Editor: It appears that neither the Planning Commission nor the Board of Supervisors members are aware of the Loudoun County rural communities need to be protected, not exploited. The recent decision from the Planning Commission to endorse the development of a gas station complex on Rt. 15, and the supervisors proposal to change rural zoning rules; begs to question, who are our “illustrious” elected officials working for?
Are they aware that further changes to zoning rules are not going to improve rural areas, but destroy them? Are they aware that three gas stations are already operating between Lucketts and the Point of Rocks Bridge? As a matter of fact, one of these stations is a major traffic hazard where 18-wheel trucks and other vehicles pull in and out of the Valero gas station with complete disregard to Rt. 15 traffic.
Rt. 15 traffic and safety problems can be summarized as follows:
1. Maryland commuters cause excess traffic. A quick count, over three days, confirmed that 60 to 70 percent of the vehicles on Rt. 15 between Leesburg and the Potomac River bridge at Point of Rocks had Maryland license plates. Since the increase of traffic is between 4 and 9 a.m. and 2:45 and 6:30 p.m., it can only be deduced that the Maryland drivers and trucking companies are using Rt. 15 as a short cut/access into Washington, DC, and Northern Virginia.
2. Safety and deterioration of Rt. 15. Excess traffic of 18-wheelers. This problem is caused and facilitated by VDOT/DMV, which patronizes this type of traffic by the sale of permits. VDOT/DMV fails to understand that the sale of permits compromises our and our school children’s safety and accelerates Rt. 15 need for maintenance.
3. Lack of law enforcement. Rt. 15 is traffic wild west.
To mitigate Rt. 15 traffic problem and to stop the exploitation of our community is going to require Loudoun and Virginia elected officials’ determination and commitment to serve us, the Loudoun residents and tax paying Virginian residents. We must take real actions, such as imposing a toll upon entry to Virginia, law enforcement, and for the VDOT/DMV to stop selling road permits.
In summary, the expansion of Rt. 15 will not solve or mitigate the traffic problem, but only further encourage more Maryland commuters and trucking companies to use Rt. 15. Also, changes to current rural property zoning rules will only encourage “vulture developers” and “opportunistic investors” to continue their invasion and exploitation of our community, with little benefit to Loudoun County or Virginia residents. The current supervisors’ and commissioners’ ignorance, continued disregard of community needs and their anti-rural community actions will simply destroy our beautiful landscape, undermine our local businesses, and destroy our rural heritage and communities.
Efrain Berrios, Lucketts