You’re not a “stakeholder”—you just live here

As part of its very efficient effort to make Loudoun more “business friendly” (see definitions here), the new all-Republican board of supervisors has been very efficiently reconstituting the “stakeholder” committees that will be making recommendations to rewrite rules, regulations, and zoning ordinances.

Somehow, if you merely live here and care about the future of the county, you apparently have no “stake” in the process.

Conversely, if you are a commercial real estate developer, especially one who has given thousands of dollars to local Republican candidates, your interests are vital.

According to an e-mail sent out by the county the other day (full text below), the “stakeholders” officially recognized by the new all-Republican board in the effort to overhaul the county zoning regulations (among the changes already in the works: allow big box stores without a special exception hearing, allow motels and gas stations in rural areas without a special exception hearing, etc etc) are such ordinary citizens as the Northern Virginia Building Industry Association, the Dulles Area Realtors Association, the Dulles South Business Alliance, the Chamber of Commerce, and a group identified only by its initials, NAIOP, which turns out to a Herndon-based national lobbying group, the commercial real estate development association . . . the very industry whose members dumped half a million bucks into Loudoun GOP coffers in the 2011 election cycle.

The e-mail sent out by the county was soliciting stories of onerous Loudoun County restrictions hindering business, though they cast the net pretty wide; it is good enough if you’ve merely heard about onerous restrictions:

If you have experienced or heard about regulations in the Zoning Ordinance that impeded the development or expansion of a business, please contact us

Lest we forget, the entire reason zoning exists is to establish limited but necessary restrictions on commercial and other development for the greater good of the community at large.  Turning over the job of rewriting the rules to the people who want to break them will result in an outcome that is not hard to predict, especially when not a single voice in the room represents the interests of the community the rules are intended to protect in the first place.

We can assume the board will soon direct the staff similarly to seek input from high school students on the number of tests they take, from local employees on whether their salaries are high enough, from Ken Reid on what he thinks about the issuance of speeding tickets, and the board of supervisors itself on the value of complying with ethics laws.

full text of the county e-mail soliciting stories from “stakeholders” concerning onerous, burdensome, business-unfriendly zoning rules:

From: DEPT-BD-BUSINESS-ZOAM [mailto:BusinessZOAM@loudoun.gov]
Sent: Monday, March 12, 2012 4:36 PM
To: DEPT-BD-BUSINESS-ZOAM
Subject: Commercial and Industrial Amendment
 
You have received this email because, at one time, you have done business in Loudoun County, expressed an interest in doing business in the County, or participated in a County outreach project.
 
On February 14, 2012, the Board of Supervisors adopted a workplan directing staff to examine regulations within the Revised 1993 Loudoun County Zoning Ordinance with the intent of identifying elements of the Zoning Ordinance that can be amended to be more business-friendly to commercial and industrial development.  The first phase in this workplan includes outreach and development of issues.  Attached are copies of the February 14, 2012 Board of Supervisors Staff Report and workplan.
 
If you have experienced or heard about regulations in the Zoning Ordinance that impeded the development or expansion of a business, please contact us at:
 
                Phone: 703-737-8050
                Email: BusinessZOAM@Loudoun.gov
       
Visit http://www.Loudoun.gov/BusinessZOAM to get more information and to follow our progress.
 
A Stakeholder’s Group comprised of representatives of the business community will be working with staff to develop a list of issues for consideration, including the Loudoun County Chamber of Commerce, NAIOP, Dulles South Business Alliance, Northern Virginia Building Industry Association (NVBIA), Dulles Area Association of Realtors (DAAR), or the Loudoun County Design Cabinet.  If you are a member of one of these organizations, you may wish to contact your representative to relay your comments.
 
We apologize if you received duplicate emails.

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