Sunday, March 11, 2007

All focus on Rt. 50 - we read (and go) so you don't have to...

"Time to Speak Up" reads the Connection's front page, referring to last week's public discussion regarding the "mixed-used" Rt. 50 business district project (Pleasant Valley Methodist Church this past Monday). Charles Yudd (assistant county administrator) and Mark Stultz (assistant zoning administrator) together with AKRF Inc. consultants held the relatively brief meeting outlining the status of the new zoning ordinance. No existing properties will actually be rezoned, but rezoning is available as landowners and businesses individually or jointly seek to leverage. Most comments were directed towards the rezoning process and how complex or lengthy it might be...attendees were assured many steps were being taken to keep costs and processes in line with the theme of public-private efficiency and cooperation.

The Connection's coverage continued this past week with coverage of public reaction to the proposed budget, including funding for the proposed school budget - seems most supervisors, educators and parents are will to step up to the plate (from a taxes perspective) to fully fund school needs. Robert Dupree, Chairman an Dulles representative to the Loudoun County School Board, delivered his perspective to the BOS this past Thursday; needless to say Dulles will be overwhelmed with trailers without full funding (only by "tearing the gavel out of my hands, as Steve Snow put it). Loudoun county school enrollment increased 75% in the past seven years, and projection show this only increasing, as younger siblings continue to move into the system. Additional support in the budget hearing came for full funding of the Gum Spring Library project - it appears the budget calls only for funding of the first floor, and not to the size necessary to accommodate Dulles needs.

Finally, a very good piece about the Richmond Transportation "state of disarray" - Loudoun County is in the majority in expressing the opinion that the General Assembly package, as sent to the Governor, does not provide nearly enough money to satisfy regional transportation issues and mass transit projects, and furthermore places undue and unwanted burden upon the counties and local jurisdictions to raise additional local taxes. On the other hand, it is a plan with bi-partisan agreement to some degree (vs. last year), and represents some progress without new statewide taxes ("Take what we can get", says the Easterner's editors). The controversy will continue for the next month until Governor Kaine announces his amendments or intention to veto.

The other eastern Loudoun-covering rags included much the same themes as the Connection, with some notable additions. The Easterner's front page notice on the Old Dominion Brewery begin sold is more news than most people realize, that is those persons who appreciate "craft" beers - Annheiser-Busch is now in the mix, distributing the Old Dominion label and quite possibly diluting an otherwise excellent product in the long run. (Note the Easterner's advertising staff is very busy - we reached page 13 of the news, and then suffered through over 30 pages of ads to get to community items!) Most notably among the community snippets, the South Riding Scoop informs us of Community Cleanup Day scheduled for Saturday, April 21, 10AM.

L2D gives us a few very good reads - most importantly a long interview with new Potomac District School Board representative John Stevens, who was recently appointed following John Andrews' departure to run for State Senate. A fascinating roundup of the General Assembly Session is provided "sponsored" by members of Loudoun's delegation (May, Poisson, Caputo, Rust, Marshall, Potts, Herring). What's fascinating, is the overwhelming number of introduced Bills that weren't actually finalized or passed, but were "tabled", "left in Committee", "killed", "effectively killed", "eventually killed", "passed in the House but killed, tabled or left in the Senate", "passed by", "remains in committee", "left without action", "stricken from the docket", etc. Sounds like a lot of roadkill to us; the tally appears to be about 14 passes to 50 proposed bills (!). May seems to have the best Pass/Fail percentage, at about 65% (5 of 8)

And finally, WAPO itself can take credit for excellent initiative, and fully joining the Web version 2.0, by introducing its new blog "Living in Loco" (shouldn't probably be interpreted literally). Living in Loudoun County is a local resident's view of all things Loudoun County, and we welcome it to the growing blogroll.

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