April 30, 2014 · OPINION
More cases for, against town council incumbents
The best among us
Warrenton has four candidates for two at-large town council seats on the May 6 municipal elections ballot.
By Yak Lubowsky
In his letter nearby, noted community leader and local historian Dink Godfrey takes my friend and most-valued Warrenton Town Council colleague David Norden to task.
I respectfully disagree with Dink’s views on David and do so from a perspective of nearly four years serving closely together on the town council.
It seems to me that Dink holds David to account for things not under his control and suggests that David improperly benefitted from playing multiple roles in town, over time, especially with respect to the Mosby museum.
The slow rollout of the Mosby House Museum has been a disappointment to many of us, but it isn’t David’s doing. Moreover, David did not benefit in any way from his volunteer work in the early life of the Mosby House; in fact, it cost him dearly when he became embroiled as a defendant in a lawsuit that grew from the tragic death of Harold Spencer and which was settled by the town’s insurer with the Spencer estate.
I know Dink asks voters to support “anybody but Norden,” but my view is completely contra: I feel it is vital that the voters return David to his at-large seat next Tuesday, as no other councilman brings his singular and critical combination of skill, experience, character and commitment.
Expertise: David is a skilled and creative architect and designer. His insight into the interface of land and structures means that we have on council one member with a professional eye on the applications, plans and projects that often pose the most critical decisions we make. This expertise is deployed now on the ARB, where David replaced me last year as town council liaison, and is made available to planning commissioners, town staff (including our attorney) and anyone needing relevant advice – which David provides freely (including, literally, without charge).
Experience: David’s four terms have given him a long and subtle view of our local problems. He knows all the participants in the running debates and has looked closely at all the arguments. And even after years of offering countless hours of devoted service to Warrenton, he brings his “A” game to every issue and continues displaying the kind of enthusiasm more typical of a new council member. When I have a question, David is my first call… every time.
Disposition: David is the consummate Virginia gentlemen, courteous to all (even those who goad him), an excellent listener, never raising his voice to be heard, and an honest man with a devotion to fairness. His energy for problem-solving, combined with his generous spirit, places him at the center of nearly every important problem-solving exercise in town, even as it takes him away from work and family (a genuine sacrifice for a busy small businessman with young children). It is only the most recent example of a lifetime devoted to volunteerism and service to his hometown.
Commitment: It would be wonderful if every member of council came to every meeting having read the materials closely, made the site visit(s) and deliberated on the issues; heck, it would be wonderful if every member merely came to every meeting! Well, David is always there, at every work session and every council meeting, and he comes with his sleeves rolled up, ready to work. David will drive long distances, from spots afar where he is deployed for clients, to get back to town in time for these 7 p.m. sessions. And when he arrives, it is clear that he has done the homework and drilled down deeply into the issues.
I have seen these fine attributes and qualities close-up while teamed with David to work on significant projects, e.g., the Walmart grocery build-out, where his fine professional eye led to better site work and landscaping, improved facade treatment and better, more tasteful signage. (And the Walmart folks never had an inkling that David had opposed their store over 15 years ago – as Dink points out – such is David’s professionalism and courteousness.)
I sincerely respect Dink and his views and deeply appreciate his having tutored me in our local history (I am president of the Fauquier Historical Society, but Dink is a master of the topic).
Still, I feel compelled to part with him over this question. There is a reason all of us on the council have selected David, over and over, as vice mayor: it is his unique combination of assets, temperament, and devotion.
He is, quite simply, the best among us.
The writer represents Ward 3 on the town council.
Time for a change
By Dink Godfrey
It is certainly refreshing to see a real race for Warrenton town government. I see David Norden is seeking another town council term and his campaign signs read “Stick with Success.”
I guess Mr. Norden is saying that he was successful in his campaign against the Warrenton Baptist Church and its bid to bring the aging steeple into the 21st century. They were only asking to replace their steeple with one that would last, with less maintenance, for a long, long time. If memory serves me correctly, the church was going to use materials similar to what the U.S. government uses on Independence Hall grounds in Philadelphia. But, Mr. Norden knew better.
Perhaps Mr. Norden is promoting his success in denying Walmart their grocery store addition time and again. He opposed it for years, and during this time of opposition, another high-end grocery store came into town. All one has to do is drive into the Walmart parking lot to see that the community wanted the Walmart grocery store.
Lastly, I am sure that Mr. Norden is proud of his success with the Mosby property. In that successful venture, he was an elected town councilman, vice mayor, architect for the visitor center and president of the now defunct John Singleton Mosby Foundation, all at the same time. That was quite an undertaking, no pun intended, and there are over one million reasons why that did not go so well.
Voters in the Town of Warrenton now have an opportunity to replace Mr. Norden, who has been in office so long that it seems he believes he is always right. Now is the time to vote “Anybody But Norden.”
