Fairfax County Executive Leonard Whorton, in a variation on the county government's new we-like-business theme, has called on the Board of Supervisors to adopt a seven-step program to stimulate more industrial and commerical growth.
The steps range from creation of Economic Development Coordinating Committee to adoption of a resolution by the board that "it is its intent to do all within its power to encourage the development of appropriate new business and industry in the county."
"Appropriate" enterprises, the resolution proposed by Whorton says, are those free of "offensive noise, smoke, odor, dust and dirt, fire hazards, industrial wastes of unsightliness."
A bit of unabashed business boosterism need not be an innocuous gesture, in the opinion of Earle C. Williams, one of the seven commissioners on the Fairfax County Economic Development Authority and a critic in the past of what he saw as an antibusiness attitude in the county government.
Williams, who helped write a tough indictment last year of the country's "highly negative image" in the business community, said:
"Words without action are useless, but action accompanied by strong words are very effective . . . This will send signals to the people who have been waiting for the supervisors to go on record."
The supervisors got Whorton's proposals Monday, but while he urged "immediate" action, they decided to hold off action for a week. they delayed a decision so they could hear how the Economic Development Authority feels about the plan.
Executive director David A. Edwards said in an interview that the proposed coordinating committee - which would consist of him, a deputy county executive and three business representatives - "seems like duplication" of the authority. But Edwards said the new group "can't hurt much."
In his proposal, Whorton was general about the purpose of the coordinating committee, saying it would meet "as necessary to ensure that maximum benefit is being achieved in attracting commercial and industrial businesses."
However, it can appears that Whorton's proposal is, at least in part, an attempt to placate critics that the authority's commissioners aren't representative of the type of business the county wants to attract.
Williams is the only commissioner on the authority who is associated with an industry not involved in real estate or development - a fact he points out in implicit criticism of the group's makeup.
Whorton's program also calls for the supervisors to give the present authority a $30,000 supplemental appropriation this fiscal year so it can step up its promotional efforts and hire an economic development specialist.
Since it took office 14 months ago, the Board of Supervisors has, in various ways, tried to present, a pro-business attitude.
One of its first major actions was to end the sewer moratorium in the Dulles International Airport area, where considerable land is zoned for industry.
While business leaders greeted that move, some of them expressed dismay when, a few months later, the supervisors launched a legal fight against the Concorde SST transport.
Heightening concern among county officials is the study last year which found that the value of commercial and industrial real estate was shrinking in proportion to the value of residential real estate.