April 11, 2007
Area growth was the topic of discussion today at the Senior Statesman of Virginia dinner. Three area experts with three different opinions on local growth spent Wednesday afternoon giving their insight to a room full of seniors, each with 15 minutes to state their case.
Jack Marshall and his organization, ASAP or Advocates for a Sustainable Albemarle Population, believes growth should have its limits.
"Growth is good up to a point," said Jeff Werner, Piedmont Environmental Council.
Werner and his organization believes growth is good, but should be planned to preserve rural land.
"The thing you hear about so often is how beautiful it is and the rural setting," said Neil Williamson, the Free Enterprise Forum.
Williamson says they embrace growth and that the market system shouldn't close doors on development.
"Growth is not a bad thing," said Marshall.
According to Marshall, Albemarle County is growing at a 2.1 percent rate each year, a pace faster than India. He says that it is rapidly changing life in the county, and somewhere along the line, there should be a stopping point.
"There are serious impacts of growth on the environment, on our quality of life on our tax structure, and on the very character of the community," said Marshall.
On the other hand, Williamson argues if you put a cap on the population, it will only make property more valuable and push away affordable housing.
"We will lose some of the very fabric of our community that lives today in Albemarle County and in the region, and we will lose those teachers, those firefighters and the rest," said WIlliamson.
But at the end of the day, a solution to the problems facing the area is miles away.