Archives

Spotsylvania News

Jeff Branscome writes about Spotsylvania County.

Share
RSS feed of this blog

Comprehensive Plan Amendments–Big Deal?

Speaking from experience, Comprehensive Plan Amendments were a big thing in Loudoun County, where I reported previously. 

In Spotsylvania, there have been a few in the two years I have been here and I reported on them only in the Spotsylvania section. I would link to the stories but even I have given up on our Web site’s story search capabilities. I can find four-leaf clovers faster.

Anyway, now that the county has a land-use plan, they want a twice-annual process for people to ask for comprehensive plan amendments. They will be allowed in July and January.

In my last year in Loudoun, there were 24 of these in one period. I felt so bad for the reporter, and I always got upset with him when he used the term CPA or comprehensive plan amendment in his stories because I didn’t think the average mom and dad knew what it meant.

So here is my promise: I will never use CPA or comprehensive plan amendment without providing a small sentence explaining what that means in common terms.

And what it means is that a developer is asking to change the county’s guide for growth to fit a development they want somewhere else than where the land use map allows it. It’s before a rezoning. You have to amend the plan to allow this requested development and then go through the rezoning process.

They were a big deal in Loudoun. We’ll see if they become a big deal here. 

 

 

 

 

Permalink: http://news.fredericksburg.com/spotsygovt/2009/06/25/comprehensive-plan-amendmentsbig-deal/

  • lgross

    Thanks for the tutorial and yes.. explaining these things is a helpful thing.

    Important to recognize that Comp Plans are advisory and at the same time,
    somewhat arbitrary as to the process and criteria for designating land-use to start with.

    I’ve observed and participated in the updating process where, for instance, the maps
    are lacking important information such as historic resources, or the current/planned
    state of water/sewer availability or the current/planned status of the road network.

    So the Comp Plan is not a definitive development plan but rather a general guide –
    with some elements of future vision.

    So you get a bunch of citizens and sit them down in a room in front of a county map
    and you ask them where they would like to put the 20,000 additional residents without
    really giving them the rest of the info that they need to decide WHERE they might go
    so they….very predictably… will just pick a place that looks “good”.

    For instance, you just cannot designate ANY spot on the map for increased density if it
    is not served by water/sewer and there are no current plans; what you’ve done by
    marking the map is making a future commitment to add additional water & sewer –
    which will have major impacts on the water & sewer master plan as well as the money
    needed to expand the system.

    The ongoing UDA discussion is really a Comp Plan discussion because in designating
    areas of future growth – the county is really committing the provisioning of extensive
    and expensive infrastructure – paid for in part by taxpayers because proffers seldom
    cover all of the costs and it’s the county and it’s taxpayers that usually have to borrow
    the money and pay back the principle and the interest for that infrastructure.

    Mr. Jackson has repeatedly made the point that the current extent of the water/sewer
    - Primary Settlement Area IS, in fact, the county’s de-facto designated UDA and that
    adding more UDAs really means that the county is committing to providing more
    infrastructure in the future on top of what it already has committed to provide.

    Comp Plan changes for non-residential, commercial development where the applicant
    is also proffering CDAs or Service Districts can provide benefits or at the least break
    even but Com Plan changes for more residential – ESPECIALLY the kind of residential
    that Spotsylvania tends to attract – which is heavily commuter in nature is problematic
    in part because commuters use roads – even VRE riders use roads – and it’s important
    to recognize that the Comp Plan talks about roads in generalities and not in terms of
    specific CIPs ( County Infrastructure Plan – a specific plan that includes a funding
    source).

    So, for example, the county can designate a potential future VRE station in their Comp
    Plan, and the land around it to be New Urban, transit-oriented development, “anti-
    sprawl” but where is the funded CIP for the inevitable road improvements that will be
    needed to handle the traffic that will come from more intensive development – new
    urban or otherwise?

    That’s why Comp Plan changes are “big deals” – because in the end – what you’re
    really talking about is a commitment to build infrastructure – expensive infrastructure –
    and someone will pay for it and if the past is any guide to the future, county residents
    will pay – either with higher taxes or with lowered levels of service ( more crowded
    roads and schools and no money (without a tax increase or referenda) to pay for it.

    This is where Mr. Jackson’s 2% growth rate goal came from.

    The idea is that at a 2% rate that an equitable sharing of the infrastructure costs can
    be allocated between the new growth and the existing residents but with higher growth
    rate scenarios the pressure for increased tax rates and the degradation of existing
    levels of services are likely – as we saw back when the country was growing at a much
    higher rate.

    So, in conclusion, SOME changes to the Comp plan are technical in nature and
    inconsequential in impacts, others are substantive but if they are Commercial or
    Industrial they may well be a potential benefit but changes to residential are, in fact,
    “big deals” that require responsible BOS to be careful and wary – Jackson-esque.

    I would suggest this. That for changes to the Comp Plan including UDAs – that once
    the prospective boundary is drawn that the county then undertake an analysis of the
    current status of the inrastructure including any existing deficits and then look at what
    will be needed at a future designated density – and write it down – and when someone
    comes along and makes a proposal for a different area – do the same process – and
    then look at the extent and cost of the infrastrcture that will be needed for the Comp
    Plan change and ask the developer how much of that they intend to pay and how
    much of it they expect the county (taxpayers) to pay – and then go from there.

  • lgross

    CIP = Capital Infrastructure Plan

    my understanding is that Virginia does require a “Conformity
    Review” of proposed changes to the Comp Plan relative to the
    CIPs. (though I’m not sure as to what the process actually
    should be).

    that’s a phrase that I’d like to learn more about if anyone else
    can add to the discussion.

    It implies some sort of a validation between
    prospective/designated land use and concrete infrastructure
    plans/planning but the devil is more than likely in the details.

    Ideally, any infrastructure that will be needed to fulfill
    designated land-uses in the Com Plan would have, at the least
    a one page statement that explains what would need to be
    done, for instance with roads to serve the projected land-use.

    Now that I think about this – this kind of tutorial ought to be
    provided to ANY citizen group that is empaneled to engage in a
    Comp Plan update process as well as any prospective change
    to the Comp Plan.

    If one does this GOGGLE search:

    “comprehensive plan” “conformity review
    site:www.spotsylvania.va.us

    you’ll see that the subject has come up before

    “Comprehensive Plan Conformity Review of the Capital
    Improvements Program FY2007-FY2012
    Mr. Hess stated that staff was tasked with conformity of
    proposed capital improvements with the 2002 Spotsylvania
    County Comprehensive Plan. He presented a PowerPoint
    presentation and explained to the Commission which of the
    items on the CIP met the criteria. Many lacked information for
    evaluation by staff”

    http://www.spotsylvania.va.us/DownloadFiles/Minutes/pc/01042
    006_pc_min.pdf

    the bottom line is that there is an important relationship
    between the Comp Plan and the CIPs and any proposed
    changes to the COMP Plan should automatically kick off a
    conformity review of the impacts to the CIPs.

    this is probably WAY MORE than most folks wanted to read
    here on the subject – and for that – I apologize to those who
    find the discussion more wordy than useful.

  • MAVRICKinc

    I got the message. I’ll be back with details as soon as the VRE Master Agreement makes its way to stage center. VRE is a very critical component of the Land-Use agendas, UDAs, Land-Use Ordinances, project CIP’s etc, etc without any doubt, but if county residents don’t understand or have an inkling who’s writing the script to their/our futures, how can they make an informed decision about anything, unless the Spotsylvania County Government and their special interest (Planning Dept. FOCUS Committee Meetings) who deny public participation, under the guise of scarcely attended public meetings, that default to special interest parties behind closed doors. Our BOSs conduct business in their best interest, not ours.

    Transparency is just talk that you’ll find at the bottom of another BOS waste basket that will be thrown out with the rest of their trash. So much for details.

    I’ll swing around again after I put your current commentary and my details under a microscope and take a look-see. It’s the only way I can make out the fine print and connect it to today and some part of tomorrows decision making.

  • lgross

    There’s a guy in Caroline who does a blog called “I’m surrounded by idiots”… then
    there are several folks in Fredericksburg that do city-centric blogs but as far as I
    know there is not a citizen blog in Spotsylvania that could delve a little further into
    issues and do good stuff – like providing the link to the VRE MA.

    sort of one-stop shopping for Spotsylvania info…

    Who would do this? Could it be a useful thing for Spotsylvania and it’s citizens?

