Archive for January, 2008

January 28, 2008

Steve’s Discussion Areas –

Current Events of Interest:

The Dulles Area Association of Realtors has announced their view that 2008 is going to be a year of opportunity. The pluses are there for any serious observer to see. Loudoun has a wider then usual selection of housing inventory; that coupled with favorable mortgage rates, and the shift to safer FHA loans and a strong, nearly fully employed economy are key ingredients for future personal economic growth. The future growth in Loudoun continues to look strong according to Loudoun County’s Department of Economic Development. Their year end 2006 report says the population is expected to increase 39% over the next 10 years. The report says the county’s population grew by 58% from 169,999 in 2000 to 268,817 people in 2006 making the county the fastest growing in the United States during that period.

Steve’s Comments:

I have heard it said, “it doesn’t get any better then this,”
but then that statement usually comes from pro-growth people. If fast growth, possibly out distancing infrastructure growth, is for you, then you have found the place. Leesburg and the surrounding Loudoun County are booming places. New everywhere you look, roads, stores, schools, over 50 developments, 10 screen theaters, restaurants, you name it.
It’s all here. If a slow, laid back environment is more your thing, you will probably feel more at home in 1 or 2 of the counties west of Leesburg. Personally, I like everything being new.

Cultural and Home Base Developments:

A cultural icon and historic gathering place for local residents, Tally Ho Theater, was thought to be lost by all of us a few months ago. But, in the nick of time, The Market Street Production Company saved the day. The new owners brought with them new ideas and most important, new enthusiasm.
The new group is offering movies on one side and local live theater productions on the other side. The Friday night live comedy shows by two local groups, The Pickled Punks and Last Ham Standing have already attracted theater goers ranging from elementary age, through parents and of course grandparents. A favorite thing for all ages is the involving of the audience in the skits. The shows never fail to provide an evening of laughter and applause.
The new owners don’t plan to ignore the movie side of the house either. Every effort is planned to acquire the best, the newest and the most entertaining movies to appeal to a wide range of movie goers. Although the new super size movie theaters have A lot to offer, they can’t offer the same thing the Tally Ho does. Welcome to town and good luck to you.

Steve’s Comments:

Everyone I have had the occasion to speak to about the surviving of the Tally Ho has had a positive take on the new venture. The ones with the strongest feelings are the natives who grew up in or near Leesburg. They were saddened to hear that the theater was closing, and now they are most joyous to learn that it’s not gone, it’s still here with us and even seems to be an improvement. I am going, how about you?

Loudoun Schools Earn Governor’s Award:

Eighty-nine Virginia public schools met the tough criteria to earn the Governor’s Award for Educational Excellence. Among the award schools announced by Governor Timothy Kaine were eight Loudoun County schools: Belmont Ridge Middle School, Broad Run High School, Farmwell Station Middle School, Hillsboro Elementary, Lincoln Elementary, Loudoun Valley High School and Waterford Elementary. The reward is the highest honor created under a new incentive program created by the Board of Education to advance the governors “competence to excellence” agenda for Virginia schools. Kaine said “students in these schools are soaring far beyond the minimum requirements of the Standard of Learning and No Child Left Behind programs.

Steve’s Comments:

It is wonderful to think that our young people are receiving a top flight education in our public schools. I understand that this top award is an indication that our schools are top flight, something we should all be proud of.

Roads and Highways Issues:

The supposed $300 million deposit to Virginia’s treasury as a result of the hurriedly passed Abusive Driver fines the General Assembly passed in 2007, has apparently mostly evaporated. Accordingly, the Virginia House of Delegates recently passed an overwhelming majority bill that repeals the fees. All well and good for the residents, but as pointed out by Del. Tom Rust (R-86), the problem now is how is the budgeted revenue going to be replaced. A meeting was just held with Governor Kaine to discuss possibilities, but as of now, no viable ideas have come forth.

Steve’s Comments:

Many words have already been written about the unfairness of the Abusive Driver fines, to which I will add my own. The fines plan stinks and should be appealed. I want to note that it’s not just abusive drivers who have been fined. An acquaintance of mine was stopped and fined $2,000 because unknown to her, her license had been suspended for reasons unrelated to reckless driving, but the then new law provided for heavy fines for other things too, such as driving on a suspended license. Good riddance as far as I am concerned.


January 22, 2008

Quick Review of Selective Homes Recently Sold

1st Property:  Address:152 Alpine Drive, Leesburg, VA 20175

Listed Price:  $550,000 Sold Price: $514,990 Taxes: $4,200 (2007) Days On Market: 112 Property Basics: Type: Colonial, 4 BR, 2.0 Baths, Year Built: 2006, House SF: Approx 2,700, Lot SF: 7,976 Additional Details: Almost new house in very desirable development, Evergreen Meadows. 2-Car Garage, Finished lower level, French Doors, Den, Gourmet Kitchen, Gas Fireplace, 2 Master BR Walk in closets.

Steve’s Comments- The homes in Evergreen Meadows were built to sell in the $600,000 to $750,000 range. This sale appears to be very advantageous for the buyer. Using a hypothetical original price of $650,000, the sold price of $514,990 represents a 22% discount. When the market turns around, the buyer should soon be well ahead.

2nd Property:  Address:43081 Capri Road, Leesburg, VA 20148

Listed Price: $475,000  Sold Price: $435,000 Taxes: $3,900 (2007) Days On Market: 210 Property Basics: Type: Colonial, 4 BR, 2.5 Baths, Year Built: 2006, House SF: 2,988, Lot SF: 8,276 Additional Details: 2-Car Garage, Finished lower level, Plumbed for  full bath, Walk out, Brick front, Expensive neighborhood, near Greenway.

