I recieved this e-mail update from a concerned citizen.  Apparently, the Comprehensive Plan update will now include NEW land use designations, Centers of Community, that would bring in MORE high density housing projects to PWC.  Umm, aren’t we experiencing the fallout from previous poor land use decisions?  Do we really need MORE houses or instead maybe should  focus on bringing high quality businesses to PWC so people can work closer to where they live?  We are a bedroom community because our elected officials have not been able to induce more businesses to open up shop here.  THESE land use decisions ARE the quality of life issues that we all must deal with on a daily basis.  Land use decisions are about land convservation, parks for our children, clean air, clean drinking water, transportation, quality schools, and how much we pay in taxes!

All: If you’re concerned about the issues described below, please
attend (and, if possible, address) the 7 pm 8 October (Wednesday)
hearing of the Prince William County Planning Commission at the Board of
Supervisors Chambers in the McCoart Building of the County Complex off
the PW County Parkway. I intend to be there to speak and would be happy
to go early to sign up by 6:30 pm anyone else who would like to speak.
Let me know if you’d like me to do this for you. Each speaker is
limited to three minutes. If you cannot be there, and even if you can,
you might want to send a message to the eight members of the Board of
Supervisors to share with them your views:


If you have any questions, please let me know. And please share this
message with any of your friends/neighbors who you think would be
interested. Ralph


The county is proposing sweeping changes to how it accommodates future
growth by designating 19 locations in the county as “Centers of
Community” (CoCs). CoCs are large areas (reportedly about one square
mile) that are specifically planned for high-density mixed use projects,
particularly high-density housing. Each covers a half-mile radius and
is supposed to be walkable and environmentally sensitive.

The screenshot at the bottom of this e-mail, which I took off the county
website a couple days ago, summarizes the latest version of the plan. I
count a total of 19 planned CoCs — 11 in the Haymarket, Gainesville,
Bristow, Manassas area, and 8 at the east end of the county. If each of
these centers builds 3,000 homes, which is about the same density level
as the infamous 2005-06 Brentswood Project, and assuming the county’s
average of three people per house, that would total 171,000 more people,
a 50% increase in the population of the entire county.

See this link for more info:

You might be interested to know that two of the main authors of this
plan are leading members of the Prince William County developer
community who reportedly have a direct business interest (some might
call it a major conflict-of-interest) in land involved in the plan,
owning large parcels within some of the areas proposed for development.
You might also be interested to know that making this plan part of the
county’s Comprehensive Plan, as proposed, will effectively bypass the
former rezoning approval and public hearing process, and fast-track
future residential development projects for expedited approval.

I believe that nothing like this should be allowed to slip thru without
thorough citizen input and thorough study and publicizing of its impact
on: 1) traffic congestion, 2) overcrowding in schools, 3) the tax base,
4) property values in existing neighborhoods (oversupply drives down the
value of your home), and 5) the environment. Note: Relative to the tax
base, all but the most expensive homes in the county are a net drain on
county services and tax revenue. This means that ultimately as a
taxpayer you indirectly subsidize all the other, non-high-income
housing, which the county, already glutted with thousands of foreclosed
and unsold homes, doesn’t even need. (By the way, those thousands of
foreclosed and unsold homes can themselves become a significant tax
burden on county taxpayers)

It’s ironic that the county is bringing this up for discussion at the
very time that the U.S. is in the middle of its worst financial crisis
since the Great Depression, a crisis brought on by, among other things,
massive housing oversupply, predatory and dishonest lending practices by
many mortgage lenders to people who couldn’t afford the homes they were
being sold, and the financially toxic effect of these millions of
now-non-performing (bad) loans on the books of banks and other
investors. (Forbes magazine reported 2.2 million foreclosures in the
U.S. in 2007 alone.)

12 Thoughts to “Insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results!”

  1. Marie

    Surely this will not happen and the Comprehensive Plan will be amended.

    At the Virginians Organized for Interfaith Community Engagement (VOICE) meeting Sunday at the First Mount Zion Baptist Church near Dumfries. Corey Stewart said the following. These are excerpts from an article in the Manassas Journal Messenger.

    “Stewart told the audience that the foreclosure rate in Prince William County precluded any new building including affordable housing.”
    “Adding to the inventory of homes in this community is just purely a bad idea,” he said.”
    “Adding to the “housing glut” would not help residents, Stewart said.”

    Was he just referring to affordable housing or housing in general?

