Thursday, December 20, 2007

Final Constituent Newsletter from Steve Snow, Dulles BOS

Quoted from his newsletter, 12/21/2007-

"Serving the public as a County Supervisor is a challenging job, but having the opportunity to work on behalf of the citizens of the Dulles District has been a great learning experience and both a pleasure and great honor.

As we all know, Loudoun County is a unique place to live. I have during my tenure endeavored to solve the many challenges inherent to living in one of the wealthiest and fastest growing counties in the nation. I worked to ensure the highest possible quality of life for you, your family and all the residents of the Dulles District. In facing these daunting challenges, I approached solutions in a comprehensive
manner, bringing together all levels of government, the business community, social organizations and the public to tackle our most pressing problems, with roads being one of the highest priorities.

Obtaining a dynamic and functional road network is not simple. I realized that resources for new roads was not forthcoming from government, and therefore focused on securing critical connections, feeder roads, easements and funding from the development community to expand the existing Dulles road network and improve traffic flow. The Rt. 50 Task Force was an unprecedented public-private initiative
that made great inroads towards the enhancement of the road network in the Dulles South area. The Task Force’s recommendations produced a far-sighted program that will elevate the level of architectural design quality, improve the transportation network and create a dynamic gateway for Loudoun County’s primary southern road.

Another chief road initiative that I began was the Rt. 659/Belmont Ridge Road Club, bringing together various land owners and their applications to form a coherent road construction plan extending from Hay Road all the way to Truro Parrish. As a result, Rt. 659 will become a four-lane highway in the near future. Additionally, I worked with the development community to complete Shellhorn Road and Crosen’s Lane in the Ashburn/Broadlands area. I am hopeful that the newly formed Waxpool Road
Task Force—which I created in May 2007 and modeled on the Rt. 50 Task Force—will yield similar results in generating proactive solutions to the growing traffic congestion along the Waxpool Road and Greenway corridors.

Again working with the development community, I was able to secure complete funding and construction of Loudoun County Parkway from Evergreen Mills Road to Ryan Road, effectively completing Loudoun County Parkway from Braddock Road all the way to Rt. 7. In addition, the Arcola revitalization project will provide a complete road network, offering significant transportation enhancements to this area. This effort combined with developer improvements to Gum Spring Road will ultimately provide a comprehensive road network, allowing for easier local travel both north and south
of Rt. 50.

When I took office in 2004, only $18 million was available for the widening of Rt. 50. As a result of working closely with the Loudoun County representative to the Commonwealth Transportation Board (Mr. Hobie Mitchell), and through the co-founding of the Dulles Airport Loop Implementation Group, there is now $54 million in funds dedicated to widening Route 50 from Poland Road to Route 28. However, these funds will not be available until 2012, with construction not starting until 2015. To
accelerate this timeline, I negotiated to obtain a developer proffer for the construction of an additional westbound lane of Rt. 50, which is expected to come online in the next 30 months.

In addition to primary road improvements, I secured the completion of Tall Cedars Parkway from Rt. 50 through South Riding to Stone Ridge, providing a local alternative to Rt. 50. Again, cooperating with developers, I was able to get a two lane section of Braddock Road paved from the County Line west to Kirkpatrick
Farms, providing relief for commuters having to travel an uneven and dangerous dirt road.

Public safety and welfare has been a preeminent concern of mine. I worked hard to secure neighborhood traffic measures that helped ease traffic flow and ensured safety, including needed stop signs and other directional and cautionary street signs, the construction, testing and timing of traffic signals, and reduced speed limits and traffic calming measures.

The heart of my vision has always been the creation of a true “Dulles Community.” In addition to addressing community needs through my founding and Chairmanship of the Human Services Committee, and I worked with public and private-sector leaders to achieve a full complement of community services, such as: a regional library at Stone Ridge, a multi-purpose recreation center at South Riding, ballfields at Brambleton and Tillett Field, an emergency care facility on Rt. 50, and land
for a recreation center in Broadlands. I negotiated with Toll Brothers to obtain additional acreage for the state-of-the-art Dulles South public safety center, not only by the board but through public referendum.

On the issue of growth, my guiding philosophy has been one of responsible planning for the future of Loudoun County. The traffic congestion and skyrocketing taxes that you are suffering with today are a direct result of the by-right land rush that we experienced from 2000 to 2004. Over 15,000 homes were approved to be built without any proffers or improvements connected to them. The results are neighborhoods without any quality infrastructure (no trails, tot lots or sidewalks, no contribution
towards schools or other community amenities), overcrowded schools and a higher tax burden on existing residents.

I worked to change the way we do our land use business in Loudoun County by making the developers pay UPFRONT for development in Loudoun. It is important to understand that there are less than 300 dwelling units (single detached, attached townhomes and condos) built and occupied as a result of applications that I supported. Therefore, the impact of our application approvals during this Board has made a miniscule impact on traffic congestion, school demands, and tax impact on the community. As
homes are built in new communities that I supported, their financial impact will be all but negated by proffer contributions from the developers. The developers will not build these additional homes until the demand rises once more, but they are obligated to provide the road improvements, new schools and other amenities as part of their agreement with the County. The next five years in Loudoun County will
show significant improvements to the road network, enhanced quality of life from enhanced amenities and services, and residential property tax relief thanks to an ever-growing commercial tax base brought by the 8+ million square feet of new commercial, office and retail facilities. This comforts me as I leave
office, knowing that I worked hard to leave Loudoun a better place to live than when I took office.

As I celebrate Christmas with my family this year, I will be thinking of all the families of Dulles South: grateful to you for the opportunity to serve our community and wishing you the very best for the coming year. Merry Christmas!"

- Steve Snow

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