LETTER: A letterbox with the inscription Letter to the editor

While the fate of the Prince William Digital Gateway proposal is still undecided, one thing isn’t. That’s the verdict on the atrocious process employed by our county government to “review” it. 

Normally a proposal of this unprecedented magnitude would warrant multiple studies, surveys and interactive public forums to ensure all relevant issues were thoroughly assessed and constituent sentiment ascertained.

Instead, we got just the opposite. Professional conscientiousness was absent, critical information was suppressed, prudent precautions denied and resident input stifled. Officials expected to represent the taxpaying public seemed far more protective of private interests. 

One thing that is particularly odd is how our government appears to be gauging support for the proposal. Rather than employing valid survey techniques or facilitated public discussions, they seem to give a handful of financially advantaged supporters equal weight with thousands of adversely affected citizens.

Will the outcome of this review turn on a thorough and dispassionate analysis of the facts or the effectiveness of a corporate marketing machine? 

Another wholly deficient premise is that this proposal represents the reasonable exercise of property rights. Landowners who have become disenchanted with their properties have every right to sell under the existing zoning conditions. But the county has no obligation to alter those conditions simply to accommodate landowners’ grander ambitions, especially when they result in Carthaginian consequences for the citizens remaining.

The combined effect of the above is a profound skepticism about who our government is working for. The upcoming vote will confirm or refute those suspicions.

Bill Wright

Gainesville

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(5) comments

Elena

This is so ridiculous, those looking to cash out for tens of millions trying to convince citizens to support a project so bloated with personal greed, it’s bursting with the stench of corruption.

I did appreciate my “friend”

Greg Mathe going to the podium .Wednesday night and confirming citizens will be paying hundreds of millions for new power infrastructure to support this data center sprawl.

It’s shocking what people are willing to do for money.

Little Bull Run

Mr. Wright...it's more than clear to so many that you are passionate to stop the gateway as you have been leading the charge against this from the beginning with the tsunami op-eds you have published in almost every publication that reports on this.

You don't even live close enough to this project to see it or hear it from where you live in Heritage Hunt in Gainesville. And you have a data center under construction right across from you at this moment.

It almost seems as if you think that you own the "rural crescent." You don't, the County doesn't...the older farm owners that have worked these farms for generations own it. It is their property and they asked for this change in zoning. It's not rural now. They are too old to keep their farms running, there is no labor that wants to do this -- and even if there were they can't afford it. Their heirs, if they have any, don't want to farm. Farms are seldom if ever profitable and it very, very tough both physically and financially.

We should all appreciate that they've stuck it out all these decades when people like you moved into mass development right on the West boundary and suddenly decide you should have a say in what they do with their property -- and will affect the short time they have left.

It seems to be missed in this debate that THEY have property rights, just as you and others do...and it seems that many are forgetting that the County did not initiated this (those you attack), but the farm owners themselves.

I would suggest that if you believe the County is not following legal protocol, then you need to look in a mirror. For you to decide you could take a drive to personally inspect the private property that falls into the new CPA/Gateway plan before that vote by the Planning Commission -- and especially just driving right past by a HUGE red metal road sign that can't be missed at the entrance of the private road that says: "No Trespassing/Visitors by Appointment Only" sign at the entrance of the property -- Now THAT'S illegal.

While you cast

EagleView

Listen to the Planning Office describe this project and the only words that come to mind is "They sound so confused, they can't be serious". And 5 planning commissioners voted to let this pass. Shameful.

gman021

Dozens of people who are not proponents nor opponents of the PW Digital Gateway are commenting in support of the PW Digital Gateway on Nextdoor. The simple fact is that if it is not the PW Digital Gateway on Pageland Lane and the massive commercial tax revenue it will bring, it will be thousands of new homes.

Little Bull Run

That is correct. The "Rural Crescent" that was legislated back in 1998 was to last for 20 years. If not the data centers, massive housing. Now THAT would be a disaster to the watershed and wildlife -- and traffic that would be horrendous. From what I understand the average data center employs around 11 people. None live on site. No traffic issues, no water issues. Those who deem the data centers evil and the destruction of the crescent might want to rethink their opposition.

Welcome to the discussion.

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