way to cooperate,but when they see others not doing or helping they give up. Again Barg never helped WELT. She finally worked around us in any case coming up. She was the boss.

    Well guess what?Principi will be the same.He had that meeting on the development on Horner down at the Ferlazzo Bldg. Far from the Senior Citizens who live in Mar. Village,Summerland and the Hills. He will run this the way he wants to and I am sure he is getting his advice from Hilda.

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