Editor: English and grammar are tricky principles for some to understand.
Much has been made of some comments I made during an informal debate on the language for the vision statement for the upcoming Comprehensive Plan revision.
The debate was if the word transition should be added to the sentence, “Its well-deserved reputation for great places, natural and built as well as historic and new, in rural, suburban, and urban settings, will foster economic innovation, fiscal strength, and sustainability.” Supervisor Buffington made a motion to add “transition” as a setting.
My questions were simple: What is a “transition setting?” Would anyone who hasn’t studied Loudoun land use know what that means? Many Loudoun County citizens are not familiar with our policy areas, and I was hoping to clarify a big picture vision for the plan that all could understand.
This question has nothing to do with the preservation of the rural nature of the Transition Policy Area (TPA), which every board member supports. The debate had to do with the English language.
“Transition” is not an adjective; to be proper English, one would say “transitional setting.” Further, without defining what setting is being transitioned, the phrase is meaningless. A transitional setting could mean transitioning from urban to suburban, or it could mean hundreds of other things as I inartfully pointed out—considering the word is not a nationally recognized specific land use term.
If the word “settings” was replaced with “policy area,” that would be a different discussion altogether. But even then, referring to specific policy areas in a broad vision statement seems out of place.
Supervisor Ron Meyer, Ashburn
Broad Run District