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Polkey: Zoning changes impact preservation of rural land

If you live in the middle or western part of Loudoun where you enjoy a parcel of open space near your property (which probably was put into an open space easement as a condition of the approval for construction of the development), be on notice that those quiet natural or agricultural areas may cease to be so after a vote of the Loudoun Board of Supervisors

The board will be voting again on permitting 18 new uses for these properties, adding noise, traffic, strains on water and septic systems and activities inconsistent with the Comprehensive Plan and the terms of many of the easements themselves. No outreach to affected property owners has been made. There are 290 such easements in 2,750 parcels covering 22,500 acres in Loudoun. Of these parcels, 694 are owned by homeowners’ associations and 2,056 are privately owned. Many residents will be affected.

The changes, proposed by the county’s appointed Zoning Ordinance Action Group (ZOAG, its members, mandate and more can be seen at oudoun.gov/zoag), were rejected by the Planning Commission this summer after many citizens raised objections. But the group has once again pressed for these changes through the Transportation and Land Use Committee, which voted to send the changes to the full board.

There has been no analysis of the effects of these changes on neighborhoods – noise, traffic, etc., and no performance criteria for the new uses.

The new proposed uses for these farm fields and forested areas include restaurants, agricultural processing facilities, “agri-education,” “eco-tourism,” pet farms, tenant dwellings and pick your own farms. To this list the ZOAG wishes to add breweries, wineries, private clubs, overnight camping for unlimited number of campers, outdoor ampitheaters, animal care businesses, antique shops, art galleries and more.

The preservation of these land parcels in open space or traditional agriculture as a condition of a developer’s permit to build is not only an amenity that those purchasing homes expected to be honored. It is consistent with the rural landscape as a vista to be enjoyed by all Loudoun’s citizens. Any changes to the permitted uses should continue to reflect the public interest.

To find out if your property is affected, go to http://www.lcpcc.downstreamnetwork.org/files/2016/10/Open-Space-Easements.jpg
for a map of easements in the county. Then ask your supervisor to vote against changes in permitted uses in these areas, and request that any future proposed changes engage affected citizens as a first step and not after the deal is done.

Martha Polkey

Loudoun County Preservation and Conservation Coalition

Moiz: Is Comstock a friend or foe of the Muslim and immigrant community?

Northern Virginia has long been an inclusive and welcoming place. I moved here more than a decade ago, and have had a first-hand look at the growth and change in Loudoun county. As an American Muslim, I have watched our community grow and become more politically aware.

As Loudoun has changed, so has our representation. I was encouraged by Frank Wolf’s attention to our community, a tradition Representative Barbara Comstock has – on the surface – continued by her visits to cultural events.

However, this election season, I have started to ask myself whether Rep. Comstock truly holds the same values that I and our community hold. Does she stand for inclusion and diversity? Will she stand up to bigotry and hatred? When you peel back the onion, her record and actions clearly reveal she looks to our Muslim community for votes but little else.

Rep. Comstock’s run for and time in Congress underscores how she views our immigrant population. In her two short years in Congress, she cosponsored a bill that makes it more difficult for refugees fleeing war and famine to seek asylum in the greatest country in the world.

And in her last campaign, she called on the government to track and watch immigrants like FedEx tracks its packages.

However, what I found most troubling was how long it took Comstock to renounce Trump after he continually demonized Islam and other immigrants. Her long held silence against Trump was deafening.

Even when presented with an opportunity to stand up for our community, Comstock balked.

She refused to support Rep. Don Beyer’s (D-VA) Freedom of Religion bill, which would have made Trump’s ban on Muslim immigrants illegal. To me, it is clear where her priorities stand.

This vote was in line with her party, not her constituents. That is nothing new, as she holds an unwavering commitment to placing her party above our country. If Trump is elected, there’s no doubt where she will land on votes that may erode our civil liberties and try to tear at the fabric of freedom that George Washington, James Madison and our Founding Fathers fought and bled for.

When going to the voting booth in November, we must know exactly the politician we are voting for and hold them accountable for their promises. They represent us, and we must make sure we are not misled. Having a familiar face or attending Friday services is not enough.

We cannot just vote for someone because we recognize their name or have seen them at our places of worship. A vote for Comstock is a vote for the party that gave us Trump. This is why I will be voting to elect LuAnn Bennett as our next Congresswoman and urge you to the same.

Ibrahim A. Moiz


Monroy: Comstock works for her constituents

LuAnn Bennett wants to make this local congressional election about the top of the ticket. How do I know this? She displays little-to-no knowledge of the district she wishes to represent. She offers no real policy solutions and has no real public service record.

By contrast, Barbara Comstock wants to make this election about her constituents, including preserving the 10th District’s natural and rural heritage, confronting the heroin crisis, finding cures for diseases, easing traffic congestion, improving our infrastructure, fixing our broken tax code, securing the homeland and keeping Northern Virginia a great place to live and raise a family.

Bennett does not understand (or, possibly, does not care) that cuts to our defense budget – combined with the already devastating defense sequester – will disproportionately impact the Commonwealth of Virginia, and particularly, our region.  This is not surprising, though, considering who she is supporting for president. Hillary Clinton has a horrendous record on national security.

Let’s not forget, the Clintons presided over a downsizing of the U.S. military during the 1990s, slashing the defense budget by one-third even while engaging our troops in multiple conflicts around the globe. Clinton touts her tenure as secretary of state but is hard-pressed to name a corner of the world more safe as a result of her leadership. She installed a personal email server in her New York home (ostensibly to avoid disclosure under the Federal Records Act) and exchanged classified information over that server with her top aides. Nevertheless, Bennett, in no uncertain terms, enthusiastically supports Clinton in her bid to be our commander in chief.

Comstock is a strong, independent woman who has an outstanding public service record. She will continue to serve in Congress as a check on the president, no matter which party wins the White House. She will be a respected leader who works tirelessly to get things done.  he has earned my vote in November.

Michael Monroy


Vogl: Sick of the partisanship

Trussell: Close the gun show loophole

Chwalowski: Regulating Airbnb disregards its customers

Woolard: Rescission on Crescent Parke lacks reasoning

Smart: Lunch with LuAnn Bennett

Swenson: Rep. Comstock helping middle-income families

Reimer: Government, country should confront challenges head on

Coratolo: Kirkpatrick West decision could prove costly

Smith: Treating Lyme disease

Hakim: Flag football

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