Fairfax County Board Chairman John F. Herrity, who has said repeatedly that he will not accept money from developers during his campaign for a fourth term, met recently with about 25 of Northern Virginia's most prominent business leaders -- including developers -- to solicit their help in fund-raising, according to several sources who attended the meeting.

Two sources said organizers of the meeting asked them to raise $10,000 each on Herrity's behalf by seeking small contributions from their friends and associates. Other participants did not recall specific fund-raising goals being mentioned but said Herrity and his aides emphasized that they needed to meet their target of at least $500,000 soon to reserve television advertising spots for this fall. There is no limit on the amount of campaign contributions under federal, state and local laws.

In the Nov. 3 election, Herrity, a Republican, is facing his toughest challenge for the board chairmanship from Supervisor Audrey Moore (D-Annandale), a candidate who has pledged to push restrictions on development.

The meeting was held the morning of July 30 in the executive dining room of Planning Research Corp., a high-technology service firm and defense contractor in McLean. Coffee, Danish and juice were served.

Herrity's son and campaign manager, Tom Herrity, said the meeting did not violate his father's stated policy of "not accepting financial contributions from developers."

He added: "Are members of the development industry generating contributions on our behalf? I imagine they are."

When Herrity announced his candidacy April 11, he stated that "we are not going to be financially linked to developers in terms of this campaign . . . . That is our basic commitment."

Asked yesterday about the meeting, he said, "We've had numbers of meetings with a lot of different people about money and support . . . any candidate does this. It's part of the job."

According to sources, the developers who attended the meeting included John T. (Til) Hazel Jr., a principal in Hazel/Peterson Cos.; Edward R. Carr, president of Edward R. Carr & Associates; Dwight C. Schar, chairman of the board of NV Ryan, and Gordon Smith, a principal in Miller & Smith.

Also present were Hazel's brother William A. Hazel, a major building contractor, and John M. Toups, the retired chairman of the board of Planning Research Corp. A complete list of the attendees was not available.

Herrity, who was elected to Fairfax's highest office in 1975, has been seen as a supporter of development in the county for more than a decade. However, since a misdemeanor conviction last summer involving his relationship with a developer, he has gone out of his way on several occasions to avoid being portrayed as allied with developers.

Herrity was fined $100 after he was convicted on a charge of violating a state disclosure law by not revealing his business dealings with a developer before voting on the developer's land-use proposal.

Herrity and Republican officials have acknowledged that he was politically damaged by the conviction.

Even before he announced his candidacy for reelection, Herrity was telling reporters, colleagues and friends that he could not afford politically to accept money from developers, who are seen by many voters as the well-financed heavies of Northern Virginia politics.

Nonetheless, many Herrity critics have said that because of the perceived high stakes of the election -- the future of the county's economic boom -- developers would find some way of underwriting his campaign.

Herrity and Moore do not bar contributions from the real estate industry and other businessmen who do not come before the Board of Supervisors with rezoning and other applications but who can benefit nonetheless from the county's land-use decisions.

In a letter sent out last week announcing a $500-a-plate breakfast on Herrity's behalf, W. Howard Rooks, president of Mount Vernon Realty, wrote: "Jack has been and continues to be a major supporter of real estate issues and building industry concerns."

Campaign officials for Moore say they have asked business leaders for help in fund-raising, but not developers. Moore would not comment on the Herrity meeting, other than to reaffirm her own policy of refusing to accept financial support from developers. "We've tried to be very, very careful about it," she said.

County board members are reluctant to accept developers' contributions because of the possibility of a confict of interest when they vote on land-use proposals that can mean millions of dollars for developers.

Many developers have said they feel disenfranchised in this year's county board elections because of the policies adopted by Herrity and other candidates regarding contributions from developers.

"A lot of people are upset they can't support Jack the way they would like to because the press makes it sound like something's wrong for a real estate developer to support a candidate," said Smith of Miller & Smith. "It's okay for the butcher, the baker and candlestick maker to get involved. I've heard a lot of people say, 'I wish I could give Jack money but {he} won't take it.' "

Sources gave differing accounts of what was said in the July 30 meeting, but all agreed that Herrity did most of the talking. Some said he warned of disastrous times for developers if Moore is elected; others said his approach was mostly positive. Two participants said that some of the developers wanted to know if Herrity would see to it that the county's attitude toward growth would become more positive.

Tom Herrity said that the purpose of the meeting was to "update people -- businessmen, other people -- on the status of the campaign." He said that while "people at these meetings want to talk about the status of fund-raising . . . . We didn't go into that meeting to talk about fund-raising."