After Decade-Long Legal Battle, White’s Ferry Closes

White’s Ferry, which has connected Loudoun with Montgomery County since six years after the Declaration of Independence was signed, announced it was ceasing operations on Monday following a court ruling that it could not legally use its landing in Virginia.

On Nov. 23, Circuit Court Judge Stephen E. Sincavage found that there was no record documenting the creation of a public landing on the Virginia shore and awarded the owners of the Rockland Farm property, where the ferry lands in Loudoun, $102,175 in damages for trespassing, property damage and breach of contract.

The closure comes more than 11 years after the Rockland Farm owners filed a lawsuit alleging the operators of the ferry trespassed, damaged Rockland property and breached a pre-existing agreement when they constructed a concrete retaining wall in spring 2004. Since then, prolonged negotiations and attempts at mediation have not been productive.

Elizabeth Devlin, one of Rockland’s owners and the daughter of former county supervisor Betsey Brown, said the ferry operators greatly expanded the size of the landing, without notifying Rockland’s owners and violating an agreement negotiated with her grandparents that allowed the ferry to use the land for $5 a year.

“They kept sending us the $5 a year check, and we kept returning it, telling them the licensing agreement is no longer in effect and we need to come to the table,” Devlin said.

And she said it was a “huge shock” when she heard Monday that the ferry would close.

“It was totally a shock to us, a huge shock that they would decide to walk away from running the ferry,” Devlin said. “From their accounting that they’ve sent to us for evidence during the trial, they’re netting around a half a million dollars a year, plus a hefty management fee for running the ferry. So why they would decide to just walk away from that lucrative business is just kind of a surprise to us, and we certainly had nothing to do with it.”

She said repeated attempts at negotiating with the ferry’s owners were met mostly with silence. That included an offer to buy the ferry business for five times its earnings plus the appraised value of the landing on the Maryland side, which Devlin said was turned down without a counteroffer.

“Our attorneys were trying to reach out to their attorneys … to get an interim agreement to keep the ferry operating while we negotiated some other arrangements with the ferry, and part of that was we offered again to buy the ferry, or lease our land, or we were open to other arrangements,” Devlin said. “And we purposefully delayed submitting the order to the court, hoping to reach an agreement with them to keep the ferry running. That’s in the best interest of everyone, to keep the ferry open and running. We would never get a response.”

“We never wanted to have the ferry shut down,” Devlin said. “It’s good for everyone. It’s good for Rockland, it’s good for the community, it’s good for all the commuters in Maryland. Plus, the Rt. 15 traffic in front of our house is like crazy, and it’s a benefit to have the ferry and not have all that traffic on Rt. 15.”

A sign posted along Rt. 15 north of Leesburg alerts motorists that White’s Ferry is closed. Patrick Szabo/Loudoun Now

White’s Ferry owner/operator Herb Brown said on Monday that his team closed the ferry for good last Saturday, during a few-day period when they were already closed because of high water and debris floating downstream. He said he tried to resolve the legal dispute before it got this far, by previously offering the Rockland Farm owners a payment of $100,000. He said the Rockland Farm owners’ attorneys said that was an “insulting offer.”

“We’re devastated,” he said. “As of right now, we’re closed permanently. … We got to sit down and study it and think about it.”

White’s Ferry, located just north of Leesburg, pulls 24 cars at a time across the Potomac River along a 300-yard cable, with one landing on the Montgomery County, MD side and another on the Loudoun County side. It has been in operation since January 1782, originally as Conrad’s Ferry.

Following the Civil War, Confederate Colonel Elijah V. White purchased the ferry and renamed the service after his family. He thereafter petitioned the Loudoun Circuit Court to condemn and acquire the public title to the road leading to the landing and the landing itself. The Commissioners of the Townships of Loudoun issued a resolution doing just that in March 1871. According to a statement by Rockland Farm, the county condemned a landing at Rockland Farm of 1 perch by 16 perches—about 5.5 yards by 88 yards.

In 1946, the Brown family acquired the ferry. It has been in their family ever since and for decades has been providing hundreds of thousands of commuters a quicker travel route to and from the city. According to case documents, White’s Ferry and the owners of the Rockland Farm property entered into a licensing agreement in 1952.

