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It’s Not “Time For Compromise”

July 2, 2013 by Andrea Gaines filed under Columns, View From the Ridge 28 Comments
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The photo op tents are in place and the state and local government officials, local business leaders and more are lined up – current and former mayors of Purcellville, Virginia Transportation officials, members of the Loudoun County Board of Supervisors, local developers.

The press is here, and a broad white ribbon has been pulled across part of the Southern Collector Road. Bob Lazaro, the Mayor of Purcellville has conducted his ceremonial ribbon cutting signaling that the road is open, and a muted moment of hand-clapping has blown off into the warm June breeze.

Yes, the Southern Collector Road is open and ready for our cars and trucks and commercial vehicles. And, it’s a big, beautiful wide and majestic road.

But, if you know the path it takes – and recognize that the tall wooded areas on either side were once part of a contiguous (and still functioning) farm – you know you are travelling across, not just a new roadbed, but old farm land that a family probably fought tooth and nail to save.

For, on either side of the political handshaking and ceremony is not only remnants of apple trees, but citizens who worked for years to save Crooked Run Orchard from being split in two by a highway that the town’s own studies showed would relieve traffic in Purcellville by maybe two percent … feisty, never give up citizens of every political stripe and color with hand-made signs reading: “Scar on the Land,” … “Road to Lazaro’s House” … “Stop Eminent Domain Abuse Who’s Next?”

One of the sign holders is good old Sam Howell Brown. Looking at the picture of him standing out there in the sun, I really can’t imagine what it took for him to come out today. He has farmed this land for years, cultivating pick your own berries, a wide variety of apples and peaches, herbs, vegetables, pumpkins and squash. Sam’s dad, Howell Brown farmed it before that, and many generations of Brown’s before that, going back to when the family was deeded the land by Lord Fairfax in 1741 before we became a nation. Today, 20,000 customers pass through Crooked Run Orchard each year.

On this day, police officers have respectfully directed the concerned citizens to stand behind a line near the ceremony lest they be given a ticket for trespassing. Trespassing on land that was once owned by the Brown family, but taken by eminent domain and the dysfunctional and self-serving Purcellville political system – a system of you-do-this-for -me-and-I’ll-do-this-for-you that now threatens western Loudoun County’s remaining agricultural jewels and small town and village ways of life.

One of the public officials speaking at the event suggests to everyone present: “It is time for compromise,” meaning, presumably, can we just move on? Ok, time for compromise, time to move on? But, what have the forces that be compromised to serve their own interests (the road) while at the same time protecting this farmer’s property rights and family heritage? Nothing. No shifting of the roadbed so it wouldn’t split the farm. No safe crosswalk or access to Sam’s back orchard. No assistance in minimizing how the years of construction on the road bordering his farm would affect his business.

It’s not “Time To Compromise.” No, I don’t think so. It’s time all of western Loudoun got behind a citizen-directed plan to make Sam Brown’s situation the last time politicians and others are allowed to sacrifice our historic farm businesses and agricultural heritage for the sake of a vision we don’t share.

28 comments

  1. nancy mark says:

    As far as I know, The Browns were offered a lot of money for their land but did not accept it. Roads get put up in tons of places, its called progress. The point is to better the community. Purcellville is still a very small town and probably will never have a Target or a Costco( a trader joes would be nice). Crooked Run still looks like a farm to me. Is it still in business? If yes then whats the problem? They will probably have more customers now. Leave Bob Lazaro alone, he does a great job. He is just trying to make Purcellville an even better place to live. He isn’t “The Once-ler”, we still have trees and the Lorax still lives and breathes at Crooked Run. I have lived here for 9 and 1/2 years, I pay my taxes and the SCR runs right past my home, thus causing more traffic for me. I am okay with that because its a road and its progress and if I don’t like it I can move.
    TEAM BOB
    Nancy Mark

    • Disappointed says:

      Wow, I find it amazing how utterly cold, callous, and shallow people like Nancy are when it is not their property, way of life, and family history at stake. For many people there are things much more valuable than money, such as land that was deeded to them about 272 years ago by Lord Fairfax. Generations worked this land and their family history on this land is older than even our country. No amount of money would convince me to sell. As for “progress,” as mentioned by others there were alternatives that could have served the purpose, yet respected the historical significance of the land. Laying roads this way to open the way for developers to line their pockets even more than they already are is not intelligent progress. It is nothing more than pure greed.

