Citizens for Balanced Growth

Category: Marty Nohe

Board of County Supervisors Votes 20 Sep To Consider Beginning Development of Rural Crescent

“Board looks at new ways to preserve Rural Crescent” by Hillary Chester, Prince William Times,  30

Nov 2015 Email To Citizens Re. Stone Haven: More Houses, Ever-Increasing Taxes, Ever-Worsening Services … Had Enough Yet?

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Text Excerpts
——– Forwarded Message ——– Subject: 8 Dec Stone Haven: Marching to 4,000 More Houses, Ever-Increasing Taxes, Ever-Worsening Services? Date: Sat, 21 Nov 2015 12:04:24 -0500 From: Stephenson, Ralph & Kathy <stephenrk1@verizon.net> To: Stephenson, Ralph & Kathy <stephenrk1@verizon.net> [+ BCC addressees] CC: Stewart, Corey <cstewart@pwcgov.org>, Caddigan, Maureen <mcaddigan@pwcgov.org>, Candland, Peter <gainesville@pwcgov.org>, Jenkins, John <jjenkins@pwcgov.org>, May, Mike <mcmay@pwcgov.org>, Nohe, Marty <mnohe@pwcgov.org>, Principi, Frank <fprincipi@pwcgov.org>, Lawson, Jeanine <jlawson@pwcgov.org>, Ruth4Supervisor@gmail.com <Ruth4Supervisor@gmail.com>, Ruth Anderson <rmva@comcast.net> Had Enough Yet? PW Roads Now (already VA’s most crowded; 70-mile roundtrip commute to Fairfax Co. = 3-4 hrs/day) Future PW Roads (After Corey Stewart, developers, and their allies build over 4,000 more houses in Linton Hall corridor) 1 2 3 4 PW Schools Now (already VA’s most crowded) Future PW Schools 5 6 Property taxes 2007 Property taxes 2015 (up 26.5%) Our home in Braemar along Linton Hall Rd. was valued @ $120K more in 2007 than it is now in 2015, yet our real estate taxes were only $3,669 in 2007. Nov 2007 Corey Stewart-R elected Chairman of PW Board of County Supervisors (BOCS) on the strength of promises to be fiscally conservative, reduce taxes, and control residential growth, noting that “when we approve large developments, we are essentially approving a tax increase.” See: http://pwcbg.org/Stewart_ProposedTaxIncreases_PoliticalWhiplash.html Stewart begins to seek statewide political office, becomes strongly pro-residential development, and consequently raises over $1M from developers 2008-present. See: http://www.vpap.org/candidates/61061/donors_sector_totals/ Ralph & Kathy Stephenson Prince William Citizens for Balanced Growth http://pwcbg.org In 2015, our real estate taxes are $4,642, up 26.5% despite low inflation since 2007. The quality of county services continues to decline (increasingly overcrowded schools, roads, etc) while taxes go up. Why? Because large residential developments are almost always tax-negative. Incompetence and misuse of funds is the only other logical explanation for dysfunctional county services despite large tax increases. In either case, Chairman Stewart is ultimately responsible. Stone Haven Returns 8 Dec, Just as Bad as Before County public notice signs — the little white signs that are too small to read as you drive by — went up around the Stone Haven property 20 November afternoon. The signs announce that the Stone Haven vote by the Board of County Supervisors (BOCS) will be held 8 December 7:30 pm at the county’s McCoart Building in mid-county off the Prince William Parkway @ 1 County Complex Ct, Woodbridge, VA As you all may recall, on 13 January 2015 a final vote on the big Stone Haven residential development project just south of Jiffy Lube Live was “deferred to date uncertain” as at least 4 of 8 supervisors (Maureen Caddigan, Mike May, Peter Candland, and Jeanine Lawson) expressed their intent to vote against the project, with Frank Principi a possible swing vote against as well. (5 of 8 BOCS votes are needed to approve a proposal.) Deferring the vote was Prince William Board of County Supervisors (BOCS) Chairman Corey Stewart’s way of avoiding imminent defeat and buying some time so he and his developer allies could twist one or two more supervisors’ arms enough to get them to vote in favor of Stone Haven after the 3 Nov 2015 elections. PWCBG remains opposed to Stone Haven; nothing of significance has changed in the “new” proposal. The changes that we know of are merely cosmetic: holding back 150 acres (4 homes per acre) from this 1,000-house proposal that could and will be submitted later as a second proposal that will bring the total number of houses — 1,600 — right back up to virtually the same level as in 2014. (Click here for more info on Stone Haven: http://pwcbg.org/Stonehaven_Brentswood2.html ) Watch the Dominoes Fall — At Least 4,000 More Houses Even worse, if Stone Haven succeeds, Prince William (PW) Station, whose owners are closely watching the Stone Haven fight, is next and will likely bring another 2,000 houses. (PW Station is just north of Stone Haven.) Pioneer Assemblage to the south would add another ~450 houses. So watch the dominoes fall if Stone Haven wins. This is really not only about 1,000 or 1,600 houses on the Stone Haven property. It’s about 4,000 more houses within a couple miles of each other, tax negative, putting about 8,000 more cars on I-66 and other local roads, and probably 2,000-4,000 more schoolchildren in local schools (figure 0.5-1 school child per average 3-person household), where PW already has the worst traffic and the most crowded classes (in terms of teacher: student ratio) in the state. BOCS’ Responsibility for the Current Mess + Corey Stewart, the Million-Dollar Man The Board of County Supervisors (BOCS) should change the entire county Comp Plan (they created it in the first place several years ago) to be more in line with current zoning — if they’re worried that it’s drifted too far away from zoning realities and thus their activities