The dispute that led to the 2009 lawsuit filed by the Rockland Farm owners arose in May 2004, when ferry operators demolished a wooden retaining wall that was built in 1982 and was partially destroyed by Hurricane Isabel in 2003.

A Long Legal Battle

In it the place of the old retaining wall, the operators installed a new concrete wall—an action the owners of Rockland Farm claim in their July 2009 complaint was in violation of the licensing agreement.

In addition to claiming White’s Ferry operators trespassed, damaged property and breached their contract, the Rockland Farm lawsuit, which remained largely inactive until August 2013, also alleged that the ferry operators were unjustly enriched by pulling in $675,000 each year in net profits, or more than $7 million since 2004, according to a Dec. 28 statement from Rockland Farm. The owners of Rockland Farm sought $500,000 in damages via each of those four counts.

According to their complaint, White’s Ferry was “not to erect any additional poles or wires, not to make any changes to the existing poles or wires other than normal replacement or repair, and not to do any additional excavating nor make any changes in the existing approaches, roadways, structures or facilities on the [Rockland Farm property] without the written consent of” the Rockland Farm property owners.

The Rockland owners in their complaint asserted the White’s Ferry operators “without any permission or authority willfully, wantonly and in conscious disregard of Plaintiffs’ rights, invaded the property” to build the new retaining wall, “substantially” re-grade the river bank and dump “uncontrolled fill material” on other portions of the Rockland property.

According to Circuit Court Judge Stephen E. Sincavage’s Nov. 23 opinion, Rockland Farm terminated the 1952 licensing agreement when White’s Ferry operators “refused to restore the property” in 2004.

Among the arguments of the ferry operators was that the landing and access road had been subject to public use because of an 1871 road condemnation case or as a result of the 1932 Byrd Act, which converted public roads, bridges and landings from local to state control. However, Sincavage concluded that there was not compelling evidence to conclude the landing was subject to public use status.

Although the White’s Ferry operators admitted to performing the construction work without permits in their October 2016 answer to Rockland’s complaint, they also asserted that the 1871 resolution extinguished “any rights in and to the landing area of Plaintiffs’ predecessors-in-interest.”

“As a result of the resolution, the landing area became a public landing and continues to be up and to the present time,” the ferry operators’ July 2010 plea in bar reads. “Plaintiffs do not have actual or constructive possession of the land or any possessory interest sufficient to maintain an action in trespass against Defendants.”

But in his opinion, Sincavage wrote it was speculative to surmise that the landing was made a public right of way and ruled in favor of Rockland’s claim of trespassing.

In their July 2010 plea in bar, the ferry owners objected to the claim that they damaged Rockland property because there was “no reasonable expectation of compensation” because the licensing agreement had been terminated.

Still, Sincavage ruled in favor of the Rockland Farm owners in regard to ferry operators damaging the property.

The ferry owners also asserted that the Rockland Farm owners were barred from claiming a breach of contract because Virginia law imposes a five-year statute of limitations on contracts that are “not otherwise specified” in that section of law.

Sincavage pointed out that the ferry owners’ construction work happened before the termination of the 1952 licensing agreement and ruled in favor of Rockland.

The only claim Sincavage did not find in favor of the Rockland Farm owners was the allegation of unjust enrichment, to which he wrote that the Rockland property owners had not “proven the value of the benefit with reasonable certainty.”

Under the November court ruling, a new agreement with the landowners or the establishment of a public landing would be required to keep the ferry operation going.

Social Media Backlash

Since the surprise announcement dropped, reaction on social media has been fierce, with people on Facebook spreading rumors and attacking Rockland—and other businesses unfortunate enough to share the name. Both Rockland Farm Winery in Poolesville, MD and Rockland Farm Weddings, a venue in Bumpass, VA posted on their Facebook pages clarifying that they are not involved.

