Wheatland Update

By Loudoun Insider

Amazing.  I was just forwarded this email, which certainly sounds realistic.  Stevens Miller actually voted against going into closed session to discuss this and was probably dead set against this.  Apparently Susan Buckley was absent and will be the swing vote.  It’s hard to believe we’re back at this point after what went down with this purchase a year ago.


I have excellent intelligence that the BOS voted on whether to buy the 36 acres of Cangiano property last week, and the vote was 4-4. They will take another vote on Tuesday May 3rd. I don’t know who voted which way beyond a pretty good sense that Burton was against the purchase.”


  • Sarah S says:

    Barb, talk about equine caca – I never wished ANY kids to have their high school experience diminished. For 8 years Valley students, including both of my children, went to middle school for 4 years and high school for 3. It sucked and no one deserves it. But don’t blame me, that honor belongs squarely on LCPS acquisition team for proposing stupid sites for astronomical prices instead of doing the real work or outsourcing the task to professional realtors.

  • Barbara Munsey says:

    Um, I’m not talking about “a diminished experience”, I’m referring to your ranting on the blogs in 2008 that until everyone had suffered as badly, nothing was fair.
    Which you then retracted when called out on it.

  • Barbara Munsey says:

    Here’s one Sarah, when the Lenah issue was really all about you, and you were trying to promote Lambert–the one that was a real shady deal, in terms of trying to get the county to buy a property with juisdictional wetlands bisecting it, on a 30 ft prescriptive easement instead of a road, and then selling a portion to a Democratic candidate’s daughter’s client for a non-permitted use:


    incluing the following:

    “Until then, treat all students in this County the same – as you do western children and let their high school populations expand to 2200 students.”

    Umm, yes.

  • Barbara Munsey says:

    And here are some clips from the FOIAs over the use of the Lenah/Lambert/Wheatland issue to delay adoption of the CTP by a former planning commissioner:
    *(from a county appointee to his Lenah protest list, including county appointees and employees):

    I received the note below from xxxxxxxxxxxxx, a resident in the Wheatland (Lovettsville) area of Loudoun. It appears that the School Board is attempting to pull another ‘Lenah’ in the rural part of Loudoun and dump a land scam on the taxpayers. As xxxxxxxxxxxxx points out, they added their voice to our battle with the School Board and Greenvest. The SB is attempting to close the deal before the issue is reviewed by either the Planning Commission or the BOS. The folks fighting the heavy-handed SB need our voice(s) now. Can you help? xxxxxxxxxxxxxx has outlined several things we might do to add our voice. If you’d like addition suggestions, please write xxxxxxxxxxxxx directly. Email address is provided below.
    Thanks very much,

    *(the forwarded message):

    “Hey Lenah people! Some of us out here in the west really helped out with killing that Lenah Run school deal. We need some blog and comment help with this horrible Wheatland farm deal – please join in. There’s a new post up at TC and a news article up at Leesburg Today. This is Lenah all over again…. It’s utterly disgusting. Please help!”

    *(and from a current Dem candidate, in discussion with the former PC):

    “there is a storm brewing over Wheatland. The people from the Western and Northern parts of the county are enlisting the Lenah people for support against the proposed school”
    This, as always, seems to have a lot more to do with politics than it does with schools. They only happen to be a convenient vehicle for the OTHER old boys and girls network.

  • Sarah S says:

    Barbara, Are you STILL stewing about folks who killed a deal to pay $200k/acre? Really? And you saved all that, how …. sad. So tell me, how IS Greenvest’s plans coming along with selling all those houses that were going to fill that school?

    Maybe if the elementary at Wheatland never gets built, Cangiano won’t build his houses either. Just because 3-acre lots are planned doesn’t mean the lots are final and it sure doesn’t guarantee houses with school children in 5, 10 or even 20 years. Even the County’s own map http://www.scribd.com/doc/54107644 doesn’t predict that area will have the population to support a school for over 30 years. So why the hell are we even talking about putting a school where no one lives, while the whole area on the south side of Hillsboro will be built out in less than 20 years? Three paved roads intersect in Hillsboro and LCPS has set aside thousands for the roundabout there.

