Continuing with their highly efficient efforts to eliminate citizen involvement in local planning, the all-Republican Loudoun Board of Supervisors this week unanimously endorsed Supervisor Ralph Buona’s very business-friendly proposal to allow big-box stores to be built by-right in the county.
The fact that developers of commercial real estate and related industries donated half a million dollars to the campaign coffers of local Republicans during this past election cycle had absolutely nothing to with this.
It was, the supervisors explained, merely a matter of letting “the free market” and “consumers” decide where 75,000-square-foot stores should henceforth be built.
Under an amendment adopted by the previous board, a special exception hearing was required for such mega stores, giving citizens a chance to have their views on the compatibility of plopping down a two-acre-sized retail outlet in their neighborhoods at least considered. The whole idea of a planning process, after all, is that “the market” left to its own devices does not always produce outcomes in the best interests of the community—such as safe and pleasant neighborhoods, the preservation of irreplaceable historic and environmental resources, manageable growth, and long-term versus short-term economic gains.
But citizen involvement is all very passé in Loudoun’s new business-friendly environment, as defined by the new reigning GOP ideology. Supervisor Eugene Delgaudio (R-Sterling) even opined that the previous board “had adopted an alien culture” in permitting citizens to have a say in the approval process for big box stores. Apparently Eugene’s well-known crusade against aliens has now expanded to encompass within the definition of “alien” . . .
• citizen participation
• opposing the money-making schemes of major donors to the Loudoun Republican Party
• other things Eugene doesn’t like