Community forum tonight: development in Washington


Audio recording of the full 2-hour-plus forum is now here.

Do you have something to say, or ask, about development in the town of Washington or in Rappahannock County as a whole? Since The Washington Post’s business-section coverage last Sunday (June 8) of D.C. developer and Rappahannock weekender Jim Abdo’s plans for the town, many such concerns and questions have been voiced in a variety of forums — online, in print and over coffee (or stronger stuff).

With neither refreshments nor wifi — but with most of the players in the same room — the Rappahannock News will host what is hoped to be a lively, civil and constructive community forum on the subject of  town and county development. This first in a long-planned series of “Rapp Live” public forums starts at 5 p.m. tonight (Thursday, June 19) at the Theatre in Washington.

Abdo has said he will be there, as has Washington Mayor John Sullivan; County Administrator John McCarthy; Roger Welch, the county supervisors’ chair (and a longtime town business owner); and Jennings W. Hobson III, pastor of Trinity Episcopal Church. Inn at Little Washington owner Patrick O’Connell is overseas on business and will not be there.

After brief opening remarks by members of the invited panel, anyone who wants can join the discussion or ask questions. To allow all a turn, speakers will be limited to three minutes apiece.

The next “Rapp Live” forum, planned for a date to be determined in July, will be an “Ask the Sheriff” program with Rappahannock County Sheriff Connie C. Smith. For more information or questions about the June 19 or other programs, email or call 540-675-3338.

Roger Piantadosi
About Roger Piantadosi 542 Articles
Former Rappahannock News editor Roger Piantadosi is a writer and works on web and video projects for Rappahannock Media and his own Synergist Media company. Before joining the News in 2009, he was a staff writer, editor and web developer at The Washington Post for almost 30 years.


  1. I am happy to hear this meeting is taking place, but disappointed I will not be in attendance due to my work schedule.
    Mr. Abdo ruffled my feathers with his statement that Washington, VA had no pulse and as such has taken it upon himself to give this town ‘something’ that he believes is lacking. However, I am still trying to figure out exactly what that is. I am to assume that Mr. Abdo’s definition of a towns pulse has been greatly influenced by his busy lifestyle.
    I am not against growth, or development per-say, as long as it’s a healthy mix for THIS area. With that said, I feel a bit uneasy knowing that two men own the majority of one small town, he and Mr. O’Connell, and seem to be driving this train.
    I would be curious to know if Mr. Abdo plans to bring the type of business geared toward the innkeeper’s guests and or weekend visitor, or would he consider bringing in a few businesses that the residents would be able frequent the other five days of the week?
    I’m also curious as to whether he has plans to attach himself to another TV show such that he and his wife had a few years ago, along with the Salahi’s, titled The Housewives of DC? That would certainly be an unwelcome circus arena for this area.
    Kudos to Rappahannock News and to Mr. Piantadosi for hosting this meeting. Here’s hoping for a positive outcome for the town of Little Washington.

  2. why is this even news?! And if there is a so called “panel” the churches in town should be invited, shop owners and residents and that is it. Rapp News gave too much space to Ben J who has plied his trade and business in the County for many years, with little or no comment or objection. Jim Abdo has the same right and I applaud him for doing so. This County has turned into a senior citizen retirement community and apparently people with too much time on their hands. I would like to read about the positive activities in this County… not this!! Such a waste. If I read this and I was thinking about moving here, I would keep looking. This is much ado about nothing.

  3. My earlier comments have oddly disappeared. I posted questioning the inclusion of Rev. Jenks Hobson on this “panel.” And if he is the representing Trinity, why Washington Baptist Church and other community organizations such as RlEP and the Historical. Society were not included. In addition, Washington is. part of Hampton District…the Supervisor there is Bryant Lee, another obvious candidate to be included.

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