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What in the world does Ben Jones mean by saying that “there is a huge issue right now that is dividing the county”? He is referring to Chuck Akre’s plan for developing a small parcel of land within the county adjacent to the town of Washington. The part within the county is only about 5 acres; compare this to the 138,944 acres in the county as a whole (excluding Shenandoah National Park). This is not a “huge issue” and it is not a them (the Town) versus us (the County) situation.
It falls perfectly into the Comprehensive Plan to encourage development adjacent to the county’s villages. Typical of his commentaries, Jones denigrates this small development as “Swamp Commons” rather than using its official designation of “Rush River Commons.” He also denigrates Julia Shanahan of the Rappahannock News staff and the whole award-winning Foothills Forum program.
Is it just me, or are other people getting tired of his promulgating the fictitious dispute between “been here” versus “come here,” his initiating the divisive “Respect Rappahannock” posters, and his over-inflated holier than thou ramblings in the Rappahannock News. I’d like to see him take a lesson from Richard Brady’s gentle warm commentaries in the newspaper. Jones could certainly gain some serenity from Brady’s words.
The people who have come here in recent decades have made major beneficial contributions that have enriched Rappahannock County. Without these new people we would not have the Plant-a-Row program that developed into the Food Pantry, Lyt Wood’s Rappahannock Nature Camp, Rapp at Home, Aging Together, the Sperryville Community Alliance, the Rappahannock League for Environmental Protection, the county’s Dark Skies Park, the Rapp Center for Education, Rappahannock Association for the Arts and the Community, Headwaters, the Belle Meade School, the Child Care and Learning Center, the Castleton Theater, the new wineries, distilleries, breweries, restaurants, and bed-and-breakfasts, and the artists, artisans, craftsmen, and small businesses that have made their home here. Much of the land that has been placed in conservation easements to retain the scenic beauty of the county belongs to newcomers.
I don’t know what Ben Jones has contributed to the county except for fomenting dissension and moving his Cooter’s business out of the county.
The writer lives in Woodville.