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

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Sports complex approved for North Stafford

Supervisors approved a rezoning Tuesday night for a sports complex in North Stafford.

The Stafford Sports Center will be located at 799 Garrisonville Road. Plans for the property, which is primarily wooded now, call for a 196,000 square foot building.

The northern part of the building will contain one indoor pool with bleachers designed for competitive swimming as well as other aquatic activities. The southern area will be designed like a field house, which will include four multi-purpose sports fields with stadium seating, according to county documents. There will also be 59,500 square feet of commercial use pad sites.

The applicant was Robert Williams of SSCA LLC. Clark Leming, attorney for the project, said he used to take his daughter to the Fredericksburg Field House. “Now we may have one across the street from us,” Leming said. He also noted the proffers included in the rezoning were higher than normal. You can read those in detail in the county documents.

During the public hearing, comments were mixed. Several people who live near the site were concerned about the complex’s location and thought it may be better elsewhere in the county, but not in their backyards. Others worried about the traffic impact.

A handful of residents with children involved in sports programs spoke in support of the project, saying it would bring revenue to the county through a non-taxpayer project and approve athletic opportunities.

“In a growing community, change is inevitable,”  said Garrisonville Supervisor Ty Schieber. “People that have lived there in relative peace are going to see trees fall.”

Supervisor Jack Cavalier, whose daughter is now a swimmer at the University of Virginia, said the county has failed to provide adequate athletic facilities during his time on the board, since 2000. “This is really the first proposal that has seemed like it has a shot,” Cavalier said.

Supervisor Paul Milde said the athletic center was much better than the alternative: “You’re going to end up with a lot of small lot subdivisions.”

The rezoning passed unanimously.

This project comes after the Sports Booth Athletic Center closed last fall.

Sports fields have been a hot topic at Stafford’s board meetings lately. Many members of the Stafford Area Soccer Association spoke in support of more fields during a recent public hearing for a rezoning for Clift Farm Quarter development at U.S. 1 and Eskimo Hill Road, which includes proffers for rectangular athletic fields. The county is also pursuing land acquisition for a county-run sports complex.

They also will hold a special meeting in the upcoming weeks to discuss the $29 million parks bond referendum, passed in 2009. “I want to see a schedule that gets lived up to, that gets delivered, so people can actually start using these facilities,” Supervisor Cord Sterling said.