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Opinion/Letter: Long-term effects of density must be studied

Opinion/Letter: Long-term effects of density must be studied

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Long-term effects of density must be studied

This letter concerns Charlottesville’s recent land use proposal and the request that before such a proposal can be considered, there must be additional investigation of the future effects that increased density will have on our citizens, city government and the infrastructure of our community.

Some years ago, Charlottesville agreed not to annex surrounding land from Albemarle County in exchange for a yearly monetary sum from the county. Therefore, and as a result of the subsequent state annexation moratorium, we are landlocked to some eventual vertical development.

But the amount and the effect of that development have never actually been fully explored. Now is the time to do that.

What will be demanded of our tax money for additional schools and fire and rescue services? Will a larger police department be needed? What about our narrow, winding streets? Must we widen some of our main arteries? Parking and traffic congestion are now a problem. Streets will need to accommodate added auto traffic, sidewalks and bike lanes. Perhaps street maintenance crews will need to be larger, and more equipment will be needed to repair damage to roadways and bridges.

Just as important, what has been the experience of other cities the size of ours that have used such a plan?

Not long ago, the city enacted a stormwater utility fee to counteract the negative effects on our land and waterways of polluted water from blacktopped surfaces. More parking lots and more driveways will be needed as a result of more density, which will increase this problem.

These are just some of the changes that will occur with greater density.

Let us think carefully about how and where density is increased and take seriously the full and long-term consequences of the land use proposal.

Margaret Jensen


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