The following text is from a December 2012 Email alert:
Hello! We trust your December is off to a good start and you're making progress on your holiday preparations. We're sure that thinking about major transportation issues is not part of those preparations, but it's year-end, and with year-end often comes last-minute meetings about bad ideas. We hope you can find a place on your to-do list to let VDOT know how you feel about their outer beltway plan.
Dec 18: Outer Beltway 'Open House'
Outer Beltway proponents have been pushing for the project piece-by-piece. The Maryland ICC was part of it, the Belmont Ridge expansion was one, now they're looking for the part between Manassas and Dulles Airport.
For the past few years we've let you know about VDOT's renewed push for an 'Outer Beltway'. Plans are moving forward to build this mega-million dollar north-south highway that would go from I-95 north into Maryland. It would open up new land to residential development, cross through Manassas National Battlefield Park, and turn Loudoun into a trucking route for areas north and south. All at the expense of investments in better east-to-west traffic solutions.
VDOT has been busy this fall, largely behind closed doors, lining up support for the project. And now, they've decided to slip in 'open house' meetings for the public, just one week before Christmas.
What's really going on?
We're skeptical about the timing and not sure what exactly they will be presenting. But recent VDOT presentations confirm what we have been saying for some time: the new highway will be designed to carry freight and other cargo at speeds in excess of 65mph -- splitting neighborhoods from their schools, and greatly increasing sound and air pollution.
VDOT will accept written comments on their December 18th presentation -- and have indicated that those comments will be due by January 2nd. We cannot say we're surprised by the timing of this public input period, because sadly it's true to form. The holidays are a common time to solicit public opinion when you're not particularly interested in public opinion...
Check back on our Loudoun page for updated information on further meetings they may have at the beginning of January.
Dec 19: Rezonings to Allow More Residential
Loudoun already has 25,000 residential units planned. Do we really need more?
On the home front, we also wanted to make you aware of several development applications moving through the review process. We are currently aware of 8 proposals that would collectively bring 10,000 new planned residential units.
Loudoun doesn't need more residential. There are already roughly 25,000 residential units approved and waiting to be built. Proposals for even more residential development come with a need for services -- schools, fire & rescue, emergency services, etc. -- adding to the county tax burden.
This is why these proposals are of particular concern. They would take land that is currently approved for commercial development and convert it to a mix of uses -- including lots of residential, some retail, and a small amount of office space. The two proposals are in an area just northwest of Dulles Airport and within a 5 mile radius, at least 9 other mixed use developments have already been approved.
As this year draws to a close, we want to thank you for your involvement and participation in the public process. Your engagement on issues like these, will ensure Loudoun remains a wonderful place to live, work and play.
Gem Bingol & Ed Gorski
Loudoun County Field Officers
The Piedmont Environmental Council
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