Letter: Mike Wilkins, Leesburg

Editor: I attended the first Envision Loudoun Open House in Hamilton on Monday evening. In my opinion, county staff have done an excellent job of creating signage that helps to explain the structure of the new Comprehensive Plan 2040 for citizens to read and absorb. The staff was also extremely helpful in explaining areas of interest that might not be well understood by a casual reader of the new plan.

My only complaint—in fact I was incensed—that no-growth groups were allowed to hover around the doors of the school to hand out literature. They certainly have their constitutional right to assemble and make their views known. My objection is that the personnel placement and their literature can easily be mistaken as county staff handing out official documents.

These folks also have the right to have an opinion. I believe, however, that their opinions show that they are unaware of or refuse to acknowledge the growth that is coming to the county. To ignore this fact is to cause many unintended consequences, which proper planning can ameliorate or prevent. Unfortunately, too few of us are speaking against these groups, and their message carries too much weight vs. the small number of their members.

Mike Wilkins, Leesburg

5 thoughts on “Letter: Mike Wilkins, Leesburg

  • 2018-05-15 at 6:45 pm
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    I agree with Mr. Wilkins. This ‘head in the sand’ approach to zoning has only served to hurt Loudoun County. Instead of thinking about the future, these no-growth initiatives simply get in the way of planning for the growth that is coming, no matter how we feel about the growth. My wife and I have been residents of this county for more than twenty years, and the no-growth approach has only served to make us ill-prepared for what is happening all around us. No planning is a very poor plan, especially for our children and their children. Let’s get out of the doorways of our zoning meetings and start thinking about what we are doing to actually plan for the future.

  • 2018-05-16 at 7:17 am
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    The Loudoun citizens exercising their First Amendment rights at the Envision Loudoun open houses were warning citizens against the consequences of the new Comp Plan as presently written–by a stakeholders group dominated by the housing development industry. Citizens have strongly stated, both in the Envision Loudoun public input sessions and surveys–and overwelming majorities in a UVA scientific survey–that their top concerns are overdevelopment and traffic congestion. Yet the plan calls for at least 20,000 more houses on top of the 30,000 approved but unbuilt houses coming to Loudoun. The county currently does a poor job of following its current comprehensive plan–and the new one is vague and “feel-good” with no modeling of impacts or analysis of the huge costs of that new housing–which costs Loudoun much more in services and infrastructure (“forever” costs) than it receives in tax revenue. It is a plan in sharp contrast to those of some neighboring jurisdictions, which were not written by the housing development industry. I recommend that every Loudouner read the StrongTowns.org series, “The Growth Ponzi Scheme.” You will see Loudoun reflected clearly there. Citizens want Loudoun to stay livable, beautiful and financially sustainable, and it is Supervisors’ duty to listen to their constituents and protect what we love.

  • 2018-05-16 at 9:35 am
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    We are a fortunate and lucky County. It’s been said: “The harder you work, the luckier you get.” I believe that the hard work by previous visionary Loudoun County citizens and leaders got us to the fortunate and lucky place where we live and work today. I am glad to see that ordinary citizens and our Planning Staff are working hard to get the word out and help inform our Loudoun neighbors that a major effort is underway now which will likely shape the character of Loudoun County for decades to come. Putting this new County Plan together is a highly detailed and complicated endeavor which deserves every bit of attention that ALL of us can give it.
    It’s a bit discouraging to read that some of these ordinary citizens are already being “labeled” as “no growth” people (P.S. Growth is already here–big growth!). I am hoping that this kind of “labeling” is not intended to preemptively diminish any group of serious and genuinely-concerned participants in the upcoming big debate over the new County Plan. “Diminished” by presumably having a “small number of members”, which I take to mean that that we should assume that these citizens are all from the lower-populated areas of western, rural, Loudoun County–an area generally recognized as being an essential component of the County’s value and allure for its scenic, historic and, indeed, economic attributes.
    I hope that we can avoid this kind of “labeling” (which leads to unnecessary divisiveness, in my opinion) as this process moves forward. I hope that we can avoid diminishing the contributions of our Loudoun County neighbors in this process. We are ONE County. There will no doubt be honest differences of opinion on some issues as this process moves along. But, I hope that we can listen to each other with respect and understanding, and acknowledge that we all are working for the same goal: Keep Loudoun Great!

    Bob McKew

  • 2018-05-17 at 8:12 am
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    I agree with Mr. Wilkens in that the ‘squeaky wheels’ (aka, Piedmont Environmental Council, et, al) have been getting the grease for way too long. Many who oppose ‘smart growth’ have moved into the County within the past 20 years into McMansions within subdivisions that were recently farmland. Now that they have theirs, the heck with anyone else wanting the same. What they fail to mention is that most of the “30,000 homes” already approved homes are ‘by-right’ (being built on 10+ acre lots) in western Loudoun! The new plan will bring the additional houses closer to major infrastructure and roads like the Dulles Greenway.

  • 2018-05-17 at 11:04 am
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    It is quite ironic that some of the people demanding no further growth, or trying to “preserve” Western Loudoun didn’t mind the fact that valuable farms were destroyed so that they could live in their “hamlets” or their single family homes in dainty little communities. They often love the fact that they can drive by open fields, spot a deer or two (often dead ones on the road) on their commute to work. How hypocritical of them to fight against more housing communities on the nearby farms that were severely impacted by the fact that they bought new non-rural homes nearby. Do any of you ever think about how your lifestyle, the fact that you have brought increased traffic, soccer fields, gas stations, stores, schools, into our rural communities has had an everlasting and frustrating impact upon our rural communities? Now the few of us that are left, sandwiched in between your little hamlets, have lost most of our land value but are forced to keep on pretending that we are living in rural communities. Now that you have destroyed much of the rural life, what is left to do? Your lifestyles have jammed our rural roads. Those roads were meant for fifty cars a day, not 12, 000. Now that you are here and have pocketed us in, how are we going to make this problem right? Your existence has brought dangerous situations to our roads. Numerous accidents and deaths have now become a part of our lives as WE try to get to our own jobs. What really needs to happen is that people need to wake up to reality. Your suburban lifestyles need suburban, not rural infrastructure. The roads that you now clog, our former back country roads, need to be expanded, and with such proper tax money, in the form of commercial businesses, will need to be instituted in order to pay for creation and maintenance of these projects. This is the lifestyle that many of you chose. Now act responsibly.

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