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Posted: 12/31/2002 10:37:19 PM EST
Development at Site of Famous Civil War Battle Riles History Buffs By Matthew Barakat Associated Press Writer FREDERICKSBURG, Va. (AP) - More than 140 years after the famous Civil War Battle of Chancellorsville, a new fight is brewing over a proposal to build a town on the land that gave Confederate general Robert E. Lee his greatest victory. The Spotsylvania County Planning Commission voted 5-2 in favor of building the new town in northern Virginia, a rapidly growing region that was also the epicenter of the Civil War. The final decision rests with the county's sharply divided Board of Supervisors. James Lighthizer, president of the Civil War Preservation Trust, which has worked to preserve some 15,000 acres of Civil War battlefield over the years, called the skirmish "one of the biggest fights we've ever had." Jim Campi, a spokesman for the trust, said more than 10,000 letters, phone calls and e-mails have been sent to the seven-member Board of Supervisors. "Chancellorsville is a national name, right up there with Gettysburg, Antietam, Vicksburg," Campi said. "A lot of times people become involved in these fights because of environmental concerns. In this case, both locally and nationally, a lot of people are involved because of the history." Last month, voters in the county district that includes the battlefield elected a new supervisor who opposes the development. He won with 64 percent of the vote and says the development was "absolutely the overriding issue" in the campaign. "Nationally, the issue is preservation of the battlefield," Campi said. "Locally, the issue is quality of life. We just don't have the water capacity, we don't have the road capacity to support this development." The 1863 Battle of Chancellorsville is a textbook example of military ingenuity - Gen. Norman Schwartzkopf cited the battle as inspiration for his plans during the Gulf War. Lee's outnumbered troops whipped Union forces in a three-day battle that resulted in 30,000 casualties on both sides. Among them was Confederate Gen. Thomas Jonathan "Stonewall" Jackson, who died after his own troops accidentally shot him. The victory emboldened Lee to invade Union territory, leading to his defeat at Gettysburg a few months later. Developer Ray Smith, of Dogwood Development Group in Reston, initially proposed a 2,350-home development with about 2 million square feet of commercial space - the rough equivalent of 10 Wal-Mart stores - on an 800-acre parcel. He has since scaled back his plans to include 1,995 homes. The development is proposed for land next to the existing national park that preserves land from the Chancellorsville battlefield and from other nearby battles, including Fredericksburg, Spotsylvania Courthouse and Wilderness. There is no current town of Chancellorsville, nor has there ever been. In 1863, Chancellorsville was merely a crossroads and a tavern. But Smith envisions his new town looking like those that dotted Virginia in Civil War times - self-sufficient, with residents living in homes inspired by 19th-century architecture, able to walk to schools and shops in a town center. The development would also include three hotels and other tourist-friendly amenities that Smith says would boost attendance at the existing national battlefield park, which has been declining in recent years. In addition, Smith said his plan would preserve about 55 acres that are the most historically significant on the parcel and make it a battlefield park. "The preservationists have stirred people up, but I'm not quite sure why," Smith said. "Where the fighting happened, we're preserving it." Lighthizer's group commissioned a poll showing that 66 percent of county residents opposed the development. Smith disputed the poll's findings, saying a majority of county residents support the project because of its potential to add millions of dollars to the tax base of a rapidly growing county that needs to pay for new schools and other services. Lighthizer, while insisting that local opposition is strong, said national sentiments should not be ignored. Smith acknowledged that national opposition is also mounting. "The preservationists from around the country have become involved at a much greater level than I expected," Smith said. Sandy Rives, a spokesman for the National Park Service, said the park is concerned that the development will increase traffic on a busy highway that cuts through the battlefield. But Rives is optimistic that a solution can be reached. "Are there ways the project can continue and the battlefield can be protected? I think there is a way to figure something out," he said. --- On the Net: http://www.townofchancellorsville.com http://www.civilwar.org
Link Posted: 12/31/2002 11:15:48 PM EST
Bet they wouldn't mind if they built a NasCar track on it. Sgtar15
Link Posted: 1/1/2003 4:00:13 AM EST
Originally Posted By sgtar15: Bet they wouldn't mind if they built a NasCar track on it. Sgtar15
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Putz.
