The clamor for affordable housing

Richard Brady

How did we ever get in the situation where I am told I cannot send my child to school with a peanut butter and jelly sandwich because one of the children at school has a peanut allergy? And you know how kids like to trade snacks and lunches. But think about it. How did your kid’s allergy get to be my problem?

So, here’s where we are: I can’t send my child to school with a PB&J sandwich but you can send your kid to school even though you refuse to have him vaccinated for measles. Does it seem to you that the fairness pendulum has swung too far to one side? It seems to me that it has become unanchored from any semblance of fairness.

Maybe it’s just my day to complain. So, I’ll just go with that. When did Rappahannock County develop an affordable housing crisis, and who decided that? Is it the same group that wants to make Rappahannock just like Loudoun or McLean? There is no affordable housing crisis in Rappahannock. Period. Full stop. And I don’t give a rat’s patootie how many Foothills surveys have been done to show otherwise.

One of the things that many of us like about Rappahannock is that we don’t have ticky-tacky houses and condominiums on every corner. We like our open spaces. And, pray tell, what is so bad about someone who works here having to drive 30 minutes to get to their job? I did it all my life. So do millions of people in this country. And a great many of our county citizens who like living here commute for an hour or more to the D.C. area.

But, then again, there is the problem of what you call something, or what name we apply to any perceived problem. It is sort of like baseball, motherhood and apple pie. Who is going to be against any of those things? Here’s a good example: Don’t we all want health insurance coverage for everybody? Don’t we want that coverage to be affordable? Yes, of course, to both questions. But, enter the Affordable Care Act, and then take a vote. I don’t have a dog in that fight, but my guess is about half the country likes it, and the other half hates it.

And don’t we all want everybody to have a decent place to live? And shouldn’t that place be affordable? Yes, of course, we want that. But if it means, in Rappahannock County, more houses, more people, more congestion, greater burdens on our schools and county services, the inevitable diminution of the quality of life, not to mention the tax increases to pay for all of that, do not count me in as a supporter.

The commissions and boards and panels dealing with the update of the comprehensive plan have a tough job. I thank them for their service and wish them well. I have no particular expertise in that area, but, like art, I know what I like. And I like Rappahannock County just the way it is. There, I’ve said it. And I mean it. And like Huck Finn said about standing up for his friend, Jim, “Alright, then, I’ll go to hell.”

My fondest hope is that there are enough solid citizens on our boards and panels who have sense enough to know what we have been blessed with here in Rappahannock. I ask them to consider where the clamor for affordable housing arises. And is there any possible conflict of interest in those doing the clamoring? And finally, I hope that when the individuals pushing for yet another “improvement” to Rappahannock County stand up and holler, “We must have broadband, we must have affordable housing, we must have a chicken in every pot,” they will be told to sit down and shut up.

Dear reader, I harbor no animus for those seeking a place to live in this county at a price they can afford. Unfortunately, life is not always fair. And those who wish to level all playing fields must be very careful what they wish for.

The writer lives in Flint Hill and pens the Clark Hollow Ramblings column for the Rappahannock News

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1 Comment

  1. Said like a child of the post-WWII boom . . . I wish for the day when families could live and work in their communities as once happened in Rappahannock. No one drives an hour to work in D.C. This ain’t the 1960’s or the 1970’s anymore.
    It’s impossible to do that now. The price of fuel alone is a barrier; not to mention the million or more people added to the fields between Flint Hill and Constitution Avenue

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