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March 1, 2021 · OPINION

Warrenton plan suggests too much development

The Warrenton Town Council will conduct a public hearing on the draft comprehensive plan at 6:30 p.m. Tuesday, March 9.
By Nancy Browning Premen

I am writing to ask the citizens of Fauquier to review the proposed Comprehensive Plan for the Town of Warrenton 2020-2040. Is this REALLY what we want Warrenton to look like over the next 20 years?

This plan will be reviewed by town council on March 9. If you have concerns about what is being proposed, please consider contacting the council and our mayor before that time. (The council also will conduct a public hearing on the plan that night.)

To say that I am disappointed and upset by what I’ve seen, is to put it mildly. This is not a projection that I can accept for my Warrenton. As someone who was born and raised here, the best part of Warrenton is its small town atmosphere. The picture created from this plan completely destroys that. I find “New Town” to be particularly offensive. That very much reminds me of the “fake” town square in Gainesville — but on steroids. Certainly not a pleasing picture.

As someone who worked on the first citizen comprehensive plan, done in New Baltimore in 1998, I know first-hand how difficult it is to get everyone to agree on a “vision.” Unfortunately, what I found, during those discussions, was that many times a participants’ goal in being involved in the plan was to further their own plans and increase their own profits.

After reviewing the individuals listed as the “Urban Development Area Steering Group” on the town’s plan, I am stunned to see the number of participants who are involved in development, real estate, or business in our area. Where was “John Q. Public?”

I find it most difficult to believe that the majority of our citizenry is fine with this amount of development, height of buildings, impact on natural resources and increase in population, which I understand could be as much as 50 percent.

Needless to say, I am most hopeful that the town council does not accept this proposed document. As I just stated, the most offensive elements are the rezoning to more residential and commercial (from light industrial and office), the height of the buildings proposed, the lack of information on the costs of the proposed new roads (including cut-throughs to destroy many quiet neighborhood cul-de-sacs), a focus on by-right zoning, which can negatively impact proffers, and the impact on our water and sewer coverage.

I hope that my faith in an informed, concerned and fair town council is justified. I love Warrenton. I always will. I’d like to be able to still recognize it in a few years.
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Mark House · March 31, 2021 at 8:29 am
"Someone is sitting in the shade today because someone planted a tree a long time ago." - Warren Buffett

To go forward we must take the steps needed to get there.
JohnQPublic · March 2, 2021 at 4:21 pm
Oh, heaven forbid anything changes or grows ever! I for one, really like the plan. New Town, as it's called, sounds great. Much better than a depressing row of no-tell motels and never-visited businesses.
Please, yes, can our kids have someplace to go, (and spend my money) other than Gainesville? Nobody wants to come to Warrenton, and it's no surprise why. What's here? A few bars and one or two interesting shops on Main St. A bunch of fast food places that can found elsewhere. Other than a few exceptions, Main St has become a revolving set of businesses that can't seem to get enough customers, and relocated to Haymarket or Gainesville because there are other things there to attract them.
Of course you can whine about growth, but the alternative is that Warrenton becomes yet another withering town where every kid's goal is to move away ASAP. The last time somebody wanted to develop a movie theatre, restaurants, and shopping area, they were shouted down by the NIMBYs. And so, if anybody wants to do anything fun, it's a 15 minute drive to Gainesville.
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