Stop Kluge's development now

Patricia Kluge is now planning to develop her property by right [News, "In your face: PEC attacks new Kluge plan," November 6].

Under the plan denied by the Albemarle County Planning Commission, she touted building houses with cisterns. To date, there has been no such publicity that cisterns will be a part of her by-right housing project. However, Kluge must be aware that there could be a dearth of water for these new dwellings.

Houses with cisterns are typically built where water is in short supply, and thus cisterns are not usually installed in areas with abundant water. Also, public records reveal that Kluge applied for well permits for her home, Albemarle House, during the drought years of 1999 and 2001. Still, despite apparent knowledge about the water situation in her area of the county, she insists upon developing her land.

This should serve as a wake-up call to Albemarle County government officials and residents. People should no longer be allowed to develop land unless it– even in times of drought– has sufficient water to meet the demands of additional homes as well as the demands of the already present neighbors.

Water is a precious and limited commodity that none of us can live without. It is foolish to allow unrestricted growth when the recent drought made it absolutely clear– by the exsiccation of numerous wells– that Albemarle County does not have an "ample water supply" (a quote that Nancie G. Marzulla of Washington, D.C., president of the group Defenders of Property Rights, has attributed to an unnamed hydro-geologist in support of Kluge's previous plans).

Kluge has enough money to live practically anywhere in the world and thus could leave this area after her land has been developed. But for many Albemarle County residents, moving is not an option. Thus if we do not stand up against property rights advocates who develop this area and then move on, the rest of us will be fighting water wars.

We need to do battle now with those who would develop the land– not later with those who would live on the land. Let your county supervisor know where you stand.

Marlene A. Condon