AAA (“Anything, Anywhere, Anytime”) Planning

Remember the Land Use Advisory Committee (LUAC) that drafted a proposed chapter for the Comprehensive Plan?

Developers who served on the LUAC took a minor beating in the media for perceived conflict of interest, and the group over-reached in their efforts to make Prince William so “open to development” that no supervisor would ever have to suggest we need more flexibility.  The excessive number of Centers of Commerce/Centers of Community proposed by LUAC was quickly rejected by the supervisors, and the final Land Use Chapter included only 6.

Psst!  Don’t look now, but the developers on the LUAC are still getting payback from their service on that committee.  The Board of County Supervisors initiated a series of Comprehensive Plan Amendments (CPA’s) proposed by the LUAC, and is now ging through the motions of considering each of those amendments before approving them.

First to be approved was the Lake Manassas Community Employment Center (CEC).

The Planning Commission and county staff recommended denial of the Comprehensive Plan Amendment, in part because the county has already designated 600 acres as CEC in the I-66/Route 29 sector plan – and 230 acres were still zoned A-1 (agricultural) and had initiated no development proposals yet.

The staff report on the Lake Manassas CEC Comprehensive Plan Amendment said “This proposal would change the planned units on the property from SRR (29 dwelling units) to CEC (913 employees, 87 dwelling units).  This would change the sector plan, possibly increase the amount of strip retail along Rt. 29 and degrade the level of service for roadways in the area, and allow for rezoning applications that are potentially incompatible with the residential uses in the area.”

In planning-speak, that means “There’s no justification for changing the existing plan for this land.  Enough parcels have already been re-planned nearby to accommodate any projected projects.  Adding more speculative development in a scatter-shot approach makes it harder to plan road improvements, so we can’t focus road upgrades on places where we know new growth will generate new traffic congestion.”

Re-planning the 74 acres will NOT create any jobs or stimulate any economic development.  This land use change is designed to encourage Wild West land speculation in where future growth will occur.  We can’t synchronize new school and highways with new development.  Approval makes it impossible for the School Board, Transportation Department – or neighbors – to rely upon the county’s long-term planning classifications.

Naturally, the Board of County Supervisors approved the Lake Manassas CEC Comprehensive Plan Amendment on February 16.  Under current leadership, the most important thing is to give the big developers all the flexibility they request, no matter how unrealistic the proposal for actual development.  So what if any neighbors who relied upon long range planning designations before buying a house get surprised?

Next up on March 3 – Comprehensive Plan Amendment #PLN2009-00294, Hoadly-Webster.  That will redesignate 16 acres on Hoadley Road from SRR (Semi-Rural Residential) to SRL (Suburban Residential Low) to allow for 25 additional homes.


1 comment so far

  1. Mom on

    You left out one important consideration, the several thousand dollars contributed to Covington and Stewart’s campaign funds by the two principal landowners in the year since the initiation of the applications. Ah, the impression that land use rights can be purchased, business as usual in PWC.

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