Conservation Is Costly
From Michael Laris's article "Loudoun Ruling a Growth Win" [Metro, April 20]: "But landowners who oppose additional construction say the ruling will harm rural businesses . . . " and the comment by Malcolm Baldwin, who supported the tighter 2003 zoning, that "[t]here aren't any of us who own enough property to create his own rural economy."
According to the 2002 census of farm statistics, the average Loudoun farm earned $4.55 per acre, while Fauquier and Clark counties suffered net losses. At that rate, one has to wonder how much harm you can actually do to rural business or how much land it would take to make a rural economy. Where is the economic sense in zoning for agriculture, which can only result in impoverishing the owners and operators?
Conservation is expensive; even the Northern Virginia Regional Park Authority is losing money on its 10,000 acres. Until conservation interests come up with an economic plan that makes sense, growth will continue to win.
We need a plan that balances housing and jobs and also preserves the land we need. That means we need a lot more houses and a lot more affordable houses. At the same time, farmers are going to have to be paid for providing scenery, if that's what it takes. If we have to start paying for the environmental services we demand, we may find that conservation is not as popular.
But if most Loudoun farms are lifestyle choices and not businesses, then no harm is done by allowing subdivision that won't happen anyway.
Opinion Without Basis
I am writing in response to the letter from Lawrence V. Phillips ["High Court Decided Wisely," Loudoun Extra, April 17], who wrote that the Virginia Supreme Court "acted wisely in throwing out much of Loudoun County's restrictive and perverse zoning ordinance."
Of course everyone is entitled to his own opinion, but Phillips is misinformed if he thinks our military is in Iraq to defend the Iraqis' property rights. He says, "How ironic that many prospective public servants, now fighting and risking their lives in a foreign land to achieve for its peoples their property rights, may return to the land they left, converted into another 'foreign land,' absent these same rights, by environmental and political zealots contemptuously belittling their sacrifices."
Our president, vice president, secretary of state and national security adviser told us we had to invade Iraq to find weapons of mass destruction (never found) and to disrupt the Osama bin Laden al Qaeda connection (never existed). I never once heard them talk about fighting for "property rights."
Again, Phillips is entitled to his opinion, but he also has a responsibility to get his facts straight.
Retired Army Lt. Col. Anthony V. Fasolo
Protect Resources First
Now that the conservation zoning of the previous Board of Supervisors is on the way to effective cancellation due to notice technicalities, Loudoun County is faced with an uncertain future.