Warren County Public Schools lost a bus stop after the Board of Supervisors stopped a developer from building a Sheetz in Linden.
The change takes effect March 15. The new temporary stop is at Linden Park, off Dismal Hollow Road.
The division recently sent a letter notifying parents about the change. The letter states that this location “provides an area that is safe, off of the main road, and is large enough for the bus, and provides a parking area for the parents.”
Director of Transportation Aaron Mitchell II stated in an email to the Northern Virginia Daily on Thursday that the new location is currently the best option, but the administration is continuing to look for others.
Supervisors voted in February to deny a developer’s request for a permit to rezone property near Apple Mountain Road to build a Sheetz convenience store and gas station. The developer also had proposed to build a bus stop next to the business. Dozens of residents opposed the rezoning. The property owner had been letting the school division use part of the site as a bus stop.
Pernille Brandt, of Jonathan Road in the Apple Mountain subdivision, spoke to the School Board during the public participation period at its meeting on Wednesday.
Brandt expressed concerns to the board about the safety of the neighborhood children who must ride the bus to and from school.
Brandt said she drove 3.3 miles from her home to the new bus stop at Linden Park. Children would need to walk over the mountain down Dismal Hollow Road to the bus stop. An alternate route along John Marshall Highway spans 2.2 miles and it would take children about 50 minutes to walk to the bus stop, Brandt said.
“I’m lucky,” Brandt said. “I can drive kids to school.
“But there are kids on the mountain that are not that lucky, and I fully understand that part of this is sort of a payback for us and the supervisors and the whole deal with Sheetz,” Brandt added. “But I want you guys to think about keeping our kids safe.”
The school division recently approved an updated plan that increases the number of days middle and high school students attend classes in person beginning March 15. Brandt said some children will have to walk for more than an hour to get to the new bus stop. She urged the School Board to come up with a different solution.
School Board member James S. Wells addressed Brandt’s concerns and the loss of the existing bus stop.
“I kinda take a hit on that because we sorta knew that was gonna happen if Sheetz got turned down, but we didn’t know how quickly it was gonna happen,” Wells said. “So what we have done is just a short-term measure.”
Wells said he and Happy Creek District Supervisor Tony F. Carter drove around the area to search for potential alternative locations. Schools Superintendent Christopher Ballenger and Mitchell also plan to look for possible locations for a bus stop, Wells said.
“We’re gonna come up with a solution that’s better and hopefully come up with a long-term solution because the bottom of that mountain wasn’t the best option for a long time,” Wells said. “It was just the best we had.”
Chairman Arnold M. Williams Jr., Vice Chairwoman Catherine R. Bower, and board members Kristen J. Pence, Ralph A. Rinaldi and James S. Wells attended the meeting.