Editor: June 13 is the public hearing for the proposal to place the largest gas station in Loudoun County in the middle of the scenic byway adjacent to the Potomac River, directly across from an existing gas station. What’s wrong with this picture? Could it be that it’s on the scenic byway? Could it be that it’s adjacent to the Potomac River? Could it be that there’s already a gas station right there?
Envision Loudoun touts three types of development for Loudoun County—Urban, Transitional, and Rural. The location of the proposed fuel station, directly off Rt. 15, just south of the Potomac River is deep into the rural area. Now, while there is no absolute definition of what is rural and what is not, the general description is scenic, of the countryside, outside of townships, etc. I ask you, where does a big fat garish gas station fit in? The ones I have seen are off major roadways, not two-lane narrow winding roads known for accidents and crawling traffic backups.
Project 15 has recently announced an upcoming study of Rt. 15 from Montresor Road north to Point of Rocks, which should include traffic congestion created by the proposed big fat gas station, convenience store, dog park, butterfly garden, cigarette outlet complex which anticipates 1,500 vehicles a day. Why would this project be heard before that study is completed and published so we understand the impact on public safety that is about to be created?
There are already three gas stations between Lucketts and the Potomac River Bridge. They all sell gas, cigarettes and beer, the main attractions. You can only buy so many cartons of cigarettes at a time. If you want more, you have to go to a different store. Why would someone want more than a carton of cigarettes? There are a lot of out of state plates around.
Two additional areas of concern that have recently been ignored are potential environmental impact (Goose Creek Data Center) and public opinion (Graydon Manor Dog Kennel). So even though it may not matter, this site happens to be the watershed of several hundred acres of mountainous terrain within the 100 year floodplain with a stream that ultimately terminates in the Potomac River. Who picked this site anyway? Concerned citizens developed a petition against this project—stopmegagas.com—which currently has more than 370 signatures. Does anybody care about that? Does anybody care about the amount of fill that has been dumped on this lot?
This project is wrong on so many levels. Loudoun County staff members still recommend denial. The Catoctin District commissioner recommended denial, yet the Planning Commission voted 8-1 to recommend approval. Something stinks. It’s time to wake up. Do we want the entrance to Northern Virginia to greet tourists with gas, beer and cigarettes? What a great image we are building.
Don Stanley, Lucketts