Many of our contributors are watching the county BOCS meeting.  Let’s make it easier for them to comment. 

All comments are welcome.  Consider this a fairly open thread.

Has the Coppermine vehicle parking been addressed yet?  I want the 18 wheelers gone from there also.

71 Thoughts to “BOCS Meeting 1/12/10”

  1. In what year was the rural crescent established?

  2. Mom

    Given the nature of last night’s proceedings I guess a sort of Afteraction Report in the nature of some observations is probably a good idea. In no particular order I would note the following:

    1. Resident turnout on both sides was good, particularly by those who spoke in opposition. My guess is that residents comments in conjunction with the mysterious letter from the School Board held sway with Ms. Caddigan. Never let it be said that I don’t give credit where its due and although somewhat surprised by her actions and comments I do have to give her kudos for her stance and a job well done. (some portion of Hell is freezing over)

    2. Probably in response to number 1 (and similar circumstances in other recent applications), Lubely has really put a lot of effort into amasing his resources and rallying his troops. This is likely an indication of what is to come in future applications and something that opponents of future applications will have to bear in mind. It will likely require the marshalling of significant numbers in the future. Again, I do have to give Mr. Lubely credit, from a professional standpoint he did his job well. I never hold anything personally against him (well almost never) and as the advocate for the applicant he did his job well and almost pulled it off. That being said, Elena you need to track down Conrad and beat him about the head and chest. I guess this is the Ruritans quid pro quo for Wally.

    3. Kudos time is over. It is time for Wally and Corey to go. No that does not mean I’m willing to support more liberal candidates because they are likely merely horses of a different color when it comes to land use. What I do mean is that it is time to replace them with supervisors who will live up to their pre-election commitments and maintain some level of consistency when it comes to policy. I would like to ask the Chairman what he currently supports, no more residential growth and a more balanced ratio of commerical to residential (as he has maintained for quite some time) or more residential development and unbalanced growth when he can find some reason to rationalize it. Similarly, is the county seeking to lure more white collar jobs as they have frequently stated or is that merely lip service. The idea that Avendale would somehow miraculously cure the economic ills of the county is ludicrous particularly given that it would be years before they broke ground. Many of those parties who view it as an instant infusion of work orders, if things are as bad as they say, likely will be out of business before Brookfield is in need of contractors. Again, if the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results, we are the case study to prove it.

    4. The intersection issue, a problem created by similar development in the Linton Hall corridor. There would be only a minimal issue if the county hadn’t overbuilt its infrastructure. If approved, this would be merely another domino in a seemingly endless chain.

    5. The arguement that this particular property is some sort anomaly is nothing short of BS. I can think of numerous similar sites and situations that this would act as a precedent for. I wonder how long it would take for some on Antioch or Waterfall to make use of an approval of this application. To that end, note how many of the neighboring property owners showed up in support while dancing around the water and sewer issue. One as much as said that she was in favor in order to get around issues with land that doesn’t perk and has issues with a septic field.

    6. Someone needs to get a handle on what is going on with the School Boards input. What was the content of their letter to the BOCS. Who authorized the School’s Planning Office staff to show up and speak (although I am glad that everyone got a chance to see just how much of a weasel Beavers is).

    7. When will this deferred application rear its head again, if I had to guess at the end of a long meeting at budget time when everyone just wants to go home and they’ll vote for anything to get one step closer to adjournment.

    In any event it will require vigilance by those most affected to ensure that this doesn’t breeze through the board in the near future. Somebody miscalculated the vote last night and almost lost this application, a scenario that is unlikely to be repeated. Look for some behind the scenes deal making.

    To that end, I don’t know if anybody noticed but during Supervisor’s Time, Nohe slipped up. It would appear from his comments that the Comp Plan Amendments being considered are the Staff Proposal and not the version forwarded by the Planning Commission. Someone needs to get a hold of his “amendments” and make an issue of just what version the BOCS is allowed to consider under statute (I think I’ll start that immediately).

  3. Pardon my ignorance on this point, but does the deferral mean that Avendale can be placed on the BOCS agenda without another public hearing, and without all of the public notice required for a hearing? Is it possible for Avendale to appear suddenly on the agenda released just before a BOCS meeting?

  4. Mom

    The earliest you may find out about it is the Friday before a Tuesday meeting when the agenda is published. Wouldn’t be the first time.

  5. Elena

    To M-H,

    The RC was established in 1998.

    To Laf,
    Corey allowed no other organization to extend their time EXCEPT someone speaking on behalf of the developer who had personal wealth to gain.

    To Mom,
    Excellent recap!

