Round-the-Clock Shifts

Could End Traffic Gridlock

Everyone complains about transportation problems in Northern Virginia, but nobody comes up with realistic solutions. Since politicians are interested in wasting your tax dollars with outdated modes of transportation such as the Dulles Rail Corridor, I'm going to suggest a zero-cost solution.

Traffic in the metropolitan area could be reduced by two-thirds. We have 24 hours in a day and mostly government or state work in our region. So why not have at least three staggered shifts?

By doing so you not only utilize our government and state office buildings and infrastructure to the fullest potential, but you also reduce the associated traffic. Just think about the possibilities. Government services would be available 24/7 because with staggered work days and hours there would always be somebody to contact no matter what time zone you reside in or what shift you worked.

Traffic would then be evenly distributed throughout the day and businesses could operate accordingly. There would be no need for the highly debatable high-occupancy toll (HOT) lanes or bypasses, and we could get around the region with relative ease and less congestion.

If anyone has a better idea, I sure haven't seen it. Sometimes creative thinking makes sense. At least it won't cost billions to end up right where we're at now. But because it wouldn't cost billions, it will never happen.

Keith Kessler

Dale City

Stop Easements, Protect

Taxpayers' Property Rights

I think we are all drowning in misconceptions and confusion regarding the Chesapeake Bay Act and our county's Resource-Protection-Area (RPA) taking of land from homeowners. Almost everyone believes it is necessary to save the bay from destruction, and the recent report card does not seem to show any significant progress over the past 15 years. Surely there must be a reason for this.

I truly believe most homeowners take pride in their property. After all, aren't we the ones out here working 40-plus hours a week to pay the mortgage, insurance, real estate and property taxes? Are we not the ones who work to maintain nice yards and safe environments for our families and neighbors? So what is going wrong?

Have you looked around lately at all the new construction underway? It is just unbelievable the number of new homes and businesses springing up like weeds on a hot summer day. Perhaps part of the problem belongs to the Planning Commission.

They have the power to remove RPAs and then make a plot of land available to developers to construct as many homes or townhouses they can squeeze onto an acre. Along come the builders, who are rapidly burying "real" perennial streams and creeks underground in concrete pipes and filling in wetlands to build that smart growth "American dream home." Is it possible this could be a significant part of the downfall of the Chesapeake Bay Watershed?

Now the Board of County Supervisors comes along and panics over the declining percentage of RPAs. How can they recover this loss? That is simple enough. Rewrite the rules. Now we will create new perennial streams from the ditches in our yards and water runoffs from heavy rains. The math works out perfectly to replace the percentages lost, but I am not too sure how the hopping and skipping from yard to yard with these "new-found RPAs," otherwise known as "imposed county easements," actually saves the bay. It doesn't.

There are many examples of this pillaging and raping of the land here in Prince William County. Simply look at the Cherry Hill Peninsula. Here we have approximately 4,000-plus acres of once-prime virgin land on the Occoquan River and the Potomac Creek. According to earlier studies, this area is a home for two bald eagles. I might be confused, but I always thought the bald eagle was an endangered species to be protected. Prior studies also determined that much of the land is unstable marine clay, and yet they have built a handful of million-dollar homes back there, nestled up to the new Jack Nicholas Signature Golf Course. Let's not forget about the new convention center hotel at Town Center. I can't help but wonder what the percentage of lost RPAs existed back there.

Much of the problem is not with the homeowners in Prince William County but with poor county judgment and mismanagement of land. It appears to me that Prince William County is concerned with land development, increasing its coffers and masquerading behind newly designed Chesapeake Bay Watershed rules that can potentially violate citizens' property rights.

The cost-benefit analysis of the county's illegitimate confiscation of homeowners' properties and violation of their right to the peaceful enjoyment of their homes vs. the Virginia General Assembly's documented finding that RPAs do not contribute to clean water is a no-brainer. Our Board of County Supervisors should be able to do the math: The confiscation of RPA easements from homeowners simply does not add up.

It's time for our Board of County Supervisors to reassess this illicit county confiscation of homeowners' yards and put the constitutional rights of private property owners above the delirium of a misguided political agenda of government coercion, control and seizure of taxpayers' property. This only distracts from and discredits those meaningful environmental measures that we should be pursuing.

Gayle Buresch

Manassas

Prince William County Concerned Citizens