The final act of the sweetheart stadium deal

Our completely impartial Loudoun Board of Supervisors has set April 3 for a final vote on approving the One Loudoun pseudo-baseball-stadium entertainment complex. Had the Board thought it worth their while to adopt the same ethics policy the previous Board had, Chairman Scott York (R-At Large), the major cheerleader for the project, would have to recuse himself from the vote, having taken a cool 25,000 smackers from the stadium’s backers.

But having conveniently declared that ethics policies are unnecessary and unenforceable, York avoids that little embarrassing fact and  is free to vote to approve the multiple zoning changes and exceptions required for the project to go ahead at its new location.

Actually, the entire all-Republican Board would have to recuse itself on the vote if they had adopted any kind of a standard ethics policy, since every single one of them took a pile of cash from the project’s investors, more than $67,000 in all. (Presumably, a on a 0–0 vote a motion fails?)

At a final public hearing on the plan Monday night, the hall was packed with employees of the project reading verbatim from boilerplate scripts about how much they want “baseball” for their “children and grandchildren” and how the stadium will “create jobs.” (Wonder where they got that line from?) York himself recently took the opportunity to join in with some more of his own cheerleading for the project, declaring that the US Fish and Wildlife Service had produced a report declaring that there is no problem from the stadium’s proposed ear-splitting fireworks displays on the nearby blue heron nesting area. Actually, the report apparently says nothing of the kind. The Planning Commission, when it reviewed the stadium’s application, cited the evidence from wildlife experts that even a single booming display during nesting season could cause the herons to permanently abandon their nesting ground. Then, with monumental illogicality, they approved a compromise offered by the stadium developers under which they would be strictly forbidden to set off fireworks at any time whatsoever at all during the blue heron nesting season from March 1 to June 30 . . . except that is for opening day of baseball and soccer season and of course Memorial Day too, as it is well known that blue herons, being patriotic sports fans, do not mind a little noise on those occasions.

Last October, when the Board voted unanimously to fast track the bait and switch stadium proposal (the urgency justified by the manufactured pretense that having farted around for five years doing absolutely nothing to actually build a stadium at its previously approved site at Kincora, the developers suddenly faced an invented and arbitrary 2014 “deadline” to begin playing baseball) the Board also adopted a blanket carte-blanche provision stating explicitly that any unspecified “additional legislative applications” could be included in the rezoning proposal for the new One Loudoun site at the same time. This week York professed to be very, very surprised that the developers had availed themselves of this open door by packing their application with other goodies having nothing to do with the stadium but allowing the One Loudoun development to reduce the amount of office development required, among other things.

Maybe the real problem is that unlike the stadium investors, the One Loudoun developers were not quite so forthcoming in their campaign contributions. As this Board has repeatedly demonstrated, “business friendly” means “friendly to those businesses who do business with us.”

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