  • MAVRICKinc

    Larry: page down and see who launched this very big issue in the first place. Thanks for the fuel necessary to keep this dialogue open and active. I’m not the link, just an invitation to look at the fine print for yourself, before signing on to someone elses vision. To be saddled with a”One Stop Shopping” moniker invokes the idea I or anything I care to recognize or write about has all the answers, which you already know would be an absurd notion and tantamount to a single dimension of thought. If that were the case, I would have been hauled off long ago.

    I’m not surrounded by idiots. I am surrounded by facts and will continue looking for answers to questions you, among many, have the answers too, but prefer to keep them closer to your vest, than your friends,

    At this site we get to adress and dissect the Comprehensive Plan and what’s being woven into its language from behind closed doors.

    I was amused and saddened by the fact Spotsylvania County doesn’t have enough money to put on a 4th of July celebration and defaults to development to cover the cost of more leverage against those who are concerned about where our leaders are taking us.

    Just behind this comes a protest in Westmoreland, by its citizens, after finding out their elected officials took a vote in the O’Gara purchase, without their involvement or input. Simply said, they found out that Westmoreland County is for sale to the highest bidder and county citizens have no say even in the negotiated pricing.

    Sound familiar? Take a look at the Spotsylvania County BOS and their postured position that citizens play no role in deciding the VRE agenda, except to shout out loud at another scheduled hearing where no one needs to listen. The hearing represents nothing more than legal process. We get to show up, they televise our attendance for the record, and BOS gets to vote the VRE question no matter what anyone thinks. We have no right of referendum. How do you think this is going to be decided?

    Pick up a copy of the VRE Master Agreement. If you don’t get it, I can only conclude you were wearing blinders on when you picked this document up. But, I really can’t say that because of your starter comments on this blog site.

    Please recall VRE made it abundantly clear to the Courtland District citizens (about 50 to 75) who showed at Supv. Logan’s VRE Summit Town Meeting, that if Spotsylvania County doesn’t join VRE, then nothing is going to happen in Spotsylvania County…Lee’s Hill District. But nothing is going to happen until CSX builds their 3rd rail which is currently under construction, and we really have nothing to say or negotiate because CSX is a Federal Authority, and VRE is its partner. Any questions? Download the cost of VRE’s Capital Improvements and Projects and spending agendas.

    Remember those Metro rail cars, model #1000, that the National Transportation Board said were dangerous, years ago, but nothing was ever done because the transit heads they weren’t going to do anything about it until the most recent rail tragedy. They’re going to keep these rail cars on the tracks, but will put their #1000 series rail cars in the middle of the comuter cargo hauling and put more up-dated rail cars in front and to the rear.

    Now, put a computerized auto drive system into place, that fails to recognized what’s going on up front and ask yourself if a rail car series #3000 were in front, how many lives would have been saved, given the same circumstances?

  • lgross

    Mav – my view is that we get the BOS we deserve – keeping in mind that BOS are just
    ordinary guys/fals like the rest of us.. put on their pants every morning and get on with
    life.

    A majority of BOS spread across several jurisdictions have also read the VRE MA – and
    apparently do not agree with your interpretations and concerns.

    I’m not saying that you are wrong – only that there have been dozens of other eyes
    also reading the same words and they did not end up with as serious as concerns as
    you apparently have.

    Having said that, while I do support the concept of commuter rail, I do have some
    concerns especially with regard to the opened ended – and for all practical purposes a
    permanent commitment to pay whatever costs are incurred no matter and that’s not
    good IMHO.

    It would be like signing an agreement with the School System or the Sheriffs office
    where you would agree to fund them at whatever level they told you was needed no
    matter whether you thought they were being operated efficiently or not.

    Having the right to decline further participation is what keeps many taxpayer-funded
    activities – honest and accountable.

    So what does all of this prove?

    For me, I still would like to see – in one place – a list of questions with the answers,
    and a short analysis of each answer with respect consequences – in a form (unlike the
    MA) that is in plain English such that the average taxpayer/citizen in Spotsylvania can
    read it – and then make their own INFORMED decision.

    since apparently, the county is not going to do this nor the FLS, my suggestion was for
    a civic-minded group or person or both to do what IMHO really should be done before
    any pending decision is made.

    this is my view of what “good government” is and should be about – but at the front of
    this tome – I stated that we get the BOS and County Government we deserve –
    because it’s a two-part equation – the BOS … and citizens. Most BOS do most of their
    votes by default because the public is not only clueless but apparently is happy to be
    so and then we have the few controversial votes – which for a lot of folks is not based
    on facts … the folks do not hold truly informed opinions but rather a visceral attitude
    based on, in many cases, something other than plain facts.

    But that’s fine with the BOS – because apparently in their view, it is the responsibility of
    the citizens to get themselves informed ..and it is the responsibility of the BOS to take
    the vote.

    So… we get the BOS – and a decision-making process – that we deserve.

  • MAVRICKinc

    Larry: your latest comments include too many disclaimers and are so general in nature they could never rise to a level of informative and look more like a distraction than an answer. There is nothing wrong with your allegiance to what we have by way of a Board of Supervisors. You appear satisfied with your Ad Hoc admissions that Spotsaylvania County does not intend to rise above “business as usual.”

    While you manage to walk around the issues, speaks only of your willingness to be lead by the past.

    While this site on the Comprehensive Plan deserves more detail I’ll return to the VRE Master Agreement being loaded on Televock’s “Vre Summit and Who Showed Up.

    So far I’ve managed to put some parts of the VRE Master Agreement on line that comes with my interpretation. As long as the Spotsylvania County BOSs refuse to engage the public or Couynty citizens, your testament doesn’t rise above heresay. Why can’t you have the BOS weigh in on the issures, not with me but their voting constitents? Otherwise, what sense does any of this make.

    If you or our Spotsylvania County BOSs want to weigh in on Televock’s blog site at “VRE…Who Showed Up” let’s see what you or any member of the BOS have to say about the VRE Master Agreement being hauled up for public inspection and consumption.

    Instead of you being the soothsayer and second guesser, why don’t we let you or any Board member give us your take on the VRE contract provisions. We can go line by line or any chapter of the MA. If the BOS is holding themselves out as just being folks serves as a distraction. We don’t regard them as just folks and as good as it gets would undermine everthing we have come to believe as democracy and the mantle of “Sacred Honor” that rest on OUR shoulders and not the few.

    Gotta go for now. The 4th of July is here and I’m going to honor what was and currently dying a slow death if only to make us free all over again again.

    I’ll be walking to the festivities for want of making a perfect ass of myself. No public displays. Just sharing the moment with friends.

    Take care, enjoy family and the company of friends, whether they’re in need or not.

  • MAVRICKinc

    Larry: your latest comments include too many disclaimers and are so general in nature they could never rise to a level of informative and look more like a distraction than an answer. There is nothing wrong with your allegiance to what we have by way of a Board of Supervisors. You appear satisfied with your Ad Hoc admissions that Spotsaylvania County does not intend to rise above “business as usual.”

    While you manage to walk around the issues, speaks only of your willingness to be lead by the past.

    While this site on the Comprehensive Plan deserves more detail I’ll return to the VRE Master Agreement being loaded on Televock’s “Vre Summit and Who Showed Up.

    So far I’ve managed to put some parts of the VRE Master Agreement on line that comes with my interpretation. As long as the Spotsylvania County BOSs refuse to engage the public or Couynty citizens, your testament doesn’t rise above heresay. Why can’t you have the BOS weigh in on the issures, not with me but their voting constitents? Otherwise, what sense does any of this make.

    If you or our Spotsylvania County BOSs want to weigh in on Televock’s blog site at “VRE…Who Showed Up” let’s see what you or any member of the BOS have to say about the VRE Master Agreement being hauled up for public inspection and consumption.

    Instead of you being the soothsayer and second guesser, why don’t we let you or any Board member give us your take on the VRE contract provisions. We can go line by line or any chapter of the MA. If the BOS is holding themselves out as just being folks serves as a distraction. We don’t regard them as just folks and as good as it gets would undermine everthing we have come to believe as democracy and the mantle of “Sacred Honor” that rest on OUR shoulders and not the few.

