I just got word that local television station WUSA 9 is filming in the neighborhoods of Sterling right now, focusing on blighted houses and Verizon equipment parked on our streets. The report will likely be aired on the late news tonight.
UPDATE: Heh. Here is what Channel 9 was filming.
This is around the corner from my house, about 1/4 mile away from “House A.” I wonder, now that everyone got kicked out of House A, if some of them just moved around the corner. I’m going to go by in a little while and see if any of the same trucks show up. In any case, it looks like the tactic is to just move the equipment to another street and hope nobody notices.
Being on the street, this violation should be addressed by the Sheriff’s Office, and hopefully someone will call it in or maybe some deputy will see tonight’s report. Then, it will be moved into a driveway, and it will be the Loudoun County zoning enforcement team’s turn to shine.
For those who are not caught up, here are my reports from
In addition, here is my letter in today’s Independent:
Enforce the Zoning
I read with interest your front page story on “eastern Loudoun initiatives” under consideration by our Board of Supervisors. For residents of Sterling who wonder why our zoning laws have been so flagrantly abused the past few years, with overcrowded houses allowed to persist and commercial enterprises allowed to operate out of neighborhood homes, I may have found part of the answer.
I recently did some research as a result of a “problem house” on our street which, once again, Loudoun County Zoning refused to do anything about. I wrote a story detailing this case on June 23 at novatownhall.com. It turns out that the only member of the Loudoun County zoning enforcement team who speaks Spanish – and therefore, for obvious reasons, the point person for inspections of overcrowding and other complaints in Sterling – told a college publication last summer that in addition to working for Loudoun County, she is “continuing to help immigrants though part-time work for an immigration law firm.”
Of course, there is no stigma whatsoever in advocating for “immigrants” and every American should have the freedom to take civic action on matters he or she feels strongly about. But there seems to be a blatant and unconscionable conflict of interest when the one person who is supposed to be Sterling’s chief enforcement officer is also doing legal work on behalf of those so often involved in the alleged violations here.
Most Sterling residents who have attempted to file zoning violation complaints are familiar with the excuses the county’s zoning personnel give us for doing nothing, such as “Virginia’s laws are not strong enough” to allow more rigorous enforcement. But think about this: In the neighboring town of Herndon, when the new mayor and town council first took office in July, 2006, the town had nearly 90 cases of unresolved zoning violations. As of a couple months ago, that number was hovering between five and ten, because Herndon hired additional Spanish-speaking zoning inspectors, some on a part-time basis, with the charge to get the problem fixed.
It appears what is really lacking in Loudoun County is the will to enforce the zoning laws and, at least in regard to Sterling, our county government does not really want to fix the problems.
Maybe Loudoun County Administrator Kirby Bowers should make a phone call to Herndon Mayor Steve DeBenedittis. I am certain “Mayor Steve” would furnish some references of zoning inspectors who could bring an attitude adjustment to our Department of Building and Development.