Only Citizens can stop New Baltimore Earthquake

by Rachel Hill

In August of 2003, a member of the Citizens for Fauquier County had this to say about the new and unprecedented growth in housing projects here, “The New Baltimore development is one of the most egregious, because it calls for a seven-fold increase in the number of housing units — from 30 allowed ‘by right’ to 208 requested in the rezoning . . . This ‘new town’ is in the New Baltimore Service District, but it is totally out of character with the rest of New Baltimore, which has been developed on one-acre lots. The Board of Supervisors should look around and find that old stamp which says,’Denied.’ ”

Ten years later, the 208 housing units of 2003 have turned into over a thousand.  Mega-growth won.  Our leaders did not say NO, never found the denied stamp.

New Baltimore now houses the largest development in Fauquier County sustained by one of the largest home builders and land developers in the country. The impact of this development has been tremendous and ongoing.  Just as the initial upheaval of an earthquake doesn’t end seismic activity,  Brookside tremors are still being felt in New Baltimore. The deep disturbance in the rock crust of New Baltimore grows and spreads.

There are 15 Phases in the Brookside earthquake –it’s now in Phase 8. One thousand  new homes on 1000 acres of land is just the first tremor,  the first shock.  The after effects that remain are:

  • A commercial center to be built off the extended Shepherdstown Road. Will it house a Bass Pro Shop for the fisherfolk in this resort-style community or a Starbucks? Who can use it?
  • A public library  to be built in the same area, land donated by Brookside. Who will build the library, staff and stock it?
  • Another subdivision to be built off Rogues Road where a dangerous gridlock already exists.  Does making a problem worse solve it?
  • The PLAN for Vint Hill Farms Station. Brookside holds a letter of intent for the remaining 280 acres. Proposals for the historic property include village center, 500 homes, assisted living center, data storage center (suggestion from Holder Trumbo) and cemetery (suggestion from resident).
  •  Forced access to private roads and subdivision streets for “interconnectivity, i. e., let the Brooksiders in and out.
  • Brookside Partner LLCs purchase of two properties in the historic corridor (not to be developed) in partnership with the Board of Supervisors. Is there an easement? Can taxpayers picnic there?
  • The appropriation of the four lakes on former farmland and pasture. Early on, development was going to open the lakes up for Public Use. But they are now for the “exclusive use of current and future residents” of Brookside.
  • Water and sewer services, newly made available to the county from the old Vint Hill service. Homeowners who provided land for the new lines to be built were denied use of public services.  Who picked the winners and losers?

Essentially, our Board of Supervisors has made it easy for this national developer to succeed and prosper in the county. True master planned communities build their own schools, libraries, and commercial centers so that everything is made available and convenient for their homeowners. They build roads before the houses are built—easy access/egress is assured. The burden does not fall on neighboring homeowners.

Two contributors to the Fauquier Free Citizen in October remarked on the fundamental value  of  choosing capable and well-intentioned county leaders for the Board of Supervisors. Three people can finalize a decision that serves well or grossly harms.

Mark Fitzgibbons warned, “ County officials do not have the constitutional checks and balances on them that statewide officials have, and are therefore more susceptible to abusing power.”

A reader named “Joe” advised, “When the local citizens hold our elected Supervisors feet to the fire, even local development LLCs funded by National Builders will shape their applications to meet the standards required to Keep Fauquier, Fauquier.”

We the voters of Fauquier County should not let earthquakes happen to us. We should be making earthquakes happen: Use the  “denied” stamp when we go to the polls.




12 Responses to Only Citizens can stop New Baltimore Earthquake

  1. Cameron Jones Reply

    December 11, 2013 at 5:50 pm

    Lord knows Rachel Hill has taken a lot of criticism over these issues involving Brookside and it’s New Baltimore neighbors.

    Her detractors on the other hand, must have VERY thin skins since they will not even use their own names.

    It’s so easy to throw stones from behind a wall of anonymity isn’t it?

    It takes courage to stand for your beliefs under your own name in the public forum!

    GoB; I’m sure you know how to interpret that statement.

    • Rachel Hill Reply

      December 17, 2013 at 8:35 am

      Not to worry. The crude catcalls from the Brookside Fan Club hardly rise to the level of “criticism.” Critical expression requires a higher level of thinking which is, as so far evidenced, beyond the pre-verbal skills of the fan club.

