The following opinion on a proposed luxury housing development outside of Exmore is from an email submitted by Ken Dufty of Wardtown.
The recent proposal put forth by the Board to support the expansion of high-end housing at the expense of workforce and affordable housing, as well as the destruction of prime farmland, is not only shortsighted but deeply concerning for the future of our county.
The Comprehensive Plan, a document meant to guide responsible development, explicitly directs new residential projects to Town Edge Areas. These areas boast essential infrastructure like sewer, water, emergency services, and public transportation, all vital components of a thriving community.
Yet, it seems the Board is willing to forsake these guidelines in favor of cozying up to out-of-town developers with deep pockets. These developers are keen on transforming prime farmland into so-called “Hamlets,” a term historically reserved for existing small communities with rich historical significance, not for speculative housing projects.
Consider the audacity of the proposal: bulldozing a mobile home park and precious agricultural land to make room for a mere ten high-end houses on a five-acre plot. Such actions fly in the face of zoning laws and disrespect every hardworking resident and business owner in our county.
As a former President of the Exmore Business Association for seven years, I stand firm in my plea to the Board: let us not capitulate to this assault on our rural way of life. Instead, let us collaborate with developers like Mr. Hionis and Mr. Eure to invest in workforce and affordable housing within Exmore’s Town Edge District. Let us forge a proffer relationship that supports essential services like police and fire coverage.
Our goal should be to expand housing opportunities on designated town edge parcels while safeguarding our rural quality of life. This means rejecting the dangerous precedent set by sacrificing farmland for elitist housing ventures.
Let us stand together against this full-frontal assault on the very essence of our community. It is incumbent upon us to uphold our values and protect what we cherish most: our rural heritage and the opportunity for all to call this place home.