Letter: Alfred P. Van Huyck, Round Hill

Editor: In last week’s issue, there was a letter titled “A Scam” which questioned the make-up and integrity of the Stakeholder Committee and one member, Lars Henriksen in particular. There have been similar letters in various publications before. I am also a member of the Stakeholder Committee representing the Loudoun County Preservation and Conservation Coalition and I find this type of comment very disturbing and indeed, counter-productive.

I sit near Lars and we have talked on a variety of subjects including workforce housing and I view him as an informed and qualified representative whose views are a relevant part of the discussion.  The same can be said for all of the Stakeholders who represent various industries and institutions.  Several of these professionals have been active in Loudoun County’s development for over 25 years.  They bring expertise and history to the debate.  Citizens will do well to concentrate their interest in the debate over the future of the County and not the personalities.

The debate is full of detail and nuance and take places on multiple levels, but essentially represents two points of view that each has validity.  If I tried to summarize it in a single sentence it would be “Housing and economic development is good for the County until it becomes bad for the County.”

The focus then should be ascertaining that tipping point when too much development creates structural deficits in our schools and public facilities, unbearable traffic congestion, a destruction of the environmental and heritage assets which makes Loudoun special, and huge taxes increases.

Right now the Stakeholder’s Committee has not set evaluation criteria so our discussions are largely based on our respective “opinions.” But hopefully this will change and we can begin to test the impact of various proposals analytically.  This is where the public’s interest should be directed, not at our personalities and institutional representation.

Alfred P. Van Huyck, Round Hill

One thought on “Letter: Alfred P. Van Huyck, Round Hill

  • 2017-10-09 at 5:53 pm

    Just driving around the so-called “rural zone,” I’m afraid we may have already crossed the tipping point — or at least are very close to it — and just haven’t noticed because, as you say, there is a lack of criteria and analysis. We are the proverbial boiling frog. The 2003 Comprehensive Plan called for analysis of green infrastructure, but this was ignored and quickly forgotten as residential development moved forward at full speed. Now, all our “scenic byways” are lined with the pleasantly-labeled “clustered hamlets” — which look exactly like dense residential subdivisions in Fairfax County. Not surprisingly, our roads are also choked with commuters trying to get to and from those new developments to their workplaces in and out of the county. The latest recommendations of the “stakeholders committee” don’t inspire confidence that we can expect any new effort to identify and avoid the tipping points. If the committee wants to restore trust, it would take this seriously, rather than continuing to behave as if each new erosion of the transition and rural zones couldn’t possibly matter.

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