Loudoun’s new “what’s in it for me” government

Back in the old, old days — before the current all-Republican Loudoun Board of Supervisors took office in 2011 — most of the appointees to Loudoun’s local government advisory boards and regulatory commissions were ordinary citizens who had a genuine expertise they wished to share in the service of their community.

A rendering of the modest 20,000-square-foot home that the son of recently appointed Historic District Review Committee member is proposing to build in a historic district, complete with historic swimming pol and hot tub.Lewis Leigh

A rendering of the modest 20,000-square-foot home that the son of recently appointed Historic District Review Committee member Lewis Leigh is proposing to build in the protected Shelburne Glebe historic district, complete with historic swimming pool and historic hot tub.

That changed abruptly on January 2012, when the new Board threw off almost every Democrat, independent, and impartial expert and packed the county commissions and boards with major campaign contributors, local Republican Party activists and operatives, and representatives of businesses who stood directly to gain by the actions and decisions of these supposedly independent bodies.

The Facilities Standards Review Committee, which sets technical engineering regulations for developing land, was filled by the new all-Republican Board with employees of development firms. The extraordinarily politicized Lyme Commission the Board created is headed by a doctor who operates practices that provide highly questionable and non-FDA-approved “treatments” for the disease.

And then last year Supervisor Geary Higgins (R-Catoctin) pushed for and secured the appointment to the Historic District Review Committee of one Lewis Leigh, whose major qualifications appeared to be that he owns land in a protected historic district, Shelburne Glebe . . . where his son has been trying for years to build a monster house in contravention of the protective easements that apply to the historic district.

Ashley Leigh’s latest house plans — whose approval is now pending before the HDRC on which his father so selflessly serves — calls for some 20,000 square feet of living space, including gym, theater, “au pair suite,” “billiards/trophy room,” eight bedrooms, two kitchens, two dining rooms, bar, swimming pool, and hot tub.

Now what, after all, could be more “historic” than that?

Wouldn’t it be nice, like in the old days, if the people who served in our government actually did so for some reason other than that they just want to get something for themselves?

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