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Oakton Residents Protest Proposed Girl Scout Warehouse

Residents hope to raise awareness and support

Camp traffic backups.
Camp traffic backups.
"We are not against the girl scouts."  

Residents who live in Justin Knoll, an Oakton neighborhood adjacent to the 68-acre Camp Crowell Girl Scout property and proposed location for a commercial storage facility want it to be known that their opposition is not personal.

The Girl Scout Council of the Nation’s Capital, a nonprofit organization that serves 64,000 girls across the region and in parts of West Virginia, plans to build a metal warehouse near the camp’s entrance on Justin Knoll Road.  

Residents contend that the warehouse will reduce property values and will be an eyesore.  They also say it will increase traffic on a residential street.

"We were blindsided with this project.  We tried to resolve this with neighborly efforts, but they want what they want without regard for the community," said Kathy Whitcraft, organizer for "Stop Industrial Oakton".

"There are many in the surrounding communities that agree that it should not be built on the campground for girls. The full time male presence and the camp now open to incoming delivery truck drivers is not in the best interest of our daughters. In fact, the Council will tell you that they try hard to not advertise that the campground is there so operating a commercial facility with access for incoming delivery truck drivers doesn’t make sense," Whitcraft added.

The 6,000-square-foot warehouse will serve as a storage facility for Girl Scout items that can be used for area troop activities.   

The Girl Scouts feel that they have done all they can do to meet the neighbors' requests.  

"At this time we are waiting for the appeal process to be completed," said Nancy Wood, Director of Public Relations for the Girl Scout Council of the Nation's Capital.   

The community organizers believe this is a land use issue.  

"It is not appropriate for this building or this use to be in our neighborhood," Whitcraft said.

Recently, the Fairfax County Board of Zoning Appeals scheduled the public hearing on November 20, 9 a.m.  

"Community support for relocating the warehouse off site is growing. Call and write your county public officials. Be part of the process," Whitcraft said.  

