So that was how my weekend began on Friday, a surprise phone call from Corey Stewart. Corey pitched an idea to me about creating a new citizen land use committee to help formulate a better land use chapter for the county. Although initially I was excited, upon some deeper introspection, I realized, the very idea of another land use committee was actually a poor idea. Calling Corey back the next day, I shared my trepidation and ultimate decision not to participate on such a committee. You see, Corey shared his frustration with the land use process not having enough citizen input. I agreed, wholeheartedly, with his analysis. But, forming a new citizen committee, beyond the scope of the formal public process, in my opinion, could be interpreted as another, behind the scenes, ” business as usual”, closed government strategy.
The real underlying problem is that our process in this county is broken. The Land Use Advisory Committee (LUAC) had members who had CLEAR, actually BLINDING, conflicts of interest. In fact, one of the glaring issues with Robert Duecaster, beyond his immigration rhetoric, was the very fact that he had NO Human Services experience. Who are the people that are appointed to these committees? Should there be a level of knowledge on the specific subject in order to participate?
Apparently Wally Covington reached out to Katherine Gotthardt(click here to read more) to be on a land use committee also. Is it the same land use committee as Corey? I don’t know? But the reality is that the public process is well on its way, and has been for two years. The Planning Commission, having two plans to choose from as Charlie Grymes so eloquently points out in his commentary, will make their decision on April 15th.
Land use decisions effect each and every one of us, and the “business as usual” paradigm in Prince William County must be resolved. If it is not, if we continue down this same path, we can only expect to see our taxes increase, our infrastructure become even more burdened, and ultimately, our quality of life diminished irreparably.