“****NOTICE*** TO ALL THE ACTIVISTS OUT THERE THAT JUMP TO CONCLUSIONS BEFORE DOING THEIR RESEARCH**** WE ARE NOT!!!! I REPEAT ARE NOT!!! THE ROCKLAND FARM THAT WAS INVOLVED WITH SHUTTING DOWN A FERRY IN LEESBURG,” posted Rockland Farm Weddings. The venue threatened legal action for any further negative reviews, harassment or phone calls.

It has also elicited responses from elected officials on both sides of the river.

The county government on Monday afternoon releaseda formal statementstressing that the county was not a party to the dispute between the two private parties. According to the statement, the parties had been negotiating an agreement to continue the use of the property.

“While Loudoun County is not party to the legal dispute, the county remains concerned about the outcome from a regional transportation perspective. We recognize that any impact to ferry service may impact our residents and people who work in Loudoun County,” the statement reads.

Supervisor Caleb Kershner (R-Catoctin) issued a statement pointing out that the situation “illustrates the critical need to pursue a future bridge crossing between Virginia and Maryland. Regional connections between Maryland and Virginia are extremely susceptible to issues such as the closure of White’s Ferry and the American Legion Bridge.”

The supervisor said more should be done to build a new Potomac River crossing in eastern Loudoun, which was endorsed in concept by the county board in 2018.

“I call on our regional transportation leaders to see the benefits of what can be achieved by addressing long overdue regional transportation needs by building an additional bridge crossing between Virginia and Maryland. Less congestion will deliver job opportunities, quality of life for our residents, and economic development to our region,” Kershner said.

And Loudoun County Chair Phyllis J. Randall (D-At Large) said she will raise the issue in the county boardroom in early 2021 and said the ferry’s closure will have “far reaching negative consequences on the hundreds of Loudoun residents who use this mode of transportation regularly.”

“As the Chair of both the Loudoun County Board of Supervisors and the Northern Virginia Transportation
Authority, I am keenly aware of the need to have a variety of viable transportation alternatives
in order to maintain a successful regional interconnected system,” Randall stated. “In the past, I have publicly stated my support for another Potomac River Crossing and I have personally gone over to discuss this issue with Elected Officials in Maryland. They have repeatedly and clearly stated they are not interested in even engaging in the conversation.”

“It would truly be a real shame if we were to lose the ferry,” said Leesburg Mayor Kelly Burk. “It has an important historic aspect to it and people do use it on a regular basis, as it cuts off their commuting time. I understand this is a dispute between two private parties and I hope they’ll take into consideration the importance of the ferry and the affection so many people in the community have for it.”

The Town of Poolesville, MD also published a statement Monday morning calling the ferry “an integral part of the Western Montgomery County area, the connection to Northern Virginia, a historic treasure, and a vastly important piece of transportation infrastructure.” According to that statement, Poolesville commissioners are working with Montgomery County and Maryland state officials to keep the ferry open. Their role in doing so is unclear.

“The closing of this important transportation link, will have a massive impact upon countless commuters, surrounding communities, and alternate routes of travel,” stated Commission President Kerri Cook. “Also, the western part of the county is identified by a rich history and unique character and White’s Ferry is an essential element of that Montgomery County history.”

25 thoughts on “After Decade-Long Legal Battle, White’s Ferry Closes

  • 2020-12-29 at 7:34 am
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    One of the times the county might have an interest in a land matter, inserting themselves in many a case, they were nowhere to be found. The county attorney and BOS were asleep on a job that actually mattered.

    • 2020-12-30 at 2:40 pm
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      Ditto. They own the landing on the Virginia side according to the court case (did not vacate the 1871 Order purchasing an easement from the Rockland owners). One would think they would protect taxpayers’ rights in that landing. But this is what we get from our incompetent local government.

  • 2020-12-29 at 9:20 am
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    Kaleb,

    They say never to let an opportunity go to waste- I see you are taking this opportunity to call for more roads and a bridge cutting through the heart of a neighboring States agricultural preserve.

    White’s Ferry carried somewhere around 600 vehicles a day over the river- you want to spend literally billions of taxpayer monies to replace 600 vehicle trips a day, WELL KNOWING that Maryland ain’t gonna play. Chairman Randell at least has the stones to tell us what some don’t want to hear- that a bridge is a non-starter for Maryland and it’s not going to happen.

