Another Leesburg resident has thrown a hat into the ring for November’s Leesburg Town Council races.
John Hilton announced Monday that he will run for one of the three council seats on the ballot. An Oaklawn resident, Hilton is a member of the town’s Environmental Advisory Commission and the Loudoun County Board of Equalization. Professionally, he is a licensed Realtor at Century 21 New Millennium and is also involved in the insurance and newspaper industries.
“I am running for Town Council to conserve our wonderful small town way of life, something that is in short supply in the Washington region. The council would benefit greatly from the fresh perspective of a business man and Northern Virginia native like me,” Hilton stated in the press release announcing his candidacy.
Hilton and his wife, Sandra, moved to Leesburg three years ago. He said they plan to retire here, and his hopes in running for council is to help manage the growth in the area.
“Having lived and done business in Arlington, McLean and Tysons Corner, I don’t want the same thing to happen to Leesburg,” he said. “There’s going to be growth no matter what we do, but we can manage it properly to be growth we can live with, or growth we really can’t. Growth can swallow you or you can manage it.”
It is his background as a real estate professional that gives him a keen eye for managing growth, he said. But Hilton said he is “one of those odd ducks” that desires smart growth, beautification and protecting the environment.
“It’s hard to really put me in a box,” he said. “A lot in my profession if you got them on Town Council or the Board of Supervisors you’d have a house on every hill, which is something I don’t want.”
Hilton said he believes Leesburg has “the best of both worlds,” with proximity to Dulles Airport and the neighboring rural and cultural areas. He calls the downtown area “the crown jewel of the town” and said protecting Leesburg’s historic area is a priority.
Noting that “you have to plan within the backdrop of reality,” Hilton said review of land development applications should be cognizant of the region’s dependence on cars to move around the area.
“The reality is that from now until none of us are around people will be driving their cars into Leesburg and other places in Loudoun County and parking those cars somewhere and then going to businesses, restaurants and cultural spots. We’re never going to be San Francisco with the trolley car, and we’re not going to have Metro out here,” he said.
Although he acknowledges that Metro’s Silver Line project was not within the purview of the Town Council, Hilton said he was against the Metro coming further into Loudoun County, and believes it should have terminated at Dulles Airport. He cites the problems – funding, safety and otherwise – with the project as his reasons against it.
Hilton plans a campaign kickoff sometime this summer. A campaign website and Facebook page are also forthcoming, he said.
Hilton joins Ron Campbell as the only two candidates to formally announce candidacies for the three Town Council seats up for election in November. The terms of incumbents Katie Hammler, Tom Dunn and Bruce Gemmill expire this year. While none have yet made any formal announcements, Gemmill cited in his expression of interest to fill the vacant council seat earlier this year that he did not intend to run in November’s elections.