Editor: Most people in Loudoun County these days are very busy, rushing around, trying to make ends meet, avoiding traffic accidents and delays etc. I am no exception, so it is most gulling to have to take time to write a letter to this newspaper to expose an absolutely abdominal decision on the part of our Planning Commission.
By a vote of 8-1 in favor of approving a large gas station in Loudoun County with an originally proposed 12 pumps servicing 24 cars, our Planning Commission is recommending to our Board of Supervisors that they should approve putting this station in the worst possible location in western Loudoun. The fact that this decision was made over the objections of our county planning staff is not only remarkable, but really quite unbelievable, given the stakes involved for every citizen in Loudoun County who has to drive to Lovettsville via Rt. 15 north of Leesburg or who just wants to get to Frederick, MD, from Leesburg.
Believe it or not, this station is recommended by the Planning Commission to be placed at the foot of Furnace Mountain directly across from another gas mart which is already one of three gas stations between Lucketts and the Point of Rocks Bridge. If you have traveled that section of Rt. 15, you know it is already one of the most congested points along the road north of Leesburg. During rush hour in the evening, the traffic backs-up from the Potomac River Bridge to Lucketts. Now, if the Board of Supervisors approves this proposertious application, we will add to the already frustrating delays and create even more congestion in the Furnace Mountain roadway. I thought the county board was trying to alleviate congestion and back-ups on Rt. 15.
This lack of common sense is what irritates so many taxpayers in Loudoun County. You would think that our appointed officials on the Planning Commission would have been more concerned about the potential for accidents to occur in an already over congested and dangerous roadway. Only one planning commissioner had the guts to vote against this ludicrous application. Gene Scheel, the Catoctin District commissioner appointed by Supervisor Gary Higgins, voted against the application because it was not in keeping with the Rural Policy of Loudoun County, which is part of our Comprehensive Plan. The county planning staff concurred, indicating that the application exceeded the scope and breath envisioned in the Counties Rural Policy Document as it applies to western Loudoun. That is not hard to see when the largest number of pumps on many gas stations in western Loudoun does not exceed four. This application was originally for 12 pumps servicing 24 cars, now reduced by the Planning Commission to 10 pumps servicing 20 cars. How generous.
I ask this question to all taxpayers and to county officials who have put so much time and energy into reviewing our current Comprehensive Plan under the Envision Loudoun initiative—What is the sense of having a Comprehensive Plan if we don’t follow it?
This absurd application needs to be greatly modified by the Board of Supervisors to the point where the economic gain by the applicant is reduced to a business in keeping with other agricultural related business along Rt. 15. The irony is that this applicant wants the Board of Supervisors to rezone about ½ of the land involved from Agricultural A-1 to Rural Business. Beyond that, the applicant wants a Special Exception to now accommodate 10 pumps, a decrease of two pumps from the original application. I hope some common sense prevails. You may want to contact your Board of Supervisor representative and voice your opinion. You may also want to sign a petition opposing this application through stopmegagas.com.
John Adams, Lucketts