    • Robin Eublind says:

      The Brown’s were offered the whopping sum of just over 432,000 for the 7+ acres. Hardly ‘a lot’ of money, Nancy

    • Kelli Grim says:

      Nancy

      Would love to hear what you were told by TEAM BOB. But let’s just get the truth out there. When the town was conspiring with Sam’s brother, promising him (I have proof) favorable rezoning (there is a process to rezone a property that requires a public hearing, politicians are not suppose to make such promises) and a promise of paying more money for the land they planned to take by eminent domain condemnation. Also, during the injunction hearing where the Brown’s were trying to delay the taking of their back 2 1/2 acres because it would prohibit their access to it for as long as the county town lawsuit drug out, and for as long as the town wanted to punish and keep them out (just what the town did as revenge) during the injunction hearing the town came up with the idea of offering the Brown’s $900k for the entire 16 acres that has their home, office, a barn, crops, and farm store on it. And just a note that Tim Brown did not accept such a ridiculous price either. (Did you know that the town allowed a hundred trees full of apples that could have been given to a food bank, to just die and rot?) but did TEAM BOB and the town congratulate the Owners of Crooked Run Orchard for their award from BREAD FOR THE CITY in Washington DC given to them at the National Press Club event for their donation of thousands of lbs of food every year to their food bank? Just asking! So, they are suppose to sell for such big money and live where, and run their farm while living where? Use that big money to replace their house, well, barn, farm store? How much do you think they got for the 8 acres taken by quick take condemnation that took out more than 100 fruit bearing trees, 1/4 of their parking spaces, a storage barn, and 2 growing seasons of NO access to back 45 parcel to plant and harvest except by traveling by tractor with haywagon almost 2 miles of traveling on a public road. The road contractor said they had never seen a municipality not provide safe access/easement during construction to a business owner ever before. The town gave (still sitting in escrow account, untouched and refused by the Brown’s) a big whopping $432k for the land and all their heartache and losses. So would you be ok with your parents or grandparents being treated like that? Would you like to be treated like that? So what kind of leader is TEAM BOB? He is no leader, he is a bully, and would do the same to you if you got in his way. go ahead, oppose him, disagree with his agenda, ask for transparency…see what kind of friend he is then. This could have been handled so differently, instead it is a scarlet letter on the reputation of our town, blame the victim as you shove their head under water, a shameful example of treating long time resident property owners disrespectfully. So, have you ever gone and taken you kids to pick your own peaches, apples, pears, blackberries, pumpkins or anything at Crooked Run Orchard? http://Www.CrookedRunOrchard.com for picking details. And yes, they deserve a full blown apology from TEAM BOB, and TEAM BOB owes the residents of Purcellville an apology because this is not how residents and long time residents of our town deserve to be treated. Our children, grandchildren and great grands will read about this arbitrary and capricious behavior in the history of their town, and they will ask WHY?

      • Paul says:

        Wow Kelli! Such anger. So where YOU from? This TEAM BOB as you call it is the democratically elected Mayor, for many terms. I got some news for you dear, Purcellville is a great Town, hence we got 8000 people here now (including you in a new subdivision on an OLD and once really pretty farm). Myself, I liked things better at 1783 residents and surrounded by farms, but YA’LL came and I didn’t stop you.

        Hey this is a nice town. Get used to it as I did. Welcome the folks and the new roads for their cars. Get used to it. Don’t like it? This is still America so move and vote with your feet!

        Despite what ya’ll did to my western Fairfax (1 farm gone), then Loudoun (2 farms gone) I like it here still. I’m stayin now. Go leave if you like or embrace change and TRY to save what is left and best. It is easy to a bitch..hard to preserve.

  2. Elder Berry says:

    Sorry, Nancy, it is not progress. It is not bettering the community. It is corruption and scratch my back politics of the kind you’d expect to find back where Lazaro came from or down in Richmond with Governor Rolex. That road benefits a few specific people, and to pay them off the Browns were deprived of their rights and their land.

    What’s the problem? That road had been killed dead, shelved many times, taken off the books. It was toast. Until “big ego in a small man” Lazaro decided he would make his name on it.

    Lazaro stabbed the Browns in the back. They didn’t want money, they wanted their farm undivided so they could continue to farm all of it without taking their life in their hands. It was their farm! What desperate public problem was solved by that road?

    The SCR is a road to nowhere solving no visible problem. A waste of money and a symptom that too many people need to pay a lot more attention to what is being done by local government in Loudoun and its towns.

