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Jeff Branscome writes about Spotsylvania County.

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What’s The Committee of 500 Been Up To?

Anyone else noticing how the Committee of 500 is working closer with developers? Most of the members were strong supporters of the Summit Crossing project that is now on hold because it was much too large for Spotsylvania supervisors to comprehend. That was 5,900 homes in what appeared to be a smart-growth project.

Now, the leadership seems to be working together with Luck Stone, who has a project in the works called Ni Village, "A Sustainable Community in Spotsylvania Virginia."

They are in favor of a GREENWAY project that will connect by trail different parts of the county. Always about smart growth, C-500 was a group of concerned residents who interviewed potential elected leaders to see how much they aligned with their own beliefs on growth. 

Tricord proposed a smart-growth project and it failed to gain steam. Luck Stone is up next, and they have the backing of this group of concerned citizens.  


Post tags:


  • lgross

    It’s a concept that means different things to different people and there is a lot of interesting issues as
    they apply to Spotsylvania and it’s 2% growth goal.

    For one thing – you can build all the smart growth that you want but unless you can arrest the “dumb
    growth” then you’ll not replace the dumb growth with smart growth but instead add to it – accelerating
    population growth – and Smart Growth is also dense growth – and density requires expensive
    infrastructure – up front… water/sewer/schools/libraries/fire rescue/ plus not only roads but multi-
    modal transportation – transit, ped/bike, trails ,etc.

    Who would pay for all of this?

    Well.. one answer given was a TIF. Now a TIF essentially sets up a self-contained tax district that
    keeps the taxes and none of then on the new development goes to the county.

    Fredericksburg did a modified TIF agreement with Kalahari and what it amount to was a lower tax rate
    on that project – as long as it generated sales revenues.

    that was not what Tricord was offering…some if not a lot of that TIF, if I remember correctly was going
    to go for a new interchange….

    Now that concept ought to be worth a few words from a citizen group. No?

    That’s worth a few words from groups who say they support Smart Growth.

    Smart Growth built on greenfields (undeveloped land as opposed to redeveloped land) and targeted to
    NoVa commuters is not the Smart Growth that claims to be designed to let people live, work, shop and
    play in one mixed-use development.

    And there is a real question in my mind if you build a VRE station and surround it with so-called Smart
    Growth whether or not those VRE riders are going to plop down near that station or just hop in their car
    and drive 10 more miles to their “dumb growth” home.

    In order words – are we so sure that a VRE station is not going to enable more sprawl (dumb growth)?

    I thought these issues would have been worth a few more words from groups that say they support
    “smart growth”.

    These are not insubstantial issues… as evidenced by the angst from the PC and the BOS when dealing
    with these things.

  • MAVRICKinc


    Since no citizen groups, on Smart Growth or any other subject have been drawn out by LARRYG’S call out challenge, I’ll wait a little while longer to see if any such groups even exist, have anything to say, except for the C500.

    I gather Brenda King and her newly assembled Political Action Group (PAC) might bring some new ways of thinking to the table, but have yet to see what her PAC intends to endorse by way of their principles and getting this County moving in the right direction. I’m all ears.

    Since Larry is a voting member of the C500 and actually got it started years ago, I’m not sure what Larry stands for anymore except more smoke and mirrors.

    If he is your pied piper, with the same song and dance, you (plural) should be proud to align yourselves with his principles, what ever they may be.

    I can hear Gramps in the background, making his way to the front of the line. I expect a spirited response with no end in sight.

    I’m going to hold my cards (homework) for the time being, since Larry and Gramps can only deal with one subject at a time. It’s their disconnect strategy, with anything and anyone who has an opinion, not their own.

    Now is not the time for 500 words or the equivalent of shining a light on the real facts, supported by public records, that apparently no one in the County is interested in reading, much less comprehend where WE are being taken by our elected officials, and THEIR special interest groups; development and construction communities.

    There really is more to be said and identified in future volumes of what is supposed to be in OUR BEST INTEREST.

    Larry, let your version of a “concept” and smart growth issues be the platform of YOUR GROUP, not OURS.

    All WE have to do is wait for the other shoe to drop.

    The question at this blog site is still about the C500 and what they have been doing over the last several years and how they have changed their working strategies without knowing the facts.

    EXAMPLE: the C500 sold a gas-tax to the Citizens of this Region, without ever making mention that the deal was also atteched to a most unforgiving VRE Master Agreement.

