Save Crow’s Nest Voter Guide,

2007 Supervisor Election

Overall Grade Candidate
Candidate Name: Tom CoenDistrict: George Washington

Incumbent (yes/no): No

Party affiliation: Republican


Total Herons 
Total Bulldozers
Grade Question

Question 1. Previously, 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. The Board of Supervisors did not vote to accept the loan in the amount of $30 million.If elected, will you vote in favor of Stafford County accepting the entire $30 million low-interest loan if that opportunity again becomes available?

SCN position: YES. Save Crow’s Nest helped prepare the loan application and solicited letters from our members on behalf of the loan application. Information on the 2005 loan application is available on the very bottom of the archive page.

Candidate response: Over the past five years I have been active in the efforts to Save Crow’s Nest, first on the Trust for Crow’s Nest then Save Crow’s Nest and then as an educator.  During my time with the Trust for Crow’s Nest I saw first hand not only the beauty and wonder of that parcel of land.   I also saw the continual efforts by the owner to demand more money for its purchase.  Since the county is in litigation on this property it would be irresponsible for me to commit to a specific course of action that might jeopardize the county’s effort should I become a supervisor. 

I will say that when this option came up in the past I thought it was worthy of exploring and advocated doing that.  We should not be confined by old ways of looking at issues.

Question 2. In the 1970s, a large portion of Crow’s Nest was rezoned to an A-2 designation, which allows one house per acre. This land use designation is for transitional areas of the County that are served by either public water or public sewer. None of the properties on Crow’s Nest are served by public water or public sewer, and almost all of the properties on and surrounding the peninsula are zoned A-1, which requires 3 acres per house.If elected, will you vote in favor of “right zoning” land on the Crow’s Nest peninsula to A-1 agricultural land use?


SCN position: YES. This is a position that Save Crow’s Nest has repeatedly advocated in favor of. See #2 from this 2005 piece, “10 Things Stafford County Supervisors can do now to help save Crow’s Nest.”

Candidate response: During my efforts with the Trust for Crows Nest and Save Crows Nest I was concerned by this very issue.  The possibility of one house per acre is one that threatens the nature of that land, as does the continued legal efforts to extend water and sewer.  These issues are also under litigation and so commenting could endanger the current efforts. 

It is worth noting that in the lesson plan that I created for local government that was centered on the Crows Nest issue these very topics are brought to the table so that the students will understand the ramifications of the one house per acre and the extension of services.  They also explore options- including changing the zoning.  This lesson has been used in other schools in StaffordCounty as well as shared with school systems around the Commonwealth. 

Question 3. Creeks surrounded by 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. Although prevention is considerably more economical than mitigation, this year the Board of Supervisors voted to kill Water Resource Overlay legislation. This ordinance would have protected sensitive water resources such as those on Crow’s Nest.If elected, will you vote in favor of the Water Resource Overlay ordinance, and vote in favor of designating all of the land on the peninsula east of Brooke Road a water resource overlay district?


SCN position: YES. Save Crow’s Nest testified in favor of this legislation, which was effectively killed in 2007 in a 4-3 vote. See Water Resource Protection Overlay on the Stafford County Supervisors’ Report Card.


Candidate response: There is certainly a need to protect the quality of our water throughout the county.  On the Comprehensive Plan Steering Committee I brought environmental issues to the discussion, seeking input from people such as Nan Rollison, Patricia Kurpiel and Becky Reed as well as inviting an expert from the Tri County Soil and Water to speak.  I also pressed for measures to ensure our valuable streams and creeks, especially inside the Urban Services Area.  Clearly a Water Resource Overlay ordinance is something to be created for the entire county, including Crows Nest.


Question 4. There are many historical and cultural resources on the Crow’s Nest peninsula. Forexample, an October 2005 archaeological survey of only a small portion (450 acres) of Crow’s Nest identified 47 new archaeological sites, 14 of which meet the criteria for listing on the National Registrar of Historic Places. The County has an existing ordinance, the Historical Resource District Overlay, which could be used to facilitate protection of these resources, but so far has not designated any part of Crow’s Nest as an historical district.If elected, will you vote in favor of designating all of the land on the peninsula east of Brooke Roadas an historical district?


SCN position: YES. This is a position that Save Crow’s Nest has repeatedly advocated in favor of. As stated in testimony before the Board of Supervisors on June 5, 2007, “the Board could designate the entire peninsula as a historic resource. There are numerous cultural and historical resources on the peninsula. A “Phase I” archaeological study of 450 acres on the eastern half of the Crow’s Nest peninsula identified 47 new archaeological sites—14 of which meet the criteria for listing on the National Registrar of Historic Places—and 57 isolated finds. These sites are in addition to the existing six recorded sites on the property. The Historic Resource designation will not permanently protect the cultural and historical resources on the peninsula. However, if the owner wants to alter the resource, the owner must give the County up to a year to purchase the property a reasonable price. And hasn’t the matter of fair price been much of the issue in purchasing Crow’s Nest?”

Candidate response: This is an interesting possibility.  Of course there would have to be Phase I and Phase II surveys conducted.  Once all the information is available it is worthy of exploring.  On the Steering Committee I supported Anita Dodd’s efforts to have historic and cultural resources identified and protected.  As a history teacher I understand fully how important these resources are.  While touring Crows Nest I sought out the historic sites.  As with our water resources, there is a need to address our historic and cultural resources throughout the county and preserve them for future generations. 

