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Jeff Branscome writes about Spotsylvania County.

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Summerfield makes it to the city; Transflo discussed behind closed doors?

Fredericksburg City Reporter Emily Battle has the scoop on the Hicks family returning to City Council for approval to build townhouses off of some prime real estate off  Rt. 1.

This project abuts Kingswood, an approximately 500-unit subdivision. Residents who live in that subdivision did not want Hudgins Road extended into their subdivision. When I talked to smart-growth experts about this, they said not having a through-road into Kingswood that connects it to Summerfield will end up creating a bigger problem in this area for the future.

That was just one issue raised with this project that easily passed in August.

One would think the city would want to keep this parcel commercial, especially since on the county side supervisors approved a housing project.

At this point, supervisors were approving just about everything, including a project Transflo, that seems to now be creating serious problems for some city residents.

In Battle’s story about Transflo, there were some alarming points Spotsylvania residents should read.

I remember when Transflo came to the county and this project was really presented to be an innocuous presence. But the Planning Commission didn’t think so. Spotsylvania’s Board of Supervisors approved a special-use permit for the Transflo facility last August, despite the fact that the county’s Planning Commission had unanimously recommended denial.

Commissioners felt so strongly about this project that one even spoke at the public hearing.

What I do remember happening was commissioners asking about hazardous materials that would be transported and what would happen if the trains blocked road passage at the same time of an emergency. Fire and Rescue Chief Chris Eudailey told supervisors that there is a mutual aid agreement with the city, whose jurisdictional line is about 400 feet from this project. Here is an interesting memo about the fire dangers.

Battle’s story says:

In response, city fire officials asked that the truck traffic from Transflo to Interstate 95 be rerouted to stay out of Fredericksburg. Fire Chief Edwin Allen said similar materials are already trucked through the city, but the Transflo facility added an additional 160,000 gallons a day to State Route 3, increasing the chance that a disaster could happen.

“The city has nothing to gain from this additional hazard coming through,” Allen said.

Spotsylvania didn’t have that much to gain, either. County staff reported at a planning meeting that the facility would generate only minimal new tax revenue, along with six to seven jobs.

In fact this project may have cost the county more than it will earn.

City officials asked if the county’s vote on the permit could be delayed to provide time to address their concerns about response capability, but Spotsylvania didn’t honor that request.

I have checked all the documents associated with this proposal and nowhere in them is there anything that is from the city asking the vote be delayed. Numerous times supervisors have met behind closed doors to discuss revoking a special use permit without any specificity to whose special use permit it is.

What does City Councilman Matt Kelly think about this?

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  • Matthew Kelly

    No one on the City Council is thrilled with the current situation. We have been kept in the loop by our staff and the county on efforts to resolve the situation. Is there something specific that you feel only I can address?

  • Dan Telvock

    From your understanding, did the county board or staff just plain ignore the city’s request to delay approval of this project?

    This request for a delay was not presented to supervisors in August–at least not at a public meeting.

    When did the city make that request?

  • http://Z2KS LarryG

    How about the idea that single entrance subdivisions are “Smart Growth”?

    When ya’ll did Idlewilde.. whose idea were the two entrances?

    If intra-parcel access is a good idea for commercial.. why is it not a good idea for subdivisions?


    p.s. – are you going to miss your job?

  • Matthew Kelly

    It is my understanding that city staff did express concerns. The question regarding how Spotsy responded to those concerns is a question for Spotsy staff/BOS. As is most things in life the situation is a bit more complicated. There are other chemical tankers stored on the tracks across from Mayfield other than those from Transflo and then there is the issue of FRA regs. Time to do a little more research.

    LarryG–The city’s master transportation plan called for another connector between Rt. 3 and Rt. 1 to ease traffic flow. We got someone else, other than taxpayers, to pay for it. Also, the road is to continue across Rt. 3 down Mahone Drive to Cowan Blvd and on to Fall Hill. With the hope for commercial/office development on the remainder of the Idlewild track we will need both entrances.

    I’m not going anywhere. I’ll stay involved in local issues. And now have a morning radio show to talk about them.

  • http://Z2KS LarryG

    hmmm.. calling the Idlewilde Road a “connector” is pretty high falooten… anyone fool enough to think that’s an easier path will be dissuaded after one marvelous experience!

