Planning Commission Mix-Up

Planning Commission Mix-Up

Chair failed to give public notice for subcommittee meeting on comprehensive plan amendments in Dulles south.

A tiff over a mistakenly-held Planning Commission meeting regarding the comprehensive plan amendments resulted in a flurry of scolding for Chairman Larry Beerman and illustrated just how hot the comprehensive plan amendment issue has become.

On Feb. 7, following a regularly scheduled Planning Commission worksession, Beerman held a subcommittee meeting on the five comprehensive plan amendments (CPAMs) in the Route 50 area, dubbed the Dulles South CPAMs. The CPAMs were submitted in a bulk of 20 by developers last September. Planning staff recommended that all but four of the amendments, which would dramatically increase the population of the county if accepted, be rejected. The Planning Commission is currently reviewing 14 of the amendments.

The problem with Beerman’s meeting was that since the meeting had been listed as cancelled on the county’s government calendar, the required three-day notice was not met.

“I recognize the zeal in which you want to assist the development community in rushing through the CPAMs which in my opinion would have a substantial negative impact on our County as a whole,” wrote Board of Supervisors Chairman Scott York (I-At Large) in a letter to Beerman. “While you are free to ignore the advice of the planning staff not to accept the CPAMs you are compelled to follow the law.”

Supervisor Mick Staton (R-Sugarland Run) also chimed in with a letter reprimanding Beerman.

ACCORDING TO BEERMAN, the meeting was the result of a slip-up in terminology. Beerman had adjourned the worksession before beginning the subcommittee meeting, not recognizing his mistake.

At Monday night’s worksession, the commission agreed to hold the meeting again with proper public notice.

“Everyone will be happy, and no one will be sending out nastygrams,” Beerman said.

At Tuesday’s Board of Supervisors meeting, former Planning Commission and board chair Dale Myers spoke in Beerman’s defense.

“It was an honest mistake,” she said. “What they were setting out to do that night was to begin a public dialogue in the communities that will be most affected by these applications. What's so wrong with that? Gee, it used to be known as the American process.”