regarding it may be open to legal challenge. They should also slow down residential development overall to improve the roughly 85:15 residential: commercial tax ratio (note your ever-rising real estate property taxes), and stop dumping so much of the county’s residential development on the Linton Hall corridor. We’re sick of it and disgusted by some of the BOCS members’ corrupt and inexcusable behavior on this issue, the worst of all being Sellout-Chairman Corey Stewart, the county’s million-dollar man (over $1M in developer campaign contributions and counting.) Good News: Two More Victories for Citizens; You Can Make a Difference At the last BOCS meeting on 17 Nov, the BOCS announced that it has withdrawn the Blackburn residential development proposal from consideration. That would have put 415 more high-density residential units along Balls Ford Rd. The one potentially good thing about this proposal — the carrot of some commercial development being included to help improve the county’s tax situation — was phony because the commercial development was not “phased,” meaning it didn’t have to be built until after the residential housing was almost entirely completed, and thus the commercial would almost certainly have never been built. Also, Pioneer Assemblage, aka Strathmore, has reduced its housing request from the maximum allowed in this case, 800, to 465 which, though still high-density, is half as high-density as it would’ve been. The BOCS and developers are beginning to hear you. We particularly appreciate the sensitivity of BOCs members Maureen Caddigan (Dumfries), Mike May (and soon Ruth Anderson, Occoquan), Pete Candland (Gainesville), and Jeanine Lawson (Brentsville) to ordinary citizens’ concerns about residential development and bad land use policy, as well as the potential of a growing partnership with Frank Principi (Woodbridge). You can make a difference. Make sure the entire BOCS continues to hear your voice, loud and clear. What Can You Do To Help? If we can get to and finish it well before 8 Dec, we’ll send you an updated Stone Haven flier that continues to tell an ongoing Prince William County story: residential developers have no truly compelling public reasons for high-density housing projects. In fact, these unnecessary tax-negative residential developments overcrowd our roads and schools, corrupt our politics, and needlessly damage the environment. So the residential developers must rely on lies, hoping that those who are gullible, uninformed, and/or have a vested interest in residential development will be able to shout down everyone else. Here are links to the last flier we did on the lies being told to sell Stone Haven: http://pwcbg.org/StoneHavenFlier_BACK1.docx and http://pwcbg.org/StoneHavenFlier_FRONT1.docx .) It’s important for local citizens to hold their ground on Stone Haven and pressure their local representatives to do likewise. We’ll get from the county the kind of government we’ve worked for and earned through either our vigilance or neglect. If we don’t hold our ground, after this comes the deluge: 4,000 more homes, 8000 more cars added to the most crowded roads in the state, thousands more schoolchildren added to the most crowded schools in the state, higher taxes for everyone, and very possibly ultimately lower property values as PW County’s livability continues to decline. Specifically, what can you do to help? E-mail the BOCS at BOCS@pwcgov.org and tell them what you think. Feel free to use info from this message in contacting them and getting this info circulating on social media sites and elsewhere online. If you know of others who are willing, ask them to help as well. If you feel comfortable doing so, also please lobby in person any of the BOCS members that you can. Here’s their contact info: http://www.pwcgov.org/government/bocs/Pages/BOCS-Landing-Page.aspx And come to the 8 December 2015 vote by the BOCS on Stone Haven and sign up to speak against it. We promise you that the residential developers and their allies will be there in force, trying to drown out your voice. If you let us know, we’ll sign you up early to speak. BOCS members judge public opinion on a given issue on this: turnout at the public decision meeting, particularly those speaking for or against the given proposal, as well as ordinary citizens contacting them before the vote. Let us know if you have questions. We’ll be in touch. PWCBG Prince William Citizens for Balanced Growth (PWCBG) stands for the following principles: http://pwcbg.org/WhyBalancedGrowthIsImportant.html PWCBG periodically sends out alerts warning citizens of major land use issues affecting them that will be coming before the Board of County Supervisors for decision. We do not use your e-mail for any purpose other than that, and we hide your e-mail address from other recipients (bcc:). If you do not wish to be contacted, please respond to this address (ralph@pwcbg.org) asking that your e-mail be removed. Remember that the kind of county government we get will be what we’ve worked for and earned through either our vigilance or neglect. It’s up to us to either take back our government, or stand idly by and watch while well-heeled residential developers and their political allies, including some BOCS members, continue to destroy our quality of life through harmful land use policies that negatively impact our roads, schools, taxes, property values, and quality of life. “Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it’s the only thing that ever has.” — Margaret Mead Ralph & Kathy Stephenson Prince William Citizens for Balanced Growth (PWCBG) http://pwcbg.org

