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April 12, 2018

Throwback Thursday: Top commuter destinations

1993 — A familiar sight for Fauquier’s commuters: Traffic stacks up on Route 29 at Warrenton’s northeastern edge.
25 Years Ago
From The Fauquier Citizen edition of April 16, 1993

13,000 commute from county

More than 13,000 Fauquier residents leave the county for work each day and the overwhelming majority head east.

Sixty-three percent — or 8,288 — work in Fairfax and Prince William counties or the City of Manassas.

Commuting has become a way of life in Fauquier, but exactly where these people go has sometimes been a mystery.

The Virginia Employment Commission, however, has tracked down the county’s 13,233 commuters and, using 1990 Census data, has detailed where they work.

The greatest number, 4,728 of them, make the 30- to 45-minute trip to Fairfax County, the VEC reported.

Prince William County and Manassas rank second and third with 2,364 and 1,196 Fauquier commuters, respectively.

County buys the farm

Fauquier closed the deal Monday to buy Corral Farm, finally taking ownership of the 235 acres just south of Warrenton.

The supervisors agreed to buy the property last month for $2.6 million, the largest land purchase in county government history.

County Attorney Paul McCulla said ownership officially transferred from Realtor Bob Sowder on April 12. Over the last two years, the county had paid two non-refundable $100,000 deposits toward the purchase price.

County officials plan to build a 100-acre landfill on the farm, adjacent to the old dump. The property also includes six rental houses.

Warrenton opposes tighter environmental rules on river

The Warrenton Town Council this week expressed terse opposition to proposed stronger environmental protections for the Rappahannock River.

Warrenton each day sends as much as 2 million gallons of treated wastewater into Great Run, a tributary of the Rappahannock.

Environmental groups have nominated two stretches of the river — upstream and downstream from Great Run — for “Tier III” designation as “exceptional waters.” The designation would recognize the river’s aquatic life, natural beauty, lack of pollution and recreational benefits. It would prevent increased wastewater discharges into the designated areas.

“I think it’s time for this council to send a strong message to the State Water Control Board that we’re in no way supportive of these proposals until these issues are cleared up,” Councilman John “Sparky” Lewis said before Tuesday’s 6-1 vote opposing Tier III designation.

“I think it’s a scenic river designation,” said Councilman Tom Finn, who cast the dissenting vote.

“I agree with Mr. Finn that it’s one of the most beautiful rivers in the nation and deserves to be protected,” Lewis responded. “But, Tier III is a moratorium on sewer plant expansion.”

Board told to cut taxes but hike school spending

More than 250 people attended last Thursday night’s public hearing on the proposed $72.8-million county budget.

On one hand, Southern Fauquier farmers such as Frank Ott and Jimmy Eustace told the board they can’t survive another tax hike.

A slew of concerned parents and teachers countered with pleas that Fauquier can’t afford not to spend more on schools. The county’s starting teacher pay of $22,000 a year ranks 90th among 134 school districts in Virginia.

The proposed budget calls for increasing the real estate tax rate 13 cents to $1.06 per $100 assessed value. Opening in the fall of 1994, Liberty High School accounts for some of that proposed increase.

Airlie Dam begins refilling as problems studied

Soon after the Airlie Dam’s completion in December, town officials discovered unusual “wetness” on the earthen structure’s “dry” side.

The problem could result from a fissure in bedrock under the 55-foot-tall dam, according to Warrenton Utilities Director Wick Lyne.

Officials decided to drain the lake and drill two more monitoring wells outside the dam.

“Safety is not a concern,” U.S. Soil Conservation Service District Conservationist George Sutton said. “We just don’t want it to be a perpetual pain in the you know what.”

The wetness could cause problems for town maintenance workers who will mow the back of the dam, Sutton explained.

Workmen closed the valves Tuesday, allowing the reservoir to begin filling again. It will take up to six months to fill the 60-acre lake, just upstream from the Warrenton Reservoir.


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