By Andrea Gaines
In what many town residents will remember as one of the saddest days in recent memory, the Town of Purcellville last month bulldozed hundreds and hundreds of trees, including nearly 100 fruit producing trees, on the 250 year old working farm, Crooked Run Orchard.
Said local businessman Tom Inman, “We’re going to look like Sterling, and frankly, that’s not the reason I moved to Purcellville.”
The Crooked Run Orchard saga has been going on for many years – but this was a theshold moment.
Sam and Uta Brown, owners of Crooked Run, challenged town plans to put the Souther Collector Road (SCR) through their farm, and transform the eastern edge of town into a major commercial area, complete with Big Box stores, a roundabout and a major highway. The highway will cut the farm in two and encircle both Crooked Run Orchard and several residential communities, including Village Case. The SCR will be two lanes when first built, but many expect that to grow to four lanes as the town has secured a right of way for up to four lanes.
Purcellville condemned by quick take over half of a 16 acre parcel on the farm – one of three parcels totaling over 90 acres.
Many say the Southern Collector Road is simply a way to facilitate even more development in the area, arguing that even before the road is completed, requests for rezonings and special exceptions will come before the town, threatening to change forever the last bit of agricultural land in Purcellville.
This first action by the town has split the farm in two, resulting in a big problem for Brown. The SCR’s path bisects the internal dirt farm road Brown’s family has used for decades to access Crooked Run’s back 45 acres, which includes a peach orchard. Recent construction has nearly eliminated the farm road and also prevents Crooked Run Orchard’s pick your own customers from accessing the area.
Town documents had claimed to have made provisions for such access. But, to date, the town has not delivered on its promise.