Letter: John Ellis, Hillsboro

Editor:  Supporters of the county’s 2020-2040 draft Comprehensive Plan are using some strange math. In response to Emily Houston’s letter to the editor in last week’s edition, a commenter identified as “Galluponover” claimed that an additional 7,500 houses in the Rural Policy Area (RPA) would represent “no additional density” there. This must be some kind of alternative math.

According to the math I learned in school, adding 7,500 on top of the 12,500 houses currently in the RPA represents an increase of 60 percent in housing density. As Emily noted, that would bring even greater increases in traffic congestion and students who need schools. She was correct to identify the current draft Comprehensive Plan as a growth plan—specifically, it is a plan to increase rural housing and population density by 60 percent.

The commenter seems puzzled by what fellow citizens mean when they ask the county to “not change anything in the RPA.” Just to clarify, what we mean is that the county’s remaining farms and rural spaces should be preserved as they are now to the greatest extent possible (few of us are naive enough to believe they still can be preserved completely unchanged). What we certainly do not mean is that the current pro-growth policies should be preserved unchanged. That, in a nutshell, is our concern with the current draft Comprehensive Plan.

Galluponover seems to think it is only “the folks in western Loudoun” who care about our farms, trails, scenery, history, tourism jobs and revenues, clean air and water, biodiversity and other rural assets. However, a long series of public opinion surveys show that citizens from all parts of the county—including those who live in the east—enjoy and appreciate how much our rural spaces add to their quality of life. I’m confident that attempts to make this an “us versus them” issue will fail in next year’s local elections.

John Ellis, Hillsboro

President, Save Rural Loudoun

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