This picture is just one of many sent in by Route 7 commuters since we launched the NoStadiumOn7 website late last year. We though everyone could use a friendly reminder of how bad traffic can get on Westbound Route 7 during rush hour. This picture was taken around 6 PM from a vehicle on the HWY 28 and Route 7 overpass looking west, right before the Loudoun County Parkway exit and where HWY 28 and Route 7 merge. This is the “off peak” traffic window that the BOS, Bob Farren, and One Loudoun keep using in an attempt to assuage our concerns regarding the addition of several thousand vehicles during rush hour at the most congested point in Loudoun County. We used a picture that was taken before Daylight Savings Time to provide a good visual representation of how bad it is going to get once the stadium goes in. Just remember a year from now when are stuck on Route 7 trying to get home that this traffic jam is brought to you by the fine folks at One Loudoun, Bob Farren, and the Loudoun Hounds.
Recent evidence has surfaced that calls into question One Loudoun and Bob Farren’s “good neighbors” policy. It appears that One Loudoun deliberately avoided a state requirement to provide notice to residents about potential development.
Included below is a signed and notarized affidavit downloaded from the LOLA documents portal. The last 2 pages of the affidavit contain the “mailing labels” of all the notified parties. After researching several of the addresses on the Loudoun County database none of them were occupied by real people on November 8th, 2012. The addresses were either vacant lots at the time of the mailing or still owned by the builder.
Most of these addresses are further away from the stadium than residents located only one half mile away in Potomac Green. According to the nearly 500 residents of Potomac Green who turned out en masse to organize against the rezoning request not a single household has ever received any notification through the mail.
So how is this an acceptable affidavit? Did One Loudoun intentionally try to hide what they were doing from potential buyers as well as the surrounding neighborhoods? How was this accepted by the county as valid without question?
And here we thought transparency was only a dirty word down the road in D.C.
Evidently our local wildlife and Rodney Dangerfield have something in common; neither can get any respect. In a scene reminiscent of Neville Chamberlain’s infamous “Peace in our time” statement our very own Scott York recently held up a piece of paper at a BOS meeting from the US Fish & Wildlife Service stating that the soon to be relocated stadium and its intense use will have absolutely no effect on a very sensitive local wildlife resource. So why then Chairman York were there severe limitations placed on the stadium when it was located at Kincora and why have those protections suddenly disappear at One Loudoun?
Action Alert: Great Blue Heron Rookery and Fireworks Don’t Mix
Currently being fast tracked through the County planning process is a rezoning application to allow a stadium at One Loudoun in Ashburn.
While we are not opposed to baseball stadiums in general, the location of this proposed stadium is in a highly sensitive environmental area. The Great Blue Heron Rookery located on Loudoun County Parkway, just 4,600 feet from the proposed stadium, is the largest known nesting site for Great Blue Herons in Loudoun, supporting approximately 60 nests. Fireworks being set off there during the nesting season can cause adult birds to abandon nest sites and young birds to spook, fall from nests and die.
America heard those words for the first time in a 1984 Wendy’s commercial. Spoken by a little old lady named Clara Peller, the phrase “where’s the beef?” went on to become a catchphrase used to question the substance or validity of just about everything. While we would never use the words “little old lady” to describe Planning Commission member Helena Syska (Sterling), we will say that she is pretty astute. In the final minutes of the Planning Commission hearing on Tuesday night Commissioner Syska challenged the Loudoun Hounds and Bob Farren to show her an actual team with real players, essentially asking them “where’s the beef?”.
“I do have a question that I would like answered tonight regarding who the Hounds are. I hear about the corporate structure. I have heard from people tonight who have prominent positions with the organization and have titles but the question I have is where are the players? Where are the players? Because this idea has been around for at least 10 years and I don’t know how minor league teams are built. Is it you wait for a site to be approved and then you get the people? Are there players out there somewhere? I have seen a lot of PR with the corporate people but I don’t see any players. I don’t hear of any players. I don’t know how that team will be formed, and honestly why they haven’t played anywhere else.”
1000 “signatures” sounds like a big number doesn’t it? Well the folks running the very limited information web site “oneloudounballpark.com” are trying to use it to make you think that there is an outpouring of support for their stadium, they also want you to believe that there is absolutely no opposition.
That would come as a big surprise to at least one neighboring community where almost 500 residents have turned out to meetings in opposition of the rezoning and another bordering community who recently voted to openly organize against it.
Chairman Scott York has repeatedly used attendance at an all day “fan fest” that the hounds held a couple of years ago as a barometer for how much Loudouners want “baseball” in the County. What he and the Hounds fail to mention is that the event was a one shot deal with more than half a dozen sports celebrities in attendance giving out autographs along with a lot of other freebies. After that, and evidenced by the pictures on the Hounds facebook page, attendance to follow-on events fell off the cliff, so much so that at least one of their major “sponsors” has refused to provide any more funding.
