The James City County Citizens’ Coalition (J4C) held its ninth and final Annual Meeting in September, where members approved a motion to disband the organization. As you know, the Coalition was established in 2006, born out of concern that government policies spurring unrestrained sprawl development would wreak fiscal and environmental havoc on residents, current and future. Partnering with citizen groups, homeowners associations and individuals, J4C increased public understanding of the complex issues facing the County by holding educational forums and publishing position papers on water supply, stormwater management, cell towers, development of rural lands, the cumulative impact and cost of development and more. Our many advocated positions did not oppose growth of the type that would offer well-paying jobs, but rather opposed those policies that have yielded retail and hospitality jobs at the bottom of the wage scale, empty stores cannibalized by newer buildings, housing developments built by absentee developers, and sprawl that degrades the rural and historic ambience that is our area’s one source of differentiation. Despite our impact, we are left with crowded roads, polluted waterways, depleted aquifers, and expensive new schools.
This need not have happened. We worked hard for positive change. But new hands were not forthcoming to continue the job.
We thank all of you who worked with us over the years and the County’s generous staff who shared their expertise to deepen our understanding of issues. We believe J4C demonstrated grassroots democracy at its best. We hope others will carry on in our stead.