Last night’s Fauquier Board of Supervisors meeting went quite long due primarily to a large turnout for Citizen’s Time, and the ongoing debate over the Opal Gateway project.
During Citizen’s Time an estimated 20-30 people turned out to support the Middleburg Humane Foundation; several spoke on behalf of the Foundation to urge the Supervisors to quickly approve their application to expand the foundation at a new location. The item has so far not been included in the agenda.
Two proclamations followed as the Supervisors and friends and family honored two long time Fauquier public servants.
Battalion Chief Justin Clayton was honored on the occasion of his retirement after 46 years of service to the community, and he received a long standing ovation from the citizens in attendance.
Vice Chairman, Holder Trumbo read a proclamation honoring Barbara Severin and presented a certificate to her Son. Barbara served the community for many years in the Fauquier library system, and was responsible for dramatically increasing the number of citizens who use the library. She and her husband were also deeply involved in the community in other ways as well.
The primary reason for another large turnout however, was agenda item 11; A Resolution to Consider the Opal Gateway Project in Cedar Run District’s Opal Service District.
Dr. Hasan Abdallah ‘s lawyer, Joe Wiltse spoke first and passionately described all the work that Dr. Abdallah currently is doing in numerous other hospitals (Dr. Abdallah has 20 hospital affiliations according to vitals.com) in the area, including a Children’s Village he has opened in Manassas.
Dr. Abdallah himself followed Mr. Wiltse, and as always, displayed the passion for his work that has made him one of the most sought after professionals in his field. He also disclosed that should the project be approved, he has already lined up other noted Doctors who are interested in becoming part of his staff.
After Dr. Abdallah finished, Julie Bolthouse from PEC quickly commandeered the podium to present the usual tired argument from the Piedmont Environmental Council, whose only opposition to the project at this point seems to be the inclusion of 50 additional acres to the Opal Service District.
As the long line of speakers made their way to the podium, it became clear that the overwhelming sentiment of the community is that this project should be approved as soon as possible, but with Chairman Chester Stribling absence from last night’s meeting, the voted was put off for at least another 30 days.
At this point in the meeting, Vice Chairman Trumbo called for comments from the Board, and in his remarks Supervisor Chris Granger indicated that he will support the project, but in order for him to do so, there are still some details that need to be ironed out.
This is a significant development since Supervisor Schwartz will undoubtedly vote with the opposition, and up until this point Supervisor Trumbo has not appeared to be leaning in favor of the project either.
There was no indication if Supervisor Trumbo’s mind had been changed by the massive out pouring of support from the community last night, but supporters are hopeful that this may end in no less than a 4-1 vote for approval once it comes up for a vote at a future meeting.