PART III: A CHRONOLOGICAL HISTORY OF THE BACKROOM POLITICS

The South may have lost the Civil War against Slavery, Congress may have passed a Congressional Act prohibiting the Park’s expansion, but the reality is the landowners’ property rights on Pageland Lane and the opportunity for ALL PWC residents have been controlled by the Manassas Battlefield Park.

Stonewall Jackson Statue is front and center on Manassas Battlefield GMP EIS Chapter 2 and on site on the Park. Below are the FACTS and chronology which show the backroom dealings that went on between DC Park Headquarters, Richmond/VDOT, and our own PWC Chairman Stewart’s office from 2006 to 2012: the Property Rights “Grab” against the owners of Pageland Lane with an utter lack of transparency.


Below are the FACTS and chronology which show the backroom dealings that went on between DC Park Headquarters, Richmond/VDOT, and our own PWC Chairman Stewart’s office from 2006 to 2012: the Property Rights “Grab” against the owners of Pageland Lane with an utter lack of transparency.

From 2006 to September 2012 the Bi-County Parkway was being negotiated by Special Interest Groups using private property as mitigation and tools to meet the desires of the Manassas Battlefield Park. The Park's goals were to expand and destroy the value by taking the property rights of our private property without our knowledge. The goal was to and leave us with no other options but to sell to the Civil War Trust at pennies on the dollar. They tried to leverage us by denying landowners access to the BCP, requiring that no development, commercial or residential, be allowed, giving landowners little choice but to go with conservation easements.


The Facts:

1988 Congressional Act prohibited the Park from purchasing any additonal lands to expand the Manassas Battlefield as they now had 5100 acres of PWC land. Because Congress stopped additional acquisitions, MNBP found some loopholes: work with battlefield conservation groups who would purchase the land and thus extend the Park’s footprint; and, to try to force conservation easements in perpetuity on private property to act as buffers and viewsheds.


1998 Rural Crescent was established for a twenty year duration, which the Park supported. For landowners, this devalued their land and their opportunity by the loss of 1 acre by right lots and imposing a restriction allowing only 10-acre lot development. 20 years ago, the big farms were active and productive, although even then often operating at a loss. Farmers in the RC were reassured that this restrictive zoning would only remain in place for 20 years.


2005 NPS creates their master plan calling for removal of truck & commuter traffic from Rt. 29 and Rt. 234. Their master plan was to create alternate roads, including the BiCounty Parkway and the 234 Bypass.

2006 - Historic District was created by National Register of Historic Places

  • Private properties included in the Historic District were Pageland I and II. These owners were not notified or invited to join as Consulting Parties during or throughout the process from 2006 on.

  • The Historic District includes the Battlefield Park, surrounding private properties and view sheds and includes the location of TCP/BCP/NSCOSS. Although this historic designation gives that impression, it is important to understand that private properties included in this historic district do not face any additional restrictions because of this designation.

May 12, 2006 THIS IS VERY IMPORTANT:

The NPS and VDOT had their first meeting to discuss the terms they would agree on to build the Bi County Parkway along Pageland Lane yet NO property owners were informed of or invited to this meeting. This is 7 years before anyone on Pageland knew what was being plotted.

2005 NPS creates their Master Plan calling for removal of truck & commuter traffic from Rt. 29 and Rt. 234. Their master plan was to create alternate roads, including the BiCounty Parkway and the 234 Bypass.


October 31, 2007 – Consulting parties meet to discuss terms for BCP on Pageland including the NPS, MNBP, and VDOT, and PEC with no notice to nor the involvement of property owners of the newly designated Historic District or Pageland Lane.

  • MNBP stated they wanted conservation easements of private property purchased between Conway Robinson State Forest and the MNBP, to serve as mitigation for the establishment of the parkway.

  • Clearly, the park was negotiating our private property rights away for their benefit. And this is why they are so opposed to our data centers…all along the park has been conspiring to “steal” our property rights.

  • They were no longer allowed to buy the property so by putting layer after layer of restrictions on our property the Civil War Trust could buy it at a much-reduced price.

See excerpt from September 12, 2012 letter from NPS to VDOT stating:

October 31, 2007 – Special interest groups met to discuss how to use our properties for conservation easements for NPS

  • THE PARK’s Land Grab was made clear: THEY WANT CONSERVATION EASEMENTS PURCHASED BETWEEN CONWAY ROBINSOM STATE FOREST PARK AND THE PARK TO SERVE AS MITIGATION FOR THE CONSTRUCTION OF THE PARKWAY.

Remember the Congressional Act prohibited the Park to purchase land to expand. The plan was to put layer after layer of restriction on our private property so the Civil War Trust could buy our properties for pennies on the


August 16, 2011 - Richard Walton (VDOT) to Steven Whitesail (NPS)

- In response to your request for protection of the TCP corridor from further development with the purchase of conservation easements on properties within the TCP corridor: we indicated at the December 2010 consulting parties meeting that VDOT was open to this form of mitigation as part of the Section 106 process as long as the Commissioner did not have to use his power of eminent domain to acquire property for the purposes of historic property mitigation. We proposed to provide funding to another organization, or partner, with particular expertise and experience in land conservation through either fee simple purchase or the purchase of easements or development rights … That organization would then work cooperatively with the NPS to identify a property or properties that would further the Park's goals in protecting the historic setting of the Battlefield, and then expend the funds for that purpose…. Preserve the significant views between the Brawner Farm portion of Battlefield and portions of MBHD lying west of Pageland Lane as well as long-range views to Bull Run Mtn. within the MBHD.


January 2012 - THE FIRST WE HEARD OF IT:

Ed Clark, superintendent of MNBP called Ghadban saying he read her grant for conservation easement was approved. He wanted to meet her and be sure she did not give the easement on the front 250 ft. of her property because he wanted to be sure she didn’t do anything to STOP the road, which he had worked out. He showed Ghadban a detailed map of the corridor as planned to go through the Historic District. Clark said he shifted the road further East onto the Battlefield land in order for him to have control of the road. He stated the road would be a Parkway, similar to GW Parkway. He failed to mention all the meetings that had been going on for 10 years or that he was labeling 1000 acres conservation easement and abandoning Pageland Lane. Ghadban requested a copy of the road alignment from him.


June 8, 2012 - The Park Thanks the State:

Ed Clark sends a thank you note to Sean Connaughton indicating only two items are remaining. As well as the appreciation of Secretary Connaughton’s efforts to “pursue an administrative closure of Route 234 while supporting our legislative approach…”

May 30, 2013

Bacon's Rebellion article “Battle for the Battlefield” reports that Ed Clark dreams of acquiring select properties outside the boundaries of the Battlefield. This land grab is in direct opposition to the 1988 Legislation which states the Battlefield cannot acquire additional properties for expansion.

TODAY

And that leaves us where we are today. Park Superintendent Bies sent his comments on the PW Digital Gateway with his demands that continue to reflect the many years of trying to acquire private property for inclusion or viewsheds.





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