Opinion: Letter to the Editor: Environmental Lip Service?

Opinion: Letter to the Editor: Environmental Lip Service?

I am writing to urge the city to withdraw its support for the proposed development project at 3832 and 3834 Seminary Road.

This plan calls for clear cutting an ecologically sensitive, tree-filled three-acre natural area. This wooded ravine is on a slope with marine clay soil. After removing the trees that help stabilize the slope, the developer plans on running a sewer line through the ravine’s spring and intermittent stream bed (which feeds Strawberry Run); piling fill dirt on top of the ravine’s marine clay; and placing four large homes on top of the fill.

In supporting this project, officials have ignored the pleas of concerned citizens as well as the city’s own recently completed (2015) and incredibly thorough geologic atlas.

While this project would negatively impact existing neighbors and future residents of the homes to be built due to the pile driving, the running of a sewer line through a neighbor’s property, and the entirely predictable erosion and landslide risk, it adversely impacts all Alexandrians due to its impact on the environment.

This project runs counter to the city’s own tree canopy and Open Space Master Plan goals. Open Space Goal Number 4 is to "Protect and expand stream valleys and other environmentally sensitive areas." This project also shows a complete disregard for the city’s stormwater goals, as clearcutting a stream valley and running a sewer line on an unstable slope under piled fill dirt are not congruent with protecting or enhancing water quality.

In conclusion, officials’ actions on this project will make it abundantly clear as to whether they really do care about the environment and our city’s livability or whether their support for the environment only entails lip service.

Bonnie Petry