    If you’ve lived here only 9 years you have no idea what a special place Purcellville used to be before the recent big boxes and the SCR came. The silo was supposed to be saved, right? But no big deal. Taking it down gave you more parking. Congratulations. Now you have a bypass, too! You’re well on the way to being just like everywhere else now. Water for yet more development? No problem, just take some more land from someone else. Wasting piles of money on new facilities for Big Bob and his minions? No problem, the town is all about what the mayor needs, isn’t it?

    So, the only question is, just who IS Lazaro coming for next? Or does this cutthroat have bigger plans than Purcellville?

    • Nancy Mark says:

      Thanks All for your input!
      Of course Purcellville has changed dramatically. It is still a wonderful town. Who said it wasn’t special?Planning or no planning, development or slow development, roads no roads. No one is ever happy. I would be happy if we ran a road right through the gun store but who cares what I think?
      Funny thing is,
      The Browns looked really happy rolling down the street in the 4th of July Parade.
      Perhaps they are starting to embrace all us transplants by chucking candy at our children.

      • Robin Eublind says:

        How right you are that Purcelllville has changed through the years. The town has seen a seven fold increase in it’s total debt from 10 million ten years ago, to 70 million today. This has precipitated a 17% property tax increase this year under the guise of a Fireman’s Field Service Tax. For how it’s structured, it may as well be called the Fireman’s Field Slush Fund. The most egregious aspect to this tax increase is that it was enacted without public input. It’s time to change the tone and the cast of characters in the town council and the Mayor’s office.

  3. Robin Eublind says:

    So the time for compromise is after the town steals land for the benefit of developers and additional unwanted retail? That would be like George Zimmerman beseeching Travon Martin, ‘Can’t we all just get along?’, after shooting and killing him.
    Purcellville did not need the Southern Collector road. We did not need a century old working farm condemned and seized by eminent domain to make way for the road. The town does not need the retail strip malls that will come along with the road, any more than Purcellville needed an Auto Zone to compete with long standing local auto parts businesses, particularly since there is an Auto Zone 9 miles away. What the town does need is a third egress at 611 on & off the Rt 7 bypass. Why is this not being seriously discussed? Why are extending turn lanes from Berlin Turnpike to Route 7 east and west not being discussed? Either of these projects would move traffic more easily in and out of town, and neither would require the construction of not one, but two roundabouts. I purchased my home in Purcellville particularly because it was not in proximity to a main thoroughfare. That worked out well until the town condemned a working farm and paved Route 1610 through the back of my property and on to 690. As with many projects, residents will just have to wait and see what businesses pop up on the coattails of this debacle, and who profits.

  4. Karen Jimmerson says:

    “if you don’t like it move!”

    I am about done with hearing this from those who defend the pro-developer politicians. Many residents in Purcellville moved from eastern points in Loudoun, they wanted less crowded schools, a safer living environment, and a friendlier environment to live in. Purcellville is at a crossroads, where it will cease to be what sets it apart from all other town’s in Loudoun or it will be just another Sterling or Ashburn. The manner in which this road was handled and the tactics involved were all meant to take what “they” wanted ( they they being developers who are chomping at the bit to force the Brown’s out). The Brown’s were not compensated fairly for their property and what about loss of income from their inability to access their property on the other side of the SCR?

    • Michael says:

      I moved my family here 4 years ago after living in Leesburg for 3 years. I like being out in the country or I would have moved to Ashburn or South Riding. I was against the SCR, especially the way it was handled, but I live south of town so it benefits me directly. Once Woodgrove HS opened the traffic in town improved and I don’t see much difference in using the SCR or going through town. The roundabout is horrible and folks coming east/west think they somehow have the right of way over those traveling north/south. It should have been made one lane, not two. Anyway, I am for no more development. I realize that some things must change but please vote for candidates who support not turning us into Ashburn West! Do not let them change the public hearing requirements for zoning on August 15th! Go and make your opinion known!

  5. Robin Eublind says:

    According to Carolyn Lazaro, Mrs Mayor, “This land is God’s land and the farmer was just trying to keep it for himself”. That being the case, I suppose the land theft by eminent domain was against the Almighty himself. It’s alright though, the Mayor and his family paid it forward when the town squandered millions on the overvalued money pit of the Baptist church they were members of for the Purcellville town office building. I guess it was God’s land that Lord Fairfax deeded to the Brown family in 1741, well before we became a nation with Eminent Domain statutes. Mrs Mayor will have a rude awakening when she meets the reality that a large majority of Purcellville town residents are upset at the imbalance between public and private plans and priorities, and will no longer be upset when he is not re-elected.

