Umstattd Sees 4-Lane Rt. 15 North of Town

County Chairwoman Phyllis J. Randall (D-At Large) and Supervisor Kristen C. Umstattd (D-Leesburg) and Leesburg Mayor Kelly Burk and faced questions about development, the dumping of deer carcasses and the future of Rt. 15, among other subjects, during a town hall meeting Saturday morning.

Residents wanted answers on deer carcasses that were found near a slave-era cemetery along Sycolin Road—specifically, how long the town knew about them, and why they weren’t cleaned up sooner. Burk faced particularly strong accusations from Pastor Michelle C. Thomas, co-founder of the Loudoun Freedom Center that led preservation efforts on the site.

“We can keep hashing it out, but it’s not going to work out for you,” Thomas said. “The fact is, the town has not been accountable, over and over again.”

Burk said town maintenance staff found the carcasses on the site several weeks ago and contacted a game warden. The town was asked by the game warden to leave them in place during his investigation. The game warden put up cameras to catch the perpetrators and did—four suspects now face criminal charges in the matter.

Burk said she was not personally notified about the situation until more recently.

“The minute I found out about it, it was, get them out of there, that is not what’s supposed to be,” Burk said.

Residents also asked about plans to operate a kennel at Graydon Manor, just west of the town boundaries. Randall said, while the property owner could put a very similar business there, a veterinary center, without asking permission from the county, the fact that those plans are going through a legislative process means supervisors have some leverage over the business’ operations.

“The fact that he came to us means that we can actually put in some performance measures,” Randall said, such as noise attenuation and limits on hours and the number of animals outside at any one time.

That application is scheduled for a Board of Supervisors public hearing on Wednesday.

Residents also wanted to know about bike trails—which have expanded in Leesburg in the past few years, and which Leesburg now tries to include on each road project—and plans to widen Rt. 15. Umstattd said ultimately she would like to widen Rt. 15 all the way to the Point of Rocks bridge.

“We are approaching it incrementally starting at the southern end, which for me is a priority because my constituents are impacted by the backup every day,” Umstattd said.

County plans currently under study call for Rt. 15 to be widened to four lanes only between the Leesburg Bypass and Montresor Road, with other traffic calming features and turn lanes proposed north of that intersection.

rgreene@loudounnow.com

One thought on “Umstattd Sees 4-Lane Rt. 15 North of Town

  • 2018-04-09 at 4:35 pm
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    Maryland has told Loudoun County it has no plans to 4-lane the Point of Rocks Bridge. It has no plans to 4-lane Route 15 north of the bridge, EVER. There will be no capacity improvements on Maryland’s portion Route 15 from the bridge to Route 340 before 2040, and not anytime soon after. Any added bridge capacity will simply not link up to Virginia’s portion of Route 15. So this would be a 4-lane highway to a bottleneck at the 2-lane bridge, at a cost of $140 million–not including all the properties that would be taken by eminent domain. Those living along the 120 roads, entrances, and driveways from Leesburg to the river will lose safe access. It will make it impossible for farm equipment to access properties on each side of the road, and so will end agriculture along the corridor in this rural area. Farms will be replaced by subdivisions. Local rural-based businesses that are thriving because of the rural and scenic nature of the community will lose, if not their properties and buildings, their customers, who also will have difficulty (or lose the inclination) accessing their businesses on a high-speed 4-lane highway. And all of this will happen in the Limestone karst area, where there are currently sinkholes, a cave entrance along the highway (and a cave underneath it), and an abundance of water quality issues. It will destroy the character and the substance of the National Scenic Byway. Is this the vision the Supervisor Umstattd has for rural Loudoun? There are much cheaper, safer, and wiser approaches to addressing Route 15’s traffic problems.

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