Monday, July 18, 2005

Spotsylvania's 2 Percent Solution

Spotsylvania County has been growing a fast clip for close to two decades and shows no sign of slowing down. Its population soared 19 percent between 2000 and 2003 to nearly 108,000 people, according to Census estimates. Between 1990-2000 it climbed 57.5 percent.

Five years ago county leaders set a target of limiting residential to growth to 2 percent a year, says this Free Lance-Star article. Now they're debating whether to loosen that restriction and seek more proffers and impact fees. The debate is driven in part by the 1500-home 'New Urbanism' project called New Post, proposed by Tricord Inc.

Why 2 percent, some county supervisors are asking, and that's a good question. Tricord's project suggests that the county sees another way to absorb development without overloading the county's budget - by focusing on the pattern of growth and not just the pace. The New Post project comes with $19 million in proffers for transportation projects and up to $12 million for the county's Purchase of Development Rights land preservation program, says the paper.

Catherine Farley, leader of the local Spotsylvania Voters to Stop Sprawl, tells the paper: "Whether we reach build out in 10 years or 12 years by controlling the growth rate, seems trivial in comparison to what our community will look like when we're done."

5 Comments:

At 7:53 AM, Blogger Jim Bacon said...

This is highly encouraging. The message seems to be getting through to an increasing number of local elected officials that the problem is not growth as much as it is the pattern of growth. The comments of Catherine Farley, leader of a local stop-sprawl group, are encouraging as well. Rather than trying to stop growth dead in its tracks, she sees that the important issue is "what the community will look like when we're done."

Gee, local elected officials are getting it... citizen activist groups are getting it... Maybe one day members of the General Assembly will get it.

 
At 9:11 PM, Anonymous Paul said...

Jim:

"the problem is not growth as much as it is the pattern of growth."

Amen, amen, amen!!!

But the problem is that you have one side screaming "Give me development! Any development! Anything you'll give me will work!"

And the other side screaming "We want nothing. NOTHING. No growth. Not in my backyard."

And often they don't ever sit down at the table and find a sensible solution. So one of two things occurs:

1. A backroom development deal that with little public input

2. Nothing. For a few years...and then #1.

There's nothing even or predictable about that process. The developers take whatever land they can get.

 
At 12:28 AM, Blogger Ray Hyde said...

What will we lolok like when we are done. This is the message I have been preaching to my local papers for years, much to the consternation of the local stop-sprawl groups.

Maybe there is hope.

 
At 10:25 PM, Blogger Ray Hyde said...

It remains to be seen if the pattern of growth makes any economic difference. Lets take this case and the Vienna Metro case and get good, complete and well documented metrics and then compare them after these schemes are built.

How can you applaud the stop sprawl groups, who promote their cause with coercion, rather than incentives, and then claim to be a free-market type?

Did you read the stories about the plastic church steeple or the nude statue in Warrenton, and now the plan for "aesthetic zoning"?? Let's face it, some of this is caused by people who don't have enough to do.

 
At 11:53 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Frankly, the folks left out are property owners who are disenfranchised by the no-growthers. If you want the land to not be developed...buy the land. Else, quit telling me what to do with my property.

 

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