I think this is an overreaction to Mrs. Johnson's plans. She is doing a lot to preserve the land and access to it. It is not like thousands of people are going to be pouring into Middleberg everyday.
Overall I think this is a good development that will be good for the surrounding the town and the surrounding area. People should remember that this property could have been developed into a lot of houses and closed off from access. She is keeping it viable.
"I thought I was dead once but it turns out, I was only in Nebraska."
towns quickly run out of money and/or tax payers quickly run out of town when the buying spree starts, then when the town is broke it will be seeking and stuck with tacky development just for the revenue.
our town spent about 3X it's annual budget for land B4 we could wrest control from the loonies.
ps we are in a pricey part of the county and they were spending an average of $280,000/acre
Middleburg will become Potomac within the next 20 years. When Ogden Phillps died and his land was split, the larger lots (20 to 40 acres) with multimillion dollar houses went in and farms started to break down...about 30 years ago. Then more and more development out to foxcroft/to upperville/etc. It will always have a qaint atmosphere. But hunting grounds are broken except for some of the massive P Mellon acreages out beyond. Orange/Middleburg/etc hunts are being limited for sure. The tacky development will be million dollar houses. But the atmosphere will leave....so go more and more west until you hit the rocks beyond upperville...stilllllll not developed yet!
Has there ever been approval for the highway to go north of main street (foxcroft side)?
Please do try to visit Middleburg and understand what these concerned citizens are trying to do. There's absolutely no need for development in the area. The folks have tried to maintain thier farms in order to keep the countryside a pristine environment for nature. If hotels and tract housing start coming into the area, then all the farms will disappear, much like what happened in So.CA, Herndon VA, and parts of FL. These people want to keep their homes and thier lives. Not have someone stick a big resort in there and make another Disneyland-like place. The area is steeped in history and culture and if these people come in and develop, it will all be lost.
Anyone who hasn't been to M'burg really should, first, then understand that a "need for jobs" isn't prevalent and there are enough deep pockets and protective citizens vigalent about keeping it the size it is. Shades of the the massive fight against Disney anyone?
Accordingly, Ms. Johnson should just scale down the facility to something more size appropriate. No one is saying the facility isn't welcomed but why create a mini-city?
Look at the Goodstone Inn for what works best or even better yet look to places like Lenox, MA which has a number of sizable resorts and spas (Canyon Ranch, for example) but they all fit in and are very sympathetic to the area so many want to preserve and enjoy.
Ya know, I'd be a lot more sympathic to all this if the majority of the people fussing about their quality of life and the history of the area weren't the exact same folks who made their fortunes destroying OTHER people's farms, homes, towns, and quality of life. You know, the Greenway used to be a lot of farms, and all the money that went into making it tract housing, condos, and a toll road flowed right back to Middleburg bigwig pockets so they could support their own cajillion dollar farms.
So you'll excuse me if I'm not buying their belief in the sanctity of farmland. THEIR farmland sure, but screw everybody else. There is so much more at play here than land use issues--issues of racism, good old boy networks, NIMBY, exclusionism, etc. etc.
It'll be quiote a fight to watch, I'm already buying the popcorn.
(Check out the "set of questions" listed on this web page)
The Piedmont Environmental Council is a non-profit organization dedicated to the conservation of the rural and historical character of the Piedmont. Over the years, I have been impressed by how the PEC takes an intelligent, factual, well-studied, and balanced approach to such issues as being discussed here.
I have heard with my own ears very racist comments made about Mrs. Johnson. The Olde South is alive and well in this area, and a wealthy, educated, African American woman is very threatening to many of these people. There are people who don't give a rats a$$ about the land that would oppose her plans for that reason alone.
I think you are way overreacting. The people protesting are NIMBY's. it happens all the time. They aren't racist - they just like what they have, and have fear, justified or not of change.
This project is an unknown factor. Will it encourage development that takes more hunting land? Will it lead to more development that raises land taxes?
I see it ALL THE TIME in the city, people oppose public housing supposedly because they are "racist", when the reality is that while race may be an issue, bigger issues include property values, noise, land preservation.... whatever, and a good dose of unknown fear.