    On dual entrances, I notice that VDOT (in theory) is requiring them but for some reason on the Hicks / Kingswood property they bailed….

    Good luck on the radio show and thanks for all of your efforts on behalf of Fredericksburg and the Region including your willingness to blog and to go one on one with citizens and to put up with the rude and obnoxious ones.

  • bhaas

    Yes, Matt…good luck on the radio…who knows, maybe there is a “Rush” or an “Iman” lurking out there.

    I, too, thank you for your efforts on behalf of the region. We have not always agreed, but your willingness to engage has been useful and refreshing.

    Best wishes to you and your family. I think the ‘Burg may be the real loser here.


  • D.J. McGuire

    I was also at that meeting in August, and I spoke out against the Transflo permit, too. There was indeed *no* mention of the city”s concern (I say that to confirm Dan’s account for Matt).

    I would have preferred that this become more of an issue when it was first approved; I don’t remember any mention of it in the FLS (in fact, as I recall, Dan left the meeting in question before it was discussed). Then again, as the opponent of the Supe who championed it more than anyone else, I could and should have alerted Dan about it. Mea culpa.

    In the meantime, keep pushing on this, Dan.

  • D.J. McGuire


    Do you remember when and to whom the request for a vote delay was made?

  • Dan Telvock


    I didn’t leave the meeting. In my entire 11 years in journalism I’ve left one meeting and it was because I was ill.

    I was there. This came up on a very busy day and I was deep into a deadline story about the Harrison Road Connector when this was passed and discussed.

    Matt, can you find out why the city manager did not get a response or ask for a response?

    This project offered very little to the county and in fact might have cost the county more because the county had to pay for a portion of track improvements.

    The dots are not connecting very well on this, but then again, supervisors have been and are approving just about every SUP and rezoning that has come to them.

  • D.J. McGuire

    Yes, I also remember it was “mall road day.” Perahps I’m confusing you with nearly everyone else who left after that was kicked into the long grass. In any event, this didn’t get nearly the publicity it should have at the time, I think we can all agree on that.

    What matters is that we get to the bottom of this and connect the dots.

  • Matthew Kelly

    Again, has anyone asked Spotsy staff to comment on their response to the city’s request? Neither I or city staff are in a position to speak for Spotsy staff or members of the BOS.

  • D.J. McGuire

    An excellent question, Matt, but it is also important for us to know who on the Spotsy staff/BOS received the request from you guys.

    It certainly appears that someone on the Spotsylvania side dropped the ball – at best.

  • MGWORK (Marty)

    Is “hide and seek” really this much fun? Is DENIAL the only common denominator found in this dialogue and you still don’t have an answer, much less an understanding of what is going on behind closed doors. My preference is connecting dots and asking appropriate questions of the people WHO SHOULD HAVE THE ANSWERS. Beats the heck out of the circles you guys are drawing and postulating, and arriving back to the same point you started from. When does it come time to stop doing the same thing over and over again and still come up with bupkus?

  • Dan Telvock

    Matt, I have no problem calling county staff and asking them if they responded, but why can’t you tell us?

    Did they respond or not?

    May I get a copy of the letter sent and whom would I ask for that copy?

  • D.J. McGuire


    There is a possibility he wasn’t the one from the city who asked, but by this point the person who did should come forward, IMHO.

    Keep pushing.

  • MGWORK (Marty)

    Some of us think it’s reasonable to conclude that Matt doesn’t want to share with us, not what he claims not to know, but where the information WE are looking for can be found, without the political posturing. It’s call transparentcy. By any other name it could reasonably be called obfuscation. It’s a gaming tactic; Whats behind door 1,2 or 3 and you only get ONE choice. There’s a lot of other STUFF out there that needs explaining, but climate and culture continue to stand in the way.

    As long as the FLS, Dan Telvock and the public are denied access to Spotsylvania County’s “FOCUS GROUP” meetings and agendas, we shouldn’t expect much more than half of the picture and most of that is edited out before we receive our paper at the front door. At last count, I’ve brought this message to the public and FLS 27 times, and still, no call back. Not to worry though, when it comes time and the other shoe drops, I won’t be calling you up to tell you “I told you so”

    This is just the tip of the iceburg and your local governments and elected officials don’t want you to know about how they conduct business for YOU, any more so than YOU want them to know anything about your business. STALEMATE! Or should we just concede what you get for your money is just more of the same and business as usual.