A history of success
By Powell Duggan
Guy Clark has a wonderful song, “Stuff That Works,” the essence of which is that if one is lucky enough to find something that works well, one should stick with it.
Our town government works for many reason, one being its elected officials. Unlike some surrounding towns and our federal government, work is done with minimum drama and posturing. For the most part, the orientation is toward results, not credit.
Key to this approach are Roger Martella and David Norden. Both are dedicated to service and to maintaining the uniqueness of our town, while being open to compromise and collaboration.
Under their leadership, we have seen exceptional services, new and improved recreational opportunities, a safe community, a lean budget, low taxes for individuals and businesses and a commitment to keeping our utility rates low by safeguarding our limited water and sewer capacities. These successes have enabled Warrenton to remain a unique small town.
As we move forward, let’s stick with what has worked: David Norden and Roger Martella.
The writer, who serves as the Ward 1 council member, faces no opposition in his campaign for mayor in the May 6 election.
maxw · May 6, 2014 at 6:03 am
A response full of half-truths from a fictional porn star of low moral character must be the new voice of the Norden camp.
A vote for Sunny and Sean will end this nonsense once and for all. Time for a change.
Dirk Digler · May 5, 2014 at 11:37 pm
On the eve of the election, it’s time for some truth. The Town of Warrenton has low taxes. Maybe the lowest. The Town of Warrenton has amenities like, pools, parks and trails. The reason for this is our current town council. There is nothing wrong with our community.
Let us now talk about what we don't want. One thing would be higher taxes for the citizens of the Town. Mr. Tedeschi would love for us to believe that the "high" taxes on business are what's holding us back. He would love for his business's taxes to be lower, so he gets a nice personal gain, while everyone else taxes go up. I’m sure if the business tax rate was lower he would stop charging his customers. Tony, way to find a typo in Mr. Tarr’s comment. Good lookin’ out. Nothing says “I’m a douchbag” like going after a typo to defeat someone’s opinion. Keep it classy.
Supervisor Chris Granger also believes that the homeowners of Warrenton should pay more taxes so that business owners can pay less. Read his endorsement of Ms. Reynolds. Chris, thanks for looking out for your constituents. How much did the county tax rate go up since you took office?
Both of these gentlemen support Sunny Reynolds and her ideas. So a vote for Ms. Reynolds then means a vote for higher homeowner taxes? Seems like it to me.
For the business owners that don't live in town and complain that they don't get a vote: That is the nature of our form of government. Citizens get to vote, not businesses. Maybe you should Wiki it.
Freedom Warrior: You sir are an idiot. Merle Fallon was the developer of Olde Gold Cup. He's a developer and a land use attorney. If he wasn't pro-growth then he wouldn't be doing his job. I hear he is pretty good at his job.
FCGB, CBGB, AC/DC: Whatever you call yourselves: PAC's were created to fund politicians. There is nothing "esteemed" about that. It's just the latest way to try to (legally) pay for a politician's vote. Let's not kid ourselves.
Maxw: 50% growth! We went from 4,000 people to 6,000 people! Oh No! Maybe people moved here because the like the community, the way it's run and it's low taxes. Maybe that is why Mr. Fallon is so successful.
Dink: Glad to know your personal vendetta against Norden has not jaded you. Be cool, honey bunny.
In conclusion, everyone has an agenda. My agenda is to keep my tax rate low. Ms. Reynolds and her lackeys, flunkies and masters, have an agenda too. Raise the tax rates on homeowners, so they can pay lower business taxes. She has some noble ideas too. All ideas that will cost money. A business owner should know that. Where would this extra money come from? It would be tax payer money, your money and my money. Personally, I like my money where it is now.
Now hush rabbit and go to sleep.
Freedom warrior · May 5, 2014 at 9:02 pm
And by the way martinkus, if Mr. Fallon was the driving force (he was not), please note that every one of those subdivisions received approval from both the Planning Board and the town council. You know not what you speak.
Freedom warrior · May 5, 2014 at 8:59 pm
Martinkus, by your logic, any group that Mr. Fallon associates with is pro- growth. That is absurd, as he is involved with many groups. Say what you will about his position on property issues and land development but I have known him to only be fair, honest and a productive member of the community. Why malign the man? That says more about you than him.
BikerFriendlyGal · May 5, 2014 at 8:02 pm
Like you said Martinkus...Check the facts.
Town Council Minutes, July 11, 2000.
