On the Ground- Fall 2013


Trump Tees Up New Plan for Albemarle’s Countryside

On August 19th, Trump Virginia Acquisitions LLC submitted a plan to develop a rural property in Albemarle into a commercial golf course called the Trump National Golf Club. Constructing a golf course in the County’s Rural Area is allowed only if the Board of Supervisors approves a Special Use Permit—a process by which the county weighs the impacts of the proposed use on surrounding properties.

Two hundred and sixteen acres of this property are currently protected with a conservation easement held by the Virginia Outdoors Foundation (VOF). VOF is reviewing whether or not a golf course is consistent with the terms of the easement, and they are expected to issue a letter shortly regarding their position. PEC will be closely monitoring this situation and will keep citizens informed.

For more information, contact Rex Linville— PEC’s Conservation officer for Albemarle County: rlinville@pecva.org or (434) 977-2033


Partnering Up to Clean Up Spout Run

PEC’s been busy working with partners and citizens to clean up Spout Run. This summer, we joined Clarke County, Lord Fairfax Soil & Water Conservation District, Blandy Experimental Farm, and the Master Naturalists to put on a sustainable landscaping workshop in Boyce. The workshop focused on landscaping practices that enable us to reduce pollutants ending up in our waterways.

PEC has also launched a stream monitoring program. Monitoring the macroinvertebrates in the stream will help determine whether the cleanup efforts are working in Spout Run. With four certified team leaders, monitoring will begin at four sites in the watershed. Trainings and certification will continue so that more people have an opportunity to help out while learning more about the creatures are in our streams.

For more information about monitoring trainings, or other activities going on in the Spout Run watershed, contact Gem Bingol—PEC’s Land Use Field Officer in Clarke: gbingol@pecva.org or (703) 431-6941


Nixing Mixed-Use Plan in Clevengers Corner?

A developer is stirring things up in Clevengers Corner—the growth area in northern Culpeper County. Centex Homes was one of the companies that succeeded in rezoning the property in 2005—with a mixed-use development plan for 774 residential units and a good deal of commercial space. Yet, Centex revealed in June that they want to nix the mixed-use plan and just build houses; whether or not the commercial ever happens would be left up to someone else.The company also wants to scale back what it will offer the County to help pay for the infrastructure needed to support all of the homes and resulting traffic, meaning County taxpayers would have to foot more of the bill.

These changes conflict with the County’s Comprehensive Plan, and they would bring a poorly-planned development into our community with the corresponding long-term problems. What was presented in June was just an initial discussion, and PEC will keep citizens posted as this issue progresses.


Update on Dominion’s Powerline Proposal

Last spring, Dominion Power approached Fauquier County with a new transmission line proposal, and the company formed a Community Advisory Group to help a routing consultant locate sensitive areas. There were a total of three meetings over the summer.

As Dominion explains it, the need for the line is driven by load growth in the region and the potential for a new, large electricity user in the Warrenton area. To address this issue, Dominion wanted to connect the Warrenton substation to one in Gainesville, or to beef-up lines going into Warrenton and upgrade those going into the Wheeler substation (Prince William County). At first, Dominion was proposing two potential solutions—one of which concerned PEC due to it’s proximity to historic districts, battlefields, schools, neighborhoods and rural lands in the New Baltimore area. At the last Advisory Group meeting, however, Dominion presented a third alternative that would route electricity to the Wheeler substation through a new substation to be sited in western Prince William County.

Dominion says that all three alternatives remain “on the table,” but they’ve said that—at the present time—they would not recommend the overhead or underground routes that directly connect the Warrenton and Wheeler substation. Public open houses will be held in Gainesville and Warrenton the week of September 16th. PEC will continue to monitor the progress of these lines as well as keep citizens informed.


Developers Push for More Houses

The Greens South at Willowsford: The developers of Willowsford (just north of the Prince William County line) are requesting a zoning amendment to build an additional 802 residential units. This rezoning would increase the density beyond that allowed by Loudoun’s Revised General Plan, and it could set a precedent of allowing primarily suburban-type development in the Transition Policy Area. The Transition Policy Area is meant to incorporate both suburban and rural features to provide a sense of transition between Loudoun’s suburban east and the rural west.

Tuscarora Crossing: Different players, similar issue: another company is requesting a zoning amendment in order to develop almost 800 single-family dwellings just south of the “Village at Leesburg” development. This proposal doesn’t line up with the with the land use policies of Loudoun’s Revised General Plan—which allows for 25% of this property to be used for residential use. However, this proposal contemplates using 100% off the property for residential use.

The Planning Commission will be holding public hearings for both of these applications in October, and PEC will keep residents posted as things progress.


Commemorating the Battle of Jack’s Shop

On September 22, 1863, the largest Civil War battle in Madison County took place. Known today as the Battle of Jack’s Shop, it was one of the largest cavalry engagements of the entire war. Madison County historian Harold Wood-ward, Jr. often quips that “it was the biggest cavalry battle you’ve never heard of.” But, a number of local organizations hope that’s about to change. PEC, the Madison County Historical Society, PEC’s Madison Conservation Fund, and the Madison Chamber of Commerce & Tourism have joined forces to commemorate the 150th anniversary of the battle this fall.

This commemoration event will include narrated bus tours of the battle sites; living history reenactors; cavalry and artillery demonstrations; local crafters and musicians; and ‘The Civil War 150 History-Mobile’—a museum on wheels that uses state-of-the-art technology and interactive exhibit spaces to immerse visitors in individual stories of the Civil War. The Virginia National Bank (Orange) will also be awarding a $2,000 scholarship to the Madison County High School senior who writes the winning essay on Madison County’s role in the Civil War!

The Jack’s Shop Commemoration will take place from 8:45am-5:00pm on Saturday, September 21st at Madison County High School. This event is free and open to the public, but please leave your pets at home.

For more information about this event, email Peter Hujik—PEC’s Conservation Officer for Madison County at phujik@pecva.org


Taking the Green Out of Orange?

Orange County’s draft Comprehensive Plan is now before the Board of Supervisors. At a public hearing in August, a majority of people present voiced concerns about the draft and asked the Planning Commission to take more time. The citizens wanted stronger language protecting agricultural lands from residential and commercial uses, and they called for a reduction of areas planned for unnecessary growth. Yet, the Planning Commission didn’t heed their concerns and approved the draft 4-1.The Board will take this draft, with minimal changes, to public hearing on October 22nd.

The Comprehensive Plan is not all the Board is working on right now. They are also laying out large development plans for the Rt. 3 Corridor and surrounding land through the “Route 3 Strategic Visioning Initiative.” This initiative will likely be incorporated into the Comprehensive Plan and would act as a guide for future development. Unfortunately, this plan currently includes an excessive development area; unnecessary ‘upzoning’ of agricultural land to commercial and residential uses; and the corresponding premature extension of services and infrastructure.If acted upon, these plans would have major consequences for the county as well as place the cost of development on the taxpayers. The next scheduled public comment session on the initiative is Tuesday, September 24, at 7:00pm, and we hope to see you there.

For more information about this issue, please contact PEC’s Dan Holmes at dholmes@pecva.org or (571) 213-4250

This article was featured in our Fall 2013 Member Newsletter, The Piedmont View.