Letter: Alfred P. Van Huyck, Round Hill

Editor: Planning Commission Chair Forest Hayes kicked off the first Zoning Ordinance public hearing by asking his fellow commissioners to “give more than equal share of weight to individuals and not specialized interest groups.” He specifically singled out the frequent speakers from interest groups as “not representing” the majority of residents in the west.

For the record, I like Commissioner Hayes, and believe he has overall led an excellent Planning Commission. However, in this case his statements are both wrong in fact and dangerous if taken seriously by his colleagues.

  1. The majority of the “special interest” groups are non-partisan, non-profit membership organizations. There are over 4,000 individual dues paying citizen members in just the organizations participating in the Loudoun County Preservation and Conservation Coalition.
  2. The average family with full time jobs, children at home or in school, contribute to these “specialized organizations” because they believe in their mission and goals, but have no time to read, digest, and form an opinion about such documents as the 1,000-plus pages of the proposed rewritten zoning ordinance.  
  3. The so-called special interest groups are the source of informing the public of pending development actions which are counterproductive to their way of life because they track proposals on the county platforms which the average citizen does not have time to scan.
  4. The so-called special interest groups are not “hand wringing shouters.”  They assemble professional staff, citizens with specific expertise, and carefully prepare professional documentation for their positions which is shared with staff and supervisors.

It was interesting to note Commissioner Hayes did not mention the representatives of the business and development community as being among the “special interest group” voices he wishes to suppress. They also come to the table with researched and in-depth proposals for the rewrite of the zoning ordinance and for many other development issues in the county.  Their special interest contribution is also of value. 

While there is often reason to oppose some of the business and development community proposals from the point of view of preserving the quality of life of our present and future populations, their special interests should be recognized as legitimate just as those that reflect the heritage and environment of the county and its quality of life.

I hope Planning Commissioner Hayes can rethink his position and provide a fair playing field for all the interests which are focusing on the zoning rewrite.

Alfred P. Van Huyck, Round Hill

6 thoughts on “Letter: Alfred P. Van Huyck, Round Hill

  • 2022-09-06 at 10:33 am
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    I found Mr. Hayes’ comments hypocritical. If he doesn’t want special interest groups to have undue influence, why did he give their reps more time to speak than individual residents? Also, he mangled the names of several residents. That didn’t seem very respectful & sensitive to their opinions. Please make the zoning revision process user-friendly. That’s much more helpful than platitudes.

  • 2022-09-06 at 11:21 am
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    There is a tremendous amount of astro-turfing going on with many special interest groups. Everyone ought to acknowledge this fact and start to look at who is funding these groups. Let’s not be so naïve as to believe “members” are driving the direction of these groups. Even cursory examinations would reveal a great deal about most of these groups and who they really represent.

  • 2022-09-06 at 12:33 pm
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    Hayes is a product of the DC democrat Party Machine. Demonizing and demeaning residents is a feature, not a bug.

    Rich man from DC want’s to show us yokels how it’s going to be.

  • 2022-09-06 at 1:23 pm
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    Local government needs to protect special interest groups because when it comes to matters affecting the daily lives of Loudoun County residents, the average family has “no time read, digest, and form an opinion” and “the average citizen does not have time to scan” proposals. Not sure I can think of a more condescending and pretentious argument.

  • 2022-09-06 at 7:58 pm
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    Unfortunately, Chair Hayes is spot on. Radicalized anti-growth special interest groups (such as the PEC) have been corrupting Loudoun politics for decades. They would love to see nothing more than stripping what is left of the property rights of our residents. Unconstitutional proposals for the creation of new ridgeline setbacks (sneaked in the draft zoning ordinance by these very same special interest groups) and other bondoogle ideas are a slap in the face of our residents. It’s a fact that hard working residents have rarely time to attend BOS meetings. That’s the reason why these meetings have been taken hostage by paid or underemployed NIMBY activists that don’t speak for the majority of our residents. Let’s hope there is at least some common sense left at the Planning Commission and the BOS and the most outrageous ideas pushed by these groups will be removed in the final draft zoning ordinance.

  • 2022-09-13 at 3:35 am
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    The PEC actually supports property rights. They like the concept of controlling your property rights under the guise of protecting their own property rights. Heaven forbid you do the same.

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