Efforts by members of the Purcellville Town Council to scuttle Tom Priscilla’s recent appointment to the Loudoun County Planning Commission more closely mirror the paranoia and hysterics on display in the nation’s capital than the conduct expected from government leaders in western Loudoun.
It’s not clear why a majority of town’s council members believe they should get a vote in the selection of the Blue Ridge District planning commissioner; that would be a first in county history. The person in that seat has no control over development within the town’s borders, but instead is expected to represent the interests of district residents from Brambleton to Hillsboro, as well as those across the county. Mr. Priscilla’s decades of service on the Town Council and the town’s Planning Commission provide an ample résumé to demonstrate his qualifications for that responsibility, one matched by few.
It is clear that Mr. Priscilla, years after stepping down from his town posts, remains on the enemies list kept by those who view the changes in Purcellville over the past decades as resulting in some sort of blight—contrary to its reputation as a well-managed, desirable community in which to live and work.
The tone of this week’s debate is reminiscent of the battle that surged when a previous Board of Supervisors appointed an eastern Loudoun supervisor to serve as the county’s representative on a town planning board after a contentious election. That one kicked off heated secession talks with the aim of forming Catoctin County.
Hopefully, the council’s energy will be put to better use as it undertakes some innovative measures to strengthen the town’s business base and improve the affordability of its services. Meanwhile, Mr. Priscilla can lend his expertise as one of nine votes working to implement planning and zoning policies in the rest of the county. Both would be well served by leaving the demonization of political opponents to the experts in Washington.