    You can read the article in the Manassas Journal Messenger

  2. Mom

    Oh forsooth, is it possible he may have made a small misrepresentation or dispensed a tale of immediate convenience. The answer is probably yes and one not limited to the chair. Look at Wally “I’m behind a freeze on rezonings until the day after the election” Covington who appointed one of the “leading members of the developer
    community” (no use looking at Barg’s appointment as it too should come as no surprise). Perhaps no small amount of the blame should lie at the feet of Supervisor Nohe as he appointed the enabler who assumed the chair.

    Typical, move along, nothing to see her, just PWC conducting business as usual with the county attorney conveniently covering their backsides.

    Unlike the recent appointment of he who shall not be named (so as to preclude an endless string of off-topic comments) to a committee of lesser public impact, these appointments (made without benefit of the usual process, public release of their resumes, financial disclosure or clear instructions) may well shape the course of the county for decades to come. It’s high time our county leaders put a little more transparency in their appointment process and held both the appointees and their sponsors responsible for their actions (that goes for the county attorney and county staff as well).

  3. Alanna

    It’s like Corey calling a construction moratorium at the end of the building cycle. The smart growth discussion is more than a little delayed. We should not be considering another house being built until we have fixed this foreclosure crisis.

  4. IVAN

    I guess Corey’s saying “Build, Baby, Build.”

  5. Consider attending the Planning Commission meeting on Wednesday, October 8, 7:00 p.m. at the McCoart building. The Board of County Supervisors is tentatively scheduled to meet Tuesday, December 2 to address updates to the Comprehensive Plan.

    Anyone go to the Committe 100 program on this? Utz, the Chief of Long Range Planning was there with some other folks to explain what they are calling “smart growth.” At least one guy was trying to encourage them to use current buildings first without trying to build more.

  6. Mom, I’m posting a letter I sent to the BOCS on their lovely process for appointing committees and task forces. It will be on my blog in about two minutes.

  7. FYI, people on citizen boards who have a conflict of interest and vote are committing a misdemeanor. They may also be committing a felony.

    I say, let’s figure out who these people are on all the committees.

    BTW, it’s time to write to the county attorney on this.

  8. Elena

    OH PLEASE! We have a land use designation already ,called Community Employment Centers, CoC are so developer transparent, it’s laughable. Planning should be ashamed of themselves, allowing LUAC to be subverted by developer interest and NOT the interest of the citizens. Mom’s points are dead on, but what’s new in PWC planning, everyone out for themselves.

  9. inon

    “FYI, people on citizen boards who have a conflict of interest and vote are committing a misdemeanor.”

    Isn’t it sad that we have to worry about things like this when the economy is already so bad here in the county? When is the county going to wake up and stop the development industry antics? Virginia’s conflict of interest laws are fairly clear. A conflict of Interest is a conflict of personal or business interest meaning you have land or maybe you are a vendor that supplies services or products to the government and while serving on a committee, you vote on something that benefits you financially either changing your own land or awarding a contract to your own company. These are the things covered by Conflict of Interest law.

    Conflict of Interest does not include conflicts due to personal opinion. For example, someone completely opposed to RPA protection could still serve on a committee dedicated to preserving the Resource Protection Areas. And a developer could legally serve on a committee making planning decisions as long as that person wasn’t participating in making decisions on his own personal land or land that his business had an interest in. Unfortunately, in this case, that is exactly what is suspected. Two committee members voted on including their own land in areas elegible for these new growth areas which would eventually put money into their own pockets.

    If this is true and two developers did vote on their own land, then the whole process is messed up. It seems to me when you have 7000 homes in foreclosure, we should worry about those selling before we benefit a couple of developers who sat on the committee by allowing them to build 7000 apartments.

  10. I’m still wondering what the criteria for selecting committee members is, however. So someone says they are qualified for the job. Who questions that? What’s the “hiring process”?

    Yeah, it is sad we have to worry about these “good citizens” who are supposed to represent OUR best interests. But since our Chair and VICE don’t even do it, why should we assume they’d make selections based on OUR needs? Stupid thought, I suppose.

  11. “It seems to me when you have 7000 homes in foreclosure, we should worry about those selling before we benefit a couple of developers who sat on the committee by allowing them to build 7000 apartments.”

    Um……YEAH! Especially since our Esteemed Chair says he won’t even consider having any affordable housing built.

    Our county government is a JOKE.

    Except they aren’t funny.

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