Questions for candidates running for Stafford County Board of Supervisors

The following letter was provided to candidates for Stafford County Board of Supervisors in September. The deadline for candidates to respond is October 7, 2005. Shortly after that, we will make these responses available to our members, on our website and to the media.

Letter to candidates

Questions to candidates

Letter to candidates

Dear ______,

Save Crow’s Nest is a non-partisan, grassroots organization of 700+ members working to permanently protect the entire Crow’s Nest peninsula from development.

We believe that the best and highest use for this particular area of land is as a natural use area with public access for low-impact recreational and educational activities. Since you are a candidate for the Stafford County Board of Supervisors, our members are eager to better understand your actions, plans and commitments to preserving all of Crow’s Nest.

Although Save Crow’s Nest is not in the business of endorsing political candidates, we strongly feel that good communication and access to information will help Stafford residents make informed choices during the coming election. We offer you, and all other candidates, the opportunity to complete a brief questionnaire to communicate your perspectives and goals about Crow’s Nest.

A copy of our questionnaire is enclosed. We request that you return the completed questionnaire no later than Friday, October 7, 2005. Shortly thereafter, we will release the collected questionnaires to the local press, alert our membership to the results, and post your responses online at

Thank you for your time to help Stafford citizens understand your goals for Crow’s Nest and your commitment to a better Stafford . We wish you the best of luck in the coming election and look forward to hearing from you.

Questions to candidates

CANDIDATE NAME:           





Word limit: 150 words per question
Due date: Friday, October 7, 2005
Submit by mail: Save Crow’s Nest, Box 78 , Brooke , VA 22430
Submit electronically:

1. It has been nearly two years since negotiations between the State and the owners of Crow’s Nest fell through. During that time, there has not been any apparent progress in the effort to permanently protect the entire peninsula from development.

During the past two years, what actions have you taken to help save Crow’s Nest? For incumbents, specifically what official Board actions have you taken?

2. In the long run, it will cost County taxpayers less to purchase and preserve Crow’s Nest than it will to pay for the new school, road improvements, and county services that would result from the current plans to build nearly1000 houses there.  Instead of creating more traffic congestion, water pollution and crowded classrooms, investing in preserving Crow’s Nest will leave the region with a 4,000-acre park that can be enjoyed by outdoor enthusiasts, anglers and hunters, families, and students learning about the environment. 

What official Board actions will you take to permanently protect all of Crow’s Nest from development?

 3. The State of Virginia has offered a low-interest conservation loan in the amount of $30 million to Stafford County for the purpose of purchasing Crow’s Nest. The debt service costs of this loan are much lower than a bond, and a loan does not require a referendum. In fact, because of pending deadlines, a referendum probably cannot be held in time to accept the loan. As of the date of the mailing of this questionnaire, the current Board of Supervisors has not voted to accept the loan in the full amount.

Do you support Stafford County accepting the entire $30 million low-interest loan?

4. As legislators, Supervisors have at their disposal a number of tools that could be used to ensure the best use of the Crow’s Nest property. These tools include 1) the zoning ordinance; 2) the planning process; 3) a gate keeping role in recommending roads for inclusion as VDOT state roads; and 4) comprehensive planning.

Will you use these tools to ensure that the best use of the Crow’s Nest property occurs?  Specifically, what will you do?

5. Steep slopes and highly erodible soils are dominant on Crow’s Nest. These landscape conditions necessitate the use of cut-and-fill development practices and have significant negative impacts on water quality, protected stream buffers and other natural resources. Although prevention is considerably more economical than mitigation, Stafford County ’s regulations and requirements provide limited protection for these valuable natural resources.

What tools and/or strategies would you use to protect these environmentally sensitive areas on Crow’s Nest?

6. Crow’s Nest provides an extraordinary habitat for a variety of animals and plants, in part due to the contiguous nature of the property. There have been some suggestions that a cluster development, which would increase the building density on one part of the property and leave a portion of the property in open space, is one solution to Crow’s Nest. This would fragment the property and destroy wildlife habitat.

Do you support a cluster development on Crow’s Nest that would leave a portion of the property in open space?

7. The current Crow’s Nest property owners— Stafford Lakes LP (a.k.a. K&M Properties) made up of out-of-town developers Kamel Tabbara, Walid Kattan, John O’Connell and Warren Montouri—seem to be trying to extort windfall profits from taxpayers.  The County’s “fair market value” tax assessment of the property is $14 million.  Last year, Stafford Lakes was unable to find a buyer for the property when it was asking $50 million.  Now, they have reportedly raised their price again—to $56 million.  Under eminent domain, the Court would establish the fair market value of the property. Eminent domain would protect taxpayer dollars and ensure a fair market return for the owners, and because no one lives on the properties, no one would be displaced.

Do you support, as a last resort, the County’s use of eminent domain to purchase Crow’s Nest?