Hearing Date a Poor Choice

It is unfortunate that the Loudoun County Planning Commission has chosen Oct. 3, the eve of the Jewish High Holiday of Rosh Hashanah, for its public hearing on proposals for Comprehensive Plan amendments in two key sub-areas in the Transition Policy Area -- Upper Foley and Upper Broad Run -- both the subject of considerable controversy.

I happen to think there are opportunities for development there. That is not the point.

A public hearing is supposed to be an occasion on which members of the public, from all sides, can express views on development proposals and listen to one another. To schedule a hearing of this importance on this date is a real affront to a minority -- roughly like confronting the majority by scheduling something on Christmas Eve.

To have the meeting start at 5:30 p.m. instead of the usual 6 p.m. to make it possible for observers of Rosh Hashanah to leave the meeting before sundown, as the commission chairman said, adds insult to injury because it clearly is nothing more than a token accommodation and ignores one of the principal purposes of a public hearing -- to allow people on all sides of a debate to be present for the entire hearing to listen to the views of their neighbors.

John D. Herbert

Paeonian Springs

Herbert is a member of the Planning Commission for the Catoctin District.