    Gotta go for now. The 4th of July is here and I’m going to honor what was and currently dying a slow death if only to make us free all over again again.

    I’ll be walking to the festivities for want of making a perfect ass of myself. No public displays. Just sharing the moment with friends.

    Take care, enjoy family and the company of friends, whether they’re in need or not.

  • MAVRICKinc

    Larry: your latest comments include too many disclaimers and are so general in nature they could never rise to a level of informative and look more like a distraction than an answer. There is nothing wrong with your allegiance to what we have by way of a Board of Supervisors. You appear satisfied with your Ad Hoc admissions that Spotsaylvania County does not intend to rise above “business as usual.”

    While you manage to walk around the issues, speaks only of your willingness to be lead by the past.

    While this site on the Comprehensive Plan deserves more detail I’ll return to the VRE Master Agreement being loaded on Televock’s “Vre Summit and Who Showed Up.

    So far I’ve managed to put some parts of the VRE Master Agreement on line that comes with my interpretation. As long as the Spotsylvania County BOSs refuse to engage the public or Couynty citizens, your testament doesn’t rise above heresay. Why can’t you have the BOS weigh in on the issures, not with me but their voting constitents? Otherwise, what sense does any of this make.

    If you or our Spotsylvania County BOSs want to weigh in on Televock’s blog site at “VRE…Who Showed Up” let’s see what you or any member of the BOS have to say about the VRE Master Agreement being hauled up for public inspection and consumption.

    Instead of you being the soothsayer and second guesser, why don’t we let you or any Board member give us your take on the VRE contract provisions. We can go line by line or any chapter of the MA. If the BOS is holding themselves out as just being folks serves as a distraction. We don’t regard them as just folks and as good as it gets would undermine everthing we have come to believe as democracy and the mantle of “Sacred Honor” that rest on OUR shoulders and not the few.

    Gotta go for now. The 4th of July is here and I’m going to honor what was and currently dying a slow death if only to make us free all over again again.

    I’ll be walking to the festivities for want of making a perfect fool of myself. No public displays. Just sharing the moment with friends.

    Take care, enjoy family and the company of friends, whether they’re in need or not.

  • lgross

    Mav – if not mistaken, Spotsylvania is part of
    about a half-dozen regional enterprises, each
    with it’s own “Master Agreement”. I’d cite, the
    regional jail, libraries, FRED, and water & sewer
    authorities.

    I’ll be honest. I have not seen the GA law and
    code that enables these authorities, their rights
    and limitations nor the formal agreements that
    have been signed.

    So if someone were to ask me to compare the
    VRE agreement to these others and rank them in
    terms of “good” or “bad” … after, of course,
    defining, what one considers the criteria that
    could be defined as “good” or “bad”, I admit,
    that I’d have a lot of trouble doing that just by
    reading the available references.. and further to
    be able to actually identify what the full range of
    documents that might exist….

    well. I think you might get my point.

    I do not have a legal background – and when I
    read the VRE MA.. some of my thoughts go back
    to things like – how did VRE get created in the
    first place, how did the GA define their charter,
    mission, powers, and limitations, etc.

    and .. after all of this – if any of us thought that
    VRE was a significantly more egregious issue than
    the other regional authorities (in comparison)
    then.. what changes should be sought and from
    what authority… VRE or the GA, or further
    interpretation of existing laws.

    I’m not saying the above as a “opt out” of
    “reading and understanding the VRE MA”, but to
    point out that the level of expertise required to
    really do a thorough job of it – is not minuscule.

    I doubt seriously if most members of the BOS
    could do the above on their own. They’d more
    than likely expect paid staff, including their
    Administrator, Legal guy, Senator Houck and
    some of his legislative staff, etc… to develop a
    comprehensive analysis that could be used by
    others to form their own “informed” opinion.

    I’m also not a defender of the status quo of the
    BOS, in fact, I never am. The BOS and how they
    operate is influenced by a whole bunch of factors,
    any of which are unique to the individual BOS
    member …to include the expertise and opinions
    of their paid staff, etc.

    They are what they are and if there are some
    specifics that might change one’s opinion of their
    character or judgments, I’d have to see those
    specifics for me to believe that any or all are
    essentially NOT working in the best interests of
    their constitutents and citizens of the county.

    so that’s my story, and I’m sticking to it.

  • MAVRICKinc

    July 5, 2009 FLS coverage under tiltle of: “VRE responds to Spotsylvania request.”

    Supv. Connors use of “Red-Herring” issues is often times used by the moving party (Plaintiff’s Attorney) when both sides have presented their evidence (VRE Master Agreement) and rested their respective cases. It’s then that both parties/sides provide the Court (BOS) or a Jury (Spotsylvania County Citizens) with their closing remarks and summations. Closing arguments ARE NOT CONSIDERED EVIDENCE.

    So, when the “Red-Herring” flag goes up, we (the Jury) or the Court (Spotsylvania County Board of Supervisors) are put on official notice that you (citizen) or the BOS (Court) in reliance upon the “red herring” presentation, are buying into (Webster’s Dict.): “Something INTENDED to DISTRACT ATTENTION FROM THE REAL ISSUE…[from the practice of drawing a RED HERRING across a trail to confuse hunting dogs]”

    Since Spotsylvania County residents have no right of referendum have no right to formor call for a jury of their peers, the Court (Spotsylvania County Board of Supervisors) will be the lone decision maker on all things that come with the VRE Master Agreement and gasoline tax.

    Stafford County and Fredericksburg decided the same issues for their constituents, followed now by Supv. Connors declaration to the FLS: “The vote is not so much about VRE; the vote is about the future of Spotsylvania County and our transportation needs.”

    At this point in time I suggest any one and everyone DOWNLOAD the VRE OPERATIONS BOARD MEETING MINUTES.

    The FLS chose to use OPOERATIONS BOARD, without definition.

    Page 4, VRE Master Agreement; B. ESTABLISHMENT OF THE OPERATIONS BOARD: (1) In order that the COMMISSIONS (NVTC and PRTC) SHALL have an efficient mechanism(funding) for the FORMULATION of Operational policy and the EXECUTION OF DECISIONS required for the commuter rail service, the COMMISSIONS SHALL enter into an agreement setting forth the COMMISSIONS’ relationship, duties and responsibilities regarding the commuter rail service, which agreement may be modified from time to time (much like taxing and land-use ordinances the BOS has put into place over the last two years) as the COMMISSIONS DEEM APPROPRIATE. The agreement SHALL establish a committee RESPONSIBLE TO THE COMMISSIONS which shall be known as THE OPERATIONS BOARD to consist of the number of ELECTED OFFICIALS hereafter set forth from the GOVERNING BODIES of EACH OF THE GOVERNING BODIES of each of the PARTICIPATING and CONTRIBUTING JURISDICTIONS selected by the COMMISSION of which the jurisdiction is a MEMBER FROM AMONG its commissioners; and an officio representaive of the Chairman of the Commonwealth Transportation Board (Edd Houck) as that Chairman SHALL determine. A copy of the aforesaid agreement, and ANY SUBSEQUENT AMENDMENT there to, SHALL be attached hereto and incorporated herein as Apendix B. upon adoption by the COMMISSIONS.”

    The George Washington Regional COMMISSION (GWRC) is the planning district commission for Virginia Planning, District 16…principle functions are REGIONAL LAND-USE planning, TRANSPORTATION planning and transportation demand-management activities.

    Supv. Benjamin Pitts, County Admin. Douglas Barnes and Hap Connors (Chairman) represent Spotsylvania County on FAMPO’s Policy Committee. This Board approves ALL transportation plans,, budgets and OTHER documents prepared by FAMPO. Fredericksburg is represented by Matt Kelley (VRE Summit 6/11/09, and of note Mary Katherine Greenlaw (Vice Chair). Stafford is represented by Mark Dudenhefer, Anthony Romanello, Joe Brito and Paul Milde III who also serves as vice chair of the Virginia Railway Express. He also made it to Supv. Logans VRE Summit (6//11/09 town meeting with Logan’s District constituents.