  6. Lisa Tobias says:

    The Kelo decision by Supreme Court upended our traditional understanding of eminent domain. In brief:

    Kelo v. City of New London, 545 U.S. 469 (2005)[1] was a case decided by the Supreme Court of the United States involving the use of eminent domain to transfer land from one private owner to another private owner to further economic development. In a 5–4 decision, the Court held that the general benefits a community enjoyed from economic growth qualified private redevelopment plans as a permissible “public use” under the Takings Clause of the Fifth Amendment.
    The case arose in the context of condemnation by the city of New London, Connecticut, of privately owned real property, so that it could be used as part of a “comprehensive redevelopment plan.” However, the private developer was unable to obtain financing and abandoned the redevelopment project, leaving the land as an empty lot, which was eventually turned into a temporary dump.

    Unfortunately for us all, the Constitution is being shredded daily. Necessity need no longer apply, and we are all the poorer for it.

  7. Mary Moorcones says:

    I am 71 years old and grew up in Purcellville. It has changed dramatically from a small town to a collection of suburbs. Whereas I agree that more people have brought town attitudes for the better, the Urban sprawl and the Marsh and Lazaro Councils have brought too much town development without sufficient planning.

    Why did the Council not take the money they offered the Browns and build a bridge (with runoff protections) over the Brown land? They did not want to find a solution. The Browns often fought more development which the Council wanted.

  8. Mary Moorcones says:

    I wrote the piece above. I voted with my feet by moving from Purcellville.

  9. Iron Maiden says:

    I don’t believe the Browns are unhappy with transplants. They love people moving to town. I have been to their farm to pick apples in the fall and they love having families and children there. There apple cider is AWESOME and you should see the wreaths that Mrs. Brown makes, just beautiful. This is a gem for Purcellville. I am sure there was another alternative for the road. I traveled it yesterday and I was the only one on it. Most of the time I travel Main Street because all of the business I use are on Main Street, i.e. Rite Aid, cleaners, etc.

  10. Jen Coleslaw says:

    There are always alternatives to roads. I am horrified that a working farm was seized by ED for something as banal as a road. Virginia needs to do a much better job at preserving its history. As we in PWC fight this ‘baby beltway’ nonsense I am reminded at how shortsighted county government is, hitching their wagons to the ‘stars” of development and roads and highways. None of those things have ever made community, in fact I would say all those things fracture it further. It doesn’t matter if you’re a liberal or conservative–we all can use more “community” in NoVA and places like Purcellville have it in spades. Until it is criss-crossed with highways.

    Your mileage may vary.

  11. Mary Ball says:

    Funny thing about Eminent Domain. It doesn’t happen to wealthy property owners. It happens to people like the Browns. Do you think if Paul Mellon’s family owned Crooked Run there’d be a Southern Connector running through it? Hardly. Say what you will about “progress” or the future of Purcellville. The larger issue is this flagrant abuse of governmental power. Even people who don’t care that Purcellville is doomed to be another Sterling should care about ordinary American citizens having their private property rights raped and pillaged by the government. Even when it is done by small-time, grandeur-seeking potentates.

  12. Paul says:

    All real interesting comments. I applaud Sam for keeping his farm in light of the new road. At one point that road was to traverse the O’Toole property further east but lawsuits against and the wrath of the County ended that alignment. Is the SCR necessary? Check back in 15-20 years. Like Mary I am a native Northern Virginia, born and raise din rural western Fairfax, on a farm. “What?” You say rural Fairfax? Yep and we all know what happened there don;t we. I didn’t like it, my ponds I fished in as a boy were filled, my cow pastures turned into McMansions and fancy people and m river access denied by “private property” signs everywhere with many of th new owners foreign! That is America and that is progress I guess so I got over it and moved the LOCO.

    Well, flash forward to Pville in the 80’s and we are a sleepy small town that suddenly everyone loves. All the folks from Farifax and east LOCO, now fully Fairfaxed into suburbia want to live in the “country”. Only Pville is not country but on the edge of the development push. Virginia is a property rights state and farmers sold their land in droves, subdivided and before you know it Ashburn west is here. Well, Ashburn needs roads and so does Pville and the SCR is a logical way for all the growth to come north and east around Main Street. Just as Hirst Road is the northern by-pass.

    Why the roads you ask? Because the LOCO boards of old have approved tens of thousands of new homes south of Pville. Only the federal economic meltdown and big bank malarkey tanked the economy and shelved the development plans. If you moved here in the last two decades and believe you are in the “country” I suggest you wake up and be prepared to move over the ridge line.

