Letter: Ron Meyer, Ashburn

Editor: I enjoyed Mr. Greene’s cartoon and the Ms. Nadler’s article it referenced, but I wanted to take this opportunity to address any misperceptions Loudoun Now’s content created.

As an invited speaker to a breakfast of Loudoun business leaders and developers, my message was simple: Loudoun County is going to be requiring more of developers than ever before—more proffered roads, public utilities, and schools.

Past boards have generally asked developers for roads and school sites; with our more than $80 million budget gap this next year, we will need some of them to invest not just in sites, but in the actual capital costs of building the schools.

That is what partnership looks like.

Is requiring a higher level of infrastructure investment than any Board in Loudoun history being cozy with supposed fat-cat developers, as your cartoon implies?

No, it’s quite the opposite. And, it’s the right thing to do. If you’re going to build here, you’re going to invest in public infrastructure here. Period.

Instead of just letting developers rezone commercial land into residential—leading to tax increases from additional drivers and kids in the school system—we need to focus any new development on building our commercial tax base.

Office parks are dead, and modern businesses want to move to mixed-use areas that combine retail, office, and millennial-focused residential. That is the type of environment we want to build near the metro stations and the Rt. 28 corridor.

But, while this mixed-use development attracts business, it still has a residential element. This is where the County should demand significant proffers to make sure our schools and roads are not overcrowded like they have been due to overdevelopment allowed by previous boards.

In fact, we need to use the proffers for these future developments not only to service the homes they build, but also to fill the gaps in our roads and schools left by previous under-planning.

That is our vision of partnership.

I love good humor, but let’s not fall into the Washington trap—where people on all sides ridicule one another and accomplish very little for the American people. After the publication of Loudoun Now’s cartoon and article, the good news is that multiple newly elected Democrats approached me and asked, “what’s wrong with partnership?”


Instead of picking fights, let’s get creative and turn the adversaries of the past into the partners of the future.

Ron Meyer, Ashburn

Supervisor-Elect, Broad Run District

2 thoughts on “Letter: Ron Meyer, Ashburn

  • 2015-12-24 at 9:14 am

    I am not surprised that Mr. Meyer is attempting to re-write his statements at a recent breakfast for “Loudoun leaders” (read, developers). After all, when you go so far as to state you are turning over your voting to developers, why wouldn’t that attract the attention of the press, or the public. It will be interesting to see how Mr. Meyer votes on these developer projects (or who, perhaps, is raising his hand “yes” for him).

  • 2016-01-02 at 1:10 pm

    Also in the article Mr. Meyer cites was a call for “transparency.” In that spirit, the place to start is with campaign contributions. Virginia’s minimal campaign contribution laws allow many unlimited contributions, and it is often a challenge to track down from whom or where many contributions actually came from: A company or individual with future business before the board may contribute directly to the individual whose vote they would like to influence, give money to a “political advocacy” group that will support that candidate, or even write a check to another candidate, who can then “donate” that money to the elected official. All perfectly legal. With these criteria in mind, here, from the Virginia Public Access Project, are some figures that roughly represent contributions from development industry sources and ‘friends’ to our new county Supervisors. (Also included are donations from those oh-so-thrifty donors who describe themselves as “homemakers,” [donor identification is by the honor system] who write checks for up to $8,000 or so.) Suzanne Volpe (two campaigns) wins the purple ribbon with $193,212; Matt LeTourneau, $70,828; Ralph Buona, $61,289; Ron Meyer, $50,588; Geary Higgins (two campaigns), $48,250 ($20,769 from those thrifty homemakers); Tony Buffington, $42,560; Koran Saines, $7,460; Phyllis Randall, $3,375; and Kristin Umstaddt, $2,855. Citizens who have been observers of developer influence in Loudoun much, much longer than Mr. Meyer has lived in the county, and understand how much pressure county staff are under to satisfy these large donors, might marvel at his naivete. The proof of course will be in the pudding that begins today–especially with the review of the county’s General Plan. Developers have been very, very busy meeting with county staff. The new head of the county’s planning department calls them “our customers.” He seems very, very eager to keep his customers happy, regardless of what the long term effects on current county residents will be.

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