December 2007

Minutes from the Sunday Supper Club December 9th, 2007

For December’s meeting we returned once again to the lovely home of Ike and Julie Broaddus.  Thank you so much for your warm welcome and hospitality!

Five Minute Flash Reports:

Treasurer’s Report- Our balance now stands at $68.55

Upcoming FCDC Reorganization- Our intrepid moderator David Roos reported that he is running for Chair of the Fauquier County Democratic Committee.  His slate of candidates includes:  Vice Chair- Conway Porter, Treasurer- Linda Pranke, Secretary- Andrea Martens.  David has an ambitious agenda for the FCDC and requested our support for his candidacy.  Interested parties must sign a Declaration of Candidacy form which must be in by Friday Dec. 14th.  Please go to www.fauquierdemocrats.org for more information.  The reorganization meeting is Tuesday Dec. 18th.  The voting for officers will be held on Tuesday Jan. 8th.

Lobbying Government on Energy Issues- Bill Day encouraged members to attend the Jan. 8th SCC (State Corporation Commission) hearing in Richmond concerning the Wise County Power Plant.  For details go to: http://www.chesapeakeclimate.org/campaigns/campaign_detail.cfm?id=

Purchase of Development Rights- Ike Broaddus reported on the PDR program in which the county purchases the development rights on farm land for a cost of 1 cent per dollar of our taxes.  Over the years this program has resulted in saving thousands of acres from development.  This year 5 farms in Southern Fauquier County totaling 1,000 acres were selected for the program.  Ike stressed the necessity of encouraging our elected officials to keep the PDR program going.

Primary for the 10th Congressional District- There will be a 2008 Democratic primary for the 10th Congressional District seat currently held by Frank Wolf.  Judy Feder (a former guest of the SSC) challenged Wolf in the 2006 election and will be doing so again next year.  Mike Turner (retired air force colonel, veteran of the Iraq war and outspoken war critic) has declared his intention to run for this seat also.  He will be joining us for a 5 minute flash report at an upcoming meeting.

Book Report:  The Road by Cormac Mccarthy-  Jean-Loup Combemale described this book as a “real page turner” and advised that one not begin reading unless one had ample time.   The book is dark and runs counter to our desire for happy endings but in the description of the travels of a man and his son through a post-apocalyptic world Jean Loup believes there is a strong affirmation of the strength of human beings.

Dennis Kucinich event in Charlottesville- Friday Dec. 7th I had the privilege of hearing Dennis Kucinich speak to a packed auditorium in Charlottesville.   Sadly Kucinich and the other candidates the media has dubbed “second tier” receive little coverage in the news.  I would like to encourage everyone to investigate these other candidates as their messages and voices deserve to be heard.  I won’t try to summarize my remarks on the event here as they are available on the SSC website (http://sundaysupperclub.org/?q=node/2160) but I will share that I am extremely impressed by Kucinich’s platform of “strength through peace” and by his vision and his plan for America.  He speaks passionately about our founding documents, the Constitution and the Declaration of Independence, and believes in the importance of allowing these great works to direct and inform our future.  In Kucinich’s own words:

“We have the opportunity to participate not only in the evolution of our nation, but in the evolution of ourselves.  I want to call forth the capacity of the American people that I know is out there… to go beyond what anybody could ever dream that we’d become as a nation, to see the possibilities that are out there just waiting to be called forth, whether it’s in energy, in the environment, in peace, in education, in health care, in all those areas.  We have not even begun to touch the potential that we have.”

Movie time

Terry Nyhous introduced our featured movie “The Dollars and Sense of Protecting Community Character”.  The narrator of the film, Ed McMahon, is a Georgetown Law graduate who then taught at Georgetown before moving in 1985 to the Conservation Fund, an organization which has succeeding in preserving over 6,000,000 acres of land.  In 2004 McMahon moved to the Urban Land Institute, a non-profit education and research institute which focuses on using land in ways which enhance the total environment.

“The Power of Place” could be a subtitle of this movie as much time was spent discussing the importance of maintaining the individual identity of places and of how this identity is tied to buildings, views and landmarks.

