Op-Ed: Smart Growth isn’t just a catchphrase that politicians use

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By Marques Jones

(Marques Jones is the Democratic candidate for the Tuckahoe seat on the Henrico County Board of Supervisors)

Growth is inevitable.  It’s happening here in Henrico County –  and that isn’t necessarily a bad thing.  If done well, growth can be a great thing.  Development brings jobs and value – infrastructure and convenience – from hospitals to shopping centers.  We just need to make sure that every decision is made with our community’s best interests in mind, not just profitability for developers. 


Urban sprawl and unregulated growth can cause serious problems – and right now under Virginia law, there are limits on what local governments can do to control development activity and growth.  That’s why when developers come to us with proposals, we have to be willing to work with them.  If the Board of Supervisors tries to block growth, developers will just develop by right – not necessarily working with us to make sure that our neighbors are actually benefiting.


We need representatives at the local level that really understand the needs of our community.  A proposed housing development may create a need for more roads, or a school, or a grocery store.  When I’m on the board I will work tirelessly WITH developers to make sure those needs are met before I give my support.


Smart growth isn’t just about finance and infrastructure, there are also huge environmental impacts that need to be taken into consideration. Intentional, well thought out growth is paramount to leaving behind a better Henrico for our children.  As a member of the Board, I will do everything in my power to advocate for growth that serves our community well.

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