    Unlike Mary I like Pville now. I knew it would grow and four times the people would come and call it home. That is what we have been calling progress now for a generation. I personally would like to have seen no change..nada, as is in 1985. But then all the new people bitching about growth living in the new houses out here wound not be here to bitch. Actually, that would have been nice and Sam could have kept his farm intact!

  13. David says:

    So now that everyone is pissed- who is running against them in the next election? Got any takers?

  14. P says:

    Let’s see what every ine says when they come to take your land to widen 690 and 287 in the name of progress.

  15. Iron Maiden says:

    Nancy, seems you’ve opened a can of worms here. $432,000 for the loss of use of their farm is beyond ridiculous. The loss of income and the decrease in safety for Mr. Brown comes to mind. I guess that’s part of the cheerleading for TEAM BOB. To put into terms that homeowners inside of the town can understand, that equates to approximately $15,000 per quarter acre. Are you saying that those living in a residential neighbor would go ahead and sell their homes for $100K less for the good of the town and community for a road with no destination? It is a disgrace to the community what our “leaders” have done to this historic farm that attracts visitors from all over the DC region. I haven’t traveled this road and I won’t. And for the sake of sanity and your tax dollar, please inform yourselves of the real workings of this town.

    • Paul says:

      All the comments are interesting and the new road does go across some of Crooked Run. At one time it was to mainly go across the O’Toole property to the east and less on Crooked Run but I have lost track of all the legal ramblings that nixed that idea. If it had the farm there would have kept more land. The farm does appear to still be in business so that is good and I’m sure it will make a go of it as it is very popular all around the area. That makes me very happy.

      Look, I got to break it to you….the road is built. I drove it, nice and wide and it does cut my drive time down a bit as I head south and out of Pville. It does keep me off Main Street which I guess was the plan. I would move on to your next issue up the crawl…maybe drive through restaurants are not to your liking or having new sidewalks are a waste as who cares if a wheelchair or stroller has to traverse a roadway…ain’t me doing it right. And if the Downtown sidewalks ain’t ADA compliant and some disabled dude falls off the cliffs down there, too bad for him I guess. Good for the lawyers through.

      Guvment does many things, especially at the Fed level, that we personally may object to but apparently most people done’t care about, must agree with or could care less. So while it is nice to complain it ain’t stopping them. If you think the SCR is a transportation “taking” let me relate some REAL tales of what have been taken across this nation in the name of vehicle movement and access to soon to be developed land. Those big banks and developers need their millions after all, how can they join the club otherwise.

      The democratic answer is always at the ballot box (supposedly) so vote out the culprits that build roads and infrastructure and vote in the culprits that won’t build anything useful except perhaps pay raises and vacations for themselves. OK, the latter would be Congress so we are doing a real poor job at the ballot box it appears.

      I do wonder, however, where all this Holy rancor was over the decades as farm after farm after farm out here got bulldozed, developed and traffic went from a tractor a day to vehicles breathing down your back bumper because you wont speed at least 10 over the limit…(heck junior is late for practice). I always wonder where all the “complainers” come from as so often they live on what was once a beautiful farm, bulldozed to oblivion with new roads built all over to allow them to build their homestead and move here. Only to complain when it keeps happening around them after they move out. Newsflash…you ain’t the Center of the Universe. Look where you live, work and drive and then look up the word hypocrite in the dictionary. If you ain’t on a dirt road with land about you that won’t sell the label might just apply.

      • Karen Jimmerson says:

        Most of Western Loudoun is zoned such that massive tracts of development aren’t allowable, except within town limits. Right now, the Town of Purcellville is at work with developers and land owners just outside of town to annex property so that it can be developed at a higher density. What road will be expanded or created and whose property will be destroyed in that process? I am all for someone making money on their land and selling it, but when it is zoned 3 houses per acre and then changed to higher density, it changes the entire dynamic surrounding that land and the roads that politicians insist need to be built because we citizens demand it, when the demand was created because our politicians keep changing the zoning and allowing high density so far away from employment centers. Purcellville may think it is being green by allowing more high density, but when you consider the majority of the people who live here do not work here, you are only putting more vehicles on Rte 7 going East……and before we know it, we are paying for Rte 7 to be expanded, so temporarily we will enjoy less traffic and our politicians will believe it is ok to approve more development, only to keep us on the development hamster wheel.

        20 years ago I stood on the W&OD overpass at Route 28. There was NOTHING as far as the eye could see; no Carmax, Wegmans, or anything. The road was built and development was made possible thanks to the road. The development came and more improvements to Rte 28 were needed. This cycle will continue to infinity.

