Fairfax County Poised to Shut Down Home Bible Studies?Northern VirginiaPolicyVirginia

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I never imagined when I agreed to host a Bible study in my home that such an action may one day be a violation of law.

Yet that’s exactly what my very own Fairfax County Board of Supervisors is prepared to do right here in Virginia.

A proposed county zoning ordinance would make it a violation to have more than a certain number of people at your home in a given period of time.  Yet, such an ordinance would stand as a blatant violation of the Constitution.

As Fox News explains, “The proposed zoning ordinance limits ‘group assembly’ at residences to 49 people a day. Such gatherings ‘shall not occur more frequently than three times in any 40-day period.’”

Here’s how the county explains the need:

Over the last several years, there have been complaints from residents regarding frequent and large gatherings at neighborhood homes. These gatherings can create parking, noise, and other concerns for the neighborhood. Although occasional, large gatherings – such as private parties, house concerts, religious meetings and social clubs – are expected and permissible activities at a home, gatherings that occur on a regular basis involving numerous people can detract from the residential nature of a neighborhood because most residential structures and neighborhoods are not designed to accommodate such events.

How many complaints have there been you might ask?  Six.  That’s right, six complaints in Virginia’s most populous county.

Because six people complained, the county is poised to violate the right to free speech, the right to religious expression, and the right to freedom of assembly. (Brian delves further into the constitutional problems here.)

The county has plenty of tools in its arsenal to combat any actual problem without violating the constitutional rights of its citizenry.

If they park illegally, tow the cars.  If they cause a noise violation, issue them a warning or citation.  If they litter, ticket them.  If they trespass or damage property, arrest them.

But don’t violate my precious First Amendment rights to prevent something I’m not doing and can easily be remedied in any of the above ways.

This is just more needless regulation to resolve a nonexistent problem and make violators out of otherwise law-abiding citizens.

But this won’t just affect Bible studies. It will hamper birthday parties, community block parties, house warming, open houses, having people over to watch the big game, and so much more. And if it could happen in Fairfax, it could happen anywhere else.

So who’s behind this measure?  It was proposed, conveniently, not by any Supervisor but as a board staff recommendation.  Regardless of who’s behind it, it’s got to be stopped.

If this strikes you as outrageous, do something about it.  Fairfax County is accepting comments through May 30th.  Leave a comment here.  I just left this one.

You can also show up at the next three meetings they have dedicated to hear what you have to say about this issue.

Tonight is my first night hosting our Bible study.  I don’t plan on it being my last.

  • MD Russ

    Pardon me, but if you have over 49 people coming to your house every week for Bible study, may I suggest that you start your own church somewhere? If fact, lots of cash-strapped Protestant congregations are leasing their facilities to groups such as yours. As for having a minister to lead your flock, you can easily become the pastor without the nuisance of actually going to a seminary and getting ordained.

    http://www.ministerregistration.org/

    If you consider this alternative, perhaps you might find that your neighbors will stop kicking over your trash cans and keying your car in the driveway.

    • Kblankenship7

      I personally oppose keying cars.

      • MD Russ

        Me, too. I prefer to call the police and make a complaint. But others are not so kind, esp. if they have complained in the past without results.

        • Kblankenship7

          Yeah, Boy!

    • Marta D. Saltus

      I’m sorry, but last time I checked this was America, and we do have the right to free assembly! If I want to have a gathering of over 49 people on MY property, NOT the government’s, they have absolutely no right to limit that. What’s next, curfews under Marshall law? Excuse me for sounding over-sensitive to this, but I have lived in countries where exactly this type of thing was the first step towards a nanny-state government in a banana republic.

      • MD Russ

        Marta,

        This might come as a surprise to you, but none of the Bill of Rights protections are absolute. The First Amendment does not provide you a right to commit slander or libel. Nor does it provide you with the right to falsely shout “fire” in a crowded theater. And freedom of association can be limited by zoning laws and other nuisance prevention measures. For example, in Fairfax County no more than four unrelated adults may live in a single family house. That is to prevent illegal boarding houses and the fire and sanitation hazards that they invariably create.

        Personally, I hope that Marshall Clark finds his present home inadequate to host 50 or more people every week. Then, perhaps, he will move in next to you. Enjoy his First Amendment freedom if he does. Oh, and good luck finding a parking space when you come home late from work on those evenings, even in your own driveway.

        • Marta D. Saltus

          Boy, you had to be condescending and treat me like an idiot, didn’t you? Guess what? Marshall would be a welcome addition to our neighborhood. Our homes can in fact host more than 50 people, and parking wouldn’t be a problem, as they all have garages and plenty of street space. We are all courteous to each other, and more than not most of the neighbors hold family parties, gatherings, block picnics and all kinds of other events we all welcome. Additionally, we do not have an HOA, so I can paint my door or shutters any color I want, and have a boat and its trailer on my driveway. That’s the reason I live in my current residence. Perhaps I’m not as stupid as you might think I am.