On a motion by Mr. Tarr, seconded by Mr. Lewis, the final plat, section one, Olde Gold Cup Subdivision, was approved on a 7-0 vote of Council (for: Lewis, Foley, Norden, Athey, Walker, Rice, Tarr).
martinkus · May 5, 2014 at 4:56 pm
You need to check your facts carefully. The truth of the matter is that no developments were approved during David Norden's tenure on the town council. ALL of the developments that contribute to the growth you reference were approved during Sunny Reynolds' tenure on council - not Mr. Norden's. There was nothing Mr. Norden could do to stop the process once the approval was given. Please remember the PAC that supports Ms. Reynolds (and of which she is a member) is Pro-Development as evidenced by one of its co-founders, Mr. Merle Fallon, who has been the driving force behind some of the largest developments in and around Warrenton. Enough said, let the town voters decide on Tuesday.
LynneCox · May 5, 2014 at 4:14 pm
It is important to note that five of the eight founders of the Fauquier Citizens for Balanced Growth PAC were the innovators and idealists that created and functioned as the Balanced Growth Alliance.
The PAC was formed to elevate the ideals that keep Fauquier uniquely Fauquier...small town atmosphere, high quality of life, ability to live and work within reasonable distance, and, above all, the beautiful rural/agricultural aesthetic.
The original eight founding members of the PAC are Brian Roeder, Dennis Taylor, Lynne Richman Bell, Pat Nutz, Merle Fallon, Sunny Reynolds, John Stewart, and Joerg Meyer. Since our official organization one year ago, a handful of other folks have committed themselves at various levels. They represent agriculture, public safety, residential builders, and small business of many types.
FYI, Dink Godfrey has never attended, requested to attend, or been involved with the FCBG PAC in any way.
The beauty of the effort is to preserve that which is uniquely Fauquier while enhancing our local economy to benefit public safety, education, and our rural, small town quality of life.
I encourage all to visit http://balancedgrowthalliance.org/
and http://fauquierpac.org/ to learn more about this esteemed and community-minded effort.
LynneCox · May 5, 2014 at 3:54 pm
Interesting comments below from folks who know very little about the truth and purpose of the Fauquier Citizens for Balanced Growth PAC. In response to those assumptions and accusations, the Fauquier Citizens for Balanced Growth was born out of a collaboration of Fauquier citizens, business owners, and conservationists who uniformly believe in thoughtful economic development and transparency and effective and efficient government that is TRULY representative of the constituents who live and work in Warrenton and Fauquier County.
A PAC is issue driven. It supports like-minded candidates and complimentary legislation. As a board member of the Greater Warrenton Chamber of Commerce and a business owner and resident of the Town of Warrenton, Linda "Sunny" Reynolds commitment to empowering and enhancing not only businesses in Warrenton, but also the overall quality of life, is recognized by the PAC. Her open-mindedness, passion for the community, and transparency is fresh and appreciated. The FCBG PAC is pleased to endorse her.
Additionally, all campaign contributions are public within the reporting period in which they occurred. According to SBE-949PAC page 18, "The recipient committee must report the information provided by the conduit committee for each individual whose contribution exceeds and aggregate of $100." The FCBG PAC has received numerous contributions of $100 from local business owners and citizens whose names are recorded but not public by the standards of the State Board of Elections.
Sunny's loyalty to the citizens and business owners of Warrenton is unquestionable. She will bring a servant's heart and visionary leadership to the Warrenton Town Council.
Kelly Ann · May 5, 2014 at 3:16 pm
“Register to vote so that your voice can be heard” was the advice from my father, and I did. Later, when I decided to open my business in Warrenton, I didn’t give any thought that I didn’t live in town, because it seemed that I was always here: for shopping, doctors, and work. What I didn’t have in Warrenton was the right to vote. It has become clear to me, though, that while I don’t have a vote I do have a voice.
What many people don’t understand is that every business owner in Warrenton pays town property taxes. Yet if the business owner doesn’t live here, she doesn’t have a say in town politics. This really goes to the core of taxation without representation.
A couple of years ago I began attending the monthly town council meetings, figuring that if I couldn’t vote for a change or run for office, I could at least voice my support for or against proposals. From those meetings I learned that there is not a voice on the town council for businesses. There are several voices that appear to be against businesses coming to town, but no one stands out in my mind that works for smart growth of business.
There is a misconception that businesses always want the Town of Warrenton to do something for them, but that’s not the case. What businesses want is for the town government to work with them, not against them, by making smart policy for smart growth, growth that adds to not only our burgeoning housing and school population, but to our tax base, as well.
Will the citizens of Warrenton vote for the same officials that have been in office for 16+ years, resisting smart growth, or vote for a change to someone who will give businesses and smart growth a voice?
As a business owner in the town of Warrenton my vote would be with Sunny Reynolds, I say "with" because Sunny will work WITH you in seeing smart and balanced growth.
maxw · May 5, 2014 at 11:26 am
All Dink has done is lay out FACTS that are backed up by e-mails and documents, written by your candidate and town staff.
I guess it is OK when your "dedicated public servant" throws mud in the closing days of the campaign instead of running on his own merits. Your ethic shot is also a joke, an ethical public servant would own up to the visitor center tragedy instead of hiding behind the law. What is the old adage--if you life in a glass house, don't throw stones.
