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LETTER: Rising COVID-19 cases should delay rural crescent meetings, decisions

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LETTER: A letterbox with the inscription Letter to the editor

Cases of COVID are spiking, and experts say it is likely to remain that way for a six to eight weeks. During this same time frame, the Prince William Board of County Supervisors likely will hold critical meetings related to rezoning the “rural crescent” to allow a data center alley of more than 2,000 acres of new data centers. 

Citizens of Prince William County are just trying to get through the day dealing with the pandemic. It's difficult for them to come out to town halls or other meetings to discuss or protest this project. 

In addition, the area that is most affected, the Gainesville District, does not even have a voting representative on the board at this time. 

For all these reasons, and given that this is a land-use change that will have enormous watershed and other environmental repercussions, the right thing for the board of county supervisors to do is to stop the data center express train and defer this decision until 2023 or 2024 when the citizens of this county can truly be involved.

Ally Stoeger

Gainesville

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(3) comments

wawright

Chair Wheeler said at Tuesday’s BOCS meeting that the County was “remaining lightning focused on our local response to the ongoing global pandemic”. Since the pandemic is still raging, I assume the County has run out of lightning.

During public comment time, a speaker expressed puzzlement that the County would forge ahead with two in-person community meetings despite the Chair’s concern expressed only an hour earlier.

It is obvious that the BOCS is determined to check a box and rush the timelines for proposals that advance their agenda, but must they resort to hazarding the health of our citizens to do so? What’s the rush? Bad ideas will still be around in a few weeks when it is safer to consider them.

Postpone these meetings until the Prince William Heath District says it is prudent to hold them. Fair warning: you do not want to be responsible for promoting a super-spreader event.

Sharonharvey

I believe a delay is in order as the various studies promised prior to establishing the Comprehensive Plan have not been completed or, in some cases, not even conducted as per the agreements with attendees at various planning sessions pre-COVID. This BOCS doesn’t want input or data or information or expert opinions. They have ignored residents’ first-hand accounts of fouled waterways, disasters with sewage pumps, and concerns about drying aquifers. The experts they’ve hired are just blown off if their findings are negatively impacting what the BOCS want. The Board even ignores the Planning staff because the Board staff knows everything? Nope, but they know what their Supervisor wants because they meet regularly with developer/contributors to their Supervisors’ campaigns. So much corruption. They need to step back and do what is right rather than push things through during a spike in the pandemic. Have they no conscience? Have they no heart?

Catharpin411

Any delay would be pro forma theater. By seeing survey crews on the land marking off areas, by seeing the wetlands team out there too and knowing the cash craving BOCS I am of the impression the fix is in.

The deal is done and citizens lose a tiny minority wins and the Cresent home life is destroyed by this current greedy BOCS.

I wonder though, being in the back pocket of both the Chamber and the developers does it stink as bad as i imagine or does the cash bag straped to your noses mitigate the sour stench?

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