    Not enough room to list them all because I don’t have to. They’re all listed on the internet at CSX, VRE, FAMPO, websites to name just a few.

    I’m going to show up at the August 18, 2009 scheduled “hearing.” Special interest groups will be there and I’m assured they don’t have their fingers crossed.

    Larry will be looking on from home, since he’s already scripted his story and fully intends to stick with his story.

    By the way, CSX owns the Fredericksburg Train Station so what’s the big deal with removing a requirement from the VRE contract language that Spotsylvania County would build a VRE station, conditioned on Spotsylvania County joining VRE. Please note there is no mention of who’s going to pay for parking and road infrastructure, from Interstate 95 to the Lee’s Hill District’s Rt 17 outer marker.

    If you read Dan Telvock’s July 5, 2009 coverage AGAIN, you will see for yourself, VRE is not giving anything up, and the cost of a train station in Lee’s Hill is already on the grid. As soon as CSX gets their 3rd rail to Spotsy. It’s really a package deal. The threat that nothing is going to happen at the Lee’s Hill junction, unless we join will not stop CSX from building.

  • gramps

    that Spotsy will join VRE, I think it could go either way, and Larry won’t be totally happy either way. It would appear that not much has changed after all the “debate.” I guess that’s the way it happens in politics, local or otherwise.

  • MAVRICKinc

    WELL GRAMPS, you couldn’t be further from the truth and it’s suggested you might want to read my July 6. 2009 post AGAIN!

    What you may fail to understand it that you, Larry or any citizen in Spotsylvania County has NO LEGAL TITLE or RIGHT to vote whether we join VRE or not. If it were my call the only thing I would do is thank VRE for the effort, but Spotsylvania will defer until CSX completes construction of their 3rd rail, and only then would we come back to the table to discuss the VRE Master Agreement and its very unforegiving contract language.

    You can watch this from the side lines as long as you like, but I believe Spotsylvania County needs to embrace best business practices and not the flip of a coin. If you wish to partake of the Red Herring, be my guest.

    At this juncture, with what little information we have received from our elected leaders, its administration, and County officials couldn’t fit into a small wet paper bag.

    All you have to remember is that you only have the right to show up, enjoy your three minutes of democracy and sit down, for want of a voting right that this county gave up for want of a charter or right of referendum. You are reminded this is not poliitics as usual, but an oligarchy.

    So what, if anything, we have to say, is a nullity. Null and Void from the outset and no accountability beyond the scent of another red herring…

    Please also remember you’re flying your banter under the flag of Comprehensive Plan…Big Deal? and not VRE.

    By the way, ridership on VRE is slowing. Any questions anyone should have can be found in the VRE published meeting minutes…January 2009 to June 2009. VRE IS NOT A SOLUTION BUT A MONEY PIT secured by binding contract language. Even the FLS reporting staff are making calls but not much feedback.

    In the alternative, we (Spotsylvania County) might ask their district board supervsors, County Attorney and Administrator to take a READ of the VRE Meeting minutes, January 2009 to June 2009 and let us know what they think. They will be sure to notice Stafford County’s subsidies have tripled in last 4 years. I’m currently under the distinct impression that with or without Spotsylvania County joining VRE, Stafford County may be funding their future subsidies out of general funds. VRE will not be putting any caps on their budget subsidies for any Participating Member, although they will pay lip-service to a non-binding promise they will try there best to keep subsidies to members as level as they can.

    If you were to look at VRE’s Capital Improvement Projects currently scheduled to take place in the next two years you’ll see that this promise can not and should not be made by any member of VRE.

    Last questions. When does the Stimulus money run out and when will the Commonwealth of Virginia going to make up a $2.6 BILLION transportation short fall. Best guesses/projections so so far is that we’ll still be short of transportation dollars to the year 2035.

    So, what have you gotten back for your tax dollars lately. VDOT isn’t going to be there. The General Assembly doesn’t have any answers except a $2.6 Billion short fall. Senator Houck’s response is that transportation dollars don’t fall out of the sky. This is same political rhetoric we’ve been hearing for years.

    Our elected officials tell us we need ADDITIONAL funding resources if we’re going to get them to do anything about their transportation vision, which is necessarily joined with their Land-Use agendas. Comprehensive Plan will be served up next.

    This is why WE authorized the purchase of $30 million dollars in debt service and General Obligation Bonds, because Silverf and Co. and Cosner Enterprises could’nt borrow against the cost of building a bridge over Int. 95 nor the roads necessary to make it to Mr. Cosner’s Hospital, currently under construction and will not be provided occupancy permits until Spotsylvania County underwrites their financial borrowing constraints.

    Solution: Put at least 4 oversight committees back into place. You will recall our current BOS elimininated 12 committees as being to burdensome for the Board to conduct business
    for their citizens.

    Has the last 30 years, without regulation and the violation of fiduciary trust beyond imagination gotten to anyone? Or, as Gramps says, “politics as usual” will rein.
    Tell that to anyone in this county who has lost their job over something they used to call trust or the other 6 million souls who lost their jobs. Try shaking hands with that kind of business practice and see what you come away with.

    No matter how tedious the task, read the fine print first before signing your name to another promise you might wind up being another kind of foreclosure, but with the best of intentions.

  • MAVRICKinc

    By the way Gramps, we’re a long way off from this debate being over. There’s too much at stake and the real parties interest/stakeholders are not going to let THEIR VISION slip through their hands. You couldn’t pick up enough sand in the palm of your hand to make a promise worth making.

  • gramps

    I am quite aware of the facts about VRE and the fact that “we” won’t be voting on membership. And I think the “debate” is over; some just continue to make the same points over and over again on these blogs and elsewhere. Yes, there will be one last “public hearing” where both the “pros and cons” will speak out and then the BOS will probably vote. Unless Marshall/Waddy can get the issue tabled again. We shall see what we shall see, eh?

  • MAVRICKinc

    Dan (FLS) what does a pregnant pause look like?
    There’s more to come but your most loyal bloggers appear to have worked themselves to the back of the line, with nothing more to offer beyond Spotsylvania County’s scripted blockade to understanding the most onerous contract (VRE Master Agreement) that anyone, including County Council and BOS could possibly imagine.

    I’m looking at the VRE Meeting Minutes for the past 6 months (2009) all the way back to 2007, when VRE was already planning their 2009 budget. If we (Spotsylvania County residents and landowners) are to be nothing more than a foregone conclusion, I, for one, can live with this lie. However, I don’t intend to leave the field of play for want of better government and the right to say it like it really is, without the make-up, postured positions, and only half of what Spotsylvania County chooses to share with its citizens and constituents.

    Now that Larry and Gramps have conceded their market share of tomorrow (VRE) as confined to yesterday, and is good as it gets, I’ll contionue to privide your readers with a history that works its way to today.

    Change, in Spotsylvania County, doesn’t rise above or beyond a war that was conducted 150 years ago. The end result is nothing more than a state mired in yesterday, mediocraty, and the ancient rules of the ruling class. Does anyone in the Commonwealth of Virginia know or understand what a governmental oligarchy looks like? If you don’t have a clue, I suggest you start with Spotsylvania County goverment and start asking the hard questions.

    So far, I have no reason to believe you’ll get a straight answer. If you want answers, they will be confined to the to the windmills of your mind, not theirs. If you don’t care, one way or the other, you will be nothing more than a foregone cpnclusion. In a world on automatic-pilot, you should fare well, until someone tells you that auto-pilot is not what it’s cracked up to be.

    Just how close do you want to get to the VRE agenda, that necessarily includes signing on to VRE’s Master Agreement? You be the judge.

  • gramps

    I really hate to be the one to tell you this, but your inability to take hints and clues about your never ending ramblings and your seeming inability to get off these endless diatribes are the reason many do not listen to you. I have seen the BOS ask you to get to your point in your public presentations and you get insulted when they rule you out of order. For gods sake man…wake up, you have argued yourself into a position where no one cares what you have to say. PLEASE listen up…less said is good and not everyone that disagrees or questions your position is against you or is wrong. NO ONE IS RIGHT ALL THE TIME. Not even you.

    One of my gripes with you and lgross (or larryg) is that you spend too much “of our time” repeating your positions on these things. You act as though none of us have any ability to comprehend what you say the first time you say it and therefore you repeat and repeat, ad infinitum.

