I’ve given the proposed mega industrial park a good bit of thought and driven through a number of (mostly empty) business parks in this county and others. I agree with the argument that we need business to support the residential growth. However, this endeavor is quite misguided. My arguments fall into two categories.
First is the location. The proposed site intrudes into space that was designated Rural in the comprehensive plan. It abuts land that our church owns and has been using as a retreat. We felt confident that we could count on the continued quiet and peacefulness of the site given the rural designation. Would we be putting our efforts into creating this space for contemplation if we had known that the board of supervisors could just wipe out that designation and put industry, noise and traffic right next to it? People need to be able to count on these designations to make plans and decisions. People have put enormous energy into creating homes for their families. The proponents and the economic planners claim there will be buffers, but we have no guarantees that these will be significant or effective.
Second is the highly speculative nature of the concept. When they describe it, it sounds great. All the things needed to attract the ideal businesses. Money rolling in. Lower taxes for us. What could go wrong?
They say it will attract clean quiet businesses that pay workers well. Every county wants those. There are other mega sites in the state that are about ready to go (Berry Hill). To lay out millions of dollars of our tax money to buy and develop this land and then hope they will come is not a good way to do business. When the most highly prized businesses choose elsewhere, then we will be stuck with accepting less desirable ones. We will be in debt and will have no way to be selective. What’s to prevent Louisa from ending up with the noisiest, smelliest, most water polluting, low wage paying businesses?
Is that the county I want to live in?
I want to live in a county that values small, locally owned businesses. I want to live among entrepreneurs not underpaid wage slaves. I would love to see our county come up with a plan for incubating and supporting small businesses.
Mary Kranz Louisa
Editor’s Note: This letter originally appeared in the September 6th issue of the Central Virginian, and is reposted here with the author’s permission.