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Do You Want a Frat House Next Door to You?

August 9, 2012 by Blue Ridge Leader filed under Dear Editor, Opinion, Uncategorized 7 Comments
town of purcellville sign

On August 16 at the new Town Hall (7:00 p.m.) the Purcellville Planning Commission and Town Council will hold a joint meeting on a proposal to amend residential zoning to accommodate “Student Homes”. What is driving this proposed amendment? Patrick Henry College wants to rent available homes and put up to eight students and a Residential Assistant (and other employees) per home to resolve their obvious failure to properly plan for the needs of their expanding student population. Patrick Henry also appears to be in a bit of a time crunch; trying to gain approval using combined Planning Commission/Town Council meetings where minimal quorums for both can be gathered. Taking from a popular conservative broadcaster’s mantra, “Here is what you need to know”:

  • The zoning amendment effects nearly every neighborhood in Purcellville.
  • No analysis has been conducted to support their claim that the zoning amendment is “in the interest of public necessity, general welfare and good zoning practice”. (Give me a Break!)
  • This is not good legislation as currently proposed. Its poorly written ordinance contains multiple pitfalls that could lower your home values and be further exploited if permanently enacted.
  • The criteria under which the proposed amendment would be executed and/or constrained is woefully inadequate, and does not consider the infrastructure confines of many Purcellville neighborhoods.
  • Residential areas with covenant restrictions will not be immune as those houses backing up to areas with no such restrictions may be more susceptible to having to put up with the fallout from this proposal.

Imagine the Used Car lot in the driveway next to you, the noise and the sudden increase in traffic. What kinds of economic and urban planning analysis has been conducted to warrant such as sweeping waiver of standing zoning ordinances (particulary to areas designated soley for single family dwellings). The answer is none.

Numerous reasonable alternatives to this amendment could provide Patrick Henry College an interim solution until such time as they can build adequate facilities on their recently expanded campus. For instance, the College could work with the Purcellville populace to establish cooperative student housing provisions for individual students (similar to hosting foreign students or when the town provides for the Little League Tournament’s needs). This could be of tremendous benefit to many upstanding local families (voters) in need of extra income during these hard economic times without stressing local neighborhoods. We have seen no such pursuit of an effort like this from Patrick Henry to overcome their self-imposed problems. Their approach instead, is to exert leverage on the Town Council and permanently burden the Purcellville populace. Make no mistake, this “Institution of Higher Learning” that specializes in the protection of individual freedom, is counting on your apathy towards your community to get what they want.

What do you think? Is this being done in the spirit of community partnership or does the need to house a few students, outweigh the needs of Purcellville residents? This amendment is simply not ready for prime time, nor is it good for our community. It solves Patrick Henry’s problem at our enduring expense.

Last Sunday, I spoke with several supportive local business owners and residents who all had very negative things to say about the Town Council’s lack of regard for their interests. Almost all expressed to me that my individual opinion wouldn’t matter. My response to this is simply that many voices are more likely heard than just one. If voters do not show up, we cannot hang this mistake on our Town Council’s shoulders. Please come to the Town Hall meeting on Thursday August 16 at 7:00 p.m. (be aware of sudden “changes” to the date/time of the meeting) to express your opposition to this amendment. We can find a better solution for all involved, if we get involved.

Chris Funkhauser
Purcellville

7 comments

  1. Cassandra says:

    Having lived in several well-known “college towns” around the country I can tell you from personal experience that no good would come from passage of Patrick Henry’s proposal. I’ve seen it in Cambridge MA and in Berkeley and Palo Alto CA. Cramming groups of students into what are supposed to be regular family homes makes for neighborhood problems and increased public safety pressures. Such homes are often subject to deferred maintenance, suffer from parking, noise and trash collection issues, and would likely reduce neighborhood real estate values. Once they are permitted, what limit is there on how many such homes can be accommodated, and where? Face it: Students are in essence transients, whose priorities are unlikely to include neighborhood improvement.

