To my friend Pete Smith, and others who support the rezoning of the land below my town (I live in Harpers Ferry), I celebrate your naivite. Here is my opinionMessage 1 of 3 , Jun 15, 2007View SourceTo my friend Pete Smith, and others who support the rezoning of the land below my town (I live in Harpers Ferry), I celebrate your naivite. Here is my opinion of what the developers intend for this pristine bit of property (and I note that these developers sue readily for any opposition to their efforts--note that these are opinions):
--Do you really believe these developers, who do not have exactly a stellar history of veracity, intend to spend the huge amounts of money to do what they say they would do with this piece of property, which, despite what you assert, is surrounded by National Park land? [HF Park is East & West. Shenandoah River on S isn't Park, though it's public ~moderator] These are the developers who said, with a sort of straight face, that their invasion of park property to lay sewer and water pipes on Friday and Saturday nights during the Park's biggest celebration ever (Niagara), was merely a coincidence of timing. I did notice that their noses were getting a little longer when they said that. Have you, Pete, ever experienced a major pipe-laying done at night over a weekend, on property that was not a road?
--no, Pete. Once it is rezoned, they merely need to transfer ownership, and the so-called "covenant" would be in the dustbin of history, to use a cliche. Once it is rezoned they can do what they want.
--there will be no office space buildings, hotel, park, etc.. Economics of our place say that would be stupid. There are literally thousands of unused office spaces in Frederick. Who would then move out to inhabit and rent these offices in Jefferson County? ...If you believe the "6000 jobs" mantra, Pete, I think you have not thought it through.
--these developers build houses, and strip malls. That is the quick and easy money. That is what they do. When they complete their sewer plant on the Shenandoah, which has no EPA permit and is a boondoggle and environmental catastrophe, but which they are building anyway, they will then put up houses, houses, and more houses (though there might be a slight delay until the market recovers). Then there will be a big strip mall, right on 340, right on where I look down every morning as I walk on Bolivar Heights.
--I urge you to look into history, and to cherish it. Their property indeed is part of the battle of Harpers Ferry. It is. You might not have the feeling I have, and many have, of preserving hallowed ground, but at least realize the economics of doing it for the sake of tourism.
--their presentation of the "moonscape" of less than 20% of the property in question is somewhat ridiculous. Sure it was a quarry. So what? Building houses, malls, crud there would be much more of a moonscape.
--the tender regard for the economics of Jefferson County is almost laughable. These guys own, or their friends own, most of the property in and around the industrial park on 340 north of Charles Town. If they wanted to build an office building, why not there, where water and sewer are available and where traffic is not a real problem (since the developers have already plunked the traffic there with lights on a big divided highway)? [They & "friends" may own a big part of that property, not most. Opinions differ about rt 9 traffic N of Charles Town ~moderator] Why not there? Why, Pete, not there, if an office building is economically feasible for Jefferson County?
--no, this is a ploy to get rezoning, and letting the chips fall--or, possibly, as some have asserted, this rezoning bit is a really meant to raise the value of the property, which these guys got for a ridiculously cheap price in a bankruptcy sale. This scenario would posit that the Park will eventually acquire this hallowed ground, and us taxpayers would pay a lot more. While I have nothing against the profit motive--I am a good Republican--I do not want a couple of people, and a couple of lawyers, to make huge profits at my expense.
--even if they built what they laughably say they would build, it would be a bad deal for our county and certainly for the towns of Bolivar and Harpers Ferry. The future of our county is not gambling, or building tens of thousands of houses to house commuters, and strip malls to get the inhabitants of the houses, but tourism. Destroying the view at this entrance to our County, and West Virginia, would be an irreversible desecration. If they actually built these many buildings and hotel and whatever the traffic congestion at that bottleneck would be unmanageable. I urge you to look at the bottleneck now. On Sunday last traffic was backed up for 3.5 miles--I measured it--going East at 4 PM. The viewscape presentation of the Park Service was way above in quality the presentation of the developers' lawyers. The planning commission seemed to think so.
--Pete, I urge you to weigh on one side what we citizens get from rezoning that property as opposed, on the other side, to what we lose. Who wins? Who loses?
All in all, if the Jefferson County Commission ignores the unanimous recommendation of its planning commission, and approves this rezoning, I would be deeply disappointed. It is a make-or-break issue for my town. I could not imagine what motives they would have for doing so. Economic development? Ridiculous. We elect our Commissioners to make decisions in the best interests of all of us, our children, and the future of our beautiful county.
With kindest regards, Bob DuBose, Harpers Ferry