County Planning Commission: Planning Staff Report Recommending Denial of Brentswood 10 May 2006

Planning Staff Report on Brentswood Proposal part 1

County Democratic Party Committee Resolution Opposing Brentswood adopted by the 27 April 2006 “Prince William County Democratic Committee (PWCDC) General Membership meeting”

Resolution of the Prince William County Democratic Committee

County Republican Party Committee Resolution Opposing Brentswood adopted by the 1 April 2006 county Republican Party convention

Prince William County Republican Committee Resolution

PWCBG Flier Opposing Brentswood distributed April-May 2006 to Brentsville & Gainesville Residents

PWCBG Anti-Brentswood Flier

Facts About the Proposed Brentswood Development (from PWCBG flier noted immediately above)
1. INCREASED TRAFFIC CONGESTION – Brentswood includes 5,000-6,800 mostly high-density homes and 876,000 square feet of retail space.  This is four times the maximum number of dwellings currently intended in the County’s Comprehensive Plan — any number over approximately 1,400 units is excessive, and would add to the County’s existing 30 to 50 year supply of housing opportunities on undeveloped land.  It will bring 20-30,000 more people and will put at least 15,000 more cars on Devlin and Linton Hall roads, Lee Highway, Rt. 28 and I-66 — roads that already back up for miles during rush hour.

Brookfield Homes, the developer, claims it will offset traffic impacts by accelerating completion of road projects such as the I-66/Rt. 29 interchange.  According to Brentsville Supervisor Wally Covington, “the only reason we’re looking at this proposal now is that it offered the transportation improvements.”  (Washington Post April 2, 2006)  However, Gainesville Supervisor John Stirrup says that given the need to acquire nearly 100 businesses, identify and relocate utilities, and comply with Federal environmental requirements, Brookfield will be unable to commence construction of the projects any sooner than could the Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT).

Moreover, the proffers include no timetable for starting any of the road projects outside Brentswood.

2. BROOKFIELD PROFFERS PAID WITH $170 MILLION OF TAXPAYERS’ MONEY – If a financial offer sounds too good to be true, it inevitably is.  Brookfield’s offer of millions of dollars in proffers to Prince William taxpayers is no exception.  According to the proffers, Brookfield will receive reimbursement for most of the cost of the off-site transportation improvements from already appropriated Federal and state funds.  Furthermore, the proposed off-site transportation improvements depend on Prince William County (PWC) approval of a Community Development Authority (CDA) to issue bonds to finance those improvements.  The bonds would be repaid through special assessments on residents and the reimbursement from VDOT.  However, the PWC government has stated that the Brentswood CDA application is not consistent with County policy.  If the CDA is not established, Brookfield has no obligation to make any off-site road improvements.

3. CROWDED SCHOOLS WITH CONSTANTLY CHANGING BOUNDARIES – Over the past decade, uncontrolled growth has required the construction of numerous schools, causing our children to be shuffled frequently from school to school.  This project would add children from 5,000 to 6,800 new residences to already overcrowded schools.  Brookfield has offered to address this problem by donating two vacant lots for elementary schools and one for a high school, for which it would receive a credit against the monetary proffers it would otherwise owe.

4. HUGE UNFUNDED TAX LIABILITIES ON PRINCE WILLIAM COUNTY CITIZENS – Based on Prince William County’s proposed FY2007 fiscal plan and tax rate, the resulting annual shortfall in real estate tax revenue for 6,800 units (subsidy required to maintain current levels of service) would be $18,800,000, which would increase with inflation over time.  The likely result to Prince William County citizens will be a combination of reduced services (schools, police, fire, transportation, etc.) and higher tax bills to subsidize new development.  The long-run value of the Brentswood subsidy from Prince William County citizens is $2.5 billion.

5. WORSENING OF THE ALREADY WEAK RATIO OF COMMERCIAL TO RESIDENTIAL LAND IN PWC’S TAX BASE — Communities maintain high levels of public services and hold the line on taxes for citizens by pursuing economic development that produces a balanced mix of commercial and residential development.  Our county’s ratio has been deteriorating and Brentswood would accelerate that negative trend.  Approval of the rezoning would cause Prince William County to forfeit the potential to create large numbers of high-paying jobs on approximately 671 acres of prime commercial/industrial land.  Moreover, the commercial development Brookfield proposes is unlikely to materialize.  The independent analysts hired by the County conclude that Brookfield has planned more offices and stores than the market can support and this could cause Brookfield to come back later with a request to change the plan to add even more houses, as other developers have done in the past.