    Encouraging housing of one or two students at a time with willing local families is a much more neighborhood-resident (and student) -friendly policy. The monkey is properly on Patrick Henry’s back to house their students on campus, and Purcellville shouldn’t have to bear that cost by rushing into altering its SFR zoning. If the zoning doesn’t now include boarding houses, Purcellville ought to think twice or maybe three times about this.

  2. Bob L. says:

    What PHC wants, PHC gets, right GOBGN? Think we’ll ever see this happen in Bob or Janet’s neighborhood?

  3. Purcellville Resident says:

    I cannot believe this is even making it to be on an agenda.
    This should have been rejected immediately by the Town.

    The Town Council is ELECTED to represent and do what is BEST for the residents of the town.
    NO ONE in their right mind could think this is good for the town or residents.
    However since the PHC are well connected and could help some members (meaning Mayor) achieve greater political power of course the Town will have to give it serious consideration.

    I can only say that if this passes, every current member of the Town Council and the Mayor should step down because they have completely forgot who they are suppose to be representing and working for.

    Wake UP PURCELLVILLE these folks are taking you for a HECK of a ride.

  4. Ron K says:

    8 students and a resident assistant are not a Frat, You all are denying needy students housing, you should be ashamed of yourselves.. With the right permissions in place, those empty houses could be making people some money, and some people will even keep their houses this way. Don’t be NIMBY’s, remember the poor student living on ramen noodles..

  5. The Imitator says:

    The idea that eight PHC students and a RA constitute a frat house is laughable. We’re talking about Patrick Henry College, not University of Florida at Gainesville. Relax.

  6. PHC Senior says:

    I understand the potential for houses full of college students to be a detriment to the community. By all means, if voting community members are opposed to this proposal, their voices should be heard and considered.

    Here are just a few things to consider:

    - Quite a few students have arrangements to live with local families.

    - It would be absurd for the college to build a dorm (capacity 100-150 students) to meet the needs of, say, 40-odd students.

    - It would be difficult to arrange with 40+ different families for the housing of said students, especially considering that quite a few students already are living in such arrangements.

    - I’ve never seen alcohol or any other banned substances on campus, and there is no reason to assume that alcohol would be present in RA-supervised houses.

  7. PHC alumni says:

    Having attended PHC for 4+ years I can safely say that the community can rest at ease. It is incredibly unfair to compare the college to Berkley or any other government funded liberal institution.

    Unlike those Universities, students at PHC do not attend to party and sleep around. Alcohol and Tobacco are banned, not only on campus but for the entire duration of attendance at PHC. When I attended all students were required to sign a code saying they would not use either, a violation of this code resulted in disciplinary action by the school (I don’t know if students physically have to sign the code anymore, but it is still in affect).

    PHC students are extremely mature (in some cases more so than 40 or 50 year old people I know). Unlike our peers we are very goal oriented and responsible.

    We have always been grateful for the hospitality of Purcellville and will continue to be in the future.
    Yours,
    Joshua Gibbs
    2010 PHC Grad

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1602 Village Market Blvd SE
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VAL Movies Under the Stars

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Village at Leesburg
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VAL Movies Under the Stars

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July 25, 2014

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Village at Leesburg 5th Annual Summer Block Party

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314-602-1325

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3 – 8 p.m.  FREE

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Blue Ridge Thunder Cloggers Summer Camps

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July 28, 2014

38327 Charles Town Pike
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540.454.8639

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Blue Ridge Thunder Cloggers Summer Camps

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July 29, 2014

38327 Charles Town Pike
Waterford, 20197
540.454.8639

The Blue Ridge Thunder Cloggers are offering two, fun summer camps!  If you've never clogged before, join us July 28 - Aug 1 for our Novice Camp.  Hours are 9:00am - 12:00pm.  If you are an experienced clogger, join us Aug 4 - Aug 8 from 9:00am - 12:00pm for our Experienced Camp.  Ages 8 through adult.  $50 per camp.