  2. Rachel Hill Reply

    December 10, 2013 at 1:26 pm

    You are so right, Mr. Lancaster. A few months ago a real estate agent in Fauquier described the home most people in the county were looking for–a ranch with three bedrooms. Not the huge house with fake gables , fake stone, and fake grandeur going up in Brookside. People, Inc from Abington wants to build the kind of home that you need, but the Planning Commission turned them down–too many protests from local residents. I wasn’t at the meeting on Dec. 4, but I’ll bet my hat that the protests came from Brookside residents who were encouraged to attend. Just as the new residents of Haymarket didn’t want a Walmart built because it would “bring in the wrong kind of people,” I’m guessing Brookside doesn’t want affordable housing built for the same reason.

    • Grinch of Brookside Reply

      December 11, 2013 at 2:41 pm

      Oh Rachel, you’re the only one complaining about the wrong type of people moving into the county – you know those alein invaders who are going to steal Christmas and disavow your Confederate Heritage and all. Those “nouveau riche” living in a “huge house with fake gables , fake stone, and fake grandeur.” You really should develop a thicker skin if you are going to post this kind of crap instead of falling back on your usual hyperbole.

      • Rachel Hill Reply

        December 11, 2013 at 5:01 pm

        Mr. GoB, if you want to use an idiom in your ravings, try to use it correctly. Someone with a “thick skin” can take a lot of criticism. Someone with a “thin skin” is easily upset. Your post is totally unhinged (thin-skinned) and unrelated to the discussion. I’m on the side of the affordable housing group. Let’s build houses that our young people and retirees can afford.

  3. Rachel Hill Reply

    December 7, 2013 at 1:56 pm

    Fair and square? Read this: The latest Brookside LLC development Ringwood Subdivision could not be approved under the existing regulations. It stands outside the New Baltimore Service District, thus not eligible for the required public water services. Supervisor Lee Sherbeyn proposed a fix—just extend the water services to Ringwood anyway, which the Board of Supervisors did in May. Does it make a difference that Mr. Sherbeyn speaks very highly of Ed Moore, President of Brookside LLC–and has appointed him to the Transportation Committee, vital for getting private property for Brookside roads? Is there an impropriety? I don’t know, but even the appearance of an impropriety should be avoided.

    • Things that make you go hmmm... Reply

      December 14, 2013 at 3:51 pm

      I suppose It is easy to speak highly of someone when they and their company are contributing thousands of dollars to your campaigns…
      So much for avoiding the appearance of impropriety.

      • The Truth Shall Set You Free Reply

        December 17, 2013 at 9:05 am

        So………….Brookside Communitiies, LLC donated $1500, its president donated $1000 and its lawyer donated $500.

  4. Live free or die Reply

    December 6, 2013 at 8:29 pm

    The developer bought its land fair and square. It should be able to develop it, without limitation. Property rights should be protected at all costs.

  5. Rachel Hill Reply

    December 6, 2013 at 5:35 pm

    It’s becoming tiresome to read yet another sneering, jeering post from the Brookside Fan Club. Instead of taking time to read a column in its entirety, understand its point of view, and discuss the issues, the fan club falls back on name calling, personal attacks, and inane speculation. This most recent post from Mr. BendOver (cutsie alias) is the latest example of smug mockery thrown out with spite and ridicule. Ignoring the cruel impact of Brookside on non-Brookside neighbors, he preens and smirks in his arrogance and hostility.
    The situation is as serious as it is dire. As Brookside expands into neighborhoods, takes over parks and lakes, overfills schools and libraries, jams roads and highways, and despoils the history and heritage of this land, it forever changes the area’s lifestyle and its safety. At this time Brookside wants its feeder roads to go through front yards and bisect farms, to take over small subdivision streets and plow through community areas. It chooses to compromise the safety of the lives and homes in surrounding areas for the convenience of its homeowners. And all this is accomplished with the full cooperation of county leaders—the Board of Supervisors and friends and allies they appoint to various committees.
    So Mr. BendOver, continue with your sneers and juvenile taunts. I’m sure the Brookside Community is proud to have you represent them.

  6. Ben Dover Reply

    December 6, 2013 at 9:54 am

    Another yawner from New Baltimore’s resident blowhard. Must be a slow day at the Impeach Obama Rally in front of the Sheetz.

    • Cameron Jones Reply

      December 6, 2013 at 10:47 am

      That’s what we like to see Ben Dover ([Ben D] [over]; get it? /// How cute [Dum B]ass) get it?), a constructive comment.

      You think Ms. Hill is a Blowhard?

      What does that make someone like yourself who can only post personal attacks?

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