Ed Note: This has article undergone revision to remove some inaccuracies that were reported in the Manassas Journal-Messenger and partially used as a basis for this post. Thanks to Andy Harrover for clearing these up.
Last Monday’s Manassas City Council meeting gave voters another opportunity to see Jackson Miller in action as a legislator. It’s easy to make policy statements on the campaign trail, but dealing with real issues means hard choices, and those hard choices can tell us a lot about how a candidate would act in the General Assembly.
Home-based small businesses are one of these tough issues. On one hand, these can potentially cause traffic, parking and quality of life problems if these businesses grow to the point they really should be conducted in a commercially zoned area. Think of someone’s small landscaping business that grows to the point of five or six commercial vehicles constantly coming and going in a residential neighborhood. Stand up for harming the character of residential neighborhoods, and your political career will be a short one.
On the other hand, home-based small businesses are the crucible of entrepreneurship, where business plans first get a chance to meet reality and business owners get a chance to see if their ideas will really work. Cut off this opportunity, and you effectively strangle the creation of a majority of small business development, as many of these risk-takers don’t have the initial capital to secure commercial space for a venture that hasn’t yet generated any revenue. Harm the engine that in many ways drives the local economy, and your political future will be uncertain at best.
Howard Daniel is one small businessman who is seeking a special use permit to operate a part-time business in his home. His neighbors are suppportive, he seems to have his request in order, and he went to the City Council in order to get a decision. Four members of the city council decided that they would also ask the Land Use Committee to figure out whether home-based businesses should be allowed in Manassas. Two members of the council opposed this idea of sending it to committee and instead want the council to make specific decisions regarding each special use permit: Marc Aveni and Jackson Miller.
The council should have the responsibility for making these hard decisions, as Jackson Miller stated, and they shouldn’t be afraid of them. That’s what the taxpayers elected them to do. It may be politically easier to defer, but it robs the taxpayers the opportunity to hold council members accountable for their decisions.
It would have been easy for Jackson Miller to just go along with this. He didn’t. Although we may come to miss that attitude on the City Council soon, it’s reassuring to see that Jackson Miller will bring that attitude to Richmond as our delegate. His record as a member of the Manassas City Council shows us time and time again that Jackson Miller has a rare moral courage which will serve the citizens well in the House of Delegates, just as it has served the citizens of Manassas.
UPDATE: Council Member Andy Harrover provides additional details on what happened at the council meeting in the comments section.
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