Question 5. 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. 

If elected, will you vote in favor of a plan for a cluster development on Crow’s Nest? 


SCN position: NO. Building dense residential development on Crow’s Nest will not “save” it. As was stated in a 2004 op-ed: “K&M Properties first suggested “cluster housing” as an option, so that development would be concentrated in some areas of the peninsula while others would be saved. This is not an adequate solution because it destroys the fragile peninsula ecosystem while still producing unacceptable congestion.” (“Why a bond referendum is the way to save bucolic Crow’s Nest,” Fredericksburg Free-Lance Star, 2/20/04)


Candidate response: In creating my lesson plan I made sure this too was looked at- including the impacts of it.  As with all development, clustering has its drawbacks. The goal of mine has always been to protect all of Crows Nest from development.  That is what I have worked towards for five years now.  I do not envision it changing.   



Question 6 and question 7. The Crow’s Nest Harbour is an area of almost 1,000 acres that was subdivided into lots in the 1970’s. There is a deed restriction on the lots in Crow’s Nest Harbour which prohibits the use of well water. Currently, there are not any plans to extend public water or sewer to the Crow’s Nest peninsula.6.  If elected, will you vote in favor of extending public water to the Crow’s Nest area?SCN position: NO.

Candidate response: As a member of the Steering Committee I voted on a great many issues, including what areas are to be inside the Urban Services Area (USA) and thereby being able to have water and sewer services.  One of the constant themes in our votes was to contract the USAnot to expand it.  In only a few areas, mainly ones that have already been granted these services, did the USA extend outward.  I see no reason to alter my public votes not to include Crows Nest inside the USA .

7.  If elected, will you vote in favor of lifting the deed restriction?

SCN position: NO.

Candidate response: I see no reason to alter the current status.

Question 8. The current Board of Supervisors has at various times voted in favor of road projects that will facilitate development of Crow’s Nest. These projects include the reconstruction of Courthouse (almost completed) and Andrew Chapel Roads, the reconstruction of the bridge on Courthouse Road, the hard surfacing of Rt 609/Raven Rd (the road that runs through Crow’s Nest), and a proposal to rebuild the bridge on Raven Rd at the entrance of Crow’s Nest.If elected, will you vote in favor of removing the Andrew Chapel, bridge replacement and Raven Road projects from all transportation plans?


SCN position: YES. Save Crow’s Nest has repeatedly testified in opposition to these road projects. See the SCN Report Card and from 2005, “Paving the road to Crow’s Nest.”Candidate response: To be honest the premise of the question is misleading.  The road measures mentioned have been discussed as they relate to the VRE and facilitating its use.  It clearly is in the interest of everyone to remove the number of autos from Interstate 95 each day, sitting there billowing fumes into the atmosphere. 

If a project is clearly one to facilitate the development of Crows Nest, especially during the ongoing negotiations, then it should not be taking place.

Question 9. The current Board of Supervisors passed the “Traditional Neighborhood Development” ordinance, which allows dense residential development. One project submitted under this ordinance, Stafford Town Station, proposes to place up to 2,250 housing units on land currently approved for 145 homes, and in exchange, provide money from cash proffers that might be used to assist in the purchase of Crow’s Nest. Another developer has had an option to purchase portions of Crow’s Nest and has actually purchased lots in Crow’s Nest Harbour. That developer has suggested at various times an exchange of protected property on Crow’s Nest for dense residential development—up to 12,000 housing units–on Widewater.  Both these proposals would create more housing units than can be built on Crow’s Nest.If elected, will you vote in favor of rezonings for dense residential development in exchange for the protection of a portion of Crow’s Nest if those rezonings will create more housing units than can be built on Crow’s Nest?

SCN position: NO. Save Crow’s Nest is opposed to saving Crow’s Nest “at any cost,” meaning that we do not support a bad deal for taxpayers. See “Not in the name of Crow’s Nest.”

Candidate response: Any TND, or any development, MUST be examined for its impact on the entire county, not just its immediate impact but long term as well.  I favor PLANNING for the future- that includes the impact the development will have.  Any plans must be in the long term interest ofStafford and include input from the residents.   

What else would you like the members of Save Crow’s Nest and other voters to know about your position on Crow’s Nest?Candidate statement: Crow’s Nest is an important resource for our county, state and nation.  It is because of my commitment to saving this land that I became active in the Trust for Crow’s Nest, securing press attention, working on fundraisers and informing the public.   As the Save Crow’s Nest group started, I joined, and aided with school outreach.  In 2004 there was an attempt by Supervisors to create a referendum for November.  I supported that idea, but was informed that the group opposed it.  Since we were at such clear cross purposes I removed myself from the group.  That did not curtail my supporting the efforts of Save Crow’s Nest.  I have encouraged people to join, given students extra credit opportunities- including participating in your events, and the lesson mentioned earlier. My commitment to saving this land is matched by ACTIVE involvement. It is not an election year ploy, but a commitment that is acted on throughout the year; year after year.

Thank you    

Tom Coen