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Prince William Co. board steps in to protect family farm from I-66 project

Jeannie and Carl Heflin are relieved that their Prince William County farm will be spared. The Virginia Department of Transportation intended to use part of the farm to build a commuter lot. The county's Board of Supervisors agreed Monday to support the Heflins and will urge the state to shop around for another site. (WTOP/Kathy Stewart)

WOODBRIDGE, Va. — One of the last working farms in Prince William County has been granted a reprieve by the state of Virginia, which had intended to build a commuter lot on the land along Interstate 66.

The family-owned cattle farm has been around for 79 years and was slated to become the Haymarket park-and-ride, one of several parking lots the Virginia Department of Transportation plans to build as part of proposed improvements to the interstate corridor.

On Monday, the Prince William County board of supervisors held a special hearing to approve sending a letter to VDOT officially requesting that the Heflins’ 125- acre Cedars Farm be removed as the proposed site for the Haymarket commuter lot.

Gainesville District Supervisor Pete Canland says the Heflins met with VDOT officials along with members of Board Chair Corey Stewart’s staff to discuss the property. From that meeting, VDOT has committed to looking at other options.

“(VDOT) needed to hear from the county Board of Supervisors that we’re willing to take a strong stand on this. That we are willing to back the Heflins,” Canland says.

Jeannie Heflin and her husband Carl say they’re are grateful to the board for fighting to save the family farm.

“It’s a wonderful day,” Jeannie Heflin says.

Heflin says her husband Carl’s parents bought the farm in 1936 and the land has been actively farmed ever since.

“We protected the Heflin Farm, one of the last working farms in the county,” Board Chair Corey Stewart says.

Now the board will work with VDOT to find an alternate location for the commuter lot, Stewart says.

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