Editorial: Who’ll pay the price at Clevenger’s Corner?

The wheels of “progress” are now in motion at Clevenger’s Corner, just across the border in Culpeper County, and there is precious little that we in Rappahannock County can do to affect the direction or speed of such progress.

Or maybe there is?

In a savvy gesture of good will and smart politics, Jim Epstein, chairman of Washington, D.C.-based EFO Capital Management that is developing the site, is holding a “public forum” next Wednesday. The forum, according to Epstein, provides an opportunity for the “Clevenger’s Corner team” to share their plans and for local residents, in turn, to share their concerns.

We encourage any and all Rappahannock residents concerned about the development to take advantage of this unique opportunity. For residents who daily need to travel east on U.S. 211 toward Warrenton, those concerns are properly all about the traffic mess the development arguably will spawn.

This forum might just be about the only meaningful opportunity you will have to voice your concerns. For although Rappahannock residents will surely be affected, in many cases, more than Culpeper residents, the local government in question is Culpeper, not Rappahannock. And the legal land-use process is a county-by-county affair, not regional, as perhaps it should be.

Culpeper County’s planning personnel and elected officials have no constituency in Rappahannock County. They no doubt could care less about Rappahannock residents’ automotive ingress/egress — what economists call an “external cost,” which people in Culpeper will not have to bear.

But the developer is saying that he does care by the simple fact that he’s holding a public forum. It’s at the Jeffersonton Community Center, 7 p.m. Feb. 2. For more information, contact Shatara Janifer via email: sjanifer@efocapitalmgmt.com.

Walter Nicklin