    That you would bring up an idea so well known to be implausible calls me to question your judgement. You either know exactly what you’re doing or you’re just an unwitting pawn to interests trying to advance the road idea that just won’t die- an outer beltway through Loudoun County.

    • 2020-12-29 at 11:42 am
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      To AFF: 600 cars is just ALL White’s Ferry can handle; demand is much, much more according to studies done in both Maryland and Virginia by reputable transportation planners, modelers and agencies. I would hope Chair Randall would take up the charge with Kershner Now that the Democrats control BOTH Loudoun and Montgomery, perhaps they can do the right thing and work to plan a new bridge — one that will not have off ramps in the Ag Reserve (which would thwart development), and one that is environmentally sound. Thats the best plan, and it’s been shove to the side for politically reasons for decades . Sure, try to revive the ferry, but state condemntation laws would have to be revised, I think.

      To Concerned citizen and those who would bash the Supervisors for not “being on top of this.” I don’t believe any Board since this litigation began in 2009 knew anything about this because it’s PRIVATE LITIGATION. I can tell you that if I known about it, being a staunch advocate for new bridges since 2000, and always looking for opportunties to broach the issue, I would have jumped on this, as would other advocates. Finally, it was the media that never covered this either. They look at the lawsuits at the courthouse and missed this deicsion — which came out last month! Nobody knew about this until Whites Ferry decided to shut down for good.

      Please allow me to give some credit to 2 former supervisors who did step up to the plate. Ron Meyer the former Broad Run Supervisor got the board to change the master plan to allow a bridge corssing landing near Bles Park Road. Randall and Umstattd and former Supe Volpe voted against it. Geary Higgins got US 15 improvements going PLUS studies of a Lucketts Bypass, which could be branch to a new bridge to Maryland. Higgins had what no previous supervisor had behind him — strong public opoinion in his disrict to widen 15. But for decades, the anti road widening crowd in Lucketts prevailed with many boards. They even stopped my initiative to get truck weighing on 15 which i got through in 2013.

      There’s a very long history here and the public needs to be aware of that and not just jump on the “crisis” of losing a ferry

  • 2020-12-29 at 9:23 am
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    Randall states: “As the Chair of both the Loudoun County Board of Supervisors and the Northern Virginia Transportation Authority, I am keenly aware of the need to have a variety of viable transportation alternatives in order to maintain a successful regional interconnected system,” Randall stated. “In the past, I have publicly stated my support for another Potomac River Crossing and I have personally gone over to discuss this issue with Elected Officials in Maryland. They have repeatedly and clearly stated they are not interested in even engaging in the conversation.” If you chair this authority, then you obviously have not learned much about transportation. This ferry carries only 600 cars a day! A new bridge would carry that many in one hour! And, if you talked to your fellow Democrats in Maryland and said “no” maybe you should go back and talk to them again. Their residents are probably more impacted by this ferry shutting down than Virginians. Also, Randall opposed putting a new river crossing in the Loudoun comprehensive plan — for her defeatist reason stated.

  • 2020-12-29 at 10:30 am
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    Make both landings on both sides of the river, National Historic sites.

  • 2020-12-29 at 11:22 am
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    A few points to consider based on the article and comments:

    1. First and foremost, Rockland Farm is private property. The owners appeared to have, in good faith, worked with the ferry owners and were unsuccessful in reaching an agreement. A Virginia judge sided with the property owners after years of litigation. The property owners have done nothing wrong except to protect their interests.

    2. In terms of transportation, the ferry carries around 600 cars per day. This isn’t even a speck in the big picture of DC metro traffic. Commuters have the option to travel north to Point of Rocks to cross the Potomac. Is it always convenient? No, but neither is commuting in this region.

    3. When Chair Randall says Maryland isn’t interested in another Potomac River crossing, she’s not wrong. Governor Hogan has made it clear over the years that he’s not going to let VA continue to syphon off residents and jobs which is why MD is investing billions in upgrading Rt. 270 and 495. MD has every intention of making infrastructure improvements to woo back businesses and residents that moved to VA when the Dulles Greenway/technology corridor was built.

