Friday, August 1, 2014

Gloucester, VA Ernest Lane Gate?

Ernest Lane is scheduled for road pavement, at least this is the present plan as shown in the recent agenda before the Board of Supervisors for this coming Tuesday night, August 5th, 2014.  At present Ernest Lane is for the most part a dirt road.  So why is this road of concern that it should be considered for pavement?  Well we decided to find out and what we have uncovered is rather interesting.  It looks like the taxpayers are once again being asked to fund a project that will only benefit a few at the expense of the many.

  Above is a Google Maps picture of Ernest Lane.  How old it is we have no idea.  We will be going out to the area very soon to take updated pictures to show you other information we have found in our research.  But in the mean time, let's take a look at the actual information found in the Board of Supervisor's agenda for August 5th, 2014.

Gloucester. VA Earnest Lane VDOT Project Information, 2014 from Chuck Thompson

Another area of interest in the above?  It is stated that everyone of concern in the area has been notified of this information.  Well when we checked with just one resident who will be affected by this, he knew nothing about it in any way.  But he does now thanks to the question.

Look at paragraph 2 above.  WHEREAS, any such road must be located in a low-density development area and have no more than 1500 VDP;

Okay, what the heck is VDP?  We tried to look up VDP and found 169 acronyms.  The closest thing we could find for what it might mean is Variety Development Project.  Trying to identify what that means?  Unidentified category is what came back.  So in other words it pretty much means nothing except whatever the folks using it want it to mean.

  Either way, this is a VDOT project which means that all taxpayers in the state are paying for this.  Not just local taxpayers.  But should the taxpayers be funding this?  We have to ask that question based on other statements in the above agenda document and what our findings have shown.

  On the south side of Earnest lane, but not fronting Ernest Lane is Bedford Falls development managed by Epstein Corporation of Yorktown, Virginia.  Now who is the Epstein Corporation?  Well with research on that information, what we were able to come up with, they have ties to some local folks, specifically Breckenridge Ingles as well as Adrian Rider Cook.  The same folks who are behind the Gloucester Main Street Preservation Trust with whom Ashley Chriscoe, Board of Supervisor, Gloucester County, happens to sit on the board at the Gloucester Main Street Preservation Trust with Mr Ingles.  Isn't that just some interesting coincidences?

  Why is that even important?  Well, when you look at some of the development plans for the Bedford Falls real estate development, they have in their plans to put a road from Bedford Falls to Ernest Lane.

Now the above map comes straight from Gloucester County's website and is a tax map.  Take a look at the road already named, Songbird Path.  Now let's once again go back to the document above that is part of the agenda for the Board of Supervisors and look at a statement on there.  It clearly states on the document that the Board of Supervisors are unaware of any pending development that will significantly affect "EXISTING" traffic on this road.  Really?  No one looked at this tax map or is it that no one expected anyone else to look at this tax map?

  Here is how this game is played folks.  Go back to the picture at the top or look at the one now below.

  In the highlighted yellow section above, Songbird Path is just waiting to be built which the plans above show will lead right out to Ernest Lane which WILL significantly affect present road traffic.  It gives the developers a second path in and out of Bedford Falls.  This would increase the value to those who live there as well as increase the value of the homes to be sold in this development.  Now if the folks at Epstein Corp had already built Songbird Path, then it would be up to the developers to pave Ernest Lane.  But since they have not yet built that road and it's only pending, then all the developers have to do is wait until VDOT paves it at taxpayer expense and it's an automatic profits increase to Epstein Corp because now they will not have to pave that road and now get the extra profits from increased values all at your expense.

  Isn't that a nice plan?  Again, you have to love all the wording in the above agenda.  It's very very slick and they can claim it means whatever they want it to mean.  The VDP of 1500 can mean 1,500 residences as a low-density term.  So what is high density then? 1,501?  Oh but it gets better folks.  Let's now look at some of the tax information we came across as we were researching all of this.

Can someone please to explain to us how 8.8 acres in this area is only worth a lousy $100.00?  We would like to offer them a chance to triple their money.  We will gladly pay them $300.00 for this 8.8 acre parcel of land.  Right now that is a wooded area right to the left hand side of where Songbird Path is planned for development.  But is this just a mistake?  No, there are more just like this.

Here is another parcel only worth a mere $100.00.  Now why are these folks not paying the proper taxes on this land the same as others have to?  Why are the local taxpayers having to pay extra because these folks are not paying their share?

Now this area has not yet been subdivided and is where the circle presently is and where Songbird Path will move in and out from.  This area is presently at a value of $133, 000.00.  Once subdivided for more houses, it will go up much more.

Another area only worth a lousy $100.00 for 3.27 acres?  Are they kidding?  Who comes up with these values?

Now let's look across the street at county owned property, (questionable as to real ownership and to be covered in a future article) and look at what the county has values set for county property.

Now isn't the above just interesting?  1.41 acres valued at $55,000.00 and another .5 acres valued at $58,000.00.  Where the county got these properties is going to be covered very heavily in the near future.  In the mean time, it really does not matter what the county values any property it owns as it does not pay taxes on it anyway but the point is about why the county values land in the area so high except in the development area is valued so low.  Anyone ever see the prices of the houses in Bedford Falls?  They start at $230,000.00 at the lowest end.

Now here is a GIS map from Gloucester County's own information.  One can clearly see that there is going to be a road put in named Songbird Path which will in fact significantly impact present traffic on Ernest Lane.  Just look at all those houses already planned out.  We can only imagine that there is another set of plans that will later be filed to add houses to Shyan Way circle above as well as Songbird Path.  Why would any developer waste so much land that can be developed?  Might it take the project well beyond or just beyond the meaning for rural development and no expectation of planned development that will change present traffic?  Well we already know that is BS based on what we see and in our own opinion.

  Now some questions.  Did Ashley Chriscoe, on behalf of his ties to Mr Ingles, put in the request for this rural development project here on Ernest Lane as it will benefit Bedford Falls and the profits of the Epstein Corporation?  Will Ashley Chriscoe somehow get business out of this that could make this a conflict of interest?  With Ashley Chriscoe's ties to sitting on the Board of the Gloucester Main Street Preservation Trust with Mr Ingles in itself be a conflict of interest if Mr Chriscoe was in fact the one who made such request?  We do not know.  We are only asking the obvious tough questions and we think everyone should be asking these questions.

Here is yet another GIS map showing Bedford Falls and how it will impact Ernest Lane.

Now does anyone have any questions as to the potential impact on Ernest Lane from Bedford Falls?   Would anyone say this qualifies for low density?

Now, looking at the website for Bedford Falls, which most of it is still under construction, (Lousy web developers?) shows that Shyan Way will have houses on it.  Not shown in the GIS maps above.

The above picture is used under Federal Fair Use laws and comes off the Bedford Falls website.  So it looks like we were right about a part of this not having been filed yet with the county or the county has not put up those filings yet in regards to houses on Shyan Way circle.  Again, just look above.  Visit the Bedford Falls website.

Interesting to say the least.

Last minute update.  VPD not VDP is Vehicles Per Day and is a transportation term.  So the 1,500 Vehicles Per Day is what is being defined as low density for this project.  Well under those terms, we would agree that it will remain low density, but we still have to ask the question, why the expense to the taxpayers instead of the expense to the developer when it's the development that will benefit the most?

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