Link Posted: 1/1/2003 9:36:30 AM EST
Originally Posted By Redmanfms:
Originally Posted By sgtar15: Bet they wouldn't mind if they built a NasCar track on it. Sgtar15
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Putz.
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Ditto
Link Posted: 1/1/2003 10:07:46 AM EST
Originally Posted By sgtar15: Bet they wouldn't mind if they built a NasCar track on it. Sgtar15
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LOL! Whatever happened to all the support for private property rights? I thought a man could do whatever he wanted to with his property, as long as it isn't illegal. Isn't that supposedly what the supporters of the Confederacy claim the war was fought over, anyways? How ironic!
Link Posted: 1/1/2003 10:12:27 AM EST
Link Posted: 1/1/2003 10:14:51 AM EST
LOL! Whatever happened to all the support for private property rights? I thought a man could do whatever he wanted to with his property, as long as it isn't illegal. Isn't that supposedly what the supporters of the Confederacy claim the war was fought over, anyways? How ironic![/quote] I agree. If these guys don't want the town built, then why don't they offer to BUY it from the developer?
Link Posted: 1/1/2003 10:30:28 AM EST
This is one time the "takings law" could be used, if only to preserve the major battlefields.
Link Posted: 1/1/2003 10:43:35 AM EST
So, it's OK to "take" private property, as long as it's for a cause you believe in? How many acres of this guy's private property would be enough for the battlefield park?
Link Posted: 1/1/2003 10:50:26 AM EST
Originally Posted By DScott: So, it's OK to "take" private property, as long as it's for a cause you believe in? How many acres of this guy's private property would be enough for the battlefield park?
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"... nor shall private property be taken for public use, without just compensation." With these few words, the framers of the United States Constitution enshrined in the Fifth Amendment one of the most fundamental of individual rights -- to own property free of the threat of seizure by government, unless the government pays for it. This basic property right was derived from 17th and 18th Century English legal tradition that prohibited the king from taking a subject's property except by a duly enacted law of the land and with full indemnification. Historical records show that what the drafters of the Bill of Rights had in mind when they adopted the "just compensation" or "takings" clause was to permit the government to take private property for public use -- for example, land needed for a public highway -- but only upon payment of compensation. Today, we call this government action exercising the right of eminent domain or condemnation. Thus once again, the framers demonstrated their genius in balancing the rights of the individual with the clear need of the people -- government -- to undertake public projects for everyone's benefit. It is hard to imagine how the nation could have grown or society would have functioned without the ability to judiciously exercise the power of eminent domain to build roads, dams, parks, and other projects. Indeed, hardly any reasonable person would quarrel with that notion. ...
Link Posted: 1/1/2003 10:55:39 AM EST
Who determines when someones property is in need of "taking", and then what the value of the property is? Sounds a little socialist to me- "for the greater good", and all that. Again, I'll ask: How many acres of this guy's private property would be enough for the battlefield park?
Link Posted: 1/1/2003 11:00:38 AM EST
Originally Posted By DScott: Who determines when someones property is in need of "taking", and then what the value of the property is? Sounds a little socialist to me- "for the greater good", and all that. Again, I'll ask: How many acres of this guy's private property would be enough for the battlefield park?
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The 88 acres the battle occurred on would be sufficient. Did you read the F/F reason for this law?
Link Posted: 1/1/2003 11:09:53 AM EST
I read what you posted, yes. I'm not a strict "constitutional fundamentalist" though, and believe we will always disagree about how these concepts are applied today. Back to my basic question: what about the rights of the property owner? He's not breaking any law, and is just wanting to use his property as he sees fit. He's obviously willing to try and work out a compromise that will leave the most people satisfied. That's all anyone can do in this situation. As to your original point (and the title of the post), why would you think this is only happening because it was a "southern victory"? As you indicated, this has been happening since at least the founding of this nation, and undoubtedly an issue since then, or before.
