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November 22, 2018

Throwback Thursday: Foes organizing to stop Disney

November 1993: Chris Needles, volunteer manager of the Piedmont Environmental Council’s “Take a Second Look” campaign, addresses the crowd of “Disney’s America” opponents Sunday night in The Plains.
25 Years Ago
From The Fauquier Citizen edition of November 26, 1993


Disney opponents organize quickly

More than 400 people gathered Sunday at Grace Episcopal Church in The Plains to discuss how they might defeat the Walt Disney Co. proposal for a history theme park on 3,000 acres near Haymarket.

The Piedmont Environmental Council organized the last-minute meeting during which it announced the “Take a Second Look” campaign.

PEC hopes to persuade the entertainment giant and public officials to pick a “Disney’s America” site closer to Northern Virginia or another site in the state where adequate utilities and transportation systems already exist.





County cites Great Meadow for zoning violation

Without an approved site plan or an electrical permit, Great Meadow’s owners earlier this year built built a polo arena with lights.

Fauquier officials responded three weeks ago by citing the Meadow Outdoors Foundation with a zoning violation that renders the facility useless until the organization complies with county ordinances and the building code.

Zoning Administrator Carolyn Bowen said last week the foundation is prohibited from using the facility, which occupies about a corner of the 500-acre complex at Old Tavern until the county staff approves the site plan and issues an electrical permit.

“There were some technical, procedural things we apparently overlooked,” said Great Meadow founder Arthur W. Arundel, who added the notice of violation from the county “surprised” him.

The original special exception permit, issued in 1983, allowed for the addition of lights and Arundel believed the foundation didn’t need a permit for their installation, he said.


Teachers seeking 8-percent pay hike

The Fauquier Education Association this week asked the school board to raise starting teacher salaries 8 percent next fall.

The 500-member teachers’ group also asked for:

• A 2-percent “step” pay increase for all instructors.

• A 7-percent raise for those with more than 25 years’ experience.

Under the FEA request, starting salaries would get the most dramatic increase, to $24,000 compared with the current $22,220.


Pipe bomb found near church

A pipe bomb found Monday afternoon along Route 29 created a scare for some New Baltimore residents.

Sheriff Joe Higgs said a resident discovered the bomb at the ends of a private driveway near Broad Run Baptist Church and called 9-1-1.

When Deputy Bruce McClanahan arrived, a youngster handed him “a piece of pipe that appeared to be a bomb,” Higgs said. The galvanized pipe was capped a both ends and had a fuse sticking out of it.

An explosives team from the Fairfax County Police Department x-rayed the device and confirmed it was packed with black power. The crew placed the device in a “bomb disposal box” and drove it to Fairfax, where experts will check the bomb for fingerprints before detonating it.

“We have no idea who dropped it there,” Higgs said.


FHS field hockey team eliminated in state quarterfinals

Fauquier’s field hockey machine ran out of fuel last Thursday at Manchester High School.

The Falcons lost, 1-0, to T.C. Williams in the Group AAA state quarterfinals, abruptly ending their previously undefeated season.

After failing to get anything going offensively in the first half, Fauquier turned up the heat in the second and attacked the Titans’ goal. The Titans defended a fierce barrage led by Marie Washington, Fauquier’s leading scorer.

“We really didn’t have much consistency in the first half,” FHS Coach Linda Aaron said. “But, the second half was probably our strongest effort at the goal this season.”

Earlier, “we were reacting to their game when we should have been acting, playing our game,” Aaron said. “We should have been setting the tempo.”


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llfarm88 · December 4, 2018 at 5:05 pm
Ladies and Gentlemen: As long as we do not change those who represent us, nothing is going to change the way things are done in Fauquier.
martinkus · November 28, 2018 at 5:51 pm
Spot on Silii!

