Letter-stack

Comment articles reflect the opinion of the writer(s), not the Rapp News. Comment below or by writing a letter to the editor: editor@rappnews.com.

Mr. Hobson’s response (“Change is the order of existence,” June 17) to plans for the highest-density real-estate development in Rappahannock County’s history is to say: “Nothing in the universe stays the same … change is the order of existence.” That statement, however, defies logic and is akin to surrendering to the forces of unchecked commercialism that surrounds our county, and now threatens to penetrate the county line.

Anyone who’s not been napping under a mushroom for the past half-century has heard this before. It’s the developer’s mantra: “We have the money, the lawyers, the PR people and the local politicians. It’s going to be this way whatever you say. So shut up, sit down and get out of the way. Your fate is sealed. Resistance is futile. It’s the inevitability of change. Change as we decide.”

To discount the concern of Rush River Commons opening the floodgates of development by citing that “only Washington and Sperryville have the sewer systems to manage it” implies that both Sperryville and Washington need to worry about 20 or 40 or more future row houses being crammed onto their streets.

Mr. Hobson then challenges the “opinions of Mr. Zushlag.” But a careful reading of Alan Zuschlag’s commentary in the Rappahannock News reveals only statistics and facts. I concur with those facts, and I do not believe that we have an “affordable housing crisis” in the county. 

Rappahannock County is a rural, agricultural community and as such has no high-density development, nor the need for it. What we do have in the county is a problem with former rental properties being torn down due to a lack of landlord maintenance, conversions of rentals to short-term (Airbnb) guest cottages and conversions from residential zoning to commercial zoning in the villages. 

Coupled with demographic shifts driven by the recent pandemic, many former long-term rental properties that served permanent local residents are now occupied by rotating groups of tourists from outside of the region, who often rent from absentee landlords. Our county is worse off as a result. What we don’t need to do is react to this problem with knee-jerk solutions calling for dense housing developments, and certainly not a dense housing development project that could seek to adjust the border between the county and the town.

In short, Mr Hobson’s op-ed is little more than a precondition to surrender. He wants the entire Rappahannock community to just roll over and play dead because “nothing in the universe stays the same.”

If the Parisians took his advice in the 60s, developers would have gotten away with their Plan Voisin to turn the city into a clone of Houston, Texas, with high-rise buildings and elevated highways. Those developers used the same terms — “change is the order of existence.”

Nothing is inevitable; the truth is we the people are in charge. To think otherwise is to deprive us of our agency, our liberty and the future as we define it.

The writer lives in Amissville



 

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