Letter: Uma Marques, Leesburg

Editor:  I read the perspectives of Mr. Houston and Ms. McConnell about their participation at Envision Loudoun  and felt the need to discuss my experience as well.

I see Mr. Houston’s valid point about the vision presented. To me, the vision looked like it was written by real estate and businesspersons, with some consulting language, and it did not comprehensively reflect the uniqueness of our county, including its history, culture and geography. However, that is precisely why such meetings are held. We as concerned citizens need to attend these meetings and voice our appreciation, doubt, anger, hope, needs and vision for Loudoun.

As a 17-year Loudoun resident, a small business owner, parent of a Loudoun high schooler and a runner wanting more fun trails in our county, I wanted my voice heard. I attended the session at Harper Park Middle School and joined a round table. We had a diverse group of participants—a high school student, farm owners from western Loudoun, high-density neighborhood residents from eastern Loudoun, new and long-term residents, small business owners, men and women from different races and ethnicities. We had a great discussion about our vision for Loudoun, with concrete ideas and passionate arguments. It felt very empowering to be there. The event was very well organized. A lot of artifacts were deployed to gather feedback from participants—maps, survey sheets, comment cards, even a fun table exercise to model a road.

I hope the county leaders heard us. We don’t want a cookie-cutter plan for Loudoun, a “cut and paste” from some other city. Let Loudoun’s citizens who plan to live here, raise our kids here, and maybe rest in peace here one day, be the architects of our county’s future. Let us participate more.

Uma Marques, Leesburg

4 thoughts on “Letter: Uma Marques, Leesburg

  • 2017-06-15 at 8:29 pm
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    Uma, your letter reminded me of something we need more of (“and maybe rest in peace here one day”): cemeteries. It would be nice if we had a few large ones for some eternal rest.

  • 2017-06-20 at 4:21 pm
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    Thanks for following this debate. I’ve attended four Envision workshops, visited the consultants’ websites and read several plans they did for other governments. It’s clear that it’s all canned, meaningless material.

    While it’s true that the staffers at each table dutifully noted every comment, the real question is what happened next. Here’s what: They were reduced to the first 144 characters of each comment (an absurdity) and then presented to the “Stakeholders Group” which is supposed to report on the process to the Board. That part is rigged, too: Of members with discernable positions, nine represented real estate and business groups, while only three represented rural preservation interests.

    Like I said, it’s rigged and it’s a waste of money.

  • 2017-06-21 at 10:26 am
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    I attended one meeting and then looked at the “results” and wondered what was actually going on.

    A recent independent poll stated that slowing growth was the #1 concern of Loudoun residents followed by alleviating traffic congestion.

    I have to agree with Mr. Houston that this is coming across as a rigged event. My opinion is that they are looking for buzz words to resonate with citizens so they can wrap their warped plans for more growth in more palatable terms that will appeal to people who won’t take the time to look into the issues deeper.

    As I’ve said before, the only thing that unites the Democrats and Republicans in Loudoun is paving the county over. It is unfortunate. We have a beautiful place to live and it is being overtaken by development blight.

  • 2017-06-21 at 2:47 pm
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    My very good friend, David, is only partially correct. It cannot be said enough, that there is one supervisor on the Loudoun Board of Supervisors, who has consistently voted NO on more residential units in the County: Supervisor Umstattd. As she did while on the Leesburg Town Council, as mayor, she consistently voted NO on more residential units being dumped on the town. So far, Supervisor Umstattd is the only member of the Loudoun Board of Supervisors to have voted NO on every rezoning application that wanted to add more and more residential units.

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