True, Magnolia. Come on down my way. We need some resort development in my county, badly. We have strip mines and closed up factories. Meanwhile, farmers who can't keep up with thier land, let it go fallow. And they are waiting for someone to buy it up and make it beautiful again. Or, sell it to the next bidder and make whatever out of it but I know they would hold out for something like this. Middleburg doesn't need it nor do they want it. They have fought long and hard to try to keep the community as it is for a reason. To keep some semblance of rural VA as it was in the midst of DC encroaching upon them. Yes, the land is darn expensive in the area but for a reason, to make it hard to buy and subdivide or put a super Wal-Mart in there. It's the last bastion of the old VA in the No. VA area. Hopefully, it won't be like the Alamo.
I think the planned Courtland Rural Village development is a much greater threat to the area. I'd rather see the Middleburg land preserved as a park, but given the choice between an equestrian resort and more McMansions, I'll take the resort any day.
In the last 6 months the rolling fields across from my barn (Loudoun County) have been transformed into row upon row upon row of 3-story townhouses. No more meadows and no more view of the Piedmont. It is truly a shame.
I'd love to live out in that area, but I can't see how to manage it without becoming a part of the problem myself.
A person is prohibited to eat until he first feeds his animals.
- Babylonian Talmud, Berakhot 40a
Age is a very high price to pay for maturity.
Certainly it's up to Middleburg and the local government etc to work it all out.
In southern California, we've lost plenty of 250 acre and even 1,000 acre ranches (bet you didn't even know we had 'em! http://chronicleforums.com/groupee_c...on_biggrin.gif ) in the last 20 years. We still lose several every year. It saddens me. Some of the property gets bought and protected by local governments and conservancys, some of it gets developed with some open space, and some of it gets completely paved over.
If you think a 250 acre rural retreat resort will 'wag the dog' given it's size compared to Middleburg, imagine what 1,000 single family homes would do. It seems likely that an equestrian themed resort can be persuaded to give easements for trails, community use, even some hunting, etc - but there's no way you're going to get that out of most other uses of the property.
If you want the land to stay completely open, you're going to have to buy it.
A general thought here: Again, I don't know your local politics and development situations. Maybe this has already been done. But, I suggest that your group do some serious triage/assessment of other properties in the area, and what is likely to happen to them. The current owners won't live forever, and DC commuters will continue to sprawl in your general direction if it can. What is likely to happen when they change hands? Who would buy them, and for what purpose? This project may not be the worst of them and this land may not be the most important to protect. (Or, it may be.)
[This message was edited by poltroon on Oct. 15, 2003 at 01:38 PM.]
If you are allergic to a thing, it is best not to put that thing in your mouth, particularly if the thing is cats. - Lemony Snicket
Poltroon, too true. I grew up in So. CA and there were a few spots still open. Middleburg is trying to maintain it's countryside while all the rest of Loudon County is sprawling much like So. CA has. It's battling it out. Meanwhile, the next county over did something rather clever a few years back and it seems to be working. They saw Fairfax County, then Loudon county lose all its farms and beautiful country so they made a law that you can only buy x number of acres of land. I think the minimum is 25 acres for every house. Something like that. So basically, DC jumped over the Middleburg-Upperville-Plains area and went to Leesburg, Winchester and CharlesTown WV. Now, Leesburg where USEA is HQ-ed is completely surrounded by tract homes, condos, and strip malls. Luckily they are on Morven Park which has steeplechasing, the DuPont Equine Medical Center and a bunch of other stuff. But they do have a squeeze going there as well.
Yes, Middleburg is affluent. Yes, a lot of those people have more money than I'll see in a lifetime. BUT, I have shopped for horses there, shown, hung out, etc. and it was all reasonably priced without a lot of pomp and circumstance. The people were hard working and pleasant.
Also, as an aside, check out how many USET Eventing team members came from that area. I like to keep it that way.
Like I said, hey, come on down here, we would welcome a resort in this county. We would probably even welcome it next door to Montpelier.