Trace this Citizens for Fauquier County timeline to grasp the important work they’ve been doing for decades (Just take a look around to see how they’ve succeeded)
** From InFauquier by Betsy Burke Parker
For more than 50 years, Citizens for Fauquier County has been a force in preserving the natural, historical and agricultural resources and the county’s unique quality of life. While other parts of North- ern Virginia have been over- taken by suburban sprawl, Fauquier remains a place where expansive vistas, pro- ductive farms and a rich his- tory prevail. CFFC has been focused on this mission longer than any other non-profit and actively supports the county’s compre- hensive plan. The organiza- tion and its volunteer board believe in managed growth that preserves Fauquier and protects its future.
CFFC began as the Mid-Fauquier Association, which was formed to oppose a residential development of 3,500 homes on the 4,200-acre North Wales estate near War- renton. This ultimately suc- cessful e!ort took five years and prevented what would have been the start of subur- ban sprawl in Fauquier.
A proposed Interstate 66 interchange at the histor- ic Thoroughfare Gap would have created more traðc and development at this gateway to the county. MFA educated the public through petitions and speeches at public hear- ings and helped convince the board of supervisors to deny the interchange.
Mid-Fauquier Association’s scope and impact increased in response to growing devel- opment challenges and the name was changed to Citi- zens for Fauquier County. The organization supported less development in agricultural areas across the county and paid close attention to rap- id growth in adjacent Prince William County that could lead to more development in Fauquier.
Hope Porter, who helped start the organization, was named “Citizen of the Decade” by the Fauquier Times, which wrote “No one has exerted more influence or swayed the course of history in the county over the last quarter of a cen- tury.”
Through the e!orts of CFFC and founding member Sue Scheer, plans to build a dam on Cedar Run at Auburn were defeated. This project would have led to excessive develop- ment and would have destroyed thousands of acres of wildlife habitat and numerous historic villages and Civil War battle- fields. After almost 10 years of wrangling between develop- ment and conservation inter- ests, the construction permit for the dam oðcially expired. Another threat that was defeated was Disney Histo- ry Park in Haymarket. CFFC joined with other conservation organizations that led the way.
CFFC became increasingly proactive in educating citizens and working more closely with county oðcials about im- portant issues associated with preserving Fauquier’s natural, historic and agricultural re- sources.
CFFC helped the county gather extensive information on 42 villages and settlements for the purpose of rewriting portions of the comprehensive plan. Twenty-one of these vil- lages were placed on the Vir- ginia and National Registers of Historic Places.
The 22,000-acre John Mar- shall Leeds Manor Rural Historic District was established with CFFC playing a major role. The organization raised money and contributed its own funds for research that led to the successful National Register nomination. CFFC sponsored educa- tional programs and forums for the public including the Conservation Reserve En- hancement Program work- shop. CREP was designed to fight erosion, protect the wa- tershed, improve transporta- tion and advance incentives for open-space protection.
In coordination with the county, CFFC sponsored an education e!ort about the importance of Civil War bat- tlefields, which contributed to the adoption of battlefield preservation provisions in the county’s comprehensive plan.
2011 to 2021
As the number of wineries in the county increased, so did residents’ concerns about lighting, noise and traðc in rural areas were increasing. In 2011, a CFFC task force was formed to address un- clear zoning regulations. After much research and collabo- ration with the county, the board of supervisors passed a farm winery ordinance in 2013 containing many of CFFC’s recommendations.
A CFFC task force pro- duced a 28-page strategy doc- ument, “Planning Horizons,” to assist newly elected coun- ty oðcials better understand preservation challenges and how to best address them.
Other CFFC task forces were established to study traf- fic access involving Dumfries Road, Vint Hill Road and Broadview Avenue. The or- ganization also hired an histo- rian to document the history of the U.S. Army’s former base at Vint Hill, an important step in the construction of housing in the base’s historic barracks.
CFFC established the Kitty Smith Conservation Award in 2015 to honor and remember the force of nature that was Kitty Smith, an activist resi- dent who worked tirelessly to ensure the county retained its rural character. This annual award is given to those who have made major contribu- tions to protecting and pre- serving the natural, historic and agricultural resources of the county.
CFFC and Kevin Ramundo (who became CFFC’s president in 2020), played a leadership role opposing commercial de- velopment at the Blackthorne Inn near Upperville and the Barrel Oak Winery near Marshall on land zoned rural-agricultural.
The group embarked on a major project in 2020 to educate the public about Warrenton’s draft comprehensive plan. CFFC believed the plan would lead to a large increase in population without fully understanding the associated costs of expanded roads, sewer and water systems, and other services. Despite considerable public opposition to the plan, the Warrenton Town Coun- cil approved the plan in early 2021.
Residents and CFFC officials fear excess development will undermine Warrenton’s special small-town character.
CFFC board names Les Cheek president emeritus in 2020. Cheek served in leader- ship positions at CFFC for 11 years, including five as presi- dent until 2020. He currently serves on the group’s board of directors.
In 2021, CFFC embarked on new programs, including plac- ing St. James Baptist Church in Bealeton on the National Historic Register and reviving an earlier plan to establish Springs Valley as a Rural His- toric District. The church is the oldest African American congregation in Fauquier.
The organization joined Virginia’s Adopt-A-Road Pro- gram by committing to pick up litter on King Hill Road and Cemetery Road in the southern part of the county, and is in the midst of com- pleting nominations of Mid- land Road and Freemans Ford Road as Southern Fauquier Scenic Byways.
CFFC began studying the effects of utility-scale solar power generation on agricultural land. Officials threre recognize that green energy is important, but have concerns over the loss of prime agricultural land.