The mayor of Clifton, a teeny-weeny town of 62 buildings in rapidly growing southwestern Fairfax County, has stumbled onto a method of paralyzing that politician's nightmare, suburban sprawl.
The method is a sewer system that has pipes, but no plant. The town's sewage has to be hauled out twice a day by a "honey truck." Since the pipes and the truck are full these days, nobody else can move to town.
The mayor is Mynor Floyd McIntyre, who was elected as a write-in candidate in 1976 by the nail-biting margin of 31 to 26. Having shown the stuff of which small-town mayors are made, McIntyre was reelected with only one dissenting vote in 1978, 42 to 1.
In his white clapboard 1908 house with maroon shutters and pear trees in the yard, McIntyre, 66, said that while growth may be licked inside the town there is still plenty for him to worry about.
The mayor wants to keep Fairfax County's fast-food neon and its swilling ranks of pastel town houses from "creeping closer" to the peaceful little valley that shelters Clifton and its studied Victorian charm.
Historically, mayors of Clifton have had other jobs to attend to besides the unpaid position of mayor. In the 1890s, when Clifton was a resort town known for healthy spring water and coll summer nights, Mayor J.M. (Matt) Fullmer also worked as the town's street repairman. Fullmer, a Pennysylvania Dutch German who was exceedingly strong would yoke himself up with an ox for heavy street work and, it is said, cuss out the ox for not keeping up.
Mayor McIntyre, a chain-smoker with gray, crew-cut hair who retired after 37 years of civilian service with the Navy, has no such distractions. He plugs away at defending the integrity of a town of 160 acres, four churches, a Superette store and 180 people who have a common goal of keeping the numbers from growing.
With the "pump and haul" sewer system acting as an impenetrable moat against growth, McIntyre has had time to deal with the town's two other recent "problems."
The first problem, which McIntyre terms a "rough one," was a bar and restaurant that attracted hundreds of "strangers" and their cars at night to Clifton. The owner of the restaurant managed to make just about everybody in town mad at him. McIntyre said, and he was sued 17 times. The big complaint, McIntyre remembers was the noise at 2 a.m. when all the cars left town. After an angry and extended flap, the owner and his business left town.
The second problem, as yet unsolved, is much like the first-a noise problem. McIntyre says that kids from Fairfax County bring their cars to Clifton to race up and down Main Street at night and make the townspeople nervous. A cop has been hired to nab the insensitive speeders weekend nights. McIntyre doesn't know yet if the cop has solved the problem.
But of Clifton's note crises during McIntyre's three-year mayoral reign are hard to understand from the standpoint of noise. Clifton, as any resident will admit, is one of the noisiest little towns in the country. On two shiny railroad tracks that cut through town roar about 20 freight and passenger trains a day. Dishes shake in cupboards and barking dogs seem to lose their voices against the almost hourly rumble of the railroad.
"If trains annoy you, don't move to Clifton. It is as simple at that," says Earl Lee, owner of the Clifton Superette. "You can tell if someone in town is a native of Clifton when the train comes through. The native will just stop talking and wait for the train to go by."
But Mayor McIntyre says it is not his job to make sense out of citizen complaints about noise; it is his job to do something about those complaints. And the town has recognized McIntyre's efforts.
The Lions Club of Clifton this year named McIntyre man of the year. At the Superette down on Main Street, Lee says that if McIntyre, who belongs to nearly every organization in Clifton, could just join the ladies auxiliary of the volunteer fire department, the mayor "would have the whole town sewed up."
Having done what he can about noise, McIntyre says he has bigger fish to fry. The federal government is requiring Clifton, a town that cannot grow, to put together a comprehensive plan for growth and to have it done by 1980.
The mayor, who has a law degree from Catholic University and is not easily cowed by bureaucratic regulation, is now asking himself the question: "What the hell are you gonna plan? We ain't got no space." CAPTION: Picture, A sewer system with no treatment plant has held Clifton's growth to a minimum. Mayor Mynor McIntyre says he still has problems, though. By James K.W. Atherton-The Washington Post