[3 October mass email to county citizens; note that the proposal below was defeated 6 October in a 5-3 straight party-line vote]

All:   Please see Gainesville District Supervisor Pete Candland’s message at the bottom of this thread.  He notes the need to define terms by which the Board of County Supervisors (BOCS) does business and makes land use policy and decisions.  “For example,” he says, “we have yet to even define affordable dwellings, equity in housing, or environmental justice.  To continue hearing land use cases regarding housing developments and potentially the extension of sewer into the Rural Crescent for cluster developments or data centers without first defining our own guiding documents is irresponsible government. Unfortunately, the lack of clarity on these important issues is leading to backroom deals between Supervisors and developers.”

To ignore the need for such action by the BOCS is to give them and developers a blank check for residential development.  As is clear from the just-released county development “build-out analysis” and our recent email exchange below with defacto County Planning Director Rebecca Horner, that would be disastrous for county citizens.  If you think the out-of-control overcrowding of schools and traffic and rising taxes and concurrently-declining services were unacceptable before the pandemic, imagine what it will be like in the coming years with almost 36,000 new houses and over 100,000 additional residents added as quickly as possible.

Regarding BOCS Chair Wheeler and the Planning Office’s plans for explosive residential growth, see: a) county’s full development “build-out analysis” here, especially pp 6-7,  https://eservice.pwcgov.org/planning/documents/buildoutanalysis/2019_Publication.pdf); b) our email exchange with Horner https://pwcbg.org/2020/09/pwcbg-planning-commission-planning-chief-e-mail-exchange-regarding-slipshod-obfuscatory-non-citizen-friendly-innovation-small-area-plan/; and c) one example of the plans that developers are already confidently making behind your back https://potomaclocal.com/2020/09/16/regional-views-differ-on-post-pandemic-housing-development/

Included in the link immediately below is also a fuller discussion of:  a) this planned explosive residential growth, b) what tactics are being used to fast-track its implementation, and c) sadly, how the above now relates to a deepening assault by Chair Wheeler and the BOCS majority on the rule of law, on your rights (free speech, the right to petition the government for redress of grievances, and a free press), and, astoundingly, even on some low-cost-housing residents.  To read more, with links providing full documentation, click here:    https://pwcbg.org/2020/09/wheeler-shills-big-for-developers-in-west-county-continues-assault-on-rights-rule-of-law-low-cost-housing-residents-leading-local-news-org-muzzled/

Please email the BOCS (BOCS@pwcgov.org) before 6 October and let them know that you strongly support Supervisor Candland’s proposal requiring clearly-defined land use terms and policies.  No more back-room deals with and blank checks to residential developers; no more robber baron behavior by the BOCS.

Sincerely,

Ralph & Kathy Stephenson
Prince William Citizens for Balanced Growth
Only in the bright light of public scrutiny can the common good be secured,
while in darkness and obscurity the interests of the powerful and affluent prevail.

——– Forwarded Message ——–

Subject:Clearly Defined Land Use Policies
Date:Fri, 2 Oct 2020 13:52:39 +0000
From:Supervisor Pete Candland <gainesville@pwcgov.org>
Reply-To:Supervisor Pete Candland <gainesville@pwcgov.org>
To:stephenrkg@gmail.com
View this email in your browser
Dear Friends,

Whether you are new to Prince William County or have family that has been here generations, you have seen the very real impacts of land use policies made by the Prince William Board of County Supervisors. Even during the pandemic when schools and workers are primarily at home, our roads need widening, and our schools need more teachers and resources. 

Yet these problems didn’t happen overnight. Since the 1990s, we’ve seen politicians promoting “bendable” land use policies, the lack of specific and updated definitions within our planning documents, and board members who are willing to put developer campaign contributions over protecting the people they swore to represent.  

Over the last eight years, I have worked with many residents, regardless of political party, to implement new land use policies that better hold developers accountable, provide more predictability for businesses, and slow down the out-of-control growth of the last thirty years. But more needs to be done to fix decades of damage. 

I have to admit, I was willing to give the new majority on the Board of County Supervisors the benefit of the doubt that they might learn from the mistakes of the past. I hoped they would carefully consider the full impacts of proposals, revise and update land use policy, and work to change the “business as usual.”

Unfortunately, that has not been the case. In fact, just a few months ago, the majority of the Board voted to approve a large housing development in the Brentsville District called the “Devlin Rezoning.” Against passionate pubic testimony from the community, this new Board majority disregarded the will of the people and approved additional housing.

The Devlin Rezoning was the same process and result that we’ve seen dozens of times since the year 2000. 

Since that time, some of the same Supervisors who voted to approve the Devlin Rezoning have introduced new concepts into the land use discussion. Concepts such as “equity in housing” and “environmental justice” are new to the Board discourse and are important discussions to have as we try to develop a rational land use strategy. 

Now let me be clear, I believe and support many of the underlying concepts within these proposals. When you strip away some of the rhetoric and buzzwords, it comes down to making changes in our land use policies to treat people fairly and to protect our wonderful environmental resources. These are concepts that I believe most people in our County can agree upon.

Just recently, the Board considered an asphalt plant next to what have traditionally been lower income areas – relative to the very expensive areas of Northern Virginia. There was no extensive analysis of the environmental impacts or the impacts on the working families that live there. 

The County needs to be clear in its planning documents on how it’s going to handle land use cases moving forward. It is not fair to the residents in Prince William County, or the many businesses who want to move here, to make these concepts subjective.

For example, we have yet to even define affordable dwellings, equity in housing, or environmental justice. To continue hearing land use cases regarding housing developments and potentially the extension of sewer into the Rural Crescent for cluster developments or data centers without first defining our own guiding documents is irresponsible government. 

Unfortunately, the lack of clarity on these important issues is leading to backroom deals between Supervisors and developers. This is unacceptable.

As a result, I am bringing forth a Resolution at the October 6th Board meeting to authorize a study period to clearly define these land use concepts.

My resolution also includes a 12-month deferral on any rezoning applications that would increase residential density.


To view the resolution, please CLICK ON THIS LINK.

We have to first define and understand these concepts before proceeding with significant land use decisions effecting generations of County Residents. And the defining of these concepts must include the input of the residents of Prince William County, not just a few county staff or Board appointees. This is too important…we must include as many people as possible in this process. 

The Prince William Board of County Supervisors has to stop continuing to make the mistakes of the past and take the time to develop a land use policy that is clearly defined and implements policies that protect our residents and our environment.

Sincerely,

Pete Candland, Supervisor
Gainesville Magisterial District



 
     
     


 7001 Heritage Village Plaza, Suite 210 | Gainesville, VA 20155
(703) 792-6195 | Gainesville@pwcgov.org

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