Dream of rural living being mowed down

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, April 16, 2003

Editor, the News-Herald:

Two years ago, I bought a neighborhood. Finally, we were following conventional wisdom and looking at location, location, location. It was a nice home in a wonderful, well-maintained neighborhood in the Crittenden area of Suffolk. A neighborhood where I knew that our daughter could grow up exposed to nature, but where I also knew that our property values would gradually increase, in part because of the rural zoning.

Two months ago, I was still pinching myself that I could be so fortunate to live in such a beautiful place. Where I could stroll with my daughter and not worry that a car would wake her. Where she could see up close the beauty of an untamed wetlands and crab traps on a creek. Where she was exposed as an infant to the sound of birds, the smell of pines, the feel of real community. Where her senses could become fully aware of what a gorgeous world God made for her and for me.


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Then I got a call that would change my attitude and life. Potential development. Route 17 and Crittenden Road. Big Money. 142 homes. Retail. A new cluster home ordinance in our ‘protective’ UDO.

Two weeks ago at a City of Suffolk Planning Commission meeting, I found out that it’s pretty much a done deal. The big money wins. This will probably be the last home my family will be able to afford in this area, and if we want the rural lifestyle we bought into we had better keep on moving out of Suffolk. Until then, I had the romantic view that I would ‘move up’ in this neighborhood. Then I saw the permit allowing this development pass through the Planning Commission against the Planning Staff’s recommendation and with nary a question.

Two years from now, I will face the prospect of trusting my child’s education to an already over-crowded elementary school. Two years from now, I will face a four-lane highway crowding onto a two-lane bridge. Two years from now, I will face my tax bill when assessments rise even more than the 8 percent of this year.

No need to pinch me now. I’m awake.

On April 16, 2003, an application approving a 142 home development in the Crittenden area will go before the Suffolk City Council. I urge you to consider your views on growth. Do you think Suffolk’s infrastructure can support this explosion of home building? What is the implication of this development on the rest of Suffolk? Voters, wake up before your rural corner of Suffolk is rezoned, mowed down, and built up.

Deborah Merryfield