    I’m currently waiting for the BOS to post the 07-07-2009 version of the VRE Master Agreement.

    The language still reads VRE will “do their best” to control cost and keep our share of the VRE budgeting process within reasonable parameters.

    So, what have we signed on to? A promise confined to VRE’s Master Agreement that says they will “do their best.” Anyone interested in knowing how much leverage any participating member has or can quantify under the contract terms that VRE “will do their best” to control cost?

    Work that into landuse plans and planning already on the drawing board, and just waiting to find its way to the top of the pile.

    72% of this blog comment, should be enough for the day, but there’s more to come.

    Thru the FredTalk net work I was reminded recently by one of its FUG members, that “Silence is Golden, and Duct Tape is Silver”

    So, what’s next? Seeing is still believing, but if you have your blinders on you can only look in one direction at a time. Hearing no longer counts for much either since what goes in one ear and out the other is nothing more than a TV station and remote control of your liking.

    We like to think of this in terms of the foundation of “plausible denyability. If you don’t know, how can you possibly care about anything else except yourself? Still waiting for a reply back.

  • dantelvock

    Who cares how many members they have? Does that somehow diminish their ability to work for causes they believe in? Just a question.

    It’s not like members prance around touting their 500 members. They don’t.

  • gramps

    but I am going crazy with all the VRE blather.

    On several other “comment” sections on recent published FLS articles the VRE question has been asked and answered at least sixty to a hundred times by the likes of larryg, Matt Kelly, and others. I have even been teased in a couple of times. The VRE issue will never be solved to everyones satisfaction, except mine! I do not care one whit whether Spotsy joins VRE or not. My taxes already pay for many things that, if I had a choice, I would opt out.

    The interesting aspect of this VRE issue, to me, centers around why Mr. Logan chose to preempt Mr. Marshall and make his motion for him. Marshall did not even second the motion on his own idea. In fact, the really interesting part of the whole VRE drama centers around the way the public hearing was conducted and then played out. It is of further interest to me that there is not more public outcry about the “behind the scene” activity here. Apparently the pro VRE folks are quite satisfied to sit back and enjoy their “victory.” I presume they do not understand that their “joy” may be short lived. Also, apparently, the anti VRE folks do not understand what happened here or do understand and don’t care; opting to let a vote in two districts rid them of the VRE “scourge.”

    Another interesting aspect is that the VRE “Board” has chosen to accept Spotsy’s conditions; even after publicly saying a couple of weeks ago that any conditions were out of the question.

    Meanwhile, many of these anti VREers continue to argue, er discuss, the fine points of certain details. None of which will carry an ounce of weight on how this thing eventually plays out.

    Now, I have “blathered” myself out and I am going to do my “da**edest” to ignore all futher VRE blather except it has something to do with the politics of that very curious public hearing.

  • lgross

    good comments Gramp. I don’t disagree with any of them… and will add one more….
    with respect to the words about parking charges that got removed right before the
    hearing.. by some process that escapes me if it was not done by BOS action.

    Mav, I’m not a member of the C500.. you are so clueless about what are facts sometimes
    it’s pretty amusing.

    but why does it matter anyhow?

  • dantelvock

    Larry, what I thought I heard was the parking issue was deleted based on an earlier agreement and that it was never deleted from the packet.

    I had blogged on it earlier that day and was a bit surprised when the county attorney said it was being deleted.

    I asked him whether that was legal in a public hearing and he said the joining agreement wasn’t the subject of the public hearing. I thought it was.

    Usually, any major changes to a public hearing issue require a new announcement of the hearing.

  • gramps

    “whether that was legal in a public hearing and he said the joining agreement wasn’t the subject of the public hearing.” That is a “stunning” statement coming from our CA. I am slowly forming a very unfavorable opinion about certain legal advisors in this county. A statement like that begs for an explanation from our elected representatives.

  • MAVRICKinc

    Dan: What the C-500 has to offer to the public is just too distorted to make sense of. If you wish to defend the 80 or less members of the C500, that’s you perogative and right, and they have the responsibility to abide by their principles, and not minipulate the outcome. THEY can believe anything they want to, and we have the same right, so what is your point?

    The C500 sold a gas tax. Should they have known it came with a master agreement?

    Dan your starting to sound more like Larryg every day and he’s the one who started to C500 in the first place.

