21 August 2009 by Published in: Battlefield preservation 4 comments

From Jim Campi of the CWPT today comes some very good news:

Planning Commission Recommends Against Special Use Permit, But Threat to Battlefield Remains

Last night, the Orange County Planning Commission voted 4-4 against recommending approval of Walmart’s special use permit at its rescheduled public hearing. Although a tie, the vote is functionally the same as a denial, since it was not approved by a majority of the commissioners. The vote is a reversal of what occurred in July, when the commission prematurely approved the application 5-4.

It is now more critical than ever for supporters of the Wilderness and historic preservation to attend Monday’s Board of Supervisors hearing, as it is important to remember that the Planning Commisison is a non-binding advisory organization. The Board of Supervisors has final authority in this matter and Monday’s hearing represents the last opportunity to tell them that the Wilderness Battlefield is no place for big box sprawl. If you live within driving distance, please attend this final hearing and urge the county to find another location further from this hallowed battleground.

The hearing starts at 6:00 p.m. on Monday, August 24, 2009, in the Orange County High School Auditorium, 201 Selma Road, Orange, Va. CWPT will have an information table set-up one hour before the hearing, and we encourage all who attend to arrive early. Click here for directions and a map of the school.

I hope we can count on your continued support in this fight to protect the Wilderness Battlefield. If you have any questions about the upcoming hearing please feel free to contact me personally at 202-367-1861 ext. 7205.

Thank you,
Jim Campi

P.S. For the latest information on the hearings, please visit CWPT’s Wilderness Walmart homepage.

Let’s hope that the Board of Supervisors follows suit and also does the right thing…..

Scridb filter


  1. David Rhoads
    Sat 22nd Aug 2009 at 8:34 pm

    Unfortunately, Thursday’s vote was not the end of it for the Planning Commission. After that vote, the Commission moved to adjourn and reconvene on Friday. At Friday’s meeting, which only 6 of the 10 Commissioners were able to attend, there was another vote, with a result of 5 to 1 to recommend approval of the special use permit. This 5-1 vote is now the official vote of the Commission, superseding Thursday’s vote because although the Orange County bylaws for the Commission allow a tie result (which effectively becomes a denial since an action cannot be approved without a majority), the Virginia Code expressly requires a majority result for a Planning Commission action.

    So now it goes to the Board of Supervisors on Monday with the Planning Commission’s recommendation for approval of the special use permit. Three of the five supervisors are already on record (some of them repeatedly) that they also approve of and will vote to grant the special use permit. It’s looking like a done deal at this point, and I wouldn’t be surprised to see a 4-1 vote in favor of the permit from the Board.

    All of this, of course, is despite the opinions expressed at the two Planning Commission public hearings, where each time the comments by Orange County residents ran about 2-1 against granting the permit. I went to both meetings and said my piece, for what little good it did. Meanwhile, I keep hearing how–based on a poll commissioned by and conducted for Wal-Mart–the Orange county residents “overwhelmingly” want to see the Wal-Mart built at the Wilderness location.

    It was good to see the smugness wiped off the faces of the Wal-Mart reps for a few minutes on Thursday night when they realized that the 4-4 vote would be construed as a recommendation to deny their permit, but that victory was short-lived. At this point, the best we can hope for is that the Board will have enough sense to put some teeth into the conditions imposed on Wal-Mart by the terms of the permit so that at least some of the damage can be mitigated.

  2. Barry Dusel
    Sun 23rd Aug 2009 at 9:10 am

    I applaud the 4 members of the OCPC who did the right thing. Like you Eric and so many others I hope the OCS’s will do the same. Somehow though… I don’t believe they will. They only see money.

  3. E. White
    Tue 25th Aug 2009 at 8:58 am

    Today’s issue of the FLS (8/25/09) shows that the Planning Commission recommended 5-4 that the Board of Supervisors approve Walmart Orange Supercenter — correct? When will the Orange County B of S actually vote on the permit application? It would sadden me if the permit application is approved.

    I currently live in a small subdivision where a Civil War battle occurred, May 3-4, 1863, namely the Battle of Salem Church and part of the Chancellorsville campaign. Today only an acre+ has survived for posterity. It’s a nice community but unfortunately what has been disturbed can never be retrieved!!!!

  4. David Rhoads
    Tue 25th Aug 2009 at 10:57 am

    The Board of Supervisors met last night (Monday, 8/24/09) and voted 4-1 to approve the special use permit (technically the vote itself took place early this morning between midnight and 1:00 a.m.). Construction of the Wal-Mart and the three other retail pads on the site will likely begin within the next 6 to 12 months.

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