    4. Is the ferry a historic landmark? Absolutely. But this does not trump the property owner’s rights who appear to have made every effort to reach some sort of agreement between the two parties. Direct your energy towards a constructive solution rather than bashing the landowners.

    I only hope the county or state do not attempt to use eminent domain to obtain the landing as they both tend to abuse this power.

    • 2020-12-30 at 2:55 pm
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      The Rocklands are persona non grata in LoCo. They were paid for a ferry landing at “White’s Ferry” in 1871. And now they are trying to charge the current ferry owner an insane amount for their tiny strip of land (that is mostly public). What’s more, the White’s Ferry operator (WF) paid to maintain the retaining wall. Why didn’t Rockland’s owner maintain their own property above a public ferry landing?

      Loudoun County Government should file a declaratory judgment action to clarify the boundaries of the public ferry launch. Then, they should condemn the tiny pieces of land that is needed for operation of a ferry via eminent domain. We are likely talking in the tens of square feet here. Pay Rockland the fair value for condemning those strips (maybe $500 or so) and reopen the ferry.

      Everybody should take note. The Rockland owners tore up a licensing agreement with the ferry operators because the ferry upgraded a retaining wall in everybody’s interest. Then Rockland tried to gouge the ferry operators for $100Ks per year for a tiny strip of land not more than probably 40 ft long (most of which is almost certaininly in the taxpayers public launch area). Who would EVER do business with such dishonest folks? One would have to document EVERY possible technicality and watch their back every second of every day. These greedy Yankees failed in their extortion attempts (pay a 1000x the fair rate value or close). Do not ever let yourself get in a compromised situation with them. You will regret it. Just stay away from the Rocklands.

      • 2020-12-31 at 9:07 am
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        Let’s also not forget that they are part of the group that refuses to support the widening of Rt. 15 which is way overdue…..

  • 2020-12-29 at 11:47 am
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    It smells fishy to me. It seems like this plays out to put pressure on Maryland to build a bridge they repeatedly said they don’t want. I don’t trust VA judges on matters of development, and that two politicians on both sides of the aisle immediately cough up another bridge idea makes the whole thing sound suspicious. Plus, nobody just gives up that amount of easy money. Is the current owner being offered something else?

    I will miss the ferry and sometimes just take it for the fun of taking the kids across the river.

    I’ve said it before and will say it again. Since MD won’t build a bridge, then we should have more ferry services at various points along the river. But, ferries just help commuters and don’t line big developers pockets.

    • 2020-12-29 at 2:27 pm
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      We had lots of ferries in years past — that’s why there’s an Edwards Ferry Road (both in loudoun and Montgomery) and Spinx Ferry Road. Try getting a permit these days for that and you won’t. The bridge is the best option It doesn’t “line the pockets of developers.” That’s the story line from the PECers and slow growth status quo types. A bridge helps people move goods, services and themselves. It cuts down on travel time, and thus fumes in the environment. The problem is the lack of political will, especially among Democrats due to the elitist PEC types who donate to their campaigns and NIMBYs and enviros (especially in Maryland).

      • 2020-12-30 at 2:57 pm
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        Ken, voting for a bridge would be far worse that voting for a Metro extension, and we see just how badly that worked out.

        Population growth does not benefit Loudoun County residents at all. Growth is like inflation, it slowly strangles the average person with increased traffic, more infrastructure demands, higher taxes and fees, and and overall increase in the hectic-ness of life.

        Our problem is that our Loudoun supervisors have approved waaaay too much housing (or zoned areas to allow for too much housing) and haven’t had the political will to say no to development. Instead, the BoS piles on the housing and then bemoans we don’t have the infrastructure to support the housing they approved. Then STOP BUILDING HOUSES!

        You couldn’t be more wrong if you were the swing vote that saddled Loudoun County with the Silver Line debacle for generations and then packed up and moved 200 miles away and didn’t have to deal the consequences. Oh, wait…

        • 2020-12-30 at 7:26 pm
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          Just like Metro, which has a special tax district to fund it, a new bridge would be supported by tolls. As for development, the County has done yeomen’s work keeping the west pretty undeveloped. Most of the upzonings you are reading about were allowed by the Comp plan. Read Virginias SGP take (beloe) on how the bridge would not impact development if you dont believe me.

