Letter: Dr. Robert Dilger, Lucketts

Editor: I am alarmed that Loudoun County’s planning staff now recommends an eastern bypass around Lucketts as part of a proposal to widen Rt. 15 north of Montresor Road. An eastern bypass would likely destroy our historic village as we know it and cripple its ability to be a sustainable rural enclave in an increasingly urban environment.

An eastern bypass would be a major loss for public safety and Lucketts’ quality of life because it would:  

• Jeopardize child safety as it hems in Lucketts Elementary School and the Lucketts Community Center with six lanes of highways (i.e., four directly behind them and the current two lanes of Route 15 in front of them). This would also surround these facilities—which are used by hundreds of young students and patrons most days of the week—with unwelcome traffic noise from the high volume of vehicles that will be roaring by at all hours of the day. And that’s after the months or even years of construction noise that students, staff, and Community Center patrons would be forced to endure while an eastern bypass is built. 

• Bisect the area between the old and new fire stations, which would likely challenge any future expansion. Furthermore, it is unclear whether the county has examined the impact of an eastern bypass with its additional traffic signals and roundabouts on 1) the ability of fire trucks and other emergency vehicles to leave the station in a timely manner and 2) the disruption to the bypass traffic flow that would occur when vehicles depart the station for service calls.

• Pass through the unpaved parking area of the beloved Old Lucketts Store and the area that is used for expanded vendor space during the store’s special events. With far less space available for parking, the antique shops’ future in Lucketts is directly threatened.  

• Cut through the Falconaire housing community, including four of its federally- and state- protected wetland and stream conservation easement areas. The county plans to use eminent domain to take land from the community’s common area. Depending on final bypass design, it will take the backyards of up to five homes as well. Planning staff should be informed that the Falconaire’s covenants with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and Virginia Department of Environmental Quality require the neighborhood’s homeowner’s association to use any proceeds from eminent domain for additional preservation areas. Because the community is already completed, the county’s taking of the common area’s wetland and stream preservation areas will force the HOA to take homeowners’ property as it would be the only area left on which to establish additional preservation areas. Another blow to the community would be to its homes’ property values—and to those of nearby neighborhoods by decreasing comps—resulting in fewer property tax revenues for the county. This is a lose-lose situation. 

If a bypass becomes necessary, the decision between an eastern and a western option is a no-brainer. 

Dr. Robert Dilger, Lucketts

3 thoughts on “Letter: Dr. Robert Dilger, Lucketts

  • 2022-03-09 at 11:08 am

    Simple conclusion is that ALL the options will negatively affect someone. Widening the road will force the stores to sell out or rebuild further east as well as buyout homes and perhaps other business interests within the right of way. The bypass on the western side would have been a gift to other landowners but seemed to be blocked by the recent purchase of a large parcel on Stumptown Road. Leaving the obvious problem of inter-state traffic without any solution seems likely as no politicians have yet put their name on a choice including our federal representatives who to the best of my knowledge haven’t even put a meeting together with Maryland and the Dept of Transportation. If anyone believes this longstanding traffic and safety problem is going to
    resolve itself on its own please speak up. I believe all the zoning in the affected area is residential so perhaps the first question is whether the county even cares about our area as it is clearly not consistently zoned yet in my opinion over assessed. Until we see a BOS deadline or a confederate sign that needs to be removed i doubt anything will be done soon! 🙂

  • 2022-03-09 at 11:12 am

    The BOS is trying to make up for past mistakes of approving more and more houses on the Route 15 corridor. That is the problem now and in the past. How can you keep adding houses to a two lane road and expect it would be okay. The BOS is clueless in how to govern. They approved that “mega gas station” on Route 15 just south of the Point of Rocks Bridge across from the Cigarette Outlet store and gas station. While I don’t see any construction movement yet, it was approved for a multi pump station. The BOS needs to get real and stop putting bandaids on the problem. Four laning it a few miles north of where it is wider now only moves the choke point further north. Route 15 should have no further housing thrown out there until Route 15 can be fixed, and the only way that will be done is to somehow get Route 28 to cross the Potomac, as an eastern bypass, but Maryland won’t let that happen because they don’t want to Loudoun MontCo and wisely so. We are paying for years of sloppy, mindless development thanks to the BOS with Scot York, Steve Snow ilk. Their mistakes will haunt us for years.

  • 2022-03-21 at 3:38 pm

    A $55M bypass is not needed: not on the east, where it would go behind the community park, elementary school, community center, and volunteer firehouse, then surround the Lucketts Old Store with highway, not on the west, through a wildlife preserve’s floodplain, wetlands reestablishment project, through a land speculator’s 90-acre parcel, and surrounding a 50-unit mobile home park (whose California owner may evict the residents and redevelop (a Loudoun developer presented his concept to the county in 2018). VDOT’s Office of Intermodal Planning and Investment presented to county transportation staff a $14M plan that would address the Lucketts signal congestion. Staff have never told elected officials (or the Planning Commission) that this low-cost plan would eliminate the need for a $300M Loudoun-taxpayer-funded project that will only move congestion north to just south of the village (as its own maps show). Out-of-state commuter traffic is down 25%–likely for the long term, a regional study shows.

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