This all boils down to one simple fact; Bob Farren and the BOS, who all just happen to live a long way away from One Loudoun and the proposed stadium location, are more concerned about being “entertained” and less about the quality of life of the residents in the surrounding communities as well as the hundreds of thousands of commuters who depend on Route 7 every day.
You should try out the oneloudounballpark.com electronic petition for yourself. We were able to sign up as several cartoon characters, it was actually a lot of fun.
By Caitlin Gibson, The Washington Post, February 17
A Loudoun County Planning Commission public hearing Tuesday will focus on a controversial application to build a baseball stadium at the One Loudoun development in Ashburn, and both supporters and opponents of the stadium are intent on making their voices heard.
Dozens of opponents of the stadium are planning to attend the meeting, according to members of a group calling itself No Stadium on Route 7, which includes residents of neighborhoods adjacent to the One Loudoun development. As of Friday, 10 speakers from the Potomac Green community had signed up to voice their opposition to the stadium at the hearing, the group said.
Will the residents of One Loudoun, some of whom are paying in excess of $800,000.00 for the privilege of living next to a 10,000 person stadium with 200 events planned each year grow to love or hate the new One Loudoun definition of “urban” life? In the following article, Dorn C. McGrath, Urban and Regional Planning Professor at George Washington University argues that “New Urbanists” like One Loudoun fail to recognize the realities of suburban life.
“It is fashionable today to tout something called the new urbanism. Its promoters would have us believe that it offers solutions to all of the problems that plague our urbanizing society today – traffic congestion, urban crime, environmental pollution, etc. A gullible public is led to believe that the nostalgic architectural forms of the tiny New Urbanist model communities will transform the way the builders of the American Dream approach their markets, and the suburbs that comprise most of built America today will somehow fade away. Buoyed by their passion, the New Urbanists have declared their resurrection of some old, well-tested principles of town planning and architectural design to be a “New Movement,” but the emperor may want to look into the mirror of reality. The new town of Reston, Virginia, begun in 1964, is probably the most successful example of New Urbanist design principles applied on a grand scale in the United States.
If you were still on the fence or had doubts that the current Loudoun Board of Supervisors sold their souls to the developers who bankrolled their 2011 campaigns perhaps paying $660,000.00 an acre or $8.8 million dollars for a slice of what used to be part of a sod farm might convince you. For that price you might be expecting a nice oceanfront view or a site complete with an operating facility but in this case it is just land located within the One Loudoun development, the same development that went bankrupt and bought itself back at auction for about a third of its original value.
The land will be used to build a new sheriffs station that according to Sheriff Mike Chapman and “…will be community-based, provide greater access to the public, and will be strategically located to better serve a rapidly growing area of Loudoun County.” Bill May, vice president of Miller & Smith (a.k.a. One Loudoun) added “We’re building a genuine community here at One Loudoun and are honored to have the Sheriff’s Office be part of it. This addition will allow substantial public safety services to benefit our growing neighborhood and the surrounding areas.”
Sheriff Chapman and Bill May left out a vital fact; there is already an existing Sheriff’s station located on Research Place in Broad Run just across Route 7 approximately 1.5 miles from the new location in One Loudoun. Taxpayers should demand to know why the existing facility isn’t adequate and why One Loudoun isn’t supplying the property as part of a proffer in the same way the land for the new fire station at Kincora was.
There are lots of unanswered questions and theories as to why One Loudoun and the county think that a new station is needed but the one that keeps rising to the top is the fact that there is a valid concern for the safety of the surrounding neighborhoods once the 10,000 person stadium complete with its own microbrewery and the other alcohol centered business open.
As the old saying goes if you aren’t outraged you must not be paying attention. Let Supervisor Shawn Williams (Broad Run) know that the sweetheart deals to his developer friends must stop and that he and the rest of the BOS need to quit treating the taxpayers of Loudoun County as their personal piggy banks.
In what can only be described as a scathing report the Loudoun County Department of Planning has provided their recommendation for and review of the One Loudoun Stadium rezoning application. The report cites numerous inconsistencies, lack of detail, outright omissions, and insufficient data. The Planning Commission recommended that the entire package be either forwarded to a work session for further discussion and changes, or that it should be forwarded “to the Board of Supervisors with a recommendation of denial.” It should now be painfully obvious why the stadium application was placed on a “fast track” and moved to the top of the Boards of Supervisors to-do list.
The Department of Planning has clearly shown in their response that the sheer number and type of events detailed in the application combined with a maximum capacity of 10,000 attendees will introduce an intensity of use that is simply unacceptable for the residents of the surrounding neighborhoods and Route 7 commuters. Furthermore the rezoning request is inconsistent with county plans for the Route 7 corridor.
