Letter: Erica Ehrhardt, Leesburg

Editor: As I’ve been reading about the hurricanes striking Texas and Florida, I keep asking myself, what can we learn from this? What could we change to protect ourselves better from these intense storms? An answer that occurs to me is, we have to limit development.

The Houston area has spent decades letting developers pave over tens of thousands of acres wetlands, wetlands which if left intact could have absorbed billions of gallons of flood water and prevented hundreds of millions of dollars of flood damage. South Florida was also built on a marsh and allowed rapid development to erase wetlands which could have helped absorb and drain excess water. Allowing reckless construction in flood plains put people’s lives at risk.

As I read about chaotic evacuations from Florida and Georgia, I tried to imagine how Loudoun will fare when the next big natural disaster hits Northern Virginia. It will not go well. Development has far outstripped infrastructure here, resulting in traffic slowing to a crawl in many places even just on a normal work day. We are in no way prepared to cope with extreme circumstances; we can barely cope with normal circumstances.

We need leaders who will put reasonable restrictions on development, protect the environment, and limit development until transportation infrastructure can catch up. Therefore, I urge the residents of District 10 to vote for Wendy Gooditis. She understands that development cannot come at the expense of the environment and our safety. Unfortunately, her opponent Randy Minchew has demonstrated repeatedly that allowing rapid and unrestrained development is his priority. I hope that the voters will make a wise decision. Our safety, our property, and even our very lives may one day depend on the results of local elections like this which usually receive little attention and low voter turnout.

Erica Ehrhardt, Leesburg

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