What PEC Stands For
With respect to Barbara Munsey's letter ["PEC Does Not Have Citizens' Needs at Heart," Loudoun Extra, June 30], I would like to make the following observations.
The Piedmont Environmental Council, like the vast majority of residents of Loudoun County, believes that the quality of life of all residents of Loudoun is tied to the agricultural, historical and cultural resources of our county. It is our mission to help protect them, and we are proud to do so. We are also proud to support citizens who request our assistance.
To advocate that we need additional development because we need more schools is like a doctor recommending that a patient take up smoking because he or she needs more oxygen tanks. It's just nonsense.
A recent poll indicates that 88 percent of Loudoun residents are concerned about the impact of the rate of growth in the county and that 91 percent believe that the agricultural community and farmlands are important to the quality of life. Those convictions have been borne out by the momentum with which citizens are supporting the PEC-led movement to protect the resources that Loudoun now enjoys.
Since January, our Loudoun membership has increased by nearly 20 percent as citizens react, aghast, to developers' plans to jam more than 33,000 new homes into eastern Loudoun through their rezoning requests. This, of course, does not take into consideration the more than 37,000 homes already in the pipeline.
Contrary to Munsey's assertions, we do not attempt to direct the people of Loudoun. We work to assist them.
We invite all the residents of Loudoun County to engage in this debate. We also invite you to join PEC and work with us in our effort to ensure the quality of life, not just for today's residents, but for future generations as well. Please visit our Web site at www.pecva.org and get involved.
Robert W. Lazaro Jr.
Piedmont Environmental Council
Why Snub Medical Center?
Your article last Sunday ["Board Vote on Hospital Is Delayed," Loudoun Extra, June 26] noted various arguments for and against the construction of Broadlands Regional Medical Center, notably Loudoun's need for more beds and health care services and the fact that the HCA Inc. facility would generate up to $4 million a year in tax revenue and provide $8 million in road improvements.
Broadlands also would provide high-wage professional jobs for Loudoun residents so they need not drive long distances for work.
However, the article neglected to mention how our Board of Supervisors and Planning Commission have put a private company -- which wishes to invest its own millions to build here and provide much-needed tax revenue -- through unbelievable rigmarole to get approved. Now, the issue has been sent to the board's land-use committee, where more delays are possible.
And this is a board and planning commission controlled by Republicans.
Well, I'm a Republican, too, and a member of the Loudoun County Republican Committee (Leesburg District). I don't believe we should be using zoning powers to thwart competition and prevent a clean, non-smokestack business from locating here.
We need more business tax revenue and more jobs for Loudoun residents, too. We also need new roads. Route 659 must be widened. Broadlands is willing to pay for it. And considering the fact that this county will grow to more than 538,000 residents -- and that is based on the old zoning ordinance -- we're going to need a second hospital and eventually a third and fourth.
So why is a board controlled by Republicans so unwilling to let a private entity build here and bring us jobs, tax revenue and road improvements?
Are its members so afraid of the Loudoun-Inova "home team" and a handful of politically influential people who are batting for these folks?
Why are these Republicans siding with Supervisor Jim G. Burton (R-Blue Ridge) on this issue?
Putting Broadlands through hoops like this sends a bad signal to other private businesses that may seek to locate here. For example, should we allow Howard Hughes Medical Institute to veto a competing research facility? What if they don't want competition? Will we kowtow to them by abusing our planning powers to zone out their competitors? I would hope not.
And speaking of Howard Hughes, many of our so-called fiscally conservative, pro-business supervisors have opposed the tax exemption for Hughes largely on the grounds that it would deprive the county of $6 million a year, which we could use for schools, for roads or even to lower our property tax rate.
Well, here's your opportunity to replenish $4 million of that. Here's your opportunity to give us some tax relief in future years, too. I hope the Loudoun board approves the Broadlands application.
Resolution Out of Order
The Ashburn Farm Homeowners Association's board of directors does not speak for or represent all Ashburn Farm residents in the Broadlands Regional Medical Center debate.
The board's resolution supporting the medical center was out of order to the extent that it gave that impression to the attendees of the Board of Supervisors meeting June 22.
Future resolutions issued by the board of directors should carry the caveat that the statements contained therein are not representative of the entire Ashburn Farm population but are the personal opinions of the individual board members.