30

Blue Ridge Thunder Cloggers Summer Camps

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July 30, 2014

38327 Charles Town Pike
Waterford, 20197
540.454.8639

The Blue Ridge Thunder Cloggers are offering two, fun summer camps!  If you've never clogged before, join us July 28 - Aug 1 for our Novice Camp.  Hours are 9:00am - 12:00pm.  If you are an experienced clogger, join us Aug 4 - Aug 8 from 9:00am - 12:00pm for our Experienced Camp.  Ages 8 through adult.  $50 per camp.

31

Blue Ridge Thunder Cloggers Summer Camps

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July 31, 2014

38327 Charles Town Pike
Waterford, 20197
540.454.8639

The Blue Ridge Thunder Cloggers are offering two, fun summer camps!  If you've never clogged before, join us July 28 - Aug 1 for our Novice Camp.  Hours are 9:00am - 12:00pm.  If you are an experienced clogger, join us Aug 4 - Aug 8 from 9:00am - 12:00pm for our Experienced Camp.  Ages 8 through adult.  $50 per camp.

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Blue Ridge Thunder Cloggers Summer Camps

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August 1, 2014

38327 Charles Town Pike
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540.454.8639

The Blue Ridge Thunder Cloggers are offering two, fun summer camps!  If you've never clogged before, join us July 28 - Aug 1 for our Novice Camp.  Hours are 9:00am - 12:00pm.  If you are an experienced clogger, join us Aug 4 - Aug 8 from 9:00am - 12:00pm for our Experienced Camp.  Ages 8 through adult.  $50 per camp.

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Loudoun County Sheriff’s Office (LCSO) Child Safety Day

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August 2, 2014

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Notaviva Vineyards - Bluegrass Jam - FREE event

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540-668-6756

Notaviva Vineyards presents their monthly Bluegrass Jam a FREE event held the first Saturday of every month!

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Summer Saturdays

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Village at Leesburg presents a music concert series. Come listen to various artists on Saturday July 19th, Saturday August 2nd, Saturday August 9th, Saturday August 16th, Saturday August 30th, Sunday August 31st, and Monday September 1st at Village at Leesburg in Fountain Court. There will be performances by Paul Pfau & Connor Pledger (R&B former The Voice contestants), Julian Roso (Acoustic Pop), Todd Wright Band (Alternative Pop Covers), Poorhouse Rd (Americana Blues), Music Bone (Electric Rock/Jazz), Gina de Simone & The Moaners (Swing/Dance), AJ Sith & The Apollo (Indie Rock) on alternating nights. For the full music schedule please visit villageatleesburg.com

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View From the Ridge

There’s a New Gang in Town – And Isn’t It Time?

3 Jun 2014

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For many, the recent town-wide elections in Purcellville present all of western Loudoun with a significant opportunity to launch a more citizen-focused future. On July 1 there will be a new mayor and a decidedly different balance of power on the Purcellville Town Council, as four new members with fresh …

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Editorial

War Madness

25 Jul 2014

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The Dying Gaul By John P. Flannery In a world that prefers to war, can’t get enough of it, innocents are killed, and those senseless incidents in turn provoke more war. It happened in the Ukraine and the testosterone is running high. Ukraine calls to the West to put up or shut up with military force, not just economic sanctions. …

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Bed and Breakfasts – Boon or Threat to the Rural Economy?

3 Jun 2014

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By Malcolm and Pamela Baldwin Breaking news, in case you missed it: the Board of Supervisors has created new rules for bed-and-breakfast establishments in Loudoun, among them an increase in the number and frequency of events – such as weddings – B&Bs are allowed to host on their properties. At the same time, the board also tightened fire safety, building …

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Lifestyle

Feed Loudoun – Fresh Food Drive

27 Jul 2014

Photo attached courtesy Julia Brizendine: What is gleaning? It is the harvesting of food for the needy. This tradition goes back to ancient times when landholders allowed folks in need to harvest left-over crops. In eighteenth century England, the sexton would often ring a church bell at eight o'clock in the morning and again at seven in the evening to alert needy families when they were invited to collect crops. As a volunteer, gleaning is a fun, family activity that usually lasts no more than about 2 hours on a beautiful day. It is also a good activity for groups who are looking for community outreach projects.