    See any resemblance between what they used to be and what they have become today. They’ve been bought and sold so many times over the years, that they can only be found at the beckoned call of the BOS and their alliance with the big guys in development.

    So, tell me it’s not so.

    Dan, your politics are your own, but if you want to debate this issue, that’s OK with me, but you’re going to have to do a better job on your homework assignments.

    By the way, have you guys finished taking a vote on whether to return to 512 characters or not. If the vote is in you could at least share the results with me. Larryg and Gramps are waiting with baited breath to see if they made a bad business decision.

    You were at the the VRE meeting. What is it about the C500′s vision on landuse agendas that made any sense. I was there, and all I got from trhe C500 was pink and fuzzy

  • lgross

    the subject of the hearing Dan was the reference
    material that was in the advertisement.

    If that AD referenced the docs containing the
    parking verbiage then it was part of the hearing.

    If the CA says the agreement is not part o the
    hearing then I’d have to ask what was the
    purpose of having it included in the reference
    material in a meeting that was solely about VRE?

    What is the purpose of the hearing and what
    determines what votes need a hearing and what
    votes do not need a hearing?

  • lgross

    it’s the attitude that really hits home – like it’s
    really none of the public’s business to start with.

    The parking issue IS a public issue in my mind
    ..just as much as having a station is or any of the
    other proposed changes in the agreement.

    The folks on the BOS know this and if they are
    okay with it ..I too am stunned.

  • lgross

    this nugget of wisdom coming from Mav?

    made my day. thanks.

  • gramps

    the subject of this blog is far from the current issue. However, what is done is done, I guess. In any event, IF THERE IS A SPOTSY BOS MEMBER OUT THERE, PLEASE READ BACK A FEW POSTS AND RESPOND TO THIS ISSUE. Some of us citizens would like to know your explanation of what happened before, during, and after the VRE public hearing, particularly regarding the changes to documents etc. that were not made public before the hearing.

  • dantelvock

    Marty, don’t put words into my mouth.

    I am not defending anything. All I did was ask you a legit question. You always answer with attacks. It’s getting old.

  • therestofthestory

    No Dan…your post lacked jounalistic integrity. You attacked his post…you are suppose to investigate and apply that freedom you were given in the Constitution with reverence. Mav has given you enough leads, along with the FLS archives, not the ones online but in the library, to write a book about.

  • gramps

    I have gone back and re-read both MGW’s and Dan’s post. I simply do not agree with “therestofthestory” that Dan attacked MGW. Dan’s post was more in the light of a defense of his own post. We all know that “trots” and MGW have issues with the FLS and it’s policies. He**, I have issues with the FLS too. But I do not think it appropriate to take them out on one reporter.

  • MAVRICKinc

    Dan: you crossed the line and know it, but then again I wouldn’t expect anything less from YOU, the FLS or your terrible pitbull twosome. You may wish to hide behind your political prowess but what goes around comes around.

    You simply chose to endorse and embrace the wrong question that was of your and the FLS’s making, not mine. Try your best to make it go away, but the record supports only one conclusion: YOU (plural) crossed the line and recognize ONLY that which is very flawed.

    If you, Larry Gross or Bill Haas want to debate the issues,l can only suggest you (plural) get a better stage manager.

    If you guys are a committee of 3 I suggest you get better intel. There is another side to this equation, and YOU don’t have a clue. OR, you do know but not telling.

    Dan, do your homework.

  • lgross

    ” Who cares how many members they have? Does that somehow diminish their ability to work for
    causes they believe in? Just a question.

    It’s not like members prance around touting their 500 members. They don’t.”

    this is “crossing the line”?????


    I think Dan challenged the assertion but I have a hard time seeing this as an attack on his

    there have been and continue to be personal attacks here… though… and if we don’t control
    ourselves.. at some point.. one or more might lose their login ids or it might force the blog itself
    to be shut down so I ask ask that we all strive to deal with the issues … and not personalities.

    If we can’t do that.. then this is one guy who won’t respond to those using Ad Hominems so fair

    it’s stuff like this by the way that keeps the BOS members from being more active in the

    and here is what I favor:

    ” Direct all the fire and fury you want at another person’s argument, but do not engage in ad
    hominem attacks. The publisher reserves the right to delete any comments that violate this basic

    Here’s another:

    ” Rules:

    1. No cussing. 2. No personal attacks on fellow site participants. 3. Stay on topic
    this is from

    and then in this forum, we agree when we check the box to this:

    “Play nice, share information, respectfully disagree, voice strong opinions (that don’t violate our
    “mutual respect” clause), and all is well.