For more information, visit: www.facebook.com/stopindustrialoakton
Paris White September 13, 2013 at 01:23 PM
Friends in real estate say the commercial market is still sluggish and commercial space is plentiful and reasonably priced. Great time to negotiate a lease or sale. Help the community. Spread the money around.
Lene Palmer September 13, 2013 at 02:34 PM
Constructing in a residential neighborhood a large commercial warehouse that will serve girl scouts in a three state area plus the District is not a good idea. So as to minimize traffic, the girl scouts have promised the local residents that scout leaders cannot pick up materials from the warehouse and this will cause considerable problems and increased driving for people needing to collect materials - another reason to locate the warehouse in a commercial and more convenient area.
JLA September 13, 2013 at 02:52 PM
The head of the GSCNC Board of Directors, Diane Tipton, is Principal of "The Storage Zone", a very successful business that acquires land and builds warehouses. *Surely she has the skill set needed to preserve Camp Crowell as a primitive camp for girls and select a more appropriate location that will boost the local economy. A well chosen location would equate to lower transportation costs for the GS, unrestricted access to supplies for the volunteers, better ensure the safety of the children, maintain the rural residential character of neighborhood, demonstrate superior stewardship of the Camp for future generations, as well as reduce potential impact on the Difficult Run watershed. There IS a win-win location, it's just not at Camp Crowell. Please, Ms. Tipton, come to the rescue and lend your expertise!
DH September 17, 2013 at 11:08 AM
The reporting for this story is clearly one sided and misses the true journalistic integrity that would accompany an unbiased opinion. I caution anyone reading this article and to realize that there are several undisclosed issues. What specifically are the Girl Scout proposed plans. To simply prey on preconceived notions is inappropriate As far as the article placing sexist comment of "the full time presence of men on site", why would it be unsuitable for the property or a girl scout camp? There already is a site manager onsite who is a male, thank goodness Girl Scout have a great inclusion mentality. What type of deliveries are expected? I envision girl scout troop leaders pulling up in their minivans to pick up troop materials, not semi trucks delivering warehouse supplies. The Girl Scout warehouse is a sleepy storage facility that serves the Northern Virginia area, not the metropolitan area. I welcome full disclosure so that we can engage the community including the Girl Scouts in an agreeable solution to meet everyone's needs.
Jeffrey Hoyt September 17, 2013 at 12:48 PM
The people fighting this and the person who wrote this article should be ashamed of themselves. This girl scout camp was here long before their houses were - they KNEW it was there when they moved in. I've been to this camp several times with my daughter. The camp is mostly forest with some camp grounds sprinkled throughout. It's not like 200 cars descend on a cul-de-sac and back up for hours. If it were me, the camp would be a GREAT neighbor. Not only do you get to back to a large, undeveloped,wooded area but you know it'll stay that way and that there's someone in those woods monitoring it to make sure nothing odd is going on. Yet these people complain. To have this amount of free time must be astounding - they should take the energy they devote to writing articles for people to post in every publishing medium they can find and devote it to helping those less fortunate. If this is the biggest problem they can find to tackle, they are truly blessed and should be grateful rather than trying to stop an organization like Girl Scouts from better utilizing their limited resource.
Lene Palmer September 18, 2013 at 10:24 AM
I agree with Mr. Hoyt that the camp is a great neighbor with its forest and camp grounds - and the neighbors would like to keep it that way. That's what the fight is about; the neighbors want to keep the camp with its forest and large undeveloped wooded area while the Girl Scouts want to ruin the natural setting of the place by constructing a large, metal commercial type warehouse, almost 30 feet high at the highest point of this idyllic area. The warehouse will be a huge eyesore, both for the local residents and the scouts using the camp. I'm sure Mr. Hoyt would not like his house to back up to such a construction. The protesters are not against the Girl Scouts, only the warehouse, which, incidentally, will not be a sleepy storage facility serving only Northern Virginia. It will be a large commercial facility serving Virginia, Maryland, West Virginia and DC. I also welcome full disclosure from the Girl Scouts and would like to reach an agreeable solution. However, constructing a large commercial facility in a residentially zoned camp area and neighborhood is not a good solution for either party.
Paris White September 18, 2013 at 12:44 PM
It is often the case that not all the facts are reported and those who take the time to learn the facts will see that there is a legitimate concern by the neighbors as to what this warehouse project will mean to the community, especially to those who live close by. After all, if the County allows this to built, the scouts and volunteers will see it a few days a year and those in Girl Scout Organization management that made the decision will never see it. It will be the neighbors that live next to the warehouse that will have to live with it. They are well within their rights to question the prudence of such a decision as anyone would be in the same position. GS management is not building another structure for campers to use. This is a totally different use and not one that is specifically for camping as documents show that more than camping gear will be stored here.
Cherie Lejeune September 19, 2013 at 04:15 PM
THE Facts are indeed missing. Stop Industrial Oakton ( Facebook and Wordpress social media platforms created just to fight the Scouts), is really a case study of suburban advocacy gone awry. Not even all Justin Knoll residents (isn't that curious?) are a part of this band of "take your stand" neighbors . They have thrown nonstop mud at the Scout organization re management issues (one person even took a shot at the Scout pension plan, YIKES) and some had the tenacity to tour storage facilities to prove they have a better solution and of course, spin up every neighbor by delivering pamphlets with a pathetic picture that has zip to do with Scout building, in all outlying mailboxes (Federal offense), including mine. They claim their cause now is GREEN centered, but they all live in developments with 1-2 acre zoning that were leveled for the most part of the old forests that stood for most likely, centuries. Now in place of those forests are manicured tree thickets in yards with uplighting and the perfect, fertilized lawn (killing the Chesapeake) to boot. I applaud their newly found appreciation for Nature, but the facts are look at the SCOUT information. The zoning amendment has little to do with their social media aired grievances, including local online media like the Patch...Look at this information and email Scouts if you have additional questions, they will be happy to answer. PS I have stood up against SIO (nope not Scout backed or involved) for I do not support what I will politely call "misguiding advocacy" and I am 100% for positive experiences in nature and health for youngsters which Camp Crowell has delivered for more than 63 years. http://www.gscnc.org/view_whats_new.html?rowid=593
JLA September 22, 2013 at 04:41 PM
If GS management was really "serious about being good neighbors", as it often states, it would enlist the assistance of its' President of the Board of Directors. Ms Diane Tipton, a real estate developer whose sole business is the construction of WAREHOUSES, could easily identify a more suitable location: a location that is NOT in a large lot RESIDENTIAL NEIGHBORHOOD, NOT within a PRIMITIVE CAMP FOR GIRLS, but IS within an area of commercial activity on regional transportation corridor.
Cherie Lejeune September 23, 2013 at 05:58 PM
The "Primitive Camp" gets added to the column meant to trigger more illusions of what Crowell is not. As for Neighborly, 63 years Scouts have shared their trails. Go walk those trails..for yourself..as the expression goes--and, also do not miss going to the top of Justin Knoll as well and calculate how many of the 10 houses situated on that sloping hill will see the Resource Building, 150 feet back into the entrance..and please remember, year round green selected landscaping will grow around the building (yes they select ones that can grow to the roof height in reasonable time). As for trying to toss Diane Tipton under the credibility bus for supporting this choice of location, her peer recognized and awarded business acumen coupled with her dedication to the Scouts will insure that the new building will be a source of quality value and pride. Do you really think as has been implied by a few, she is doing this because she gets a big commission on the building? Well that is simply nasty and disrespectful to all those who know her dedication and extraordinary volunteer hours she has given to the Girl Scouts. I continue to recommend for those trying to understand the huge division of facts and fiction as waged by SIO, review the Scout information, including the plan for deliveries, traffic, etc, all available, and ask the Scouts your questions directly, after all they have nothing to hide, despite the nonstop innuendo campaign waged against them with endless skewed data. Remember they are the ones accountable to the County for all zoning follow through as they have been for all the zoning requests they have made and have been granted, for all their years of operation. Sadly, what is more and more obvious as the war games continue, one can deduce it is NIMBY Scout fatigue with some "gamed up" wanna be's adding to the confusion. Again, check in with the Scouts, the ones who have the request on the zoning table.
Willow September 25, 2013 at 12:35 AM
Last time I checked, the GS didn't have a monopoly on integrity. It's anti-democratic to suggest that people who exercise rights of free speech and ask questions are ill-informed, disruptive or lacking in integrity

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