          • 2020-12-31 at 10:44 am
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            MORE TOLLS! That’s a great idea Ken. Like we aren’t tolled enough already between the Greenway and the Toll Road which our government leaders told us would be free to use about 10 years ago and, instead, kept the cash cow printing money at the expense of the Average Joe.

            “Most of the upzonings you are reading about were allowed by the Comp plan.” And who signed off on the Comp Plan, Ken? It was the BoS that creates the rules that allow for the development that does not benefit the average citizen.

            If you don’t think a bridge will impact development, then I have a bridge in Brooklyn to sell you.

            And, let us now forget that the bridge fits into the mega-developer desires of funneling more traffic to that horrible money-sink called Dulles Airport, and the bridge and outer beltway are just more ways to make that happen.

            Loudoun has been and continues to be in the crosshairs of major development interests who couldn’t care less about the quality of life in Loudoun. We need to thwart development at every step. There is nothing Loudoun needs that we don’t already have. Enough is enough.

  • 2020-12-29 at 2:11 pm
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    It sounds to me that the White’s Ferry owners are trying to hold the access hostage. Why else would they not work with Rockland AND no sell but instead just walk away? I think they are hoping public pressure placed on Rockland and/or Loudoun County will force them to buckle under and allow them to keep using the landing for free. Wouldn’t that constitute extortion?

    • 2020-12-30 at 3:01 pm
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      The Rockland owners were PAID for a public landing in 1871 by Loudoun County taxpayers. Now, they are trying to charge others for the use of that 40 ft long connection between “White’s Ferry Road” and the water line that is Maryland public property. Where was LoCo’s gov’t to enforce taxpayers’ rights to the public ferry launch?

      In no universe would anybody pay the Rockland owners more than a few $100/year for access to a 40 ft strip that had already been paid for in 1871. Rockland should have paid to upgrade the retaining wall as their own property was creating a nuisance to the public ferry launch. Instead of paying to upkeep their own property, the Rocklands tore up a license agreement (that provided access to the ferry operators to land already owned by the public) and tried to gouge $100Ks per year for that 40 ft strip of land. Who would ever do business with such dishonest folks as the Rocklands? These Yankees should go back North and seek handouts from somebody else.

      • 2020-12-31 at 2:08 pm
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        Virginia SGP,

        Where is the strip located that was supposedly condemned in 1871?

        If VDOT condemned a portion of your property fronting a road and years later could not demonstrate where the strip they “took” was located, but decided they wanted a new portion, do you think they should pay for the new “section” ? I do, regardless of where they are from.

  • 2020-12-29 at 2:17 pm
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    Maryland is smart not to allow a bridge to cross their river. Remember, the Potomac is not cut into two halves, it is Maryland’s river all the way to the VA shore. Not sure how that happened, but it is what it is.

    If you fly into Dulles from the north-south approach, you will pass over Maryland farm land until you cross the river and then you see the mess of development created by poor former LoCo BOS decisions in concert with their buds at the NVBIA. And what does this get us? More need for schools and fire/PD stations. Nothing…nada….zip.

    Maryland is smart to restrict growth at right where it is. They know that losing farmland is final. And who does it help if they did allow a mid Potomac bridge? Not local residents, but more than likely people crossing through the area from God knows where. Why should be help people from New York or South Carolina pass through the DC Metro? Smart move Maryland…hang in there!!! You own the ticket to this and don’t budge because Virginia has clueless, visionless and selfish builders who want to swallow up more land and push for exits on the bridge road for sure. I applaud Maryland builders who abide by the lack of movement on the bridge!

    • 2020-12-30 at 3:06 pm
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      Who does development help?

