Vote No To the Minor Special Exception

We are a group of Loudoun County citizens who will be adversely affected if the board grants a special exception for the Catesby Farm property at your upcoming meeting. You all seemed genuinely surprised that the 60 some Catesby opponents in attendance at the October hearing would rather have a bed and breakfast, as opposed to a banquet and events venue at Catesby.

There are a number of reasons why:

  • Granting the exception does not limit their ability to exercise their by-rights ability to open a bed and breakfast in addition to the banquet events venue, so your action would actually enable the potential for more events, not fewer.
  • A bed and breakfast at Catesby is an acceptable use of their property, and in keeping with both the spirit of the comprehensive plan for Western Loudoun and with the nature of the historic, agricultural, and residential area it resides. A B&B would allow them to do what they want to do without needing to grant them a special exception.
  • If you approve this action, you will send a message that this is appropriate anywhere, and will set a dangerous precedent for other such inappropriate uses of property in fragile areas. Once this precedent is set, it will be difficult to deny any others.
  • The applicants have a right to try to make money from their property, but the surrounding properties have rights too. Having an events venue as opposed to a B&B will reduce property values dramatically. Studies have cited a 35 percent decrease for adjoining properties. Should the County approve the action, is it really fair that one landowner can directly cause the diminution in value for so many others?
  • Even if modified, the proposed commercial use will initiate a variety of actions that are intrinsically at odds with the local area and possibly in violation of state or federal regulations or statutes: Unpaved rural roads, an important feature and asset to the rural historic neighborhood are described in a study of record in the county application documents as inadequate to safely accommodate projected traffic loads and service vehicles without disruption to residential and agricultural patterns of use.
  • The impacts on the environment, including incursion or run off into flood plains and downstream impacts are as yet unknown. Late night operations will degrade the “dark skies” and amplified music will cross property lines at levels above the stated maximums allowed under county regulations.

We hope the board will consider that a large number of your constituents oppose this action (as evidenced by the turnout at the hearing, and how many times we rose when asked) and we implore you to vote no on the exception.

Citizens Opposed to the Catesby Project
Middleburg