If you’ve looked around, you’ve seen our rivers overrun and mud and dirt flowing across the road. It’s because we’ve had a lot of rain in recent days. We may be surprised and concerned at these torrential conditions. But the real problem is – it could get much worse if some developers have their way.
The Developers want to build on steep slopes and in flood plains, now prohibited.
Our Board of Supervisors is considering allowing them.
The name, flood plain, is self-descriptive. If either side of a stream or river is prone to flooding, then it’s a flood plain.
As a trial lawyer, I imagine someone building in a flood plain, their home then flooded, and asking, “How did that happen?” Answer: – our Board of Supervisors changed the ordinance because that’s what their contributors wanted.
Of course, more happens than a homeowner or commercial business getting flooded.
If a storm water pond floods, it’s likely to send polluted sediment and water downstream.
If waters overrun a parking lot in a flood plain, you can have toxic run off from the vehicles.
If you have barrels of petroleum, consider the disaster should that petroleum be carried off downstream.
An area is declared a flood plain as a buffer, with limited uses, as a guard against having to clean up, at taxpayer expense, should one build in that area.
As for steep slopes, have you ever tried to plant cover on a steep slope. If you don’t have something that holds that soil together, everything you plant (dumbly) will just run down hill.
A “steep slope” is an incline greater than 25 degrees. That slope has a high potential for erosion and mudslides. What do you think would happen if you were to place a development on or below a steep slope? You’re right. Disaster.
Could some engineer re-make the contours of the land? Sure, I suppose, by destroying what exists, but such development is destructive and that’s what the current County policy acknowledges, and prohibits.
So why should we change either our ordinance limitations on flood plains or steep slopes, since they appear to be quite responsible? We shouldn’t.
The Citizens have already recoiled from the Board’s proposals to modify the steep slopes prohibitions, so the Board retrenched, directing the County Staff, “the Imagineers” (you might call them), to come back and present “a compromise.”
How in the world do you think that “compromise” can work?
The truth is the Board is delaying, waiting for a Hail Mary pass, because they are inclined to do what their bosses, the developers, want, and to push this round peg through a square hole– at a date to be determined – if we don’t fight them and stop this wrong-headed revision.
Our Board, transparently lackeys for the developers, want Loudoun County to be “more business-friendly,” so they say, by making more land available for commercial development.
The Piedmont Environmental Council (the PEC) issued an alarm, rightly declaring, that these proposed changes are plain wrong, and, as for Loudoun County becoming more “business friendly,” the PEC says, “that storyline just doesn’t add up. Loudoun has significant vacant commercial space, and more than 3,100 acres of commercially zoned land (greater than 50 million square feet of space) on the market that hasn’t been built yet.”
So what’s the real story?
On the off chance this Board is not returned to office, a much hoped for electoral result, they are going to reward those developers who brought them to the dance, by passing these revisions.
Don’t wait until the election to vote them out of office, appear at the public Board hearing on Flood Plains on October 14 at 6:00pm, and tell them to represent the public interest, and not the Developers.