Thank God for concerned citizen activists. There is a very committed group of people collecting information on the boneheaded over-priced purchase by LCPS of the developer-owned Cangiano Wheatland Farm site for a ridiculously extravagant three school mega-plex. This deal may very well turn out to be the nail in the coffin of a good many political and administrative careers. A guest post with some initial information follows. I’ve been too busy to give this much attention lately, but will now be focusing on it more. If this stupid deal infuriates you as much as it does most other people familiar with it, be sure to show up at the upcoming public hearing Wednesday at 6:30 at Lovettsville Elelmentary.
From reading this contract with Mr. Cangiano, the County appears to be COMMITTED to buy the Wheatland Farm property BEFORE a Special Exception or Commission permit (and associated public) process has even been scheduled. Has the School Board ever entered a contract like this where school bonds are used to buy land that hasn’t been approved for schools? Under what SPECIFIC conditions will the County be able to walk away from this contract? What will happen to our bond ratings when investors hear the School Board is speculating on land without first obtaining permit approvals?
Vlad signed an engineering contract valued at $26,500 for engineering studies at the Danner site. On 12/13/07 LCPS’ consultant prepared a preliminary design/cost for a new 2500′ roadway to take Morrisonville Rd south of the town to access the Danner property. Of the Lovettsville sites included in the list of 15 sites LCPS alleges were considered that are posted here http://cmsweb1.loudoun.k12.va.us/509759161361/cwp/view.asp?A=3&Q=542279&C=91051 , ONLY the Miller site was even remotely evaluated. ALL other serious evaluations conducted since 2005 centered on the Wheatland area. Lovettsville sites were NEVER serious contenders for these schools. Here’s proof from LCPS’ vault that required spending over $1000 to obtain by FOIA:
The Miller’s agent sent two letters to LCPS dated 11/2/05 and 1/4/06 indicating their interest in selling, with the second offering it for $28,846/acre ($4.5 plus rollback taxes paid). Dr. Adamo’s VERY FIRST letter to Mr.and Mrs. Miller dated 1/26/06 states, “As you know the School Board does have the authority to exercise the power of emminent domain to acquire the property for school purposes” not once but TWICE in the 1-page letter. Dr. Adamo’s last negotiation letter dated 6/28/06 stated that LCPS has determined that the market value for that 156-acre site was $4M ($25,641). Mr. Miller’s agent responded back twice on 7/11/06 and 8/10/06, but LCPS never responded in writing. By that time LCPS had already signed a contract with Mr. Grubb in March 2006 for his 101-acres in Wheatland for $40,000 per acre and on 2/13/06 sent a letter of intent to purchase to the Rackams’s 99-acre property on the west side of 287 for $5.6M ($56,000/acre). The Miller/Park flip option would have provided one site for a middle and high school for $4.6M that would have been consistent with the County’s Plan to site facilities in or near Towns, afforded pedestrian access to hundreds of children, saved taxpayers bundles on land, allowed the schools to be on water and sewer instead of multi-million dollar LCPS-constructed water and wastewater treatment plants, helped small businesses in Town survive and allowed for co-location of elem, middle and high schools.
Not only has LCPS NEVER been sincerely interested in Lovettsville sites, their records prove they have effectively squashed all possibilities for those or other now viable sites to be considered. There is now 100 acres on the north edge of the Town that is raw. The 70-acre Shoene site has a VERY willing seller and the contiguous 30-acre lot has a future planned industrial park. That site would take ALL busses off the main road in Lovettsville, Broad Way because it offers access on the east as well as west sides of the Town. That assemblage has NEVER been mentioned or remotely considered by LCPS. Why? Who knows, although Sam Adamo is working on a good excuse to give next Wednesday night April 29 at the 6:30pm LCPS’ presentation at Lovettsv Elem. Perhaps the School Board likes having all their schools in the shadow of Purcellville, perhaps they like to work with developers like Sal Cangiano to speculate on land. Others point to the fact that Sam Adamo lives next to Sally Kurtz’s Milltown Road home – a stone’s throw from the Miller and Shoene sites. Although most believe longtime respected farmer and Lovettsville resident Evan Mohler, who recently retired from his position reporting directly to Dr. Hatrick, would never object to a school on the 70-acre Shoene property immediately next to his home – many are less sure about Kurtz and Adamo. The evidence does make you wonder if Loudoun officials are the worst NIMBY’s of all. One thing is for sure, they are hell bent to HURRY and spend spend spend when people are losing their jobs and glibly ensure the development of the last vestiages of rural Loudoun just so they don’t have to deal with this issue any longer.