    Drag down other users or the admins, and your username will disappear – possibly without
    warning. ”

    I support all 3 of these and hope that Dan/FLS will not hesitate to enforce them and if I end up
    being the one that is tossed – so be it.

  • MAVRICKinc

    Dan Telvock, Larry Gross, Bill Haas and the Free Lance Star: Here is my bill of particulars on this particular blog site.

    Dan Telvock / FLS, started this blog invitation for comment with a question: “What’s The Committee of 500 Been Up To?” This question is followed by yet another question; “Anyone else noticing how the Committee of 500 is working closer with developers?”

    The background and bait being supplied by Dan Telvock / FLS deserves a complete read, BEFORE drawing any preconceived notions on what kind of red meat Dan was serving up for public consumption.

    Larry Gross starts us out with his sentiment and “concept” of what WE get back from “Dumb Growth” and alledged “Smart Growth.” Simply said, he chose to work off topic: Committee of 500.

    I weighed in on the C-500′s stage presence with a question: “WITH A HEAD COUNT OF LESS THAN 80 MEMBERS, WE HAVE TO START ASKING OURSELVES WHERE DOES THE C500 FIT INTO THE PUZZLE AND SMART GROWTH AGENDAS? I believe my COMPLETE comments deserve a read.

    With my comments and questions, Dan Telvock chose to contribute his thoughts and political prowess by asking me: “Who cares how many members they have? Does that somehow diminish their (C500) to work for causes they believe in? Just a question. It’s not like members prance around touting their 500 members. They don’t.” Why? They can’t put 500 people into a single room. So, does the 80 or less members speak for 500 committee members by proxy.

    It’s sort of like the BOS (7 members) did two years ago by eliminating 12 public Committees

    The simple answer would be to comment the Committee of 500′s logo is misleading and as close to false advertisement as anyone can get.

    When the C500 take to the press, or center stage, they claim and come with the illusion they are a committee of 500 with values, principles, policies, beliefs and philosophys that were scripted long ago to capture the public perception that they were serving in the public’s best interest. If any of US were to draw down on reality we would have to ask what their 80 or less members contribute to OUR best interest?

    I find it tantamount to the business ethic of the BOS, when they eliminated 12 oversite public committee’s two years for want of THEIR strategies being put into place, without public oversite or inspection. By definition, there is a name for this kind of government.

    Does Summit Crossing, Harrison Road Connector, the 3 acre initiative, Land Use agendas, Zoning Regulation changes, Ordinance changes, more spraw under the guise of Urban Development protocols and changes being made to OUR Comprehensive Plan on a daily basis, bring anything to mind? Even Dan turned over some of these rocks before inviting US to comment here.

    Simply said Dan, you are the one who is prancing and dancing around the subject of the Committee of 500. Ask yourself; how can anyone tout a membership of 500 members when they are not a Committe of 500 but less than 80? What carries the most weight in the minds of 128,000 citizens; 500 or 80? At what point do YOU start asking the hard questions?

    If you were to track the comments that followed, with Larry, Gramps, and YOU chose to go off topic and engage in a three way conversation about the funny things going on with the VRE proposition. You are recorded as telling Larry about your call to the County Attorney and “asked him (County Attorney) whether trhe changes being made to the VRE Master Agreement was legal in a public hearing and “he (County Attorney) said “the joining agreement was not the subject of the public hearing.” And yet, YOU (plural) don’t have any answers beyond those provided to YOU with verbal assurances being provided to YOU by THEM that everything is OK and that THEY made the right and best decision on how OUR money is being budgeted, used and spent.

    Need I remind you of your dialogue with Larry and Gramps on VACORRESPONDENT’s input that you confined to a zero and elected not to respond to VACORRESPONDENT’s follow-up comments that were not only on point about how flawed our “systems” of government really is, but came with supporting documentation you could not bring yourself to look at, much less comment on.

    I came back on point about the Committee of 500 with my response of August 24, 2009, 8:33 pm. Bottom line: I invited Dan, if he wished to debate the issue of the Committee of 500, I suggested he do so.

    Larry and Gramps once again go off topic and continue on with their dissappointment with the Spotsylvania BOS and there handling of the VRE exercise, which really did not include County citizens.