The fact remains the Town has grown 50% in size under the current administration while the County held it to 19%--big difference. We've had enough of your candidates residential explosion!
martinkus · May 5, 2014 at 10:57 am
It is truly amazing that someone who is supposedly held in high esteem in Warrenton would go about maligning such a fine a dedicated public servant as David Norden. Shame on you! Dirty politics is NOT the Warrenton way. Simply put, "Dink, you stink." It appears to me that you have been swallowed up by the pro-development PAC associated with Sunny Reynolds and, which has as one of its founders, a well-known land-use attorney, Merle Fallon, who I believe would pave over Warrenton in a heart beat if given the opportunity. Your vitriol is not appreciated by many and that is why I believe you stink with the smell of the PRO-DEVELOPMENT PAC that will do anything (ethical or not) to remove Mr. Norden from office. Shame on you!
Dink · May 4, 2014 at 10:05 pm
Continued from Part (2), (3)
The night that Mr. Spencer was mortally injured at the visitor’s center, 08 January 2007, Mr. Norden was wearing four hats; at-large town councilman, vice mayor, architect for the visitor’s center, and president of the now defunct John Singleton Mosby Foundation, where Mr. Norden, an elected official, was conducting the meeting, attended by Mr. Spencer, in a building which did not have an occupancy permit.
The occupancy permit was not issued until 09 March 2007 according to the Town of Warrenton building inspector’s office. This was three days after the fifth final inspection, which was passed and dated 06 March 2007, and TWO MONTHS after Mr. Spencer died. Everything I have said to this point can be verified and or the source has been cited by me. I want Mr. Norden to explain to me, and to the citizens of Warrenton that Mr. Norden faithfully and impartially discharged his duties to the Town of Warrenton, as an at-large elected official, on our behalf, concerning the fiasco at the visitor’s center.
I have followed this mess for seven years, and in those years I have asked the Town Council to read the information contained in the case against the town, and to my knowledge, no council member has yet done so. I have even asked Mr. Norden to resign, in a town meeting, during citizen’s time, receiving only a negative response. To my knowledge, not one person was disciplined, fired, or asked to resign, because of this mess, and the town’s insurance company settled, before a trial, for One Million Two Hundred Fifty Thousand Dollars ($1,250,000). These are my reasons for supporting “Anybody But Norden.”
Dink · May 4, 2014 at 9:48 pm
Continued from Part (1), (2)
In my opinion, Mr. Norden was neither qualified, nor empowered by his office of an at-large town council member or vice mayor, to object to the building inspector’s requirements which were duly noted by building code. Additionally, the building inspector was the only person duly certified by the State of Virginia, and duly appointed by the Town of Warrenton to monitor and seek compliance with these codes.
Next, I looked at Section 105.0 Enforcement, which reads “Enforcement of the provisions of the USBC governing construction is mandatory and the responsibility of the local building department.” I made the words which are bolded, as such, to be easier to read. It certainly appears to me that Mr. Norden, as an at-large town council member, was not acting faithfully and impartially, on my behalf as a town resident, when he openly objected to the guardrail.
I also asked the Town of Warrenton building inspector’s office who certifies a building inspector. The answer to that question was the State of Virginia. A building inspector is certified by the State of Virginia and appointed by the Town of Warrenton, for our jurisdiction.
Our Town of Warrenton Zoning Ordinance, Section 11-3.6 Occupancy Permit reads as follows: 11-3.6.1 Occupancy Permit Required. “Land may be used, and building occupied, structurally altered, erected, or changed in use for any purpose as permitted in the District in which such land or building is located, only after an occupancy permit has been issued by the Zoning Administrator.” Those words bolded are done so in the zoning ordinance.
Mr. Norden was informed again about the 25 September 2006 failed final inspection at the visitor’s center. Mr. Bogert, a town employee, informed him by email at 7:21A.M., 26 September 2006. The email stated in item #4 “a railing is required around the cistern seat wall because the interior is taller than three feet.” This was yet another notice to Mr. Norden, one of many.
On 13 October 2006, Mr. Norden was still questioning the building inspector’s requirement of a guardrail. He did so in an email to Mr. McLawhon, the Town Manager, and Cc: to Chris Bogert and Bo Tucker.
On 16 October 2006, the visitor’s center failed its final inspection for the third time. One of the reasons cited was “need to install guardrail around cistern.” As an elected official of the Town of Warrenton, Mr. Norden, why did you not insist on the guardrail installation before then? You were a duly elected at-large town council member first, and architect for the project second. Your apparent inaction concerning the responsibility of your elected office is what concerns me most.
