With a wrecking ball hanging over their heads, the Fauquier County Board of Supervisors voted Monday to allow Upperville resident Sandy Lerner to turn the historic Carr House into a delicatessen.
The unanimous--if reluctant--vote ended two years of negotiations between Lerner, a California computer and cosmetics multimillionaire, and the county. The sticking point was the opposition of many Upperville residents, who said the character of the village would be ruined by a tavern and restaurant--Lerner's first proposal for the house--or a deli.
In the face of persistent difficulty, Lerner applied for a demolition permit last month and began taking steps to tear down the building on Route 50. Last week, a demolition company posted its sign in front of the property and erected a chain-link fence around the house.
"She was prepared to do it," said her lawyer, Merle Fallon.
That loomed large in the minds of supervisors who voted for the rezoning. "If there is any good to come out of this, we preserved part of our history," said board Vice Chairman Joe Winkelmann (R-Center). Lerner's proposed delicatessen, to be called Hunter's Head, would seat 60 patrons, with service ending at 10 p.m.
"Some of us lived in New York and other places. We chose Upperville because it was quiet and historic," John Ross, a neighbor of the Carr House, said after the vote.
Supervisor James R. Green Jr. (I-Marshall) acknowledged the controversial nature of the development. "If anyone can lend me a car, so I can be incognito. . . ," he said after casting his vote for the deli.
New Plan Passed for New Baltimore
With only minor tinkering, the Board of Supervisors voted Tuesday to approve changes in the county's Comprehensive Plan for the New Baltimore service district, as proposed by a citizens task force.
The New Baltimore Service District Planning Committee, comprising 19 members from various segments of the community, worked for a year to come up with the nonbinding blueprint for growth in their area. In recent months, its recommendations underwent some adjustments by the Planning Commission.
"I didn't think we'd ever get here, to tell you the truth," committee member Peter Hoagland said after the board vote.
Chuck Medvitz, another member of the panel, reflected on the year's work. "Being a citizen activist and being involved with what the government is doing is not being in politics," Medvitz said. "We've got to get a good mix of opinions from across the spectrum."
Medvitz and Hoagland were among the citizen-planners who spent hundreds of hours with county staff members to learn how planning decisions are made. Their document, approved by the committee last December, cuts population density now slated for the service district by about half and reduces the amount of anticipated commercial growth.
County officials said they hope to use the same model of citizen participation to resolve the Catlett-Calverton area's long-standing sewage problems.
Power Plant Opposition Builds Steam
About two dozen citizens showed up at Monday's Board of Supervisors meeting to express opposition to the four-turbine Virginia Power plant that is about to be built in Remington.
As part of a campaign by the Piedmont Environmental Council, the citizens asked the county to reopen debate on the special exception permit, approved last October, that allowed the $200 million development to proceed.
During a break, board Chairman Larry L. Weeks (R-Scott) said there was no chance the permit would be reviewed. But he left the door open for a public hearing on the plant's effects.
The plant, which would burn natural gas and, in peak situations, an oil and water mixture, requires a 6 million-gallon tank of water on reserve. The county is in negotiations with Virginia Power over how quickly the tank may be filled and what the utility must do to offset any impact on local wells. Although the plant has been approved, the county has not issued a building permit.
Piedmont Environmental Council officials said singer Willie Nelson would address the power plant issue while he is in town next month to perform at this year's Farm Aid concert at the Nissan Pavilion.
Board to Ask Governor for Drought Relief
Citing a report that estimates drought damage to local crops at $8 million, the board voted unanimously to ask Gov. James S. Gilmore III (R) to petition the U.S. Department of Agriculture to declare the county an agricultural disaster area--as Loudoun was on Monday.
Such a declaration would make local farmers eligible for low-interest loans.
CAPTION: Upperville resident Sandy Lerner's plan for a delicatessen at Carr House was approved after she took steps to demolish it.