Fairfax County Board Chairman Audrey Moore, increasingly at odds with her colleagues, offered several new proposals or suggestions to control development yesterday and lost every one in a raucous meeting that turned personal.
"This discussion is like . . . it's crazy," said Supervisor Joseph Alexander (D-Lee). "We didn't elect Mrs. Moore dictator, we elected her chairman, and she's doing all the speaking."
As supervisors rolled their eyes, Moore:
Suggested there might be a need for the county to undertake a "wholesale" and "comprehensive" reduction of development rights, but found no support. Just a year ago, the board infuriated the county's business community with heavy cuts in permitted construction densities for some commercial and industrial property. "I want to keep myself as far away from a comprehensive downzoning as possible," responded Supervisor Thomas M. Davis III (R-Mason), who is expected to challenge Moore for the chairmanship next year.
Proposed replacing the county's rezoning process in favor of one modeled after Alexandria's and Arlington's. Arlington and Alexandria negotiate with developers for concessions such as roads or sewers through a special-permit process. Fairfax negotiates through a rezoning process. The results are about the same, according to land-use attorneys, but the approach used by Alexandria and Arlington would allow Fairfax to negotiate public improvements without guaranteeing development rights, Moore argued. That proposal died for lack of a second.
Proposed deferring for two months consideration of all rezoning applications -- in effect a freeze on applications for new projects. That also died for lack of a second.
Tried to remove a prominent developer, J. Bahman Batmanghelidj, from an oversight committee. That failed, 7 to 2.
Given the choice of attending yesterday's meeting or having a root canal, "I wish I were . . . having a root canal," said Supervisor Kate Hanley (D-Providence). Supervisor Elaine N. McConnell (R-Springfield), had missed the first part of the board session because of a dentist appointment to have a root canal.
"The mood of the board is clear," Davis said. "Audrey has gone back to being the lone wolf instead of the leader of the pack."
Moore, a Democrat, was a 16-year member of the board representing the Annandale District before she was elected chairman in 1987; she built the reputation of being a gadfly often out of step with the board's majority, but was consistently rewarded by the voters with lopsided victories.
Some supervisors and other political observers say they think that Moore, who recently commissioned a public opinion poll in preparation for her reelection bid, is reverting to her roots and is deliberately setting herself up in opposition to the board. They cite her vote in May against the county budget and a speech she gave two weeks ago warning of a potential $65 million deficit in fiscal 1992 and calling for further spending cuts and budget limits.
"I think it is the responsibility of the chairman to lay out the issues of significance that are going to have to be faced by the county and the board," Moore said. She specifically denied that she was attempting political gain by setting herself apart from the board.
Yesterday, Moore introduced issues not on the agenda and which neither the other supervisors nor the county staff members were prepared to discuss.
None of Moore's six Democratic colleagues supported a new downzoning, which Moore said might be necessary to balance development and transportation, the key pledge of her 1987 campaign.
After the meeting, Moore said, "I don't see the board taking any action to downzone . . . before the next election." She said, however, that additional restrictions on development might be necessary if, as part of a review of the county's Comprehensive Land Use Plan, supervisors delete anticipated road widenings.
Some supervisors said yesterday that they favor deleting certain controversial widenings. Last year, the board reduced development on about 14,000 acres. Developers and landowners filed more than 260 lawsuits challenging the action, most of which are still pending, and the General Assembly overturned about one-fourth of the action.