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Washington Post: Influence of Developers, Allies Runs Deep (Loudoun County, VA)

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Penndems Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jan-21-07 02:07 PM
Original message
Washington Post: Influence of Developers, Allies Runs Deep (Loudoun County, VA)
Cross-posted from the Virginia board:


By Michael Laris and David S. Fallis
Washington Post Staff Writers
Sunday, January 21, 2007; Page A01

Six months after they took office in 2004, members of the Loudoun Board of Supervisors demonstrated in a single afternoon their ability to help a friend.

First, they voted 6 to 3 to boost the number of homes that could be built on the family farm of Dale Polen Myers, a former supervisor who had been instrumental in getting many of them elected. The next month, a builder bought the property from Myers's family for $12.2 million -- four times its assessed value before the zoning decision, records show.

Next, the board agreed unanimously to authorize the county to purchase a different parcel for $13.5 million, once again helping Myers, who was acting as the real estate agent. That earned Myers and her boss a commission that by industry standards would range from $270,000 to $675,000.

Such coziness has become routine among some Loudoun officials and a group of politically connected developers, landowners and others in the real estate industry, The Washington Post found in a year-long investigation.


Link:
http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2007/01/20/AR2007012001493.html
*************************************************************************
Throw every last one of 'em in jail: Dale Myers, the Loudoun County Board of Supervisors, and the developers. :mad:



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Ignacio Upton Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jan-21-07 02:18 PM
Response to Original message
1. Isn't Loudoun turning Dem?
Edited on Sun Jan-21-07 02:18 PM by Ignacio Upton
Their population has doubled since 2000 and I think there have been complaints about over-development. I'm wondering if there's a link between this, and Loudoun getting carried by Kaine and Webb.
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smtpgirl Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jan-21-07 02:21 PM
Response to Reply #1
3. BUT the issue is that Kaine's road plan will undoubtedly get
hosed by the Republicans
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smtpgirl Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jan-21-07 02:22 PM
Response to Reply #1
4. Leesburg, Purcellville, Hamilton & parts of Sterling & Ashburn
Edited on Sun Jan-21-07 02:23 PM by smtpgirl
are red
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Penndems Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jan-21-07 02:23 PM
Response to Reply #1
5. The Loudoun County GOP has an extremely strong county presence,
and has for a long time. The one issue that galvanize voters during the last election concerned transportation, which was the centerpiece of Governor Kaine's platform.

He drew votes from all sides of the political spectrum, based on his plans to fix roads and mass transit.

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smtpgirl Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jan-21-07 02:20 PM
Response to Original message
2. Driving through Loudon County was such a cluster
glad I don't have to make that commute through Loudon County every day anymore.

Loudon County looks just like Fairfax County, nothing but a parking lot.
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Ignacio Upton Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jan-21-07 02:37 PM
Response to Reply #2
6. I thought Loudoun still had some rural parts
Horse country areas included. Then again, I don't live in the DC area (I live in NY) so my knowledge of the burbs in NoVA is limited.
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Penndems Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jan-21-07 02:43 PM
Response to Reply #6
7. It does - the western part of the county is horse farms and agricultural concerns
If individuals like Dale Myers, the Loudoun County BOS and developers have their way, though, it won't be rural for much longer.

They would mow over historical landmarks like Ball's Bluff and James Monroe's estate for a fast buck, given the opportunity.
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godai Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jan-21-07 02:52 PM
Response to Reply #7
8. Developers want to build 30,000 houses there
This WP article is very interesting in describing the revolving door of members of the County Planning Board then becoming consultants to developers. One lady who was on the board then had her property rezoned for more homes, raising the value of the land four fold (to $12.2 million!). She also participated as a real estate agent in a county purchase of land where she and her boss made more than $500,000. An FBI investigation is mentioned in the article.
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Penndems Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jan-21-07 02:59 PM
Response to Reply #8
11. That woman is Dale Myers, and she should be in jail
Dale never got over the fact that she was thrown out of office (back in '03, I believe), so she's gotta keep her dirty hand in both politics and development. Pardon my French, but she is one corrupt bitch.

Yeah, I read that the FBI was investigating not just Loudoun County, but every jurisdiction in the Washington, D.C. metropolitan area, which means every county south from Arlington to Spotsylvania Counties, and east to the Shenandoah Valley in Virginia - and Montgomery, Prince Georges, Frederick, Calvert and St. Mary Counties in Maryland.

If I was on any one of those Boards of Supervisors, I wouldn't take comfort in Loudoun County's DOJ scrutiny, because they could be next.
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Unperson Donating Member (221 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jan-21-07 02:54 PM
Response to Reply #7
10. I don't think so.
A lot of powerful people live out in Loudoun and they are rigging elections to keep their people in place. The reason why the intersection of Route 15 and Highway 50 is still a two lane road is because of them. They are the elitist anglophiles that have their horse farms out there and they want Loudoun for their own private country club. It's why they have been try to create their own county separate from Loudoun. They are using the Piedmont Environmental Council as their tool. They are truly bipartisan. One of the players involved in this is the former head of the Broadcasting Board of Governors, Kenneth Thomlinson.

He also told me that election-rigging in Loudoun county is de rigeur and pointed to his involvement with the Piedmont Environmental Council. The future of Loudoun county's growth was one of the points of a "First Fridays Lunch" that Mr. Dietrich attended along with chairman of the Broadcasting Board of Governors, Kenneth Tomlinson, another Middleburg resident.

http://cryptome.org/nova-tale.htm
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Penndems Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jan-21-07 03:10 PM
Response to Reply #10
15. Ken and his cronies on the PED don't own Loudoun County, LOL
He has a typical GOP mindset. By the time the FBI gets finished with its investigation, the days of vote-rigging in Loudoun County will be over. (I remember when he was on the BGG.)

