The answer is simple, WE MUST NOT. There is so much intrigue around Ordinance 2021-16 and how it came to fruition. 2021-16 was an ordinance that was hurriedly passed the night before the mayoral election in November 2021. It enables MXD developments to pursue a waiver to only provide 10% open space instead of 3 acres per every 100 residents they bring into the town. The fact of the matter is, 2021-16 should not exist. It was approved in a questionable fashion, to say the least. Some would go as far as saying it was approved unconstitutionally—that it was a special law. So why do we have a waiver for our APFO (Adequate Public Facilities Ordinance) when it protects our town and our infrastructure from crazy overdevelopment? Good question, but the better question is why would we put ourself in a position to give in to developers when we are in an 80 acre deficit of open space? In my opinion, our town should not care about developers’ ROI (Return on Investment). Rules and ordinances are in place for a very specific reason and constantly granting exceptions and waivers to get around these rules is just not right. A waiver of the APFO should not be allowed while we are in a deficit--PERIOD.
Mount Airy’s landscape could change drastically in the very near future and our leaders should not give in to developers. We must protect our town’s infrastructure and shut down waivers. We must not waver. Developers will come into town and get what they want, leaving us to clean up the pieces afterwards. They do not live in Mount Airy and they do not care what happens to our small town. They care about lining their pockets with money at the easy disposal of our beautiful town. We do not waive adequate public facility requirements for streets, schools, public safety, water, etc. Why should we waive open space, which we are already significantly lacking? 2021-16 is bad for the citizens of Mount Airy, who deserve adequate public facilities of ALL types. We must stand our ground. This is our town! Rules are rules; they should be followed. Open space should not be waived. Ordinance 2021-16 should be repealed!