The visitor’s center was officially opened, without an occupancy permit, on 19 October 2006. A ribbon cutting ceremony was conducted that day by the mayor and vice mayor, David Norden, who was also listed as representing his architectural firm. A grand opening of a public building, with no occupancy permit, and a dangerous open hole in front of the visitor’s center was proudly displayed to the citizens of the Town of Warrenton, in “The Town Crier”, A Newsletter from the Town of Warrenton. A picture of the unguarded hole, which had been identified by the building inspectors as a requirement for final inspection, can be clearly seen, unguarded, at the front of the visitor’s center. This photo and the story of the grand opening can be found in Vol. XVI, No.4, issue 4, 2006, page 2 of “The Town Crier.”
The town’s building inspector came to the visitor’s center again on 02 November 2006 for a final inspection, the fourth final inspection. Once again the failure of the final inspection cited “need guardrails around cistern.” About FIVE MONTHS after Mr. Norden was told for the first time, by the landscape architect, that the contractor said a rail was needed around the cistern hole, there was still no guardrail. Where is the action of a town council member who is faithfully and impartially discharging his duties? Have I missed something? (Continue to Part (3))
Dink · May 4, 2014 at 9:34 pm
Because of character limits in the comments section of Fauquier Now, this will be submitted in more than one Part, (1)
Well now that Mr. Lubowsky has agreed to disagree with me, and that is fine, I would like for him, as a duly appointed town council member, to find answers to my concerns. It is my opinion that Mr. Norden needs to answer some questions concerning events that led up to the death of our local citizen, Harold Spencer, in January of 2007. These questions appear to have been minimized over the last seven years.
It is my understanding that when a person takes the oath of a town council member, they agree to uphold the Constitution of the United States and the State of Virginia. The Constitution of Virginia, Article II, Section 7 “Oath and affirmation” states that “all officers elected or appointed, will faithfully and impartially discharge all duties incumbent upon me.” I know that Mr. Norden took this type of oath and that Mr. Norden took it from the Clerk of the Fauquier County Circuit Court, and signed it as well. I have been to the court and have a copy of it.
I have also been to the Town of Warrenton Building Inspector’s Office and obtained sections of the code that pertains to the Town’s building inspector’s responsibility during construction of the visitor’s center. The BOCA National Building Code 1996, USBC Amendment, Part II. Construction, Section 102.0 Purpose, states that “the purpose of this part of the USBC is to ensure safety to life and property from all hazards incident to structure design, construction, occupancy, repair, removal or demolition.”
Mr. Norden was informed, by email, from the landscape architect, that the contractor for the visitor’s center, explained the “bench must also function as a guardrail” around the cistern hole in front of the visitor’s center. This message was conveyed to Mr. Norden on 09 June 2006, three months before the visitor’s center failed its first final inspection. This email can be found in the court documents of the Spencer lawsuit. Mr. Norden, at-large town councilman, vice mayor, architect for the visitor’s center and president of the now defunct John Singleton Mosby Foundation, was aware of the guardrail being needed around the cistern hole SEVEN MONTHS before the fatal accident, and from the contractor, no less.
The first final inspection was done by the Town’s building inspector on 11 September 2006, and this inspection failed for numerous deficiencies, one being “needs guardrail around cistern.” This final inspection report can be found in the Town building inspector’s office. On that very same day, Mr. Hale, Chief Building Official, sent an email to Chris Bogert a town employee who was overseeing the finishing of the visitor’s center.
Mr. Hale cited that it appeared to him the ““retaining wall”, without the bench, surrounding the cistern exceeds the height limit for an un-protected drop-off from a walking surface (1012.1 IBC). A guardrail 42 inches tall above the walking surface is required (1012.2). The bench surrounding the cistern opening is 16” tall which leaves us an additional 26” to be protected with a guardrail.”
On 25 September 2006, the visitor’s center failed its final inspection, for the second time, one of the reasons being “need guardrail.” Mr. Hale again responded by citing “Section 1005.5 requires a guardrail complying with Section 1021 be provided along walking surfaces which are more than 15.5” above the grade below. By this criteria, a rail 42” above the walking surface is required & stated in previous E-mail.”
On 25 September 2006, Mr. Norden responded by email to Mr. McLawhon, the Town Manager, “about the cistern railing……putting a railing up there to meet the 42” guard rail requirement is ridiculous! Can we not ask for a code modification from the building official.” Mr. Norden went on to say “By the time Rick Grigsby finishes no one will even be able to see the d__n thing, let alone enjoy it.” Mr. Spencer’s family may have some disagreement on that point, as a citizen of the Town of Warrenton, I certainly do. By the way, Rick Grigsby was a Town of Warrenton building inspector. (Continue to next part,(2))
maxw · May 4, 2014 at 9:04 pm
Ms. Wilson, I am quite familiar with the old "by-right" argument. The fact that Mr. Norden has sat on council for 16 years and watch mistakes of the past continue to occur, shows he has no vision. While he and his fellow council members allow our Town to grow 48%, the county held the developers at bay to the tune of 19%! Wow, big difference, think how much lower out taxes would have been with some forward thinking--ie less students in the school system.
