It’s been slowly creeping up on Albemarle County like kudzu and if left to grow it will most surely kill the host it preys on. What I’m talking about is government power and never in my 30 plus years of being involved in issues concerning Albemarle County government have I seen it this bad. I was in disbelief when the county planning staff came into Crozet, trashed our master plan and substituted their own, but the fact the county imposed their new higher density zoning on Crozet without a vote by the Planning Commission or the Board of Supervisors, was the coup de grâce. It isn’t that there weren’t warning signs we should have noticed. For instance, when the Crozet Community Advisory Committee voted multiple times against the new higher density zoning and brought the results of the votes to the board, they were scolded by one of the supervisors for having the audacity to exercise the right of all Americans to make their collective voice heard using the vote. Then there was fact the entire membership of the Village of Rivanna Advisory Committee resigned over too much influence being brought to bear by the county on how they conducted their business. Just look at our committee and the fact they no longer make up the meeting agenda as a move in the wrong direction. It wasn’t always like this and I can attest there actually was a time the county not only listened, but responded to the residents of Albemarle County. The one common denominator that always appears before the hammer of government falls is the increasing size of government. If nothing is done, government will become so large it will generate its own political force simply based on the number of votes its employees represent and when this happens they’re basically responsible to no one but themselves. For Albemarle, the line in the sand has to be drawn at the borders of our growth areas. If these boarders are breached and the growth areas expanded, it’s all over and if you think you’ve seen large increases in your local taxes, wait until then. There is already pressure for expansion being brought to bear by organizations like the Free Enterprise Forum, which is nothing more than a mouth piece for the development community. To be sure you will hear about how we need new homes for children when they grow up and they certainly will be sure to tug at your heart strings with the call for more affordable housing, despite the fact they haven’t done anything of substance at least since I’ve lived here. I would much rather focus on keeping existing homes affordable for the low income residents of the county. I would rather use our growth areas as the water’s edge and invest in what we already need then have to add to the growing list of infrastructure needs currently waiting to be completed. If my taxes are to be raised I would rather invest it in our current teaching staff, police and fire/rescue, then use it to pay for additional schools, policemen and firefighters. Unfortunately the enemy at the gates is strong, well funded and influential as opposed to the lackadaisical attitude all too prevalent everywhere in our county. Only time will tell what the outcome will be, but for the survival of Albemarle County as we know it now, failure is not an option!