    Dan, I didn’t put any words in YOUR mouth. YOU did. “I am not defending ANYTHING” is so off point, but your claiming you asked a legit question. Then you take one giant step forward and claim that I ALWAYS answer with attacks and that my discourse is getting pretty old.

    I did my homework, so why are you trying so hard to make me out to be something I’m not?

  • lgross

    we do not need to deal pejoratively with the

    stick to the issues,

  • MAVRICKinc

    Larry: I can’t be sure how long it took you to find the word “PERJORATIVE” but let’s share the the definition with all our readers. I assume that consiste of Gramps, yourself, Dan Telvock and the FLS.

    “PERJORITIVE: tending to disparage or belittle: DEPRECIATORY (perjorative language) [ Late Latin pejortus. PAST PARTICIPLE of pejoare “to make or become worse.”

    Just imagine how many people YOU, Gramps and Dan have pushed off the field of play with your perjoritive language.

    Sort of like calling the kettle black don’t YOU think?

    This blog site is testimony enough to the role YOU play in this 3 way conversation you have with yourselves.

    For the record, you guys are the ones who went off the issue, not me and respectfully sumbitted below.

    Please feel free to throw as much dirt on this site as you wish. I’ll let the scent of your words bring us back, time in and time again.

    For the record, I made my bones the day I walked away from the debate team. I learned about the virtues of lies when I was still in knickers, much the same way as I find here.

    Too perjorative?

    Larry, Gramps, Dan and the FLS it’s a new age. The price of being found out is just a heart beat away from the truth.

    Before I continue further let me say that the lie is surrounded by the elements of admission as well as omission. Both produce the same result; the lie.

    Edward Wasserman, a Knight professor of journalism ethics at Washington & Lee University was caused to note: “conflict of interests is emerging as the signature ethical issue of the new media age. It’s a concept that should be used carefully.” How are you guys doing so far?

    Professor Wasserman goes on to say: “Conflict of interest take another form, as the TIMES ban on outside Public Relations work suggest. After all, somebody might trade on his status as a TIMES columnist for lucrative outside work (somebody like Thomas Friedman, the TIMES ubercolumnist, who had to return a $75,000 speaking fee earlier this year and was not fired).”

    Simply said, this blog site has provided what can only be regarded as a rebuttable conclusion.

    If I’m not mistaken, you’re still trying to rewrite the FLS’s rules of engagement and have failed miserably.

    YOU made it personal a long time ago. Do you think I’m going to cut YOU any slack? H*** no.

    Dan’s conflict of interests has been recorded long before we ever got here. If the Committee of 500 is one of his current clients, who am I to conclude otherwise?

    Larry, Gramps and Dan you’ve been found out whether you like it or not. Fact of the matter is YOU will always be measured by your omissions, not your admissions.

    Can’t wait until you guys jump into the the TRICORD strategy and agenda. Make sure you come with some very big shovels. This one isn’t going to go away, no matter how much dirt you throw on it.

    Since you have no accountabily standards, why should any of US buy into your propaganda?

    Larry, next time you use the term tomes, I suggest you look it up in the dictionary first.

  • lgross

    Tome: One of the books in a work of several
    volumes. A book, especially a large or scholarly one.

    (sarcastic) – a much too wordy and pompous
    assortment of words that is much more highly
    valued by the author than the readers.


  • MAVRICKinc

    Larry: can I now assume you have a dictionary on sarcaasm and definition?

  • lgross

    yes… and likely to share more of them

  • MAVRICKinc

    Since this is what you bring to market, without definition, let the rest of US follow your lead to no where.

  • MAVRICKinc

    Since this is what you bring to market, without definition, let the rest of US follow your lead to no where.

  • MAVRICKinc

    Since this is what you bring to market, without definition, let the rest of US follow your lead to no where.

  • MAVRICKinc

    Since this is what you bring to market, without definition, let the rest of US follow your lead to no where.

  • lgross

    oh my

  • therestofthestory

    LOL…you guys are getting funny…the issues are not but your online debate is.

  • lgross

    and not a blizzard of diarrheal splatter!

  • MAVRICKinc

    I agree, the issues are very serious and not getting any better, but those are of long standing with no end in site.

    If we are to be some sort of comic relief or amusement, that’s a good thing, since we all know the issues are just sitting out their waiting for reality to show up, and they will. Maybe we can all laugh at ourselves sometime down the road, when we have nothing more to offer than we do now.