“If you don’t know where you are, you don’t know who you are.”

Sense of Place: What makes your town different from mine?  What makes these physical characteristics worth preserving?

We can’t have a healthy environment without a healthy economy.
It is possible to develop properties in profitable but environmentally friendly ways.

Growth is inevitable and desirable; however the destruction of community character is NOT inevitable.  The problem is not development itself but the patterns of development:
1) Where will you put it?
2) How is it arranged?
3) What does it look like?

Goals for development: healthy environment, vigorous economy, vibrant community.

Development done well is good for the environment AND good for business AND good for the economy.  For example:

§         When building a new development paving streets is one of the largest expenses.  Wide streets cost more leading to less affordable housing, wide streets cause more soil erosion and are less safe.  Narrower streets cost less, preserve more of the environment and create safer neighborhoods.   Good for the environment, good for business.

§         According to a study by the Urban Land Institute, there are 11 reasons why saving trees increases property values, including esthetic appeal and decreased utility bills.

§         In studies done of golf course communities only 40% of residents play golf.  They choose to live in these places because they like the open spaces.  Capitalize on the “green space premium”- build “golf course communities without the golf course.

Historic Preservation: importance of identifying and preserving historic buildings and vistas.  These are our physical links to the past.  Preservation is good for economic development as demonstrated by the success of the:
§         San Antonio River Walk
§         Pike Place Market in Seattle
§         Art Deco Historic District in South Miami Beach

80% of everything in America has been built since World War II.  What are we building today that will be worth preserving in the future?

New construction should enhance the character of our communities.  Even with franchises, companies can be made to build in ways that reflect the style of the particular area. Companies will do what they need to do to be allowed in to economically valuable areas.

It is never too late to change an area for the better.  Community character deteriorates one building at a time and can be rebuilt one building at a time.

People will save what they love.  We must give our communities this sense of place through elements such as historic markers and public art.

Image:   Every day people make decisions based on what communities look like: where to live, travel, spend time and money, retire…  The image of a community is fundamentally important to economic viability.

Signs project the image of a community more than anything else.  Often signs are oversized, poorly planned, badly located and far too numerous.

Balancing Nature and Commerce in Gateway Communities:
§         Develop a vision
§         Inventory local resources
§         Build local plans around enhancement of these resources
§         Use education, incentives, voluntary initiatives,
§         Pick and choose development

Consider what should we do and what will it cost? Money always follows a good idea.

“There are two kinds of change, unplanned change and planned change.  With planning we can grow without destroying the things we love.”

Post Movie Discussion:  led by newly elected Board of  Supervisors Terry Nyhous, Peter Schwartz and Holder Trumbo.

Main points:
We must be proactive in preserving the soul of our county.
Good planning and good architecture doesn’t have to cost more.  If you don’t
ask for it, you won’t get it.
Fauquier County has been aggressive in preventing growth but not good at
managing growth where it occurs.
New board of supervisors is prepared to be aggressive and proactive.
Peter Schwartz is currently working on a new zoning ordinance for
Marshall

Citizen participation is extremely important.
We must be flexible in our approaches.
We may need to allow more density in our service districts.
People must be educated about these issues.

Affordable housing:
We need a variety of housing.  We must get away from the classic single family
home on an acre lot as this becomes socially exclusive and causes the
breakdown of community

I tried to take good notes on the film but as there was a lot of great information presented, and I sadly don’t take shorthand, I’m certain I’ve missed a lot.  Terry Nyhous and Ike Broaddus both have copies of this film which they are willing to lend to anyone wishing to watch it.

Happy Holidays Everyone!!

Please join us for our 2008 meetings:

Sunday Jan.  13th:  Lawrie Parker and Liliana Anaya will speak with us about the important work of the Piedmont Dispute Resolution Center

Sunday Feb. 10th:   Community leader and Board of Supervisors member Peter Schwartz will be our guest speaker.

Sunday March 9:  Claire Guthrie Gastanaga will be joining us to discuss issues surrounding immigration.

Please visit our website www.sundaysupperclub.org for frequently updated news articles as well as information on our meetings and other events of interest.

Andrea Martens, Communication Coordinator