While the fate of the Prince William Digital Gateway proposal is still undecided, one thing isn’t. That’s the verdict on the atrocious process employed by our county government to “review” it.
Normally a proposal of this unprecedented magnitude would warrant multiple studies, surveys and interactive public forums to ensure all relevant issues were thoroughly assessed and constituent sentiment ascertained.
Instead, we got just the opposite. Professional conscientiousness was absent, critical information was suppressed, prudent precautions denied and resident input stifled. Officials expected to represent the taxpaying public seemed far more protective of private interests.
One thing that is particularly odd is how our government appears to be gauging support for the proposal. Rather than employing valid survey techniques or facilitated public discussions, they seem to give a handful of financially advantaged supporters equal weight with thousands of adversely affected citizens.
Will the outcome of this review turn on a thorough and dispassionate analysis of the facts or the effectiveness of a corporate marketing machine?
Another wholly deficient premise is that this proposal represents the reasonable exercise of property rights. Landowners who have become disenchanted with their properties have every right to sell under the existing zoning conditions. But the county has no obligation to alter those conditions simply to accommodate landowners’ grander ambitions, especially when they result in Carthaginian consequences for the citizens remaining.
The combined effect of the above is a profound skepticism about who our government is working for. The upcoming vote will confirm or refute those suspicions.