“Candland calls road study ‘kicking the can down the road'”

by Rose Murphy, Bull Run Observer

13 December 2013, p. 4

“Prince William Board of County Supervisors decided at its Dec. 3 meeting to initiate a full study of its road network instead of just removing the controversial bi-county parkway from its system.  Wally Covington, (R-Brentsville), cast the only nay vote.

“The bi-county parkway, which would run from the end of VA 234 for ten miles to Loudoun County near Dulles International Airport, has met with significant opposition from some state representatives and affected property owners.  The roadway was called the tri-county parkway until Fairfax County opted out.  It also is known as Rt. 234 Bypass North.

“In October, Mike May (R-Occoquan), made a motion to initiate a comprehensive plan amendment (CPA) to take the bi-county parkway out of the county’s Thoroughfare Plan.  County staff then researched the proposal, and on Dec. 3, recommended the comp plan amendment not be initiated.

“Ray Canizales of the transportation department explained analysis showed removing the by-pass would have major impacts on the transportation system across the county.  He added the comp plan designates VA 234 North between I-66 and Loudoun Copunty as a four-lane roadway.

“Deleting the by-pass would increase traffic on Pageland lane by 950 percent by 2030, on Gum Springs Road by 64 percent, on Catharpin Raod by 19.1 percent and on Joplin Road by 9.4 percent, Canizales pointed out.  US 15 would see a 69.1 percent hike in traffic, while traffic would go up 14.2 percent on Rt. 55, 5.5 percent on VA 28 and 9.7 percent on I-66 by 2030.  He noted he was using the latest travel demand software, which came out in 2010.  He said the numbers would change if a complete Thoroughfare Plan update were done.

” ‘No road is an island,’ observed Corey Stewart, (R-at large), board chairman.

“Before the vote, Maureen Caddigan, (R-Potomac), reminded the board she had asked for and supervisors approved initiating a CPA keeping VA 234 four lands and not increasing the roadway to six lanes.  That CPA is on its way to a planning commission hearing and then to supervisors for a separate vote, the board agreed.

