Spotsylvania News

Jeff Branscome writes about Spotsylvania County.

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Landowner has “green” vision for VRE site

Local real estate broker Fitz Johnson says he has waited 11 years for the Board of Supervisors to move forward with building a Virginia Railway Express station. The supervisors joined last summer and the contract became official Feb. 15.

Tuesday night, the supervisors picked a piece of land at the Crossroads Business Park. One of the owners of the land, Johnson, is thrilled. Johnson and others own at least 800 acres in the area of the station site and business park, and he has a “green” vision for that area.

“We have always envisioned an innovative and “green” transit-oriented development at Crossroads, and my partners and I believe the county’s VRE station should be planned for the future to serve Amtrak, and eventually, high-speed rail as well,” he said via e-mail.  “We are very excited about moving ahead and we are hoping to work in a creative partnership with the county to build a truly smart-growth development that includes a first-class rail station with amenities far exceeding those found in Woodbridge or at existing VRE stations now.”

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  • Martin (Marty) Work

    Does this speech come with a script, and if so, can we count Fitz Johnson as another member of the County’s FOCUS GROUP, without minutes, and among the anonymous “77 Citizens” who are developing strategies on how to best develelope a high density population (UDAs) along and on both sides of Rt.17, around a train station, that still lacks any kind of transportation impact analysis, cost of constructing necessary transportation infrastructure or how close your neighbor will get with the thousands of UDA housing prospects already designed and ready to be built out by TRICORD, Cosner and Silver?

    Dan, since you’ve been supplied with the identity of the anonymous 77 citizens, refered to in recent County working docfuments, is there any way you could bring this information to the public trough, without interfering with your busy schedule? How can we connect dots without this public information that Spotsylvania County is reluctant to hand out, or is this information considered privledged and outside the rules covering Freedom of Information in Virginia?

  • Martin (Marty) Work

    If applicants are going to use “Smart Growth” as a position paper on sprawl, how would one go about getting the Applicants DETAILS on what “Smart Growth” is and what it means to them, within the realm of public disclosure AND understanding

  • SteveThomas

    Perhaps the only thing green about this project is what’s now lining Fitz’s pockets, courtesy of the Spotsylvania taxpayer. I’m all for making profits but not at taxpayers’ expense.

  • LarryG

    I’m confused as usual. I thought Mr. Johnson was the owner of the property that the county would acquire for the station.

    Is Mr. Jonson more involved than just that of the willing seller property owner?

    How would Mr. Johnson have anything to do with how “green” the station design might be?

    Just asking…. can someone fill in the blanks?

  • Martin (Marty) Work

    Larry: if you had attended any of the open meetings with VRE on the table, all you had to do was turn your head to the back of the room and you would have seen Mr. Johnson standing close to the County’s elected officials and STAFF..

    What I don’t get is you, painting yourself as a member of the public that got left out of the loop. This information was made available to you three years ago and of late, March 31,2010. Even you and Bill had a moment of conscience then, on how BOS officials and staff were making ZONING decision through their “Consent” agenda, and without public knowledge.

    The County now has a ZONING Administrator who is in total charge of making zoning decisions without the details, and with the BOS’ recently changed zoning amendment, for the sake of expedience…sort of like a “rocket docket” where you navigate by instinct…and pushing through zoning decisions to accommodate the DEVELOPMENT communities vested interested and intentions to build out UDAs to the tune of thousands of new homes in Lee’s Hill District and Spotsylvania County. It’s bad enough that the Zoning Administrator is the NEPHEW of BOS Supervisor Emmitt Marshall. County history still accounts for the notion that elected leadership in County business is all about FAMILY.

    By now Larry, you should be well on your way to figuring out what’s been going on behind closed doors for decades. Happy hunting.

    Let me know what you find out and whether your findings are as well informed as your previous contributions and insights on this blog site. If you’re asking someone to fill in the blanks for you I suggest you connect a few more dots before drawing any conclusions.

  • dan telvock


    Mr. Johnsons owns about 800 acres at least out there. If he sells the county, say, 50 acres, he has a lot more to develop around the VRE site. Sorry to confuse

  • LarryG

    Dan – thanks. Looks like Mr. Johnson correctly identified a parcel of land that had future potential!

    I guess the “green” comes from the idea that future homes around the station will be within walking and biking distance?

  • bhaas

    Color me skeptical….

    I would be shocked if any developer, in this day and age, publicly claimed anything other than “green” as his folio for development.

  • LarryG

    “green”….walkable…bikeable, transit, LID ( low impact development runoff sequestering), yadda yadda

    Of course… the county did try to “encourage” Green and were so successful at it that it scared the pants off of them, and set other taxpayers hair on fire… eh?

    You think developers would like the county to offer incentives for new “green” developments like Mr. Johnson might be talking about?