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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Dec 2003

    Brandy Station Rebuffed

    Brandy Station rebuffed
    Preservationists lose appeal to halt Culpeper County appeal


    Date published: 8/20/2004
    Free Lance-Star

    A Culpeper developer has the right to build a subdivision on the Brandy Station battlefield, county officials say.

    Last night, the Culpeper County Joint Board of Zoning Appeals voted unanimously to deny the Brandy Station Foundation's request that it bar Culpeper developer Clifton Schull and his Golden Oaks Land Corp. from building a two-house subdivision on 18.9 acres along State Route 685 and developing the land further.

    "This is strictly a legal, not a legislative, body," said board member James Risner, who made the motion to reject the foundation's appeal of a 1989 rezoning decision by the Board of Supervisors. "We have no jurisdiction in this case and the Brandy Station Foundation [as a third party] has no standing before this board."

    Culpeper lawyer Ed Gentry, who is a member of Brandy Station Foundation, argued for more than an hour that county Planner John Egerston erred in granting Shull permission to subdivide the parcel at the foot of Fleetwood Heights, epicenter of the 1863 fight. The sweeping battle between Union and Confederate forces is considered the Western Hemisphere's largest cavalry engagement.

    Gentry said that the 1989 rezsoning of the property to R-1 (for 1-acre lots) was invalid because it failed to consider the property's historic nature.

    Manassas lawyer John Foote, representing Golden Oaks, countered by saying that the appeals board had no authority to consider the validity of a 15-year-old zoning decision and that any challenge to the rezoning could have been made only within 30 days of the supervisors' original decision.

    Foote said that to decide against the 1989 rezoning would declare the county's entire comprehensive land-use plan to be invalid.

    Fred Payne, whom the board hired as a special attorney for last night's meeting, agreed. "This body does not have authority here," he advised the panel.

    Referring to the passionate pleas of about a dozen speakers who asked the board to rule in favor of the Brandy Station Foundation on the basis of historic preservation, Payne added, "This body does not have the authority to consider moral issues."

    Gentry, who earlier had vowed to take the appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court if necessary, said after the meeting that he would discuss the panel's decision with foundation board members before deciding how to proceed.

    Brandy Station resident Wayne Stillwell, who sold the land to Golden Oaks, told the board that he had offered the parcel to the foundation but that negotations had proved unsuccessful. "Clifton and [Shull] came along and he offered me the money no one else did," he said.

    County Attorney Dave Maddox and Egerston also told the board that after Shull met all the legal requirements, the county had no alternative but to allow him to develop the property.
    Eric J. Mink
    Co. A, 4th Va Inf
    Stonewall Brigade

    Help Preserve the Slaughter Pen Farm - Fredericksburg, Va.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Dec 2003
    Emmitsburg, MD

    Re: Brandy Station Rebuffed

    "Clifton and [Shull] came along and he offered me the money no one else did,"

    This is the mentality we are up against. For most landowners its a simple matter of economics as to where their land will go when faced with the choice. We need to keep those preservation dollars coming in order to compete on the open market with developers. ALL unsaved lands will be threated at some time!!

    Thanks, Eric, for bringing this to our attention.
    Brian Koenig
    Hedgesville Blues

  3. #3
    Skeet Guest

    Re: Brandy Station Rebuffed

    Sad, very, sad! Cpl Dan Morgan 10THVA(IVR)

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jul 2004
    the shadows of the Appalachians

    Re: Brandy Station Rebuffed

    I don't understand why our nations history is so unimportant to so many people. I understand that not every battlefield can be preserved, but places with such historical importance as Brandy Station, Morris Island, and Franklin are part of who we are as a nation. Why don't we just build a casino at Wounded Knee or turn the Alamo into a Wal-Mart? Peoples greed outweighs anything else. One example is the development of Bristoe Station. Centex Homes, the company developing the land, only gave the SCV 120 days to find the hundreds of Confederate graves on the property. Building on these is the same as putting a development in the middle of Arlington, but the general public doesn't seem to care. We would never do such a thing to the World Trade Center site or to Pearl Harbor. What's the diference?
    Derek Carpenter
    Armory Guards

    "First at Bethel, farthest at Gettysburg and Chickamauga, last at Appomattox"

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Dec 2003
    Culpeper, Virginia

    Re: Brandy Station Rebuffed


    I have recently moved into a Victorian home in the Culpeper historic district, which is itself the site of a battle, and is just minutes from Brandy Station. I also view the encroachment of development on our many local battlefields with alarm. (Chancellorsville, Wilderness, Spotsylvania, Manassas and Fredericksburg NBP's are all within minutes)

    The pressure to develop the lesser battlefields is a reflection of the tremendous growth of the area, and also that this land witnessed so many battles. It is inevitable that developers will look to build in historically significant areas.

    While the issue is primarily monetary, in that many land owners are looking to maximize profits, there is more that we can do to preserve historic lands than simply trying to outbid developers with limited preservation funds.

    Our officials need to be constantly reminded of the importance of this issue to voters, and encouraged to develop incentives for owners to set aside historic land for preservation. That carrot, in conjunction with a heftier stick of land use restrictions is critical to long-term success.

    The developers should also be offered more concrete incentives to set aside meaningfull tracts for preservation.

    Stiffer zoning regulations for all historic properties are another critical element to saving more of our heritage, combined with more tax and grant incentives for landowners who voluntarily designate historic properties.

    Ultimately the most just and equitable solutions to the preservation of historic properties must take into account the primacy of property rights, such a cornerstone of our society and our laws.

    I look forward to acting in concert with like-minded individuals in my new community to do my part in this struggle to preserve our history.

    John Ruf
    18th Indiana Battery
    John Ruf

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