          • Kblankenship7

            Go, Marta!

          • MD Russ

            I really can’t see where I treated you like an idiot, Marta, but if the shoe fits, wear it. You obviously think that I am stupid since you think that I would believe that the typical residential neighborhood would have adequate parking on-street for 25-35 visiting cars.

          • Marta D. Saltus

            Did I use the word typical anywhere? No, I didn’t. You must not get around Fairfax suburbs too much, but you’re welcome to take a stroll in my neighborhood near Mt. Vernon anytime. First of all you assume each individual will drive separately, ok. I live in a cul-de-sac. You can fit easily 10-12 cars on the street and one driveway just there. On the street all the way up to the next intersection? 10 on each side, and that’s not counting additional side streets which can which can also be used if needed. If my math is correct, that covers 32 cars right there. Of course anyone that plans a large gathering has the courtesy of letting others know, and some that might be out of town might even offer their driveways. Trust me, it can, and has been done many times. I’ve driven enough in fairfax to know many other neighborhoods like this. You need to get around more, MD!

          • Warmac9999

            Well, all conservatives are idiots per the comments of the obviously superior human beings from the left. They constantly tell us how smart they are and how we should sit down and shut up while they destroy (transform) the country.

        • Kblankenship7

          “Fire” in a crowded theatre? Wow, original. I don’t live anywhere near this area, but would welcome a Bible study next door. You should see my renters!

      • Warmac9999

        Interesting that the number 49 has been chosen. Very similar to that Obamacare number defining a small business. These leftists truly lack imagination but they certainly are emotional.

    • Starburst Fruit Chew

      How would they even enforce this ?

      Walk into a house without a search warrant and start counting people because they believe there are more than 49 people in the house ?

      Throw the Constitution right out the window if they can enter your property without a warrant ..

      • MD Russ

        Why couldn’t they get a search warrant?

      • Warmac9999

        What a Constitution. Obama doesn’t believe in it and McAuliffe doesn’t believe in it or the Virginia Constitution. So what Constitution influences these all knowing elitists from Fairfax? Let’s just keep regulating everyone into gentile slavery.

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  • DJRippert

    Where does Supervisor John Foust sit on this issue?

    • Marta D. Saltus

      I have only heard supervisor Herrity advocate against this; he’s done articles and TV interviews, to include a Spanish cable network, Telemundo, this afternoon.

  • Warmac9999

    Just more socialism under the guise of protection of some aggrieved person. PC really stands for perversion and corruption as that is clearly acceptable.

    • SSK

      Have you seen the cubicles they’re making in the Tyson’s and Merrifield area….buildings that resemble China or Russia…gray and yellow and red in color. Yes, they want us to be city dwellers and live in tiny spaces. Thanks to Agenda 21. Next thing they will do is make dwellings where multiple families share a kitchen. Forget about being a land owner.

      • Warmac9999

        The ongoing actions of the BLM and EPA are clearly intended to advance UN agenda 21′s environmental justice requirements. One of the problems is that many on welfare have already been conditioned to live in tiny spaces owned by the government. Eventually, property of all kinds, not just shelter, will be owned by the state. Big Brother is watching you at your peril and the blizzard of regulatory and anti-constitutional actions of the federal government should concern anyone who values their liberty.

        • MD Russ

          I believe that you omitted the part where “the government” is going to implant a microchip in your head so that they can monitor your movements and even read your thoughts. But don’t worry. Lining your hat with tin foil will block it.

          • Warmac9999

            I’m not worried about your liberty. At this point you are free to ignore that the USA is no longer the constitutional republic envisioned by the founders and the Bill of Rights is being shredded by regulations.

            By the way, have you spent any time trying to understand the essential ideas of UN Agenda 21? My guess is you haven’t or that you agree that mankind is vermin and nature must be protected against mankind.

            The modern atheistic anti-constitutional socialistic state doesn’t need an implant as the technology simply allows 24/7 monitoring of any and all communications deemed of interest. As the BLM instance demonstrates, the only limit to government power is to directly confront the lawlessness of government at the risk of one’s life. Now every department of government has some type of armed capacity so the situation is well into obama’s armed federal homeland capability that is supposed to be equal to the capability of the DoD.

          • MD Russ

            That’s right, Warmac. “They” are monitoring your communications right now. You should consider not going to sleep tonight least “they” come to get you. “They” will be armed agents carrying some of those one billion rounds of ammunition that the DHS procured and “they” will be swooping in aboard secret black helicopters. Buh-ha-ha-ha-ha!

          • Warmac9999

            You really need to keep up with the technology. Mosquito drones and acoustic flame technology will do the trick – and since you have corresponded with me, you too will be spirited away for a tortuous brainwashing using the hymn “Amazing Grace” (which is known to utterly confuse and devastate any and all leftists. I find that this hymn combined with “Ode to Joy” drives leftist insane so I will pray that you are spared the indignity.).

