"Open space could be preserved through clustering, protective easements and transfer of development rights, but those topics are verboten because the mere whisper of them brings out the homemade “Save The Rural Crescent” signs and apocalyptic email blasts prophesying the end of life as we know it. Yet the question remains unasked: Would ending life as we know it in Prince William be a bad thing?
Currently, the Rural Crescent discussion is about the PW Digital Gateway, the construction of which would ease the tax burden on families and help balance some of the county’s educational asymmetry. That does not erase the fact that there is a very real cost to its approval, namely in the number of acres preserved in the Rural Crescent.
Nonetheless, stasis is not a healthy option. For decades the National Forestry Service suppressed all fires, until so much brush built up that an uncontrollable conflagration raged across the land. Change is not only inevitable; it is healthy. The demand for growth will only increase until it sweeps across the land like the great western fires of the 20th century; only then, it will be too late to discuss how to manage it."