  6. Keep doggin’ em. Good job everyone!

  7. I watched the entire meeting and admittedly was caught of guard and surprized, by the veracity of those in support of Avendale. The problem is all those “little people” who advocated for this as a “jobs bill” have absolutely no knowledge or understanding of the almost complete lack of economics to this deal, much like most of the Supervisors to be honest! What will happen is the deferral will only give time to those Supervisors in support it, to now repackage this rezoning into a “jobs and an economic stimulus bill” so they can (1) privately show the Developers they control the agenda while (2) publicly and falsely sell this is an “economic stimulus jobs bill” in order to disguise what it really is. We all know there is no immediate economic benefit of this rezoning and there is a great deal of future economic damage, but that is all irrelevant. Supervisors in support of this found the reason to approve Avendale becasue of all those who unknowlingly advocated this a “jobs bill”. And Mr. Pugh, the answer is “yes”. It won’t appear suddenly but the public hearing has been held and there is no requirement it be reopened. CAS can reopen the hearing if he so chooses, but he does not HAVE to do so. Why do you think he jumped at the chance for a deferral? None of those “little people” I wrote of above will be at the next discussion, believe me.

  8. Opinion

    Mom, thanks… that was great!

  9. Poor Richard

    Chef Lube may decide this batch of crescent rolls need to warm for a few
    more meetings.

  10. GainesvilleResident

    Elena :

    Mom :And now the parade of Chamber of Commerce stooges, lets continue to do the same thing over and over again and expect different results or in their case, development jobs have dried up because of the economy and an oversupply of housing so lets approve more to preserve our flawed business model.

    How can people NOT be paying attention to a near depression caused by a housing bubble nuclear explosion?

    It’s because we’re doomed to repeat the housing bubble one of these days. No one has learned one single thing from it – that is no one who makes decisions to approve all this construction! I’m sure 10 or 15 or 20 years from now we’ll have another housing bubble, and it will prove no one has learned a bit from the last one.

  11. GainesvilleResident

    Moon-howler :
    I raised an eyebrow at the woman who talked about Avendale planning high end houses rather than cheap $200,000 homes. Well excuse me. I guess the recession missed her.
    Speaking of people who put their feet in their mouth and don’t even give a damn.

    Doesn’t matter whether it is high end homes or cheaper homes. Well, maybe density is less for high-end homes since they are on larger lots. Otherwise, big deal! It still adds to the services required in the area and adds to our taxes. That woman is entirely missing the point. And, there’s plenty of other “high-end” developments already in the pipeline here, or in early stages of construction. For example, Brookfield’s Saranac development right off Glenkirk Rd., but there’s numerous others. And, that development was exclusively high-end homes, until Brookfield recently decided those weren’t selling well – so now they’ve introduced low to mid range homes – starting in the mid 300’s. Just because they say high-end homes now, doesn’t mean it will stay that way!

  12. Mom

    If you look at the sketches and GDP, these are not “high-end” homes. They are classic Small Lot Single Family Homes on lots smaller than 10,000 square feet. That is why there was no lot layout presented. The layout would have made it too obvious. The point is underscored when you look at the Fire & Rescue section of the proffers where the applicant addresses additional provisions proffered as a result of the close proximity of the houses to one another.

  13. Opinion

    I watched most – but not all – of the proceedings. Did anyone “do the math” on how many spoke for or against?

    I’m a fan of the rural crescent; however, I heard many compelling arguments for this project last night. While we all appear to be in favor of protecting every bit of open space available, it is important to recognize the merit of the “other sides'” arguments. If we really want to change someone’s mind, it is important that we be open to changing our mind if a compelling set of facts are presented.

    Those folks who spoke for the project appeared to be either residents and/or business stakeholders who live in the community that will be most impacted. Conspiracy theories aside (the Chamber put them all up to it, for example), their point of view can’t be discounted. I share this because if I were a Supervisor, I would walk away from last night’s citizen time with a difficult decision to make. If they decide “for” the project, they are in the pockets of developers. If they decide “against” the project, they are against economic development and growth. I believe that they will find it very difficult to do the right thing when there are (in the minds of the various constituencies in Prince William County) more than one “right thing”. We do know for sure that whatever they decide, they will package it with apologies and explanations to the “losing” position.

    I thought Charlie Grymes made the most compelling argument against the project: the real costs to the County in the long term. That’s the kind of argument that helps solve the “math problem” of whether or not this project is a good idea. I also heard some good arguments for the project. In the end, it’s a math problem… or perhaps more correctly a Linear Programming problem. We just have to decide what resource we want to maximize… open space or growth. The “right answer” (IMHO) is both in balance. Decisions such as this shouldn’t be based on “arguments”, they should be based on math.

    Another important part of the math problem is the “who is giving money to who” issue. I keep wondering why the local press doesn’t investigate and publicize this important issue. (IMHO) Supervisors who are absolutely beholding to developers because of campaign contributions should recuse themselves from this process. That would probably be most of them. An alternative that would still lead to a decision from voters (Commission appointees vice staff) would be to simply take the Planning Commission’s recommendation (yes, I know what that is). I would question why the BOCS wouldn’t do that anyway (again, where’s the local press?). For information on “where the money goes”, go to and be sure to select all years. It would be an interesting blog entry (that I don’t plan to pursue… I already know the answer).

  14. Mom

    The issue of developer’s contributions and some jurisdictions appetite for cash proffers have led many to examine the relationship in recent years. As a result, some GA members try to address it annually. This is an example of what could happen and if this passes, PWC is screwed.

