Proposed Centers – Potomac Communities, Triangle, Neabsco Mills

The county has plans for revitalizing the area east of I-95, the Potomac Communities.  Wow, do we have plans.

In revising the Land Use Chapter, we’re sticking with tradition and making more plans.  The staff’s proposal (Plan A) calls for Centers of Community at Triangle and Neabsco Mills, and to continue the pattern of inviting developers to submit proposals for any place within the whole Potomac Communities region.

But what are we doing to trigger the revitalization?  Why should we expect to see any different results from the newest plan?

If the county was serious about spurring revitalization in Potomac Communities, then the county would plan for growth there – and not invite development elsewhere.   We’d encourage developers to build along Route 1.  We’d stick with the current planning designations in Yorkshire, Innovation, North Wellington, rather than make those places into new “centers.”

After all, our jobs magnet now is Quantico Marine Corps Base, especially as it expands.  If we up-plan and up-zone existing parcels near Quantico, we might steer new population/job growth there.

Instead, we are undercutting our Potomac Communities revitalization.  Staff’s Plan A proposes to up-plan and up-zone vacant land near Gainesville (Innovation and Wellington “centers”), and north of Manassas (Yorkshire “center”).  Worse, Plan B would fragment development in even more locations, encouraging developers to scatter new projects across the county.

We’re competing against ourselves.  We’re inconsistent when we say “Potomac Communities is the place to grow” and then say “but we’ll let you pick another place, far away.”

Even within Potomac Communities, we say one thing and do another.  We’re tearing down commercial structures to widen Route 1, creating a 6-lane highway for commuters to zip north and south as an alternative to I-95.  In the process, we’re creating a 6-lane barrier that will block any sane pedestrian from crossing that highway.  If this is a “context-sensitive” highway project, reflecting the importance of the Potomac Communities… woe be unto Buckland.

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