On Wednesday, June 15, at 6:00 pm at the Government Center Board Room (located at 1 Harrison St. SE, Leesburg, VA 20175), the Board of Supervisors are hosting a public hearing for comments on Scott Jenkins Memorial Park’s Special Exception to construct lights at the existing ballfields. We concur with the Planning Commission’s findings for denial (stated below), and we agree that lighting ballfields in rural areas is not appropriate. The 2019 General Plan calls for lighting standards that “preserve the natural beauty of the night sky, and minimize impacts on people, plants, and wildlife,” and this proposal is not compatible with that vision.
On April 6, the Planning Commission recommended denial of this application. While they recognized the need for ballfields and acknowledged technological advances in lighting since he park was originally approved, they agreed (6-2-1) this location was not the place for lighted fields due to:
- The incompatibility of lighted fields with the rural character of the area.
- The inability to ensure minimal impacts from light pollution on the surrounding properties.
The impacts of sky glow on the rural night sky would include permanent negative impacts to the rural character of the area and surrounding wildlife. Additionally, the previous approval of the park included a condition to not have lights for the park mainly due to concerns from neighboring properties and agricultural businesses. Community opposition still exists, and the County ought to abide by the original conditions for approval for this park.
Ultimately, the negative impacts to the area outweigh the potential modest increase in park usage. Not only does this proposal violate the original 2009 agreement the County made when they constructed the ballfields, it is incompatible with the current Comprehensive Plan’s policies to prevent light pollution. Preventing light pollution and protecting of our dark skies is important for the health of our ecosystems, especially insect populations and bird migration.
What can you do?
Sign up to speak at the public hearing. Speakers can sign up by calling 703-777-0200 before noon on June 15. People can also sign up to speak at the meeting.
Submit written comments to the Board of Supervisors.
Here are some tips to craft a compelling message to your supervisor:
- Introduce – Briefly describe your position on the topic.
- Persuade – Tell your personal story, and how the topic relates to you. Your story is impactful.
- Inform – Provide background information and data on the topic.
- Conclude – Restate your message with a call to action.
Board of Supervisors – you can email the full board at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Chair of the Board
Phyllis Randall: Phyllis.Randall@loudoun.gov
Staff: Matt Rogers@loudoun.gov
Juli Briskman: Juli Briskman@loudoun.gov
Staff: Rey Banks@loudoun.gov
Mike Turner: Mike.Turner@loudoun.gov
Staff: Rachael Mai@loudoun.gov
Blue Ridge District
Tony Buffington: Tony.Buffington@loudoun.gov
Staff: Robin Bartok@loudoun.gov
Broad Run District
Sylvia Glass: Sylvia.Glass@loudoun.gov
Staff: Michelle McIntyre@loudoun.gov
Caleb Kershner: Caleb.Kershner@loudoun.gov
Staff: Stacy Carey@loudoun.gov
Matt Letourneau: Matt Letourneau@loudoun.gov
Staff: Tom Parker@loudoun.gov
Kristen Unstattd:Kristen Umstattd@loudoun.gov
Staff: Valerie Suzdak@loudoun.gov
Koran Saines (Vice Chairman): Koran Saines@loudoun.gov
Staff: Omar Masood@loudoun.gov