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    Classified listings Homes section

    School Board halts eminent domain for ES-27 property

    The Loudoun County School Board on Dec. 3 ended difficult negotiations with the landowners of the Lim and Park property that would have allowed for the construction of an elementary school in Ashburn.

    The action stopped all activities relating to the pending condemnation of the property.

    The School Board had voted June 25 to use eminent domain to acquire the 17-acre site off Belmont Ridge Road where ES-27 was slated to be build.

    According to a Times-Mirror report in June, the property owners had received an undisclosed offer of $4.5 million at that time. The School Board had offered $1.5 million, and the county assessor had valued the land and the single-family home on the property at $2.18 million. The Lim and Park trustees made a counteroffer of $3.75 million to the School Board.

    School Board member Kevin Kuesters (Broad Run) explained the reasoning behind dropping the property from consideration.

    “I am sure constituents have questions as far as why we are backing out of this process now. Effectively what you have is landowners are trying to get the highest price and we are trying to get a reasonable and fair price,” Kuesters said. “We used the tool that we had in the form of eminent domain which is afforded to government both local and state to try and do our job which is site schools and get land.”

    While the School Board was trying to use eminent domain, the landowner has other ideas, instead entering into a contract with a developer.

    Kuesters added the landowner was asking for an unreasonable price for the property, and there seems to be a misperception among property owners.

    “People seem to think that the School Board seems to have these deep pockets because taxpayers are willing to pay more than land is worth and essentially the land owner overplayed their hand so we have decided as a board that it is not worth pursuing anymore,” Kuesters said.

    The property is currently zoned for one-acre lots, but is by-right for schools, meaning no special exception would have been needed for school construction.

    “It is a great location. I certainly hope the contract they signed comes through, although it is contingent on some rezoning that will have to be done by the Board of Supervisors that, quite frankly, I think it's dead on arrival,” Kuesters said. “I think the landowner may know that and if they don't, then well, now you lost out on selling to a potential buyer. So that said I will say this is the right thing to do at this time for the taxpayers of Loudoun, and we will move on.”

    Staff Writer Alanna Dvorak contributed to this report.
    Comments

    The family didn’t “overplay their hand”.  They have NO obligation to sell at the lowest price to ANYONE. If they get a better offer than the county, good for them. It’s their property to dispose of as they see fit. If they want to donate the land to a worthy charity or ministry, that is also their right.

    If they government can seize your property through eminent domain, then you don’t really own your property. Dittos for real estate taxes.  Your home can be confiscated by the government if you don’t pay your taxes even when your home is paid for.  (This can happen, for example, to elderly people on fixed incomes, even when they own their home outright but can no longer afford the taxes).  That means it doesn’t really belong to you.

    Think about that.


    The problem I see is not much land around to build many more schools. Loudoun will have to bus a bunch of kids west of 15 since that will be the only land available to build schools. We could ask developers to build schools but then you’d have the debacle in Brambleton(new HS boundary issues).... I’ve come to not trust our BOS or School Board for anything.


    Let me knwo if I have this righ -

    LoCo will rezone just about anything for a politically connected developer. (That’s why we have the highest property taxes in the Commonwealth - too much residential development requiring schools and other services and not enough commerical development)

    The people that own the land have a contract to sell it for $4.5 mm but the School Board offers $1.5 mm (even thought its assessed at $2.18 mm).

    When the owners decline to sell, School Board member Kevin Kuesters (Broad Run) is all upset that they won’t sell cheap and threatens that they won’t be able to get the zoning change needed that any politically connected developer gets all the time?

    I seem to recall LCPS pay $20 mm for a bunch of hilly, rocky,  useless land next to the NCC so they could build HS-8 (AKA as “Hundred Million High”) 

    What about when LoCo sold the Islamic School site dirt cheap so someone could build a data center?  Seems like the way to get rich is to do business with LoCo.  BTW, my Uncle Sam Brooklyn has a bridge for sale. Anyone on the BOS interested?


    The family overplayed their hand. Now let’s see them pull that phantom 4.5 million “offer” out of their….pocket, and cash it in!


    Using eminent domain to steal land is wrong. There should be a law which says the Government must pay 2x the highest assessed value of the property within a 10yr period. That metric would keep Government from these land grabs.

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