        The owner of the O’Toole property that borders the SCR has already made clear they wish to be rezoned……rezoning that will lead to development that will negate the traffic improvements that the SCR is touted to mitigate.

        • Paul says:

          I agree with about everything you say Karen. We have already experienced all that out here (hamster wheel) once when everybody built and moved out here when you were watching from Sterling I was watching from Purcellville. Route 7 used to be a two-lane highway, over two decades ago it was paved into the 4 lane interstate of today. The County of that day wanted all growth around towns like Pville to concentrate in the center around the new Route 7 so all the workers could commute east where the jobs are located. Thousands of people moved out to the “country” and they are still coming.

          However, there are thousands of 3 acres building sites out west all approved and ready. Only the economy and market has held them dormant for now. The County did up zone the land but left thousands of non-conforming lots in place. Purcellville’s traffic upgrades are in response both to the massive growth in town and the growth around town over the past 2 decades. The former growth was Purcellville’s choice and the latter planned by the County. Most of the people in Purcellville now would not be living here but for all the growth and new homes built.

          Yes, that will mean transportation will slow again. Heck, when the by-pass opened, Main Street was slow and easy…for awhile. Same for when the 4 lane by-pass was built. But always the growth kept coming and the town and county population in the area quadrupled. Everyone brought at least 2 cars with them as they moved out here to the new houses and subdivisions. Main Street eventually became the gridlocked suburban street of today where making a left requires a signal or heavy acceleration and luck. So yep, what you say is true in the east, already happened here too, slowed a bit and will keep happening. As for being a “green” community. How about re-installing rail on the W&OD and letting people take a commuter train in to work? Now that woudl be forward thinking and never happen of course. Too European of us.

          As for the O’Toole property negating the SCR/roundabout benefits…that property by itself is too small to do that. Th3 SCR is aimed at the development to the south of Purcellville. The hundreds and hundreds of home sin Locust Grove, Hirst Farm, Gardner Meadows, Village Case, etc., plus the hundreds more south of town such as in Woodmar Farm or Black Oak. Both once beautiful farms much larger than Crooked Run and both totally transformed into Mansion-filled properties with multiple vehicles headed north to Purcellville and beyond.

          Nope, growth is a fixture in a property rights state such as Virginia. You can try to handle it, accommodate it logically, plan for it and save as much of the natural beauty and resources as possible. But what you cannot do….is stop it. If there is a market for people wanting to move here, buy a house, educate their kids and commute wherever to their jobs, well then growth will continue.

  16. Karen Jimmerson says:

    Paul, it is quite the conundrum. If developers want to bulldoze everything, then let them pay their fair share for the privilege: make them pay a larger share of building the roads and infrastructure needed so that each home built doesn’t end up costing more to give services than they generate in tax revenue.

    The O’Toole Property is bordered by undeveloped property, which is 10 acres. Added to the O’Toole 17 acres and you have enough to build another strip mall shopping nightmare. In years past the owner has offered deals to the Town to annex and rezone the property, therefore it is a given that it will happen.

    The property across from John Deere is already being eyed for “mixed-use developement”, which *gasp* of course they want to build more APARTMENTS! I am not sure why there is such a need to build so many apartments in Purcellville. If we continue building strip malls with big box retail and franchises galore, then yes, apartments are necessary because that is the only type of housing those employed in those establishments can afford to live in. For Low-wage Workers: 88% Are Older Than 20, one-third are over 40 and most have kids! We are not talking about high school or college kids getting employment.

    As it is now, Purcellville has the HIGHEST ratio of Tax-Credit apartments, in fact ALL apartments in Purcellville are tax-credit. The reason likely for there being no mid-to upper scale apartments is that no young professional wants to commute 35 miles for the privilege of living in an apartment, especially one whose market rate rents are the same as those closer to the city and employment centers. If all we bring to Purcellville is subsidized housing and chain-store hourly jobs, then the Town of Purcellville will denigrate into a place to shop and get out and not a place to live and play. Coupled with our high water/sewer rates and town taxes, this Town is begging for people to flee to homes outside of town. Perhaps our Town leaders prefer to have a transient town with little voter turn out instead of an invested populace who care about their neighborhoods and the quality of the life within their Town, their actions certainly seem to indicate as such.

    • Paul says:

      A conundrum it is Karen, and that is a great word with a lot of meanings. I agree on the infrastructure costs but in Virginia given the political party in control good luck getting developers to pay for any more impact costs.