Link Posted: 1/1/2003 11:18:44 AM EST
Link Posted: 1/1/2003 11:24:14 AM EST
Originally Posted By DScott: I read what you posted, yes. I'm not a strict "constitutional fundamentalist" though, and believe we will always disagree about how these concepts are applied today. Back to my basic question: what about the rights of the property owner? He's not breaking any law, and is just wanting to use his property as he sees fit. He's obviously willing to try and work out a compromise that will leave the most people satisfied. That's all anyone can do in this situation. As to your original point (and the title of the post), why would you think this is only happening because it was a "southern victory"? As you indicated, this has been happening since at least the founding of this nation, and undoubtedly an issue since then, or before.
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My inference was to the fact that this was, at the time, a major southern victory. And you do not see anyone, nor will you see anyone, try to do this to the Gettysburg battlefield. IMHO
Link Posted: 1/1/2003 1:31:18 PM EST
That's probably because it's already fought and won the battle for preservation. The community around it, however, faces the same problems. And they won the war! [;D]
But Gettysburg's historic atmosphere is not secure. The community is home to a growing population. Continued development is certain. Though the National Park Service protects a large portion of the battle area around the town, the town needs improved economic development in order to survive. Less than 50% of the property in the town is taxable. The traditional businesses of the main streets are in danger, since developments in nearby communities attract customers away from the historic community.
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[url]http://www.mainstreetgettysburg.org/msghist.htm[/url] Frankly, I think there's too damn many people everywhere, and wish "growth" would just stop- maybe even reverse! I know it won't, however. Sad.
Link Posted: 1/1/2003 1:44:33 PM EST
[Last Edit: 1/1/2003 1:46:07 PM EST by Hydguy]
Where does the article mention anything about the developer "owning" the land? It doesn't. The developer WANTS TO GET the land to develop. 66% of the people in the area have said tht they don't want the land messed with, so leave it at that.
Link Posted: 1/1/2003 1:53:32 PM EST
[Last Edit: 1/1/2003 1:57:32 PM EST by DScott]
Ah, the tyrrany of the majority! Seriously, someone owns the land. And someone will pay to build all the homes and commercial areas. Do you think they support or oppose this plan? Wouldn't you want to live here? [IMG]http://www.townofchancellorsville.com/images/master_01.jpg[/IMG]
Link Posted: 1/1/2003 2:29:26 PM EST
Originally Posted By DScott: Ah, the tyrrany of the majority! Seriously, someone owns the land. And someone will pay to build all the homes and commercial areas. Do you think they support or oppose this plan? Wouldn't you want to live here? [IMG]http://www.townofchancellorsville.com/images/master_01.jpg[/IMG]
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We can disagree then. I agree with the F/F and you do not.
Link Posted: 1/1/2003 9:23:24 PM EST
[Last Edit: 1/1/2003 9:23:57 PM EST by DScott]
Originally Posted By ar10er:
Originally Posted By DScott: Ah, the tyrrany of the majority! Seriously, someone owns the land. And someone will pay to build all the homes and commercial areas. Do you think they support or oppose this plan? Wouldn't you want to live here? ...
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We can disagree then. I agree with the F/F and you do not.
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Is that what the founding fathers had meant? Really. Nobody is questioning the correctness of the concept of eminent domain, just how it's being applied in this case. Interesting point of view, though. Makes one wonder if there'd be any property rights at all if the south had won the war... [:D]
Link Posted: 1/1/2003 9:34:01 PM EST
I think that building a town on it would not be that bad. I understand the history aspect, but we need to make room for the future. If there were graves on site, then that would be a different story. I live about 30 mi from there, and I really don't care about it. Just my .02
Link Posted: 1/1/2003 10:08:07 PM EST
Eminent domain is appropriate to provide infrastructure or to preserve historical or cultural proerties (unlike California, where the city of Cypress tried to use eminent domain to force a church out to build a Costco). Some balance clearly needs to be struck between community development and preserving history. The hard part is deterining what is sufficient. The field of battle in Franklin, TN is now apparently a parking lot. On the other hand, many CW battlefields are huge and leaving so much acreage undeveloped hurts communities.
Link Posted: 1/1/2003 10:09:10 PM EST
Who give a damn what they do to the place. That hole time in our history makes me sick,the idea that the Feds got so bad and so heavy handed that Americans felt they had to take up arms is sad. I hope it never happens again.
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