Special report by Mark Gunderman Photo courtesy Julia Brizendine: What is gleaning? It is the harvesting of food for the needy. This tradition goes back to ancient times when landholders allowed folks in need to harvest left-over crops. In eighteenth century England, the sexton would often ring a church bell at eight o’clock in the morning and again at seven …

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Susan Greenbaum to Perform in Middleburg

17 Jul 2014

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The Bluemont Concert Series is proud to present Susan Greenbaum on Saturday, July 26 for the last of our four Saturday evening concerts in Middleburg. The concert begins at 7:30 p.m. The Middleburg concerts are now held at the Middleburg Community Center baseball field, located at 300 West Washington Street. Admission is $5 per person, $4 for Bluemont Friends and …

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Woodgrove High School Debate Camp

15 Jul 2014

Ms. Purvis’s WHS Debate Team is conducting a debate camp this summer from August 4 through August 8. It will be held each day from 8:00 to 11:30 a.m. at Woodgrove High School and is open to students who will be attending Woodgrove HS or Loudoun Valley HS. The purpose of the camp is to introduce aspiringdebaters to the art …

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Wild Loudoun

Fireflies – Green Sequins Of The Night

3 Jul 2014

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I don’t usually start my Wild Loudoun column by sharing information about the scientific classification into which a given plant, animal or insect falls. But, in the case of the firefly, it’s too fun not too … Fireflies are part of an insect family known as Lampyridae … as in “lamp.” Of course they are, you say. Firefly larva – …

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Around Virginia

VDOE Names Chief Academic Officer

Superintendent of Public Instruction Steven R. Staples today announced that John William “Billy” Haun of Charlottesville will become the Virginia Department of Education’s chief academic officer, taking the position of assistant superintendent of instruction on September 1. “I am delighted that Billy is bringing his knowledge, leadership and innovative ideas …

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LaRock Appointed to Joint Commission on Technology and Science

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Speaker of the House William Howell has appointed Delegate Dave LaRock as a member of the Joint Commission on Technology and Science (JCOTS), effective immediately and lasting for the duration of his term in the House of Delegates. The Commission meets several times throughout the year to “Study all aspects …

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Virginia Earns Top Special Education Rating from U.S. Department of Education

Virginia is one of only 18 states and territories earning a “meets requirements” designation under the US Department of Education’s (USED) new results-driven accountability model for rating state compliance with the federal Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA). Previously in rating states, USED focused on procedural requirements such as timelines …

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Sports

Ida Lee NFL Flag Football League Registration Ends July 28

20 Jul 2014

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Registration for the Fall 2014 NFL Flag Football league is currently ongoing for boys and girls, ages six to 14, and spots are filling fast. To secure a spot in the league, participants must register by Monday, July 28, 2014. The Ida Lee NFL Flag Football League is the premier …

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Lady Vikings Claim District Lacrosse Title

3 Jun 2014

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By Mac Shuford The Loudoun Valley girls lacrosse team beat Woodgrove 10-7 on May 22 for the district championship. It was a hard fought victory and a long time coming as Valley had never beaten Woodgrove until this game, having narrowly lost last year’s district and regional Titles in the …

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Letters

Good News – Virginia Budget Passed

3 Jul 2014

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I hope folks have heard the good news that Virginia has passed a two-year budget, and passed it without allowing our new governor to force …

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T-Mac Does an O’Bama

24 Jun 2014

blueridge2

Everyone by now has heard that the Virginia Legislature was able to pass a budget without medicaid expansion. This has infuriated the Governor who has …

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De-couple Medicaid Expansion from the Commonwealth’s Budget

11 Jun 2014

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At a September 25, 2103, debate sponsored by the Fairfax Chamber of Commerce, then Mr. McAuliffe declared, “No budget will be shut down in Virginia …

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