  • Sarah S says:

    What compels communities to build schools in the middle of nowhere?
    BY: Rob Gurwitt | March 2004 http://www.governing.com/topics/education/Edge-Ucation.html

    There can’t be many people in Ohio who have heard of Henry Linn. But they’re certainly becoming familiar with his work. Ohio is four years into a massive $10.5 billion school-building program, which is expected to leave very few communities untouched. For many school districts, the prospect of millions of dollars in state aid has been enormously appealing; faced with the question of whether to renovate existing schools, or to abandon them and build anew–often out on the edge of town–they’re opting for the new. There is a reason for this, and that’s where Linn comes in. A half- century ago, the Columbia University education professor wrote an article for a trade magazine, American School and University, in which he suggested that if the cost of renovating a school was more than half what it cost to build new, school districts should swallow the extra expense and build new. It’s unclear how Linn arrived at this disdain for the old, but until recently, his thinking appeared to hold the force of scripture within school facilities circles. “If you track the literature,” says Royce Yeater, the Midwest director for the National Trust for Historic Preservation, “it starts to appear in footnotes, then one study refers back to another…. But still, it all comes back to one man’s opinion. If you look at the original article, there’s no studies, there’s no nothin’ behind this. It is clearly an old wives’ tale.”

  • Sarah S says:

    Loudoun Supervisors who vote for this deal haven’t a clue what experts in school siting are talking about. Gurwitt’s article continues making the observation many others have recognized:

    “I would bet that 60 or 70 percent of the time,” says the National Trust’s Yeater, “we find the bureaucracy and prevailing attitude immovable; we’re losing more schools than we’re saving.” Yet the issue is picking up steam, from local planning boards to legislatures and governors’ offices, and the attention has had two notable effects: It has turned a spotlight on the assumptions that are embedded in state school-building guidelines; and it is beginning to call into question the relatively FREE HAND THAT SCHOOL SYSTEMS HAVE ENJOYED IN SHAPING COMMUNITY DEVELOPMENT PATTERNS. [empasis added]

  • Barbara Munsey says:

    Sarah, the rest of those FOIAs detail how the coordinated protest was about preventing any of the schools protested from beginning to build roads on the CTP, at least down here.

    The whole “outer beltway” crap that fires up periodically, and is rerunning now because of COSS.

    I see you have moved on to wanting us to do it like OHIO, since maybe it finally penetrated that MDs land use laws are different, so we can’t just do it like they do?


    Sarah, if it is wrong to have a supposed group of conspirators trying to site schools where you don’t want them, guess what?

    It’s wrong to have a group of public appointees and employees coordinating to prevent schools on land that meets comprehensive planning (as it did down here) simply because they are too special to have to be within a few miles of facilities that will serve someone other than them.

    And for the umpteenth time, if you want to change how things are done (to Ohio now? whatever) then USE THE PROCESS available for change.

    It won’t be as quick as just getting an insider group you agree with to break process and do it the way you want, but it would be more permanent than the shenanigans of the pendulum swings.

    Run for office.

    (and Wheatland isn’t an issue of primary countywide significance, even if we want to claim its coming back because Telos’ landlord is selling a building)

  • Hillsboro says:

    Snippets of Barbara at her histrionic best…

    “… filing a lot of FOIAs and whining on blogs …”

    “The FOIA game has become its own cost item in most modern budgets, particularly in areas (like ours) composed so near-exclusively of Queen Bee moms and Kingpin dads.”

    “I am also sorry if it stings that budgets also grow from antagonistic FOIA battles, particularly in wealthy systems.”

    So, how many FOIA requests have YOU filed, Barbara?

  • Barbara Munsey says:

    None, lately.

    The last big one was when Lenah and Wheatland were being networked with county employees, appointees, and Democratic officeholders, committee officials, and family members to move roads around and delete them from the CTP and hopefully VDOT through targeted public facilities.

    The big one before that was close to 15 years ago, and guess what? You know those planning zone maps with number of kids per zone that are routinely distributed at boundary hearings? The ones with names like WL15, and DS22?

    They didn’t use to be available.

    The only projection material distributed then was current enrollment, projected enrollment, and “conditions without change”.

    Those planning zone maps are very helpful, aren’t they?