The most recent example of Mr. Norden racking up the students ins the age restricted condos/apartments he dealt away to a developer in exchange for "luxury" townhouses. He claims the lower number of THs will reduce traffic versus the condos. Last time I checked age restricted condos don't add students (higher taxes) to the system. What a deal. He also granted that same developer additional houses in the Mosby (whoops Warrenton) Crossing mess that will destroy the Oliver City neighborhood. All in the name of a "by-pass" road. The residents of Monroe Estates are also in for a big surprise when they find their quiet neighborhood connected to the "by-pass" and Warrenton Crossing--all gratis Mr. Norden negotiated behind closed doors!
Kathie Wilson · May 4, 2014 at 7:30 pm
I would like to reply, again, to Mr. Godfrey regarding the Warrenton Baptist Church's request to replace their original steeple with non-manmade materials. This issue is around ten years old, and I am stymied as to why Mr. Godfrey thinks it is and was an important enough issue to keep flogging. He says, "If the materials they (the church) were going to use on their new steeple were compatible to what is used on one of the most significant buildings in our Nation's history, Independence Hall, where was the problem?" I have already answered that, but I will answer it again. Our town has rules and regulations for historic buildings in Old Town that owners of such properties must comply with. If an owner has an issue with one of these regulations he may go before the Architectural Review Board and make his case. In this case the Architectural Review Board felt the materials Warrenton Baptist Church wished to use to replace their historic steeple did not comply with existing rules. Apparently Warrenton has better, stronger rules protecting historic properties than does the city of Philadelphia. To me, that's something to be proud of, not diminish.
The next step an historic property owner can take is to go before the Town Council to plead their case. Warrenton Baptist Church did that, and was denied. I don't like to be flip, as this seems to mean a great deal to Mr. Godfrey, but my goodness, it's been ten years or more. Get over it!
Mr. Godfrey also seems to have a strong protective sense towards WalMart. WalMart is one of the largest and most successful companies on earth, Mr. Godfrey. They got their way and now have a store here. They got their way again and now have a grocery store here. Despite what you seem to think, there were many people against both things happening. Those of us against Wal Mart coming to our town felt that way because of it's record of destroying small businesses in the towns where it settled. Mr. Norden happened to agree with those Town residents and not you. That's allowed. In fact, it's encouraged in a Democracy, to have our representatives represent both or all points of view. That has certainly been the case on the Warrenton Town Council. For myself, I feel much better when all sides are represented, and not just one.
I have a very fond spot in my heart for the Mosby Museum, as I am a native Virginian with an ancestor who rode with Mosby. I am also a clear-eyed woman of the 21st century who understands that tourism is a win-win for our town. The museum is now up and running. It did not open immediately, and it has had a tragic set-back, but it is up and running. So your opinion and mine differ on this point, too. That is also allowed.
Mr. Godfrey, Mr. Nordon and Mr. Martella are running a normal Town Council campaign. There is nothing pie-in-the-sky about sending out flyers with their campaign promises on them, everyone does that. There is nothing pie-in-the-sky about putting up signs. Everyone does that. There is nothing pie-in-the-sky about going to the debate, all candidates were there. And there is no residency test for voters at the polls. Mr. Norden grew up here. So did you. So what? While it might give you both a unique view of the Town and it's history, it is not the be-all and end-all qualification for candidacy. Again, I do not know Mr. Godfrey. But his strident call of "Anybody But Norden" is supported by such limp allegations and, frankly, arrogant claims about his own super-ability to know what all residents of the Town of Warenton want, that it called me to reply.
Dink · May 4, 2014 at 5:26 pm
Ms. Wilson’s comments are welcomed. I never said Mr. Norden was the only one who objected to the Warrenton Baptist Church steeple issue, but he needs to take credit for his No vote, as he is the only council member from that issue who is running for re-election. I remember him saying, in public, that he did not want to drive by that “plastic” steeple. If the materials they were going to use on their new steeple were compatible to what is used on one of the most significant buildings in our Nation’s history, “Independence Hall”, where was the problem?
As to WalMart, two facts remain unchanged: One, Mr. Norden has never hidden his dislike for the, as he likes to call them, “the big box” store. Warrenton has been changing since it was known as “Red Store” and then “Fauquier Courthouse”. If Mr. Norden had been around before now, and defined life in Warrenton the same way, we would probably still be traveling on dirt roads, in a horse and buggy. This may be fine for some, but difficult for those of us living in the 21st Century.
Two, the time before Wal-Mart’s final request was finally approved to build a grocery store addition, I heard Mr. Norden say, in the council meeting, he did not think we needed another grocery store in the town. Deciding whether or not the town needs or gets another grocery store is not in his job description, so I understand. If that were a true feeling, then why was the upscale grocery store approved after that Wal-Mart denial? What happened?