      As for the apartments, the market will dictate what gets built. Those “subsidized” apartments you gasp about serve a purpose, they provide shelter for those who can’t afford the big Mcmansions ringing the town limits and beyond. Not everybody can be affluent even in a “rich” county like Loudoun. Yet everybody woudl like a roof over their heads and their children. As for chain store store hourly jobs, any job is a good job when you are out of work. Furthermore, I know for a fact Purcellville is growing a lot of much higher paying jobs right here in town now. There are companies squirreled away that pay a great deal more than chain store wages. The fact is most people with what you woudl consider a “real” job commute cause we are a small town in a still pretty rural area and 95% of the “real” jobs lie east and north of here. Unless you advocate bringing in large manufacturing or massive office parks for defense contractors that will not change much.

      And I mean this place has changed big time already, BIG time. What is going to make that stop now all of a sudden? What wizard just cast a stop building spell from Lord of the Rings or Harry Potter? If we want something preserved we need to publicly buy it or get a conservation easement on it. This town has eased hundreds of acres for conservation already, more than most if not all towns it’s size in Virginia.

      But as for stopping growth, good luck. It has been coming out here since the 18th century and hasn’t stopped yet. And the growth maybe apartments and people will live there and they can then have the dignity of a place of their own. Nothing wrong with that in my book.

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Columns

The Holocene Climate

noerpel_new

(Public Input Loudoun County Board of Supervisors, 7 March, 2017) Figure 1 shows the climate variation over the last million years. The low points on the curve correspond to ice ages when glaciers up to a mile thick covered New …

Choosing To Forgive

moore-sobelnewmug

By Samuel Moore-Sobel “Truly forgiving is the ability to say, ‘Thank you for giving me that experience.’” James Arthur Ray vaulted into fame on the Oprah Winfrey Show back in the mid-2000’s. Stunned hearing these words while watching The Rise and …

Five Key Retirement Questions

Smith0035

Beyond asking yourself where you see yourself and even what your lifelong goal are, effective retirement and longevity planning begs some very big questions. Review the points below and consider how housing, transportation and health considerations all play a role …

Work Woes

drmikenewpic

By Michael Oberschneider, Psy.D. Dr. Mike, I’m a manager at a large tech company and my boss has directed me to fire someone on my team, but as a Christian, I just can’t do it. It’s true that the employee …

Joy or Suffering

Lunde new

By Mary Rose Lunde No one likes to suffer. When given the chance, many people would choose to laugh rather than cry, to sit in silence with their friends rather than talk through their feelings, because not even their friends …

Wage Radio

wage

I will always remember – very fondly – the first time I ever set foot on the property at 711 Wage Drive Southwest in Leesburg, Virginia. It was a warm, sunny July morning in 1997, and I’d driven all the …

Speaking Truth to Power

noerpel_new

“With public sentiment nothing can fail. Without it nothing can succeed.” Abraham Lincoln On Thursday evening, February 23, I requested the Board of Supervisors pass a proclamation resolving to support the March for Science on Earth Day, April 22 [1]. …

Student News

Congratulations, Class of 2016

6 Jul 2016

grads_woodgrove

Woodgrove High School’s Class Of 2016 Graduation – By Amanda Clark On June 16, Woodgrove’s Class of 2016 was the 5th graduating class to walk the stage and accept their diploma. The ceremony was filled with anticipation as the chorus, …

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Buckland Earns Degree In Medicine

6 Jul 2016

buckland

Molly Buckland, D.O., graduated from the West Virginia School of Osteopathic Medicine with a degree of Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine on May 28. While at WVSOM, Dr. Buckland received the Dr. Roland P. Sharp President’s Award and the James R. …

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Adams Promoted To Lieutenant

6 Jul 2016

adamspromoted

Lt. James Adams, from Sterling and a Potomac Falls Halls Graduate, earned the promotion to the rank of Lieutenant. Adams is a Navy Week and Executive Outreach Planner for the Navy Office of Community Outreach in Millington, Tennessee. U.S. Navy …

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Calendar

March 2017
Monday Tuesday Wednesday Thursday Friday Saturday Sunday
February 27, 2017 February 28, 2017 March 1, 2017 March 2, 2017 March 3, 2017

LAST HAM STANDING COMEDY IMPROV

LAST HAM STANDING COMEDY IMPROV
March 4, 2017

Notaviva Vineyards - Bluegrass Jam - FREE event

Notaviva Vineyards - Bluegrass Jam - FREE event
March 5, 2017
March 6, 2017 March 7, 2017 March 8, 2017 March 9, 2017 March 10, 2017 March 11, 2017 March 12, 2017
March 13, 2017 March 14, 2017 March 15, 2017 March 16, 2017 March 17, 2017 March 18, 2017