            I presume that I will be subject to water boarding as we all know that this administration can’t tell the truth about anything and that they particularly like hurting productive citizens and turning them into entitlement junkies.

  • SSK

    When I was growing up in Arlington, my parents used to have 50-70 guest dinner parties and cocktail parties. No one complained. There was no reason to. What gives the govt the right to make laws to tell us how many people can visit in our own private homes? Who’s counting 49 or 51? Do babies count? Who will enforce this type of insanity? Go after the individual problems, not the folks who like social events at their home. We in America are losing more and more freedom everyday, and now local govt goes after its citizen. Time to say no to govt. Why 49 and why 40 days? Want to have a wedding party, family reunion at your house, or a Christmas party? Well kiss those good bye if this passes. Rules and regulations are taking away all of our rights as citizens at all levels. ENOUGH!

    • Marta D. Saltus

      Yes indeed, enough of the government encroachment on our liberty!

  • Marta D. Saltus

    Let’s take action to prevent this travesty! In addition to taking comments online at the link provided above, you can communicate with Supervisor Herrity via email, and most important, show up to a public hearing, two of them coming up. Here’s the info:

    “I would appreciate hearing from you on this important issue, please email me at springfield@fairfaxcounty.gov with your thoughts. The County will also be holding public meetings addressing this issue on the following dates:

     *   Monday, May 12, 2014 from 7 – 9 p.m. at Fairfax County Government Center, 12000 Government Center Parkway, Fairfax, VA  22035 in the Board Auditorium
     *   Monday, May 19, 2014 from 7 – 9 p.m. at Lemon Road Elementary School, 7230 Idylwood Road, Falls Church, VA  22043 in the school cafeteria”

    • MD Russ

      Don’t you think that it might be more effective to contact your own district supervisor than contacting the one who is already on record as opposing this? When elected politicians get communications from people who are not their constituents, they go into the trash without further consideration.

      • Marta

        All Fairfax County residents opposing this are welcome to contact Supervisor Herrity. I have gotten word and permission from his office to publish this, by the way.

        • MD Russ

          Fine. Let the other eight supervisors vote this into law because they are receiving no negative feedback from their constituents while you First Amendment advocates are busy preaching to the choir. Real smart strategy.

          • Marta

            MD, the link for public comments goes to the actual Fairfax County Board. The hearings taking place on the dates outlined are in front of the entire Board. The only thing that would only go to Supervisor Herrity is an email directed only to him. Did you actually look at the links? I am sure Supervisor John Cook, another Republican from Braddock District, will also oppose this. No one is trying to limit the contact to Supervisor Herrity only. I do appreciate the fact that he’s willing to champion this cause for all of those opposed to this. That is not unusual.

          • MD Russ

            Have you ever been to a public hearing of the Fairfax County BOS? I would be surprised if four of them actually showed up. To coin a phrase, “you need to get around more,” Marta.

          • Marta

            Well we cannot control that, while I do think perhaps the new regulation that they should draft and pass is the mandatory attendance to BOS meetings. Regardless, our side will show up to testify against.

          • MD Russ

            “…mandatory attendance to BOS meetings.”

            And that would be Constitutional how? It never ceases to amuse me how advocates for civil liberties are the first ones to abuse the civil liberties of those with whom they disagree.

          • Marta

            Are you kidding me? They got elected to do a job, and of course it should be mandatory for them to fulfill their duties! We, taxpayers fund their salaries.

          • MD Russ

            So if an elected official has a death in the family, is ill, or has to pick between two conflicting calendar appointments, then they are wrong for not showing up? Who is kidding whom?

            This is getting boring, Marta. Buh-bye.

          • MD Russ

            Marta D. Saltus DJRippert • a day ago

            I have only heard supervisor Herrity advocate against this; he’s done articles and TV interviews, to include a Spanish cable network, Telemundo, this afternoon.

          • Feather Bottom

            Marta, you are dead wrong. Those meetings are NOT hearings, they are info sessions and there is no way the whole board will be there due to public meeting requirements. In fact, if you and people like Kenric Ward at Watchdog actually picked up a phone and called to get information, there wouldn’t be so much outrage and clueless behavior. I spoke with my BOS member and County staff and this proposal is not even in the formal hearing/public process. In fact, it appears that they are doing what good government should do – they are getting citizen input to see if this is in fact a worthy regulatory change. I will welcome that any day of the week, as it is preferable to regs being made behind closed doors. Do your homework and stop making all of us conservatives look like a bunch of tinfoil hat wearing morons.

          • Marta D. Saltus

            Ok, info sessions where the public express their view, great. I stand corrected. I’m also glad the BOS is soliciting input, in case you didn’t notice, I’m encouraging all to provide it. As far as me expressing my opinion making you feel like a moron wearing a tin foil hat, I highly recommend you work on your self-worth and self-esteem. Good luck!

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