    HOUSE BILL NO. 374
    Offered January 13, 2010
    Prefiled January 12, 2010
    A BILL to delay collection or acceptance of a cash proffer by a locality until issuance of a certificate of occupancy.
    Patron– Cosgrove
    Referred to Committee on Counties, Cities and Towns
    Be it enacted by the General Assembly of Virginia:

    1. § 1. Notwithstanding the provisions of any cash proffer requested, offered, or accepted pursuant to §§ 15.2-2298, 15.2-2303, or 15.2-2303.1 of the Code of Virginia for residential construction on a per-dwelling unit or per-home basis, no cash payment made pursuant to such a cash proffer shall be collected or accepted by any locality prior to the time of the issuance of any certificate of occupancy for the subject property.

    2. The provisions of this act shall expire on July 1, 2014.

  15. Elena

    I just put a thread on last nights vote. Oh, and Opinion, I am for growth, but if this county is going to depend soley on residential growth, we are all screwed. Bob Pugh’s report says it best!

  16. I have a lot of sympathy and understanding for the small business people, seemingly all in the real estate and construction businesses, who spoke last night. Also, I don’t doubt that they are correct that Avendale would create some work and jobs for them. This is the strongest argument in support of Avendale and obviously the reason the supporters focused on it in their remarks last night.

    However, as I said in my remarks, the impact of Avendale on most businesses in the County and on all property owners (business and residential) would be higher tax bills. I can’t prove it, but I suspect that I was the only PWC small business owner who spoke last night who was not in the real estate or construction business.

    Unless the PWC BOCS wants to get in the business of picking and choosing which businesses to support and which to let fail, they can not consider comp plan amendments and rezonings in that context. I would be delighted if the BOCS subsidized my business (same type of business as John’s) but don’t expect that to happen. Likewise, I don’t want to pay higher taxes and suffer from lower quality services (more congested schools and roads, etc.) to subsidize someone else’s.

    Some of the speakers in favor of Avendale referred to letting “free markets” govern the economic development of our County. I agree, but come to a different conclusion. The “free market” does not function by government taxing some businesses (and residents) to subsidize other businesses with more political influence. If any Republican BOCS member votes for Avendale in the future, they will have to abandon any veneer of Republican principles of supporting an economy directed by a free market rather than by government intervention and favoritism.

  17. Eventually there will have to be compromise, as Opinion suggests. Which supervisors were in office when the RC protective act was passes? Caddigan? Jenkins? 12 years ago is a long time.

    I think most of us want open spaces. However, the county needs to make a commitment based on its ownership, not telling other people what to do with their land. Maybe after 12 years it is important to sit down and redesign a plan that protects open space and halts renaway development and remains current with county needs.

    I found myself hearing a lot of people last night. I thought those who were pushing a yes vote based on jobs were full of it. This wasn’t really about jobs, regardless of who had given those speakers’ bad bait.’ However, the poor woman who had owned her property that wouldn’t perk (sp???) caught my attention. 22 years ago she didn’t know there would be a rural crescent protection act.

    I still want to know if these people speaking in favor of Avendale (and I would vote against it because I don’t want an ANYTHING-DALE on this end of the county.) have any notion of the kind of traffic out there caused by the development in that section of the county and Fauquier?

  18. ‘Free market’ has become a code word or a buzz word for something else. I am not sure what.

    Maybe I missed something. Please explain to me how Avendale would create bunches of jobs?

  19. GainesvilleResident

    Mom :
    If you look at the sketches and GDP, these are not “high-end” homes. They are classic Small Lot Single Family Homes on lots smaller than 10,000 square feet. That is why there was no lot layout presented. The layout would have made it too obvious. The point is underscored when you look at the Fire & Rescue section of the proffers where the applicant addresses additional provisions proffered as a result of the close proximity of the houses to one another.

    In that case, those “high-end” homes are maybe more like what’s in my neighborhood. I do not consider it “high-end” but more like “mid-end” homes. My lot is 8000 square feet but some lots are 10,000. To me high-end homes means at least 1/3 acre but really 1/2 acre or more.

  20. GainesvilleResident

    Moon-howler :
    ‘Free market’ has become a code word or a buzz word for something else. I am not sure what.
    Maybe I missed something. Please explain to me how Avendale would create bunches of jobs?

    All i can see it doing is created construction jobs during the time it is being built. Well maybe some sales jobs too. After it’s done, don’t see at all how it can add PERMANENT jobs to the community. Who cares about the short-term (relatively speaking) construction/sales jobs added? Long after it’s finished it will generate traffic, create higher taxes in terms of increased need for county services, etc. I don’t see how you can make the long term equation come out to where it is financially beneficial to PWC’s residents.

    Someone must maybe be imagining that businesses will magically spring up around it, thus creating jobs. I don’t think that’s going to happen….

    I hadn’t thought about the connotation of something ending in -dale would have to the western part of the county. That’s an interesting point too. Seems like there’s some awfully poor name choices being made lately in the county!

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