    I, for one, really do read what you (and lgross and others) write here and elsewhere. Unlike many of these other “talking point” repeaters on these blogs, you and Larry get my attention. But I don’t need the constant repitition. In fact, I am too old to have to wade through all the repitition. So, please give consideration to these comments and consider them as “constuctive criticism,” and NOT just criticism for criticisms sake.

  • MAVRICKinc

    I appreciate your attempt at criticism, but I didn’t find a single thought expressed by you that had any constructive intentions other than to describe how frustrated you have become over the fact there is so much more to say about the County’s Comprehensive Plan and the VRE Master Agreement.

    Apparently your sole solution, much like that of Larryg is to conform to the idea that the “less said is good.” I could be off base but this sounds more like censorship than getting the job done.

    If you are the ONE delivering the message of how inept I am, and claim I lack the ability “to take hints and clues about my never ending ramblings and inability to get off these endless diatribes are the reasons many do not listen to you (me).” is all YOU (the one) have to offer, then I should respond with something like “ouch” and get on with the rest of my day.

    For the record, YOU did not see me making my 3 minute presentation to the Spotsylvania County BOS. Since the meetings are recorded, you will see for yourself the BOS have never asked me to make my point or have ever made a ruling that my presence or presentation was “out of order.”

    You have me confused with Dan Telvock, Free Lance Star, who stood up before the Board to ask one of those hard questions that County Attorney Stroman found to be out of order, after asking him to make his point. I have copies of the discourse (FLS), and thought Dan did a good job of asking before he was interrupted by the BOS and Country Attorney Stroman.

    Fact of the matter is you have never witnessed me taking to anger, at any time, before the BOS.
    I should know. I’ve been making monthly presentations to the BOS since October 2005. It’s all on record and I would suggest you put your sitings on rewind just to make sure that when you throw something at this blog site, that you have somthing that sticks to the wall.

    I don’t argue. I just ask questions. If there is no answer offered, I just get on to the next question. I’m not concerned in the least, on who’s out there, and claiming they don’t care what I have to say. That’s OK with me.

    Since you and Larry are the only ONES to show up on this blog, I have to wonder who THEY are.

    I have a good idea who THEY are. THEY tune into this channel just about every day, but remain silent on the side lines, because THEY have you two to stir the pot, which remains on a high flame, and affords nothing more than boiling water, without any ingredients.

    If you’re so disappointed with our blogging for taking up so much “of your time”, I suggest you just turn to another channel.

    The subject for now is the VRE Master Agreement, and the role it plays in changing our Comprehensive Plan to accomodate the construction of spraw in Spotsylvania County. If your bored with the details that will bring this to fruition, all you have to do is take one giant step back, and off line.

    Any questions? If you do and have an understanding of zoning and rezoning, I suggest you pull up the BOS JULY 14, 2009 agenda. If you don’t understand what Spotsylvania County is putting into play, I suggest you contact your district leader for details.

    Why is it that we’re not being assaulted with one liners, for want of getting a different answer to the question? Could it be, THEY don’t want to be reminded, over and over again, that our take on the VRE Master Agreement and staging of the Comprehensive Plan deserve much more consideration and oversite than it’s being given by our elected officials and special parties of interest.

    Do I have all the answers? NO! Am I RIGHT ALL THE TIME? NO! Do I care whether anyone is listening to anything I have to say? NO! All I do is show up and speak my mind. If you get it, but don’t wish to be reminded just how close you are to the truth, just turn around and leave the room.

    I’ll drop in every now and then to get your version of what you believe to be”constructive criticism.”

    Guys, your loyalty is not misspent, but it’s obvious your idea of balance is more than just lopsided. You’re the Company guys and should take pride in the fact that the “less said is a good thing” BUT to what end?

    Next up “AUTO PILOT” and a ditty from my past that will work its way to our present. Enjoy the day.

    P.S.: Gramps. What could possibly have kept you up at 10;38 PM just to tell me your story?
    I’m 24/7 but can’t imagine why anyone would stay up that late just to get the last word in before the weekend started. Take some breaks. I use naps all the time and it works. Keeps my pencil point sharp.

  • gramps

    literally proves my point. Enough said by me. Enjoy your diatribes.

  • lgross

    current at the Soo Locks in the UP.. and checking
    in when we can….

    I’ll take gramps advice and try not to repeat the
    points….

    we’ll probably be back before the hearing is held
    so we’ll be paying attention ….

  • MAVRICKinc

    Since no one is listening, I”ll begin today’s diatribe with a story and work my way back to the Spotsylvania County landscape.

    My employer received a call from one of our clients that she was involved in an accident and needed help.

    Our client later explained her version of how the accident came about. Short story; as operator of her vehicle with her two children seated in the back seat, she found herself profoundly upset with her children’s bad behavior in the back seat, she put her vehicle on cruise control. Later in the discussion she morphed “cruise control” into “auto-pilot.” Once cruise control was engaged, she thought it safe to take her seat belt off, turn around in her front seat and attend to her childrens bad behavior while the car negotiated its way along public streets.

    The first thing she heard was a big thump, followed by a lot smaller thumps, before the car stopped on its own accord while resting up against a bus stop with no where else to go.

    Our client and her children made it out of the car safely. The only thing I had left to do is find resolution and closure for the families of the 7 people killed by a car that was on cruise control and auto pilot.

    Take this ditti and rub it up against a world population, for the past 30 years, who put their best dreams (Utopia) and best of intentions, on cruise control with auto pilot fully engaged. The shame of it all is that our financil industries, wall street and their accomplices set their speed on cruise control with an entire nation on auto pilot.

    With cruise control off and auto pilot no longer engaged. try shaking hands with 6 million unemployed people, PLUS their families.

    Now, take a Metro rail system, also on cruise control and computerized AUTO PILOT, and see what you get back for your money. How would you like to be standing in front of a Metro Official and have them tell you the computer glitch was on screen but too small for anyone to notice? Try telling this to anyone, from the front train car to the last one, or as I like to think, ALL ABOARD.

    Out of 300,000 citizens in our Region, District 16, you’re not going to find but a handful of people who know anything about the VRE Master Agreement.

    Stafford County’s BOS didn’t share any of this information with their citizens and constituents or what the county’s elected officials were buying into. Fredericksburg City followed the same reasoning, only because THEY (elected officials in concert with the real parties of interest could. As long as you are on cruise CONTROL and your governing bodies have you on Auto Pilot, you shouldn’t expect much of anything back of any consequences or significance, because regional citizens don’t even have a vote in the matter, but are allowed to throw rocks at each other without having a clue what’s really at stake or why they have come to throw rocks at each another without good reason, sound judgement or the least understanding what the VRE Master Agreement and contract language reads like and how it translates to their struggle with Land-Use agendas, Comprehehensive Plans, Zoning ordinances, Dillon Rules, Urban Developement Areas (HB 3202), taxing districts, and funding by the tax payer.

    From all appearances, Spotsylvania County, its elected officials and special parties of interest have 120,000 citizens and constituents on cruise control, until at least August 19, 2009 when they will have voted on our future and the VRE agenda.

    If you feel comfortable being on Auto-Pilot, because you have no rights to do otherwise, is a subject that needs a closer look and reevaluation.

    You’re not being called to arms. Just look at the details and the fine print our Spotsylvania County elected officials have yet to share with this community in any manner of communication.

    If it is our nature to continue doing the same thing, over and over again, and expecting a different result, you will surely be disappointed with the result, just as a world population struggles with their lot in life, when cruise control and auto pilot got turned off…out of necessity, because we can no longer assume all’s right with the world.

    What’s wrong with putting the brakes on, if, for no other reason, but to bring your car under control and return home without incident or harm to anyone you most probably don’t even know, or read about it in your daily paper, or watch from the sidelines while seated in front of your TV.

    If you’re happy with your return on investment over the last 30 years, you don’t even have to stand up.

  • gramps

    I, and others, have read and studied the VRE MA and there is a lot there that is NOT good for Spotsy and, to be fair, there is some good that could result. It is NOT your intention that I disagree with, it is your approach to the problem.