As to the Mosby house, if Mr. Norden is running on his successes, he should be able to withstand his failures. He was an abject failure, to me, and in my opinion, to the rest of the citizens of Warrenton, concerning that project. I have written a detailed summary of that fiasco, and hopefully it will follow this reply.
Mr. Norden is running some pie-in-the-sky campaign that needs grounding by someone like me who is a real native to the Town of Warrenton. I am also one who tries to follow the politics of the town. Five generations of my family lie buried in the Warrenton Cemetery and I believe that gives me some background on which to make my statements, and here is another one, “Anybody But Norden.”
Kathie Wilson · May 4, 2014 at 3:25 pm
Maxw writes that our town population has grown 48% in the 16 years David Norden has been on the Town Council. For simplicity in writing I will call Maxw "Mr.", and please forgive me if you are female. Mr. Maxw does not seem to know or understand something that I did not know years ago when I first moved to town, and railed about development. Then I attended BOS and Town Council meetings and educated myself. The fact is that there is something called "By Right" which allows property owners who had their property re-zoned years and years ago with a "By Right" designation, to sell their land to developers and sub-divide any way the developers want, within the old zoning ruling for that property. As former Superintendent Joe Winkelman explained to me, many owners of large tracts of Warrenton Town land had their properties re-zoned in the 1980's and early 1990's under previous Town Councils that were less interested in development issues. As the owners aged, the decision was made to sell. This has been happening and will continue to happen as By Right properties come on the market. This is out of Mr. Norden's hands, as it is out of the hands of the entire Town Council. After all, he is only one of seven votes. It is simple common sense not to demonize one Council member and try to magically give him more power than he possesses.
Lastly, I have no problem with the fact that David Norden has been on the Town Council for sixteen years. He is a young man. I don't believe his constituents would have voted for him time and again if they thought this was an issue. Kathie Wilson
maxw · May 4, 2014 at 8:27 am
It needs to be noted that Mara Seaforest is a key member of Mr. Norden's campaign and is NOT a resident of the Town. Why don't you post up how much you have been paid by the Norden/Martella campaign for your work?
It is also interesting that she wants to re-focus the tone of this campaign on Mr. Fallon, instead of Mr. Norden's 16 YEAR record on the council. That's right folks, Mr. Norden want us to make him a 20 YEAR incumbent!
It is also ironic that Ms. Seaforest keeps pointing to developers, but during Mr. Norden's tenure on the council the Town's population grew by 48%---think about that. While Mr. Norden gloats about low residential tax rates, this population explosion in the Town slammed the school system with thousands of new students. This forced the county to raise taxes to offset his housing spree! So in he raised your taxes via the students the council allowed into FCPS.
Kathie Wilson · May 4, 2014 at 3:42 am
I would like to reply to Mr. Dink Godfrey's comments regarding David Norden's tenure on the Town Council. The vote concerning Warrenton Baptist Church's steeple occurred, I believe, over ten years ago. What Mr. Godfrey refers to as Mr. Norden's "successful campaign against" the church went like this: The church wished to replace their aging steeple with a new one of non-manmade materials. This went against the rules regulating the upkeep of historical buildings in the Historic District. Before the question came before the Town Council it had already come before the Architectural Review Board, which turned down the proposal. When it came before the Town Council there were, as usual, citizens prepared to give their opinion on whether the church should be allowed to go against the recommendation of the Architectural Review Board. I remember this much because I was one of the citizens who testified that night. And in the spirit of full disclosure, I testified against the church as I believed then and believe now that it is our duty to preserve our historic town to the best of our ability. The citizen speakers that night who felt as I do outnumbered those who did not. Not by a huge margin, but they did outnumber them.
I had followed this issue in the papers, and attended the Town Council meeting. I never witnessed Mr. Norden wage any kind of "campaign" against Warrenton Baptist Church. He listened to all sides, then voted, along with his six fellow Council members. The church lost. I just want to reiterate that 1) The Architectural Review Board had turned down the Church's request, 2) Citizen comments against the church outnumbered those in favor of the church and 3) the Town Council is made of up seven members, not just David Norden, and they voted against the church.
Mr. Godfrey's characterization of this incident is so widely (or wildly) off the mark that I felt compelled to answer. His nasty comments concerning Mr. Norden's trying to keep Wal Mart within bounds, and even nastier comments concerning the Mosby Museum reminded me that there has been a small but vocal group who have criticized every thing Mayor Fitch and the Town Council ever did that was progressive and far-thinking. I hope this small but vocal group does not succeed in convincing new-comers, who do not have the advantage of twenty-year's hind-sight, to believe their mean-spirited nonsense. I do not know Mr. Godfrey. But it seems to me, if someone holds a grudge after ten years about a Town Council vote and actually blames the outcome of that vote on one Town Council member, that person's motives must be suspect.
