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SITTING IN the Spotsylvania County Board of Supervisors' meeting room during last month's public hearing on the water plan and the proposed urban development areas (UDAs), I began to think I was in a different state, if not a different country. Examples of speakers' thoughts:
The people didn't ask the county government to do anything about the water supply; therefore the plan is illegal. (Of course the speaker didn't say how people are supposed to get water unless they own a well, or how the county would meet the needs of new developments.)
The UDA requirement is part of a United Nations or communist plot, or part of a takeover of the United States.
The government requirement to include environmental education in the school curriculum is also part of
The required use of a seatbelt
I live in the Spotsylvania Courthouse area of the county. I often walk to the post office and to the county treasurer's office to pay my taxes and water bills. I have walked to the bank--and would walk to the library if there were sidewalks, a UDA staple. Although I will miss the fields lost to construction of the new courthouse complex, I look forward to the time, as UDAs allow, when I will have more places within walking distance. And I would welcome the addition of more contiguous sidewalks!
UDAs are an attempt by the state to plan for future growth, stop sprawl, make more walkable neighborhoods, and halt the "planting" of monster homes on irreplaceable farmland. Do we really want all our food shipped in from foreign countries? We can't keep building more and more roads and paving over more and more farmland and forest. The Planning Department did a tremendous amount of work in selecting the final areas chosen for UDA designation. Both are excellent choices.
One, the Four-Mile Fork section, is already heavily developed with various businesses, restaurants, and small industries, but is, to put it bluntly, an eyesore. To clean it up and add various forms of housing, so people who work there have the opportunity to live nearby, isn't a bad idea.
The other UDA selection is in the Cosner's Corner area, near the new hospital, medical offices, Germanna Community College, and the planned railroad station. I believe there is multifamily housing already being planned for that area.
Yes, both proposed UDAs need "tweaking" regarding the exact placement of various components, but both are sensible choices. If someone has a problem with the exact boundary of a UDA, or the designated areas within one, that's legitimate. But UDAs as a communist plot? A takeover of the USA by the U.N.?
When I told someone of those remarks, the person replied, "That's why I don't go to those meetings." Yet things go awry when good people do nothing.
Do the rest of Spotsylvanians really want supervisors to think these people are true representatives of the county?
Come on, good people, mark July 12 on your calendars and attend the next UDA hearing. Do you want to sit back, do nothing, and let the "communist plot" people be the voice of the whole county, as the supervisors seem to have accepted them to be? I hope not.
Josephine Dodt lives in Spotsylvania County.