It's Time for an Honest Debate About the Collective Vision for Loudoun
Leesburg resident expresses desire for managed growth
Now might be a good time for us to engage an open debate about the collective vision for Loudoun County.
Scott York is hoping for a nine-person Republican sweep in November (which is curious all by itself), John Andrews thinks that if he has to wait six weeks for an approval on a 4 million square foot exception to the Transition Area zoning, that the sky will fall (even though we have over 30 million square feet of office and industrial space approved and waiting to be constructed already), Ken Reid's town council financial reports indicate heavy contributions from an outside housing developer, Stevens Miller is heard to comment that "the Comprehensive Plan is not important," Barbara Munsey waxes eloquent on the beauty of concrete and steel.... and anyone who struggled to make clean streams an issue of concern under local control is being vilified as an extremist.
So, what is your vision for Loudoun County? Why did you move here? Why do you stay?
My personal vision is that we would attract and encourage businesses that create good local jobs and fill the empty buildings (over 14% vacancy rate) we all see and know are in Loudoun, which will add to both the quality of life and the tax base. As for future construction—yes I would hope that the environment is a strong consideration in managing this growth. I am not anti-growth—nor do I personally know anyone who is. We are already projected to grow another 23 percent this decade after being one of the fastest growing counties in the nation for at least 15 years. I think managing that growth rather than creating a "no holds barred" mentality is an important priority.
Trees, clean air, ample clean affordable water and a decent amount of open space do matter to me, yes. And I am not alone among ordinary citizens. Recently I participated in a focus group for Ida Lee's management team. When asked the question "what do you like best about the Ida Lee complex," the unanimous answer was "its open space."
Without some thoughtful care in managing future growth, we can end up looking like the tangle of strip mall development close to the intersection of Rt. 15 North and Edwards Ferry Road (in Leesburg). That is not my vision of what to see increased. Is it yours? If yes, please say so. If not, then how would you prevent it?
The time to have this discussion about the value of managed growth and the value of local control over resources is now.
S. Ann Robinson