vanessa-newVanessa Remmers covers Stafford County government and schools for and The Free Lance-Star.

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What’s in a Name?

One of the proposed Urban Development Areas in Stafford is on the Widewater peninsula – a beautiful area on Aquia Creek and the Potomac River in the northeast corner of the county. While the area is commonly known as “Widewater,” the name of the proposed UDA is “Stafford Station” on official county documents.

Planning Commissioner Cecilia Kirkman made a motion at last night’s Planning Commission meeting to change the name from “Stafford Station” to “Widewater” in the proposed Comprehensive Plan. Her motion was defeated 4-1. Kirkman voted in favor, Pete Fields and Mike Rhodes were absent.

Kirkman feels the name is misleading. Widewater has long been a target for development and a cause for preservationists, but she feels people might not understand the location of the proposed high-density development if it is called “Stafford Station.”  She also finds it confusing–a large development once proposed for the center of the county was known as “Stafford Town Station.”

Supervisors Bob Woodson and Harry Crisp–both Democrats–have expressed similar concerns about the name.

So far, it seems like everyone else (Republicans) supports the name, and it looks like it will stick. I have not discovered where the name came from or who first proposed it.

“It’s in Stafford County and it’s at a new rail station,” Planning Commissioner Scott Hirons explained during last night’s meeting.

Both existing Virginia Railway Express stations in Stafford are named after their geographical locations – Leeland and Brooke. As of now, VRE is near capacity and has no plans to build a new station in Stafford.

“I understand Miss Kirkman’s point,” Planning Commissioner Gordon Howard said. “I’m not inclined to vote to support the motion. It could be the premiere station on the VRE. I like the name Stafford Station.”


  • LarryG

    Has anyone bothered to check if VRE has enough additional capacity for a Widewater UDA?

    You would think that the county would not designate any more UDAs than there was available VRE capacity, no?

    Once Spotsylvania gets their station built – I wonder if there are going to be any available seats in Stafford anyhow.

    Should Spotsy and Stafford coordinate their planned UDAs so that they both don’t assume capacity that is not there?

  • havingfun

    What is really interesting is that VRE has clearly said to them that they have no interest in another Stafford station.

    What is the big deal about calling it Widewater? Nothing in that area is called Stafford anything…not the schools or the developments, etc..

  • Martin (Marty) Work

    Larryg: Elected officials from both Spotsylvania and Stafford County meet on a monthly basis at there local FAMPO/GWRC headquarters in downtown Fredericksburg.

    Since you are a member of the FAMPO’s Transportation Advisory Group, I would have thought you would have knowledge of the transportation and land-use agendas found in both Counties and the impact of UDAs and high density populations in both Counties.

    If this is what the FLS considers NEWS, we should make ourselves ready for the special interest in DEVELOPMENT communities when UDAs come to the public’s concern and attention and all they will have to say is…move over, we’re in the way. And, it’s not going to be pretty.

  • Kara

    Stafford Middle School. Stafford Elementary School.

  • havingfun

    Kara – exactly! Those two schools are no where near the proposed station!! They are in the center and south of the county. The schools near this UDA are called WIDEWATER and HEIM.

  • Concerned Citizen

    And how much would that Wideater development cost taxpayers for roads, sewer, water and a VRE station, the 1000 car parking lot, an elementary school. The proposed development is not even large enough to support a big name grocery store.

  • Concerned Citizen

    And how much would that Widewater development cost taxpayers for roads, sewer, water, a VRE station, the 1000 car parking lot, and an elementary school. The proposed development is not even large enough to support a big name grocery store.

  • Widewater Resident and Angry

    How dare Scott Hirons and Gordon Howard on the planning commission try to decive the residents of Stafford and mainly those of us in the Widewater district by dismissing the name change of Cecilia Kirkman to call the area what it really is Widewater. As a resident of Stafford for the past 14 years the traffic situation along US1 is “horrible” on some days and especially Friday afternoons! To think you can put 10,000 units on a UDA is unthinkable! Personnally I call it “Stupid”. I am calling on all citizens of the Widewater District to stand up and voice your opinion and not to just the commission but to the Supervisors. I know I did when I voted today and told Bob Woodson. Don’t let this happen!! I am providing the same warning to the other supervisors if you want to stay in office. We will organize and remove each and everyone of you.

  • Terri

    “Stafford Station” is a form of false advertisement misleading the community to believe that all of Stafford is involved in this development. There is no train station coming, it is not focused on Stafford as a whole. Here is what is involved, Widewater. I have lived in Widewater for 40 years, it is served by single lane roads with one way in and one way out. We are all served by well and septic, there is no public water system offered here. The quality of life in Widewater has already been severely impacted by the Pick-A-Part junk yard, the influx of illegal immigrants servicing/working in this junk yard, the severly increase in traffic utilizing our single lane roads in and out of Widewater. I have lived and seen Garrett Development build KHov homes here in Widewater, He has offered this community nothing. He has not improved roads, or the community, he has lined his own pockets. This UDA would severly impact the eco system here in Widewater, the quality of life here in Widewater would be severly impacted. Just because there is land and trees doesn’t mean you have to come and tear them down and build up, our roads cant handle this! This project would not bring so much income to relieve any of us of property taxes, looking at it will be an increase in taxes since the roads cannot handle this influx of residential units they will have to be widened, and what about public water and services? Who is going to pay for this? Get for real people I have seen this before, there is going to be a LARGE impact to your own personal wallets on this one if it is approved!