    The FACTS are: 1) the VRE MA is now public and you, me and Larry are part of a small group that has read it and even come close to understanding what it says; 2) the BOS has also read it and their legal people have read it and they are in the process of deciding how to vote on the issue, which is what the voters of Spotsy sent them to do; 3) There, apparently, will be no referendum for us to vote on at the polls and there may not even be a “poll” beyond that of interested citizens alerting their BOS member how they feel (at the appropriate time I shall do that); 4) The VRE powers have spoken on the negotiations regarding things like “getting out” and they have not given Spotsy a whole lot; 5) There will be a public hearing in August wherein the BOS will hear from the citizens that are interested that they have not already heard from; 6) Some of us have had and seen a spirited debate on virtually every detail concerning the pros and cons of Spotsy joining VRE; 7) I certainly have not and do not agree with the way the BOS has handled this entire matter (closed door meetings etc., etc.), but I also see no “nefarious” agenda lurking in the shadows.

    The bottom line, as I see it, is that some of us will be sad and some of us will be happy regardless of the final outcome. I can tell you that in my 71 years on this planet I have been on the sad and happy end of a whole lot of issues of both a personal, business, and political nature. It’s sort of the way that rational human beings settle differences.

    Now that I have reached the 35% point in the allowed “diatribe” on this blog I shall wrap it up with this message. I sincerely hope you get whatever it is you are looking for in your adventure with the county politicians. Good luck.

  • MAVRICKinc

    Based on my aversion to cruise controls and auto pilots, I’ll keep both hands on the steering wheel and proceed at lower speeds, so anyone having an interest can see what’s passing for good government and what you get for your money.

    QUESTION: VRE Facts and Documents (FAMPO website).
    Washington Union Station and Transit Authorities are SERVED BY VRE, MARC, Amtrac,, Metrorail and Metrobus systems.

    So, if the Spotsylvania County Board of Supervisors decide to join VRE under the terms of their Master Agreement as a participating member of VRE…what would be Spotsylvania County’s future budgets and collective share of the liabilities Metrorail is confronted with, that looks to be measured in the 10′s of millions of dollars?

    After our insurance policies, through VRE, have settled the claims, how does one measure Metrorail’s future capital improvements and the cost of retrofitting a rail SYSTEM that’s been broken for years?

    I’ll assume patriotic duty will be thrown around for quite some time, with nothing to show for it.

    Any questions, check the VRE minutes for the last 6 months.

    How much of the Commissions budget process and cost of operations will be passed on to Spotsylvania County’s budget share in order to underwrite CSX,VRE, Northern Virginia Transportation Commission, Rappahannock Transportation Commission, Amtrac, Metrorail and Metrobus, after receiving a large grant, confided it needed $10 Billion more, just to bring its operation up to today’s transportation standards.

    Where does it say in the VRE Master Agreement that our share of the Commissions budget is broken out and serves only the combined liabilities, cost of operation of the Commission’s Contributing and Participating members.

    Since no one at FAMPO or the Spotsylvania County Board of Supervisors have yet to provide an answer to the questions.

    The Chair to FAMPO’s Policy Committee Supv. Connors. and Spotsylvania County Attorney Strohman should necessarily have critical knowledge of the VRE Master Agreement that could and would answer these questions, but have yet to volunteer any information about what the BOS are buying into when they sign on to the VRE agenda.

    If anyone out there believes Larryg or Gramps have all the answers, please give them a call.

    GRAMPS: Don’t know who “others” are that you claim have read and studied the VRE Master Agreement and that “there is some good that could result.” When somone uses the term “could” I am always left with this feeling that I’m being invited to a crap-shoot. Where is the good found in joining VRE? I read the document. I couldn’t find a single page in the VRE Master Agreement that left me with a warm and fuzzy feeling. It’s a one way, single sided contractual agreement that enures to only one part; VRE.

    While you don’t disagree with my intentions, you acknowledge a PROBLEM does exist but you don’t like the way I approach problem problem solving.

    Since I’m not branded with a political agenda, running for office, or have ulterior motives, you can hardly claim to know anything about my intentions. I show up and that is about as complicated as it gets.

    It’s not so much the years as it is the mileage. If you are today’s “rational” thinking and answer to resolving differences between us humans, it’s no wonder we are stuck in neutral with our feet cast in concrete.

    Ask yourself, why would I want to take on County Government and politics? Point of the matter is I’m not. Why waste my time?

    Your FACTS: 1) the VRE Master Agreement was posted for the first time, for public consumption, on MAY 22, 2009. Who knows how it reads? You would think the Spotsylvania County Government, BOS and this County’s Attorney would have an opinion they could share with the public. The VRE Master Agreement was posted on FAMPO’s website, not Spotsylvania County’s website.

    2) the Spotsylvania County BOS haven’t provided a single citizen or constituent with a good reason why they should be the last and only word on where this County is going, other than by default, along lines you have suggested in your factual account of July 12, 2009.

    3) While you promise to be on hand at “the appropriate time” the citizens of Spotsylvania County have no vote on joining or not joining VRE. Shout as loud as you want but the Spotsylvania County, and Commonwealth of Virginia have exclusive rights to your vote.

    4) Get with the program. The VRE “powers to be” haven’t given the citizens of Spotsylvania County anything except a very unforegiving contract; aka VRE Master Agreement.

    5) No brainer. Someone will show up at the public hearing in August with nothing more than the right to stand at the podium. In the language of law, we call this hearing as nothing more than “due process.”

    6) There has been absolutely no debate, “on virtually every detail” of the the VRE agenda.
    Details or yopur version of details?

    7) We would not expect you to find “nefarious” unless you open the door.

  • gramps

    Well Mav, lets look at your comments directed at me.

    The “others” are any and all citizens beyond you, me, and Larry. If no others have read the MA since it became public, then I believe they DO NOT CARE about the VRE issue. The “good” that “could” come is any residual gasoline tax revenue that “could” be used for other county transpo problems. NOTE that I said “could” because there are no guarantees. IT IS a CRAP SHOOT and when it comes to all things political, CRAP SHOOT is pretty much what you get.

    I do not disagree with your intentions in this or any other matter. Your approach of using long winded explanations leaves me a cold. An example is your presentation to last Tuesday’s BOS meeting. I watched it on TV. Because of the length of your presentation, I felt it lost “impact” because you never seemed to get to your point and the “time limit” cut you off before you made your point effectively.

    I have never held myself out as an example of “rational” thinking. I can be just as “irrational” as the next person, when I feel passionately about an issue. If discouse is not the way rational humans resolve differences then I stand corrected. However, when it comes to dealing with you, discourse dissolves into long deliberations involving excrutiating details. In short, it gets boring. Make your point concisely and as rapidly as possible. Discourse can be fun.

    Finally, if you are not “taking on” county government, just what the h*** are you doing? If you wish to educate us poor dumb rednecks, I suggest you get a job teaching political science at some institution of “higher” learning. That is where all the “theory” is taught. Out here is where the rubber meets the road.

    PS My “facts” are still facts regardless of how you see them.

  • InWonderIam

    Does it ever occur to the frequent posters on these blogs that not ALL of us appreciate the constant personal bickering that goes on? For the record, there’s a number of readers who follow the blogs, but I suspect most refrain from posting because some monopolize the blogs, many ending in personal attacks. Take your personal arguments outside, folks!

  • gramps

    just how one “monopolizes a blog?” The purpose of a blog is to provide a venue for commentary, and yes, disagreements, general bloviation, etc., etc. I would suggest that anyone not liking the posts, NOT visit that blog anymore as there are certainly plenty of others. If one is looking for a blog where there is no disagreement or debate I would suggest a nice sunday school class.

  • MAVRICKinc

    This particular blog site is about the Spotsylvania County’s Comprehensive Plan, Zoning, Rezoning and the VRE agendas.

    To any and all who wish to participate, have something to add to the debate, or just want to weigh in on the subject matter at hand, you are invited to share any thought you may have on these subjects.

    Those who are easily offended, or think of these communications as “personal” have missed the point entirely. Those who join in the debate can’t afford to take anything personally.

    I’m about the details and fine print. Gramps is about “business as usual” and LarryG is about the middle and never having to take sides, at least not in public, and he can draw convoluted circles around just about anything, and still can’t make up his mind.

    Ever been to a ball game, with thousands in attendance, but didn’t know which team to root for? After everything is said, shouted out and done with, if only for a moment, showing up is the only thing that counts.

