Letter: Charlotte McConnell, Sterling

Editor: Last night, I attended the Envision Loudoun workshop at Cascades Senior Center. My experience at the “Envision the Future” workshop was very different from that of Mr. Houston from Paeonian Springs.

In his June 7 Letter to the Editor, he said “It’s rigged and it’s a waste of tax dollars.” I disagree with this statement. I see Envision Loudoun as a unique opportunity to influence the future of Loudoun. This is a work in process where nothing has been finalized. These workshops are an opportunity to provide feedback and the facilitators were open to hearing and recording any feedback you wished to share.

The first part of the small group work was reviewing the Vision, Goals, and Objectives. One person at our table expressed his opinion that they were all too vague and meaningless to accurately provide feedback. I expressed my doubts over the Vision statement, which refers to Loudoun as an “inclusive community.” There is a lack of affordable housing in Loudoun so I would disagree that it is inclusive. There is also a lack of legal protection for our LGBT community in policies regarding employment, housing, and adoption. Loudoun cannot be considered inclusive until there is sufficient workforce housing and our LGBT community is included and protected in policies. I also noticed a lack of diversity while looking around the room. I hope they will increase their efforts to include Loudoun’s diverse populations.

I am also unsure where Mr. Houston gets the idea that Jobs and Business were “dead last.” Jobs and Business accounted for 6.4 percent of all ideas collected during the “Listening & Learning” round of workshops. People accounted for 4 percent of all ideas while Transportation was #1 accounting for 23.3 percent of all ideas. You can see the results from the “Listen & Learning” workshop here.

What I found to be the most exciting part of the workshop was the second part, Areas of Potential Change. I was in a group that focused on the Transition area which acts as a buffer between our suburban East and Rural West. This area contains three water sources which supply water to parts of Loudoun and Fairfax county. I expressed my belief that we must protect this space to ensure these water sources are not polluted. If we are building in this area it must be done in an environmentally friendly manner.

I hope Mr. Houston will attend future workshops to continue being critical of this process. I hope his letter will not deter people from participating in Envision Loudoun. Loudoun has a population of more than 375,000 people. The first round of workshops was attended by 1,400 people. I hope more people will attend this unique opportunity to provide input into the planning process for the future of Loudoun County.

Charlotte McConnell, Sterling

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