Strong Communities

PEC believes that the work of protecting natural resources and the work of building better communities are integral to each other. 

Update on St. Louis / Aldie

Update on St. Louis / Aldie

LaVerne Warner (left) and PEC’s Gem Bingol (right) collect petition signatures in St. Louis. Credit: Hugh Kenny/PEC

On Wednesday, June 9, the Loudoun Board of Supervisors held two important public hearings. The first was to listen to residents’ thoughts about how the county should address the Middleburg Preserve development and planning and zoning issues in St. Louis. The second was to review multiple offers from prospective buyers of the county-owned Aldie Assemblage property, which consists of three distinct parcels. The board previously decided to abandon plans to build a fire station there in the face of overwhelming public opposition.

St. Louis Public Hearing

After listening to a summary of the issues and county actions regarding the Middleburg Preserve II property and hearing board member comments, 26 community members spent over an hour expressing their concerns and desires for St. Louis. Speakers included those whose ancestors had been enslaved on nearby plantations and helped to found the village of St. Louis after emancipation, as well as newer residents of the village and those from the larger community who were there to speak in support of its residents.

Credit: Hugh Kenny/PEC

The comments covered a wide range of perspectives and addressed multiple concerns ranging from whether St. Louis has adequate and safe water supplies to preserving the affordability of home ownership to ensuring the history and community are not destroyed. Some speakers pointedly questioned whether the board of supervisors will continue to allow injustice toward this neglected community and let residents suffer more damage at the hands of developers. 

At the conclusion of the meeting, the board indicated that the topic will be taken up at a future meeting, without specific mention of actions or dates.

Loudoun County can take a number of steps in addressing the situation in St. Louis. In partnership with the local community, PEC will encourage the county to implement actions that can reduce harm to neighbors by modifying construction regulations, such as enhanced proximity surveys and technical guidance to minimize impacts to neighboring wells. This can happen at the same time the county moves forward with a planning and rezoning effort for the village that will ensure future growth is sustainable.

Read more about the development pressure facing St. Louis >>

Ask the Loudoun Board of Supervisors to take action >>

Aldie Public Hearing

The public hearing for Aldie was to consider three distinct offers for the purchase of the Aldie Assemblage parcels. Two offers were for all three parcels that make up the Aldie Assemblage, and one was for a single parcel. Public support for the offers weighed heavily toward the Gerachis Construction Company. Mr. Gerachis has worked with the community to ensure that his offer aligns with the community’s interest and the comprehensive plan, and has the least impact on the sensitive environmental conditions of the site. 

The board announced that it will have a closed session discussion at its July 6 meeting and then vote on the offers at its July 20 meeting.


If you have questions related to either of these two issues, please don’t hesitate to reach out to PEC Field Representative Gem Bingol at gbingol@pecva.org.

Cville Comp Plan; National Trails Day; Mobility Survey

Cville Comp Plan; National Trails Day; Mobility Survey

As you may be aware, the city is in the midst of updating its comprehensive plan. This email will fill you in on where things stand and how to share your input by June 13. Next, I will share an important mobility survey for Charlottesville residents and finish with a few ways that everyone can celebrate National Trails Day (June 5).

June 24 – Conservation and Collaboration Quarterly Keynote

June 24 – Conservation and Collaboration Quarterly Keynote

Although this past year has kept us physically apart, conservation and our collaborative partnerships have continued to work throughout, producing some amazing results. This is why I’m so excited to invite you to our second virtual Quarterly Keynote on June 24 that The Piedmont Environmental Council is co-hosting with our friends at the Shenandoah National Park Trust and the Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute’s Virginia Working Landscapes!

Solarize Piedmont 2021 campaign available in ten different localities

Solarize Piedmont 2021 campaign available in ten different localities

The Solarize Piedmont program is back through June 30 and available to homeowners and business owners in Albemarle, Clarke, Culpeper, Fauquier, Greene, Loudoun, Madison, Orange, and Rappahannock counties, and the City of Charlottesville. Solarize Piedmont makes adding solar power, battery storage, and electric vehicle charging stations to homes and businesses easier and more affordable than ever, by leveraging the collective buying power of many to provide a one-stop shop for solar education, vetted installers, and discounted pricing.

Story Map Project: Fauquier’s Historic African American Communities

Story Map Project: Fauquier’s Historic African American Communities

The interactive story map, visible at www.aahafauquier.org/storymap, includes a map of Fauquier County with points locating African American schools, churches and communities. Visitors can click on each point to see a photo and read a short description. A “read more” cue takes visitors to an interactive webpage with additional history and photographs.

Virtual Event Recap: Cycling for Sustainable Cities

Virtual Event Recap: Cycling for Sustainable Cities

On May 7, 2021, researchers Ralph Buehler (top-right) and John Pucher (second from top-right) spoke about their new book, Cycling for Sustainable Cities (MIT Press), which describes ways to make city cycling safe, practical, and convenient for all ages and abilities. They talked about trends and policies, and shared examples from across America and around the world–with cases similar to our own communities. Watch the video here.

Video: Restoring Access to the Rivanna River

Video: Restoring Access to the Rivanna River

To help the public safely access the Rivanna River, PEC teamed up with the City of Charlottesville Parks and Recreation, Rivanna Conservation Alliance, and Rivanna River Co, to update the boat landing at Riverview Park!

Rangel Communication Proposes 199-ft Tower in Thoroughfare Gap

Rangel Communication Proposes 199-ft Tower in Thoroughfare Gap

We have learned that Rangel Communication Inc. will be filing an application with Fauquier County for a 199-foot monopole tower and tower compound in Thoroughfare Gap, just east of the Broad Run Post Office along the south side of Rt. 55. This area, steeped in history, is the gateway into Fauquier County from Haymarket to the east.

Appalachian Conservation Corps blaze new trail at Rappahannock County Park

Appalachian Conservation Corps blaze new trail at Rappahannock County Park

Rappahannock County Park has been visited recently by the Appalachian Conservation Corps (ACC), an AmeriCorps program of Conservation Legacy. The Piedmont Environmental Council, PEC’s Krebser Fund for Rappahannock County and Friends of the Rappahannock (FOR) have partnered with the ACC to bring a crew of 6 young adults to the Piedmont region for tree plantings and trail maintenance projects.

Cycling for Sustainable Cities

Cycling for Sustainable Cities

Join PEC and partners on May 7, 2021 @ 5:00 pm – 6:00 pm for Cycling for Sustainable Cities: A Presentation + Discussion with Ralph Buehler & John Pucher.

Celebrate Bike Month (May, 2021) with some inspiring stories about how to make cycling safer for everyone! Researchers Ralph Buehler & John Pucher will talk about their new book, Cycling for Sustainable Cities (MIT Press), which describes ways to make city cycling safe, practical, and convenient for all ages and abilities. They will include trends and policies, and share examples from across America and around the world–with cases similar to our own communities.

Find out more and register!