Powhatan is rural. We like it that way.

That’s “We”, as in “We the People”. You know…the “Boss”. Our home, our rules. That’s how it’s works. At least, that’s how it’s supposed to work.

The People have been crystal-clear during my time in office that Powhatan must keep its rural “feel.” We must NOT become Chesterfield. Those are the marching orders to their representatives.

But recent development proposals and changes to future land use plans show that the forces behind high-density development are ignoring who’s boss. High-density development, which runs contrary to the clear will of our citizens, is still getting play. Notice, I’m not talking about development. I said, “high-density development.” There’s a big difference.

Development includes well-planned, reasonable growth which fits the rural character and true needs of Powhatan County. High-density development, on the other hand, is specific. Think rooftops. Lots and lots of rooftops. That means lots of people. More people means more students in our classrooms, more school buses, more teachers, more schools, more fire & rescue personnel, more firetrucks and ambulances, more sheriff deputies, more sheriff cars, more county staff, more public services (library books, waste management, water reserves), more traffic, more accidents, more noise, more environmental damage, more lights fading our starry dark skies. Oh, I almost forgot- more taxes!

In case you didn’t know, commercial growth brings in money. Residential growth costs money. Big growth costs big money. Your money.

Those who favor high-density development often bellow, “We’re gonna grow!” But what does that really mean? Their underlying assumption is that how we grow should be determined by developers, not the People. What they’re really saying is “Development happens. Get over it!” Or, worse, “Your stupid rural demands are getting in the way of me making big bucks.” I reject both.

There are ways Powhatan can grow and still maintain our rural feel. Attractive architecture, landscaping, and signage for starters. Placing businesses which don’t need to be seen behind our plentiful trees, or in existing office parks, is another. There are too many ideas to be listed here, but the point is that the People of Powhatan should be in charge of their own home.

That’s why you need to let your voices be heard by those who represent you on the Board of Supervisors. More importantly, this November, vote for those Board candidates who represent your vision of Powhatan as the rural home you all love. Remember, you’re the boss!