A funny thing happened on the way to the political payoff

It turns out that not everyone in Loudoun County is as gaga in love with the Loudoun Hounds (or even their irresistible mascot “Fetch”) as Major Campaign Bucks Recipients Scott York (R), Supervisor Shawn Williams (R-Broad Run), and the other grateful Republican officeholders who are rushing through an expedited special exception to allow the Hounds to change the location of their proposed very minor league stadium.

Among those distinctly unthrilled are the residents of five age-55+ communities within shouting distance of the new stadium location. They are so ticked off in fact, that they have organized a group called No Stadium on 7. Their website nostadiumon7.org has already posted some terrific information on the completely unaddressed traffic impacts of the new stadium location, the lack of transparency in the process, the mealy-mouthed efforts by Supervisor Williams to gloss over the problems and sell his constituents on this private but very politically connected venture, the utter non-existent bogosity of the baseball team (the mascot and the souvenirs are all they have), and the fact that a major use of the “stadium” is going to be window-rattling rock concerts. Just what residents of 55+ communities were looking for!

Williams showed up last month at a dog and pony show that Farren put on for local HOAs. Farren extolled the wonders of baseball and refused to take any questions, the natives started getting restless, at which point Williams intervened and promised to bring York back this week (meeting tomorrow, Wednesday November 14) to speak to the homeowners.

Now, if you or I got a special exception zoning approval to build a large commercial venture in one location and then several years later said we had changed our minds and wanted to build it somewhere else (because of our “development timeline”), we would probably be told that we have to submit a new application and start the planning process over, giving staff and the public and the planning commission time to address all of the completely different concerns connected with our new proposal.

We also probably would not have our own personal county supervisor assigned to us to sell the idea to the public.

The whole special treatment for the Hounds reeks to high heaven. It is another perfect example of the way this Board is favoring large campaign donors and commercial developers over the interests of the people who actually live here. Williams, trying to smooth talk one constituent, gave a sales pitch about how great it will be to “turn Loudoun into a ‘destination'” with the new stadium. Farren on his own website trumpeted:

Loudoun is a sleepy bedroom community that is on the verge of waking up!

No Stadium on 7 is busy organizing homeowners, printing bumper stickers and tee-shirts, and preparing to go to war over this one. That may not have been what Farren was thinking of when he talked about the residents of this “sleepy bedroom community” waking up . . .

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