The all-Republican Loudoun Board of Supervisors, the beneficiaries of more than $67,000 in campaign contributions from the investors behind the proposed stadium at the One Loudoun development, were clearly caught off guard last fall by the groundswell of citizen opposition to the sweetheart deal for the stadium that they sprung on the public without warning last October.
From the outset it was blatantly obvious that the fix was in, though. The supervisors voted 9–0 with essentially no debate to give carte blanche top priority to the rezoning and special exemption request filed by the stadium developers. Chairman Scott York (R) and Supervisor Shawn Williams (R-Broad Run) attended community meetings alongside stadium execs to promote the stadium proposal, with Williams in particular doing yeomen PR spin duty by reassuring nearby residents that it will be an “intimate” stadium that will really not bother them. This despite the Planning Commission staff report which noted that plans for the stadium filed by the developers called for up to 10,000 seats for special events, regularly scheduled fireworks displays, and loud concerts and other special functions having nothing whatever to do with baseball that is supposedly what the stadium is for.
Supervisor Geary Higgins (R-Catoctin), trying to get into the act, goofily offered his constituents free fan gear for the extremely minor league and to date non-existent Loudoun Hounds baseball team that will supposedly play at the stadium (“If you, like me, think it will be great to have a local ball club to root for, contact my office for a free Loudoun Hounds bumper sticker,” said Geary, in no way prejudging the issue . . .)
Now with a final vote scheduled for March 25, the supervisors are trying very hard to act like they will judiciously consider the matter . . . before unanimously approving it, that is.
Geary in his latest newsletter — while claiming that “I can assure you that I will weigh all concerns before making a final decision” — repeats all of the phony, false, and misleading claims made by the stadium’s backers as to its utter lack of impact on traffic, noise, and congestion. “As I understand it, there may actually be more available road access in and out of the ball park at the new location,” Geary insists, in complete contradiction of the finding by the Planning Commission staff which warned of unaddressed traffic impacts and which specifically noted that even under the developers’ revised proposals, seating for up to 8,000 would be allowed for special events by adding extra temporary seats.
Geary didn’t read that part about the seats either, though, because he went on to assert in his newsletter, “Moreover, the stadium is actually not much larger than a high school football field. (The proposed stadium would have 5,500 general admission seats, while many of Loudoun County’s newer high schools have a stadium capacity of 4,000.)”
But, Geary insists, he wants to hear “from both sides” so he can make up his very open mind before voting.
Anyone want to wager what the vote will be? I bet 9–0, with an outside chance that very beleaguered supervisor Eugene Delgaudio (R-Sterling), who’s desperate for friends wherever he can find them these days, might cast a maverick no vote, making it 8–1.