    A very long time ago I gave up “assuming intelligence”, including my own, and took up asking hard questions.

    The pay off is that you can graze on either side of a fence, but when all the feed and grass has run out, or covered over with too many cliches, pouring out the other end, it’s time to move on to greener pastures, and put the other side behind you.

    PAGE 2: Unless or until you have read the VRE Master Agreement, and have a vague knowledge of its contract language and consequences (20 pages long) I’m not sure what anyone could possibly add to this diatribe. On the other hand, you are invited to read, do a little homework, you might be able to fend for yourself, if only for an opinionated moment.

    The VRE Master Agreement was only made available to the public on May 22, 2009, for the first time and found on the FAMPO website, under title of Virginia Railway Express. When or if your choose to pull this site up make sure you also pull up the two attached articles published by FAMPO along with the Vre Master Agreement.

    They are titled: “EXTENSION OF VRE SERVICES TO SPOTSYLVANIA COUNTY ANALYSIS OF CAPITAL IMPROVEMENT FUNDING SOURCES”(just over a page long)…and “EXTENSION OF VRE SERVICES TO SPOTSYLVANIA COUNTY ANALYSIS OF PROS AND CONS” which provides, on page 3, “Future Transportation and Land Use Eficiencies: Here the pros cite the FACT that the CSX INFRASTRUCTURE already exist (except for the 3rd rail currently under construction by CSX), and excess capacity therefore exists TO MAKE FUTURE INCREASES IN VRE SERVICE, without the added cost of widening, as IS THE CASE IN HIGHWAYS. They (who?) also cite the FACT that DEVELOPMENT (who?) of a new Spotsylvania station can be completed in conjunction with a set of focused land use developments, such as those offered by TRICORD at Summit Crossing. In this case a campus of mixed use development, including residential, retail and office is proposed (note:along the same lines as the Courthouse Campus will be constructed over 9,098 acres that currently surrounds our current Spotsylvania County’s Circuit Court house. For more details you’ll have to move up to the blog site on Vakos and whether anyone will come, if built)….”This sort of focused development will tend to create a more efficient land use pattern in the future and COULD potentially help attract the relocation of professional jobs from the NORTH.”

    “This is sharply in favor of the pros, as the antis have produced no known arguments to counter it.”

    “SUMMARY FINDINGS: While there are compelling reasons to join VRE, there are few if any compelling reasons not to join.”

    Anyone out there feel like a foregone conclusion? The fact of the matter is you are a foregone conclusion.

    Due process will allow you to say anything you want, come August, but the decision to join or not join VRE is solely in the hands of our BOS, and their very real partners and special interest groups and has nothing to do with what serves in the best interest of the Spotsylvania County citizens and constituents. We gave up our rights a long time ago, so this conclusion should come as no surprise to anyone. We’re in Planning District 16, made up of 300,000 citizens who have no rights to condition their elected leaders and THEIR visions.

    “Mallard Landing” was approved last Tuesday (July 14) by our BOS; 5-2 vote with Pitts and Jackson voting against.

    The Spotsylvania County Department of Planning provided our BOS with its recommendation to deny TRICORD’s latest project, proffer and plan did not meet with the Vision goals of the Comprehensive Plan, was in conflict with the Future Land Use MAP, inconsistent with the goals of the Levels of Service, Public Facilities and Vision elements of the 2002 Comprehensive Plan.

    Simply said, the Spotsylvania Planning Dept, NOT Planning Commission VI. RECOMMENDATION: “The project has SOME merit (polite conversatio protocols): HOWEVER…continued to Page 3, same subject matter…

  • MAVRICKinc

    continued from Page 2…(Mallard Landing)…Spotsylvania County’s Planning Departments RECOMMENDATION OF DENIAL of the Mallard Landing / Tricord project which reads from

    “HOWEVER the assets of the requst (by Tricord are not sufficient to overcome the weaknesses and the costly impact on public facilities. The BY-RIGHT DEVELOPMENT is more in keeping with the FUTURE LAND USE MAP and while it would result in UNMITIGATED impacts on capital facilities, the fiscal impact on the County is less than with the proposed rezoning. Staff recommends DENIAL of the rezoning proposal.”

    Apparently no one showed up at the July 14, 2009 BOS’s scheduled public meeting to argue against the Mallard Landing project and proposal.

    Why would anyone show in opposition? After all, the BOS AGENDA was only put on line at the County website three (3) days before the meeting was to take place.

    Can anyone imagine how you would best use your hard earned weekend, in the midst of catching up with family, to-do lists or the sheer magic of being free to do anything you want, without unnecessary stress. Come Sunday and close to bedtime, the only thing you have on your mind is Monday, with all its trials and tribulations.

    After making it through Tuesday’s work day and returning home, what would you most likely do? You will have to confess that showing up at a County BOS meeting at 3 PM in the afternoon is totally out of question and to be present at the 6:30 PM portion of the same meeting, calling for “Public Presentations” to the BOS “Public Hearings.

    Since you have placed your allegiance to your elected officials, BOS and its members to do the right thing in your behalf, why would you question anything the BOS and their stakeholders, and real parties of interest are constructing and will construct on your dime?

    Since the Spotsylvania County BOS are empowered to represent your interest, and any other citizen or constituent, by proxy, we no longer have to think for ourselves. It’s done for us by those in Planning District 16; Fredericksburg, Caroline, King George, Stafford and Spotsylvania County.

    Since Mallard Landing, while not in compliance with County Proffer Guidelines or the County’s Comprehensive Plan has been approved on the basis of a County construction network out of business and a County Development community bound to use Spotsylvania County’s AA Bond capacity to underwrite THEIR pet projects.

    If you are lost in the tall grass, for want of necessary information, to make any kind of informed decision, I suggest getting out of the house, every now and then, to see for yourself that all this information is public knowledge and recorded for public consumption.

    Now that Tricord, Ron Maupin, Esq, M.G. Fulks, Hugh Cosner, Mary Lee Carter, Supv. Gary Skinner, Silver , Sullivan, Donohoe and Engles (engineers, land survey and development since 1965) has put their foot in the door, for all the wrong reasons, lets identify where our current BOS are taking us, with THEIR VISION.

    The BIG PICTURE would include what’s been put into place for years.

    Just down from Mallard Landing you will see an URBAN DEVELOPMENT AREA that the Spotsylvania County Planning COMMISSION identified for the County BOS on June 9, 2009. This particular area has been identified as Spotrsylvania County (Lee’s Hill District) PROPOSED URBAN DEVELOPMENT AREA I (pronounced “eye) and carries with it the following details: “I- 248 Acres. FORMER New Post site. The mixed-use area supports the employment center designated LAND USE nearby to the east and north (Mallard Landing). This serves as the southern Traditional Neighborhood Development (TND) ANCHOR POINT along Route 2.”

    If any of you were around then when the Spotsylvania County BOS REJECTED Tricords “New Post” proposal for want of many of the same things that caused our Planning Department to reject Tricords Mallard Landing proposal, which this BOS approved on a vote of 5-2. What does Supv. Pitts and Jackson know that we apparently don’t want to know?

    Next UDA proposed, within the boundaries of Lee’s Hill District, is Proposed Urban Development Area H, which is described by County Planning Commission as:

    “H-1801 acres. Mixed-use area along Rt 17 in the Crossroads Business Center area. Rail provides BOTH Industrial and Traditional Neighborhood Development (TND) Town Center POSSIBILITES, especially if Virginia Railway Express (VRE) is constructed. The mixed-use LAND designation supports surrounding employment center DESIGNATED AREAS. (This site includes the Tri-cord proposed Summit Crossing project).”

    This project was also rejected by the Spotsylvania BOS for many of the same reasons County Planning provided in their conclusions to deny the Mallard Landing project. So, how did the Mallard Landing make its way to approval, as an exception to the rules?

    To be continued to Page 4….see you then.

  • gramps

    is published, let me know. I will purchase a copy and read it then. I don’t like to read books on an installment basis.

  • lgross

    If no one commented here, then Dan would be
    reporting news the same way for the online
    version of the paper.

    The blog format offers the opportunity to express
    your own thoughts for others to see and respond.

