Prince William official says county ‘erroneously’ granted developer dumping permit at Belmont Bay

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Prince William County has rescinded permits granted to a developer to dump construction debris on what used to be the Belmont Bay subdivision’s golf course as work continues on an expansion to the waterfront community.

A county land-use official declared the permits allowing for grading of the property and erosion control were “erroneously” issued. That determination came after residents spoke out against dumping in the subdivision, arguing their quality of life was being negatively impacted.

The developer, Miller & Smith, had begun land development to make way for Beacon Park Towns at Belmont Bay, an expansion to the community with construction on more than 90 townhomes slated to begin in late summer or early fall.

But a zoning appeal filed with the county on April 15 by a Belmont Bay resident alleged the developer was illegally granted permission to dump debris. County documents show Joyce Fadeley, the county’s land development division chief, subsequently withdrew the permits on April 22, saying they were issued in error.

Fadeley said county zoning law reserves use of the property for open space, a golf course and community recreation — not construction of a berm. A county spokesperson did not immediately return a request for comment as to how the permits came to be erroneously issued.

The county allows for challenges to Fadeley’s ruling to be brought to the Board of Zoning Appeals within 30 days. A spokesperson with Miller & Smith did not return a request for comment. It’s not clear how the withdrawal of the permits may affect the subdivision expansion’s construction timetable.

The appeal, filed by Belmont Bay resident Robert Shemeld, follows an April 4 complaint sent to Woodbridge Supervisor Margaret Franklin by the Villas Condo Association at Belmont Bay. The complaint alleged the dumping permit’s issuance was illegal and is harming residents’ quality of life.

“We believe that the County has erred in granting the dumping on land that should not be allowed without a zoning change,” the complaint said. “Essentially, this site plan approval constitutes an overreach by the Land Development Division and should be reviewed and the approval be dismissed.”

An attorney with the Belmont Bay Homeowners Association, which is separate from the Villas Condo Association, sent a letter on April 3 to Prince William County Zoning Administrator Lisa Fink-Butler also alleging the permit does not comply with current county zoning laws.

Before Miller & Smith began work on its expansion of the subdivision, The Caruthers Cos., which developed the existing housing in Belmont Bay, withdrew its application for an extension to the development following a yearslong spat with the Belmont Bay Homeowners Association.

The homeowners association had been strongly opposed to the Caruthers Cos.’s plans for the development tucked behind the Woodbridge Virginia Railway Express station since the plans were announced in summer 2021.

The association last year went as far as to claim the company retaliated against residents over their opposition to the project by announcing closures of amenities such as access to cart paths at the former golf course and a kayak launch. The company declined to address the association’s accusations at the time.

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