Supervisor Geary Higgins (Catoctin District) officially joins the list of Loudoun County Board members who have no problem openly shilling for the non-existent Loudoun Hounds baseball team. It shouldn’t really be a surprise considering the cool $69,000.00 he and his fellow Board members received from Bob Farren (Hounds owner) and his numerous limited liability companies for their 2011 campaigns. What is a surprise however is the fact that Higgins evidently sees no problem using tax payer funded county resources to do so.
In a recent newsletter to his constituents Higgins plugged Hounds bumper stickers stating “Loudoun County will soon be the home of the Loudoun Hounds, a minor league sports franchise. If you, like me, think it will be great to have a local ball club to root for, contact my office for a free Loudoun Hounds bumper sticker.”
Well Geary it would be really great if you and your fellow Board members represented all of your constituents equally including those of us who think the stadium and all of the traffic and noise problems it will bring to Loudoun County isn’t such a great idea. It would also be nice if you provided every business in Loudoun County equal time and consideration in your official newsletters and correspondence. After all advertising is expensive.
We originally pointed out here that One Loudoun is not able to fulfill their commitment to build this interchange. No matter how hard Representative Williams “crosses his fingers” the fact remains that this is little more than just a plan on paper. When will the taxpayers in Loudoun County stand up to this kind of nonsense and demand that the developers keep their promises before they add any additional burden to the people who already live in and commute through our county?
New Deal Eyed For Ashburn Village Blvd. Interchange
By: Erika Jacobson Moore, Leesburg Today, January 10, 2013
For drivers on Rt. 7, the need for the Ashburn Village Boulevard interchange is indisputable. As more projects have been completed and work begins on new ones to turn Rt. 7 into a limited access road like Rt. 28, the Ashburn Village Boulevard crossing remains a question mark—long-proffered and planned, but with little movement toward construction.
Original post by Steven Lowell, November 2, 2011
My wife and I live in Staten Island, by the minor league baseball stadium called the Richmond County Ballpark. About two years ago the stadium management decided, “Let’s have fireworks every night!”
We live on a hill, five stories up, so when these fireworks go off, it is eye-level with our apartment window.
The first time it happened, we thought we were being shot at and we dove off our beds on the floor.
If you don’t believe me, watch the video I posted to YouTube (WARNING GRAPHIC LANGUAGE). Every night of a home game there is a weird silence after the game, long enough for my wife and I to think, “Oh crap. It’s coming,” and then the fireworks start. I even know the type: It’s a firework called ‘The Atomic Bomb’. It’s an M-80.
With the dropping of the gavel to end its public hearing Tuesday night, the Board of Supervisors closed the legislative portion of its first year in office. The first quarter of its term was marked by instances of decisive actions that will have long-term ramifications for the county, but also lingering questions about how an all-Republican board will balance competing interests in a community deeply divided in its political leanings.
After whittling out a five-cent tax rate reduction while working its way through its first budget season, the board quickly arrived at a key crossroad for the county: whether to continue with—or opt out of—the two-decade-long effort to extend Metrorail to Ashburn. Bucking project critics from both sides of the political aisle, a board majority jumped in, buoyed by a newly hatched funding scheme that largely pushed the cost of the project onto residents who haven’t moved here yet. The wisdom of either decision won’t fully be known for decades to come.
Both the Loudoun County Departments of Planning and the Office of Transportation agree that there are simply too many unanswered questions regarding the rezoning requests and plans to relocate the stadium from Kincora to One Loudoun. The Department of Planning goes even further by stating they cannot support the rezoning requests at this time:
“Staff is unable to support the proposed Rezoning, Zoning Concept Plan Amendment, Special Exception, and Minor Special Exception at this time. While a special activity use is not envisioned on the subject property, a Comprehensive Plan Amendment (CPAM) was initiated by the Board of Supervisors on October 16, 2012 to facilitate the development of a stadium use at the southwest corner of Route 7 and Loudoun County Parkway. Further information is needed to adequately assess the impacts of the proposed PD-SA (Planned Development – Special Activity) zoning district on surrounding properties. With the initiation of the CPAM, the Board also directed Staff to expedite the required legislative and administrative plan submissions to develop a stadium on the One Loudoun development. Several requests not directly related to the stadium use, as outlined above will require additional review and impact the timeline established for expedited review.” (Page 17, Department of Planning Memorandum)
And it is a big one. Sources inside the Loudoun County government and those close to One Loudoun and VIP Sports and Entertainment state that behind closed doors there has been lots of talk about the horrible public relations problem they have inflicted upon themselves by relocating the stadium from the approved and zoned site in Kincora to the intersection of Route 7 and Loudoun County Parkway. The public outcry, news coverage, and immediate reaction by concerned Loudouners was something that they evidently did not anticipate.
In a defensive move One Loudoun has launched a website called “oneloudounballpark.com”. You are all perfectly capable of discerning fact from fiction but we wanted to point out a few glaring errors and omissions on their website.