Wine & Chili Weekend

Wine & Chili Weekend
March 19, 2017

Joshua Carr River Safety Foundation Rummage Sale

Joshua Carr River Safety Foundation Rummage Sale
March 20, 2017 March 21, 2017 March 22, 2017 March 23, 2017 March 24, 2017

March Fourth Friday

March Fourth Friday
March 25, 2017 March 26, 2017

Spring Brunch

Spring Brunch

Spring Brunch

Spring Brunch
March 27, 2017 March 28, 2017 March 29, 2017 March 30, 2017 March 31, 2017 April 1, 2017

”Homage to Mother Earth”

”Homage to Mother Earth”

Nebbiolo Vertical Tasting

Nebbiolo Vertical Tasting

Notaviva Vineyards - Bluegrass Jam - FREE event

Notaviva Vineyards - Bluegrass Jam - FREE event

Old Time Country Ham and Turkey Dinner

Old Time Country Ham and Turkey Dinner
April 2, 2017

”Homage to Mother Earth”

”Homage to Mother Earth”

GALLERY COFFEEHOUSE: Readers Theater, “One Slight Hitch”

GALLERY COFFEEHOUSE: Readers Theater, “One Slight Hitch”
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Lifestyle

Sterling Library Moving To New Location

25 Mar 2017

Library

Sterling Library’s current location, 120 Enterprise St., Sterling, will close beginning Saturday, March 25, to prepare for the opening of the new Sterling Library on Saturday, April 15. Patrons can return library materials using the drop box at the new location, 22330 S. Sterling Boulevard. Printer-friendly Related

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Middleburg Gallery Presents Country Pursuits Exhibit

25 Mar 2017

Mr and Mrs Andrews 24x35 59 2016 whelan

The Gallery on Madison in Middleburg is presenting an exhibit of Brian Whelan’s (a London Irish painter now settled in Waterford) ) transcriptions of a gallery of paintings by Thomas Gainsborough, ‘Mr. and Mrs. Andrews’ through April 2. The exhibit includes 23 paintings, two masks, two graphics, and nine preparatory drawings. Printer-friendly Related

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Loudoun Workforce Resource Center Presents STEM Career Fair March 28

16 Mar 2017

Illustration of STEM education word typography design in orange theme with icon ornament elements

Anyone interested in a career in the rapidly growing field of STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) is encouraged to attend an upcoming STEM Career Fair in Loudoun. The Loudoun Workforce Resource Center, in partnership with Northern Virginia Community College (NVCC)’s Loudoun campus and NOVA SySTEMic Solutions, is holding a STEM Career Fair Tuesday, March 28, from 1:00 to 4:00 …

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Around Virginia

Virginia Schools Kick Off Statewide Campaign To Encourage Safe Teen Driving

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More teen drivers in Virginia will be involved in traffic crashes between the months of May and August than any other time of the year, statistics show. To help save lives and prevent such crashes during the high-risk warm weather months, Virginia schools are kicking off a statewide teen safety …

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Protecting Free Speech

Dave_larock

By Dave LaRock (R-33) As elected officials and members of the legislature, our most fundamental responsibility is to protect God-given constitutionally protected rights. The First Amendment of the United States Constitution prohibits the government, including governmental public colleges and universities, from infringing on free speech and the free exercise of …

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Walbridge To Run for State Delegate in the 33rd District

Tia walbridge

Tia Walbridge announces her run for the District 33 seat in the Virginia House of Delegates. Walbridge is a wife and mother of two daughters and an active member of the Round Hill community. “Like many people in our district, my family has found its prosperity in a Virginia-based small …

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Sports

Vikings Runner-Up at the State Championship 

8 Mar 2017

vikings

The Loudoun Valley Vikings are the boy’s runner-up at the VHSL 4A State Indoor Track and Field Championships at Roanoke College.  During the 2015-2016 school year, the Loudoun County School Board approved Indoor Track and Field as a Tier 2 (self-funded) sport.  The seven boys competing scored 48 points, second …

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WLVBC U14 Boys Finish 3rd at VA Beach Event

23 Feb 2017

WLVBC300

The Western Loudoun Volleyball Club’s U14 Boys Team garnered 3rd place in their first travel tournament of 2017, the Virginia Beach Invitational. This event was held Feb. 18-19 and featured more than 24 teams from the U14 to U18 age group. The team was second on their net on day …

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