Things to Consider re: Mid-County Park and Estate Homes Comprehensive Plan Amendment on March 6, 2018

hoe– This is not a proposal from a long-time landowner who was affected by 1998 Comp Plan.  The developer made a speculative gamble when he bought the land in 2003.  He knew then that 118 homes, as proposed, far exceeded the zoning or the development projected in the future in the Comprehensive Plan.

– The Development Area and the Rural Area, defined in the 1998 Comprehensive Plan, were intended to remain separated by a permanent urban growth boundary.  Prince William County reviews and updates its Comprehensive Plan every 10 years. Previous plan revisions had expanded the area to be developed, but in 1998 the supervisors “drew the line.”   They decided to stop extending sewer lines further away from the waste treatment plants.

The decision to adopt a permanent urban growth boundary was designed to steer development in future decades by upgrading public infrastructure within the Development Area.  The 10-acre lot size in the Rural Area was designed to keep the area as a permanent, low-density rural area.  The adoption of the urban growth boundary ended the old pattern of treating the western part of the county as a “land bank,” with new development to be authorized later.

– The Mid-County Park and Estate Homes proposal is not a “good project.”  It is a camel’s nose, inviting every other developer to propose future amendments to extend sewer lines and developer denser subdivisions with more houses across the entire Rural Area.  That might enrich some land speculators, but would defeat the benefits of the urban growth boundary, require higher taxes to pay for widening roads and building more public infrastructure.  High-priced houses at  Mid-County Park and Estate Homes will still trigger tax increases, as more proposals for sewers and houses leads to sprawl  and future road bonds.

– This plan is inconsistent with the county’s requirements for initiating a Comprehensive Plan Amendment:
Economic Development Opportunities: this housing development is not an economic development project involving targeted industries, and will not attract companies or bring new professional and other high-paying jobs
Diversity of Housing: proposes just more of the same, more single-family residences in an area of single-family residences
Transit-Oriented   Development: development would not be transit-compatible because density is too low and location is not within walking distance of PRTC bus stop or VRE station.
Compatible Land Uses: Long Branch forms the boundary between Rural Area and Development Area, so it encroaches across the boundary and is incompatible with Rural Area designation
Environment and Open Space: Extending sewer and tripling the number of houses does not protect the environment or maintain open space.  Clustering 33 houses on the property would be environmentally sensitive, but building 108 houses in any configuration here fails to protect the resources.
Mixed-Use   Neighborhoods: this project is the exact opposite of the mixed use, live-work-play communities envisioned in the county’s Strategic Plan and Comprehensive Plan
Public Services in the Development Area: this project is the exact opposite of the strategy to locate future public services within the Development Area, giving priority to areas of economic development or redevelopment initiatives.
Adequate Level of Service: this project is outside a “small area plan” boundary, so the developer is no longer required to proffer any mitigation of impacts on schools, transportation, or other public services
Road, Pedestrian, and Transit Facilities: this project will put another 100 cars/hour on the road at rush hour, adding to traffic congestion
Sector Plans: this project is an isolated proposal, a stand-alone exercise outside of the sector plans and small area plans used to address proposed changes in land use in a coordinated way
Quality of Life: this project simply expands suburban sprawl, damaging the Rural Area and failing to move Prince William forward towards its vision as a distinctive, live-work-plan community

– The Rural Preservation Study does not justify the Mid-County Park and Estate Homes Comprehensive Plan Amendment.   The Rural Preservation Study is just a contractor’s deliverable, and has been sitting on a shelf in the Planning Office since 2014.  It has never been adopted by the Planning Commission or the Board of County Supervisors.  It is not part of the Comprehensive Plan, and is not a valid basis for amending it. The Rural Preservation Study might be relevant for the update of the Comprehensive Plan in 2019 – but in that case, an equivalent Development Area Study should also be completed.

–  Adding sewer and houses in the Rural Area is development, not Rural Area Preservation.

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2 comments so far

  1. kvdavis2 on

    Charlie, could you link to a location map? I’d also sure like to see routine mention of Occoquan Watershed protection in these Rural Area discussions….


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