by Rose Murphy, Bull Run Observer

19 October 2007, p. 16

“The planned hike in building proffers on residential developments in the county was voted down October 16 by Prince William Board of County Supervisors [BOCS] meeting in McCoart Government Center off Prince William Parkway.  Proffers are monies or other items volunteered by developers to mitifate the impact of their projects on county roads, schools, libraries, parks and police and fire and rescue services.  [PWCBG note:  Although the BOCS meeting began at 2 pm on 16 October, it did not end until early the next morning, 17 October, shortly after the proffer vote.]

“The proposed proffer on single-family homes would have risen from $37,719 to $51,113.  Townhouse proffers would have been $43,262, up from $31,927, and multi-family construction would have been upped to $26,545 from $19,526.

“Voting to go ahead with the increases were Corey Stewart (R-at-large and board chairman); John Stirrup, (R-Gainesville); and Mike May, (R-Occoquan).  Against were Marty Nohe (R-Coles); Hilda Barg, (D-Woodbridge); John Jenkins, (D-Neabsco); Wally Covington, (R-Brentsville); and Maureen Caddigan, (R-Dumfries).

“Nohe said before the vote he wanted ‘to see what impact fees would look like’ before approving increased proffers.

“Impact fees let counties charge developers for roads.  The fees were approved by the General Assembly this year, and could be assessed on all residential developments after August 2008.

“Nohe explained that ‘some members of the General Assembly want to turn back impact fees.  They might go after the proffer authority instead.’  He added passing the proffer change ‘may send the message we’re not doing the right thing.’  He said he wants the impact fees, but does not want to lose proffers.

“Jenkins contended the proffer fees are really ‘hidden taxes.’  He said the higher fee on single-family homes would be pased on to homebuyers.

” ‘The $51,000 would come to $305 more per month on a mortgage.  In Stafford, the proffer for single-family is $38,151,’ Jenkins added.

“Caddigan said she was in favor of proffer increases, but that the timing was wrong.

“Stewart asserted that the proposed increases represent ‘the true costs to the county to support residential development.  If the developer doesn’t pay, the taxpayer and the county pay.’ ”

PW Pulse in a 25 October 2007 article by Keith Walker on p. A5 adds the following:

“County staff recommended that the proffers be increased.

“Planning director Steve Griffin said each year the county analyzes the impact that building will have on the cost of fire and rescue, police, roads and schools.

“He said he thought the increase was justified.

” ‘Based on the expensive buildings and land purchases, they needed to be adjusted to this amount,’ Griffin said.  ‘It was all about construction and the price of land that justified the higher amount.’ ”