How natural can Klugeville be?

I am writing in regard to a comment attributed to Bill Moses (husband of Patricia Kluge) in the June 26 news story, "Sour grapes, Neighbors fermenting over Kluge plan," ( about the couple's desire to build a subdivision.

The remark that "This is a nice transition from large, useless lots (emphasis mine) to something that promotes agriculture" exemplifies many landowners' opinions that land is only of value if they can personally profit from it. It is very sad that few folks look at land as habitat worth preserving for numerous species of wildlife wildlife that are important for the proper functioning of this world.

Although 313 acres will supposedly be kept as a "preservation tract," vineyards and orchards will compose about 50 percent of that acreage. Such areas do not supply wildlife habitat when they are managed with pesticides and "clean" agricultural methods. And if the "meadows" are hayed as they must be to receive a tax break from the county they will not help our "field wildlife" much, either.

Thus a common misperception is illustrated: the erroneous idea that "farmland" is automatically worthy of preservation even though it probably will not supply wildlife habitat and certainly in this case it will contribute nutrient load and pesticides to the Chesapeake Bay.

The owners do, according to Albemarle County zoning regulations, have a right to subdivide the land that they own. But in the end, it does not matter how many lots the land is divided into. Whether five-acre yards or 21-acre estates, most people will treat the land as an extension of sterile indoor living (read "acres of mowed grass and pesticide use"). Thus it is doubtful that much of this land will ultimately support any more wildlife than the vineyards that Moses wants to intersperse among the separate properties if he is allowed to do so.

We are losing many species of wildlife. As the landscape becomes ever more dotted with homes because we refuse to limit our population, we must start learning about living in agreement with nature.

Now there is a proposal with "many interesting aspects" to it. If only this influential couple would take this idea to five of the six county supervisors a proposed subdivision where natural landscaping would be the norm.

Marlene A. Condon
Albemarle County