      Farmers who own the land. They can receive many times over in $$$ by selling the land. Rich crooks, many of whom dishonestly made their money in lobbying in DC, are trying to block actual farmers from realizing a profit on their own land. These rich crooks, like the PEC, could buy a farm in Indiana or Iowa or Kansas, but that would not be close to their crooked playground of DC lobbying. So they want to block any profits that hardworking farmers could get from selling their land. These PEC crooks are the most dishonest, evil fatcats you have ever seen. Nobody is forcing any farmer to sell their land. Those who want to keep farming, great. But blocking somebody else from selling is un-American. That is what PEC is all about.

      A bridge could restrict exits in Maryland so the no-development in Maryland excuse is just that, an excuse. Maybe the fatcats of PEC should give up their land to the Native Americans who surely had rights before them and hated to see even farmed created. What is the excuse of the PEC crowd for not giving back their own ill-gotten land?

      • 2020-12-30 at 7:27 pm
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        Good comments! Our arguments when i headed Marylanders for a 2nd crossing (2000 to 2002) was that if there are no exits in Montgomery’]s ag reserve, there will be no development. Plus, much of that land has transferred their develoopment rights already and cannot up zone. The problem of building a “Techway” as it was once called is political, nothing more.

        • 2020-12-31 at 10:47 am
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          You can’t trust politicians. No exits? Just like I mentioned in my just-posted comment, the Dulles Toll Road was supposed to be toll-free a decade ago. Instead, the tolls are still there and they keep going up and, now that Metro is failing even worse then they were before, the tolls will likely go up even more.

          If politicians are saying they will build a bridge with no exits, don’t believe them.

  • 2020-12-29 at 4:42 pm
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    Anyone who invokes Ron Meyers has slipped. A bridge in eastern Loudoun will cause more congestion build it on the other side of Goose Creek where the problems are.

  • 2020-12-30 at 9:14 am
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    Route 15 north of Leesburg has been identified as a severe traffic problem yet ZERO improvements have been done this year! The Point of Rocks Bridge and the ferry are both interstate transportation issues which is the exclusive jurisdiction of the federal government. So where is our Congresswoman on putting at least a meeting together with Loudoun, VA & MD State officials and Dept of Transportation? When do we get action instead of rhetoric? When do we get substantial problems resolved instead of social alchemy or 80-100 year old plaques and statues removed or modified? When do we see our elected officials earn their benefits and the trust being given to them? 🙂

  • 2020-12-30 at 6:21 pm
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    Good ole Phyllis will do nothing but pay this issue lip service. she has a track record of raising taxes, imposing more regulation and doing very little to help the citizens of Loudoun County.

  • 2021-01-01 at 7:37 pm
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    First off, great article by Loudoun Now, including great detail giving the history and legal background of this situation which dates back literally centuries ago! My strong opinion is that the Judge erred in his decision. This is a land dispute that involves public transportation access, easements, two States, a landowner and a ferry business, and probably there is case law on the books either in the Commonwealth or elsewhere throughout the U.S. to use as a guide to this conflict. A concrete retaining wall is the apparent reason that a 1952 agreement is now null and void according to the Judge?? Did it occur to him, or the land owner, that a concrete retaining wall is likely necessary to prevent river erosion so as to even keep this ferry operational? It replaced a wooden retaining wall that was damaged by hurricane waters. The Rockland Farm owners actions are shameful imo, trying to void the 1952 agreement (and extort an exponential increase in fees) because of a new retaining wall or a few additional square feet being used for the landing. And now they claim surprise and claim no responsibility for the ferry closing……really laughable. Congrats to the Brown’s for standing up for their rights and shutting ‘er down and exposing this case to the public and the States/Counties involved. (Yes, I agree with other posts that the other States and Counties should have been aware of this litigation like a decade ago!!) The proper solution should be VA taking over the landing area via eminent domain. Again, my opinion only, but neither side has the correct expert real estate counsel that was required to present the historical land use/case law to the Judge. When a ferry has been operating permissively at this premises since 1782, that surely has some legal precedence in the ferry’s favor. Replacing an existing retaining wall falls far short of the legal bar of a breach of the 1952 agreement. The Judge really should have been able to discern this……not a good look at his decision-making. The ferry should appeal the decision, but of course the legal costs of appeal are quite high. Which is why both States should weigh in and proceed with eminent domain. It’s a textbook case of eminent domain imo.

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