Through volunteering with local citizen groups I have learned a lot about what’s on the minds of Upper York residents. That prompted me to get involved with the York County Comprehensive Plan Steering Committee and the York County Planning Commission. Here are the top-of-mind issues for York County residents, as I see them.
LIST OF ISSUES
CURB THE RAMPANT GROWTH IN DISTRICT 1
We live here because of the area’s beauty and semi-rural feel, but over the past decade the county has repeatedly approved requests to rezone for higher density development. This has caused our sudden spike in traffic congestion, increased population pressure on schools and emergency services, and higher taxes.
I believe in property owners’ rights to use their land according to its current zoning. Any zoning changes should clearly benefit the surrounding areas, and traffic impact should be a key factor in all development decisions.
PROTECT OUR REMAINING NATURAL SPACES
Rural land has both economic and environmental value. We must encourage developers to repurpose vacant commercial properties, rather than clearing more land. We can create incentives for farmland to be preserved for conservation, rather than being sold to developers. Doing so will protect our ambiance, while protecting natural habitat, lowering carbon and protecting the Bay.
IMPROVE SERVICES FOR RESIDENTS
York County has some of the best schools in the Commonwealth. Let’s foster that success and create more opportunities for our youth. Increased library programming, and improved amenities and accessibility in our parks and trails will provide more healthy opportunities for residents of all ages.
Let’s improve our infrastructure. District 1 has several of the most dangerous intersections in the region. Let’s improve our roads and our public transportation system. And let’s ensure that all of our residents have internet access.
ENCOURAGE ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT
York County’s offers natural beauty and historical significance. Tourism is the the lifeblood of the Historic Triangle, and York County should work more closely with James City County and the City of Williamsburg to draw tourism here.
STOP THE TAX INCREASES
York citizens deserve restraint from our leaders in spending decisions. Over the past three years, while citizens have faced higher lending rates and rising costs for rent, food and gasoline, our taxes have risen faster than the rate of inflation.
TRANSPARENCY AND ACCOUNTABILITY
The county should improve communications with county residents through meaningful quarterly updates, and actively solicit public input in county decisions.
The county should learn from and correct past mistakes. In several recent rezoning cases, for example, there were oversights or shortcuts in the approval process. These should be reviewed to ensure that future decisions are made with public input and complete information.