    Messy in terms of excessive use of bandwidth
    and other assorted dialog “warts” ? yes.

    and I realize I’m probably one of the offenders
    so I do take constructive criticism.. even repeated
    if my response is insufficient for those I’m
    offending.

    but my view with blogs is that if the pontificater is
    being obnoxious, rude, verbal bad-breath,
    “dominate”… etc.. just move that cursor to
    something more pleasant and chalk it up like you
    would someone standing on a street corning
    blathering on and on… or for that matter.. some
    politician on TV or worse your phone.. just hang
    up and/or switch the channel….

    that’s my story …. and I’m sticking to it.

  • lgross

    I’m with Gramps on this. One of the problems I
    have with Mav is I’m never really sure exactly
    what point he is making in the data dump he
    provides.. much less what he might think would
    be a better way of accomplishing things.

    To me.. that is one of the benefits of
    “blogging”… dialogging with others.. exchanging
    ideas.. and perhaps agreeing on some things…

    some folks, including some BOS, prefer to “lurk”
    although every now and then one of them will
    offer their views…

    Of all the public officials I know.. only two actually
    offer blogs themselves – Matt Kelly in
    Fredericksburg and Chap Peterson.. the Fairfax
    rep to the GA.

    I’d like to see more do this including our own
    Spotsy BOS. I wonder who will be first, if any?

  • MAVRICKinc

    Guys: I think your running out of things to say. Larry I never expected you to understand any point I might attempt to make. Every time I get close to the truth, you always manage to turn your head.

    Gramps, the BOOK has already been written. It’s 14 years long. I’ve suggested to my editor that we dedicate at least 3 paragraphs and one footnote to you and Larry, just to keep the record straight and the paper trail consistent with what it’s like to live in the Commonwealth of Virginia and not be a true born and raised Virginian.

    Page 4 should be out soon.

  • gramps

    I am a native of Indiana. I came to Virginia in 1961 while in the Army stationed at Fort Belvoir. Except for about 11 years (two periods of about 5 and 6 years each), when my job took me to Florida, my home has been in Virginia. Came to Spotsy in 2002 when my in-laws were ill and my wife needed to be close to them. They, by the way, were 35+ year Partlow residents.

  • MAVRICKinc

    Thanks for the BIO. Since I have your real name I’ll be sure to include it in the footnote.

    Born in North Carolina. Left at a very young age and toured or lived in the rest of America. Maine to California, including Alaska; Puerto Rico to the Canadian border. Met and enjoyed a lot of very different and diverse people/ human beings. Discovered a long time ago that we’re not very different from one another.

    I abide by one simple rule: Show me! It’s a Missouri thing that just won’t get out of my head. It’s a major part of my decision making properties. I’ll sit and listen to anyone who wants to persuade me that they are right and that I should follow in their shadow. Bottom line: show me.

    My comfort zone is chaos, conflict in ones self, adversarial components we create in the windmills of our respective minds, and alternative solutions to the impossible. Simply said, I’m a cheap date.

    Still working on Page 4, but a person called VACORRESPONDENT, several blogs up from here, is describing some very good solutions to Spotsylvania County’s age old business model of business as usual and turning it on its head with more than one alternative.

    I don’t know about you, but I intend to listen in just to see where some of the skeletons have been buried. Last time I looked VACORRESPONDENT was holding the high ground and exchanging resumes with Larryg.

    LUNCHTIME! Have a good day and a better weekend. I will return.

  • gramps

    watching “vacorr” and Larry “joust” with one another.

  • MAVRICKinc

    I know your watching, but who else is tuning in? I think Larry just lost one of his bishops, two pawns and one knight. There may come a time when Larry might consider using his castle move for a king. Right now Larry needs to make it to the other side with a pawn in order to get his queen back on the board.

    VACORRESPONDENT has already called out two “checks” and “check mate” really shouldn’t be far behind, relatively speaking. I did my homework, how about you?

  • MAVRICKinc

    Since Spotsylvania County has reduced their fee schedule by 25% or a loss of $80,000 a month if home construction doesn’t take off and ignoring “County Proffer Guidelines” there shouldn’t be any question on who’s going to show up at the fire sale.

    Mallard Landing is supposed bring jobs to the County, for those who have lost their jobs…due to current economic troubles. Our BOS’s have identified and assigned an employment pool for hire that lives only in Spotsylvania County or qualify as a real Virginian.

    Question: Just how many construction contractors does it take to build 150 townhouses with enough room for open space and an Employment Center?

    Hugh Cosner maintains the longest list and largest group of people waiting to be hired or rehired. Now that the Spotslylvania BOS have bought enough GO-Bonds at 3.3% and 25 years pay back, to underwrite the infrastructure currently set out by Cosner and Silver.

    We get to pay for the bridge over I-95 and all roads leading to Cosner’s hospital and the roads that will be constructed on Cosner’s land, aka Urban Development Area F, approved by the Spotsy BOS and County Planning Commission under the guise of HB 3202 which is currently being cut up to accommodate Spotsylvania County’s vision of what will magically appear in the next 10 years of build out.

    UDA F is described as 541 Acres. “Infill around new hospital and community college. Medical office AND HIGH DENSITY RESIDENTIAL should complement CURRENT USES.

    UDA I (Former “New Post” site) Rt 2 and 17 could build out to more than 1,400 new home construction sites or more, if the powers to be want high density populations constructed instead of single family homes. I’m betting A.P Hill, in its current growth spurt, will want to house it’s military and support staff.

    The next UDA identified by the County Planning Commission and found in the Lee’s Hill Distreict is UDA H. This is the “Summitt Crossing” project that was turned down by the BOS for many of the same reasons the Spotsylvania County Planning Dept reccommended DENIAL of the Mallard Landing project.

    UDA H is critical to joining or not joining the VRE agenda and its Master Agreement. It has already been projected that TRICORD’s “Summit Crossing” could create as many as 5,900 new homes, but considering HB 3202 in the mix, ((Urban Development Areas) that number could go as high as 12,000 high density housing, aka “spraw.”

    The unique thing about raising/resurrecting this project is that it comes with a railroad station and enough parking to accomodate 1000 or more parking spaces for rail commuter traffic; aka VRE, CSX, Metrorail, Amtrac, etc etc.

    If you want to take a look see all you have to do take a ride on Rt 17, go over the rail bridge, and at the bottom of the hill, take a right on Crossroads and into the Crossroads Business Center. You should be able to see VRE’s buildings that butt to the rail road tracks. This is where the Station will be.

    As you leave the Center to get back on Rt 17, look to your right and you will see where those 1000+ park and ride spaces. Now look at Rt 17 and think traffic congestion.

    Go across Rt 17 and you’ll be on Benchmark. Before you take the big curve take a gander at the construction site that’s been going on for more than a year and designated Private Property, NO TRESSPASSING. You can’t miss it. It will be on your right. Continue on around the curve and you’ll pass Mary Lee Carter’s park and playing field to the right, with CSX railroad tracks to the left with a promise to build a third rail any time soon, if Spotsylvania County will join and abide by the VRE Master Agreement.

    Just up the way, before you reach the first set of railrod tracks that cut across Benchmark, look to the right you’ll see another set signs that claim to be private property and NO TRESSPASSING.

    The fact is that serious water ans sewer lines have been layed to accommodate what or who? Railroad station come to mind? Thousands of high density populations, under the guise of HB 3202? TRICORD? Cosner? Mary Lee Carter? Supv.Gary Skinner, Connors, Logan, and Pitts?

    Skinner was put into office by Thomas Y Welsh, Timothy Welsh (RCCI), Meadows, Silver and Cosner.

    With this much money at stake, the citizens of Spotsylvania don’t have a chance or even a vote to change anything in Spotsylvania County unless by consent of its landlords.

    Next time you care to look, may I suggest taking a walk through the FAMPO website and see for yourself who’s really in charge. I like to think of them as Sponsylvania County’s shadow government. No one can claim to be surprised since everything is public record, except what really goes on behind closed doors.

    Now you have everthing you ever wanted to know about Comp. Plans / Zoning and VRE whilebeing seated in the back pew, with your fingers crossed.

    Democracy doesn’t get any better than this, so try to give us a happy face and return to the box (TV) you covet so much.

*/