As we feared, the deal with developers for the purchase of a part of Crow’s Nest has made the remaining areas on the Crow’s Nest peninsula much more desirable for, and vulnerable to, development.

On Wednesday, October 1, the Stafford County Planning Commission began review of a subdivision plan to build 30 houses on 186 acres of Crow’s Nest (the site area in blue). This area lies west of the part of Crow’s Nest that might be included in the second purchase.


As can be seen in the above map, the site area includes many sensitive water features (in dotted blue). The development site also has steep slopes. Three proposed lots (lots 7, 8, and 9) will destroy the site of a civil war encampment site. The small whorled pogonia, a federally endangered and state threatened plant found on the development site, will be protected only because it lies in close proximity to a required creek and wetlands buffer.

On October 1, Planning Commissioner Ken Mitchell, appointed by Aquia Supervisor Paul Milde, made a motion to approve the subdivision plan. That motion was defeated by a 6-1 vote when Commissioner Cecelia Kirkman, appointed by Griffis-Widewater Supervisor Bob Woodson, made a motion to defer the application to the November 6th 5:30 pm work session of the Planning Commission, citing concerns about a missing traffic impact analysis, safety concerns regarding the road to the subdivision, and technical details regarding the subdivision process.

This unfolding development of Crow’s Nest is possible only because the deal that was brokered for the first portion of Crow’s Nest was a weak one that developers could readily embrace. It paid them a higher-than-market-value price in a rapidly declining housing market, while leaving them free to pursue development on other portions of the peninsula. By failing to use its power of eminent domain to ensure the best deal for taxpayers, and by failing to enact legislation to protect land like Crow’s Nest from irresponsible development, the County accommodated developers once again.