Mara_Seaforest · May 3, 2014 at 10:21 pm
Silii, you may not realize that Sunny Reynolds was on the Town Council form 1994 to 1998. During that time, her signal contribution to the Town of Warrenton was to go back on her campaign promise to fight Walmart and supported her friend Merle Fallon in his scheme to get around "big box" ordinances passed with great popular support in both the Town and County by placing his client's store directly on the border, with the portion in each jurisdiction just enough under the size limits that would have required public hearings. (So much for giving citizens a voice.) Her other "fresh idea" was to build a new Town Hall to contain the huge and growing Town government whose gross incompetence and bloated costs she actually praised. (I was there and it's in the minutes; I'm not making this up.) Happily, Ms, Reynolds failed in her bid for re-election and instead, we have the WARF. It's absolutely astonishing to me that anyone would want to go back to the Reynolds way of doing the Town's business.
Mara_Seaforest · May 3, 2014 at 10:07 pm
Merle Fallon is a perennial adversary of Fauquier citizens who fight Northern Virginia-style residential and commercial sprawl, which inevitably results in skyrocketing taxes. (Just ask Loudoun and Prince William Counties how that works.) He is also the man to complain to if you are miffed about Olde Gold Cup costs, since he was that subdivision's direct developer. As others here have mentioned, Mr, Fallon (along with Mr Tedeschi) contributed to the PAC with whose help Ms. Reynolds' launched her campaign, according to a story in these very pages that was based in part on her own press release. You can get the basic PAC details at http://www.vpap.org/committees/profile/money_in_donors/4028?start_year=2013&end_year=2014&lookup_type=year&filing_period=all
martinkus · April 30, 2014 at 7:07 pm
You have got it backwards! Ms. Reynolds is part of the PAC that includes a PRO-DEVELOPMENT land-use attorney, Merle Fallon, who has been responsible for large housing developments in and around Warrenton. A vote for Ms. Reynolds is a vote for MORE development, not less!
Silii · April 30, 2014 at 4:11 pm
I would say that since about every square inch of open land/lots in Warrenton is now under development, or proposed for such, the current town council is big time in the hands of developers and is big time pro-development, especially for new housing, not new business. It truly is time for a change - get rid of the stale incumbents and get a breath of fresh air on the town council. Put a wise, successful business woman on the council and get rid of the good ol' boy stagnancy we have now. It's time for fresh ideas if we want Warrenton to thrive, especially in the face of retail competition in Gainesville.
maxw · April 30, 2014 at 1:15 pm
All of this sprawl fear mongering being presented by Ms. Anthony on behalf of the Norden/Martella campaign is a bit disingenuous, in light of the location of Norden/Martella signs on multiple developer's properties. Specifically Mr. Hitchcock, Dobson, Alls, Iten, and Chipman. I guess we should all check into these relationships and money trails as well.
martinkus · April 25, 2014 at 3:28 pm
Outstanding letter! Thank you for enlightening the electorate regarding the PAC who is affiliated with Ms. Reynolds' bid for election to the Warrenton town council. It is my understanding that this particular PAC includes a well-known land-use attorney who is very pro-development. As I mentioned in a previous post, this PAC could spell trouble for not only Warrenton but for the county as well. As the saying goes, "if it isn't broken, don't fix it." Nothing is broken but that could change here should this PAC's affiliations be elected to power. Town voters: please vote for Mr. Norden and Mr. Martella on May 6th!
martinkus · April 25, 2014 at 3:18 pm
It wouldn't surprise me one bit if the developer of Olde Gold Cup left the infrastructure undone considering who this person this.
martinkus · April 24, 2014 at 4:38 pm
It seems to me that the developer of Olde Gold Cup should have been involved in the completion of the infrastructure of that development. It is my understanding that the developer was the land-use attorney on the PAC that is associated with Ms. Sunny Reynolds, candidate for an at-large council seat in Warrenton. This seems to be another reason not to vote for Ms. Reynolds, who is affiliated with this particular PAC.
martinkus · April 24, 2014 at 10:50 am
I find no credible reason to change the at-large council seats. Mr. Norden and Mr. Martella have done a fine job over the years and both deserve to be re-elected. Why mess with success, especially when it is known that at least one the challengers (Ms. Reynolds) is associated with a PAC that, in my opinion, in clearly very pro-development and has, as one of its members, a notorious land-use lawyer. Choose wisely Warrentonians! A vote for Norden and Martella will help keep our town beautiful. The other choices could open the door to the eventual "Loudenization" and/or "Fairfaxing" of Warrenton, followed, perhaps by the county as well.
JDent · April 22, 2014 at 7:11 pm
Thank you Powell, very, very much!
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