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Supervisor: Fairfax will kill limits on home assemblies

By   /   May 21, 2014  /   No Comments

TIME TO TOAST?: Fairfax County officials are expected to back track on a plan to limit the number and size of assemblies at local homes.

 

By Kenric Ward | Watchdog.org Virginia Bureau

FAIRFAX, Va. — Bowing to a public backlash, Fairfax County officials likely will kill a proposal limiting the size and number of gatherings at private residences.

“The results of the first two hearings were overwhelmingly against,” Supervisor Pat Herrity told Watchdog.org.

“I believe the board will shut it down on June 10.”

Herrity was the first to call attention to the staff-written plan that would restrict “home assemblies” to no more than 49 people. The proposal also would limit gatherings to a maximum of three in a 40-day span.

Watchdog.org’s coverage of the controversial plan garnered nearly 1,000 online comments — almost universally opposed. The story was picked up nationally.

John Whitehead, an attorney and president of the civil-libertarian Rutherford Institute, calls the Fairfax plan “nefarious.” – See more at: http://watchdog.org/142488/faiirfax-home-assemblies/#sthash.InXZ4IeM.dpuf
John Whitehead, an attorney and president of the civil-libertarian Rutherford Institute, calls the Fairfax plan “nefarious.” – See more at: http://watchdog.org/142488/faiirfax-home-assemblies/#sthash.InXZ4IeM.dpuf

“If people hadn’t shown up (at the public hearings) and spoken out, I don’t know that this wouldn’t have moved forward,” Herrity said in an interview Monday.

Adding to concerns raised in the original report, outraged citizens speculated the county limits would prevent school groups from meeting at homes.

Fairfax resident Adam Hiatt called the plan “a direct attack on religion, family and the political freedom to assembly granted by the First Amendment.”

John Whitehead, president and attorney at the civil-libertarian Rutherford Institute in Charlottesville, Va., termed the Fairfax gambit “nefarious.”

Opponents argued that any problems stemming from home assemblies could be addressed with existing or enhanced county ordinances covering parking, noise and regulation of commercial activity.

John Whitehead, an attorney and president of the civil-libertarian Rutherford Institute, calls the Fairfax plan “nefarious.” – See more at: http://watchdog.org/142488/faiirfax-home-assemblies/#sthash.InXZ4IeM.dpuf

Kenric Ward is a national reporter for Watchdog.org and chief of the Virginia Bureau. Contact him at kenric@watchdogvirginia.org or at (571) 319-9824. @Kenricward

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Kenric Ward is a veteran journalist who has worked on three Pulitzer Prize-winning newspapers. A California native, he received a BA from UCLA (Political Science/Phi Beta Kappa) and holds an MBA. He reported and edited at the San Jose Mercury News and the Las Vegas Sun before joining Watchdog.org in 2012 as Virginia Bureau Chief.

Watchdog.org Virginia Bureau, is in no way affiliated with "The Virginia Watchdog". Any similarities between Watchdog.org Virginia Bureau and "The Virginia Watchdog" is completely coincidental and unintentional. Any inquiries into "The Virginia Watchdog" may be done through their site.

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