A Waggish 'Win-Win'

According to an article in Loudoun Extra, Prem Devadas, president of Sheila Johnson's Salamander Hospitality, thinks the potential agreement with the town of Middleburg is a " 'win-win situation' for the resort and the town" ["Middleburg Weighs Resort Plan," Loudoun Extra, June 30]. My response, in verse:


Have you heard the latest report?

It's the sort to make merchants cavort.

To no one's surprise,

They'll double the size

Of Middleburg's "world-class resort."

There'll be more SUVs, perhaps fewer trees,

Fine dining, reclining and a spa, if you please.

There'll be plenty of spin,

We'll all shout, "Win-win!"

And talk of creating more places like these.

David Stewart


Leave Well Enough Alone

Not that anyone cares or will be asking, as I don't live in Middleburg or have a say with the Middleburg Town Council, but I believe Middleburg resident Michael Morency has it right in questioning the benefit of Sheila Johnson's proposed resort ["Too Good to Be True," Letters, Loudoun Extra, June 23].

Morency's "too good to be true" rings the correct peal. The proposal went from a 40-room inn to 120 rooms, and an additional 40 sewer taps and incorporation into the town.

Johnson says she is not to be considered a developer but a helper to the town.

From what I can observe, the 200-year-old-plus community is doing quite nicely as a tourist attraction with a sense of place.

A former college roommate recently visited from Saratoga Springs, N.Y., no slight of a tourist destination itself, and pronounced Middleburg totally "charming." We both went home with a cherished object from a shop.

People are friendly in Middleburg, even more so than in our county seat. Why destroy an atmosphere so unique with over-development, which will inevitably come?

Having been a docent at Oatlands and Morven Park and having worked on Loudoun's Tourism Council, I want to forward an idea to the creative, energetic Johnson.

Why not convert the 340 acres of the former Harriman tract into a fabulous house museum, featuring the magnificent garden?

Johnson could interpret her life as a successful entrepreneur and the lives of the Harrimans. The most beautiful road in the county, Foxcroft, would not have to be widened; the foxes could still roam; and huge machines would not need to tear the sacred land of Loudoun asunder.

By happenstance, I discovered the Isle of Mull in Scotland last summer. Upon riding a miniature train to the top of a hill, my friend and I were enraptured by a 1880s castle, complete with acres of exquisite formal gardens, a tearoom, a floor-to-ceiling library of leather-bound books, a gracious note on the furniture saying, "Rest yourself" and an archive room with photos of Pamela Harriman.

We had seen the lady of the castle earlier, arranging flowers for a formal evening wedding, featuring bow-tied, kilted gentlemen. We learned at the end of the tour, too late to say hello, that she was Pamela Harriman's sister.

Talk about "help" for Middleburg and the ambitious Johnson: Here is source material aplenty, only about eight hours by air and a two-hour drive from the airport.

The identity of Middleburg would be saved, and the water needs would pale next to the gallons needed for a large restaurant and hundreds of overnight patrons.

And what fun to really achieve a lasting memorial to the ongoing heritage of Loudoun County and its people. Ah, how glorious to sustain, not develop.

Evelyn Johnson


Where's the Coverage?

I've been waiting in vain for news coverage of the full-house public input session on rural zoning held by the Board of Supervisors at Loudoun Valley High School in Purcellville last week.

I've been waiting to see how the media would describe the overwhelming support from citizens across the west for low-density zoning, meaning either AR1 and AR2 or the compromise from Supervisors Jim E. Clem (R-Leesburg) and Jim G. Burton (R-Blue Ridge). (It appeared to me that the ratio of speakers in favor of low density for the rural area was about 10 to 1.)

I've been waiting to see how the media would talk about the signs and stickers worn by an overwhelming majority in favor of keeping the west rural and establishing Catoctin County to preserve rural western Loudoun.

I've been waiting to see if the media would accurately describe the talk of lynching that came from the mouth of one property-rights advocate. I've been waiting to see if the media would describe the disdain Supervisor Stephen J. Snow (R-Dulles) showed for citizens by hiding behind his laptop the entire session.

However, I guess I'll keep on waiting for any truthful or complete coverage of this important issue in our local press, since there's been none so far. Probably the next time members of Citizens for Property Rights bring out their tractors, the press will get excited and give them front-page coverage, but otherwise the real facts and principles of the rural zoning issue seem to be beneath your media radar.

Valerie Kelly