Prince William Conservation Alliance (PWCA)
Woodbridge Potomac Communities Civic Association (WPCCA)
Lake Ridge Occoquan Coles Civic Association (LOCCA)
Mid County Civic Association Of Prince William (MIDCO)
Date: March 26, 2020
To: Prince William County Government Partners
Dear elected officials and staff:
Since the organizations listed above are engaged in promoting transparency in government, we have to take exception to the county’s plans to continue to hold Public Hearings during the health emergency. Whether or not the county is bound by the state’s restrictions on public gatherings, holding meetings at this time will result in greatly reduced public participation due to the current pandemic, and therefore will undermine the public process.
We are aware that there are state requirements requiring a case decision on applications within a certain amount of time. While it is unclear if a deferral satisfies this requirement or if the declared state of emergency affects those deadlines, we urge our county leaders to work with the Governor’s office, the Commonwealth and other counties to deal with any state requirements that would prevent suspension of public hearings until citizens can safely and reasonably be expected to attend in person. Efforts to pick and choose which cases to hear and which to defer would create an unequal and arguably unfair situation.
We realize that we have entered uncharted territory and that everyone is doing their best to deal with this situation. Please do whatever you can to ensure that the public’s right to participate in government is respected.
Kim Hosen, PWCA
Lynda Silverstrand, WPCCA
Tom Burrell, LOCCA/PELT
Jack Kooyoomjian, LOCCA
Martin Jeter, MIDCO