“Caddigan pointed out she ‘worked hard for the initiation,’ adding, ‘something is going on here I’m not comfortable with.’  She said she worried about increased truck traffic on VA 234, calling it ‘intolerable.’  She opined the bi-county parkway would do nothing for Prince William County.

“Canizales noted the figures he was using for traffic analysis had VA 234 as six lanes, since that is what is in the comprehensive plan today.  Pete Candland, (R-Gaionesville), said he was ‘caught off guard’ by staff’s using six lanes, not four, in its report.

“Candland said that the problem with the bi-county parkway is that the ‘CTB and VDOT have married the bi-county parkway with the closing of Rt. 234 (through Manassas National Battlefield Park).’  CTB is the [Virginia] Commonwealth Transportation Board, and VDOT is Virginia Department of Transportation.  He said the county should let the state bodies know it doesn’t support the plan.

“Later in the discussion Candland asserted ‘it is clear certain individuals don’t want an up or down vote’ on the bi-county parkway.  ‘Enough is enough,’ he asserted.

“Marty Nohe, (R-Coles), suggested doing not just any transportation study, but the right one.  Candland volunteered he thought the state ‘is trying to ram the road down our throats,’ and that some in the county think the bi-county parkway is a ‘bad idea.’

“Nohe reported ‘better connectivity is needed north of I-66.’  Candland said that closing VA 234 in the national park would shift traffic to I-66.

“Candland contended that doing the Thoroughfare Plan update would not result in much new information.

” ‘It’s just a way of not voting (up or down on the bi-county parkway) and kicking the can down the road,’  he added.”

“Wellington, Yorkshire areas to be studied under comp plan changes adopted Feb. 2”

by Rose Murphy,Bull Run Observer

12 February 2010, pp. 47-48

“Amid a confusing flurry of last-minute changes, Prince William Board of County Supervisors Feb. 2 voted to approve the land use chapter of the county’s comprehensive plan.

“Mike May, who represents, Occoquan District on the panel, cast the only nay vote. He said he favored a vote on each of the alterations, adding he couldn’t back some of the amendments, so he would vote against the proposal.

“The update to the transportation chapter received unanimous board approval. The panel agreed to May’s change, limiting Old Bridge Road to four lanes from Colby Drive to Prince William County Parkway. The county’s department of transportation wanted it six lanes.

“Corey Stewart, board chairman, commented, ‘Old Bridge is a residential road. If it were expanded to six lanes, it would become a highway. Traffic should be on Prince William Parkway.’

“The chairman noted work on the land use and transportation chapters has been going on since Feb. 7, 2007. Virginia code requires the comprehensive plan be reviewed every five years to see if updating is needed. The county met the deadline for a technical update two years ago.

“During the past three years, the Land Use Advisory Committee (LUAC), a citizen group appointed by supervisors, presented its version of the land use chapter. This was followed by separate versions of the chapter from the county’s planning commission and planning staff.

“LUAC recommended setting up 19 centers of community and six centers of commerce throughout the county. The change accepted by supervisors Feb. 2 has three centers of commerce and one center of community, according to David McGettigan of the planning department. Centers of Commerce will be at Innovation, north Woodridge and Potomac Town Center. The center of community will be in Triangle.

“The board also agreed to two study areas, Yorkshire and the Wellington Road area.  The Wellington Road area, zoned heavy industry, could become a town center.

“The new changes to the land use chapter provide for lighted ballfields throughout the county without a public facilities review (PFR). Lights will have to be turned off within a half hour of the end of a game, McGettigan explained.

“At the February 2 meeting, supervisors approved unanimously a resolution that no property in the Linton Hall area may be rezoned for residential uses until two new elementary schools and a high school are built and open for use, and sites for another elementary school and another middle school have been acquired.

“Stewart’s land use amendments approved by the board say that buffers and setbacks along the parkway from Hoadly Road to Liberia Avenue and along Davis Ford Road must be established as part of any rezoning or special use permit (SUP) in order to protect the semirural appearance of both corridors.

