spacer pixel
 Don't Supersize Loudoun!
spacer pixel

What Has Happened to Fair & Open Government?

Tonight's public hearing on the rural zoning will be cut off at 10pm, so it's critical that you get there as early as possible to stand in line to sign up. The Loudoun Board of Supervisors made this outrageous decision just yesterday. How are citizens who work for a living supposed to participate in such an important decision for the future of our community, taxes, and commutes? I hope you'll join me in writing to the Board of Supervisors about fair and open government. Please see my email below.

To: Loudoun County Board of Supervisors
Date: Wednesday, June 7, 2006

I have verified with your office that you decided in your business meeting, just yesterday, to limit tonight's rural zoning public hearing to 3.5 hours, from 6:30pm to 10pm. Citizens will be able to start signing up around 6pm on a first come, first serve basis.

You have not made a decision to limit the time of the Saturday hearing, although you could make a similar decision for Saturday at tonight's hearing.

I am dismayed at this decision. You are making the participation of your suburban, middle class consituents in the public process very difficult for the following reasons:

1) You have not allowed citizens to sign up ahead of time, even though you have precedence for doing so in your budget hearings. I knew I had a speaking slot for the budget hearings at 3:50pm, and I was able to arrange my life to be there at that time. What is different for these hearings for a zoning decision that has such a huge impact on the future of our community, our taxes, and our commutes?

2) Working, middle class people in Loudoun, which are the vast majority of constituents for most of you, often can not get to public hearing sign up by 6pm. Why? Because most work outside of the county or in the eastern part of the county, leave at the earliest at 5pm (but the business day at companies like America Online ends officially at 6pm -- call 703-265-1000 if you'd like to verify that), then they have to face the terrible east/west traffic snarls on inadequate highways for the amount of growth that has been allowed in this county.

Invest a few hours once to save hours and hours in traffic!

Final Public Hearings on Loudoun's Rural Zoning with the Board of Supervisors:
1) Wednesday, June 7, 6:30 PM
County Government Center
Saturday, June 10, 9:00 AM
County Government Center

NOTE: Wed Hearing will END at 10pm. Speaker sign up begins 30 minutes prior to the hearings. You will have 2 minutes to speak. Bring copies of your thoughts to submit in case you don't get to speak.

Sure you can't attend? Email the Board now.

If you can't attend, email your comments to the Board of Supervisors.

Concerned? Email the Board right now (and show up too!)

3) Developers, developer employees (who in the past have enjoyed a tailgating party before a public hearing in the Market Place parking lot across the street so they would be there early), western landowners with flexible schedules, people who have made lots and lots of money from the turbo-charged county growth in the past, company executives whose business depends on development going forward and their employees, landowners who stand to make a lot of money and have the incentive to take off from a day job, etc., get there early and take all the early speaking slots. Do you remember the impromptu rally at a recent hearing where citizens stuck in the lobby were yelling, "Let the citizens in!!" It was front page news that week

4) Parents with children have to arrange childcare. Do you know how difficult that is when they don't know when they will speak? Do you know how much money they have to spend for childcare during all the public hearings for all the growth proposals you keep throwing at us? Do you know how difficult, what a hassle it is, to find one for today and then possibly for another day, say this Saturday if you don't let them speak tongiht?

5) Families have obligations, from little league games to music concerts to doctor appointments. Tonight one of my neighbors in Ashburn, a CEO of a company in Tysons, is leaving his business early to get to Leesburg early to sign up to speak. But he called me yesterday and said, "My son was so disappointed that I couldn't make it to his music concert. I've made it to every other one. I tried to explain, but he looked so disappointed. I can not come on Saturday. Do you think I could sign up early, leave from 6:30pm to 8pm, and come back and not lose my speaking spot?" Now what am I supposed to say to him? Or any of the other parents who are in similar situations? They want to speak to you, they really want to speak directly to you. How do you elected representatives respond to that?

6) Other public hearings go well into the morning hours. At your last public hearing in May, I spoke on two of the final agenda items and didn't get out of there until 12:30am. So what's the difference with this one? Do you not want to hear what we have to say on this critical issue??

7) For past public hearings on critical issues, you have held the hearings in a much larger space like high school auditoriums, where all of us could fit in. What's the difference with this one? You've received hundreds of email messages on this topic, so you know citizens will be showing up. Are you going to come out in the lobby and see who wasn't able to fit inside the Board room, especially since now citizens won't even be able to get in later than 10pm to speak to you??

8) Making this decision just yesterday has given people NO LEAD TIME to change their plans accordingly. Did you do it so late on purpose??

I truly hope you're not really going to cut off the voices of the citizens on such a critical issue for the future of our community -- and the future of our tax bills and commutes. I hope the first thing you do at the hearing tonight is reverse this terrible decision you made to cut the hearing off at 10pm.

What has happened to fair and open government in this county??

Andrea McGimsey
homeowner and taxpayer
Ashburn, Virginia
Dulles District

Director, Campaign for Loudoun's Future

More information:
A suburban view on rural zoning
Rural economy overview
Talking points on rural zoning (Word document)
Summary of rural zoning proposal (Word document)
Map of rural Loudoun (PDF document)
How much Growth is too much?
(PDF document)
* Recent subdivision applications in the rural area

Thank you for your support,
Andrea McGimsey
Campaign for Loudoun's Future
[email protected]

Together, We're Fighting to Protect the Quality of Life in Loudoun

Please Help Us Reach You Better
Did this email get tagged as spam? Was the formatting difficult to read? Find this useful? Send comments to: [email protected]

To remove your email address from further communications, please send an email with "unsubscribe" in the subject line to:
[email protected]