Ze Map! Ze Map!

At the start of Fantasy Island, one character would trigger the action by shouting that “ze plane, ze plane” had arrived.

Well, it’s time for Tattoo to shout.  The Planning Department staff has finally revealed where it thinks new development should be concentrated, by publishing their draft Long Range Land Use Map.

By my criteria for choosing where to increase density to accommodate future growth, they got one or two locations right.

I use three primary criteria to propose specific locations where growth should occur
– increase density only where we can provide cost-effective transit services
– increase density only on enough acreage to meet projected demand for residential and commercial/retail growth by 2030 (the timeframe for the Comp Plan update)
– increase density only where we can create a town center, which the Planning Department draft chapter defines vaguely as a  “pedestrian-oriented and fully-integrated mixed use community where public facilities and services can be efficiently provided and where environmental characteristics are sensitively considered”

The Board of County Supervisors appointed a Land Use Advisory Committee (LUAC) to revise the long-range land use chapter.  That committee proposed 24 “centers” for increased development density in 2008.  Unfortunately, the LUAC ignored existing, high-density areas that could grow most easily into town centers in Prince William County.

The LUAC’s criteria for selecting those 24 locations was obvious: they picked undeveloped land that could be up-planned and up-zoned so developers could make up-increased profits.  The result would be continued sprawl, with no opportunity to integrate new development with new transit services.

The Planning Department’s criteria are more opaque.   Staff proposes two centers of commerce – Wellington and North Woodbridge – and four centers of community – Triangle, Neabsco Mills, Innovation, & Yorkshire.

Perhaps at the April 15 public hearing, they’ll let us know why those six places are most appropriate.

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