Provided by Prince William County
Dale City was started by real estate developer Cecil D. Hylton in 1966 after the Prince William Board of County Supervisors approved the first master plan for the area. Now, 50 years later, the county is working on a plan to create guidelines for redevelopment in Dale City, which encompasses 14.23 square miles along Dale Boulevard between Interstate 95 and Hoadly Road.
The goal, as suggested by the Sustainable Design Assessment Team (SDAT) study done last year, was to create centers with a “sense of place” at key intersections along Dale Boulevard. After the study was completed, the planning department, along with community stakeholders, went to work on the “Dale City: Safety and Connectivity in a Planned Community, Transportation and Land Use Connections Project,” which looked at the best ways to implement SDAT’s larger concepts that called for a mix of commercial, residential, office and civic uses along Dale Boulevard.
The stakeholders’ advisory group concentrated on the intersections where Mapledale and Minnieville roads cross Dale Boulevard. The advisory group included civic organizations, government officials, local developers and representatives from the Trails and Blueways Council, the Dale City Civic Association, the Virginia Department of Transportation, the Potomac Rappahannock Transportation Commission, the Prince William Chamber of Commerce and other organizations.
The Dale City Farmer’s Market currently operates on weekends at Minnieville Road and Dale Boulevard and is already a gathering place that could be converted into a center of activity with connected bicycle and walking paths, new streetscapes, landscaping and public art installations. The intersection of Mapledale Road and Dale Boulevard is also a main hub in Dale City that could lend itself to the type of redevelopment that would create a kind of community center.
Eric Feldman, of Rhosdeside & Harwell, an urban planning group which helped the advisory group, spoke at a recent town hall-style meeting where people from the community saw the results that came out of the land use project. Feldman said the idea is to have plans in place as redevelopment begins to occur. “Development will be market-dependent and incremental, but there are some forward-thinking actions, both visible and not visible, that could happen now, at this stage, for greater change in the future.”
Some of the things that might be put in place could include guidance that the Prince William Board of County Supervisors could use to make changes to policy, planning and code, and in the consideration of development applications.
Ryan Foster, the County’s Community Development Manager, said the project will start to zero in on some tangible steps that can be taken to implement some of the broader concepts that the SDAT suggested. “What we’re trying to do with this project is to take a big picture concept idea from last fall’s SDAT study and really see the specific thing we might be able to do to implement a town center that has a much better sense of place. This is a project that’s going to trigger future efforts to do more concrete work to allow something like this to happen.”
Neabsco District Supervisor John Jenkins said that some of the ideas could be put into place soon. “I think there’s money available out there and there are some opportunities for some grants. I think with a redevelopment effort, our planning office can take advantage of conditions that go along with that redevelopment. We’ve had a lot of success with this project. Nothing could be more important than the safety aspects and the connectivity aspects of the different activity centers that we have in the project.”
Monique Raulston, a Dale City resident who attended the meeting, said she liked the plans the project established, but she had one worry. “I think the plans are good. My biggest concern is traffic. This is a high-traffic area that we’re talking about. I think the community will be supportive if the discussion was about slowing down the traffic flow. Outside of that, this would be great.”
Andy Stapor lives off Hoadly Road, just outside of Dale City. He said he would be happy if Dale City became a happening place. “Dale City is really in need of identity, and I think this is a great thing. I hope that the plan gets started because it’s exciting…”
More information about the study is available at pwcgov.org/planning.