Road Closures Ahead

Road Closures Ahead

Developer may close Gunston Cove Road for five weeks to install sewer lines.

March will be a busy month for South County residents, if Tuesday night's meeting of the South County Federation is any indication.

Supervisor Gerry Hyland (D-Mount Vernon) told members of the Federation that two meetings are scheduled for next Tuesday night, March 24: one to discuss the future of the planned elementary school in the Laurel Hill community, and the other to discuss changes at the Vulcan stone quarry on Ox Road.

In January, the county Board of Zoning Appeals delayed a vote on Vulcan's special use permit to operate a quarry near several new communities. Vulcan has scheduled a meeting at Lorton Station Elementary for 6-8 p.m. next week to inform the community of the changes it is willing to make to retain their permit.

"We still have homes being built near the quarry and people moving in who are not happy with the adverse effects of the blasting there," Hyland said. "I question whether folks who are looking to buy there should be able to do so without having their eyes wide open to the effects. If I were a member of the BZA, I wouldn't approve the permit."

The BZA is scheduled to vote on the special use permit in April. Vulcan's quarry is located in an area that is zoned for commercial use, but the operation of a quarry requires a special use permit that has to be renewed every five years. This is the first time there has been any vocal concern or complaints from residents near the quarry, partly because many of the homes that line the northern edge of the quarry's blasting area weren't built the last time the permit was approved.

Hyland also reminded members of the Federation that School Board member Dan Storck (Mount Vernon) has scheduled an informational meeting about the planned elementary school in Laurel Hill for next Tuesday at the Laurel Hill Community Center from 7:30-9:30 p.m.

The potential boundary for the school will not be discussed at the meeting, said Christine Morin, Federation education committee chair. Instead, the meeting will focus on the site plan and layout of the building, along with the timeline for its construction and the role the community will play in the design of the school.

Additionally, the installation of sewer lines may close Gunston Cove Road just south of the Shoppers Food Warehouse for five weeks. A developer, The Peterson Companies, has requested the road closure to align its sewer lines with those installed by KSI Technologies when it built the Lorton Station neighborhood, Hyland said.

"KSI initially submitted two plans for their public sewer, and plan one showed the pipes lower than in plan two. Both plans were approved, and KSI installed plan two," Hyland said. "Peterson looked at plan one and proposed to hook up their sewer lines accordingly, but when they started to work, they found the lines were too low."

If the sewer lines cannot be aligned, Peterson won't be able to install public sewer service to their development, Hyland said. Originally, the company wanted to close the road for five weeks, but Hyland told them that wouldn't be possible.

"Peterson has offered to hire a police officer to help direct traffic away from the work," Hyland said. "I'm kind of in a box here, because the Federation approved the rezoning request for this project but I don't think it'll happen unless the sewer lines are connected."

SOME FEDERATION members asked Hyland if the developer might consider opening the now closed, single-lane wooden bridge on Gunston Cove Road over the CSX railroad tracks, at least during the construction period, to help alleviate traffic congestion.

Hyland said the Board of Supervisors had approved $200,000 for an initial study and site plan for rebuilding the bridge, which was closed several years ago after it was deemed unsafe. He said the idea was worth suggesting to Peterson.

"If there isn't the support to close the road, they'll have to look at all the alternatives to get the lines installed," he said.

The Federation also received a series of timelines and updates for projects scattered across the Laurel Hill property, owned now by the county after being purchased in 2000 from the D.C. Department of Corrections and formerly called the Lorton Prison. Several projects are scheduled for various stages of completion in 2007, among them the first phase of the Lorton Arts Foundation's adaptive reuse of the prison's Workhouse on Ox Road and a preliminary contract for the proposed Cold War Museum, to be built on a former Nike missile base on Furnace Road. A full outline of projects at Laurel Hill and their timelines is available at