Route 9 Hillsboro Aerial

An aerial view of Route 9 through Hillsboro. 

We, members of the Loudoun Heights Agro-Tourism Council, believe the current Route 9 project traffic plan that the Town of Hillsboro and Virginia Department of Transportation have approved, with involvement from the Loudoun Board of Supervisors, is fundamentally flawed for one major and important reason: The plan was developed without the participation of, or any substantive consultations with, the vineyard community.

The needs of our respective businesses, and the means to best mitigate both short-term and long-term damage to those businesses and the regional economy, have not been taken into consideration. This is primarily because the vineyard community has been not been included nor consulted in the planning and decision-making process.

In short, while I believe the the town has been operating in good faith, they are also operating without any input and making assumptions about what may or may not work for the vineyard community. Many of those assumptions are, in the end, simply incorrect.

In terms of the plan itself, the detour routes have not been adequately considered. They are proposing routing traffic up to Route 340 and around via Maryland. The delay caused by that route will likely mean a significant drop-off in business for the vineyards west of Hillsboro, as well as for those to the east that have visitors from West Virginia and Maryland. The “local” detour routes are not being adequately prepared in advance of the construction project, and they have not selected adequate detours even in those cases. They are talking about extended road closures, at times taking up to three weeks, which will literally shut down traffic to the business community.

On the weekends when there is not a total road closure, they are keeping the one lane open and only in one direction – westbound – but leaving no path for visitors to return home. The hours they are talking about fail to account for the level of business that occurs both on the weekends and during the week, since they have simply assumed the vineyard community only needs the weekends without actually understanding the nature of how our respective businesses operate.

There is considerable concern that, with the traffic plan now having been “agreed” between the town and VDOT, they are too far down the road to change. Supervisor Tony Buffington (R-Blue Ridge) attended the meeting last Monday, and I must say most of us found his comments defensive and the response entirely unwilling to listen to our concerns. In effect, our local Blue Ridge supervisor is too invested in this flawed process himself to adequately hear and address the concerns of the business community.

We are now looking at ways to deal with this, which may involve delaying or canceling further improvements and investment, possible reductions in hours, operations and staff, and other measures to get through this inconvenience. In my own case, I’ve started exploring moving some operations out of the area entirely and closer into Ashburn where the local government is more accustomed to dealing with the needs of the business community. This situation is certainly making it difficult to consider any further investment in the area. It is discouraging to have already invested millions in trying to build a business around Hillsboro, only to see it in jeopardy due to the business community being excluded from decisions that effect our livelihood.

______

Peter Deliso is the chairman of 868 Vineyards near Hillsboro. He, along with Bozzo Family Vineyards, Breaux Vineyards, Hillsborough Vineyards & Brewery and Notaviva Craft Fementations, recently founded the Loudoun Heighs Agro-Tourism Council.

(5) comments

Pre-yuppieLoudouner

Any highway development in wetern Loudoun attracts more residential/commercial expansion.This will happen to Hillsboro.If I'm wrong,I'll buy you,the reader,a beer at one of these cutesy micro-breweries.My mailing address has changed five times since 1971.The most recent was due to Mayor Vance demanding a zip code for Hillsboro.So fire up the bulldozers,boys.I'm anticipating selling my 29 and 1/2 acres to a developer within five years.Keep paving paradise(with apologies to Joni Mitchell).


Chris McHale

Wmsince when does a mayor listening to the citizens of his town/city deserve criticism? I've actually gain respect for him now.


oakley

I agree with most of what Mr Deliso has written. Couple comments I disagree with. Hillsboro Mayor could care less about your businesses, other citizens who will have increased traffic on side country roads (not equipped to handle)or anyone else expect for the 80 people who live within the town. This was the same man who was able to have Rt 9 closed several years back on the 4th of July! He thinks/treats a this major road as his own personal property he can close/ or do with what he wants! I would question the pull/relationships he has with these politicians and VDOT. There is no way anyone sane person can objectively look at this plan and say it is reasonible, no way! I want everyone to stop for a minute and really think. They are basically closing down a MAJOR east/west route (18,000 vehicles a day) through the county to build sidewalks....let that sink in. When the project is complete it will do nothing to improve the travel route. All cosmetic....Shame on the Town, VDOT, and all the politicians who are allowing this to happen. God help those who need emergency services out that way.




Locojrt

All this hoopla for this teeny town! He DOES treat it like his fiefdom! Utility and other necessary work rolled into one project makes sense but this upheaval of so many is ludicrous! Is there no way to go around the town, like Hamilton? Let their little town stay isolated, and have access exits to all the wonderful businesses. Someone's pockets are being well lined to have VDOT, et al, signing off on this nonsense not to mention the $$$$$! I see lawsuits looming in the very near future due to loss of business , hardships, etc! Yes, traffic IS horrendous but welcome to not being able to afford Loudoun and having to drive through it to get to work. The whole area is getting like this. How about another focus group..."Wake Up Loudoun"!!




AFF

Golly! Let that sink in! Sidewalks ALONG A ROAD!







What kind of idiot wants to be able to walk safely through their town while 18K cars a day whiz by? Some squishy AOC green that's who!


Welcome to the discussion.

Keep it Clean. Please avoid obscene, vulgar, lewd, racist or sexually-oriented language.
PLEASE TURN OFF YOUR CAPS LOCK.
Don't Threaten. Threats of harming another person will not be tolerated.
Be Truthful. Don't knowingly lie about anyone or anything.
Be Nice. No racism, sexism or any sort of -ism that is degrading to another person.
Be Proactive. Use the 'Report' link on each comment to let us know of abusive posts.
Share with Us. We'd love to hear eyewitness accounts, the history behind an article.