LETTER- Development threatens us all

Darren Pace is right: we can decrease automobile use and suburban sprawl by increasing density and establishing public transportation to save the countryside ["Nine stories will be great," Letters, June 15].

But we must exercise caution in planning ways to accomplish these goals. Witness the downtown Pavilion's generic replication of our beloved Fridays After Five. More and more views of Monticello from the Mall disappear daily, and now we are standing by while an established congregation is driven out of town like a flock of geese.

Projects that undercut Charlottesville's fundamental character and threaten our sense of community are like a cancer. Even if it's more difficult and takes longer to proceed carefully, we should make every effort to resist privatizing beloved views or annihilating established local institutions.  

While our landscape attracts visitors, they're encouraged to stay by a rare quality of community that is threatened by short-sighted development. Just as interaction of ecological processes determines the landscape's appearance, socio-cultural processes interact to create our sense of community.

Like cars and sprawl, countryside and community go hand in hand. Henry Ford never imagined the harm his invention would cause. But who has escaped the ravages of unrestrained development?  If only for our grandchildren, we cannot neglect processes that nurture community even as we grieve for the loss of landmarks and the desecration of institutions.

Anne Henley