Last fall, winter, and spring we heard ad nauseam from our all-Republican Loudoun Board of Supervisors how urgent it was to circumvent and bypass all the usual rules, procedures, zoning, county master plan etc etc to grant a quickie special zoning exception for the bait-and-switch “baseball” stadium that extremely politically connected promoter Bob Farren suddenly wanted to build at the One Loudoun development, after having secured a special exception approval several years earlier to build it at the Kincora development.
Over and over, the supervisors and Farren explained what a tight deadline he was facing to get the stadium built by Opening Day 2014 for his as yet nonexistent Loudoun Hounds extremely minor league baseball team.
And so, the Board voted unanimously earlier this year to grant Farren’s request, ignoring the hundreds of local outraged residents concerned about the planned rock concerts, “frequent” fireworks displays, and other special events at the stadium — and who also pointed out that Farren had not even secured a franchise for his team, recruited players, etc etc etc. He had, however, arranged for a cool $70,000 in political contributions from his company and the stadium’s investors to the members of our all-Republican Board of Supervisors when they were running for election in 2011, which had absolutely nothing to do with the VIP treatment he was getting from the Board, which moved his application to a special “fast track” ahead of all other pending zoning requests.
But it wasn’t about the money! Really! It was about baseball, and being ready in time for opening day 2014!
Here are a few of the sample comments our public servants made at the time concerning the extreme urgency of granting Farren his special zoning exception so that construction could begin without delay to meet his urgent “timeframe” of opening day 2014:
Chairman Scott York (R): “In order to secure the franchise this round they really have to have the stadium in by 2014. . . We’ve got to get the paperwork through as soon as possible so they can get going.”
Supervisor Matt Letourneau (R-Dulles): “The Hounds are committed to playing baseball by Opening Day 2014. There is much legislative work to be done over the coming months to get approvals for a stadium at One Loudoun, but I’m optimistic it can be done on time.”
Supervisor Shawn William (R-Broad Run): “We’re trying to bring baseball to Loudoun in the timeframe we had initially hoped it would come.”
And here is what Farren himself said:
“If we get approval, we’d have construction there in 72 hours.”
Very impressive. But as Leesburg Today pointed out last week (see photo above), although it’s been a wee bit more than 72 hours since the “groundbreaking” ceremony in June attended by of course our Board of Supervisors themselves, not much seems to be happening at the stadium site.
A spokesman for Farren explained that it’s taking “a little longer than we would like” to get going. Farren himself said he can’t give a “definitive answer” as to when the stadium will be finished, though it would not be ready for opening day, he acknowledged. (Farren added that a big uncertainty at this point is “the weather,” which he explained he has now learned is apparently a factor when one is undertaking a major outdoor construction project.)
And then there is that little matter that he still has not secured the actual franchise from the Atlantic League, or any players for the team.
Maybe this is a new magic solution for anyone else who wants a favor from the county: just say it’s for “baseball,” and you’ll get whatever you ask for.
Of course, you’ll also need to throw in $70,000 cash.