My family goes back in Loudoun County longer than Dale Myers' ancestors do. My material great-grandfather, John Thomas, was born on a farm between Ashburn and Leesburg in 1873. My maternal grandmother, Ruth Thomas, and her ten siblings were born and raised on that same farm, a farm his family had owned since the early 1700s. I remember when the only "developed" part of Loudoun County was Leesburg - and it hasn't been that long ago.

Enough is enough already, damn it. I'm not against growth, as long as it's done with forethought, careful planning and intelligence. In Northern Virginia, none of these attributes have been applied.

BTW, welcome to DU! :) :hi:



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smtpgirl Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jan-21-07 03:13 PM
Response to Reply #15
17. I remember those days
My parents were looking for land to buy in Purcellville/Leesburg/Lucketts/Ashburn areas in the late '60's/early '70's.

Needless to say, they found their land in MD, not far from Leesburg
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Penndems Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jan-21-07 03:35 PM
Response to Reply #17
22. My maternal great-aunt and uncle sold their home and land in Fairfax County not long after
Edited on Sun Jan-21-07 03:49 PM by Penndems
Jack Herrity was elected Fairfax BOS chairman. They knew Herrity, and they knew what his "grand plan" for the county was. Aunt Bobbie and her husband got out pronto, and built a house in Purcellville.

She lived there until her death, when it was sold out of the family.















(edited for typo)

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Ignacio Upton Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jan-21-07 03:06 PM
Response to Reply #7
12. In my area ( the northern part of Westchester County, NY)
There are towns that have gone to great lengths to preserve formerly-rural areas. Go to Bedford, NY or North Salem, NY, and you'll find areas that look almost the same as they did 50 or 100 years ago. However, as a result, these areas are expensive to live in, because who doesn't want to live on 3-4 acres or more with woods and streams abound? Nevertheless, since the DC metro isn't a big as NY's, I think that folks in Loudoun could make some effort to prevent parts of their county from being gobbled up by McMansions and cookie-cutter shopping plazas that are surrounded by wide streets with no sidewalks.
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Penndems Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jan-21-07 03:23 PM
Response to Reply #12
20. We lived in Pennsylvania for three years, and they aren't tearing up rural areas left and
Edited on Sun Jan-21-07 03:23 PM by Penndems
right to acquiesce to developers. Agribusiness is PA's number one product, and they do everything they can to protect farmers. As a Virginian, I was embarrassed that we weren't doing the same things.

Before we moved back home, I had lunch with the lady who was our former Borough Council president. During the course of our lunch conversation, she asked me, "You're from Fairfax County, right?" After I replied in the affirmative, her next question was "What can we do to ensure we don't end up like you?" Now, I knew what the lady meant: We like the jobs, but we don't like the traffic congestion, and we don't want our quality of life going down the tubes the way yours did, LOL. My response to her was: Be very careful about who you cede power to, because once it's gone, you will never get it back.

Which is exactly the same advice I'd give to any other jurisdiction in the country dealing with the onset of development.
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smtpgirl Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jan-21-07 03:17 PM
Response to Reply #6
18. If you are on the corridor, Rt. 7/Rt. 28 near Dulles,
Edited on Sun Jan-21-07 03:20 PM by smtpgirl
all of that is high-cost home owner's association housing, strip malls everywhere you drive.

Used to ride White's Ferry to work - since I live in MD and the Potomac is about 9 miles from where I live (I avoided the Beltway mess and shaved about 17 miles off of my commute). Drive on Rt. 15 through Leesburg, take Rt. 7 towards Tysons, follow to Rt. 28. Total miles from door-to-door - 30. My job was about 3 miles from Dulles Airport.

On some days, it took a little over 90 minutes to drive 30 miles one-way to work.
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The Cleaner Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jan-21-07 02:54 PM
Response to Original message
9. dang, no wonder DC housing prices skyrocketed the last few years.
Kickbacks, schemes, enrich your buddies. Majority big-money investors buying into homes. Makes it very difficult for first time homebuyers or anyone for that matter to afford a home there.

Loudon is pretty far west of DC metro from what I understand...I believe it goes Fairfax then Loudon.
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smtpgirl Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jan-21-07 03:08 PM
Response to Reply #9
13. self-delete
Edited on Sun Jan-21-07 03:10 PM by smtpgirl
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smtpgirl Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jan-21-07 03:08 PM
Response to Reply #9
14. I live in Upper Montgomery County, MD
Edited on Sun Jan-21-07 03:08 PM by smtpgirl
median income housing does not exist in Fairfax & Loudon Counties.

In Chantilly - Fairfax County, VA - Condos were going for #300,000 for about 850s.f.
last year.

My former co-worker bought a townhouuse in Chantilly last year for $450,000 with an ARM.

Wonder if she still lives there or did she default?
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Penndems Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jan-21-07 03:13 PM
Response to Reply #9
16. The houses being built aren't worth a diddly damn
They're constructed in record time with poor materials, and not with union labor trades. Builders cut corners to save costs.

The son of a family friend once intimated to me that it took only two months to build a new home in Northern Virginia.
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Ignacio Upton Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jan-21-07 03:22 PM
Response to Reply #16
19. In 20-30 years, a lot of those houses will be torn down or rennovated extensively
Edited on Sun Jan-21-07 03:22 PM by Ignacio Upton
...Actually, I would try 10-15.
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Penndems Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jan-21-07 03:30 PM
Response to Reply #19
21. A ten-to-fifteen year life cycle for those houses sounds about right
For some reason, it seems as if those neighborhoods begin to look extremely worn in a very short period of time. :(
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