    You’re welcome.

  • Hillsboro says:

    Wow… all kinds of conspiracies. And I’m sure they are all subjected to the same level of proof that you demand from those who see some possibility of a connection between John Woods and his company’s contribution to his PAC. Please tell us again about the D’Alesandro’s and the Bilderberg Group and Amelia Earhart and Gem Bingol’s cat sitter.

  • Barbara Munsey says:

    Earhart wasn’t involved, and actually, Cate Magennis Wyatt had a wonderful inadvertent submission to the county on JTHG, when she mistakenly hit reply all instead of fwd, that detailed some of her experience as a cat sitter for a friend.

  • Sarah S says:

    Barbara, are you saying you are responsible. For LCPS’ planning dept establishment of planning zones for tracking student distribution and predicting where students live? If so, I sincerely do thank you.
    All this time I thought their planning dept developed or borrowed from other school districts such a useful planning tool.
    When they told us they only update that data when realigning boundaries before a new school opens (not before buying the site for the future school), we had to find a different way to see where students actually live.
    After months of hassle with them because they tried to say their software agreement wouldn’t allow it then doing our own research into how that software works, we were finally able to extract a bus “Route Report with Stop an Run” data file. I still don’t get why the school board does not insist their staff justify siting decisions without generating decent maps with the most recent relevant data available. Check out this map (the most recent/only map they have generated) http://www.scribd.com/doc/54209058/LCPS-NWZ-Student-Density-Map-06-07 to get an idea of the subpar work product generated under the direction of 6-figure salaried Adamo the man who orchestrates ALL “planning” in LoCo. And I do mean ALL, because it’s well known schools represent the leading edge of residential and subsequent commercial development.

  • Barbara Munsey says:

    No, Sarah, that’s not what I said. Nice diversionary snark, though.

    The inclusion of planning zone maps as a matter of course with boundary and planning info is what we forced down here over ten years ago.

    We couldn’t figure out, you see, how the attendance zone was adding 500-700 homes per year, and losing 200-300 projected students per year at the same time.

    I asked for a copy of the planning zone map, which was shown to me once at a meeting at North Street.

    I was told I could not have one, and it went down a merry hill from there, with many calls back and forth to the State FOIA Advisory Board, North Street, etc, with the end result that Richmond called me and told me to call North Street and ask for it again, and if I was told again I could not have it, call Richmond.

    I did, they did, I did.

    Shortly thereafter, Richmond called me back and said “Ask them again”.

    I did, and was told “Would you like to come and pick it up or should we mail it to you”.

    And Planning Zone maps are now a standard piece of information disseminated to the public at large in the boundary projection process.

    Perhaps a small thing, but a useful tool that was once not publicly available to anyone who might want it.

    Now it is uniformly available, and if it has benefitted you, yes, you’re welcome.

  • Sarah S says:

    Sincerely, good for you. Similarly we hope our efforts to extract public information will result in more gov’t transparency also. I don’t understand why your efforts then were OK but ours not. But you are free to your opinion, as one-sided and sometimes hypocritical as it is, in this instance.

    And by the way, if you had simply read the article
    you would have seen it isn’t about Ohio, or Maryland – it’s about people waking up all over the country that schools drive development and the absolute power wielded by school administrators is shifting.

    Yes I know, ‘change the process – wash/rinse/repeat’ right back at you.

  • Sarah S says:

    You just don’t seem to get it…changing the super-secret, politically-driven, costly school siting process is EXACTLY what we are trying to do!

  • Barbara Munsey says:

    Then use the tools that actually effect change, Sarah.

    As for “resulting in more transparency”, as I’ve said multiple times, some of the things you demand are exempt under current state law.

    Blogging about it isn’t going to change it as fast as…actually trying to change it. Like finding a state legislator to sponsor something.

  • Sarah S says:

    Barbara, We are doing a hell of alot more than just blogging honey. Where were you on March 9? We missed you in the courthouse during the 5-hour trial. Perhaps you were at YOUR desk furiously googling, researching your old email files and blogging across cyberspace? I’m SO glad we had a court reporter there to record LCPS’ testimony.

    Thanks for the suggestion, we’ll start working that Richmond angle right away. 😉

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