Also, there were rumors that Disney was working a deal with the Virginia Governor that was going to be leaked to the press. Disney would have been a disaster for this area, along with the thousands of new dwellings that would follow. Orlando used to be a nice place...not so much anymore (unless you love congestion and tons of people everywhere). Haymarket (and Warrenton) would have been swallowed up!
Silii · November 27, 2018 at 4:02 pm
Exon-Mobil owned most of the land along Rt. 15 and Prince William County had approved thousands of houses and shopping areas. Exon-Mobil entered into an agreement with Disney - EM would sell property to Disney for the theme park and thousands of houses, more land for housing than for the theme park, if Disney got approved. Disney was counting on the federal government to build the huge exchanges on I -66, both directions, for traffic. Plans didn't include widening 66 and the thousands of cars exiting for Disney would have backed up onto 66. FHA would not approve the plan. Disney never promised to widen 15 but they wanted state highway funds to deal with Rt. 15. Disney ran into political problems, too, as calling it Disney's America didn't sit well with citizens from all walks of life - fireworks every night, noise and dirt, total misinterpretation of history, traffic logjams, and the eventual growth of not so nice surroundings of the park wasn't peoples' idea of Our America. Disney withdrew for many reasons, including knowing that the park would be closed at least 2-3 months a year due to weather. Exon-Mobil proceeded with developing what you see today along Rt. 15. Either way there would have been thousands of houses built along 15.
Truepat · November 27, 2018 at 6:48 am
The National average that the Supervisors keep ignoring when approving these large developments is that the average household have 2 kids and 2 cars. Calculate that to the number of houses and you have the additional traffic on existing roads, how many more possible students will need schools and then add additional rescue and fire personnel to cover those houses as well as equipment. That's why as homeowners, I prefer the term "county investors" find our taxes being raised every year. We do have the vote to change this mess.
JohnnyD · November 25, 2018 at 9:37 am
You are so correct FalconDad. The only thing that can be built in this Town, and county, are houses. The Walker Drive fiasco is proof of that. Instead of building the professional park with decent paying jobs that was planned during the Town annexation of the property; the officials decided instead to build more stores, restaurants, and apartments.

The Town should have built the 211 bypass, the Timberfence Parkway, before the first new house there was built. As it is now the real estate sales moguls never told the new homebuyers about the proposed bypass, so now they are nimbys who don't want any traffic near their houses. So sad for the businesses on Broadiew Ave.

I don't even know why the Town pays for a planning department, when they have repeatedly proven that long range plans mean nothing when a housing developer fills their campaign coffers. Perhaps the voters just need to unincorporate the Town.

And Costco would have been a great addition to the County. Instead we got 100+ more houses, and nary any road expansions to accomodate them. The traffic gridlocks are going to get worse unless our officials wake up.
FalconDad · November 24, 2018 at 1:57 pm
Thanks Charlotte and JohhnyD for your comments. As long as the Town of Warrenton and Fauquier drive away local investments like Disney, Costco, Aldie and others our house prices and further local investment will remain stagnant. Even the 211 bypass that was slated to make Broadview a much, much safer place to travel on was cancelled. From a recent analysis, during most hours of the day over 90% of the traffic coming off Rt 17 on to Broadview are vehicles using Broadview as a Bypass to Rt 211. This traffic does not support local businesses, they just want to get through as fast as they can and get back to the higher speeds of Rt 17 and Rt 211. As in Price William, Loudoun and Fairfax, they all decided for bybasses in the form of Parkways. This made the smaller streets safer and opened up more and more investment by businesses to those counties. Our Parkway was to be Timberfence Parkway between Gold Cup and Silver Cup, but for now it's on the back burner. It would be nice to see the Town and County grow in a safe manner through Parkways etc. I would love to see my children be able to work near town for large corporations with out being in their cars for 3-4 hours a day to drive out of the county, but until we get our roads under control our town and county are just unattractive to outside investment.
JohnnyD · November 23, 2018 at 8:50 am
Charlotte, you are absolutely correct. And Disney was going to fund expanding Metro all the way along 66 from Vienna to Haymarket. So instead we have thousands of houses and bumper to bumper traffic.
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