Steve’s Comments- This nearly new home was owned by a bank due to foreclosure. It originally sold for over $600k. An exceptional buy. It will prove to be a very good investment when the market returns to normal.

3rd Property:  Address:40818 Red Hill Road, Leesburg, VA 20175

Listed Price: $579,990 Sold Price: $480,000 Taxes: $3,990 (2007) Days On Market: Property Basics: Type: Rambler (brick), 4 BR, 2 Baths, Year Built:1985, House SF: 2,225, Lot SF: 12,197 Additional Details: All brick, New roof, tilt-in windows, central air, kitchen (from top to bottom) deck, fenced yard, finished basement, shed, off-street parking.

Steve’s Comments- This is a typical county single level brick rambler with basement and large yard. A one-owner retiring-couple home in good condition. Most of the heavy lifting has been done; roof, kitchen, central air and heating plant, windows, painting, carpets, so home is in move-in condition. This home is situated in an older, quieter, mostly adult subdivision. Nice buy if you don’t require curbs, street lights and sidewalks.

Second Section – Trends

Close Up of Wider Area Community Trends and Issues
Leesburg General: Average Listing Price $610,000 -3% for year, Average Selling Price $460,903 +32% for year

Close By Areas:
Loudoun County in General:

  Sold Pricing

Access to businesses along Route 28

January 21, 2008

A smoldering issue for many Loudoun County residents is the access or lack of access from Route 28 to the many commercial establishments along it from I-66 to the intersection with Route 7 at he northern end. Last week, VDOT announced the permanent closing of the Cedar Green Road intersection. A number of concerned citizens groups have protested this move, offering the temporary solution of allowing it to remain open until the major reworking of the Pacific Boulevard/Waxpool Road is completed.  Steve sides with the community groups. It’s hard enough to safely enter and exit Route 28 businesses now. We don’t need for it to be even more difficult for the next few years.

New sponsors for Loudoun Summer Music Fest

January 21, 2008

Last month AOL announced it was dropping its support for the fifth annual Loudoun Summer Music Fest, a popular musical event presented on the grounds of Belmont Country Club. Last summer the series drew over 60,000 people, with proceeds benefiting local charities. Although the final lineup of performers for this summer has not been confirmed, the return of Lynyrd Skynyrd and Pat Benatar is expected.  The Loudoun Foundation, manager of the event, has announced two new corporate sponsors; Initiative, a local management consulting firm; and Open Band, a local broadband provider.  Steve is pleased to learn of this neat recovery from what could have been a ruinous situation for 60,000 of our neighbors.

Water Restrictions

January 21, 2008

Continuing with the summer restriction, The Loudoun County Sanitation Authority announced Thursday that mandatory water restriction will remain in effect at least through winter. A major source of our water, Beaverdam Reservoir is 25 percent full.  Spokeswomen Samantha Villegas says it will take about 28 inches of rain to fill the reservoir.Steve is sorry to hear of this situation, but thinks the soon to be completed LCSA water treatment plant in Ashburn should help within 2 years. At least we won’t have to buy water from Fairfax County as we now do.

INOVA Loudoun Hospital

January 21, 2008
Our own INOVA Loudoun Hospital is making it easier for residents to access state-of-the-art diagnostic imaging services without traveling to Fairfax or Reston. Loudoun Hospital is well staffed with board-certified radiologists and brings a personal commitment to high quality patient care. INOVA now offers: digital mammography, 64-slice cardiac CT scan, bone densitometry DEXA scan, MRI, CT scan, digital diagnostic radiography and nuclear medicine.
Steve is pleased to learn of this broadening of diagnostic imaging services close to home. We all realize sometimes time makes all the difference.

Leesburg and Loudoun County

January 19, 2008

Current Events

The Northern Virginia Transportation Authority approved $53 million in funding for road and transit projects in Loudoun County over the next two years. Steve smiles over this development, but in his heart he knows 3 or 4 times that would actually be needed to do the job right. 

The Loudoun County School Board voted unanimously to require new school buses to be equipped with seat belts. The 3-point seat belt configuration is estimated to add $10,000 to each new school bus the county purchases. The county owns 750 school buses at present. Steve whole heartily agrees with this action, and he is sure any parent with children riding school buses now or in the near future supports this action also.   

Cultural Events

Senior citizens living at Meadow Glen, an assisted-living residence in Leesburg, are conducting twice a week reading and make things sessions for pre-school children who would not otherwise receive this legs-up training. Sandy Shihadeh, who ran child-care programs for Loudoun County for 13 years is behind it. Steve thinks this preschool training is a super bonus for these kids. Kudos to Ms. Shihadeh.    

Community Issues

A bill introduced by Del. Joe T. May would place new limits on Dulles Greenway toll increases. The Loudoun County Board passed a motion opposing the bill in its current form. Steve sides with Delegate May as he thinks the current tolls are already far too expensive 

Three developer finalists are vying for the right to build the new $140 million County Government Center. The two within Leesburg sites are Battlefield Parkway at the Dulles Greenway by Keane Enterprises, and Route 7 at River Creek Parkway by Trammel Crow. The down county location would be Dulles Greenway and Loudoun County Parkway by KSI and Boston Properties. Advocates for the down county location argue that Leesburg I is no where near the county population center. Steve agrees with that viewpoint. One quick look at the recent Eastern County development would confirm to anyone that the lower and eastern county areas are our important growth now and in the near future.