On the Ground — Spring 2017


Learn about Land Conservation, Land-Use, Wildlife Habitat & More

Join PEC staff in an Osher Lifelong Learning Institute (OLLI) at UVA class to learn how land conservation, land-use planning, wildlife habitat protection and restoration, and development of a robust agricultural economy all fit together as necessary components of protecting an intact rural countryside with well- de ned and vibrant urban centers. We will be giving presentations and conducting discussions. Citizen advocates with background and knowledge of these issues will be better able to participate in growth and development issues affecting their community. Course dates are May 2, 9, 16, and 23 and participants should register through www.olliuvaregistraion.org.


Future “Cost of Community Services” Report

Clarke County has contracted with the Weldon Cooper Center to perform an updated Cost of Community Services in 2017. This will provide new information on the fiscal benefit of open space and agricultural lands in Clarke. The County is also working to increase collaboration and capacity for supporting compatible economic development that aligns with the Comprehensive Plan, whether in the countryside, in designated business sites at key crossroads or in Berryville and Boyce.


New Septic System Repair and Replacement Fund

The Culpeper Soil and Water District recently secured funding from the Virginia Department of Environmental Quality for a Septic System Repair and Replacement Fund that’s available to residents of Culpeper, Greene, Orange, Madison, and Rappahannock Counties. Failing septic systems can affect both ground and surface water quality. The funds cover 50 percent of approved costs and are only available for a two-year term. We strongly support cost share pro- grams like this that help landowners improve water quality by making improvements on their residential and agricultural properties. To participate, contact Amanda Chester at (540) 825-8591.


Gardens, Trails, Roads and Development

The Remington Walks planning effort funded by the PATH Foundation is in full swing! Our consultant has created base maps of trails and community features. A three-day planning charrette is planned for April 19-21, which will include a walking tour, interviews of residents and business owners and a public open house and presentation on the evening of April 21 at the United Methodist Church.

In other news, the Buckland Bypass proposal from ten years ago is back, unfortunately. Prince William County, using a study grant funded by the federal government, is reevaluating potential bypasses around Buckland and Gainesville that would cross through much of eastern Fauquier between Rt. 29/15 and I-66. The next public meeting will be in April, and the final report is expected in June.

There are also two major developments in the works in Fauquier, which are Walker Drive in the Town of Warrenton and the expansion of Blackthorne Inn o of Route 50. The Walker Drive proposal has received a recommendation of denial from the Town Planning Commission, and it will likely be going before the Town Council in March. Although Warrenton is an ideal location for mixed use development, theater and bowling alley, the proposal lacks commitment and detail to this type of development. In fact, there is no guarantee that the Town will get a theater, bowling alley or any mixed use development, as much of the multifamily residential could be built first. The Blackthorne Inn expansion is significant, with 20 additional rental cottages, 22,000 sq ft event facility, and a total of 106 large events per year. Blackthorne is in a rural area, so a mass drain eld, central water system and transportation improvements would be necessary. We are following both of these proposals carefully as the applications are finalized and become avail- able for public comment.


Expansion of Trout Stream Work

We are ground-truthing potential fish passage projects in Greene, based on the findings from our 2013 study. The study assessed whether public and private road crossings are acting as barriers to aquatic organ- ism passage, and it was conducted in Rappahannock, Madison, Greene and Albemarle Counties. Two pilot projects located in Rappahannock and Madison will begin construction this spring.


Roundabout Meadows, and “Envision Loudoun” Project

Along with Sustainable Solutions LLC, we have completed the first phase of preparing a 20-acre plot for future vegetable production at our Roundabout Meadows property near Gilbert’s Corner. Clusters of native persimmon trees, along with oak specimen trees, were saved to enhance habitat value. A prescribed burn is planned for this spring, which will burn of the mulch and remaining vegetation. A cover crop will be planted following the burn to hold the soil until production can begin.

We continue to be involved in the County’s Envision Loudoun project to revise the Comprehensive Plan on the Stakeholder Committee. Through the spring, the Committee will be working with the County and its consultant on developing scenarios based on the over 5,000 public comments that were provided, as well as the county development and demographic information. In the summer, there will be another set of public input meetings to get feedback on the scenarios. Keep an eye out for email alerts and check out our website for updates.


Planning for the Future

Madison County will revise its Comprehensive Plan this year. If you would like to be involved in the process, check out the existing Comprehensive Plan completed in 2012 on the Madison County website at www.madisonco.virginia.gov, and stay tuned for meetings throughout the year where the community will be invited to provide input and review drafts. For more information, contact Carty Yowell, Planning Commissioner of Madison County, at cartyyowell@yahoo.com or (757) 615-0626.


Gordonsville’s Ongoing Renewal, and Montpelier District On Hold

Building upon the momentum developed by the recently completed streetscape project, the University of Virginia’s Department of Urban and Regional Planning students partnered with Gordonsville leaders and residents this past fall to conduct a planning charrette and develop a vision for the ongoing renewal of Gordonsville. The resulting conceptual plan included recommendations, a) to develop a parks district by refurbishing and connecting existing parks, and b) to connect Gordonsville to nearby communities and attractions, such as Montpelier, with a network of trails.

Many followed and expressed concerns on the creation of a separate zoning district for Montpelier — a district that included by-right uses of lodging, restaurants and retail establishments that were not permissible under the agricultural zoning currently in place. Public comment at the Planning Commission hearing was largely tied to the lack of details related to the proposed uses. Most were supportive of Montpelier, but the proposal also raised concerns about expanded uses and their impacts to scenic Route 20 and the historic nature of the area. Based on the concerns, Montpelier has requested time to develop the necessary details to provide the community with a more accurate representation of their plans and district language. The County has deferred any action on the matter until such time as the applicant and Board of Supervisors reinitiate the process.


Blue Ridge Heritage Project

A group of over fifteen volunteers spent time on February 11 moving several tons of rocks that will be used in the creation of a local monument to families who were moved o their land in the creation of the Shenandoah National Park. The Memorial is being erected just east of the Park boundary, near Sperryville on Route 211. Similar memorials are planned in other counties adjacent to the Park.

This article was featured in our Spring 2017 member newsletter, The Piedmont View.