“Marty Nohe, Coles District representative, was not successful with his amendments altering the semirural residential (SRR) classification in the land use chapter. He represents Coles District, home of most of the county’s SRR land.

“Supervisors voted to keep requirements for SRR the same as the 2008 comprehensive plan, which dictates one home per 2.5 acres. The SRR classification is meant to provide areas of large lot development as transition between the rural crescent and the development area.

“Nohe’s changes, first introduced at the January 19 board meeting, included single-family homes with individual single lots of a gross acre or greater. If more than one home were constructed, the average density would not exceed one unit per 2.5 acres, less the ER areas, unless the homes were clustered. With clustered homes, density would be calculated on the gross density of the project.

“Clustered development would result in density of one dwelling per 2.5 acres, and minimum lot sizes of one acre, but lots could range from a half acre to one acre to allow public natural resource facilities, Nohe contended.

“Stewart said February 3 he did not want to alter the existing SRR rules because he didn’t know how Nohe’s changes ‘would be interpreted in the future.’  He added, “the concepts of clustering could mean cut-and-fill” construction in the SRR, which the county has been able to avoid thus far.

” ‘With clustering, someone has sold the county a bill of goods,’ Steward opined.

“Nohe also wanted to see lot sizes limited to a minimum of five acres within 500 feet of the Occoquan Reservoir. His proposal for an Occoquan Reservoir protection area is better suited for inclusion in the comp plan’s environmental chapter, Stewart contended. The environmental chapter will be considered next by the board.

“The board also decided to approve out-of-turn comprehensive plan amendments (CPA) with concurrent rezoning applications. Existing policy provided that CPAs could be submitted only once a year in January.

“The chairman also had changes approved for the community employment center (CEC), regional employment center (REC), and regional commercial center (RCC) classifications. He added to each classification, ‘development shall also occur according to a phasing plan that must ensure that office, employment and lodging uses are always the primary uses within the area rezoned.’  In each category, drive-in and drive-through uses are discouraged, and residential uses are limited to no more than 25 percent of the total gross floor area of the project.

“Purpose of the CEC classification is to provide areas of low- to mid-rise offices, including government offices and especially county offices, ‘research and development, lodging and mixed use projects planned and developed in a comprehensive and coordinated way.’

“CEC projects would be at or near intersections of principal arterials or major collector roads or commercial rail stations. Residential uses will be secondary uses.

“In CEC areas, single-family attached or multi-family housing, including housing for the elderly, is allowed. Density will be six to 12 units a gross acre, minus any environmental resource (ER) areas.

“REC areas will be near and have good access to interstate highways. Main REC uses are mid-rise and/or high-rise office, including government and county offices, research and development uses and lodging or mixed-use projects.

“In REC areas, there will be multi-family housing at a density of 16 to 30 dwelling units per acre, less the ER.

“RCC areas will be near interstate highways and will be large-scale retail projects serving regional rather than a local market. Included will be regional malls, mixed-use projects and large single-user retail buildings.

“In RCC, shared or structured parking is encouraged. Housing will be multifamily with a density of 16 to 30 units per gross acre, less ER.

“Stewart explained February 3 that in mixed-use areas, the development community wanted the mix to change from 75 percent commercial and 25 percent residential to 60 percent commercial and 40 percent residential. That proposal did not pass.

“The chairman said the comp plan revisions encourage more development like Stonebridge, where Wegmans is in eastern Prince William County.

” ‘This is a mixture of retail, office and residential, and we want more of that,’ Stewart indicated.

“The developmental community also failed to get its proposal for no phasing, which would mean that, in a mixed-use project, all the residential or retail could be built first. With phasing, commercial must be the dominant use, Stewart remarked.

“The chairman added the land use chapter revisions ‘do not increase the number of residences by one house, maintain the SRR, add buffers along the parkway and Davis Ford Road and keep the Rural Crescent. We’ve made some good changes, and limited residential density.’ “

“Proposed Increase in County Proffer Fees Is Defeated 5-3”

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.’ ”

 

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