Is the county running out of space to accomodate population growth?  Do we need to rezone property to permit more housing units?

No.  The official Prince William County 2007 Residential Build Out Analysis shows developers can build 34% more dwelling units, absorbing 134,000 more people.  (That’s based on the average of 2.9 people/unit, which is lower than the average in 1990.)

The demographics wizards predict the county’s population will climb from 380,000 to 555,000 by the year 2030.  We already have defined which parcels should absorb the next 20 years of population growth, by defining land use classifications that permit residential development in the current Comprehensive Plan.

There’s no crisis where Prince William is running out of building lots.  We have already zoned a vast amount of land for new residential development, and defined where it is appropriate to build new homes.

The Comp Plan is intended to shape the county’s development, locating new roads and housing in a logical pattern.  County supervisors should be steering growth, and adjusting the plans to reflect reality – so rezonings guided by the Comp Plan should be part of the agenda for the Planning Commission and Board of County Supervisors.

However, there is no need to modify the Comp Plan to accomodate unrealistic growth projections beyond what is predicted by the year 2030.

If we revise the Comp Plan to increase housing units, we should be looking at opportunities to redirect growth to stimulate one or two town centers near bus/rail transit service, rather than just scatter new development willy-nilly in various spots across Prince William.

– Charlie


5 comments so far

  1. cre8fate on

    Hmmm, I wonder how the county factors in 7,000 forclosed homes and growing? Or do they just ignore how the housing crisis fits into our long term build out.

    Great article, thanks for doing all the homework for citizens!

  2. Brenda Seefeldt on

    Thank you for this blog and this article. I was talking to a friend of mine, who is also one of the leaders of the PWC Democratic Committee. He matter-of-factly told me that one way to help our tax crunch is to attract business who will pay higher taxes. But these businesses won’t come to PWC because our available housing is inadequate. That was news to me as I see loads of houses for sale (also foreclosed like the previous comment mentioned) and still more being built. I hope the decision-makers in our county don’t believe this but also realize that the 34% is already going to place a burden on the county.

  3. Marian Hamamo on

    I personally think that they shoud suspend any new housing until the glut of vacant houses caused by the forclosures and overbuilding are close to being occupied. They should be devoting their attention to rehabbing the already established neighborhoods that are already close to shopping and public transportation.

  4. kgotthardt on

    Hi Charlie! Great article and thanks for pointing out this blog to me.

    Does anyone have any idea exactly how many empty homes are in the county right now–including new homes not yet sold and foreclosed homes?

  5. cgrymes on

    > Does anyone have any idea exactly how many
    > empty homes are in the county right now–including
    > new homes not yet sold and foreclosed homes?

    I finally found the easy-to-use statistics to answer this question, in the county’s Standard Data Set for demographics.

    According to the June 15 report (at, there were 3,241 empty housing units in the county.

    That number comes from subtracting the total number of housing units from the total number of households (defined as “occupied housing units”).

    So on June 15, 2008 about 2.4% of the housing units were unoccupied.

    To put this into context, on April 1, 2000 about 3.5% of the housing units in PW County were unoccupied. Ten years earlier in 1990, about 6% were unoccupied.

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